December 12, 2004

 

As featured on page 9 of the July/August Issue of Ocean Navigator!

SHIBUMI arrives in English Harbor, Antigua

After twenty days of pitching seas, SHIBUMI anchored in Freeman Bay in English Harbor, Antigua, at 0715, Monday, December 20th.  Thanks to Holt “Chip” Farley and Mike Laughlin, we arrived with few equipment breakages after 16 nights of squalls and sea swells which dismasted another boat in our vicinity. 

Any tendency to seasickness was tested regularly as life aboard resembled the inside of a front-loading clothes washer … without the water.  We have a saying on board that a good trip is one where SHIBUMI travels safely  from point A to point B (even if point B is redefined), with no injury to anyone (on board or not), no property damage (to ourselves or others), and no harsh word spoken.   Except for two main boom shackles and one mizzen halyard, all of  which snapped at night at sea, the voyage was a success by this definition.  And the fishing was great!

Our crew’s special Christmas present to us was their dedication to “finishing up” after we arrived.  This meant taking their last day to wash down the inside of the vessel as Chris and Jackie reworked the boat to redefine her from a crossing vessel to a cruising one.  Many thanks for all Holt and Mike’s efforts.  Two days before Christmas and we are basically whole again except for catching up on rest and sleep! 

 

SHIBUMI tours The Canary Islands

Graciosa:  Our arrival in the most northwestern harbor in the Canary Islands confirmed that we have become island people.  Isolated from the other Canary Islands and stripped of all forestry, the island is a stark reminder of the extremes of nature.  But very beautiful. 

The harbor master allowed us to berth along side the town dock instead of joining the other cruisers across the bay.  The town hosted four restaurants, two supermarkets, one bakery, and one internet cafe.  Ferry service ran twice a day to Lanzarote.  The internet cafe provided the best services we found in the entire Canary chain.

Unfortunately when the seas swell from the southeast, the harbor is churned.  It is a real eye opener to see SHIBUMI, a fifty ton vessel, swinging wildly on her lines as the swell tossed  her around  at her berth.  We left in a hurry in the middle of the night to anchor outside the harbor.

Lanzarote:  With no natural water supply, Lanzarote is defined with landscapes of black lava.  Moisture from the morning dew is trapped inside circular corrals to provide moisture for the grape vines pictured to the left.  These also act as a wind barrier.

An active English tourist destination, Lanzarote boasts the most recently active volcano in the Canary Islands.  The artist Cesear Menrique used his influence throughout the Canary Islands to preserve much of the natural beauty of the islands while the tourist explosion swamped the locals.  A wonderful excursion ashore consists of renting a car and exploring his home, Jardin de Cactus, and Jameos del Agua, a lava funnel boasting a concert hall.  To study the development of a volcano, tour the Montanas del Fuego, ride a camel under the lava dunes, and explore the vast volcano museum.  Reality is wilder than imagination.

Cruisers gather at either Puerto Calero on the southeast coast or Puerto Blanca on the southern tip of Lanzarote.  Shops and restaurants, a free internet connection in the marina office, and the availability of our English friends on Talula Ruby made Puerto Calero our choice. 

Fuerteventura:  If Lanzarote is the English Canary Island, then Fuerteventura is the German Canary Island.  Spanish and German are spoken most everywhere:  restaurants, bars, internet cafes, etc.  Our first adventure was the anchorage at Las Playitas where we rode out 35 mph winds all night in significant swells.  As soon as day broke, we wandered south seeking better shelter from easterlies.

We originally planned to anchor off this island at tow sites before moving on to the south side of Gran Canaria, but when we realized that we needed to sail to Las Palmas on the north side of Gran Canaria for watermaker parts, we decided to berth for a couple of days in Morro Jable, the ferry port for the island.  No water, no electricity, and a bit of a hike to town, but priced reasonably. 

The highly tourist town of Morro Jable contains a good internet cafe and a great pizza shop, Cafe Vesubio, but is otherwise unremarkable.

Gran Canaria:  We did not intend to visit Las Palmas on Grand Canaria because we knew that the 2004 ARC was preparing to depart from the harbor within the week.  The rally consists of over 250 sailboats of all sizes, descriptions, nationalities, and temperaments.  All racing from Las Palmas to St. Lucia.  However we had a problem with our watermaker and the Spectra Tech Support was visiting their ARC clients, so we agreed to meet them and swap out several parts still under warranty.  We anchored outside of the marina for two nights. And then sailed onto Santa Cruz on the island of Tenerife.

The wind blew steadily from the NE for the week prior to the ARC’s departure.  Saturday before the gun sounded at 1300 on Sunday, the wind died.  We wonder how the folks who signed a pledge not to start their engine fared.

Our friends, Steve Woodward and Joan Hivey with Salty Dog on Chant Pagan, welcomed us to Las Palmas and invited us to join in the nightly celebrations.  We had to decline in order to meet our crew in Tenerife within the next two days.

Tenerife:  After all the tourist hype and disappointments of the islands in the Med, Jackie was very happy to spend the last weeks of our stay in Europe in Santa Cruz, Tenerife, a true Spanish city with low key tourism.  The Marina Atlantico lies in the heart of the city, separated from the busy ferry and cruise ship traffic by a concrete quay.  All services are nearby and the marina staff is friendly and helpful.  A great, no frills marina to launch a trans-Atlantic crossing.

On one of our first excursions ashore, we discovered a “mom and pop” restaurant with all our favorite Spanish tapas and meals at very reasonable prices.  We never ate anywhere else than Restaurante La Taberna del Puerto during our entire stay in Santa Cruz.  And we will return one day to see if Bienmesabe ever returns to the menu. 

The signature of Tenerife is the mountain Teide, which dominates the landscape and the seascape as well.  Our crew took the cable car ride up the mountain and then hiked to the peak to peer out into the mysteries of the Atlantic where we were soon scheduled to explore.  During our Sunday car ride around the mountain, we lunched at Restaurante La Pimentera on a hillside in Masca.  Tenerife is a treasure to further explore in the future.

Updated Pages:
bullet Voyage Summary
bullet Port Summary
bullet Cruisers
bullet Chris Lambertsen
bullet Jackie Lambertsen

New Pages: 

bullet Holt Farley
bullet Mike Laughlin
bullet Volume 0440
bullet 2004 Crossing Menus
bullet 2004 Crossing Fish Story
bullet English Harbor, Antigua
bullet St. Johns, Antigua
bullet Falmouth Harbor, Antigua
History:   2003 Horta, Azores
2003 People of Azores
2003 Galicia, Spain
2003 Rias Biaxas, Spain
2003 Porto and Lisbon
2003 Rota, Spain
2004 Andalucia, Spain
2004 Gibraltar to Mallorca
2004 The Baleares
2004 Western Med
2004 Canary Islands
2005 British Virgin Islands
2005 New England USA
2006 Cruise to Venezuela
2007 Venezuela Review
2007 Retun to San Blas