Las Palmas still
We hadn’t planned to post another entry until we leave, but we’re getting delayed so here one is anyway. After saying goodbye to our friends we spend a mostly pleasant few days at anchor outside the marina here. It was pretty crowded when we arrived, but after a few days the number of boats had swelled to 88 in our immediate vicinity, with more the other side of the marina entrance. With winds coming from just about any direction and hence boats swinging fully around their anchors, this is pretty crowded by any standards and accidents were bound to happen.
We had a couple of close encounters with neighbours and had to adjust chain lengths to avoid a clash, but the real fun came when the wind started blowing from the SE – the only direction the anchorage is open to the Atlantic, so we had rough seas as well. During the night a heavy, empty German boat must have started dragging its anchor and spent some time rubbing against one boat, causing quite some damage. We got back from a trip into town to find it threatening another unattended boat close by. We went over to reposition their fenders, but within minutes it was our turn. We couldn’t move our boat at first as the chains were crossed and we had one little collision before keeping the German at bay with our fenders. We got the engine on as soon as we could and with the help of our bow thruster, danced around the out-of-control steel monster. Lindsay got the port authorities on the radio and persuaded them to come out, but they just sat there, not helping, and eventually opined that the German had reset its anchor and we should move elsewhere. The trouble was that his anchor had come to rest on ours, and being a big one, our windlass couldn’t really cope. Whilst Lindsay kept motoring out of the German’s way I spend what seemed like a lifetime freeing the anchor, which I eventually managed at the expense of jamming the mechanism so hard that I was unable to re-anchor.
To make matters worse the ARC fleet – 240 boats filling up the marina – decided that conditions were too bad for most of them to leave (a few big racers got away though). So the marina was still notionally full and turning away newcomers. We had no choice though, we couldn’t re-anchor, so we just told them we were coming in, with our anchor dangling down in the water. They put us on the fuel pontoon for several hours before squeezing us into a space as it was getting dark. By then we were totally exhausted from all the excitement at anchor, and very glad to be safe, even though we were very crowded amongst the delayed ARC boats.
Since then the weather has been dreadful and we were nastily glad to hear that the German boat had dragged again and ended up on the rocks! The friend who is keeping us company to the Cape Verdes joined us the next day (Monday) and the ARC fleet left en-masse on Tuesday (well almost all – a few came back again as they couldn’t stand the conditions). We are gradually getting ready to go – the last few jobs to the boat are being ticked off and we are shopping, shopping, shopping. Lindsay is planning a massive cook, then we’ll be ready for the 1st opportunity to go, probably on Monday (3rd Dec).