Solar panel saga

For ages we had been wondering why we weren’t getting more power from our solar array. It’s non stop sunshine here, so no problem with the source. Ten days at anchor after a five day sailing passage highlighted that issue! Turns out they had been wired in wrong from installation. Russell’s attempt to rewire them to get more power was indeed successful but ended up melting the control unit as it produced so many volts 🤦‍♀️. Russell’s further investigations revealed several insufficient charging issues… which seemed to end in a two week saga sorting, sourcing/importing and fitting extensive equipment and wiring. A huge thanks to Wes from Catlanza who despite a hernia operation managed to greatly help us out and resolve all the issues. Russell is now an expert in electrics too, although he does appear to have skinned the back of his hand feeding cables.

My mere job has been to entertain the children and keep them clear of the yacht whilst all the work has been going on. Trying to teach in 30+ degree heat whilst stuck in a marina for two weeks and turfed out of your home has been interesting. Turns out the laundry room at Puerto Calero marina is both immaculate and remarkably cool – so it became our new classroom! We also managed to find a use for all the mastervolt packaging for the new battery charger units…our lesson on Romans included making Roman shields, helmets and swords (and a mosaic too).

And a huge thanks to Wes for getting the boys and I on his pirate Catlanza catamaran trip (highly recommended) whilst Wes and Russell boiled wiring the boat. But hurrah we are now getting 7x more power from the same solar array! 😁👍☀️. It must be worth all the waiting and pain!

The fantastic Catlanza catamaran team and the boys as adopted mascots!

Volcanos trip

We were so keen, with two very very excited boys, that we arrived well before they even had opened the road system up to the volcano 🌋 (one way to beat the queues!)

We spent a good few hours with the tour of the volcanos and watching the spurts of water and fire ignition of wood (due to the 200 degree temperature only 1m below the surface). Although never mind any demonstration you could just touch the ground and feel how hot the volcanic gravel was!

Still in full tourist mode we treated the boys to a camel ride on the volcanic slopes much to their squeals of delight.

Away from the crowds and coaches we did our own walk across the incredible volcanic landscape finding our own calderas, lava tubes and multi coloured molten rock formations. The best geology (and biology colonisation) lesson ever boys! Roll on Galapagos for the next volcanic/biology lesson…😁⛵️🏝🌋

Lanzarote

From a pirate museum to castles, volcanoes to amazing caves and water parks to wineries it seems that Lanzarote has something for us all to enjoy. And we are enjoying them all.

We’ve hired a car to explore the island and see its treasures complete with some unintended off-road sections through the dark volcanic plains of vineyards. The vines are protected from the wind with piles of volcanic stone in dry stone walls build over decades. Some of the vines are over 200 years old and therefore have impressive walls in this desolate moon-like landscape.

The caves through volcanic lava flows were dramatic in both size and all the molten rock formations. The boys said parts looked like melted chocolate, it did rather!

My favourite part was visiting the vineyards and sampling their produce..great way to end a fantastic day.

Whales

From Graciosa we said a fond farewell to the stunning beaches and set sail to Lanzarote. Hugo had learnt to paddle board (huge thanks to Grandad for the boys early birthday present) and even mined his own cave on the beach, hours of fun by all.

We set sail with a Dutch family the children had being playing with and as we sailed down the east coast of Lanzarote Russell (aka eagle-eye) spotted whales between us and the land. Full prizes to anyone who can spot the pilot whale in this photo, but I assure you the black fin is there just in front of the middle volcano. Trying to get a photo of their spouts of water was impossible! It was great to have our second sighting of whales so far on the trip.

The pros and cons of an isolated beach…

We are all enjoying this wonderful anchorage (Playa Francesca, Isla Graciosa). Each day Hugo swims the 250m to the beach (he is only 7)!

The boys have even asked to do school work (miracles really do happen) and we’ve had some great maths marathons and spelling sessions (for once)! I am sure this will be short lived!

We’ve even got the model making out. Hugo doing his first ever airfix Spitfire model (huge thanks Grt Auntie Sheena & Grt Uncle Mike) and Felix his wooden train (thank you the Lawrence’s). I even let Felix paint his train on the beach (under strict supervision this time!!)

The slight downside is that I have lost part of a filling. I know Russell does expert dentistry on cats and dogs, but having him patch my filling wasn’t quite what I expected! Huge thanks to Chris of Clarendon House Dental Centre for his early Sunday morning advice! All good now though, patch repair in place and we can continue with the beach life for a bit longer before heading to civilisation on Lanzarote and a dentist visit…(Chris any chance of visiting the Canaries for half term?!!😂😎🏖⛵️⚓️)

Volcano walk

Anchoring beneath a volcano meant it was only time before Hugo asked to climb it, so off up they went. The steep walk provided great views from the top of our anchorage.

As a family we did the mile long sand dune coastal walk into town to buy food. Mostly barefoot the whole way and with everyone carrying their share of groceries on the way back! (Miranda – the monkey rucksack is still in great use, thank you!)

A sweet but dusty half empty town! Now where is a supermarket??

Land Rover tour of Graciosa

The miracle of a full nights undisturbed sleep meant we were refreshed and ready to explore this volcanic island. And no better way to do it via an old dusty land rover which bounced (to the boys squeals of delight) along the sandy paths to volcanic rock arches, magnificent beaches and the small village.

The island is surrounded by white sand stunning beaches, but be warned it is windy here with dust blowing from Africa only 100 miles away which coats everything. The yacht will need a good wash soon!

The sand dunes are covered with 1500 year old tiny white snail shell fossils. A reminder of the islands aquatic past.

Time to lie down on one of those beaches for a few days…😁🏖😎