Caleta del Sebo 14-31 October

With plenty of time on our hands we attended to some boat maintenance. Tomas completed cleaning the underwater hull over several days and I sanded and oiled the coachroof grab rails.

Our marina berth in Caleta del Sebo is not supplied with water or power. So far we have only had to run the engine once to charge our batteries. The Superwind has pretty much kept up with consumption although we had to turn off the fridge during a period of low or non existent winds.

Over the last 18 months it has been disappointing to see brand new stainless steel items rust quite rapidly. These shackles were new in May 2006. To be fair the supplier offered to replace them immediately but I declined suspecting that replacements would rust just as quickly. They cleaned up nicely with with Oxalic acid.

These sheet track cars were photographed when only ten months old. The supplier provided immediate replacements.

I prepared long shopping list of new items needed and replacements for failed items.

In Puerto Sherry we discovered that the light on this Baltic horseshoe buoy was completely useless after less than 1 years use. The interior switch and fittings were completely corroded. It was first deployed in May 2006. Put away between October 2006 and June 2007 when it was deployed again.

A replacement Lalizas light was purchased in Puerto Sherry but we did not fit it until Cadiz when it failed immediately with a faulty switch. Rather than purchase another of these useless lights I will upgrade to a sealed battery Aquaspec type.

We will need courtesy flags for the Cape Verde islands, Brazil and Argentina together with the necessary passage and small scale coastal charts.

The Yanmar spares kit will need to be enhanced with a selection of "O" rings, washers and filters. We have a Lucas CAV primary fuel filter which will need a spare sight glass and "O" rings and our failed gearbox dipstick will need to be replaced.

Other items needed include stern gland packing, boat polish, Sikaflex, maps and guides of South America, ensigns, lights and sprayhoods for the lifejackets, spring balances to ensure we are supplied with full gas cannisters and to avoid excess baggage charges, 2 Bebi LED lights to complete our main cabin installation and a replacement starboard navigation light to replace the one whose internals were dropped into Cadiz harbour.

Caleta del Sebo

Today I walked round the coast to the extinct volcano called Yellow Mountain at the SW point of Isla Graciosa. It was not too high at 800ft and a well trodden path led up to the crater rim. The volcanic pebbles were quite slippery on the steeper sections but I had no trouble and walked to the top wearing flip-flops.

Looking back towards Caleta del Sebo with an inshore reef in the foreground.

The north coast of Lanzarote partially obscured by cloud and mist.

The south face of Yellow Mountain. This is almost vertical.

The crater is incomplete with the NE third missing. A view from the 2-3m wide path around the crater rim looking SW.

Another view of the crater looking NW.

Caleta del Sebo and Lanzarote seen from yellow mountain.

Looking NE towards the other volcanoes with the rim path in the foreground.

Looking down at the popular yacht anchorage near Punta de la Herradura.

The near vertical south face of yellow mountain, shown earlier, seen from above.

Looking east over the crater.

A circular area marked with rocks to the NE of the crater.

Looking SW back up at the crater from the open side.

Typical vegetation on Isla Graciosa.

Wind driven patterns in the sand.

Caleta del Sebo

More of the same. Fine and sunny with a temperature around 25º c.

Our Aries windvane steering system is fitted with a retractable servo rudder which can be swung up clear of the water when not in use. Over the past year I have not taken as much care of the servo rudder as I should have. Repeated pushing down with a boathook on the top of the rudder has damaged the GRP and over energetic swinging up causing it to bang against the frame has damaged the trailing edge.

Boathook damage to top of servo rudder.

Trailing edge of servo rudder damaged by pulling it up too quickly and banging against the frame.

I spent a couple of hours repairing the damage with epoxy filler. The results looked pretty good.

Caleta del Sebo

This is a good place to be lazy.

Met a few of the neighbours today. Always nice to chat and one always learns something. I found out a good way to fly back to the UK and I may have been able to source a larger bow roller.

Afterwards I donned my fins and mask and went for a swim to inspect the hull. It wasn't too bad. Some barnacle growth in places and a patch on the rudder where the antifoul had rubbed away completely. Probably from the net and rope that fouled the propellor in Portugal. Otherwise there was only a thin coating of slime which comes off easily.

On a more serious note the retaining clamp for the stripper locating lug was seriously loose. This stripper installation is proving problematic although nothing else has been damaged.

We should be able to clean the hull and fix the stripper without hauling out now. Also the anodes appear to be lasting well.

Caleta del Sebo

A quiet day today.

I had a quick walk around Caleta del Sebo. It is a small tidy little town with a very homogenous built environment that is very relaxing on the eye unlike many other parts of Spain visited on this trip. The buildings are all white with blue highlighting in places.

Caleta del Sebo marina with the cliffs of Lanzarote in the background and the angry volcanic shore in the foreground.

Another view from the eastern breakwater showing the western inner breakwater, marina and extinxt volcano beyond.

Caleta del Sebo breakwater pontoons with another 2 extinct volcanoes.

A view west towards the "Black" extinct volcano. The western breakwater is visble along with some buildings at the western edge of Caleta del Sebo.

Looking towards Lanzarote from the town centre.

A busy street scene - Caleta del Sebo

Arrival Caleta del Sebo

We were making better than expected time so I reduced revs during the early morning watch. It was a lovely clear night with even some stars reflecting on the calm sea.

The dark profile of the unlit Roque del Este was visible in the moonlight three miles off the port beam as we passed at 04:45. Punta Fariones on the NE tip of Lanzarote was passed at 06:30 and with the sun rising we entered Estrecho del Rio between Lanzarote and Isla Graciosa.

Looking back at Punta Fariones as the sun rose.

Dramatic cliffs on the north coast of Lanzarote

The approach and entry to Caleta del Sebo was uneventful. We moored alongside the breakwater pontoon at 07:30 as all yacht berths were occupied. Later we were allocated a berth on the hammerhead of the western pontoon. A lovely spot. The water is very clear and the berth very secure.

We visited the harbour office and checked in. There is no electricity or water on the pontoons but our Superwind seemed to be keeping the batteries charged in the afternoon breeze. Our mooring charge was €3 and change per day. Wow!

Having been up since midnight I had a siesta. Later we were told about nearby showers and toilets on the beach and went for a walk. There are a few unmade roads with only the odd Landrover using them. The small town has several little supermarkets and a selection of cafes and restaurants.

I liked Isla Graciosa immediately and what a change from Morocco!

Essaouira to Caleta del Sebo, Canary Islands

2nd October 2007

In the morning I made a quick visit to the town centre. My first in daylight. It certainly is the cleanest town we have seen in Morocco.
Back on board the surge was noticeably less and we had no more problems with
"Ciel et mer"

"Kiriwina" rafted alongside "Coruisk" and "Ciel et Mer"

Clearance out was very quick. Our passports were stamped at once. My passport has had three pages filled during the visit to Morocco. When Tomas returned from a shopping trip we prepared for sea and left at 13:15.

There was a bigger swell in the bay but we cleared Essouira without problems. Tomas caused a minor panic by misunderstanding the leading marks and veering wildly off course.

Throughout the afternoon and evening we had SW winds of 6-10 knots. We motor sailed making around 4 knots over the ground and deviating northward. Northerly winds were forecast so this was not a problem. There were one or two squalls with showers during the night and we saw a few Moroccan fishing boats.

3rd October 2007

No real change in the wind. It was a lovely night. During the early hours a large sloop passed 3 miles to the south. I wondered whether it was "Coruisk" who had been due to leave about four hours after us.

During his morning watch Tomas decided to alter course 30 deg to port thus losing all the northing we had gained. The skipper was not pleased. There was no real change during the day. The sea was a lovely deep blue. perfect conditions apart from the wind direction. The forecast W-NW winds had yet to appear.

At noon we had coverd 84 miles and had 158 to go.

During my early evening watch I was entertained by a large school of dolphins. They seemed smaller than those we had seen further north. It is very difficult to photograph dolphins. One has to aim the camera at a spot where one thinks they will emerge and hope for the best.

Around 20:00 the northerly winds finally arrived. Initially F3 but fading to F2 by midnight. We continued to motor sail.

A tanker and a couple of bulkers were visible in the distance as we crossed the shipping lanes.

4th October 2007

Ship sightings continued during the early hours. Another large sloop bound SW overtook and passed very close to us. She was motorsailing and I could read her sail number by the steaming light.

By the morning watch the wind had dropped to F1 and I was able to give the decks a good wash down. At noon we had covered 94 miles in 24 hours and had 64 miles to go.

During the afternoon we passed the occasional ship. It was beautiful weather. A long low swell with the sea barely rippled. We kept the main up, more for stability than anything else, as it was far more motor than sailing. Our pilot book advised daytime entry at Caleta del Sebo so we continued at much reduced revs anticipating an 07:00 arrival.

At 18:25 we sighted land fine on the port bow. Tomas thought it was Pico de Teide on Tenerife, the tallest mountain in Spain. I pointed out that as Tenerife was almost 200 miles away this was unlikely. It was in fact Lanzarote. I always find landfall exciting.


At 05:00 we were woken as "Gran Siesta" prepared to depart accompanied by the son from "Ciel et Mer" running about and dogs barking. "Gran Siesta" got away without any problems and we went back to bed.

Then at 08:00 we were woken again by the beautiful British Rustler 42, "Coruisk", as she came alongside. She was too big to lie outside us so we unmoored, she went alongside, and we moored on the outside. By now the skipper from
"Ciel et Mer" was on board and both he and his son resumed hustling, their target being "Coruisk" but we got a little as well. I am heartily fed up with this and completely Moroccoed out.

Later "Ciel et Mer" had more success with their marketing and we we given 5 minutes to move so she could take visitors on a 1 hour harbour and bay cruise. We and
"Coruisk" then rafted alongside the pontoon. Forty five minutes later, with some passengers having been seasick,"Ciel et Mer" was back.

"Coruisk" mooring alongside "Ciel et Mer"

We had to move again. Then
"Coruisk" went alongside "Ciel et Mer" and we rafted alongside "Coruisk". Fortunately that was it for the day as far as moving was concerned. The berth continued to be uncomfortable with a noticeable surge in the harbour. Later a small charter fishing boat moored outside "Kiriwina" giving the gelcoat a good whack as she came alonside.

Tomas found another shower that wasn't a shower. This time a cubicle with a cold tap and a bucket. I tried it out a bit later. The water was not too cold.

When I got back there was a substantial surge in Essaoira harbour. "Ciel et Mer" was badly moored and her line arrangement allowed substantial movement along the pontoon. Too much. As I stepped on board
"Ciel et Mer" lost a mooring line. The line was so old and oily it slipped off the cleat under load. This allowed her stern to swing out, and "Coruisk" and "Kiriwina" with her, into the harbour.

The crew from "Coruisk" pulled
"Ciel et Mer" back alongside and we managed to secure her by using a jamming knot on the cleat.

It was our last night in Morocco and we had dinner ashore with the crew from "Coruisk".