Our next team arrived on Saturday 18th Sept, ready for the passage south: Pete Shaw who had been with us for the Biscay passage, Matt Horlor, and Faye Plummer. We set sail on Sunday for the capital Funchal, anchoring just outside the harbour next to the cruise liners. We hired a car on Monday for a whistle stop tour of the island, then set sail on Tuesday in a flat calm. In these conditions you could see the slightest ripple, making it easy to spot wildlife. We saw several pods of dolphins and a turtle.
The following day we arrived at the Selvagem Islands, a Portuguese dependency inhabited by just one lonely warden. It was raining heavily with poor visibility and there was a significant swell running so we decided not to land, and continuing south to the Canaries.
Arriving on Thursday 23rd Sept the first stop was La Palma island, not to be confused with of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria further east. The capital Santa Cruz is stunning architecturally, reflecting the island’s earlier trading importance with the new world. The place also seemed remarkably untouched by the tourists to be found on the more eastern Canary islands.
We hired a car for two days and went exploring.
The highest point of the island is on the rim of a huge caldera at ~7000 ft. The views across are reminiscent of the grand canyon, with different strata visible as stripes of reds and browns. The location is also perfect for astronomy, attracting a cluster of observatories from around the world, including the UK’s own Isaak Newton.
We left on Sunday early to leave good time to cover the 50 or so miles to La Gomera. The marina at San Sebastian is particularly welcoming, with a lush backdrop of hills, a charming little town, and water teaming with fish. Our stay must be brief as we have to get the others to Tenerife to catch a flight. We moved on the following day to San Miguel in Tenerife, so close to the airport that some of the mast top lights had tyre marks! Faye and Peter left us on Tuesday. Matt helped us move the boat up the coast a few miles to Las Galletas then caught the bus to Santa Cruz de Tenerife on Wednesday. At Las Galletas there is at least a town behind
the marina, with a little atmosphere, as opposed to the more remote location of San Miguel.
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