3rd November 2021
Pasito Blanco, Gran Canaria – Santa Cruz, La Palma via Los Cristrianos & Playa de Barranco, Los Gigantos, Tenerife
Some goodbyes are easy, some goodbyes are sad, some goodbyes are permanent, but some goodbyes are more ‘au revoir’ than ‘adiós’. After many miles, many islands and many anchorages we have bid Cerulean an ‘au revoir’ and we will be reunited.
As a parting gift Cerulean delivered the richest of malt loafs and still warm from the oven it filled Ruffian with the most delicious of smells. Knowing that it needed to mature it was safety stowed on the starboard side and this was auspicious stowing. Not only did it counteract our port list but would also prove to be great windward ballast* as we blasted our way west.
The hills and ancient volcanoes of Gran Canaria soon faded into the background and were surpassed by the newer and higher peaks of Tenerife in front of us. The race was on as friends old and new all were all on the same westward conveyor belt. As we approached everyone peeled off leaving us nearly alone on the south side of Tenerife and missing our stable companions Cerulean.
Just as the anchor hit the bottom the sun set and the beach was alive with torches. We’d heard about illicit hook ups onshore and like a romantic metaphor, we witnessed torch after torch come together, become extinguished, only to be reignited some 20 minutes later once the romantic liaison had come to a conclusion. We wondered if, in months to come, little torches will return to their mating grounds (or of the torches signified something a little less wholesome).
Heading further west the scale of Tenerife was off the scale. The gigantic cliffs of Los Gigantes lived up to their name and were gigantic. They towered above us and broke any sense of scale we may have had. Bays which would normally be obvious were invisible, shorelines which would usually feel a safe distance away felt perishingly close and waves which would ordinarily seem scary looked like mere ripples.
The push west was relentless and the newer volcano of Tenerife gave way to the newest volcano of all on La Palma. Before any sign of land could be seen the smoke being ejected from the bowels of the earth by Cumbre Vieja dominated everything. It felt like we were sailing into the jaws of hell as the seas were deserted, AIS was worryingly quiet and the words of fear from all the intrepid sailors we’d spoken to rang in our ears.
Taking comfort in food and thinking our last meal maybe on the cards our starboard malt loaf ballast was opened. With a lathering of butter and with the malt loaf having matured to perfection we were ready to take on anything that mother nature could throw at us, be it volcanos, La Palma’s fabled wind acceleration zone or the unforgiving shore that was quickly approaching.
Venturing into the marina it looked like all the seafarers had succumbed to fear. Berths were empty, parades quiet, and bars were shut. Stepping ashore ash jumped out of the grooves in the docks and a smooth imperceivable ash covered every surface, boats that were once white were now a mottled grey and the ash was working its way into every crevice in everything; Cumbre Vieja is making it’s mark, and we’re excited to be here to see it (with malt loaf to fortify us on the adventure).
* Who needs the fancy water ballast, canards or foils of IMOCA’s when you have a Cerulean malt loaf.
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