This is my second trip and very different from the first when I came with my two children. We sailed from Falmouth to Plymouth where my children learnt to row, swim in deep water and we all learnt as much as we wanted to about sailing. It was an idyllic Swallows and Amazons-type holiday, anchored by the warm, welcoming personalities of Marcus at the helm, ever ready to share his love of luggers and Freya in the kitchen, whipping up meal after meal (apparently her secret for making something taste extraordinary is to add a bit of apricot jam). Malachi with his cheery cry of “Let’s Go” was (and still is) an adorable bonus.
This trip in the Canaries is very different; not least because I’m child-free. While they’re at school I decided to come back because I loved this boat so much. Why you might wonder? Because it has such a special atmosphere; reflective, calming, quirky, fun. The first full day when we sailed up the coast to Los Gigantes, after helming and some sailing, I slept cocooned in the wet weather gear on the beanbag, being handed cups of tea and food at appropriate intervals to stop the seasickness that threatened; no pressure to get up and doing. Any stressed-out parent will recognise how special that is; for someone else to make decisions, make lunch and leave you to a whole day’s peace. But on top of that, thanks to the kind of other guests this boat seems to attract, the days and evenings have been full of interesting chat and laughter. We’ve had two idyllic sailing trips, so far and one fantastic day scrambling over big volcanic rocks down a deep, craggy valley to a black sand beach with dramatically-high cliffs where Grayhound was waiting, attracting attention because she’s so beautiful and unique. Swimming out to her in the clear waters of the Atlantic rates as one of life’s highlights.
The trip’s already halfway through and I’m plotting how I can come back – perhaps to the Azores, if I can get the children out of school for a few days, perhaps on the Falmouth – Greenwich tall-ships race. Because much as I have loved this week alone to recharge my batteries, I want to bring the kids back; this boat is for sharing – that’s what Marcus and Freya do, they share their life with us. And what a special kind of life it is.
Written by Mary Bowes onboard the Grayhound in La Gomera