day1 wrong way around GC

Wed 9 Dec 2015 18:27
27:55N 16:00W at 1800 local time sunset, 9th Dec

edit - lost email adresses from this compuer so email if u want a copy sorry :-)

\Morton, the long-time go-to guy in Rolnautic chandlery walks past Snap on his windswept early-morning stroll, sees me and says Hi! It’s blowing harder than I expected from the E, and still with some south. I bought him and Mike dinner last night, last-night get-together, but now he’s strongly agreeing with the vague idea that I wait and perhaps go tomorrow. So, obviously I’ll go today. I did the same out of Gib. Legend. It’ll be fine.

But I first wandered around LP looking to buy a plug-in keyboard. Mike told me directions in American with “blocks” whatever they are, no good. Time to go. I’ll type in one computer and transfer across. If you’re reading this and it has full-stops, it worked ok. Back at the marina yet another new boat has arrived, Brit crew, very pleased to be here at last.

My final job is to get the 20bucks back for the entry card things from the Marina Office. But there’s lots of people waiting and the take-a-ticket queueing system is up and running again. I’m going to be 10 places back, and theres an air of genteel state-sponsored inactivity as there always is wherever there are the ticket machines. It might seem to be “good service” but is a clear indication that the service is rubbishy slow. So I go for it straight away and say loudly to everyone that "I’ve got to go, we’re leaving right now!” - and I explain that I just need the deposit back. There’s no revolt or “oi - get in the queue” from the assembled yotties - fine, go for it.

“Going” is very big deal in boating, especially in LP. Many of the boats take weeks or months to get round to the “going” thing, and some never manage it at all. So the staff are relaxed about taking ages with the “arriving” types, but “going" gets a Code Red. At least four of the seven staff in the surely-overmanned office leap about at the urgent new situation, some typing in to one computer and shouting to others, spelling out the boat name S-N-A-P, desperate minutes checking, and they finally rush to me with the 20euros. Phew. It’s a very pressurised environment for all these marina staff “Jeez what a day I’ve had, darling, never less than 8 boats waiting and then a Code Red - a guy was going that VERY MINUTE and it was touch and go to get him his entry card deposit back…”

The Brit boat slotted in next door has a crew of six. It didn’t seem to have occurred to them that others might be doing a transat, especially not me. They help me out. Where you going? Grenada. Gosh. Where’s the crew? Just me. Jeez. Snigger.

There’s a surge at the marina exit, 20+knots from the SE and 2+m sea. So instead of the traditional route south down the E coast of Gran Canaria, I’ve turned and gone round the north coast and within 20minutes I’m in calmer water, getting blown away from the coast instead of onshore. Bit splashy to start- cos the boat is so fast - 7knots with 1800rpm.

This way around the North Coast allows me to see the spectacular NE coast from the sea for the first time. I've driven the road many times, and it’s must-do thing on Gran Canaria. In fact you might find it on Youtube - opening credits of Fast and Furious 7, the one where they sorta fill in for the late lamented Paul Walker. He died in a car accident during filming - in Porsche 9FF I think, albeit reportedly driving gently. A Porsche 9FF is what you get back when you give a tuning shop about $200k and a Porsche Turbo for parts, so "driving gently” might mean anything under 100 miles an hour. Where was I? Oh yes, sailing.

Fab views, and from the sea it’s all Moomin landscapes (remember the Moomintrolls?) with jagged peaks to 5000ft. It takes me several hours to put away the fenders cos there’s loads, and also cos I’m often sitting about lazily admiring the fabulous views, blue skies and sunshine, full sails to 8knots, very good stuff.

Still a bit cold though. Jacket needed at night. Altho it’s all relative, what you’re used to, innit? The Norwegians in one boat in LP had the aircon all day and all night - probably stifling hot for them. They also get up just as dawn breaks, and again, I suppose the glare of the sun wakes them up a lot earlier than it does in Oslo.

So, now I’m on the other side of the island and er, the wind has gone, dammit. Not such a brilliant idea perhaps - but definitely safer and comfier. Sails down, motor on. Several of you sent me texts saying how you were watching progress on AIS, which is fab and much appreciated. I thought about doing some plus and minus on the autopilot, to make it look as though I’m still sailing on AIS, good for the audience.

Some wind due any minute soon (and some diesel in the meantime ...) will help me south first for a few days, then west for a lot more days. I can waft into the night knowing that if it all goes to rats, the only danger is accidentally going up the Amazon in about three weeks. No sign of any ships or other boats at all. So no fretting ok? Mindie and others, you know who you are. Actually, it’s quite re-assuring, somehow - others getting on with the full-time task of worrying makes everything a lot easier.

I oughta mention nice texts from Sarah and others who helped when the gear was being set up. And Kate’s daughters Maddie and Jesse, who last texted a sat phone when we had the cheese jokes - thanks for the nice texts.

Kate complained that she hasn’t has much of mention yet in the blog. Most people would be quite PLEASED to stay invisible, but whatever. Kate’s in Aus, busy with stuff, and has been nattering about the STB - the Sportscar Touring Budget for perhaps zipping round New Zealand in a Mazda sometime. At the moment she’s also taking part in a video project with the local Wildlife Rangers, and maybe having second thoughts about wanting a mention in the blog... Anyway, she wants them to move or kill all the scary animals so that some youngish ducklings won’t all get eaten - and they’re one down already, plus another with a broken leg from being partly-munched by a “goanna” a 3-foot tree-climbing carnivorous reptile. Heck. The rangers say it’s gonna be rather a massive job to kill all the dangerous things in Aus and anyway, they can't whack the indigenous animals cos it’s against the law. Indigenous humans, meh.

Evening now, much calmer, too little wind means the diesel could be an issue so I’m keeping Cape Verde as an option and going SW-SSW overnight.