Isla Graciosa

  Monday, November 28, 2016 / Stephanie / Exploration  

Detour sailed marvelously during our four-day passage from Alvor, Portugal, blazing along at about 7-knots, throughout which Brian and I took turns reefing and un-reefing sails.  Inconsistent wind speed (north-northwest at 15-30 knots), paired with a few squalls, kept us bounding up and down the ladder to reduce and increase sail area so that we could remain comfortable despite large waves tossing us to and fro.  We were also pacing our trip for an arrival during daylight, difficult when on the final night Detour was still rocketing along at 7-8 knots with a triple reefed main sail and reefed genoa; not that I should ever complain about sailing fast!  Fortunately, we can each reef the sails independently from the cockpit; only at night a few hang-ups occurred when a main sail batten snagged the lazy-jacks (or so-named "tangle jacks" by me; and yes it is indeed lazy to leave them rigged while sailing a long distance) and my delicate uttering, "OH, SHIT!" brought out the flashlight and all hands on deck to ensure the snag was undone.  One afternoon, we rigged the spinnaker pole for a few hours of straight downwind with the main sail and genoa flying wing-on-wing; this proved that Brian's newly engineered boom-preventer was not exactly preventing, but also proved we could rig the spinnaker pole relatively easily having never established lines for the job, by pulling some spares from the locker and running one forward and one aft to control the pole.  Note to self - keep boom-preventer and spinnaker pole lines both on the 'to-do' list. Once again we'd pre-cooked all our dinner meals which made eating extremely simple since our other meals for a passage of this length are typically fend-for-yourself-grab-when-hungry foods.  A tasty tuna was added to the lunch menu.  The most exciting happenings were:  one morning rainbow, just prior to a squall headed our way so it was my warning for yet another round of main sail reefing and one sea turtle who snatched the squid lure from our handline! At Playa Francesa, Isla Graciosa we dropped the hook near a familiar neighbor S/Y Mira Polaris; Manuel, Stian,and Chris had arrived several hours prior and welcomed us with vigorous waves and shouts, "...about time!"  Brian and I went inside to peel off our clothes worn the previous four days and freshen-up with hot showers.  We'd motored into the anchorage, so the heater had been turned on to heat our water tank; however, the heater had not actually lit and so our much anticipated, hot showers were, indeed, refreshing!  "Ooohhh!" I shrieked, as I hastily suds-ed and rinsed with cold water.  From the galley, Brian cheerfully reminded me, "Livin' the dreams, Babe, livin' the dreams!"  Breakfast was at least warm and hearty; we ate outside in the sunshine and enjoyed our new scene paired with one of Chris' musical medleys which we could hear playing from Mira Polaris' cockpit.Within a few hours, we were off exploring!  Mira Polaris welcomed their newest crew member, Helene, aboard; and the group descended on Isla Graciosa, our own little planet.                     It was as though we'd strolled into the wild west, when we happened upon the dusty, dirt roads of Caleta del Sebo.  At any moment, we might have to duck into the nearest saloon to take cover from a local shoot-out!  The streets, however, were vacant and quiet.  The waterfront had few tourists exiting the ferry from neighboring island Lanzarote, and so we continued onward into the wild frontier.