Los Lobos to Las Pamas 28:07.80N 15:25.50W

Hamble Warrior
Jamie Hickman
Thu 21 Oct 2021 17:05

October 18th 2021


We left Los Lobos at 2pm and had a fabulous 20 hour sail to Gran Canaria. The wind did exactly what it was forecast to do; setting off in low Force 4 and getting up to 18-20kts during the night before dropping back down again in the morning. We had a comfortable nightsail and watched as the twinkling lights of Las Palmas turned into the impressive industrial port as daylight broke. Huge cranes and container ships dominate the port and dwarf the massive marina with the sprawling backdrop of the city behind it. I don't think either of us realised just how massive Las Palmas is; or how much shoe leather we were about to use over the next couple of days walking miles and miles around the chandleries, hardware stores, shops and supermarkets of what we now know to be Spain's 4th most important port; and the biggest in the Canary Islands.

As we approached Gran Canaria just as it was starting to get light and Jamie was below having a couple of hours off watch the waters around Hamble Warrior suddenly became alive with a huge pod of small dolphins with distinctive speckled underbellies which I later learnt were called "Atlantic Spotted Dolphins"; they were swimming alongside us and diving down under the keel playing with Warrior and seemingly enjoying my clapping and cheering them on. I enjoyed the show they put on for 5 minutes and then called Jamie up on deck so he didn't miss out. By the time his sleepy head appeared through the companionway they had raced off towards Las Palmas leaving me well and truly with egg on my face!

We dropped anchor in the large and busy anchorage managed by Las Palmas marina and after a few hours relaxing we rowed into the marina to check in; present our papers, pay our dues, and as it turned out they had a berth available for us for just a few euros more than the cost of anchoring - so we booked in for a couple of nights.

The marina here is the start line for the famous ARC rally and ARC+ rally.... the transatlantic rally of hundreds of boats that crosses each year. We have seen a lot of boats flying the ARC flag since arriving in the canaries but now that we are here literally every boat in the marina is getting ready to cross the Atlantic... and all of them apparantly are doing it as part of the ARC rally! It's very exciting being around other boats all getting ready for their transatlantic trip although I am quite glad that as we are going independently of the rally we can leave when it suits us (the ARC notoriously leaves very early; 21st November this year, which is before the trade winds are properly established, in order that the fleet arrives in the Caribbean for Christmas). I have only been a little bit jealous of the ARC fleet once so far and that was when I learnt that the rather sizeable fee for participating allowed them a 10% discount in the local chandleries! It's amazing to be here though and see all of the local shops and businesses set up ready for the ARC boats.... danbuoys & diesel cans piled high in the Rolnautic and a complex of temporary structures being put in place for ARC administration and events.