If you’ve missed any of the earlier posts in this series, this’ll make more sense if it’s read in the right order. Links to each part are given at the bottom of the page.
I think it may have been the day we berthed at Puerto Calero, but one afternoon, after lunching in a bay on the Lanzarote coast, we headed away from land. This was north of Fuerteventura, and meant passing Isla de Lobos, a small island between the two larger ones.
In heading further out, for the first time the depth gauge reading went off the scale. To be fair, I can’t recall how large the scale was, but it was a strange feeling knowing there were hundreds of metres between your keel and the seabed.
With a straight run out, and with the land behind us, the wind was strong and we were able to pick up some speed. Obviously, I’m not talking about Ben Ainslie kind of speed, but the gauge showed we were travelling faster than we’d previously done. As it happens, Linde was at the helm when we peaked, the hull tilted with the wind, the prow slicing through the water. Sitting on the side closest to the sea, it’s a tremendous thrill to see (and somehow feel) the water rushing by, churned up into foam by the boat’s passage.
There’s also something very thrilling about being joined by dolphins.
We’d been told this was a possibility, though our expectations were managed – there was no guarantee. Sure enough, it proved to be the case that they didn’t come en masse, nor did they stay with us for hours. But for a while there, they cavorted in the waves thrown up by the yacht, occasionally clearing the water, but more often appearing in that kind of rolling motion they have as their noses break the water before dipping down again as their fins come into view. They dived beneath the boat, raced alongside and generally seemed to want to play.
Cameras were used, of course, though not by me. I was happy to sit back and enjoy the spectacle. I have been that close to dolphins before, but only in a power boat. The lack of engine noise did make the experience feel more natural.
I hadn’t come to watch dolphins. I was there to learn about sailing. But it was good to see them, and added just that little bit more to the experience.
Having reflected in my last post on the attractions of the nomadic life of a yachtsman, I can’t help but think that seeing sights like this has to be one of the other great benefits of spending a lot of time at sea. I just can’t imagine that I’ll have the confidence to take a yacht out on my own – and being cooped up in a confined space with the same people for weeks at a time would drive me mad. I like my own company, which is probably a good thing for everyone else as well.
And then there are the heads to contend with – because not every port will have the kind of facilities I’d admired in Puerto Calero or Marina Rubicon.
So, for now, at least, it will remain a dream. But I am looking for opportunities to join crews for short stretches at a time, so if you or anyone you know has a boat and wants a willing crew member, do let me know.
Of course, there is one more story to tell about this week, and it relates to the crew I had the pleasure of sharing the week with. And, in a way, it encapsulated for me the whole experience. Because I learnt more about sailing, but I also learnt a lot about myself, my new friends, and sharing space together and how it can bring you closer.
Links to previous parts to this story: