La Gomera

Posted November 17th, 2011 by Nick and filed in Uncategorized

Mum & Nick Sangria Night, originally uploaded by melandnick.

It’s been six weeks since we arrived in La Gomera, and in that time, it’s become home for us. We have spent our time making friends, having BBQs, and in Nick’s case, spearing lots of fish for dinner!

This is the first harbour we’ve been to where nearly everyone we’ve met is crossing the Atlantic. We’re all taking slightly different routes, many visiting the Cape Verdes, Gambia, and Senegal before heading west. What is surprising is the lack of British sailors making the crossing, the vast majority being Dutch or French, with a few other northern Europeans too. Meeting these varied people, some younger than ourselves (and on smaller boats) has left us feeling more inspired, motivated and confident than ever before about our voyage to come.

Over the last six weeks we’ve made many friends who have come and gone, some we’ve become good friends with who we hope to meet up with again in the Caribbean. Meeting people in this environment is unlike anything we would experience at home in ‘normal’ life. At home, it can take weeks, or sometimes months to get to know someone, or another couple well enough to want to share a meal with them at your house. Here, this is concentrated sometimes into only a few hours because we all share the pleasures, challenges and dangers of living on a boat, and as a consequence have instant empathy. There is a strong sense of community among the sailors. Everyday we see sailors from one boat assisting another, everyone seems to have a unique skill that can help their neighbour and at least once a week there is a spontaneous BBQ with some of us bringing in a catch to share with the group.

There are so many people we can’t mention them all, but one group were quite exceptional. A troupe of five Norwegian circus performers travelling together on a boat the same size as ours. They created a show which they performed in Norway before they left, and as they travel to different places they are modifying it and will return with the finished show at the end of their journey. They brought their boat in Greece without knowing how to sail. They managed to get to the Canary Islands, where they were finally taught how to sail a boat! There are a few shots on Flickr of the performance they gave on Gomera which was very entertaining!

We also want to mention Chris and Fabio. Chris is sailing single handed on a Contessa 32, and took us out for several fun filled fishing & spear fishing expeditions, usually returning empty handed. Chris is back in London working right now, but we hope to see him back here before we leave. Fabio is a wonderful Italian who cooked us a fantastic fish pasta on our boat (a chef for the night – luxury)!

Nick is loving it here; the other day he went to one of the larger boats and borrowed their inflatable and outboard motor, then went out hunting with 2 other guys (French and Dutch) and came back with more fish than we could eat. That evening, the three couples and the owner of the inflatable had the most amazing BBQ/sushi and we still had enough fish in the fridge for the next couple of days!

I went hiking last week in the green and mountainous interior of Gomera, which was beautiful, if a little hard work, but I’m keen to go again a few times before we leave (thanks Danielle for the suggestion)!

Other than socialising and having fun, I’ve been working on making us a bimini sunshade, and we’ve finally fixed our fuel tank leak with loads of help from Martin, who’s sailing with his wife Danielle on their steel yacht Lola with their kitten Luna. They left here today heading for the Cape Verdes. We’ve really enjoyed their company over the last couple of weeks and have promised to meet them somewhere, somehow in the future!

The only bad thing to say is that regrettably our no.1 dinghy (fortunately we have two) was stolen whilst we were away for two days visiting friends in Tenerife. This left us feeling pretty angry for a few days, especially as theft of this type is considered unheard of in Gomera. The sad truth is that it was probably another sailor that stole it, but we don’t intend to let it change our attitudes to other people, although we may be a bit more careful to secure our possessions in future.

Last but by no means least, we had the pleasure of my Mum’s company for 5 days. It was so lovely to see her, and we’re so grateful for the effort it took for her to come here to see us! The picture above is Mum and Nick having fun on our Sangria night 

There’s so much more but to write everything would take all night! We will post more often in future so we don’t have to try to cram six weeks into one post again!

Love to everyone, Mel x