If Knot Y Knot
Patricia Day
Wed 25 Oct 2006 18:37



Wednesday 11 October 2006

It got windy, I put it down to the acceleration zone off the bottom of the island, but it went on for a long while.  It was only 20 knots of wind, but there was a very big swell.  The boat was rattling along, but it was dark and the wind was still strong, so I reduced the sails to small triangles and left Horatio to it, we kept going at about 2 knots. 


Thursday 12 October 2006

By the early morning the wind dropped to about 14 and so I put the sails back out. 

I arrived in Las Palmas about 9.30 and the port official was waiting on the end of the breakwater - to welcome me?  No, to tell me there was no room and so I am on the anchorage with dozens of others.  I am in 12 metres and on the very edge of the anchorage, the boats that left me in Fuerteventura are all here.

Took the day off to snooze and tidy up.


Friday 13 October 2006

I wanted to go ashore, but couldn’t stand the thought of undoing the big dinghy; so decided it would be sheltered enough for the toy dinghy.  The pump was tied up in the parcel with the big dinghy, so I huffed and I puffed and nothing much seemed to happen.  The dinghy had a hole in it, so I glued that and set it to one side.  Nothing for it, I will have to unpack the big dinghy, it can stay out now until I go across.  After all that the pump was not in there, it had been in the cockpit locker all the time.  I pumped the dinghy up and tried to put the floor in, not easy on the boat, but I managed to get the boat over the side.  I got in and was going to put it together properly when I reached land, but there was water coming in, yes, this one had a hole in it too.  Up to now I was determinedly ignoring that it was Friday the 13th.  I cleaned the boat under where the dinghy had been and had to decide what to do next.  I didn’t want to put the outboard on in case the dinghy sank, so I would have to row, but would it sink anyway? 

The dinghy is 2.6m which is too long to fit on my boat, so I wanted a shorter one that would fit in front of the baby stay; really I did.

It was now the afternoon and I had just about given up.  The man from a nearby boat was drifting in his dinghy quite close, so I hitched a lift to the marina. 

This was the first time I had ever left the boat at anchor unattended, which is why I had never needed the dinghy before although I have had it since February, very much third hand, at least.

The shop opens after lunch at 4pm and I was there.  They had a 2 metre dinghy on offer, a nice white one, Sofia remembered me, but I had to wait for the boss to give me a price on the dinghy.  It took an hour to get his attention and his best price, was €5 less than the price in the window, I was going to get it anyway, so I said I would have it.   He said tomorrow, I said I needed it today to get back to the boat.  How long does it take to get a dinghy down from the ceiling?  Another hour went by and everybody was busy serving, so I waited.  Sofia said to go and get a coffee, but I didn’t think leaving the shop was a good idea. 

Then they had a delivery and I thought they wanted the driver to help get the dinghy down, but no there was a big cardboard box on the trolley – my dinghy.  This was the more expensive Plastimo one, for €5 less than the cheapo one.  I was impressed and not wanting to seem ungrateful, but what was I supposed to do – lie on the box and paddle back to the boat.  The Spanish guy looked at me and obviously wondered if I needed help with the big box, no I needed the dinghy inflated. 

One inflated dinghy, (I put the oars together), three men to carry it and someone to bring the oars.  I just had to walk across the road to the marina and tell them where I wanted it deposited in the water, with much thanks all round.  I attached the oars and now all I had to do was row back to the anchorage.  I can row, but I haven’t actually done so for years and I don’t remember it being one of my better achievements.

I got the hang of it and got out of the marina to the breakwater only to see dozens of children in their little dinghies going back to their base, which is past the anchorage.  Presumably with oars I am under power and have to give way to sail and I would have done, but it was up to them to keep clear as they were all overtaking me.  Initially I thought how much fun this was and I could do it every day, several times maybe, for the exercise, but by the time I had got back to the boat I had decided that maybe tomorrow I would put the outboard on the dinghy.


Saturday 14 October 2006

It took me all morning to get the outboard onto the dinghy.  The motor is quite heavy and I had to get it off the stern rail and from a swaying boat down onto a swaying dinghy.  I filled it with petrol.  I tried to check the oil, but it seemed overfull as it was.  I decided to try starting the engine.  The pull cord kept getting away from me and after beating myself up I decided to abandon the idea.   I was exhausted and hungry. 

I have broken a tooth, then the entire crown came out.  I have superglued it back in, seems OK, no obvious toxic affects.  I also made a shopping list to get me through to the end of March 2007.  Tomorrow I will row to the marina and try and get the engine started.


Sunday 15 October 2006

I have no kill cord for the outboard, there is a small cable tie on it, but I am not convinced it is helping.  I stopped near the Dutch boat and he gave me a bigger cable tie and cut a notch in it to make it fit.  The engine will still not keep going, but at least it starts.  Michel, French ex-navy captain rowed over to help.  In the end I got into his dinghy and we towed mine into the marina.  The shops were shut and so we had a drink.  We were going to the internet later, so I was going to stay ashore, but he said he could not go out with a lady without a shave and so he towed me back to the boat and came to pick me up again in a couple of hours.  Mad, but a proper gentleman.  We went to the internet, which is right up by the port and then he went off for a shower at an apartment of a friend – he could have waited and had a shave there.  That meant I had to row myself back.  I stopped at a pontoon to get some water and the english couple I met when getting the dinghy were there and he gave me some advice on the outboard.  Basically I have to strip it down from the tank back to the carburettor and clean it. 

Spent the evening on Michel’s boat.  He had lost the previous one on a reef somewhere very out of the way and had to spend 9 days in the jungle, before walking out with his passport, credit cards, sextant and three philosophy books.  He had also been in the Tsunami, but couldn’t face telling me the story, would do so tomorrow.


Monday 16 October 2006

Decided that if the motor was not going to jump into life then I would do well to put it back on the big boat; it was causing drag when in the water and in the way of my Olympic rowing effort when it was up.  Michel again gave me a tow, but this time I stayed in my dinghy and rowed as well.  I went to the internet and El Corte Ingles in case they had anything special in their supermarket.  I bought a few bits, but they were very expensive.  Michel went off for his last shower on land before his departure.  On the way back I went into the office to register and pay.  The Port Authority boat comes round the anchorage every day, so they knew I was there and as I was already on the computer I didn’t think it was serious that I had not been in.  I had an excuse that I had no dinghy until then.

I set off back to the anchorage and Michel overtook me, he offered me a tow, but I refused.  Another guy offered me a tow, but again I refused – he said I looked terrible and I thought I was doing so well.

Michel came over to tell me the Tsunami story, so now I know what to do, and to say goodbye – he was leaving tomorrow for Brazil and then Cape Town. 


Tuesday 17 October 2006

Michel left at 9am, bringing an entire fishing net up with this anchor.  I rowed in and went shopping.  There was a branch of Mapfre the other guy’s insurance company, so I went in.  There was only one man in the 10 man office and he took ages with the people before me and didn’t speak English.  In the end he phoned the main office who informed me that they were waiting for the surveyors report and they would chase him.

I can now eat sardines, tuna, melva and cabella – which all come in tins and I can fry them – the contents, not the tins.  I should be able to eat corned beef, but I tried and had to throw it away, perhaps I am brand specific on that one. 


Wednesday 18 October 2006

I have sorted my ropes and my parachute anchor and my cruising chute.  The chute is very pretty and will be cut up to make lots of other useful things.

The surveyor’s office phoned to say the delay was that they were waiting for the estimate – the one that I had faxed over 2 weeks before – they would look for it.   I was not best pleased.


Thursday 19 October 2006

The surveyor’s secretary phoned to say they could not find the estimate – so I got their address and said I would come in.  I rowed off the anchorage, round the breakwater, into the marina, then set off on foot for the main port.  I found the office about 10.30 and the surveyor and his secretary were very pleased to see me, so I couldn’t really lead off.  I did not claim for the phone, internet and extra berthing fees, it would have made things more difficult.  The secretary had the report on her computer waiting for me, she finished typing it and I accompanied her round to the main Mapfre building to deliver it – there was a lovely photo of the boat in it. 

Tomorrow I have to go into the ‘Distress Department’ and check they have approved it and done the bank transfer.  I shouldn’t have to and it is a long way, but I will.  Then I can move on.

I have bought a new radio that has SSB and lots of SW frequencies – I can get BBC World Service.

There has been no wind for days and my batteries were very low, so this afternoon I have given in and put the engine on for an hour.


Friday 20 October 2006

It is actually windy and as wind and tide are against me I couldn’t face the row in, so I phoned Anne, the surveyor’s secretary and asked her to check the progress of the claim.  She was going in to Mapfre to take in another report and phoned back to say the person dealing with my claim was on a course in Madrid and would deal with it Monday.  Everything should be in hand and I can leave Gran Canaria.  I plan to leave tomorrow afternoon, take it slowly and arrive in Tenerife in the early hours, then I can snooze on Sunday afternoon.

Sam, the Scot, came with his family in their dinghy to enquire about my old dinghy.  It is a good quality dinghy and the repair was easy enough, he offered me £20, I agreed, but he did not get the oars.  The oars are a slightly longer version of the ones I have on the new dinghy so they will do as spares, he can make a couple of wooden ones.

The reasons for stopping in Tenerife were

(a)   to offer the dinghy to a Canadian who was interested last time I was there, but now it was sold.

(b)   To go to El Corte Ingles, but I had done that here.

(c)   To go to Hiperdino and get a big food shop in without having to dinghy it across, but I could do that here if I was allowed to stay on the reception pontoon for a couple of hours.


A new plan was formulating as I went to sleep.


Saturday 21 October 2006

I got up early because the boat next to me was sitting over the top of my anchor and could have his chain over mine, so I didn’t want him disappearing off early in his dinghy.  At 8am he was out and playing with ropes, a sure sign of heading to land – ie diesel pontoon.  I was right, he was leaving straight away, so after he left I pulled up my anchor.  The battery was so low the windlass did not really have enough juice to do it as it had just been turned on and the engine was only idling.  I helped, I had nearly 50 metres of chain out as I was in 12m and had been there over a week with big tides in and out, so it was a long muddy job.  Then I motored off into the marina. 

The reception pontoon is new and unidentified, a dead end and it is also next to the Port Authority and the Maritime Rescue boats.  At the open end there was a tripper catamarran berthed there, this left me with enough pontoon to just fit on to, but could I get in the space.  I tried, going in forwards was ok, but my prop waks the other way and I could not get alongside the pontoon.  I could wiggle in backwards, but got part way and didn’t like the idea.  There is room in the marina on the visitors pontoons, but they are all booked out for the ARC even if the boats have not arrived yet.  There was a space next to a boat I knew and I was going to borrow that for a couple of hours, but they were away and I didn’t think it was worth trying.  Back to Reception pontoon, I took a good run up at it backwards to get the boat under control and in I went, why is nobody looking when things go so right.  If there was anybody looking then I could have gone in forwards and thrown them a rope anyway. 

I went round to Reception to pay for the last couple of nights.  It was not quite 9.30 and the guy was having a cigarette outside, so I asked if I could go shopping, maybe I didn’t make it plain my boat was on Reception pontoon, but he said that was OK.  I went to Hiperdino, got lots of food, 5% discount and free delivery to the boat.  There was no English so I told them to deliver it to Texaco and as delivery was Rapido I had to run back to the marina to get there first.  They arrived, put the 3 packing crates with the stuff onto a sturdy trolley, balanced 12 bottles of water on top and we set off, the other guy moved the barrier and carried a 6-pack of milk – seniority has its perks.  One got on the boat and was handed the bags and handed them to me and what had taken me an hour to put in the trolley was on the boat in about 2 minutes. 

I went round and paid and then had to get diesel.  This was for the auxilliary tank which was now clean and empty and for the 2 cans.  I wanted to empty the main tank and clean it out as it was the remains of last year’s fuel and included the water contaminated diesel.  Then I could service the engine and only have all fresh fuel going through my filters, which are so difficult to get to.  That reminded me that I wanted to move the pre-fuel filter to somewhere easier, but where – if there was anywhere then presumably they wouldn’t have put it in such an awkward place.  I also wanted to build a second filter in with a bypass, so that I could always change them over if I had a problem and sort it later. 

I filled up with diesel and this means hanging off the back with the filler cap at water level, which is bad enough in a marina, it is very worrying having to do it at sea from a can, believe me.  I had plans to extend the filler pipes up the swim ladder to fill them at deck level, but that was something else I had not got round to.   The pontoon was very busy and I had to hold off while waiting for a space and because there were more boats waiting to fuel up I had to leave as soon as I had paid.  There  was a little fishing boat behind, so I could not reverse and was worried about running into the dinghy under my bow, filling up his water containers.  They gestured it would be fine, they pushed my bow out and took the ropes off, but the rope at the back was mine and they had undone it from the boat.  I needed to keep going, but I wanted my rope, they managed to throw it on just in time.  I expect they get a lot of ropes that way.

It was 2pm by now, but I was on my way, but where to?