Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Simon Ridley
Tue 20 Nov 2007 17:12
28:07.72N 15:25.60W

We arrived in Lanzarote on Thursday evening after a very pleasant flight to find (as expected) Gertha out of the water with her bottom newly scrubbed and anti-fouled. The boatyard guys had made some minor repairs to the keel and this was the only thing which remained to be finished.

On Friday the work was completed, and Simon also changed the anode on the saildrive and cleaned and lubed the prop. Gertha was back afloat at 5.15 Friday evening and onto a berth. Scrubbed down thoroughly to remove a layer of sandy dust, she looked a picture.

The watermaker was re-installed (mixed feelings), the two new solar panels fitted and wired in, the inner forestay anchor point tightened down, and some of the new interior lights fitted, all in time to leave the marina at around 3.30pm.

The winds were initially light but we sailed along at 3-5 knots, and as the sun was dropping gracefully out of the sky I decided to get some much needed fishing practice in. This was partly out of necessity as Steph had not managed to find much which was edible in the marina supermarket!! An hour later, using the third lure combination since starting (this time a large jointed shad lure without the additional sinker), and as I was fetching beers from the fridge, the reel started whirring!! Excitement on deck as I reeled in a 3 foot long fish! (Note dear readers this is my best catch by about 2 feet!) The flapping, twirling creature with big pointy teeth was hauled on deck just as the wire trace broke, - I said it had big teeth! - and the fish was despatched with the aid of a claw hammer to the head. Not too much mess at this point.

We decided it looked like a cross between a mackerel and a barracuda, and voted to eat it despite not being quite sure what it was. With the aid of a torch and Leatherman the beast was emptied of its contents - it was a girl as there was a fair amount of roe onbard - at which point the cockpit floor looked a bit like a battle-scene! Steph decided we should name the fish, and it was decided to start with A and name each subsequent fish (if there are any!) alphabetically. This was, paradoxically, pronounced as "Andrea".

The head and tail were cut off, the head retained for identification purposes, and the fish cut into two portions. Some oil, garlic, and herbs and tin foil, gave us, 40 minutes later, the most delicious meal of white, meaty, delicate flavoured fish, with enough left over for lunch the following day. A result!

The rest of the night was mainly very light winds, and contrary to the "Spirit of Gertha" we actually motored for a few hours. However, in the morning the wind got up and we had a lovely sail for most of the day on a beam reach down to Las Palmas, where we arrived at around 4.00pm to see a marina full to bursting with yachts all flying their flags and looking very carnival-like.

The last day or two we've been doing other odd jobs around the boat, as well as making supermarket trips to provision. Steph has done a wonderful job of stock-taking so we know pretty much what we need to buy. Tinned stuff sorted, meat ordered, just the drinks (!!) and fresh fruit and veg to sort out in the next day or so. I decided to double my chances in the fishing stakes by buying another rod and reel so I can run 2 lines.

Great crew supper last night, well done World Cruising - and a good night was had by all. Cat-Man-Do arrived late last night and had to anchor for the night, but moved into the maina this morning. Simon had lunch with the guys today whilst Steph and I were in town shopping.

All in all a busy few days, and we are all getting in the mood for the voyage ahead, although it is hard to imagine quite what it will be like. Another Hanse 370 called Ondina is on our pontoon, and their crew, Mike and Mark, have been busy comparing notes with Simon. It will be an interesting "two horse race" to St Lucia - as ever we will be doing our best to be "first".

Bye for now,

Simon, Steph and Andrew
"Team Gertha"