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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
You get visited almost daily by lots of dolphins which swim along with the boat for a while.
They come to play with the boat and make you forget every bad thought about sailing.
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!
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.
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!!!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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…