Captain Hugh and the Reluctant Navigator
The Voyage of Vega

Part 2. South from the Canaries

November 10th to 15th.

We are just about ready to set sail on the next leg of our voyage. From Lanzarote it should be about a 7 day sail to Dakar in Senegal. I’m feeling a bit nervous not only because this will be the longest time that I’ve spent at sea out of sight of land (we will be passing the Western Sahara and Mauritania, but keeping about 100 miles off the coast; interesting places to visit I’m sure, but perhaps another lifetime), but also because West Africa will be hard work I suspect, although wonderful and fascinating. So I am looking forward to it as it marks the first real voyage into the unknown, whilst also wondering if we have left enough time to really explore and enjoy it. Also of course visiting a Muslim country after the recent horrors in Paris adds to my trepidation.

We had planned to leave yesterday but the metal tube that we’d brought out to replace the broken bit in the vang (don’t ask) wasn’t the right diameter so the very wonderful people at the marina here, who have been doing various jobs on Vega including lifting her out of the water and giving her lovely bottom a good polish whilst we’ve been away, will sort it tomorrow before we finally leave.

In the five days that we’ve spent on Lanzarote we hired a car so that we could spend a day driving around and look at some of the island. Fascinating it is too. Between 1730 to 1736 it was devastated by the eruption of volcanos that destroyed a large part of the island leaving a stunning landscape of extinct volcanos and lava fields which are now a national park. There is also an area of the island where the local wine is made, the vines being grown in pits in the ground to protect them from the trade winds, and surrounded by walls made of lava stone which absorbs moisture from the atmosphere and so keeps the vines moist. We visited a bodega and bought some wine, as well as enjoying the minerally Lanzarote white wine whilst we’ve been here.

The local hero is artist and architect Cesar Manrique who campaigned to ensure that tourism on Lanzarote developed in a low-key way, that buildings are no more than two stories and that the environment was respected. Clearly a visionary and decades ahead of his time. His impact on the island is ubiquitous, in the architecture and a number of spectacular public buildings that he designed. Included in our tour around was a visit to his former home.

Apart from that we have been to the supermarket three times to provision for the next few months ahead as we don’t expect to be in a marina again until the end of December, in Cape Verde, and have spent days stowing everything away. We have also bought a sturdy fishing rod and strong line. Mike, a neighbour at the marina, expert angler and source of all local knowledge, has given us advice and spare fishing gear. We expect to be feasting off fresh tuna and dorado from now on.

We plan to be in Dakar, Senegal next, then The Gambia where we are looking forward to Alex coming out to join us on a trip up the River Gambia, then Charlotte and Charlie who will be sailing with us from The Gambia to Cape Verde. Finally Steve will be coming out to Cape Verde at the end of December for the Atlantic crossing to Antigua in January.

PS We didn’t go on a camel ride 😉




  1. Peter Baylis

    November 15, 2015 - 11:10 pm

    Excellent blog. Good luck with the next leg.

    • annie

      November 16, 2015 - 12:10 pm

      Thanks Pete xx

  2. Karen

    November 15, 2015 - 11:11 pm

    Enjoy the next part of the adventure Annie, and of course your time with Alex, Charlotte and Charlie. Hope you haven’t got the wind we have in Bristol currently! xxx

    • annie

      November 16, 2015 - 12:13 pm

      Thanks Karen. Off sometime today when we can get everything sorted. Winds looking good so far and sunny ? xxx

  3. Deb Alway

    November 16, 2015 - 8:22 am

    Have a wonderful time, it will be wonderful to have your Family with you !! Looking foward to your blog, takes me away from this dull horrible weather !
    PS – Lovely to see you when you dropped by the surgery xx

    • annie

      November 16, 2015 - 12:14 pm

      Thanks Deb. And it was lovely to see you all too xx

  4. Liz Billington

    November 18, 2015 - 4:49 pm

    Sounds wonderful. Enjoy the next exciting leg – I am sure you will be fine xx

    • annie

      November 25, 2015 - 7:00 pm

      Thanks Liz… I survived, just about xxx

  5. Gail Loveday

    November 24, 2015 - 6:18 am

    Hi Annie, my insomnia has meant that I have had time to finally track your blog down!
    My what a splendid website and fine writer you are 🙂 it all sounds very Ernest Hemingway. The warmth at this time of year must be amazing. I have been to Lanzarote and remember black beaches and geezers- the watery kind.. Have a safe trip and I now know what to do when sleep is elusive!
    Much love Gail xx

    • annie

      November 25, 2015 - 6:59 pm

      Thanks Gail. A sure cure for insomnia 😉 xxx

  6. Will

    November 24, 2015 - 11:24 pm

    Superb to read all your posts Annie, you create a great picture of the places you visit; keep it going please, for us, less adventurous travellers 😉
    Your Cabin boy xx

  7. Anne Gladstone

    December 9, 2015 - 11:33 am

    It sounds as if you are having a wonderful time. This is to wish you both a lovely Christmas and a very safe New Year. It’s just as well I am not sending Christmas Cards this year as You wouldn’t get it! I am hoping to have a quiet Christmas – just me and Mike at Home. Love and best wishes – Anne and Mike xx

    • annie

      December 9, 2015 - 7:46 pm

      We will be in Cape Verde for Christmas. Have a good one xxx

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