Thursday, 26 October 2017

Las Palmas (Part 1)

After our late evening reposition in the anchorage we thought that we were in a reasonable position. However, for us it was an early rise because the wind started to blow a bit more strongly from the southeast. We had anchored in the direction of the southeasterly wind but that is not the prevailing wind and so many yachts were resting on loops of chain on the seabed. Yachts that had been well separated changed their relative positions as their anchor chains stretched out.
Our final anchoring, position closer in   

Hearing the increase in wind Nicky did a quick look around at first light and decided that we were getting a bit close to a yacht which had swung behind us. Rather than be impaled on the bowsprit of this large yacht, we got up and took a slow motor around the anchorage. One advantage of the chains being stretched out was that it was much clearer where there might be space for us to squeeze into. We dropped the anchor much further into the bay and hoped that would be us sorted for at least the next few days.

The only issue was that the wind was from the southeast; the worst direction for the anchorage. Given how tightly packed everyone was, I stayed on board for the day whilst Nicky, Alex and Lucy took a rather wet dinghy ride ashore. Nicky went to book us in with the marina and then on to scope the food shops with a view to short term needs and also victualling for our Atlantic crossing. Meanwhile Alex and Lucy investigated buses to get them to the airport and, much more importantly, to get them a couple of miles south where they could explore the picturesque old part of Las Palmas.
The leaking elbow joint    

Left on board, I took the opportunity to do a few routine checks and discovered that we had an oil leak on the main engine. For several years we had been keeping an eye on a joint which had been weeping a tiny bit of oil. The problem had been that to seal the weep properly I needed to undo another joint, but that joint had seemed to be seized so solidly that it felt like something was going to break if I used any more force to try to undo it. Now, with a cupful of oil under the engine, it needed to be taken apart. Using lots of light oil, a couple of big spanners, a beefy tap or two from a mallet and the whispering [Ed: really!] of some special engineering swear words, it finally came apart. Better still, without breaking anything else! Once cleaned up it all went back together very easily and, with the threads sealed and tight, that will hopefully be the leak resolved.
Lucy’s new found favourite dish   

Majorero goats’ cheese from Fuerteventura    
In the early evening we all reassembled on BV to share a glass or two of wine and to talk through how our respective days had gone. Alex and Lucy had really enjoyed wandering around the old part of town and highly recommended that we did the same. They had also found a direct bus that would take them to the airport from a bus station a 15-minute walk from the beach off which we were anchored. Better still, to save them the 15-minute bag-drag, from bus stop at the head of the beach there was a frequent service to the bus station. Meanwhile Nicky had discovered all sorts of useful shops including a number of Chinese supermarkets, excellent fruit and veg shops and butchers who would sell and deliver meat vacuum packed and deep-frozen, especially for transatlantic sailors. She had also spotted some enormous prawns and brought them back for dinner. Lucy’s new found favourite dish is garlic and chilli prawns, cooked over a hot barbecue. She magic-ed up the garlic and chilli marinade and then Alex cooked them to perfection on the barbecue.

It was a top evening all round but, sadly, Alex and Lucy’s last one on board for this visit. Their flight home was late the following day and so, over some Madeira wine and a cheeseboard which included the Majorero goats’ cheese from Fuerteventura, we planned what we’d do during their last day.
Playa de Las Canteras    
The answer was to walk over to the other side of Las Palmas. The city sits on the isthmus of a peninsula sticking out to the northeast of Gran Canaria. On the western side is the much more exposed Playa de Las Canteras. The northern end of this beach is protected by shoals a hundred metres offshore and has golden yellow sand – perfect for swimmmers.
The southern end of the beach   

Meanwhile, the southern end is exposed to the swell and has much blacker sand.

With big waves rolling, in the southern end is very popular with surfers and we expected there to be a few good bars there where we could get a beer and enjoy watching all of the fun.

It was good spectator sport but sadly there were no convenient beachside bars and so we wandered back up to the middle part of the beach and found a suitable venue for a beer. And so we idly whiled away the last couple of hours before Alex and Lucy had to jump on their bus and disappear off to the airport. It had been a lovely 10 days with them on board and we were sad to see them go but with luck we’ll get to see them again in the Caribbean in spring.
Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands   

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