Las Palmas to the UK

Dick and Irene Craig
Sun 8 Nov 2009 18:45

We had coffee in the Sailors bar while waiting for the taxi to collect us and take us to the airport.

The flight was on time and uneventful and the hire car was brand new.

We journeyed from Gatwick to Essex, to spend some time with my mother prior to setting forth on our big adventure.

While in the UK we managed also to spend the weekend with our son and his family who live in Hampshire.

Ed is really busy with lots of demand on his time to DJ at gigs all over the country. However, although he was not around during the evening, his lovely wife was the perfect hostess, despite being 36months pregnant with a very demanding three year old, who doesn’t know the meaning of sleep and is on the go fourteen or fifteen hours a day.

We all visited a butterfly farm and admired the beautiful, enormous butterflies before succumbing to the demands of our grandson and playing a round of crazy golf.

After golf, we walked around the enclosure viewing the various pets which had been rescued. These included several iguanas, boa constrictor, an assortment of exotic birds including an owl, tortoises, guinea pigs, rabbits, chickens, ducks, goats, plus many more. All were in excellent condition despite mainly being in cages.

On the morning that we were planning to visit the butterflies, we had a puncture in the rear, nearside tyre. The total mileage on the car read just over 500 miles. Fortunately, we had arranged excess car insurance, so apart from having to get the tyre replaced and completing some insurance forms, we were able to forget about the inconvenience.

We haven’t always taken out additional insurance when hiring a car but from experience have found that if we do have any sort of accident, whether it is our fault or not, regardless of the cost of the repair, we lose all of the agreed excess unless we chase up the insurance company of the person that inflicted the damage. This is not a simple option when we are cruising, especially when we don’t have easy access to the www.

On the night of Halloween, a pumpkin, which had been hollowed out, with a face carved into it, was left outside the front door, illuminated with a burning candle. This must have been the sign that this house would welcome “trick or treat” callers.

From very early evening until 8pm, the doorbell hardly stopped ringing. Our grandson would shriek with delight and rush to the door, carrying small, orange buckets, filled with all sorts or treats.

While in the UK, the sun shone most days and the temperature remained well above the norm for this time of the year. Nonetheless, not having appropriate clothes for cooler climes, I did feel cold on a number of occasions.

The flight back to Las Palmas was without incident although the female attendant at the Easy Jet check-in would have benefited by attending a course on customer service. Even a smile might have softened her extremely curt, almost rude, manner.

We deposited our luggage inside the boat, had a relaxing drink and went out to find a local restaurant for a meal. Although we were almost pounding on the doors when they opened at 8pm, we had difficulty in obtaining a table for two. The restaurant was fully booked. Promising not to linger, we were shown to a table for two and ate an unhurried Andulician style meal. It was delicious and we will not hesitate to return there again.

When we left Las Palmas on the 26th October, there were around fifty boats at anchor in the bay next to the marina. This number was still about the same. However, when we left there were around fifteen boats in the marina with ARC flags flying from their masts. On our return on the 6th of November, there were at least forty five boats flying the ARC flag.

The catamaran opposite which was planning to leave the marina November 1st, was still there. This is the boat that is going to sail to Brazil, the one with eight children aboard. Apparently, they had delayed their departure because there were five metre waves outside the marina and the father/captain didn’t want to expose his children to such a big sea, at the outset of the journey.

On Saturday we queued for half an hour at the Vodaphone department in El Corte Ingles. All existing Spanish mobile phones have to be registered by November 8th or the number will be lost.

We had tried to resister our mobile October 23rd and 24th but on both occasions the system was not functioning. We had no alternative but to take our chances when we returned from the UK.

With only one girl, dealing inexpertly with the lengthy queue, we left and made our way to a Vodaphone shop located several hundred metres further along the street. We joined the queue. At least there were two people in attendance here as well as a security guard. He must have been standing by in an attempt to control agitated mobile phone owners, should the lengthy wait cause the frustration to become violent.

The new stainless steel support for the anchor roller had been fitted while we were away and the waterproof cover at the back of the bimini has been made. This will protect us from getting wet from the following squalls. The padding on the davits to protect the rib and the davits from chaffing is in place. The fibre-glass repairs have been made but not yet completed.

Dick is busy installing the new aerial for another VHF radio. This is in the event that we lose the existing VHF facilities. Hopefully it will never have to be used.

I have started to prepare meals for the freezer. I have already weighed the flour and packed it into two different size bags, one for making individual loaves, the other for making pizzas.

Jerry the rigger has been and checked the rigging. He told me that about half of the boats which will participate in the ARC this year, have already arrived.

Tomorrow the ARC office will open and things will really get busy.



Just a few of the many boats which have arrived to particpate in ARC 2009

A closer shot of the ARC flag.....taken from the wrong side.