Ready to leave Las Palmas Gran Canaria

I’ve stocked up on fuel and am now as heavily loaded (200L of Diesel, 100L of water) as I have ever been with Eileen. Surprisingly, she doesn’t seem to find the extra weight a bother. Now if only we all could put on so much weight and still look so handsome! One more item to add to my newly compiled list of why Eileen of Avoca is better than a real girlfriend… 😉

I’ve met a very diverse group of sailors while in Las Palmas and admittedly it is not easy leaving the last bastion of Europe behind, (Eileen has stayed 20 days, 7 of which I used to take a cheap flight back to Belgium). With everything so handy, it’s no wonder many sailors spend inordinate amounts of time dithering here before making that last step to head south or west. Not that Las Palmas Gran Canaria has much to offer and it certainly gets no special recommendation from me. Quite the contrary., and here’s why:

  • The marina has the rudest, most inconsiderate and arrogant ‘marineros’ I, and most other crews here, have ever had the misfortune to encounter.
  • While the chandlers are handy they are certainly not cheap! Do your final preparations before reaching the Canaries or pay the price!
  • With so many boats having been in the marina because of the ARC rally, the water is absolutely putrid. I hear there is an effort to gain blue flag status for the nearby beach. Not a chance…
  • The cockroaches are everywhere. Stay long enough and you will surely be invaded, and I’ve already highlighted the social stigmata that accompanies this misfortune.
  • Provisioning is inconvenient here and socializing hindered by locked gates separating sailors from both the public and crews on other pontoons.

I could carry on for quite a while here but I’ll spare you some of my habitual endless ranting… 🙂

The crew of Corner Muse

On the positive side, a little extra effort (climbing around the locked gates) and you are suddenly free to play social butterfly with a vast variety of boats and crews of all nationalities and walks of life.

I had the crew of the Swedish boat, Fot28 over last night for drinks and a bite to eat. I thought Eileen might have difficulty with storing provisions for a month but if the requirements for a crew of four (one extra ring-in for the Atlantic crossing) can be crammed into a 28ft boat then I have room for at least anther two crew. You can follow their adventures here.

While on the subject of sailing Swedes, the young but experienced crew of Mazarin (briefly mentioned as my neighbors in posts from Lanzarote, and my frequent companions over coffee at the Sailors Bar), were also busy making final passage preparations here in Las Palmas.

If you think crossing the Atlantic isn’t enough of a challenge, why not try it with your one year old child in tow? Click here

to get a translation of their website.

See, it can be done! An inspiration for all those would be sailors making all manner of excuses for not leaving home.

Keeping the “baby and no excuse not to be out there sailing” theme running, pictured above is the intrepid Belgian (the girl) / Portuguese (the dog) crew of Corner Muse, making an unscheduled stopover in Gran Canaria as her baby is due in just 5 days.

And just one more link to my neighbor while in Las Palmas (for my extensive German readership… lol).

A few odd jobs then on to Gran Canaria

My collection of radar reflectors

Before leaving Lanzarote I bought and mounted a biggest ugliest radar reflector I could find. Short of hoisting my pots and pans there is little else I can do at this point. Fingers crossed that it’s enough to make me visible to radar.

I also installed a much sexier, but considerably more expensive solar panel in the space covered by the companionway hatch (when it is open).

Not too shabby if I may say so.


New solar panel

Nothing like a few boat chores to suppress the heart and stimulate the mind. Besides, there’s no more whiskey aboard.

It took me 24 hours to sail to Las Palmas, Gran Canaria. My plan was to arrive once the ARC rally fleet had left so I could be sure of a berth but I had not counted on the marina being closed. Yes, closed! But I’m getting ahead of myself here.

Just as I rounded the breakwater (at approximately 11am), I ran into the entire fleet of ARC participants as they made their way to the starting line. Looks like my timing was a little off. No matter, I’ll just join the festival, take advantage of the photo opportunity and watch the procession from the comfort of Eileen.

The 2010 ARC Rally leaves port. Trouble is, there's no wind!

I spotted the young Swedish crew of “Wind” (who I’d met in Nazare). Music blared from their boat as they waved to the crowd gathered along the marina breakwater. I also found myself alongside “Summer Song” (the only other ARC entry I’d met on my travels), and exchanged a warm greeting.

In the following hour or so I watched just about every other boat in the fleet file out and head to sea.

With only a few stragglers remaining, I made a dash for the marina entrance only to have my first attempt at landfall thwarted by an angry “marinero” in a RIB.

I could see the veins bulging from his temples as he shouted… “The marina is closed, go away, you come back tomorrow, leave now…”.

Closed? Who cares if the office is closed! I just want to tie to one of the recently vacated pontoons and sleep.

The official seemed to be getting increasingly agitated at my reluctance to leave, so rather than be responsible for triggering a brain embolism in all the excitement, (those veins on his forehead are really popping out!), I reluctantly complied, motoring to the extremely crowded anchorage on the other side of the breakwater.

See mum, I can be magnanimous on occasion. 😉

What all sailors do in Gran Canaria, wait...

Five hours later I made my second attempt, and as it was probably Mr “not so sociable’s” coffee break, I made it to a pontoon unmolested.

I’m now in Las Palmas Gran Canaria doing what all sailors do here (unless of course they are part of the ARC); hanging out at the Sailors Bar waiting for the elusive trade winds.