Tenerife to Las Palmas, engine drama and a new crew member
Being somewhat underwhelmed with our berth in Radazul, we decided to leave a couple of days ahead of schedule, supported by confirmation that our berth in Las Palmas was available, and a good-looking weather forecast. We were out of the marina at dawn, motoring into a very pretty sunrise – the promised wind had yet to arrive….
Some two hours later the wind did pick up, and we had a sparkly sail into 10 – 13 kts and aiming to clear the North Coast of Gran Canaria to arrive at the marina on the NE corner. The wind backed and died as we were closing the coast, and with large swells crashing onto the rocks downwind and close to starboard we decided discretion was the better part of valour and started the engine for the last couple of hours of the passage.
We had to thread our way past an anchorage off the port, crammed with large cargo ships in process of being fuelled, and the bunkering ships darting about between them kept us busy on lookout. We don’t have photos of that bit….
Once tied up in the Marina, we’d actually started to feel a little smug that we’d fixed any boat issues and were ready for the ocean voyages. Spent a couple of days boat cleaning, shopping and socializing. All that remained to be done was a quick top up of diesel. However, on opening the engine bay for an engine inspection ahead of starting Griselda for the ‘voyage’ to the fuel pontoon we were surprised to find a significant amount of water in the engine bay. Following further inspection it transpired that the water pump belt had been rubbing the coolant pipe, which wasn’t easy to detect due to the fan belt cover. Two places were worn and one area had a small hole, spraying coolant into the engine bay. We went up to the Yanmar dealer to buy a replacement part, to find it’s on a week’s lead time as it’s coming from Holland, so a bit of a dilemma. We have ordered a set of hoses, in the hope they’ll arrive in time.
With new crew Jacob arriving on Thursday evening we set off to the airport in the hire car to pick him up. Jacob is a close neighbour in Buntingford and friend of many years who is joining us from Las Palmas to Cape Verde and across to Grenada.
The following morning we actioned plan B to fix the engine issue, finding a steel stockist in the town, and then cutting the damaged length of hose away and replacing it with stainless steel tube and holding it in place with Jubilee clips. Fitted a new water pump belt and checked all clearances for good measure. Then off to the fuel berth, filled up and back to the pontoon, for more stern to and lazy lines parking! We gave the engine some welly whilst parked and the plan B fix does seem to be holding.
So now we’re leading up to the rally start, the social calendar has ramped up. It seemed appropriate to wear our ‘team shirts’ for the welcome party.
Whilst we had the car for a couple of days, we did a huge shop at a Carrefour, taking note that provisioning will be more limited in Cape Verde and a lot that isn’t available or is very expensive in the Caribbean, including wine. To recover from the shopping, we took a short trip into the hills and had lunch at Arucas.
Tonight’s entertainment comprises a team supper at one of the yacht clubs in the marina (pre and post drinks as well I suspect, and then tomorrow begins the series of seminars – last minute knowledge top-ups for erstwhile ocean sailors….
The first leg starts on Sunday (6th) and we expect 7-8 days down to Cape Verde……. Hopefully we’ll add a few words before we leave!