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Playa Papayago

Playa Papayago

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Author: David Beck

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1st July to 5th July 2018

After rounding the headland the wind died, so we motored into the anchorage which at that time (3pm on a Sunday) was relatively busy. We picked a spot next to the large central beach and anchored between a couple of tour/charter boats. The water was clear enough for Charlotte to pick out a sandy spot, in about 5m depth, and the anchor bit first time and held securely when I put on a few revs of reverse. So, on with the bridle to stop us swinging too much, and at 3:30 or so I was swimming with the kids with the fish dancing around our feet. Idyllic. By the time we were making dinner all of the day-sailors had departed and there was only us and one other boat left in the anchorage.

First full day – beach time. There was a slight swell which made the dinghy landing/launch a little challenging (especially as Charlotte had Hector on her chest in the wrap, so I had to keep the dinghy steady in the shallow water while she climbed in/out). But nothing too bad and we are all getting better at reading the swell now. Theo is still a little worried after our “crashy wave” incident at Graciosa, but a few more smooth dinghy rides and successful (i.e. dry) landings and I am sure he’ll get his confidence back. Safe to say that the worry about crashy waves is confined to being in the dinghy, as he was racing into the sea with his noodle for a swim after a little while (and always tells us how much he likes big waves in the boat).

The beach, as we found on subsequent days, is great – it’s used by a few naturists especially first thing in the morning so for once our kids were the most dressed people (they had their UV suits on). Lots of sand, all sorts of different textures, rock pools including a stunning deep one which the kids nicknamed “the aquarium” because of the variety of fish in there. Crabs too, including a sally lightfoot or two. There are also a few caves to explore – we could spend a considerable amount of time here, and might do later in the Summer, after exploring a couple of the other islands.

In general, we are settling back into life at anchor already. Both Theo and Arthur are loving swimming laps around the boat (with either Charlie or Dave there to field their more risky moments, like when Arthur dumps his noodle a few meters from the stern ladder, against the current). And a fair few times one of them has exclaimed, out of nowhere, that they like being at anchor. Which is a good job, as we couldn’t afford to stay in marinas all of the time!!

With the flexible solar panels on a temporary frame I put together over the dinghy davits, and the Canarian sun, we are completely offgrid with no need to run the generator. Jacket potatoes in the microwave, powered by solar energy, is something of a luxury for a sailor 😊. If the watermaker was fixable, we would be completely marina-independent. But, alas, after taking it apart, it is clear that at the very least we need new pistons and a cylinder for the Clark Pump. This will be expensive, and probably slow – depending on prices we may end up replacing the whole thing with a larger-capacity watermaker (which would be useful in any case) and selling the working bits of the existing unit.

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