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There has been a steady unrest on board Omweg for a while. We still do a lot of work on board, but the jobs from the category "necessary" have been marked for some time and we are in the process of dropping through the category "desirable" to "maybe fun". In the meantime, the approaching "winter" is also announcing itself here. Okay, we are still sitting outside in our swimsuits at night, but the days are getting noticeably shorter and a constantly clear blue sky doesn't seem to be obvious anymore. Here and there some boats are stripped of their equipment and apparently made "winter ready". We increasingly get the feeling that we have to go "south". We are becoming increasingly interested in the weather data and see to our horror that the previously so stable weather is actually not that stable anymore. A period of calm is now predicted followed by wind from, yes, the south! South??? That does not belong here! Here the stable trade wind should blow from the north, the wind that will have to bring us to the south. Inquiries show that wind from the south is indeed rare here. Anyway, just as we are wondering if we should not even go south the wind is still and then the wind is going the wrong way.
We decide that if we have to wait now, we would rather do it somewhere else than the port where we have been for so long. The harbor is nice, but now feels too much like a home and has nothing to do with a world trip anymore. The small western neighboring island of La Gomera has been high on our wish list for a long time and is more or less on the route to the south. We went there last year with Eric and Denise's Volonté, that was great fun, but it's great that our Omweg is now ready so we can go ourselves! But if we want to leave now, we will have to motor for lack of wind. And then we might as well go in an unusual direction; all the way around the island of Tenerife. We decide, honoring the name of our boat, to take a detour to La Gomera.
Sunday, October 11. There is a swimming competition going on in the harbor, boats are not allowed to sail between 12:30 and 15:00. There is a lively atmosphere in the harbor and we are busy sailing away after the match. We just decided that when we saw in the grib-files (weather reports) that a strong south wind was going to pick up in the long run. It is not certain whether that will actually happen, but we do not want to get stuck here, the boat is actually far enough ready to leave and we have received good news from the police on the home front; they are actively solving the poisoning case! Believe me, there are 1000 reasons to stay here. But we have been here for so long and with a bit of bad luck we will be stuck here for a long time because of the weather. If we are 'stuck', we would rather have it in a new place, somewhere where we can still discover everything! Frans says: "shall we go then?" He raises his hand a bit hesitantly, I give a proud high five. Yess, it's time, let's go! Quickly take the collected plastic and paper to the separation waste points (do you all know that they can make a new fleece sweater from -for example- only 27 plastic bottles? It is worthwhile to separate as much as possible!), A few do the last chores on the boat, say goodbye and then at four o'clock we sail away. Out of Candelaria/La Galera, a new phase of our journey is dawning! We are already sailing towards Antequera and the goal is La Gomera. For those who know Tenerife and La Gomera and are paying attention: yes, that is definitely in the wrong direction; we take a detour because we have a few places that we would like to see.
Leave in the pitch dark
Antequera: At five o'clock in the morning a nice little piece of music, our alarm clock, wakes us up while the smell of freshly baked bread (the bread maker we unanimously canonized!) Invades our cage. Nice, we are going to leave this bay in the dark!
And it is dark. There is no moon, nothing. Nor is it a clear night. It's just really dark, except for the light from the distance of Santa Cruz but unfortunately (?) I only go that way for a short while; only when I maneuver backwards out of the bay between the other ships. Then I really have to set course in the other direction, that side where I 1) have never been, 2) runs a jagged rocky coast and 3) where it is pitch dark! It's quite exciting, but fun because it feels like a real start to the journey! For safety's sake I just sail with a huge arc around the rocks (handy, that navigation laptop so in the pitch dark), Frans is already starting to simmer whether I want to sail all the way to Gran Canaria or something ... I say that, despite the lucky earrings from my parents, the patron Neptune mouse from Laura and the statue of the patron saint of Candelaria that we got from Mariska and Paul, but rather keep fate in your own hands ;-)
I am a bit disappointed that we sail this first part in the dark because it is a part of Tenerife that I would have liked to see from the boat. While it is dark and the autopilot keeps us neatly on the right course, I have time to think back to our departure from La Galera yesterday. We were waved goodbye by enthusiastic women; Mariska, the wife of our wonderful welder Paul and someone with whom we have built a very nice contact and will definitely miss and Carol, a Spanish woman and her family. Carol and her family have been renamed by us a long time ago as 'the cheerful people of the party boat', always a pleasure to watch how they thoroughly enjoy each other every weekend, with their big bottoms dancing to beautiful Spanish music. and good food on and off their boat. We will miss them all, as will the port itself. How often will it be in a harbor that you can dive into a clear sea from the boat and come out clean again? We will also miss 'our' fish, which we fed faithfully every morning and for which we kept our leftover bread but to which we even gave some of the fresh bread when we had no leftovers because it was oh so nice to see them eat eagerly . There are several types of fish that like to eat their bread and the most special are alligators; fish with a mouth like a crocodile! We almost get the feeling that we have to ask Paul and Mariska to take care of the fish when we are away ... Thinking about the beautiful time in La Galera/Candelaria, I fall asleep to the rhythm of the waves. Until Frans calls: Ilona, look, it is getting light and you can see something again! Haha, how slow a boat is and I see that I have not really missed much of the beautiful rugged coastline, we are not far at all. An hour later I see the beautiful beach that we already know from land, the characteristic rock points in the water are clearly recognizable.
Who swims under our boat there?
We take a break around noon, the weather is calm and we feel like swimming. In the middle of the ocean. Just to be on the safe side, but not both at the same time, suppose the wind suddenly picks up anyway ... Coincidentally we had just seen on the depth log that it was blinking at the last observed depth of 105 meters (it cannot go further than approximately this depth) . Frans shouts, while I flounder in the water (I am washing my hair): "the depth gauge suddenly shows -18!" He's not kidding. I am shocked and look around but I don't see anything. There was 'something' swimming under the boat, we didn't see it and can only guess what it was. What we do know is that the depth log does not respond to small fish ...
Arrival San Marcos
Around three o'clock in the afternoon we sail on a rugged coast. There should be an anchorage here. Ehm. I can see the sea shatter four meters high on the rocks! Frans says "it's okay, I think you should go there, I'll be on the point so I can see it properly". I sail slowly so that I have time to get used to the image, can recognize it from the pilot, and also so that I can quickly back away if I really don't trust it ;-) On the rocks? Been there, done that and I definitely don't want that t-shirt again!
We're doing well, we're sailing around a rock and voila! A cozy little bay with restaurants and the sea is calm here. We stay on the boat for a while to see if the anchor is holding and then we swim to the side with a waterproof bag with dry clothes, eat at a nice restaurant with a view of the boat and swim back a few hours later. We are completely delighted!
Enjoy the beautiful moments as long as they are beautiful. A few hours later, our beautiful spot turned into a white water course for no apparent reason. The detour is pushed back and forth by large waves because the sea suddenly rolls in from a different (unpredicted!) Angle. Antequera can be rough, but we haven't experienced it that bad yet! While sleeping it is still quite comfortable, although every very violent movement wakes us up and see if we are still stuck. There are a lot of very violent movements so the night consists of a lot of waking up, a lot of checking and very little sleep. The next morning I do my best in the kitchen a little too fanatically, I literally get sick and vomit. French is also not good. We can't enjoy it that much anymore.
All less pleasant things also have their positive side and in this case we are happy to anchor again. Just like yesterday, there is unfortunately no wind. According to the gribs that is predicted but the wind varies between 0 and 2 knots and that is almost nothing and really not usable. So it will be engines again unfortunately. Although the advantage of this is that in La Gomera we can fill the tank completely again so that we know how much our new engine uses at this speed. We sail between the rocks away from the anchorage, the sea is clearly rougher than yesterday and waves splash high on the rocks. Then we get scared. The engine sputters and the speed collapses! An engine failure, so close to shore, with no wind to sail away with? I quickly put the engine in neutral, Frans throws open the engine hatch and sees that a fuel filter indicates a different pressure. He quickly transfers the fuel supply to the reserve filter and the engine works properly again. Pffff, fortunately (we also had the option to test our outboard motor installation on the swim platform in real life because with that 8hp and special propeller we would be able to keep the boat at a safe distance from the rock wall with a little luck, but we would rather try this in a less dangerous place). While Frans is busy in the engine bay, I set course for the open sea, away from the dangerous coast as quickly as possible. When we are far enough, we turn the engine off and he changes the apparently clogged fuel filter. Weird, the filter looks nice and light. Very different from the dark filter that he changed preventively a few days ago (!) And with which we had not had any problems at all. Closer inspection did reveal a possible explanation: the filter was a little silver-colored, perhaps this is aluminum dust. Why is this only now a problem? No idea but the problem seems to have been solved completely with the new filter ...
Masca, what a beautiful gorge and beautiful fish
We continue sailing and after we have passed Punta de Teno, it will be fun again. Waves from a decent angle and we're excited about the high and rugged rocks here. Our goal for today is the Masca gorge: that is a beautiful place where no car can reach. There is a mini beach and to get there you have to walk or take a boat. Anchoring for Masca has been on my wish list for a very long time and now the time has come, we are approaching the valley and wow, how beautiful it is! We drop anchor and quickly jump behind to snorkel. It is beautiful what we see here in fish! Very beautiful copies, various very large and special schools. What a pity that my parents have already gone home and have to miss this!
After the last rough night we are treated to a perfect night in Masca. We have never slept so well. During the day it is busy in the Masca Valley but after seven o'clock everyone is gone. How beautiful it is here, there is still no moon but the stars are twinkling in the sky; there is no light pollution at all here, there is nowhere to be seen a light. In our nutshell we lie in front of huge rocks that tower above us from the depth of the ocean ... Frans wakes me up in the morning: "Hurry, come and see! There are all sparkles in the sea!" Indeed, the water around the boat sparkles from all sides in this pitch-black night. Now we have stars above and below the boat! Magic!
The grib-traffic jams ensure that we leave Masca today, towards La Gomera because there is annoying weather coming with wind straight on this beautiful coast and that will certainly cause unpleasant experiences if we do not leave on time. Too bad, we would have liked to stay here longer.
Sailing to La Gomera
We had almost prepared ourselves to have to motor again but we are lucky; Despite the gloomy forecasts, there is a stable 12-15 knot wind and we can finally test our new sail! Frans hoists the sails and we fully enjoy a ship that cuts through the water wonderfully. The wind is a bit from the front but nevertheless we are going in the right direction at 5 knots. What a relief after all those boring bikes! Great, the movements are much more pleasant with a sail than without and it is so much more fun to be propelled by the wind instead of turning the key of the engine (and especially to fill up with fuel). From the start that we got the boat, we really wanted to go to La Gomera and now the time has finally come: we skim through the water. It feels great, after all this time we are really on our way to this beautiful island with Omweg. What a gift that we get this perfect wind, delicious!
A bit before the planned port of San Sebastian we put up the sails, we saw from a distance that there are bigger waves with more white water and we know that it can be haunted here. While Frans is very tough on the foredeck to stow the sails, Omweg crashes through the waves, which are indeed decent here. The wind gets up to 25 knots in a very short distance and we are happy that we have cleared the sails.
Mooring in San Sebastian de La Gomera is super neat and we end the perfect day with a tasty pizza in the cozy town. Even the bill is fine: 22 euros for two pizzas, half a liter of water and wine.
We prefer to anchor instead of mooring in a harbor, but the weather forecasts are messy with varying strong south winds and a swell from a different angle. We will see what we are going to do, in any case we are looking forward to explore this island!