We spent 10 days in Marina Rubicon, Lanzarote. This was a lovely marina with a large number of berths and good facilities. However it was situated in what felt like a purpose built tourist area. There was a large english influence and the lack of culture was a real shame.
Inevitably we had a few jobs to do. Initially we needed to investigate why our newly installed electric bilge pump kept blowing its fuse. Thankfully it was a very simple fix, it just needed a bigger amp fuse. The wind vane on the top of our mast that measures wind speed and direction wasn’t giving us wind direction throughout the journey from Gibraltar to Lanzarote. We organised for a technician to have a look, but it turned out to be a faulty unit and we got it replaced under warranty.
We needed to do a large shop in the chandlery to ensure we had enough spare lines and equipment on board. Typically the chandlery was stocked full of things, but none of the items which we required. We managed to get some more line for Marvin (our auto helm) who had chaffed through his lines and Sam made swift work of fixing this. For safety we purchased life lines that run along the boat from the cockpit to the foredeck. When operating in rough seas or at night you clip yourself to these lines from your lifejacket so you’re not swept out to sea.
Our main task in the Canary Islands was to get a new gas cooker. The existing one in North Star was the original cooker installed when the boat was built more than 30 years ago. The hob had rusted and therefore was at risk of leaking gas. We had tried to get one shipped to Gibraltar before we left however it is incredibly difficult to get anything delivered here efficiently and further to this, when it did arrive all the necessary parts weren’t included. Due to time pressure we had to leave and decided we would get one in the Canary Islands. This was incredibly difficult. I spent over a week researching ovens, calling all the chandleries throughout the Canary Islands as well as calling companies in the UK; all with no luck. Eventually we got a break through and found an oven in Gran Canaria. We decided that we would sail over there instead of risk shipping it.
By chance Sam’s friend Jimmy and his mate were out on holiday and had hired a car.; this enabled us to explore a lot more of the island. Lanzarote is highly volcanic; there are a number of dormant volcanoes as well as solidified lava. This lends itself to the most incredible landscape. As you drive through the island you go through sections of jagged rock formations to smooth volcano sides. We delved further into the landscape, climbing up the side of a dormant volcano and then into its cavernous crater. The floor was warm and the fauna was amazing, the large number of cacti variations that survive in the harsh conditions of a dormant volcano. Whilst in Lanzarote we welcomed our new crew member on board North Star. His name is Olivier, he is from Belgium and wants to get to Columbia to travel without using an aeroplane, thereby decreasing his carbon footprint (However, he did fly out to the Canary Islands…). He has fitted in well to life on board North Star and is keen to explore which is just what we had hopped for in a new crew member. We were lucky enough to be in Lanzarote whilst their annual carnival was on. This was quite the spectacle. For over 2 hours groups of people dressed in all sorts of costumes paraded down the main street of Puerto Del Carmen. There was music, singing and dancing all to the delight of the rows of people lining the street. During our time in Lanzarote we also ventured to the northern beaches, known for their good surf. We hired some boards and wetsuits and all got stuck in. Sam was very good, whereas Olivier and I weren’t really up to standard. After Sam’s friends went home, I was fortunate enough to have Jessie coming to visit. Having not seen any friends or family for 2 months this was a very welcome visit. Furthermore, it was great to have a girly gossip, amazing what you miss when you live with two boys! We explored the beaches on the south of the island, soaking up some rays. With the oven we had found in Gran Canaria we set sail through the islands. It was a 24 hour sail and it allowed Jessie to really get a feel for what I am embarking on, as well as the opportunity to do some fishing. The journey generally went without a hitch apart from Jessie suffering with a bit of sea sickness. We didn’t catch any fish which was gutting, but we made good progress arriving in Gran Canaria the next morning. To our surprise, when we radioed the marina they said they had no space for us and that we would have to anchor. Fortunately a couple of hours later a space freed up and we were able to set foot on land. Jessie and I headed straight to the chandlery to get the oven. Much to my disappointment and anger, it wasn’t the right oven and wouldn’t fit in our boat. Thankfully the chandlery managed to get the correct oven delivered the next morning and the boys did an excellent job of fitting it.During our short three day visit we explored the city of Las Palmas. It was very much like a Spanish city, reminding us of Valencia where we had started the trip. There was a brilliant market hall with lots of little tapas bars which we sampled, as well as wandering around the city and along the beaches. We stocked up the boat for the Atlantic crossing in the Carrefour, which was followed by me playing food jenga as I tried to stow everything in the boat. We cleaned and readied ourselves as we were to set off out to sea, headed for the Cape Verdes.