A Missed Opportunity in Gran Tarajal

Its the same each time. If we tie up for more than 24 hours we start to put roots down. The boat turns into a caravan that couldnt possibly float and the wind in the rigging of neighbouring boats howls like a banshee even though in reality its quite moderate. So after 3 days of walking and two days of maintenance we needed to leave Marina Rubicon or risk being there another month!

We decided that we wouldnt spend much time on Fuerteventura , but make our way fairly quickly to La Gomera some 200 miles to the SW. By all accounts this is a very different Island – less dry and perhaps more picturesque – at least thats what the guide books say. For our first night “out” we chose an anchorage on the SE coast of Fuerteventura , but when this turned out to be pretty exposed , we slipped into the harbour of Gran Tarajal. Despite its wonderful name this is not a pretty place. Its a working fishing harbour and ferry port and the houses are really rather grim but to our surprise however we found that we really liked it . We got the impression that it was determined to make the best of its few good points and drag itself up by its bootlaces. The little town obviously developed around a beach of brown volcanic sand that had just enough of a lee from a nearby headland to make it possible to launch small boats to fish. Nowadays the beach is immaculately kept with showers along the front , and although there were no tourists , it was obvious that many townsfolk used the facility for an evening dip. We sat in a little cafe and sipped a beer to the sound of screeching , tortured violin strings from the nearby music college , whilst a stream of small kids clutching violin cases trotted by. The local policeman stopped by for a coffee – or perhaps a chat with the pretty waitress , and gave Lynda the broadest of grins whilst in front of him two 8 year olds played football under the sign that said “no football”!
The port is run by a confederation of fishermen and on the way back to the boat we found a door leading to a dark room filled with fish. A charming girl served us , and when we asked if it could be filleted she nodded , called out sharply “Carlos ” , and left the room. A noise made us turn . In the gloom at the back of the room an immensely tall man hauled himself to his feet , grunted and seized our fish . As he came into the light we saw he was a dead ringer for Boris Carloff -sans bolt I think – but I wasnt hanging around any longer than necessary to check as he was frighteningly efficient with his filleting knife.

Carlos notwithstanding , everyone else was charming and friendly and the overnight fee was tiny . In retrospect this would have been a great place to base ourselves and explore the real Canaries , rather than some chi chi tourist trap . Perhaps in future when we go somewhere we will buy and read all the tourist guides in order to be able to go in exactly the opposite direction !

The weather Gods obviously agreeed with us as todays wind never exceeded 6 knots , and we dribbled along the coast past more obviously touristy destinations ( notably Morro Jable- what great names this place has !) before running out of wind and dropping anchor right at the SW tip of the island in a wonderful open roadstead protected by a hook of sand and a lighthouse. It seems that the harbour in the “desirable” La Gomera is full until after the weekend so its wild anchorages for us for a while .
28 4.2 N 14 30 W All well.

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