Day #87 – Atlantic feelings on the Windward Canarian Islands and engine economy

These days, the Azores High (pressure system) is located pretty much South, embracing the Canarian Islands. North of the islands roar various Lows (pressure systems), creating 40 to 50kn and waves up to 7m high. The Canaries, where we are currently cruising, have only a light breeze. The temperatures are just perfect for late October. The ocean is calm and invites for a swim.

The passage Lanzarote – Tenerife

We have sailed the 160nm from Playa Blanca/Lanzarote to Radazul/Tenerife under gennaker only – a big, blue and light sail. All other sails we had stowed away. I dozed in the salon listen to the noises of the boat and the chatter of the crew in the cockpit. High moods and a beautiful day at sea.

At night, we just had little traffic. Two other sailboats made the same crossing along with us. Our crew went to bed after midnight and I did my watch until 4 in the morning. I could not spot any fishers at all. The AIS alarm sounded only twice during the whole night – a 200m container ship bound to Algeria and the cruise ship ‚Columbus‘ crossed our tracks. The night sky on these latitudes are as clear and glorious as the Atlantic Ocean himself. Thousands of stars make the sailing in the night-with-no-moon less lonesome.

And yes – we had to run the engine for a couple of hours, after the wind died down at around 3 in the morning.

Puerto Deportivo Radazul

Arrived in Radazul, we hauled the ARGO into the last berth left. Reservation attempts do not work reliably in Spanish marinas – and we can understand this as a way to suppress unnecessary hassle. How many boats make reservation way in advance (according to plan… just to be sure) and then don’t show up – for many good reasons? We send an email four days in advance, since our Norwegian cruiser friends asked us whether we have reservations confirmed – we never got a response. Then, we called the marina a few hours before arrival – all spots taken, they turned us away. We showed up at the fuel dock of the marina – and they found us a berth. ‚Intentionally unplanned‘ – we are cruisers by heart, I guess…

The marina is basic, but the staff is very helpful and the price is okay. The marina has a ‚Varadero‘ (all kind of boat maintenance) and a travel lift. A cab took us in 20’ for 18€ (six persons and a dog) to Santa Cruz. The SuperDino supermarket is 20’ by foot or 5’ by bus away (meat was out, but with an excellent selection of Spanish wines), all purchases >60€ will be delivered to the boat – no kidding and no charge. And while our last marina (Rubicon at Lanzarote) was full of ‚ARC‘ yachts, there is not a single one in Radazul. But a bunch of Russian serious-looking charter crews, which will return their boats either in Mindelho/Capverdes or in Cienfuegos/Cuba. Which says probably a lot about the marina.

Planned 250-hours engine maintenance

According to the YANMAR owners manual (4JH3-TE), we got the engine oil and diesel filter changed and disposed after 250 hours of operations – of course ourselves. This took us about 2,5 hours, split into two days. Cost are about 10€ for the filters and 15-20€ for the 15W40 mineral oil. Diapers came in handy for taking on the inevitably spilled oil in the engine bilge. The MAHLE diesel (pre-)filter was almost clogged and the water strainer had catched a few centiliters of water. Our diesel filter setup (with a second bypass filter) is working obviously to perfection. We will increase the dosing of the Diesel anti-biozide to decrease residue formation.

Now, our engine is good for the next 250 engine hours, which will bring us hopefully to Cuba. And I am not very afraid about low-quality diesel – the Morocco refill did not made any difference. Our fuel consumption is satisfactory: 3,2l per hour at 2.000 rpm and 6,5-7kn speed with a 13t boat – not to bad. With two additional 20l jerry cans we can extend our range almost to 700nm.

In Cuba we will probably not dispose the used oil, since the oil is still after 250 engine hours with 2.000 to 2.200 rpm definetly not worn out. I must admit I am infested by Nigel Calder’s „clean fuel, clean air, clean oil, clean water, clean engine“ mantra, which is his action title for all marine Diesel engine maintenance. Probably this mantra (repeated over-and-over) provides needed confidence to a cruiser (like me), who runs the engine something between 50 and 500 hours a year versus a commercial mariner (like a fisher), who runs his engine several thousand hours a year. Our engine is today at 1.110 hours in total, over 13 years.

Anyway – tick in the box for our main engine. The bucket list before the crossing is long enough – still.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife

Santa Cruz surprised us. When we first approached Santa Cruz from the sea, the city does not look very inviting. Hugh multi-story concrete buildings with interesting colors scattered around the rocks. With a sizable industrial and ferry harbor, several oil rigs and offshore supply vessels just in front of the city’s main square Placa de Espana, we had a similar feeling like in these harbors in the Northern Sea.

But then Santa Cruz unveils a relaxed atmosphere. This city is not yet seriously wounded from mass tourism. The streets are still in the hands of the inhabitants. Window shopping in central Santa Cruz is like it used to be – many cozy non-chain non-gadgets shops. Kids toys, book, Jamon Ibérico and wines, stationary, flowers, tobacco, furniture, pets supplies, some fashion, butcheries etc etc. Little cafes and restaurants populated mostly by Santa Cruzians. Beautiful, carefully gardened parks invite for a stroll. The plants and trees blossom and smell fresh, sweet and exotic. And after the wandering for a couple of hours, supplemented with a ‚caña‘ for the adults and a ‚zumo de naranja natural’ for the kid in one of the cafes, you easily find a nice restaurant where the Santa Cruzians meet for their dinner.

What a life – fresh fish, a glas of local red wine and a relaxed atmosphere. We like Tenerife already lot after the first two days. And we are looking forward to discover Tenerife and the rest of the Windward Canarian island.

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