A mountain with no view

andromeda of plymouth
Susan and Andrew Wilson
Wed 17 Nov 2010 17:08
We can’t quite believe that we have been here over a week and that this
time next week we will be on our way. We certainly have had an action
packed time. We went for dinner with Lesley and James and had a great
evening and were up early the next morning to sort stuff out. After a
visit to the chandlers to request an electrician, we went to have some
breakfast from the Sailors bar opposite the ARC offices and shop. We were
nicely placed for the opening time of 9am and about 6th in the queue to
get our tickets etc for the seminars and events we wanted to attend. We
then made an appointment with the rigger as well, then it was back to
Andromeda to get prepared. Later on Susan popped down to Coba Libre and
then went to find the nearest supermarket to check it out. Once she had
returned we dressed Andromeda in all her flags – getting more and more
Tuesday morning at 9 o’clock Andromeda had her safety inspection and to
great relief and delight all round passed with flying colours – a
photograph was even taken by the inspector of all the kit laid out in the
saloon, (Dad your training came in handy) as well as all the briefing
materials on the chart table – boys you are in for a long day .
The inspector commented that we were a very well prepared boat. We were
so chuffed and proud that we forgot to take a photo ourselves.

Susan and Lesley then caught the bus to the big shopping centre to check
out CarreFour and to their delight found lots of other shops to go round.
That evening there was the first of the evening do’s with a Welcome Fiesta
with tapas, drinks and live music. Needless to say the music hadn’t been
going 5 mins before Susan couldn’t resist it any longer and had a great
boogie joined by Atlanta (9)- Nakesa - until it poured with rain and the
band decided it was decidedly unhealthy to carry on.
Wednesday morning saw us waiting in vain for the rigger, but we managed to
contact John to come and look at our on going power problems. We then
went round to see the folk on Alice and collect our parcels from Lagos.
After a good chat and having got back to Andromeda Susan at last opened
the parcel that arrived in Lagos three days after we left in May and now
has some nice new ¾ length trousers. Andrew has a lovely new top that his
mother had sent for his birthday and the echomax gadget is now on board
too. John came round and took the alternator away as it was not working
again and indeed may not have been working for some time. We then attended
the first of the ‘Happy Hours’ followed by a lovely meal at one of the
small local restaurants.

Thursday saw the start of the seminars and provisioning was first on the
list and inspired by this (of course) Lesley and Susan took themselves off
to El Corte Ingles to suss out the meat situation. El Corte Ingles is a
huge department store that sells everything and has their food department
in the basement and is very nice – think Waitrose. The good thing was
that we were given vouchers for a free drink and tapas so after a hard
slog round the shop Susan and Lesley took the opportunity to test this out
too – very tasty tapas indeed and then of course later there was the
‘Happy Hour’.

Friday saw us take Aston and Atlanta from Nakesa with us on a tree
planting expedition. We were driven up into the mountain, then had a hard
climb up the hill to a prepared area where we planted the first trees in
what is hoped will become the ARC Forest in Gran Canaria. It was very
hard work as the soil was full of roots and very solid but all in all the
group of 30 volunt¬¬¬eers planted nearly 200 trees.
We got back to Andromeda just in time to catch John who had bought the new
alternator round and he started to fit it. Unfortunately a few other
minor problems showed themselves and it now looks like it will be
Tuesday/Wednesday before these are all resolved. That evening saw a great
cocktail party hosted by Las Palmas City Council in a local park, with
lovely tapas, great wine and a very energetic dancing by a troupe dressed
in lovely orange and silver costumes (yes we know what you are thinking).
Saturday morning was spent at seminars and then Susan took Andrew to the
shops (couldn’t let him miss out on this- S) (oh yes you could – A). We
walked for miles, we bussed, we taxied and in the end had ordered the meat
to be vacuum packed and deep frozen and arranged delivery of the milk,
water, beer and other sundry items – a good job, with us getting back just
in time to go to yet another cocktail party on the terrace of the Real
Club Nautico. After a meal we strolled along the sea front with Graham
from Nakesa to WOMAD – World of Music Art and Dance – a festival we have
enthusiastically supported for many years – especially when they were
based in Reading and we were so delighted that it coincided with our stay
here. We saw a brilliant group from Senegal before a long walk back to
bed. (great and it was free)

Today, Sunday, saw us up early to go and turn Nakesa’s dinghy into a
Viking long ship for a race this afternoon. Having dressed the dinghy we
then joined all the other participants here in Las Palmas for the ARC
opening ceremony and a great parade round the marina with flags carried
from all the nations represented here. We also had clowns, jugglers,
unicyclists and the dancing girls now sporting a fetching green and silver
number. Outside the ARC offices a whole army of people had created a
fantastic salt crystal representation of the ARC route across the Atlantic
from Gran Canaria to St.Lucia, complete with all the Canary Islands as
well as the Caribbean ones and the African and American Coasts. Round the
edges were the flags from all the nations taking part. We hope our photos
do it justice. In the speeches we heard that there are 237 confirmed boats
taking part and we also heard that the Chandlers have now been released,
this is fantastic news and our thoughts are with them and their family. We
are also thinking of the people of St. Lucia who are suffering after the
visit by Hurricane Thomas earlier this month – inspite of the devastation
we have been assured of a warm welcome by this beautiful Caribbean island.

After the ceremony the dinghy race started and we all tore back to the
pontoon to get into the dinghy and paddle over, we then got very, very,
very wet but had such a good laugh splashing and throwing water at anyone
within range, including the folk from Alice now joined by Andrew’s cousin
Chris, as well as James and Lesley and others from catamaran alley.

After a very hectic few days we are looking forward to a day out around
the island tomorrow and the arrival of our crew on Thursday and we will be
thinking of Karen and hope that all is going well.

It is now Wednesday and after a few more hectic days here is where we are
at so far. Monday’s trip was a bit of a wash out – literally – as we were
out on one of the 15 days rain that they get her in Gran Canaria so we
cannot report how green and beautiful the island is but can comment on the
grey, white and black cloud that we saw as well as the very nice
Christopher Colombus museum (yes here as well) and the wonderful church
built out of the volcanic rock, photos will follow when time permits.
Today for instance we have had the riggers aboard, the electrician
finishing the alternator (would you believe that the new one was faulty
which is why we thought we had a problem) and Thomas from Parasailor came
aboard to check things over. We now only need the gas man to come and fit
our tap in the galley and we will be happy bunnies.
More in due course,

Susan and Andrew
s/v Andromeda of Plymouth