ARC – ready to go!

Hi everybody,

sorry to have left you without news for these days. No news, but full of events! As you can guess preparing the boat to go takes always more time than what we thought, especially when you start extra job thinking you have enough time.

Biggest update, we are not leaving today, but probably Tuesday. This is because the trade winds are not here and instead we got two low pressure systems; one at the North and one who should appear further West on Monday or Tuesday. For those who are reading this and are not meteorologists, this means strong winds against us and 5 to 6 meter waves on the beam. So the ARC organization postponed the start to Tuesday apart for the racing division. So today we said goodbye to our Graciosero friend Felice who left on board “Tyke”, a racing Italian yacht of 62 feet. Little anecdote: imagine the difference between an all German crew leaving the harbor and an all Italian crew. We found out that the stereotypes can be verified; the Germans left an hour early with Wagner music, all standing well straight with the flags up and everything, on the other hand the Italians left an hour late running around the boat to finish all the jobs (filling up the tanks with water, sorting out the ropes etc) but still finding the time to smoke and drink coffees… These guys preferred “Volare” to the “Valkyrie” as hymn…

The “Tyke” crew fending off their way out the mooring with our friend Felice on board as skipper

Coming back to the preparation of our boat, the main big job was getting all the food on board. Sara planed our menu for 20 days, we gave a couple of ideas of meal and breakfast as well, counted down exactly how many potatoes, flower, eggs etc we needed. With Rocio they went to the different shops and markets around town, running everywhere, trying to make sure the delivery would get on time and so on! Hopefully Rocio could translate everything and that proved very useful as almost no Canarians speak English and vice-versa. In the meantime onboard, James and Gaspar kept themselves busy with sanding, painting, cleaning and many other little jobs while armies of little blond heads (our three plus their friends) and dogs jumping on and off the boat…

The fresh food finally arrived!

With the arrival of all the food, the job is far from finished! Everything must be cleaned, taken out their packaging and labeled. Indeed it is not uncommon to see a little cockroach having a walk around the harbor, and we do not want any of them on board during the crossing… For this we had to count on the help of the kids;

Tin labelling

And once all of these jobs seemed on a good way thanks to the help of everyone, an underlying matter came up to surface; the ARC severity about security! We had a liferaft for 6 people, and with the kids we are 7! Having spoken about it in us four we decided it was ok as long as we kept some reserve water close from the liferaft to be taken if we have to evacuate. But the ARC organization was not of the same advice; on Friday they announced that if we did not find a solution we could not do the ARC. It is after many calls all over the island that Rocio found us a four person liferaft that we are now carrying in extra.

But that is only the stressful and busy aspect of the ARC preparation, the other aspect of course is all the free drinks and party organized every evening! Who says free? Here we are! These drinks called “Sundowner” start every day at 18:30 until 20:00, they were the occasion to make friends and meet old friends. Most of the guys and girls we have met are in the same situation as us; came looking for a boat and found a ride on the ARC, amongst them many Italians all speaking Spanish and English. Our most memorable party remains the fancy dress party. We made bear masks and costumes for the crew and went dancing dressed up in bear. There were prizes for the best fancy dress and honestly Gaspar thought we should have won all of them; best little boy for Harry, best little girl for Thea, best couple for either James and Sara either Gaspar and Rocio and best crew for Intrepid Bear, but unfortunately someone probably paid a lot of money to steal us the price!

So many things to say, that we forget to tell you; Thomas finally arrived! We came on board and met his crew for the delivery. One thing marked us especially about this “italian job”; the omnipresence of money, bling-bling and argue… It looked like to us that some might forget after all why they go sailing, or at least why we go sailing; for the pleasure to be on the water. But well, I guess that when the boat owner pays 800 euros for a night and pays his crew members accordingly, all these considerations disappear… Anyway, first confrontation for us with the “bling-bling” world of sailing, and if we want to get back from Caribbean rich we better get used to it.

The last good surprise was to see Petxexe and Gon (Rocio´s parents) in Las Palmas for these last three days. They came for their dose of sun and Rocio´s kisses. That was the occasion to exchange our old computer, give most of the aquarellas to Petxexe, speak of boats and surf and make a couple of pictures;

The Gandarias Albaina, but where is Lutxi-Putxi?

Finally we are enjoying or last days here; all our friend from la Graciosa came by boat and it is a pleasure to see them again. Tonight babysitting; pasta and crumble, and family Adams! But still, we can´t wait to be out there!

Besos a todos, next post when we get to Santa Lucia. We´ll keep our log book during the crossing so that you will not miss any detail of the adventure; tuna fishing, games with kids, squalls, stars and paintings. You can follow our trip via the tracker on http://www.worldcruisingclub.com, we might even manage to post some short comments there, so watch out for Intrepid Bear!

LITLE UPDATE: we just wanted to show you la vela latina. These are the tradiotional sailing boats of Las Palmas. They used these boats in the old days to unload cargo from the ships to land. Nowadays they are raced hardcore by teams of professionals. We had the occasion to sail on one of their smaller training boats;

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In Las Palmas, sin noticias de Thomas

We arrived on the 14th in the beginning of the afternoon at the mooring of Las Palmas. To get there we took 28 hours of sailing on board “Rêves de Jour” with the “Triple A”. The weather was kind to us as we sailed downwind with a moderate swell on the beam and 15 knots of wind. RDJ propelled us at its favorite 4 to 5 knots pace. Genoa and main up, we rolled our way observing Lanzarote and la Graciosa disappearing slowly, very slowly.

The “Triple A” (Antoine, Antoine and Arthur) shared their boat, food, night watches, fishing gear, books and many more things with great pleasure. It is amazing to see how they are living their adventure; little money, big project and apparently, not one argue in between them since the start! When you are three friends of 22 years old I find that quite impressive. The boat is clearly home-made, has nothing to do with Intrepid Bear, but still has its charm; wooden interior, poster of Corto Maltese (as well as all the books), huge library, music instruments, wooden barrel, dodgy toilet and prehistoric VHF live there in harmony next to the macbook and the second computer that they use for navigation. No autopilot on board, the self-steering wind vane needs to be fixed, so we helmed all the way. After Intrepid Bear and almost five full days under auto-pilot, that makes you feel a bit more like the adventurer of the beginning of the century.

Gaspar in the aft bunk after a good Corto Maltese session

Antoine does the inventory of “Paté Hénaff”, things you can’t find in Senegal where they are heading!

The moment we feared the most was disembarking with the dinghy and our bags, Carmen and Roberto… Luckily, the dinghy did not have a hole in the chambers, the pump was inflating, even the outboard engine started! (we start to think that we have infinite luck after that…). In Las Palmas, we discovered the huge marina, packed with yachts way over 40 ft, yachtmen, a highway between the marina and the town, ferries, containers, naval ships… it was hard for us to withstand this contrast with our little paradise, la Graciosa…

The harbour of Las Palmas

Tired and with our bag packs, we looked for Thomas who is skipper on board a 64 footer yacht and promised us to host on board while the owner is away… With no news of him, we were not sure whether or not he arrived yet (the last news were 7 or 8 days ago saying he was still in Palma de Mallorca). After shouting the name “Thomas” to every big yacht over 60 ft (we still don’t know the name of his boat), we did not find him and the “Triple A” hosted us one more night.

But our luck was not all gone! Walking around the marina, we bumped into “Pato”, another of Gonzalo’s friend! His wife rents apartments and found us one in less than an hour.Taking hot shower was delicious after two weeks of hose cleaning… (cold water and wind… you don’t stay too long in the shower with that…)

The rest of our time here so far was spent in preparation of Intrepid Bear, trying to get Harry to speak to us again, drinking all the free drinks we could and meeting plenty of sailors. Finally we’d like to advice to anyone who thinks about boat-stopping to find one before coming here. Indeed the pontoons are packed with guys looking for a boat, most of the owners get fed up with it. Nowadays we think that internet is the best solution for that.

All the best to you, BIG KISSES

PS: Gaspar really wants to show you a picture of Rocio guapa

Rocio in what she called “my beach” in La Graciosa

Our friends we’ll miss the most from la Graciosa; Pato Negro y Pato Blanco

13 martes…

…ni te cases ni te embarques (don’t get married and don’t go sailing)

Not taking care of this “bad luck” day that Spanish have decided to set on Tuesday the 13th we are departing to Las Palmas tomorrow, 13th of November. We are leaving La Graciosa in the home made yellow boat that we showed on our last post, since team “Triple A” have invited us to do the trip with them.

We depart from this little paradise with a mix of feelings, the sadness of leaving a wonderful place and a bunch of interesting people on one side and the excitation of the upcoming trip on the other! After all, if none of these people we met in the pontoon of La Graciosa would move from here from time to time, they would not have this many stories to tell. so we feel like it is time to move on.

The forecast is North-Northeast, 15 knots, dropping slightly on Wednesday so we hope to do the 120 miles in between La Graciosa and Las Palmas in about 24 hours, though who knows on such a racing boat! We will go on a mooring and will have to get to the city in the dinghy with all our bags, it is going to be interesting!

We leave you with the sunset in La Graciosa:

Sunset in La Graciosa

Briefing before sailing on board RDJ

See you soon Las Palmas!

Gros bisous!