We made Lanzarote on the afternoon of New Year’s Day after a fantastic 9 days at sea, primed and ready for a nice fiesta but we forgot that in Spanish culture people don’t got out until WELL after midnight. In fact the only people out as the New Year rang in seemed like the bloated tourists found in most touristy locales around the world — which held little appeal. We all agreed the boat was a better place to retire. We’d spend the next 4 days being wined and dined by two of my favorite people on the planet, John and Stephi Walsh, who I met years ago in the Cook islands, they in their 7th year of sailing, me in my first. The two live on Lanzarote and knowing their zest for life, I knew we’d be in for a treat.

Castle above our anchorage

Lanzarote is one of the strangest places I’ve been to. Certainly the most arid. I haven’t been to Mars, but I heard more than one person say it looked like it and I would agree. Before people settled on her shores in the 1300’s there wasn’t a single living tree, and barely any plant life at all. The only produce grown on the island: potatoes and onions, as there is almost no measurable rain. The only industry is tourism. Everything, and I mean everything else is shipped in from the neighboring islands and largely from Morocco. I hoped to get a paragliding flight in, but the conditions unfortunately didn’t permit. They did permit us to partake in copious amounts of Spanish wine, and enjoy fantastic hospitality.

John Walsh
John enjoying a bit of life back aboard

We’ve taken on two more souls- Tim’s girlfriend Malou from Switzerland and Brad, an Aussie chef/Captain who’s hitching a ride with us to the Caribbean. We threw our first party on Discovery – the five of us and John, Stephi and their friend Santiago from Madrid. It was the first time I can remember I wasn’t slaving in the galley with guests aboard. With this unexpected joy came the almost sudden realization that this whole expedition is truly a reality. What Jody and I set out to create over the last couple years is now really happening. A fine evening, enjoyed by all.

Taking it in

Brad and I spent a frantic day provisioning for the Atlantic crossing on Thursday, buying the necessary goods for a planned 16 days (2600 miles as the crow flies) at sea, give or take several, depending on conditions. This is something guests rarely get to see or even comprehend- hundreds and hundreds of pounds of food, drinks, frozen meats, staples, consumables of every kind- from toilet paper to flashlight batteries to oil filters and propane. I’ve done it dozens and dozens of times and it’s never easy, but it was great having a knowledgeable hand who’s had plenty of practice himself.

offshore provisioning
Amazing that it all finds a home

After a less than stellar beginning, we’re now making good time heading south towards the trades before making a right turn for Trinidad. It’s a sailing route plied by thousands in all kinds of ships since Columbus, and his route is still considered the one to follow. However ours was not picture perfect. Two hours out of Lanzarote in very light airs our gorgeous gennaker, a perfect sail for light conditions which we can certainly expect on this trip got shredded beyond repair. An unfortunate mistake, one I’d like to have back, but it’s sailing and we simply carry on. Luckily thus far the winds have been excellent out of the NE, the trades blowing as steadily as we can hope for and we’re making great time.

Just before going to shreds
Photos courtesy of Tim Collins

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