About us and the boat

About us and the boat:

We were lucky enough to retire early at the start of 2013 so we could head off and "live the dream" on board our Nordhavn 47 Trawler Yacht. The idea is to see some of the planet, at a slow 6 - 7 knots pace. There are no fixed goals or timings, we just had a plan to visit Scotland and then probably the Baltic before heading south.

The Baltic has been postponed as we didn't manage to see everything we wanted to in Scotland during our first year owing to family issues. The idea is to visit the nicer areas in these latitudes before heading south for warmer weather. If we like somewhere, we will stay for a while. If not, we will just move on. So, for the people who love forward planning and targets, this might seem a little relaxed!

If anyone else is contemplating a trawler yacht life, maybe our experiences will be enough to make you think again, or maybe do it sooner then you intended!

The boat is called Rockland and she is built for long distance cruising and a comfortable life on board too. If you want to see more about trawler yachts and the Nordhavn 47 in particular, there is a link to the manufacturers website in our "useful stuff" section. For the technically minded, there is a little info and pictures of the boat and equipment in the same section


Richard and June

Monday, 14 December 2015

More Lanzagrotty - Manrique time, of the Cesar sort

We wonder what the island would have been without the influence of Cesar Manrique. If you don't know about him, look at Wikipedia. An amazing visionary artist and architect who has left his imprint  (a positive one) all over Lanzarote.

The foundation that is based in his very different house / studio is another must visit place. Built on a volcanic trail it has 5 underground areas that are constructed in natural "bubbles" in the lava and it is, simply put, stunning. Very advanced for its time too. Here is a garden area as an example:

And one of the seating / relaxing areas built into the underground bubbles with natural light streaming down:

The underground passageways between these bubbles are stunning. The white finish, careful lighting and the bare lava rock make it quite ethereal:

How about this for a window with a view? Having the rock formation spill into the room with the glass fitted around it is a little different:

Of course, the various sculptures and ornaments were all designed by Manrique too. This is quite a way to use old timber:

Another creation of his is the house known as Lagomar, built into a rock hillside. It has an interesting background:

As you can see, it is partially built into and partially hangs on the rock formation:

It takes full advantage of the beautiful rock, holes, arches etc to create an amazing outdoor living space:

Plenty of sculptures "Manrique style" using left over metal. This is a pretty big beetle:

and this, if you look closely, is a very well endowed animal:

One of Manrique's best legacies are the planning laws which forbid tower blocks which blight most of mainland Spain's coastline. Arrecife has the only one on the island and relatively low rise stuff around it for the capital. It even has a nice promenade area:

The view from the coffee shop in the one tower (The Gran Hotel) is pretty good though - here is that promenade from the 17th floor but through some very reflective glass:

Someone had arranged a lovely model village display in the rocky pool near the saltwater lagoon area in the city. Many models of the area and buildings were placed amongst the stones:

Teguise, the old capital of the island, has a glorious square and church area too:

This shop amused us. The crew's brother had a work colleague who said to him one day (when he was suited and booted in the office) "I see that you are wearing your OSK". To most English people, he was wearing a suit. The antipodean colleague explained that an OSK was an "overnight seduction kit". Plenty of them on sale here:

Although we had left Patrick on board as guard penguin, he seemed to pop up in a local store though. No idea why he wanted a scarf in 25 degrees centigrade but he clearly has his own style:

Lanzagrotty - only it wasn't (grotty that it)

As a way of getting some winter sunshine and avoiding the VERY windy and grey weather that the UK seems to be blessed with this year, we hit Lanzarote for a while. By plane though, the boat  trip down across Biscay would have been horrid....

A few impressions of island life follow for you.

It was kind of ironic that at the Janubio salt flats they were selling the stuff. We seem to get lots of it for free all over our Nordhavn whenever we take the boat out in rough conditions:

Of course, you have to check out the local marinas ready for overwintering here sometime. Puerto Calero (see website) is a bit designer, lots of designer clothing shops at designer prices and the ubiquitous restaurants. Lots of space around most of the berths too and all pontoon moorings - not the slimy typical mediterranean pick up lines:

Biggest drawback - no proper food shops and nothing in walking distance. You would be renting a car regularly! For the folks who say that we have too many aerials and things up aloft, we spotted this sport fishing boat that makes us look like beginners:

We much preferred the Rubicon Marina in Playa Blanca. Better spot to spend time in.

One of the must do things on the island (we've done it before but had to go again) is to take the coach trip around the Timanfaya volcano area where you get to see the crater and the dramatic evidence of the last (1834) eruption:

You have to trust the coach driver and the brakes on the vehicle as the "roadway" is pretty narrow and steep. We got the front seats in the bus and were hanging over the side of the mountain on some bends....

They like to prove that the volcano is still warm by pouring a little water down a hole then standing back:

We avoided buying the chicken cooked over the volcano. It looked very well done!

The north of the island is home to a fairly fierce ferry:

Much friendlier were two Nordhavns (a 46, Starlet and a 47 Summer Star) that arrived in Arrecife jsut before we left the island. Sadly, a little too late for us to meet up with the crews but we exchanged mails:

They had come across from Morocco and will be heading across to the USA, planning the Pacific ocean next year.

On Lanzarote, you have to stop to photograph the camels which were used as working animals until quite recently. Now they really struggle, dragging vastly overweight tourists around:

They looked quite content though, if a bit smelly:

El Golfo, on the west coast, is a lovely waterfront and town, which must have the highest density of restaurants per square foot on the island. It also had some charming little holiday villas:

and one resident who had great taste in quirky British sports cars:

No idea how he could use and enjoy the thing on the tiny island though!

Sadly, one of their street names doesn't work quite as well with English pronounciation:

The oddest part was a native North African guy, sitting on the seafront, playing jingle bells on an accordion in glorious sunshine with a big decaying teeth grin. Hardly Christmassy!