Visits from home on the Canaries

When I crossed the Atlantic about 15 years ago, we started the trip from San Sebastian in La Gomera, so I knew that we had to visit this little gem of an island. As we approached the marina, I finally got the cruising guide out – only to read that it’s a bad idea to just show up here without a reservation… But since we were already there, we figured we would have the best chance of getting a berth if we went into the marina. And it turned out to be no problem, they had loads of space for boats smaller than 10 meters.

After checking in, Runa and I took a walk in the marina, and ran into 10-year old Mare, a dutch girl living on a boat with her parents. “Do you want to be my friend?” she asked, and soon the two girls were building LEGO in Mare’s cabin.

The days in San Sebastian soon had the normal pattern, with school work in the morning, and play or trips on the island in the afternoon. We did a hike along the coast, but mostly we just stayed in town. On new years eve, we were surprised at how quiet the town was, but then at 24.00 the fireworks started and everybody came out to party until early in the morning.

On the Canaries, both of our families came to visit, so we made the trip back to the south if Gran Canaria where my parents had rented a flat for the week. Soon the place was full of kids, the pool was busy and the adults had a drink in the shade. We had a wonderful week together, and even managed to go visit the Caldera de Bandama, and old volcanic cone where an old man still lives.

When my family went home again, it was time to head back to La Gomera to greet Esben’d dad and his wife Annemarie. They arrived on the ferry, and we were on the spot with the kids to welcome them. Over the next week we continued the pattern from before, with pool, dinner and hikes. The laurel forest on La Gomera is UNESCO world heritage, and the island is covered in hiking routes, so we had to try one of them. It turned out to be a bit of a cold experience, but very beautiful. I think we will have to come back some time and do some more hiking on La Gomera.

It was now the end of January, and all the boats heading to the Caribbean were long gone. Our plan had all along been to head down to West Africa to visit Dakar and the Gambia, so we were not too much in a hurry. The trip down would be a bit more than 800NM, or about 8 days of sailing if all went well, so it’s a bit longer than the trips we had done so far. But we were looking forward to the new adventures ahead.

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