Sunday, November 22, 2009

Las Palmas, Grand Canary Island

Last weekend, Las Palmas hosted WOMAD which is a festival of music, art and dance from around the world. For 4 days, three stages featured different performances from 8 pm until 3 am in the morning (not that we old folks ever made it past midnight). Our favourite performance was a high energy group from Zimbabwe called Siyaya.

It has been rainy on and off here in Las Palmas for weeks but the other day, we had a downpour. The anchorage filled with mud and and sticks and leaves and other run off from the land. After a while, a huge slick of bunker oil (which is really thick like tar) covered the surface of the water in the anchorage and very quickly adhered to every surface including the hull of our boat, our dinghy, our anchor chain, not to mention the beach. We took the pictures shown right away but the damage actually got worse. Tthe anchorage was very rolly so as the boat rolled, the tar that was still on the surface of the water spread further up the hull of the boat, about 1 foot.

After 2 days, the oil dispersed in the anchorage (sadly it probably just washed out to sea). Steve tried many different methods to remove the tar. First he removed the thick tar with a razor blade. Then he had to wipe the hull down with bilge cleaner that has a degreaser to remove the remaining slime but the oil still left behind a yellow stain. He tried several stain removers and eventually Toboggan was as good as new.

Lucky for the port authority, the oil slick never seemed to enter the marina beside us which was at the time filled with 250 huge international yachts in addition to hundreds of local pleasure craft and fishing boats. The yachts are here for the ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers) that is scheduled to cross the Atlantic as a group leaving today. We will wait a couple of days until after the ARC leaves so that we don’t have to weave our way across the Atlantic through hundreds of boats which is especially annoying at night. (not that we could keep up with many of them that are 60 feet and more and therefore much faster than Toboggan).

It has been interesting being here in Las Palmas over the past two weeks to watch some of these gorgeous yachts arrive. There have been lots of events planned for the participants which we could only watch from afar but we did enjoy (from the comfort of our own cockpit) the demonstration that was put on by the local marine rescue service where they lowered two men and a basket from a helicopter into the water to rescue a person off a boat and lift the body back up to the helicopter. Personally, I didn’t find it that reassuring. If it looks that difficult in calm weather, I wouldn’t want to try it in rough seas. Here’s hoping for another safe and injury free passage for our last ocean crossing.

Unless something truly blog-worthy happens in the next couple of days, this will probably be our last entry until we arrive in the Caribbean just before Christmas but once we leave, you can track us daily on our website on the “Where are we page”.


Blogger Cheese said...

Fantastic adventure Steve and Nancy!
Ive followed every blog the entire journey!
Natalie and I were wondering if the two of you will be anywhere close to Lisbon around Christmas?

Dayel and Nat

11:16 PM  

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