A bad time for sheep

The few days following the 31st August is not a good time to be sheep, or probably a goat.

Eid al-Adha celebrates the story of God providing a male goat to Ibrahim to sacrifice instead of his son. A fair trade in anyone’s book I would argue. To commemorate Eid al-Adha, a sheep is slaughtered and divided into three parts: one third going to the poor and needy; another third to relatives, friends and neighbours; and the remaining third being retained by the family.

There is a lot of sheep movement over this period, as one can imagine, and some of the produce (meat rather than livestock) found its way to the crew of Lady Jane via a fellow sailor who had been the recipient of too much of it. This bout of generosity probably places us firmly in the poor and needy category, but it was a very welcome addition to the stores. And it didn’t go to waste.

After the madness of Marrakesh, things slowed down for us. Maria and I spent our last few days in Agadir lazing around, just occasionally lifting up our idle bodies to prepare the boat for our two-day trip to Lanzarote.

On our way to Lanzarote

And early afternoon on the 3rd September, with the cycle of police and customs formalities over with, away we went with passports stamped and exit papers in hand, towards Rubicon Marina, located in the south of Lanzarote.

The calm of the sea and noise of the engine traded places early evening when the wind perked up enough to give the sails a view of the sunshine. Off went the engine, and up went the sails until our arrival at Rubicon Marina early morning on the 5th September. The moon on passage was incredibly bright, lighting the sea as if in overcast daylight. And all we could hear was the swoosh of the sea and the splash of an occasional dolphin all the way to the marina two days later.

Marina Rubicon

Marina Rubicon is a great marina. However, they are a lot more strict on the length of your boat than most other marinas. So much so that the marina guys wield a tape measure to check the length of the boat from tip to blunt end, including the dinghy. Our dinghy is on davits, so this added another metre to our boat length. This is not a good thing. It resulted in having to pay for a 14-metre berth, which ended up being a tad pricey. We were, however, given a 15-metre berth for the same price, so that’s something. I suppose. The marina staff helped us to tie up at our upgraded pontoon and off we went in search of lunch.

The real compensation for the price is location. Restaurants and bars are all around the marina, catering for any taste in food, and lack of taste in music. We dined at a couple of places at the marina and weren’t disappointed.

At Agadir, we met a couple crewing for one of the other boats returning to Lanzarote. Don and Sue explained that they live near Marina Rubicon, and offered to show us around the town if we would like. Like we did, so Maria got in touch with Sue arranging to meet them the next evening.

Don and Sue took us in their car to their local bar in the centre of Playa Blanca, which I thought might be a little too touristy. However, Cesar Manrique has exerted a firm grip on the architecture of Lanzarote and, as a consequence, nothing ugly seems to have crept in over the years to spoil the look of the island. There are no high rises in sight here and nothing that jars the eyeballs. And Playa Blanca is no exception. It is a remarkably attractive town.

After a couple of drinks in the first bar, we headed off to a restaurant for a fantastic meal, then off to another bar until late. At this last bar, Maria bought a Minion from a young fella selling them as part of a scheme to enable deaf and dumb people to earn some money. This now has its special spot on Lady Jane.

If you are reading this, Don and Sue, thank you for your kind hospitality. We very much enjoyed your company and your tour of the town.

Timanfaya National Park

The next day, with our tourist hats on top of our thickened heads, we boarded a bus for a tour of Timanfaya national park. Our daughter Jade, and her boyfriend, Col, did the same tour a year ago and recommended it. It didn’t disappoint. We gave the camel riding a miss, however, And the fire demonstrations are a bit clichéd: cooking chicken from the heat of the lava, setting a bush on fire and throwing water down a hole to make steam explode up. But it’s the landscape that’s the star of the show. It’s like nothing else we have seen except on a science fiction programme. It is simply stunning.

The rest of the time in Lanzarote we spent either around the marina or on the nearby beach. The biggest surprise was how much we liked Lanzarote. There’s something about the feel of the place as well as the architecture that is attractive.

But it was time to move on to Tenerife. So on the 8th September, we stocked up at the local supermarket with food for the crossing and beer for our arrival and set off to Santa Cruz de Tenerife – our new home for a few weeks before joining the Cornell Rally.