|Enjoying the Jardin de Cactus|
|Tapas at Casa Firebird (on Lucy's bed!)|
|Geography geek loving the volcanic rocks|
|Surrounded by geology. It doesn't get better than this|
|Exploring salt pans with Andrew and Juliet|
|What happens when you put three teachers together in a room? They do crosswords|
|Kate star gazing. She says she saw|
Tinie Tempah and Bruce Willis
Kate and I spent a day more in Arrecife after Lucy flew home, which we used to prepare Firebird for setting to sea once more and on the morning of 24th April, we cast off and set sail for Gran Tarajal on Fuerteventura, some 60 NM south of Arrecife. The forecast was for 20 kts NE, which we assumed meant slightly stronger, as it usually seems to be that way and it's safe to assume so in any case. Once out there amongst it, we were in about 30 kts of wind and an uncomfortably close-spaced 2 to 3 meter swell from abaft. Luckily we were heading with the wind and so the ride wasn't too bad. With so much wind behind us, we certainly made good progress. In fact, it was our fastest journey to date. Kate said the technical term for the wind and sea state was "lively", which she said conveys the fact that it was a fast, slightly hairy passage, without admitting to any fear. I'll go with that.
|Kate in the Jardin de Cactus|
|Lunch cooked on our amazing BioLite (stick-burning stove)|
One phenomenon we have come to rely on when sailing is that the final hour of the journey will be the longest hour of our lives and, amazingly, those sixty minutes actually last about four hours. Whether it's the wind gods having a laugh, or an unamusing coincidence, what happens is that we will be doing, say, 6 kts with 6 NM to go, so one of us will say "Yay, only an hour to go". Then, after some time has passed, we will get curious and check our speed and remaining distance again. This time, whoever checks, will announce, with slightly less enthusiasm, that we are doing 5 kts, with 5 NM to go "Great, only an hour to go". We both scratch our heads and wonder whether we imagined it already having been only an hour to go. Next check, 4 kts, 4 NM, then 3 kts, 3 NM, by which point we're getting seriously fed up. We should have been there three hours ago and yet, contrary to all the formulae we remember from A-Level mechanics, we're still an hour away from our destination. On this journey, though, the last laugh was on the wind gods because as the now feeble blow died even further, the sails started to flap around pathetically and our speed dropped to 2 kts at 2 NM range, I pulled a shiny secret pendant from the lanyard about my neck. Brandishing it towards the skies, letting rip a throaty, rumbling laugh of triumph, I inserted the magical pendant into its hallowed, snug-fitting receptacle, forged with unrivalled craftsmanship in the fires of Mordor, or possibly mass manufactured somewhere in China. With the slightest twist of my wrist, the beast that sleeps beneath the floor was awoken and, miraculously, the never-ending final hour of the journey was reduced to a swift 20 minutes, courtesy of Rudolf Diesel.
|Kate feeling lucky at Gran Tarajal|