We finally managed to return
to Green Flash on Tues 7th Dec after a final hurdle had been
overcome – all flights to Lanzarote had been
cancelled the previous day due to high winds! It seemed that in order to
compensate for prior inconveniences, we had a flawless journey. Straight to
Gatwick, onto the plane, first bag off, straight on to a local bus, straight on
to the regional bus and straight into the only awaiting taxi to the marina.
Playa Blanca was hot and
humid (now too hot rather than too cold!)
We acquainted ourselves with
our pontoon neighbours, a Finn, a Welsh family, a Faroese and a German couple
as well as a Dutch couple met previously in Portugal, all very friendly and all waiting for the right wind
to push southwards. It appeared that during our absence the wind had been
constantly blowing with great force and in the wrong direction as usual. Most
of the yachts on our pontoon were hoping to get to Tenerife or Gran Canaria
and there seemed to be a window opening up on Saturday. We had a few days of
strolling, swimming (only one of us of course!), playing music in an Irish bar
along with a ex-pro Scottish mandolin player, an ex-pro Serbian guitarist, a
fantastically good Italian harmonica player and his Swiss girlfriend, and
trying to catch our stowaway, a rat or mouse!!!!!!!
(Sp for rat) was brought to our attention by a heap of powdered tea under the
cooker on our return. A careful search through all the food lockers revealed
nibbles in the corners of all sorts of dried food - tea, flour, dried fruit, cuppasoup, tortellini, not to mention the rolls of shredded
kitchen towel and polystyrene. We found a Ferreteria
and bought 4 traps and armed them with chocolate but after 2 nights, no Ratas. We bought different traps and armed them with peanut
butter – No Ratas. Sticky stuff was recommended
but Ratas knew how to avoid that. By this time all
the dried food was in 4 coverings and zipped in canvas in the cockpit so the
only food supply was the bin. D saw him yesterday so last night we put huge
cardboard pieces covered in sticky stuff in appropriate places and this morning
(after 10 days of trying) we got him, a HUGE mouse, 3” long in total!! We hope that he is the only stowaway.
We set sail for Gran Canaria with several others
on Sat 11th. The passage was approximately 100 miles, and as we wanted to arrive in daylight, this meant
an overnight trip. The wind was predicted to be NW and light. It was light
initially and then freshened to give us a good sail, except for the need,
during the mate’s first night watch, to gybe
often to keep a good course as the wind changed through 90’ and back regularly. Rather noisy for the skipper who
didn’t get much sleep.The wind, of course,
settled down during his watch except it was “right on the ** nose”!
After a fitful couple of hours trying to sleep, he was called up on deck to
help reef (7.5 kn was
getting a bit too hectic), so by the time we had anchored in the very crowded
bay at Las
at 0930, D was ready for bed!
Las Palmas is a large, busy city. A six lane motorway separates
the port from the city which itself is in 2 parts, North and South. The marina
lies midway between them with a fair walk either way to cross over the road. We
are constantly amazed at the amount of traffic and the huge, busy road system.
The city is nothing special, tall dark blocks, a grid pattern of roads the odd
square, a dark stoned cathedral, people and traffic! The only thing to do is
get out of it and thankfully the buses (guaguas in
Spanish) are excellent.
We have had a couple of excursions
including two good walks. The first from the NW coast town of
Aguaete and into the mountains.
The west coast main road.
The second, after a
most torturous 2 hour bus ride to cover (as the crow flies) 10
miles, in the interior from the highest village of the
island at well over 1300m, Artenara. (14 degrees, very windy and intermittently wet
compared to Las
gentle breeze and 25 degrees!)
1400m up. (It seems here that
the higher you go, the more the vegetation).
We’re not sure yet
whether we will stay in Las Palmas for Christmas or if we will move to the SW
coast, perhaps next week, if the wind allows.