Back on our Spanish island

Good Company
Richard and Janet
Thu 20 Nov 2014 17:47
We can hardly believe we have been back in Gran Canaria for more than two weeks already. We have been busy in a lazy kind of way and have got quite a bit done. The weather is much cooler than when we left in September and is very pleasant at about 23 deg C max and 18 min. I even use our fleece blanket over the sheet some nights. For the past two days we have had copious rain which is welcome but strange after all the months of dry weather. The boat is fine but the drains and roads on the island have taken a beating.

We suffered from jetlag for the first week and our sleep patterns were really crazy. My sister then told me that you need a day’s recovery for each week you are away and so after six weeks, that made sense. We are now back on track and sleeping fine again.

We bought quite a few boat parts back with us and Richard started with the water maker. We had to remove the two high pressure membranes from their mounting and add two steel spacers to each one. This was quite a task and we had to phone the company for help as their written instructions were not very clear... I am sure there is a job for me somewhere writing manuals for fitting boat parts as this is not the first bad manual we have had! We re-mounted the membranes and tested the water maker. It then kept cutting out and so we made another phone call. Oh, they said, we have changed the spec s since you bought it; you now need a 50 amp fuse, not 20 amp! We changed the fuse but then the cable started over-heating. Without calling again, Richard decided to buy thicker cable which is now installed and we are waiting for the water quality in the marina to improve (is dirty from all the rain) to do the final testing. We are pretty confident it will work as before it cut out with the thinner cable, we did manage to make some good quality water.

We have fitted an exterior speaker in the cockpit so that we can hear the VHF radio out there. That was a relatively straight forward job, once we decided where it should go, not too close to the compass. The magnet in the speaker interferes with the compass and somewhat affects your navigation.

Next were the fans. We bought another Caframo fan in the USA and had to decide where it should go. After much deliberation we have put the new one outside the bathroom to give air in the port hull. We have put one of the older ones in the port cabin and it works well there. The back cabins have so little free wall space that it has been difficult to find a place to put them. We can aerate the starboard cabin using the fan in the galley, with the door ajar, but will probably put one of the older ones in there too.

We have finally found a place for the EPIRB (Emergency Positioning Response Beacon). It is mounted just above the shelf on the galley wall, out of the way but accessible enough in case we should need it.  A much better place than in the (opened) box on the end of our bed!

We arrived back to find we have new neighbours. Kees, originally Dutch, has lived in New Zealand most of his life. He is 75 and sailing back to New Zealand, having come via the Indian Ocean and Mediterranean. He built his wooden yacht himself and has many interesting stories to tell. I would certainly like to be as fit and active as him when I am that age. He has three crew members arriving on Saturday and hopes to leave next Tuesday. On our other side is Fred, an American, originally from France. He has spent the past few years sailing in Europe with his wife and three young daughters. They have gone home and he now has three crew members to help him sail the boat back to the USA. They are leaving tomorrow.

We all live in very close proximity (without even a jetty finger to divide us... when the wind blows and the tide comes in, only our fenders stop the boats touching). When we visit each other we can step from one boat to the other. Fortunately we all get on very well and as yachties usually do, know how to respect each other’s privacy. It will be interesting to see who arrives next.

We plan to haul Good Company next week and replace the stern drive gators, also brought back in a suitcase. We will also seal the small hole in the nasal (centre hull) where we have a harmless but annoying leak at the back of the boat. I never look forward to being ‘on the hard’ and will be glad when this is over.

We have made three trips by bus to Arguinigin, our closest town. It is a pleasant tourist mecca only 10 minutes by bus, costing E2.80 each for a return trip. There are lots of interesting little shops Boots or WH Smith! There is also a market selling good quality fresh fruit and vegetables. We discovered a shop which sells frozen meat and fish (not Iceland!) and bought some excellent lamb chops and prawns. We have also found a place to have delicious English breakfast for E4.95! Needless to say we do also try local fare and have really taken to making salad with baby eels.There are two supermarkets, Spar and COR so we can get all our supplies quite easily. We each take a rucksack and one freezer bag with ice-packs and between us can easily manage a fair load.

We also sorted out a new Wifi package as the marina’s was SO slow! Lise told us about a fellow who supplies you with a mobile router and a monthly allowance without having to take out a year’s contract. He has found a gap in the market, mostly serving the Norwegian tourists (the predominant nationality visiting this area) as many of them come to Gran Canaria for 4 – 6 months of the year. They can then ask for a disconnection when they leave and reconnect when they return. Thanks Lise!

It is interesting how quickly and pleasantly the days pass. We usually do some or other boat chore. Today I defrosted the freezer. Richard fitted an aerial to our boat radio so now we can listen to local FM radio... and perhaps improve our Spanish! We have so far just used the radio to listen to music on our iPod. On Tuesday we made a rain catcher for Kees using our sewing machine. He bought the material after we told him we would make him one. His tanks hold 900 litres of water but he has no water maker so we offered to make him one.

We have started playing Scrabble every evening and really enjoy that challenge. Richard is winning at present. I have to work on finding those high letters!
Until next time...