A blog instalment is long overdue but we have been very busy in our new roles as true cruisers. Reaching the Canaries has been a landmark for us - we have sailed so far south now, and we have reached those little islands we used to regularly point at with casual confidence on the world map. Those little jumps our fingers made as we explained our route are actually pretty big! 6 days from Gibraltar to Graciosa or 600 nautical miles (give or take). We have reached latitude 29 and counting.
We STILL have a few essential things to do to Kika (along with a million non-essential). The solar panel is now resting on the new arch and will soon be pumping power into the batteries, and we are hoping to get the bimini sorted on Lanzarote. The fridge insulation is pending and we need to do some sail repairs before we can consider leaving for the Cape Verdes.
We made landfall on Tuesday on Isla Graciosa - north west of Lanzarote. It was an exciting approach - a clear, hot day and an exotic, unfamiliar landscape (I've never been here before). We had managed to make contact with Free Spirit the night before on VHF and it was warming to see their starboard light over to the east on my last night-watch. Mark and Nat were sailing from Lagos and our routes had been converging as we had headed south. We sailed into port practically side by side. Howzat for timing!
On the approach, Nick and I had showers in the cockpit to spruce ourselves up, and prepare for civilisation once again. It felt very good to arrive and even better to arrive clean! The island is barren with startling volcanic rock formations. The sea is of a blue we haven't seen so far on the trip, and the heat is serious. It's very hard to believe it's halloween soon. The small town of Caleto del Sebo is quiet and pretty. A sandy track lined with palm trees acts as the main road through town and, strangely, under each tree is parked a sandy coloured landrover, the only motor vehicles on the island.
The facilities are limited (no washers) but we can cope with that as we're fully fledged cruisers now (sure there's washers on Lanzarote).Our time has been spent working aboard, swimming and doing pontoon networking which is quite hard work as it involves much drinking and eating (fortunately every other shop in town is a gem of a supermarket so provisioning isn't a problem). We plan to stay a few more arduous days which we will hopefully fill with some more thorough sightseeing and Kika prepping, and then we have a date (or 3 to be precise) in Lanzarote which we are very excited about. More guinea pigs to try out new recipes on (they've probably never tasted jam sponge and custard!)