It's a rocky road to Las Palmas

Paul Huntley
Sun 26 Oct 2008 19:31

28:07.71N 15:25.55W

Our stay in Lanzarote has been a pleasant rest after the passage from Lagos; the Marina Rubicon to the south of the island offers a warm welcome and excellent facilities. The problem with the raw water pump was resolved at sea by fitting the spare but, we now seemed to be filling the bilges at a rapid pace, whilst Ben and Debra went out to sample the delights of the local area Bob and I lifted all the floor boards from stem to stern checking all the sea cocks on the way in an attempt to find out where this water might be coming from. After a very hot and sweaty day we were no nearer an explanation. I service both bilge pumps replacing the filters with new and cleaning the grey and sea water bilges. The only explanation was that the pressurised fresh water system could be pumping directly in to the bilges.

We decided that Las Palmas could wait another day and enjoyed a visit to the local resort of Villa Blanca a mile or so from the marina. After a "full monty"breakfast,(yes they know how to look after the British tourist) we took a stroll along the coast path with a strong northerly wind whipping up white horses out at sea. after morning coffee followed by lunch we made our way back to Libertad.

The passage plan indicates a sixteen hour passage to Las Palmas and as always we try to time our arrival in daylight to negotiate the port of entry.Ben and Debra did the shopping and cut the sandwiches for the night watches,Bob has a final check of the weather, logging on to Magic Seaweed, an internet site, to tell us we should expect northerly/north westerly 4/5 with a 1:5 mt swell.

Friday 24th October we single up and let go the lines at 16:30 clearing the harbour entrance within a few minutes, the sea is flat calm under the lee of this mountainous island of Lanzarote but the wind is fluctuating from 15 to 25 knots and the direction variable due to the acceleration effect of this island land mass.

We set sail with a double reefed main and Genoa on a course of 248 deg magi to Las Palmas.

Clearing the south western tip of Lanzarote the seas build to a 2/3 metre swell topped off with the 5/6 north western. we are racing along at more than 7 knots over the ground with an uncomfortable sea on the starboard quarter, the boat runs off the wave tops with ease and Libertad is in her element, we, however find the motion less than comfortable.

Dusk in these latitudes is short with darkness descending in a few minutes, unlike the passage from Lagos the moon is new and doesn’t show his face until an hour before dawn, so the twelve hours of darkness on a moderate to rough sea and a moonless night make the four hour night watches seem very long.

Our average speed has been in excess of seven knots and Bob wakes me from a fitful sleep off watch with the lights of Las Palmas, Gran Canaria on the horizon.

Saturday 25th October

Daylight is still four hours away so we slow the boat down in moderating wind and seas to enter the main harbour of Las Palmas in the light. Dawn seems reluctant to break with black storm clouds racing down from the north to give a shower of rain as we enter the harbour.

The marina entrance in true Spanish style has two lights at its entrance both red! Check the pilot to make quite sure that is correct and calls the marina on ch 9 for a berth, it is still early so we creep in and go alongside the reception berth. We decide to catch up on lost sleep and take to our bunks for an hour or so to be a rude awakening at 09:30 with a French yacht coming alongside.

I clear in with all the all the ships papers and we are allocate the berth on pontoon 17. We decide to bunker fuel before mooring up to save moving the boat later.

With the aid of the harbour master we go bow on with stern lines to the pontoon. The boat is beginning to smell so we all set too and give her a spruce up above and below decks, with the hatches open and a bit of elbow grease from her crew she soon smells a lot sweeter.

Ben and Debra set off to explore Las Palmas leaving Bob and I to a well earned sleep.

Sunday 26th October HAPPY BIRTHDAY BOB.

Sunday is traditionally the day of rest and it is also Bob's birthday he tells me he was born in 1957! He must of had a hard life, I took him a cup of tea in bed, and he unwrapped his present from Lynne, one of his favourite CD's followed by a phone call from home wishing him a happy birthday.

Bob and I plan a day of sightseeing in the city, the clocks went back last night, and we found everything shut. Finding a small cafe serving freshly squeezed orange juice and toasted cheese and ham rolls on the Playa de Pateros, we sit in warm sunshine at a pavement table feeling suitably encouraged for the start of the day.

Las Palmas cannot be described as a beautiful city, the construction of high rise buildings dating from the 60's and 70's. We set off in search of the main square in the older part of town meeting up with Ben and Debra to share a coffee and read the English papers telling us of the financial meltdown around the world. All the news is doom and gloom, forecasting a recession in the U.K. that may rumble on for years.

Setting off once more we discover the beach area, and enjoy lunch watching the locals sunbathing in 25deg C sunshine, this seems to lighten our mood.

We will be going back  to England on Wednesday 29th at midnight (thanks for the lift home Corrie)for a few days to catch up on a bit of work, returning on the 10th November to prepare the boat in readiness for the the crew of three arriving the following week.

We sail for St Lucia on the 23rd November in company with many other yachts of all nationalities (our neighbours are both Norwegian) 

Monday 27th October 

Will endeavour to get the original water pump rebuilt by Volvo in Las Palmas to keep as a spare and hunt for the leak once more checking the fresh water system.  .     

Best wishes to all you blog watchers Paul.