Two weeks before we set off for the Caribbean

Dick and Irene Craig
Sun 15 Nov 2009 15:12

Since returning to Las Palmas, the weather has not been as pleasant as it had been prior to our visit to the UK. There have been a lot of black clouds though fortunately it doesn’t last all day. It has rained most days (or nights) but during the day this has tended to be a short shower or just a few spots. Temperatures have been around 26º.

The ARC office opened at 10am on Monday, 9th November, the shuttle bus is now in operation and suddenly, it is all happening.

We have met a number of ARC participants just walking along the pontoons or to and from the ARC offices. We have renewed acquaintances with folk that we had met en-route, as each boat was making its way to Las Palmas, at the ARC sailors bar at “happy hour” where we also made new acquaintances.

Next morning I checked us in to the rally and made an appointment for a safety check for the following morning.

While I was checking us in, we received an email from our Irish crew. Sadly he was unable to join us as he was about to go into hospital for an operation that very day. His consultant told him that it would be most unwise to even think about joining us for the ARC.

We should have moved to another, smaller marina on the 9th but it didn’t happen. We did move about lunchtime the following day, as soon as Austin and his father had come aboard.

Before mooring in the new marina, it was necessary to call at the fuel pontoon to top up both fuel tanks, obtain additional fuel for the rib and replenish the gas in the empty cylinder.

A marinaro took us to our new berth which was stern to the harbour wall with long lines from the bows, to two separate buoys.

The access between the quayside and the boat leaves a great deal to be desired. We have to get into the rib, pull the rib across to the ladder in the wall and climb the ladder to reach the quayside. Even at high tide this is not going to be an easy operation.

Thank goodness that I have already purchased and stored the bulk of the non perishable provisions because to transfer these items from the quay to the boat is going to be a nightmare I don’t even want to have to think about.

Austin’s father very kindly transported our repaired foresail, rib cover and a box full of new books which had arrived from Imray, from two of the local shops to our boat, before having to leave us and get a ferry back to Tenerife. We had hoped that he was going to stay on board overnight but he had just returned from Barcelona where he had his wallet stolen, so was anxious to get home so that he could complete all the associated paperwork.

We collected our ARC polo shirts and the WARC polo shirts from the ARC shop but when we unwrapped them, back on the boat, we found that although they were all embroidered with “Tucanon”, they were also all ARC polo shirts. This wont be a problem for us as we will be able to collect replacements when we reach St. Lucia.

The major problem with access between the boat and the shore has been solved and we can now get on and off using the passerell. This is still not ideal as other than at high tide we have to navigate the passerell when it is on a slope.

There was a tapas party on the quayside the evening that we moved to the “new” marina. A DJ played music before the band arrived and after the band had departed. A few people danced to the live music which included music from the 60’s and 70’s, including Dick and myself. There were some good examples of jiving though I cannot include us within that group.

Wednesday, Austin and I booked lots of seminars for each of us, then walked to the central market and discussed our ARC order with one of the stall-holders who also gave us half a dozen plastic fruit boxes, for use on the trip.

During the afternoon Bob, who will be joining us on the WARC, visited us. He was full of cold, poor thing. His ponytail was no more. Olga and Sreco paid us a flying visit. They had to rush off to a seminar starting at 6pm, for boats that were crossing with only two people aboard.

Thursday morning was taken up by one seminar after another, held at Club Nautico. The first started at 10am and the last started at 1pm, so we stayed there for lunch before walking back to S pontoon. By an amazing coincidence, Olga and Sreco are moored on berth 25. Before we had to move our boat, we had been on 23 and 25.Almost opposite is the boat that Bob, our WARC crew, is skippering.

We touched base at both boats and then walked back towards our marina, stopping off en-route to collect items from the sail repair shop and the chandlery. Heavily laden, we continued to walk back to our boat until we saw the ARC shuttle minibus driving the opposite way. We flagged it down and the driver turned it round and drove us to our marina.

Dick and Austin took our rib to the other marina to collect from Olga and Sreco our new foresail, charts covering our passage around the world and some spare parts for the Onan generator, which they had very kindly brought from England for us, despite the bulk taking up a great deal of their very precious storage space.

That evening we went again to the ARC Sailors bar for free drinks at “happy hour”, before returning to Tucanon, quite exhausted after our very busy day.

Friday morning at 9am we were on the northern breakwater to attend a practical session on setting up a sextant then Dick and Austin replaced the anchor onto the very smart, new anchor roller support which we had made to replace the one which had been provided with the boat but which just wasn’t fit for the purpose..

Having attended the provisioning seminar yesterday, I found out that I had not micro-waved my dry goods for a sufficiently long period to kill any weevil eggs present. This I rectified.

We organized a quayside drinks party for 19.30 Friday evening. Having only fourteen catamarans in Vela Latina made it much easier to mingle with the other participants in our group.

Just before 9pm we all made our way to the party at Pueblo Canario which was hosted by the Town hall. The entertainment was both unexpected and amazing, a mini carnival. Four gymnasts performed the most incredible feats, bending their bodies in unbelievable positions. The drag queen for 2009 was in attendance with two other drag artistes, all tottering on platforms of at least 30cm high who “sang” and danced and partially stripped off their magnificent attire so that we were able to admire their semi-exposed bodies.

A band, consisting mostly of drums of different shapes and sizes, played music and the dance troupe, made up of both men and women, exotically dressed, performed for us.

Fireworks exploded in the sky above us and then, immediately in front of us, a number of fountains of white rain, erupted into the air above.

The whole fiesta had a very Caribbean flavour to it.

Saturday morning we were back at Club Nautico for the first seminar at 10am, returning to the boat after the third and last seminar that day to continue working on the boat. Then it was time to get ready for  another cocktail party, this one held on a terrace at Club Nautico.



I dont think that this is a knocking shop but a purveyor of fancy cakes

Part of the group learning how to set up their sextants