Finally I arrived at La Graciosa, an island just above Lanzerote. From here I will start a second episode of my journey this year to the Madeira archipelago. Yes, archipelago, because there are four islands to be visited all belonging to Madeira, Portugal.
But first the Canary islands. After my strenuous walk on La Gomera I left San Sebastian to anchor for three days just a bay two miles south, with a view on the mountains I had my strenuous walk . I also had a magnificent view in the snow caped mountain Del Teide on Tenerife on the other side. Nice to be out of the crowded marina. I just spend the days with relaxing, swimming and reading.
Then it was time to go to Tenerife where my friend Hans would arrive to accompany me for two weeks. Hans is a familiar face on my trips. He joined me two weeks to the North Cape, Norway in 2000 and in Spitsbergen in 2008. Last year Hans joined me the first two weeks all the way to Brest and now in the Canaries. Definitely more his preference as far weather goes.
We sailed from the south to Santa Cruz de Tenerife and from there to Las Palmas, Gran Canaria. Plans to sail on to Lanzerote we abandoned due to strong North East winds. I was apprehensive about the Canaries. I expected many ugly hotels crowded with many tourists. All true, but just a bit of the beaten track I found the Canaries very beautiful and a great hiking experience. Of course, sometimes you have to look the other way to forget the big touring buses on the parking lot, but many occasions very little people were there, and if so, thoroughly enjoying the same activity.
Hans and I visited the mountain Del Teide and the lava fields on the slopes of the mountain. In fact, the Canaries being volcanic, we visited many craters on the islands. We also visites an archaeological site on Gran Canaries to learn more about the indigenous people who lived there before the Spanish conquered the island. It seemed to my that before the Spanish arrived, the Guanches, had a paradise to themselves. Enough water and food to live on.
Where San Sebastian, Santa Cruz de Tenerife and certainly La Palma have a nice feel about them, I found Las Palmas a big ugly city with only one thing in favour and that is all the supplies you might need. Lucky Hans and I where also invited for a real Spanish evening where locals gave a free concert of Canarian songs.
After Hans left Gran Canaries, I sailed to Lanzerote in the spare days the wind was not predominantly North East and at least 20 knots, but more North with a touch of West about 15 knots. The distance was about 115 miles so one night of sailing was included in the deal. Sure enough I left in the morning and I was able to sail all the way to the canal between Fuerteventura and Lanzerote in one tack. However, arriving there, the wind shifted to the North East so I had to tack my way through the canal in pitch darkness. Once passed, I had to beat an increasing wind all the way to Arrecife, where I arrived just before midday in 28 knots of winds.
Arrecife has to me a more exotic feel about it. Mostly white buildings, nice sea front and boulevard and a small inside lake around which the old city is made. The marina, I have to say, is one of the nicest marinas I have been. Spacious, well equipped and great showers. More important, the marina is build in North East direction. Good for mooring without stress. I rented a car to drive from the North to the south to visit the desolate Timanfaya volcanic area, just like many other tourists. It was impressive but seen by so many people I refrain from any further comment.
So, now I am at La Graciosa. A small island, mostly sand with some low volcanic mountains. Was most of the Canaries in places very touristic, here no big hotels, no large appartment parks looking like a huge Italian graveyard. Here only simple white houses and much emptiness. I like it. It not easy to go here. You’ll need to confirm and pay your visit days before which is not easy when sailing is depending on the weather. I came one day later, while the ‘capitainnerie’ told me no worries, my place would be reserved up until the time paid for. So any other sailors arriving in a half empty marina will be sent away by guards equipped with a bat and handcuffs but not with foreign languages. Apparently, La Graciosa being so close to mainland Africa, get it’s share of occasional lot of poor refugees. I fear they are not welcome here as in the rest of Europe.
Next day Tuesday 27 February we had 28 to 30 knots winds in the marina. I was glad being in the marina tied well to the pontoon. However, today the real storm came with up to 50 knots winds. Minor damages where reported but I am okay. Hard wind all day however makes you quite tired. The noise, the squiking of the ropes, the movements all add up. Just imagine being in Sint Maarten when Irma visited. A nightmare for sure. Anyway, thanks to this weather in Holland people are doing what they have not being able to do to much in the winters lately, skating on natural ice! Have fun there.
Of course, one goes to La Gomera for the hiking. So was I. After the storm there was a nice day without rain, which I took advantage of to make a hike, not to long, about four hours I reckoned. If I only knew…
Back on La Palma. After four months high and dry on El Hierro, I am back in the water. My first sail went to La Gomera. Anchored at Puerto de Vuelta for three days and enjoyed summer like weather. Swimming next to the boat, hiking the sweat in my shirt, met nice people from Norway doing so, and rowed my dinghy in 30 minutes a shored because the outboard motor did not start. All the good things.
Now I am in the marina of La Palma again. A very rolly marina. They are working on a door to close the marina off to prevent the swell to enter the marina but the work is going on for some time now. Meanwhile, while northern Europe has Siberian cold the associated high blocks all lows from the Atlantic so I am stuck with the depressions with near gale winds and lots of rain. Yes, in La Palma. Look at these colours left. Black is coming my way 😨.
Nevertheless, I had plenty opportunity to do what is most favorit on La Palma, hike! So I hiked one trail in the national park de la Caldera de Taburiente in the center of the island and in the rain forest of Los Tiles in the north. In both cases I was not able to hike the best trails. In the first case the number of tourists was abundantly so closed and the second only oned easy path was open due the heavy rain we had the day before. Nevertheless both b-trails where nice enough for some good pictures and Steven Spielberg aspirations under way to the summit of Pico de las Ovejas.
Interesting detail of the forests in Los Tilos, apparently they survived millions of years.
Whereas we have lost this type of forests in Europe, here the still are. On La Palma, looking in the past, as it is. Great idea.
One other thing for which La Palma is renowned and protected for, is its unspoiled darkness at night. La Palma is one of the best places in the world for star gazing. So that was what I did, and learnt what every sailor should know about the polar star, Polaris. As a souvenir we where allowed to take a picture of a less far away heavenly body, the moon.
Tomorrow is a smal weather hole with moderate winds between the near gale winds. If possible I will sail back to La Gomera, but then for the marina San Sebastian. Apparently a good marina to ride out the storms to come and enjoy La Gomera some more.
End of January I flew back to El Hierro. It is quite a trip to make. First you get a plane to Tenerife, easy enough. I got a very early flight which was great because I had to get to El Hierro next. Two ways possible, by plane or boat. The latter leaves around five PM and arrives 2,5 hours later. Than you get at the ‘airport’ of El Hierro, in the middle of nowhere. Busses don’t drive anymore so either a taxi to La Restinga, fifty euro’s and an hour’s drive or wait for the next morning busses, only 6 euro’s, but you need to change three times for 45 kilometers and it takes about three hours with waiting time. I booked a plane from Tenerife, just 40 minutes flight, to leave at 2 PM. I arrived at 11.30 AM at Tenerife, nice on time and took the bus from Tenerife Airport South for an hour’s drive to Tenerife North Airport. That is, Santa Crus de Tenerife, where you get the bus for the last fifteen minutes to the airport. That is, if there is no traffic jam, which there was. I arrive 1.30 PM at the airport just in time to get the small propeller plane.
Arrived in El Hierro around 2.40 PM, a bus was not to be expected for an hour, I took the taxi anyway, and arrived in the afternoon to find Senja in good order. Nothing stolen, no damage, only dirty, very dirty indeed! Salt crystals and sand all over the boat and all the stainless steel was covered with rust. Very strange for stainless steel but apparently that is caused by a phosphor factory in Morocco which smoke blows with the Sahara sand over the Canary Islands. For the first 13 nights I had booked an apartment so I could work on the boat and leave after a day’s work to my apartment and have a good shower. I had still a water tank to repair and some new electronics to install. Having the experiences that nothing goes right at once working on your boat, it seemed a good thing to be able to escape to another place.
Relaxing however was also important, so I quit working at four in the afternoon to jump in the sea, 18 degrees, and take a shower afterwards to wash away a day’s work. Time to enjoy El Hierro. Which is enjoyable. El Hierro is the smallest and the most remote island in the very south west of the Canary islands. I fact, it is the outer most border of West Europe middle in the Atlantic Ocean. Having been on the North Cape, this could well be the South Cape. El Hierro is volcanic and a few years ago there was even volcanic activity close to the coast of La Restinga, serious enough to raise an alarm in the area. However, nothing dramatic happened. But you can see the black lava stone and rubble which makes up most of the coastline. El Hierro is much less touristic than the other islands, which shows in the people who do visit. Mostly divers in La Restinga, apparently a very good diving and snorkeling spot, many hikers and people who have a 1968 feel around them; very laid back and easy going. El Hierro is not for the typical tourist who goes to Tenerife or Gran Canaria for that matter. I like it.
Is the coast a bit bleak, more inland and higher up, about 1000 meters, is a pine forest close to the village of El Pinar. This part has a total different feel and I really liked hiking there. I did however, misinterpreted the change in the weather there. Did I leave La Restinga in shorts and T-shirt in 20 degrees and sun, in El Pinar I arrived after 15 minutes bus ride in 13 degrees, overcast and a little rain! Nevertheless, the hike was on and I strolled into the pine woods while the weather slowly improved. I climbed up the summit of one of the hills and enjoyed the scenery. In the middle of the pine wood was a camping site, more or less, with over 30 barbeque sites joined together. I guess that this place must be very popular in the summer. One of the 1968 feel guys I met in La Restinga was sleeping here but left because the cold. He now resides in one of the many caves at the coast line close to La Restinga! And he is not the only having a cave for himself.
Coming back from my hike at El Pinar to take the bus back, I noticed that a hiking trail exists from El Pinar to La Restinga, about 2,5 hours walk. Not for now, I just had my walk, but a few days later I took the bus back to El Pinar and hiked my way back to La Restinga. A very nice walk with its own feel and look. Some housing, some agriculture and finally closer to the shore, and 800 meters lower, the place became more desolate but beautiful on its own.
However, apart from the relaxing and sometimes intense walks, I also worked on my boat. I was able to open up a part of the floor in the galley floor and inspect the water tank where I believed the leakage was, but did not found anything strange like a hole or a hose disconnected. Use a probe I was able to inspect the water tank at many places but I could not find the source of the leakage. I left it for another time. I was however able to install new electronics (AIS) which was places within a network of other systems and to my great pleasure, it worked immediately and communicated with all the other systems. Good going! Of course, I also polished all the stainless steel on the boat, which is much, up to a shiny appearance once again. I even was told by one of the fishing men that Senja was the most beautiful boat in La Restinga. How happy do you want to make me?!
After two weeks Senja was put into her element. Which is also something I did not look upon without apprehension. The place I left the boat was not a ordinary shipyard for pleasure boats and yachts, but the yard from “the confederation of fishing men”, dealing with…small fishing boats. However, Dario, the crane driver, in his mundane and no nonsenses attitude went to work. He drove the crane around Senja, put the bands under the hull, and slowly lifted Senja off the nine oil drums, which you would not see in our country, and countless poles which had carried her through gales and what have you more, for almost four months. The he drove the crane above the water and lowered Senja in the water where I could confirm that nothing was amiss. The engine started right away and I sailed with a natural certainty the boat to the mooring. We are floating again and what a pleasure that is!
Two weeks of January we spent in Scotland. Some people would say, January? Fat chance of rain, perhaps snow, but miserable weather anyway. Much like the summer but with low temperatures. But everything is in the eyes of the beholder. First week was predominantly overcast, some rain, some very bright days and about 5 degrees. The second week was the same but with snow instead of rain, very beautiful. Ergo, we spent two very enjoyable weeks and finished a nice bottle of Whiskey while at it.
First we visited Edinburgh for three days. We had a hotel mid-town, having all the nice spots on walking distance. The pub food we had was not great but Jamie Oliver down town was much better. Also we learned at the castle that the word moccasin (footwear) is not derived from native Indians but comes from the Scottish folks who moved to North America. Moccasin is phonetic for “my foot” (mo chas) but then in Scottish slang, so we were told! Just so you know too.
Our first cottage was in a nature reserve on top of Lochgoilhead, about an hour and a half drive north of Glasgow. To get there we rented a ADW (All Wheel Drive) Volvo CX60, which is a great car. Driving on the wrong side of the road remains a challenge though. My wife kept reminding me to look right and drive left. It was necessary.
The cottage was mainly heated with a woodstove so I could enjoy my daily pyromaniac fun with lighting the stove. After that the cottage was warm and cozy. We hiked everyday at least two hours. The occasional rain shower did not hinder us at all. Through the big windows we had a view which we could be looking at whole day. In the mornings two stacks (deer’s) walk just by to say hello. Birds where visiting our bird food and gave us a nice spectacle to start the day with.
The second week we drove to Skye with much more determination once I was accustomed to driving this big car. Our drive through the highlands was magnificent. The enormous expanse of the highlands are almost unlike Europe. Great that we still have this kind of nature close by. White caped mountains and deserted valleys are alternate with forest and lochs. Driving through this splendor is a great joy. We arrived late that day on Skye where we stayed in another beautiful cottage.
The weather however turned cold and snow was falling. We had everyday a weather alert “yellow”, which meant that possibility of ice accidents and getting snowed in are possible. Each day we checked the weather, also for the 4,5 hours ride back to Edinburgh under normal weather conditions. Nevertheless, we hiked each day but not to high up in the mountains. However, every drive was an adventure on its own. The roads on Skye are not to big anyway, but getting smaller and smaller once you get closer to your hiking area and evidently with snow more difficult to navigate. Good for us we had our AWD to pull us up the hill through the snowy single track roads.
Now we are back from our holiday in Scotland. What up now? Well, next week I will be back on the Canary Islands to prepare my boat for the second part along the Atlantic Islands!
I thoroughly enjoyed been home again with my wife. Enjoying the ordinary things in live which I started to miss during my voyage towards Cape Verde. Just the ability to wear cloths and enjoy the rain and the cold. Enjoying the autumn in the forests. Just sitting in front of the TV in my comfortable chair. Having dinner with my wife and visit family and friends together. Walk around in my birth and home city of Amsterdam.
I also found back a good friend from university I had lost sight off. LinkedIn is sometimes good for that too. We both spends several occasions to bridge the time between. Last time we when to the maritime museum in Amsterdam. A great place to visit and the virtual reality tour above Amsterdam in the golden age is fantastic.
Have been inspired which that, I also visited friends who moved to France 12 years ago. I had not seen them since. Great to see that real friendships come deal with that. We had a wonderful time in France. Walked the dog, had good food and drinks and a feel for life in rural France. I went there by train (a fast one) which was great also. Another way to travel and much greener that flying.
I celebrated new year in Amsterdam among family and awed about the vandalism which seems to go along it. This car burned out completely, most likely not by accident. In The Netherlands we have the custom of lighting fireworks ourselves. Great fun it was but nowadays some people buy illegal fireworks which often more resemble the grenades they use in war zones. Of course, each year eyes and parts of limbs get lost while lighting fireworks and even lives. Perhaps it is time to review this tradition.
Anyway, being home I found it remarkable to find myself in this position after looking forward for three year to sail to Cape Horn and finally aborting the whole adventure half way in Cape Verde to come home. Nevertheless, that was what I wanted and the decision still feels good. Many friends and family have commented on my decision in very positive terms. Many family and friends where happy I took the courage (which seems to be necessary for such a decision) to listen to my feelings and alter my plans accordingly.
Of course, it was a bold decision to sail to Cape Verde having made the decision already not to continue to Cape Horn. Basically, many sailors will argue with right that once on the conveyor belt downwind to Cape Verde, the only way to get back to Europe is by crossing the Atlantic to the Carib. The north east wind, mostly around 20 or more knots, make it impossible to return back for almost 800 miles towards the Canary Islands. However, that was just what I did. My wife was expecting me there and I was looking forward being together again.
But I did not leave with ample warnings and preparation. With the experience of doing so, I have learnt at least three prerequisites necessary to sail against the predominant North Easter winds in these latitudes.
First you have to find a period of moderate winds and preferably shifting winds to take advantage of. Ruud Kattenberg, head editor of the famous Dutch sailing e-magazine Ziltmagazine.com, had offered to do the forecasting during my trip. He had learnt about the good windward characteristics of my boat during the months sailing towards Cape Verde and he predicted that the way back should be possible within ten days.
That brings me with the second lesson. You need a boat which will sail good windward. The Dutch design Victoire (1987) from Koopmans is a boat which will do that. Of Course, I made sure the bottom of my boat was cleaned so to increase speed and I had removed my anchor from the bow to reduce weight and friction during sea’s coming over the bow.
Third lesson for my was to make sure I had help sailing back. Beating the wind can be a exhausting endeavor which strains your spirits. So I had my friend Wim accompany me during the trip back, just in case. With all, we sailed back within eight days! A very good accomplishment indeed.
However, after been back home now for several months the itch started again. I want to be sailing again!
Several sailors in Mindelo looked at me weary when I told them I wanted to sail back to the Canary Islands. Some told me that one sailor needed 17 days to sail back. Others said not to be surprised if I returned in two days after eight days beating into the wind. None of these remarks really put my at ease. However, Wim was free to join me for the challenge and Ruud was busy looking for the right moment to sail and having all the confidence in a swift return, possibly within 10 days. Ruud’s confidence about the sailing capabilities of Senja had grown during the last months and never ceased to surprise him with the speed of the boat.
When Wim arrived on Wednesday, the time to sail was not right, Ruud warned. Too strong a wind. Better stay until after the weekend leaving Wim and I with the possibility for some sightseeing. Wim was keen to see and hike on Santo Antao, so we did a wonderful two day tour. Rest of the days we spent with studying the weather forecast, enjoying our afternoon swim in the ocean and the restaurants at night.
During our trip with the ferry back from Santo Antao to Sao Vicente we had a north east 6 to 7 Beaufort with a current of at least 1 knot south west going. No favorable conditions to sail away from the two islands since the wind will blow 10 knots harder between them due to the tunneling effect between the two islands. All in all it eat at my confidence. Would we be able to make it?
However, time came to leave. Ruud told us a very convenient weather slot had started with moderate north east wind of 15 to 20 knots, with periods of calm, good for us to recuperate from beating into the wind. The question for me was how close to the wind could we sail with Senja, taking into account the opposite current and the waves, at least one meter high.
Aiming for 10 days at sea but keeping reserve for more we set sail on Tuesday 3 October. The wind was about 15 knots as Ruud had predicted. Sailing away from the two islands proved to be indeed not easy. With the opposite current it took us four hours to get 15 miles made good in north east direction. Not too swift. But then the wind died out and we motored a relaxed 4 miles an hour in the right direction. So we got away from Sao Vicente and when the wind started again, more north than east, we sailed 24 hours in easterly direction above the cape Verde islands. After that we were able to tack to a good northerly course for more than four days. A very good wind ward performance of Senja! With some days of calms we arrived after only eight days at El Hierro! An incredible fast journey, well prepared and well forecasted by Ruud!
But our sail was not only endurance if at all. Wim and I settled in a relaxed rhythm of doing our watches of four hours, having our five a clock treat ( one beer and snacks) and enjoying our diner. Not too complicated but nutritious. The nights I liked to most. The temperatures are good, the scenery great and the general atmosphere on board very peaceful.
After we arrived at El Hierro, I had the boat layed up for the winter and Wim and I took the ferry to Tenerife from where we flew back next day to Holland. We had to stay one night in Tenerife before we could take our plane. In the next morning Wim and I enjoyed a small hike along the coast of Tenerife looking at all the hotels, wondering who on earth would appreciate this kind of mass tourist industry? Probably many, looking at the huge number of hotels. Wim remarked looking at the chairs from one of the many hotels that being stuffed in an airplane to get here to get stuffed in a hotel in the same way. Not our kind of fun.
Anyway, I am back in Holland to enjoy winter with my wife. I will return to El Hierro in March to continue my sail around the Atlantic Islands, possibly among the Azores. For now, thanks for all the nice remarks and attention for my site.
Vanessa and I took a ferry to Santo Antao, one of the bigger islands of Cape Verde. Santo Antao is also higher than Sao Vicente but does not have a harbor where sailing yachts can anchor comfortably. Vanessa would not appreciate a sail of two hours to the other island anyway. So we took the ferry taking us in one hour to Santo Antao.
Small detail, the crew handed out throwing-up bags for people getting sea sick, which some people needed. The trip took one hour for the ferry to moor at the dock of Porto Novo, the main city of Santo Antao. There our hostel from Casa das Ilhas, had arranged a taxi to bring us together with a Belgium company, to the other side of the island where we would stay. There was a detour planned for the Belgium company towards the edge of a crater “Cova” (dead volcano) where they would decent towards the hostel, some four hours hiking further along the way. Vanessa and I had planned this trip for the next day.
I did not know what to expect of Santo Antao, but vanessa had visited this Island some years ago. I surely did not expect a beautiful green island after barren Sao Vicente. Santo Antao looks like a jungle where King Kong has lived and the bottom of the crater looks like a paradise with lush green and fertile ground with all kinds of vegetables and fruits growing there. Although not abundant, Santo Antao has fresh water running from the mountains, making the north west part very green.
Next day we did this hike also and luckily the clouds and mist cooled the area where we walked to a acceptable temperature. Also, we only had to decent towards our hostel which was not as luxurious as Hotel Kira’s but very idyllic in the middle of the mountain. Our new host cooked for us a simple but very nice meals for the three days we have spent there. The ever necessary shower was present as well. Also a place we can recommend.
Next day we did another hike presumably for four hours, but taking six hours with rest because we got lost. First we had to ascent for almost one hour without the benefit of a cool mist. The temperature was above 30 degrees. Slowly, every 15 minutes stopping and hiding from the sun behind a small stone wall, we climbed up the mountain along a winding path toward a small village. In the village we met very nice people inviting us in their homes to rest outside the sun and we met a small group of children who climbed this mountain every day from school! After the village, the path became more adventurous, so we lost or way. However, people working in the fields where very friendly to point out the right direction but could not prevent us to take a more strenuous route from which we were not sure where it would bring us.
At the end of our tethers and water bottles we were directed in the right direction and stumbled our way towards the main road, finally. Just image, all the houses and small villages (five houses or so) where only connected by a trail we used to like for hiking. Regardless whether you had to go up or down, carrying all your shopping’s, food or water. We found a small bar along the main road selling the finest cold beer I ever had. Wonderful!
Santo Antao is a beautiful island where one could hike for days. The environment is green, often with small creeks and streams with fresh water. We found the people living there very friendly and helpful. A place well worth visiting again.
The main city and the most sheltered harbor of the Cape Verde is on the island Sao Vicente in the city of Mindelo. Here I arrived beginning of September and Vanessa visited me here for 10 days. Sau Vicente also has and small airport.
This is Africa. You notice this of course on the color of the people but also on the rudimentary of housing, roads and everything, except the heat, usually about 30 degrees during the day. Mindelo also has the only marina in the archipelago of Cape Verde.
Nevertheless, the boat is never really without rolling and hard on the lines. Swell enters the harbor even though the harbor is well protected from all wind directions.
The city is lively and colorful. As well in the houses, people, clothing and activities. During the day people are active with sports (spinning in 30 degrees!) and in the evening with dance and music. The evenings are very lively with families enjoying the more acceptable temperatures for activities and eating ice creams. People are friendly and helpful and something they speak Dutch. There is a large Cape Verdean community in Rotterdam. Of course people try to make a living from the tourists and offer their service like laundry or cleaning of the boat. Occasionally people beg for money or food.
Mindelo and the isle of Sao Vicente is not spoiled by mass tourism which we found very attractive. The markets are authentic and very colorful and well organized. Vegetables, perhaps limited choice and not also recognizable for me as European, and fish in abundance is offered. All very fresh. There are several markets in Mindelo selling vegetables and fish. There are also some supermarkets selling basic of most of the stuff you need on a daily basis. No abundance, however. The restaurants are well worth a visit. Perhaps a bit dangerous to drink tap water here but bottled water is readily available.
The island itself is very dry. It has hardly rained while it is the raining season. It worried Vanessa and me a bit for we like to hike in the nature, which might be dangerous after rain. However, we have not had any rain save from some more or less wet clouds. So water is limited on the island and the marina even holds its own water tank to be independent from the water supply of the city. Fortunately we did not have much problem with using water for showers or cooking. Drinking water we used from bottled water bought in the supermarket. But as you can imagine, the water in the marina is paid by the liter.
We hired a taxi driver to drive us around Sao Vicente, not being very large anyway. It took us four hours and the very friendly English speaking taxi driver showed us proud his island. As expected, the island is barren with patches of green where bananas or papaya are grown. Water is stored in great barrels on the roof of buildings and the supply comes with water trucks.
Vanessa and I enjoyed Mindelo, also very much partly thanks to a small but wonderful boutique hotel Kira’s with a very hospitable host making us feel very welcome. The nights we were able to sleep in a cool air-conditioned room and the shower kept us fresh to appreciate Mindelo. Often we started the day with an excellent breakfast and a walk into town. The afternoon till four we sat in our air-conditioned room or on the terrace on the roof of the hotel reading a book and sipping a drink. Later in the afternoon we when for a swim in the sea, or at least I did while Vanessa kept an eye on me.
All very pleasant and wonderful to be together again.