GRAN CANARIA TO LA PALMA
GRAN CANARIA TO LA PALMA
Saturday 21 October 2006
There was no real need to stop in Tenerife and they have been overcharging recently. I had to pay an extra €100 last time. The boat who bought my dinghy said they had tried to charge him €80 per night and he refused to pay so they called the police – who agreed with him and he paid €40. I didn’t want an argument, so I could go straight round the top and the wind would take me down and across to La Palma.
If I went down Tenerife and across to Gomera I would be facing an uphill trek to La Palma, not many boats bother with La Palma.
I had to motor, I needed to top up the batteries, so it seemed a good idea to motor for an hour, or two.
Sunday 22 October 2006
I ended up motoring or motor sailing until 6.30 the next morning when I rounded the top of Tenerife. The wind is nearly always N, NE here, but I wanted to go W and I got W wind. I sailed until 8pm, it was dark and for every mile I had gone W I had also gone N until I was just about to go off the top of the chart – and monsters live off the edge of the chart. If I wanted to get to La Palma in 2 days then I would have to motor. I could take 3 days, but there were a couple of DSC warnings and I could not get enough reception from those or the weather broadcasts to work out if they were navigational or gale warnings; or if it was Las Palmas and La Palma. I thought that I could motor through the night and sail tomorrow. 10pm and the motor was running very rough. Wide open throttle and it couldn’t keep 1000 rpm and 10.30 I had to turn it off.
I checked the easy things, air, battery, oil, water; it wasn’t those. That left fuel, which was what I was worried about – that is why there were new fuel filters on the side by the engine, but I didn’t want to change them at sea. Was I going to be stuck in a gale with no radio reception and no engine and an unfriendly coast?
I had to attack the pre-fuel filter and head down in the engine in a big swell is not much fun, in fact it is no fun at all. I did as little as possible and did enough to think it would go ok for a while. It seemed to run ok, certainly a lot better, so off we went again. I was tidy until I had to get to the engine and move all the stuff in the way in the back cabin, and to the tool locker and the spares locker in the saloon and now it was all a mess.
Monday 23 October 2006
I am usually quite happy in a swell, even a big one if it is sensible, but this was the annoying type when everything over there ends up over here and then goes back over there. I really was not in the mood for this and if I got a gale with all these things out of place I was going to be very hacked off. Obviously the thing to do was to tidy up, but it was 2am and only a gale would have made me bother. I left the engine on in the morning to finish all the diesel and get to Santa Cruz, La Palma.
It was a nice morning and I tidied up and about 17 miles out started to get the boat ready for berthing – 4.5 hours to go. Sailing ropes away, fenders ready, ropes for bows to, stern to, port side to, starboard side to, spare ropes for each side and an extra one – just in case. So with about 2.5 hours to go I was ready with nothing to do except top up my tan and nothing to worry about except where to tuck my MP3 player. I finished the diesel in the main tank and had to turn on the auxilliary for a bit and then back to the main tank. I converted the back water tank to a second diesel tank in March and when I use the auxilliary tank the unused fuel drops back into the main tank. It is really odd to start with half a tank, motor along for hours and end up with a full tank – which is how the main tank was contaminated from the fuel from the other tank.
I was outside the breakwater and with about a mile to go I dropped the fenders down, but one I actually dropped - Man overboard practice. There was a strong current running down from the top of the island and I couldn’t wrap the rope round the boathook, it kept slipping away before I could grab it, but on the third attempt I managed to get a loop. The fender was shaken, but unhurt.
I got in at 1.30pm – thus ending 2 weeks not attached to a pontoon, either sailing or anchored. Gradually pushing my horizons.
I decided this would be a good time to change the oil and filter, to get the oil out while it was still warm would be easier. I make rather a mess, so I decided to do the lot – oil and filter, reverse gear oil, coolant, fuel filters, water filter, air filter, alternator belt, impeller and grease the prop shaft seal. It was nearly dark by the time I had finished and I realised my electric lead would not reach the nearest point, even with the extension lead. I had to go many pods up the pontoon, so Jim, who remembers me from Portugal, lent me his extension lead and made me a cup of tea. I had a shower and went to bed exhausted.