20th Sept 2008 - Crew arrive to streets of fire

Bali Hai
Neal Stow
Sat 20 Sep 2008 23:29
I arrived back in Barcelona a couple of days ago via the Portsmouth to Bilbao ferry - a very pleasant way to travel.  Bali Hai appeared in good condition, the gel coat damage having been repaired.  Unfortunately I was soon to discover that the generator had still not been fixed, the water system had developed a fault and the generator battery had been overcharged so much it had swollen like a balloon and was about to explode.  Fortunately there are some excellent people in Barcelona and by the end of the day the generator and water system had been repaired.
If you are ever considering purchasing a generator, do not buy a Mastervolt.  I have only managed 22 hours from the generator since I purchased the boat as it is continually in a state of repair and their after sales service is appalling.  Despite two months of chasing the generator had not been repaired and we only managed to do it on Friday after many expensive phone calls to Holland and the intervention of an independent engineer to undo the faulty repairs done by the approved Mastervolt agent in Spain.
This weekend is the start of La Mercé festival with over 600 events over the next week - parades, fireworks, music, dance, shows etc...  There is a carnival atmosphere in Barcelona and a funfair right next to the marina.  The crew started to arrive on Friday and have been able to join in the fun.  The first arrivals are Big Pete and his "Friend from Swindon" otherwise known as Tina.  Only Pete will be sailing next week, with Tina in Barcelona just for the party.
Last night was the "Fire Run" one of the most spectacular event of the festival.  It is basically a parade down crowded streets with people dressed as devils and some large dragons and other monsters all carrying large noisy fireworks.  They dance down the street to drumming, directing the spray of sparks from the fireworks at themselves and at the crowd.  You are warned in advance to wear clothes that cover you to protect you from the white hot sparks but it is certainly not an event that would be permitted in the UK.