Sailing for the first time

So I hitchhiked a boat to take me to the Canary Islands, heading for my biggest adventure until now. The only boats I’ve been on were on lakes, so I had no idea what was awaiting me.

The steaming rock of Gibraltar is slowly disappearing.

I was looking back at Gibraltar, the last firm ground my feet touched, thinking if this was a good idea to go on a one week sail, alone with a captain I just met. Soon I wouldn’t be able to see the rock at all, and the only thing I’d see would be tons of salty water around the boat.

Our 20 meter sail was smaller then this ship.

Our 10 metre(30 foot) boat felt so tiny and fragile compared to all the huge ships around us. I just hoped that the other captains would see us and my captain knew what he did.

Filled up with wind the sail was carrying us to our destination.

There was not much space to move around on the boat. We spent most of our cruise in the cockpit watching the sail and checking our surroundings for other boats.

Inside or outside? It doesn’t matter, the isolation makes you in a way claustrophobic.

This was my home and shelter until Gran Canaria. What you cant see on this picture is that the boat was constantly rocking. So you felt like in a washing machine and if you didn’t hold tight you could fly across the room when a wave hit the side of the boat.

One of many beautiful sunrises.

You might think that this is the worst way of traveling. A rocking boat, total isolation, boredom and the risk of death. Why would anybody do this even for free?
You have to consider the positive sides of sailing. You get to see an amazing sunrise and sunset each day.

Maybe the dolphins are lonely to?

You get visited almost daily by lots of dolphins which swim along with the boat for a while.

They seemed to be happy to see us.

They come to play with the boat and make you forget every bad thought about sailing.

The first fish I caught on the ocean.

You also find a lot of time for talking, reading, and fishing. I’ve never had fresher and more delicious fish in my life. Sometimes I ate some pieces raw. The best sushi ever!

Alon and me were almost just eating what the ocean gave us.

While we were talking I found out a lot about my captain and his past. After Alons wife died, he sold everything he had and bought a boat before he left Israel to realise his dream and sail around the world.

It felt really awesome to see a possibility to leave the small boat again.

After about six days we saw the first little island in the distance. I felt like the spirit of an old pirate took over control when I heard myself yelling: LAAAAAAAAAAAAAND!!!!

A desert on an island. I never saw something like this before.

The first one of the Canary islands wasn’t how I expected it to be. I imagined palm trees and a lot of green. Isla Graciosa(Funny Island) was the opposite but still very beautiful.

Each island has a unique landscape.

Because the islands have volcanic origin many beaches are covered with sharp rocks. This ones cut a hole into one of my shoes.
If you manage to pass the rocks and dip in you will immediately find out that the water is warmer then anything you’ve felt outside a bathroom.

The more we explored the island, the more flora and fauna we found.

Sitting in a boat for a week makes you want to run around and explore the area. So we went on a small hike. The 29 km2(11 sq mi) island inhabits about 700 people and a big bio diversity. You just have to look closely.

There are new islands growing under the ocean until now. Of course very slowly.

We also climbed the highest volcano on the island to get a better look around. In the north you could see the first islands rising from the ocean.

Alon on the edge of the volcano, trying to take a good picture.

And in the south you could see a very close wall that is part of  Lanzarote, which is one of the biggest islands of the group.

One of those sail boats is ours and waiting for departure.

After 2 hours we returned to our boat in the anchorage and prepared it for the next day to sail to the other side of Lanzarote.

This part of the ocean has a tidal difference of about 2 meters.

Because my captain needed some rest we decided to stay some days in the marina of Arrecife, a city on Lanzarote, before we headed to Gran Canaria.

Day and night there is always a lot of life in the cute little streets.

About a third of the islands population lives in the capital. Arrecife(reef) has its name of the reefs, behind which boats could hide from pirate attacks.

I would really like to know what this picture means.

Because I didn’t have too much time, my stay on the island was limited to the city and I couldn’t explore the rest of it. I missed a lot. So I definitely need to return.

“Charly”, our ghost pilot took over on the open ocean.

On this journey I found out that during half the time, when you are on the open ocean you can just lean back and turn on the autopilot. Most of the new sail boats have one on board and this one was one of them.
Still I asked Alon to teach me the basics of handling a boat and was able in the end to do most things by myself, also sailing without autopilot…

The morning skyline of Las Palmas, the capital of Gran Canaria.

One and a half days after we set sail from Lanzarote we arrived in the morning in Gran Canaria. My captain wanted to prepare the boat during the next two months and I wanted to move on and cross the Atlantic as soon as possible. So it would mean goodbye for us, but I will never forget Alon, the captain…

14 thoughts on “Sailing for the first time”

  1. Your first sailing trip looks and sounds amazing! I get a little seasick but I would still love to go sailing. The dolphins are really cute and I do love that mural art.

  2. That was a beautiful experience! It’s nice to be able to sail and visit different places. It’s a great way to explore the world. It’s been a long time since I last sailed and I miss it.

  3. Am now feeling jealous with your sailing adventure. I wish to sail too for few days and enjoy the sea (ala Moana) haha.

  4. I can tell from the pictures that you had a really amazing boat trip. But learning how to sail without autopilot was great. I would love to do that sometime soon.

  5. What an adventure! How is it actually to hitchhike a boat ride, do you just walk to the harbor and start to chat with captains? 😀 Maybe we will also try that one day.

  6. This sounds like a fun day. I’m sure it was a bit scary and somewhat intimidating to be a sailboat amidst all of the larger ships in the water. I’d like to go sailing sometime soon and it would awesome to encounter dolphins like you did.

  7. What a cool adventure! We spent the summer in Tenerife this year and just loved it with a little time in gran canary. We did not sail while we were here, looks like we really missed out on a fun activity!

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