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La Gomera
-- 14th to the 20th October 2011 --
Some quiet days in a little island not yet perverted by mass tourism.
More shots of this small and cute place in our page "Pictures".

Sailed 16 miles
3213 miles since the start
We stopped in : San Sebastian de la Gomera (marina), Cala Cantera (anchorage), Valle Gran Rey (anchorage)
14th to 19th October: San Sebastian (on shore)
It’s hard to think of a better place to get some rest after our last (short but intense) crossing. This little town has three streets of low colorful houses (one being the last stop of Captain Colon on his way to the other side – the Colonomania has reached this place as well). There is something of a big countryside village in the air. “Real people” gather on the main place for lunch and dinner, where “real kids” play after school. We walk around, we have a cold beer in the shade of tall palm trees, we enjoy some grilled fish in a small restaurant with the TV on, standing behind the bar on the wall, showing over and over again pictures of the volcanic eruption in El Hierro. Why, you didn’t know? The most Southern island in the Canarias – and the next on our touring program – is right in the process of making a little sister next to her. At the moment it´s more sulfuric ashes and steaming rocks from under the sea at the Southern Point. The whole are is closed to navigation – well volcanoes are better seen on TV anyways…
Some street at siesta-time.

« Weyho, there’s whiskey in the jar ! »
As a consequence we can afford to stay a bit longer at La Gomera and take the time to enjoy the marina as well. There is a friendly atmosphere, thanks to the smiling staff (and their cute little kittens) as well as nice crews. We are happy to see again the twin boats Beltzha and Gadjo Dilo (around the world with no date of return and a little girl). We meet new people as well, like Kourtney and Pete sailing from Florida on their awesome 12m old wooden “Norna”. Inside it´s full of music instruments: banjo, mandolin, guitar, country guitar, fiddle… Camille´s eyes are sparkling more than ever – for once she almost forgets to look at the boat she´s standing on! With their friends the Scots Leslie and Andy and the English Sue and Andy (from “Spruce”, briefly met in the “internet cage” of Porto Santo), we have the greatest time for a “music night”: flute duets and sailors ‘songs in the cozy polished wood main cabin.

The Garajonay National Park
So much for the cultural activities. Don’t worry our legs are working too! The center of the island is big laurel-tree forest where the mount Garajonay stands, 1487m high. The National Park is a perfect location for a day-hike in the shade of the primary forest looking like the one covering the whole of the Mediterranean area before the last glaciation. On the next day, two wheels will carry us around. We don’t bike so far though: it’s steep around here! 800 m uphill are enough for our calves but make already a pleasant ride to an old church at the bottom of dark cliffs battered by the blue seas. Further inland the “barrancos” (the beds of former or seasonal rivers) draw green veins on the dry landscape. Everything grows here, and certainly mangoes! This tree there looks like no one is taking care of it… there are fruit fallen on the ground up to the road… shame to waste! Back onboard we “have to” make mango-jam basket. Such a hard life!

Happy !

A deserted little house on the way up to la Laja
As for the local fauna, it is best seen in the harbor itself. Besides the now usual parrot-fishes, burros and barracudas, we find a new specie: a long narrow grey body with a horse-like nose and a very small black tail with white dots. Our new friend will be the object of this new episode of the game “whatzat”: you can tell us the name of this mysterious fish?
19th – 20th October : San Sebastian – Valle Gran Rey (16 miles)
Taking advantage of the internet connection of a friend (otherwise you have to buy cards or go hunting the waves in cafés) we check the weather forecast. A big low is foreseen in a few days – we had better get moving South before then, or we will have to wait a full week more. Before leaving Europe though, we want to see the other side of this island we like so much.

Setting the sails in very little air (where have the gusts of the other day gone??!!), we sail passed the little harbour of Santiago to reach the Cala Cantera (first anchorage beach on the Western shore). It is a deep barranco opening on a little beach, with a couple of deserted houses and former fish factory. There is a cave on the right side of the beach, supposedly a fun trip in dinghy. The creek is narrow but without any hidden rocks, we drop the anchor on a 7m deep good-holding sand ground. The swell rocks us a bit but not that bad. Yet the wind changes constantly, getting us closer to the one cliff, then to the other. Had we not wanted to get a good night sleep before a long crossing, we would have stayed longer in this nice and quiet little paradise. But civilization will be helpful to get ready on our last day. So we sail on to Valle Gran Rey in the evening.

At Cala Cantera you are sure not to hear anything else than the waves breaking on the rocks…
One hour later (with the engine on, God Ol’ Nestor works better without bacteria in his drinks), we reach the beach just South from the Valle Gran Rey harbour (called Puerto Vueltas). It’s much larger, already 6 boats are moored there (including a huge thing with swimming ladder like a real swimming-pool diving board and a flag from the Marshall islands… ever heard of this place before?) but there’s space for more. The upper side of the beach seems a bit more sheltered from the swell, we drop the anchor by 7m on good holding sand.

Valle Gran Rey, rocking and rolling as well
Last work onboard to get ready: sawing back bit of the genoa, popping in new rivets on the anchor’s bow in the front… writing, coding this article and taking some water and fresh food.

We should be heading to Dakar on Friday 21st October. 850 miles to go, that’s 8 to 9 days at sea, full South. Should you have nothing better to do in that period, you can send some text messages for free on our satellite phone (8816 315 11 398) – just go on the Iridium website (http://messaging.iridium.com)
Good bye Europe, next stop is Africa!
Hide / Display the comments
Your messages:

Sylvia - 25/10/2011 21:33:27
Goede reis - jullie zijn nu al op weg en ik hoop dat alles goed gaat op deze lange crossing! Ben benieuwd wat jullie in een heel andere omgeving gaan beleven. Rianne en ik hebben trouwens Tenerife geboekt als vakantie eind november en ik heb jullie berichten goed gelezen. En over 2 weken zijn we een lang weekend in Nice, Frankrijk! Ik doe de groeten aan jullie land :-) Tot snel weer een keertje op Skype hopelijk. Sylvia

saltimbanque par iridium - 24/10/2011 20:56:54

BA - 24/10/2011 19:05:01
pour info , le "drôle d'oiseau à crête" sur la Graciosa est une huppe ( son cri : elle pupule) .. et j'ai les mêmes dans la forêt. c'est superbe! ( la huppe et les photos) .

Michel et Claudie - 24/10/2011 10:21:36
Vous devez être au large de l'Afrique.....Nous suivons votre voyage(vive le net!) presqu'au jour le jour; nous sommes épatés par tout : , photos , navigation, bricolage journal et au moins pour Michel, très envieux ! Bravo. Bon vent pour la suite, du largue c'est plus facile mais le près c'est tellement beau....Kenavo!

SuDad - 23/10/2011 12:18:41
A tout le monde: allez-y sur "photos" !!! Un régal. Le camouflage de la mante religieuse dans la paille. Les belles cyclistes casquées. Les boiseries du bâtô de Floride. Les manguiers; au moins on sait à quoi ça ressemble, maintenant. Le moulin à gofio -c'est quoi le gofio ?-. Merci de la ballade, les filles...

SuDad - 23/10/2011 11:43:35
L'envie d'abuser, ça chatouille toujours. C'est tellement bien quand ça fonctionne. Votre récit est enchanteur. On serait tenté de dire "comme d'habitude" et les superlatifs de suivre. Mais nous ne sommes que spectateurs. Le plus important c'est l'intensité de ce que vous vivez, pour de bon. Et c'est bon. Que Neptune ne vous agace pas trop, vers l'Afrique. Faut lui dire que vous déjà assez donné, récemment.

SuDad - 23/10/2011 11:36:44
Ben voilà. Suffisait de le dire: sobriété. Et tout passe. Michèle aussi se désespérait de ne pouvoir vous faire parvenir ses messages. Ainsi que Bernadette. Maintenant que vous avez débouché la plomberie, tout le monde va s'y mettre, et ça va créer de nouveaux sédiments. Et hop Destop. That's life.

SuDad - 23/10/2011 11:31:35
Bon, on va y aller doucement, sur la pointe des virgules, puisque le filtre à gros mots est amorcé. Et puis faire court aussi, biscotte ça indigeste facilement. Allez, on envoie...

la mamou - 21/10/2011 10:10:44
le "Cékoiça" : (?) cela peut faire penser à quelque chose proche des doryrhamphus , mais qui sont de petits poissons (dans les 10cm ) et qui je pensais vivent plutôt du côté de l'Australie , du moins pour les plus connus : les Doryrhamphus excisus ...
Michel aura peutêtre plus d'idées ???

la mamou - 20/10/2011 19:06:56
très très bel article ;-))
les photos font réver ....

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