Desolation Island

Which white boat is Ruffian?

11th October 2021

Arrecife, Lanzarote – Playa Francesa, La Graciosa

Authors write about what they know. Charlotte Bronte wrote of the challenges that woman faced in the 19th century, Andy McNabb pens adventures about war torn parts of the world, while Margret Attwood writes about the oppression of women and the rise of extremism. When Daniel Defoe put pen to paper to create Robinson Crusoe, he knew about a volcano strewn island, full of hidden treasure, that is difficult to get to and fringed by welcoming beaches or boat breaking rocks. He could have learnt all this is La Graciosa.

In true Robinson Crusoe style La Graciosa was difficult to get to. First of all, there was a permit to apply for and then the beat against the prevailing trade winds. The permit could have been online, accessed through a portal and easy to use, or it could have been Spanish! After battling with PDF’s editing huge files and finally emailing a form (to which we obviously had no response) we thought we’d made enough effort to be granted the permit and we’d not get into trouble when the anchor dug into the clean sand.

After beating our way along the coast of Lanzarote with Volcanoes both in front and behind us we were welcomed into the flat waters of what is billed as ‘the best anchorage in the canaries’ and knew why Daniel Defoe knew so much.

While Fiona saw sense, Iain was excited to explore and full of optimism Iain. He managed to persuade Helen from Cerulean that an evening stroll would be a great idea. Stepping foot ashore he described either a dull boring soulless walk to a beach or a stretch goal of an epic strenuous hike up a volcano. The volcano won, and off our intrepid explorers went.

The landscape made the volcano appear closer than reality would have it and with soft sand underfoot the volcano got no closer but the sun got lower. Finding a bar Iain and Helen sat defeated, but took consolation that Robinson Crusoe wouldn’t have had the option to bail out and nurse a cold cold beer.

Not to be totally defeated a plan was formed to land at dawn and conquer the distant volcano. With every step the soft sand rose up covering us and got into every pore but finally we were at it’s base and just had the simple task of walking up. Cresting the volcano, the extent of the land was laid bare in front of us. This truly was a desert island, the northern shorelines foamed with breaking waves and volcanic island after volcanic island disappeared over the horizon. The only thing missing was a tribe of cannibals from whom we could kidnap man Friday.

After days of hiking, taking a lead from our hero Robinson we took a day of rest, but the day of rest wasn’t to be restful. We were wrong in thinking that the boat who’d anchored in fornt of us was brave and not foolhardy. As the day wore on, with the crew having fun ashore, it got closer and closer until it threatened to dislodge us, damage Ruffian and end up on the rocks. Other cruisers scrambled to secure the moving boat, while we moved Ruffian out of harm’s way. Once again, the cruising community proved to be a great one to be in.

Daniel Defoe’s novel was full of adventure, set in an ancient landscape but devoid of human contact. We found the land of Defoe, but have been thankful to have both company and community.

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Author: Iain & Fiona Lewis

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