PORTUGAL TO CANARIES
 

Victor the vane gear
  Meet Victor the vane gear. This is the single most important piece of kit on the boat and thus he deserves his picture here. Victor drives the boat day and night, we simply set the red 'sail' to the right wind angle and away we go. He doesn't eat or drink anything, doesn't need sleep and, above all, doesn't use any electricity - the perfect crew member, without whom we would be exhausted.
 

Cliff opposite Graciosa
  A small channel separates Graciosa from Lanzarote and the Lanzarote coast is a cliff some eight hundred feet high. Unfortunately this picture doesn't do justice to it but we had cloud streaming down it and the colour changes during the day were spectacular. Sometimes it was difficult to stop watching it - how sad can you get.
 

Cliff opposite Graciosa
  The interior of Graciosa is desert-like, with four volcanic peaks. Needless to say it is hot but worth the walk because we had never seen anything like it before.
 

Graciosa village
  The settlement on Graciosa has a frontier town air about it, sand roads, surrounded by scrub and desert, with few facilities. We walked round the bay every day to buy bread at the bakery and the feeling of partial isolation never left us.
 

Volcanos
  When we sailed down to Lanzarote we didn't have great expectations because everyone refers to it as Lanzagrotty. We are now of the opinion that it is the most amazing island we have ever seen. The WSW of the island is a national park and consists of dozens of volcano cones and lava debris as far as the eye can see. It is truly spectacular in a slightly ominous way.
 

Volcanos
  Only the likes of Neil Armstrong could say but we assume this is how the moon looks. Little water, little life and a reminder how hard our lives would be if we had to live in such an environment.
 

Volcanos
  You can tell the impression the place made on us by the fact I've shown three pictures, so if you get a chance go and see it but be prepared to have a shiver run down your spine.
 

El Golfo
  Also on the west side of Lanzarote is a bay called El Golfo. The cliffs are huge and are layers of lava, frozen in time, that look like waves piling up on the beach. To get an idea of scale, I am in the picture somewhere.
 

Vines
  In this area outside the national park cultivation is allowed. The curved walls are built to protect grape vines from the wind. Volcanic soil is crushed and spread around the plants to trap moisture, mainly dew. Just how tough life is here is demonstated by the fact that behind each wall is just one grape vine.
 

Home
  And out in the middle of nowhere is the farmhouse. The curved walls again stretch as far as the eye can see and it doesn't bear thinking about building the walls and then the miles you would have to cover just to pick a few grapes.
 

ARC parade
  Now in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, a parade (with band) was held to mark the official opening of the ARC. It was a colourful sight with all the flags of the participating nations carried along the street and then raised with great ceremony. This was followed by the world famous (well it is if you're a sailor) Don Pedro dinghy race, which was really an excuse for a glorified water fight, hence no picture.
 

Bull fighters
  But I did manage, at great personal risk, to get a picture of the bullfighters in the parade and their bull. On closer inspection though, their bull did seem to have wheels not dissimilar from those on a supermarket trolley.