Gran Tarajal

22nd July to 9th August 2018

Another lovely sail with the wind on the quarter or behind – we were sailing at 10 knots at times in 20 knots of wind, averaging somewhere between 7 and 8 for the majority of the trip. Downwind sailing in the Canaries is suiting us down to the ground. The anchorage here is sheltered from winds & swell from the N, but as the wind swings further East in the afternoon (which seems to be a pattern) some of the wind-waves do come into the anchorage which makes it a little rolly. Fairly comfortable for us in a 40’ catamaran, but at least one monohull has come-and-gone after a short visit due to the swell – and this was very clear when, for two swell-less days, another four boats joined us. The best of the shelter is to be found in the East half of the bay, in the lee of the cliffs. Be aware a lot of people use the bay for swimming (and a fair way out).

The beach and town are lovely to visit – there are some pleasant social spaces in the square on the front and the park a few streets back. With shade, which the kids and us appreciate as it means we can comfortably stay out for a lot longer. If you have kids who like to get muddy, get to the park around 10am as that’s when the sprinklers are on. Shopping is good, and recycling facilities are just over the river-channel from the park. Water from the marina by dinghy in jerry cans, without charge. On one visit we were helped by a dinghy sailing instructor and his girlfriend, who allowed us to use their hose in the absence of anyone ‘official’. Another time, the security guard we spoke to was happy with short visits, so long as we didn’t leave the dinghy at the docks or stay for more than half an hour. I have no idea if this is an official policy, so it may depend on the guard you encounter (there are no marineros).

Beyond normal living, this couple of weeks turned into swim-training, especially for Arthur but also for Theo, and us adults. Arthur is now comfortable letting go of his noodle 10m or so out of his depth and swimming back to shore (while we have to go and fetch the noodle); if you see him dropping his swim noodle and struggling to shore while I ignore him and blithely get the noodle, its not neglect. Honest. Theo now loves splashing around in the waves, being knocked down, getting up again and continuing to exhaustion. He has learnt that the larger of the “crashy” waves can be avoided by going deeper and floating outside the break-zone – leading to the very amusing sight of him shouting “big crashy wave” and running INTO the sea.

We have also been swimming extensively around the boat, in all of the different conditions we had at the anchorage. Arthur found 25 knots a bit difficult to swim into, but still had a good go. Dave discovered the wonders of the spinnaker halyard as a rope swing and is ‘perfecting’ his diving technique. Charlotte got quite a few boat-laps in! Apart from a few calmer pockets, Theo found the current too strong to get far, but enjoyed gently swimming with a big smile on his face saying “I’m floating out to sea” before one of us collected him. All of us swam to the beach at least once, excepting Hector 😉.

Boat-work wise we got ahead on some general maintenance and made some progress on the re-painting. The coachroof now has non-slip which is actually non-slip, and all of the fittings are secured by new bolts in newly drilled and threaded holes. Most of the existing nuts/bolts were fine, but given a few had leaked and/or were discoloured it made sense to do them all at the same time. Dave should really write about this process at some point…

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