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canoeing, kayaking and other adventures

canoeing and kayaking adventures born in the Southeastern U.S. and now centered in Scotland...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Catlanza Cruise and the Long Slog Home - Day 7 - 9/11/2008

Our last day in Lanzarote was also our warmest. Go figure. :)

Our flight was scheduled to leave at 8pm, so we had all day to play before sitting in the airport. Brian booked us onto the adults only Catlanza cruise. The boat left the Puerto Calero harbour at 11am with about half a dozen crew to keep us fed, watered, entertained and safe. A loud Englishman was our host for the trip and a petite Lanzarotian woman was our captain. In total there were about 20 passengers.

We left the harbour and traveled roughly southwest along the coast. We could sunbathe near the front of the catamaran or hide in the wind-blocked covered deck. The bar was open pretty much as soon as we sailed. I alternated between the sunbathing net/deck and the sheltered area, making sure my SPF50+ was doing its job. White wine made Brian into drunk boyfriend amusingly early. Lack of food will do that.

The destination of the day was Papagayo where we moored and the ladders came down for swimming. The jetski was lowered from the back and anyone who wanted could go for a ride with one of the crew members. Choices for entering the water included ladders in the front and back of the boat or the far more efficient slide.

The loud English host offered a free bottle of champagne to the first person in the water. Brian was unmotivated by the champagne but another guy ran to the slide and heaved himself in. Brian wasn't far behind him on the slide, but I took more convincing. I got my mask and snorkel out and put on a thermal top. It wasn't going to be warm, but may as well have a source of slight warmth when I got out again. Which method did I use to get into the water? The slide of course.

Hundreds of fish swarmed in the shadows under our boat. They were much bigger than the fish we saw along the coast. The seabreams and barracuda were pretty easy to spot. I didn't see anything exotic like a hungry shark. Most hung out near the bottom, about 3m below the surface.

I made two laps around the boat before the temperature got to me. Brian came out of the water with me and we decided to take a jetski ride. I got on first and Brian behind me. He got to hold on to me and I held on to the buoyancy aid of the driver who was smartly wearing a wetsuit. He took the usual lap with us along the coast and then bouncing over the waves and his own wakes. Each bounce sent me flying. I have to wonder if Brian flew up with me or after me. Wet swimsuit bottom and wet legs offer no useful traction. I wondered if I would fall off if I could drive, but alas I was not allowed.

Lunch was served soon after we returned from the jetski ride. Pasta with tuna or veggie sauce, salad, papas arrugadas (Canarian wrinkled potatoes) with salsa mojo (garlic and coriander/cilantro sauce) and bread. Not much in the way of choices for me but my love of papas arrugadas and salsa mojo didn't mind.

Brian went for one last swim after lunch but I was unconvinced. I chose sunshine and warmth instead. Soon enough, the loud Englishman rang the bell that told us we would be heading home.

The journey back to Puerto Calero was into the wind, which meant sunbathing wasn't as warm an option as before. Eventually, I retreated to the covered deck.

Our captain has sharp eyes. On the way back, she spotted a man floating haplessly in the water. They asked if he was ok and he didn't respond very clearly. The crew thought that meant he didn't want picked up. The captain circled the boat around anyway and they took him on board. Apparently, he had been following a trail that he had been on before, but it was underwater this time. Instead of turning back, he chose to swim it with his backpack still on. The strength of the current made it impossible for him to swim with enough effort and literally, he was washed out several hundred metres from the shore. He was very very lucky. Based on his conversations with the crew and just observations, I think he was mentally challenged. It's difficult to describe. He didn't seem completely with us. He hadn't been in the water all that long, which is says a lot about the strength of the current.

We reached Puerto Calero without further incident. We had just a few minutes to see the fish in the harbour one last time before the bus took us back to Matagorda. Once in Matagorda, we had enough time for one last lounge near the pool before the bus picked us up for the airport.

The flight schedule had us racing a flight to Glasgow home. Foreshadowing. The flight back was relatively uneventful, not so many bumps as getting there. Brian slept under his jacket for a lot of it. Sadly, Edinburgh weather and airport planning meant we couldn't land there. We were diverted to Glasgow, arriving about half an hour after the competing flight, and bussed back to Edinburgh airport in the wee hours of the morning. I finally crawled into bed at about 3am, grateful that I still had one more day before having to return to work.

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