January 23-28th : From Lanzarote to Las Palmas
We just came aboard the Catamaran Lagoon 380 of a Swiss German speaker with who we are only communicating in English. To respect his anonymat we will say his name was Jack. Also aboard the boat was a French woman boat-hitchhiker.
For Christophe as well as for me, it’s the first time that we sail aboard a habitable catamaran. We expected not to be sea sick considering the fact that it is supposedly more stable than a monohull. In fact we were less sick than on the Yess Amaze but still a bit (mostly feeling tired). We bought some Sturgeron pills in Las palmas but weren’t so keen on taking medicines if it wasn’t really necessary, therefore we didn’t.
Jack was quite cautious with his boat and didn’t want of an unexpected jibe between the Islands where winds could change really quickly. Therefore we navigated essentially with the engines. Jack wasn’t allowing us to take part in a lot of manoeuvre abord, but wasn’t asking much in return. So we spent most of our time lying in the nets at the front of the catamaran. For the night we set up watches of 2 hours during which we just need to look at the AIS screen (GPS System transmitting and receiving position of the boat in a limited range) and check that there was no risk of collision with any other boat. We also had to pay attention to fishing boat which are usually not equipped with AIS which makes them not visible on the screen. Jack doesn’t want us to use any screen other than the AIS in order not to alternate our nocturne view.
It took us 44 hours to reach las palmas. We were placed in the small marina with the catamarans. As soon as we set the foot on the dock, we discover that 2 place from our boat is the catamaran aboard which embarked Antoine and Joseph, the 2 Belge we met in the south of Lanzarote.
Jack with his great generosity allowed us to stay some additional days aboard its boat and was categorically refusing any participation to any costs other than the food.
We met Jean-Pierre again, our co-crew member abord the Less Amaze, who came to Las Palmas with the Ferry. As a retired electrician he had proposed his services to a boat he had inquired to find a place to cross the Atlantic. The boat had electrical problems that Jean-Pierre easily solved. With that he won a place aboard the boat where every crew member were around 60 years old and coming from different nationalities (but all French speaking).
We tried during two days to find boats going North to Madeira, but that wasn’t the good season for that, no one was going in this direction. Therefore, we resolved ourself to take a cheap flight to Madeira from Las Palmas in the morning of January 4th.
We were Saturday 27th and didn’t wanted abuse anymore of Jack’s welcoming. We took the opportunity to have one almost full week to wait in order to do a volunteering mission. I subscribed to HelpX website — which is community where any one can ask for volunteer workers, who would work only few hours a day, and give accommodation and food in return— and found 2 or 3 mission which could be good for a week (most of the mission, mostly in hostels, were requiring at least 2 weeks engagement and sometimes up to several months). I contacted them by mail.
The next morning I received a call from Mathieu, a French friend a Juan, the boss of the restaurant El Albercon in La Aldea : he agreed to hire our services until February 3rd. La Aldea was exactly at the opposite of Gran Canaria, but it would enable us to see more of the Island. In the offre Juan was asking for 3 hours a day in order to do a large diversity of task : gardening, cooking, serving, taking care of animals and other. We could arrive in the evening to be able to begin the day after. So we grabbed our bags and took busses to go there. None was passing through the middle of the Island, we had to go fully around by the south. It took us 3 hours but the landscape were awesome : at the beginning a sea view from a cliff’s road and in the end, at the sunset, the bus was going inside the mountains we could see the shape of the summit over a strong orange sky.
Recap of those five days :
- First sailing aboard a cruising catamaran
- First steps in the volunteering mission research world