A desert island Christmas

ashore in la Graciosa

A fantastic week of varied sailing, with the wind mainly in our favour.  Getting to the tiny island of Graciosa was our aim for Christmas day, and we anchored in the bay at sunset on Christmas Eve.  Just enough time to turn the fairy lights on and get the BBQ going.   It was warm and balmy and so we ate our BBQ outside and then entertained the rest of the bay with our singing of Christmas Carols.  We left the boat teddies  under the tree waiting for Santa!

teddies waiting for santa

Christmas day, there was time swim after breakfast and then walk up the volcano and into the village for Tapas, before returning to Velvet Lady for  a traditional Christmas Dinner.  Boxing day morning the wind shifted making the anchorage rather rolly so it was just as well it was time to set off back to Marina Rubicon.  Yet another great sail with John reaching our top speed of 8.5 knots and attracting a large pod of dolphins

I’m keeping the blog short today as this is our shortest turn around of the year, we are still busy getting ready for the New Year guests to join us tomorrow

Just enough time left to wish you a Merry Christmas and Prosperous New Year or as we’re in Spain,

Feliz Navidad y Prospero Annuo Nuevo

Sperm Whale Sighting Lanzarote

whales web

According to Whales, Dolphins and Seals by Hadoram Shirihai and Brett Jarrett

‘The toothed Sperm Whale is the largest of the toothed whales and virtually unmistakeable with its enormous box like head’

Imagine our excitement when half way through the first day of our trip, half way across the gap between Lanzarote and Fuerteventura I saw a huge splash of a Sperm Whale breaching followed by 10 minutes of it leisurely swimming along – in every respect it matched the book description and at one stage was no more than 10 metres from the boat

So what do you see on the surface

  • Very long log like body up to 18 metres in length – Velvet Lady is 17 metres and this one was longer than the boat
  • Likes to spend about 10 minutes on the surface leisurely swimming along
  • Distinct rounded hump – appeared to us like a fin – 2/3 way along the body
  • Bushy blow always directed at a low angle to the left – we saw this 6 or 7 times
  • The huge box like head is rarely visible above water, but here in Lanzarote the water was so clear that you could easily make out the shape of the head underwater

We don’t often spot whales in Lanzarote although clearly they are there, you need to be in the right place at the right time and watching very closely.  There is nothing like one sighting though to focus the mind, and so 3 days later we were really pleased to have another sighting of an as yet unidentified whale and also 2 more Risso’s dolphins

This week the weather was not in our favour and prevented us from circumnavigating the island, although we still managed 117 miles – the whale sightings more than made up for this, because if the weather had been right we would never have been off Fuerteventura in the first place!

We will certainly be keeping our eyes open over the next few weeks.

Whilst the weather did not allow us to sail up to Graciosa, once the wind died down we did manage Puerto Calero and Arrecife together with a trip around Lobos on the last day.  With strong southerly winds we were safely tucked into Marina Rubicon, watching the waves  breaking over the breakwater.  No one was moving, but  Puerto Calero had even strung a line across the harbour entrance to stop anyone attempting to leave/enter.  All trips are weather dependent and all you can do is make the most of it.  It was very windy, but also dry and sunny so instead of having a day off visiting in Graciosa, our guests hired a car and toured many of the islands inshore attractions.  They even took a drive up to the viewpoint to look across at Graciosa and as the wind was gusting at 45 knots with white water in the strait immediately understood why we were not going to get there!

We still aim to circumnavigate Lanzarote in our coming weeks, and the weather has improved already.  Why not join us in our search for whales

  • We have just had a cancellation for health reasons on the week from  30 January until 6 February, so there is once again space for a couple to join us on that trip as opposed to only a single male that the website previously advertised
  • There is also space from 9 – 16 February and 20 – 27 February, but only one last space in March for an individual Female

See you onboard

Lovely Lanzarote

Velvet Lady by palm tree Rubicon comp
Velvet Lady nestled in amongst the other yachts in Marina Rubicon

Blue sky, warm and sunny, 22 degrees in the shade – we’re glad to be back in Lanzarote.

We left Cascais in Portugal 10 days ago.  The weather was kind to us on  passage with mainly Easterly winds so our passage time to Lanzarote was 5 days.  Our first night was clear and starry in a flat sea as we sailed on a reach parallel to the coast of Portugal.  Once we cleared Cap St Vincent, the sea got bouncier and we had to negotiate our way across the traffic heading to and from the Gibraltar Strait.  Once clear of these ships we had 2 beautiful clear starry nights with the ocean to ourselves.  As we approached Lanzarote, we started to see more traffic moving along the coast of Africa, and even another yacht.  We slid into Puerto Calero in the middle of the night, and found ourselves a berth.  After a day ashore here playing tourist we had one final day sail to take us to Marina Rubicon, our home for the winter.

Our crew on arrival in Lanzarote
Our crew on arrival in Lanzarote

Once our guests left we took a look around to see what, if anything, had changed.  There are a few more shops.  Some have closed with new ones opening.  There are far more yachts in the marina than last year.  The marina swimming pool is open, and free for us and our guests to use as part of our mooring fees.  There are, as ever, plenty of bars to enjoy a sundowner.

Looking forward to Sunday when we start our winter season of 7 night trips around Lanzarote.  There are a few places left in February and March so why not join us and experience Marina Rubicon for yourself.