Friday 29 December 2023

Reunions in Lanzarote


December 2023

Whilst Mark was having the sail of his life from Rabat to Lanzarote, I was in England stalking him on Marine Traffic, making sure he was going to the Canaries and not heading off to somewhere exotic without me! In truth, it was comforting to me to monitor their progress and know that all was well.

I also spent time with family and friends, helping my daughter Alex move house, celebrating early Christmas and Margot's third birthday. Where has the time gone!

As usual, the time passes far too quickly and it was time to leave cold, wet England and head south for some sunshine and heat.

Mark had arrived in Lanzarote the previous day and was settled in Marina Calero, which is about 20 minutes south of the main airport. So, with too much luggage and duty free to manage public transport, I took a taxi to the marina. It was an opportunity to see a bit of the Eastern side of the island and I have to say it's pretty unspectacular. Very dry, barron and covered in dried red lava, I didn't feel inspired to put on my hiking shoes and go exploring.

But, the marina was nice, the people were pleasant and there was plenty of life in the bars and restaurants. It also turned out that our friends Peter and Leslie from Estepona were moored in the same marina.

We had made friends with Peter and Leslie a few years ago, when they had berthed in Estepona for a few months. During winter, they had left their boat in Estepona and returned to England when Covid hit. As travel was forbidden we looked after their boat for them during this time. When they did finally make it back to Estepona, Peter wanted to take it back to the Canaries, so Mark had helped him sail it over.

It was lovely to see them again and have some friendly faces around. They know the islands really well, so were able to give us a lot of advice and tips on sailing conditions and anchorages.

We used our time in Lanzarote to relax and recharge before heading off. We didnt do much site seeing, other than a day trip to Arricefe. Mark needed to get his passport stamped to show that he was back in Spanish territory, so after a bit of a fiasco with the the Policia Nacional, he was duly stamped back in.

After a spot of lunch, we headed back into the city and had a wander around. Arricefe is a working city, so in terms of tourist attractions, there isn't much to see, except for statues and the plaza with the main church.

However, down at the seafront, one of the more memorable places we visited was San Gabriel's Castle. Built in the 18th century to defend the island from pirate attacks, the castle is set on an islet and surrounded by small beaches of golden sand. The castle is accessed by two bridges, the oldest being Puente de las Bolas, complete with the original drawbridge.



By the weekend, we had itchy feet and were keen to move on. We wanted to go to Las Palmas in Gran Canaria for Christmas and New Year, but the marina there doesnt take reservations, you have to turn up and sit in the anchorage until a space becomes available. We didnt fancy the possibility of spending the holiday season at anchor, so I contacted the marina in Santa Cruz to se if we could book in there.

Hooray, they had space. So a week after arriving in Lanzarote, we said our goodbyes to Peter and Leslie and headed out just before midday into bright, calm seas for a leisurely overnight sail to Tenerife.

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