Alone Like a Rolling Stone

From seaworthiness

An old wooden barge quietly approaches our boat. The side walls are high, the small ship is at most 8m long. It is shortly after 8:00 p.m., dusk has long set in. I switch on the radio and inform the coast guard, since the boat seems to be drifting. A nationality cannot be determined, but the assumption is close that they are refugees from the African continent. The sea rescue team approaches with headlights on, illuminating the scene in the increasingly dim light. White protective suits, with white helmets and respirators, just like the "good guys" in Star Wars, throw two lifelines to the blacks in the unseaworthy wooden boat. By the time the lines are tied down and eight people have transferred from the wooden boat, the compound has approached to almost 50m in front of our bow. We have often heard of a rescue, but the fact that it is taking place so close to us gives it a completely different dimension. Which inevitably raises the question in us: How desperate must one be to venture out to sea in an open boat without sails, without the certainty of ever seeing land again? There is certainly no question of seaworthiness here.


A completely different seaworthiness and the question about it we ask ourselves the next day, because we get a visitor. Can you actually become seaworthy? And can you convince a Swabian native to do the right thing at sea in terms of seaworthiness? Both questions must first be answered in the negative. Well, the conditions have not exactly improved in the bay of Anfi. The swell that has been entering the bay since yesterday creates a lot of movement and for someone who is not used to that, it can easily lead to problems. Meanwhile, the journey from Walle goes smoothly. Gaby picks up her brother from the airport and in a bar on the beach promenade of Anfi, we first celebrate reunion. It's no use pointing out that alcohol might not be such a good idea after all. When we cross with the dinghy to the boat, it is relatively quiet and Walle feels good. This changes abruptly the next morning, when the first time edibles on the table. We try two days to make it seaworthy, but break off the attempt because of unsuccessfulness. 

All is well with the world

Not only because Walle is not feeling very well, but also because the rumble is getting on the nerves of all of us. An email from Puerto Mogan remains unanswered, but that doesn't stop us from going there. With increasing wind we can even set sail and lo and behold, Walle is already much better. Obviously, sailing works wonders and even the seaworthiness of a Swabian native can be improved. I radio Puerto Mogan on channel 12, we are lucky and get a berth. Here in the port, we lie as on a board, which increases the mood on board, to the highest. Especially Walle is doing well again and starts to enjoy his vacation. So we change our plans and switch from swimming to sightseeing.

Walle under sail

At the same time the planning and preparation of our onward journey is going on. With an email I try to reserve a place in San Sebastian on La Gomera, our last island we want to visit on the Canary Islands. Unlike many platforms used by sailors, where they did not get an answer to their request, we receive a reservation confirmation the next day. Here we want to clear out from Europe, do a PCR test, and provision ourselves once again. After that we will tackle the 800 nautical miles to the Cape Verde Islands. We are now since 24.11.2020 on the Canary Islands. With an interruption from mid-December to mid-January, we have visited the islands of La Palma, Tenerife and Gran Canaria. So La Gomera will be our fourth island. We spent eight months getting to know the islands, and were always fascinated by the different characteristics of the islands. Although the restrictions of Covid, for us, were very small, the impact for the Canary Islands so far, is significant. It is to be wished for the Canary Islands, especially for the people who live here, that tourism recovers quickly. Unfortunately, the anchorages in the Canaries are not very comfortable, often very rolly, so we spent a long time in marinas. The cost of this is much lower than in the Mediterranean, but it adds up. The marina in Las Palmas on Gran Canaria is the, so far, cheapest we have stayed in on our trip. However, catamarans are less welcome and you have to be patient to get a place assigned. The marina crew, which is on duty, is very decisive. That it is cold on the Canary Islands, you can not say, The whole year temperatures are between 20 ° C and 30 ° C. In the north of the islands, however, you can feel the northeast trade wind, which, especially in the harbor area, often makes it seem a bit chilly. On the other hand, in the south of Gran Canaria there is often no wind, which makes the temperatures, compared to the north, rise significantly. The Atlantic, here on the Canary Islands, is about 5 ° C colder than the Mediterranean, which costs me as a mollycoddle, always some overcoming to jump into the water. That's why the learning curve for our new hobby, the SUP, goes steeply uphill. Gaby is much more resistant and sometimes I have the feeling that she intentionally falls off the board into the water. Anyway, progress with the SUP will have to wait a while now. 

First SUP attempts

Now we have to prepare for Cape Verde. How we succeed, of course, as always, here on in the next week. Until then always fair winds and keep a stiff upper lip.