I spent a few days on the anchorage while my crew mustered off (hat abgemustert) to pursue their own itinerary. Because a storm was forecasted and the ground of the anchorage had not a good reputation for its holding character in storms I asked in the marina despite it was still full with boats waiting and preparing for the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC). And luckily I got a nice berth in the central area of the marina.
Anyway, these days before the ARC were really crazy. People everywhere, queues in the chandlery, in the toilet and showers, everyday more people arriving by plane or boat, the bars packed with people. But I had planned to be here because I wanted Jörg Drexhagen of Yachtfunk.de to take a look onto my SSB. It took a few days until he came on board. Meanwhile I was reading the ads of people wanting to crew on a boat that crosses the Atlantic. I hadn´t tied the last knot of my mooring lines and already people came along the pontoon and asking whether I need crew. I answered yes I need but only for January. For most of them that was not interesting at this moment but this way I met some really nice and lovely people. And also old aquaintences arrived with their boats from the various surrounding islands like Fuerteventura and also Madeira. E.g. Makara who had left Madeira with us but had spent a week on Tenerife or Trude who had left Cascais with us.
Checking the SSB
Ok, I had Jörg on board and after looking and checking and doing some tests with whistling into the handset of the SSB-radio he said that the ground of the system is not good enough and that I should paint the bilge with copper paint he is usually selling but he was out of stock, that the radio is transmitting with only 50% of its capacity because it is built this way and that I need 3 to 4 stand offs for the antenna cable which I could buy from him for 25 Euros per piece. For a better ground he offered me to buy as a makeshift for 180 Euros three cables I should lay along the bilge. He also took a look at my VHF-radio and said that it is sending only with a fraction of its normal transmission power and that I should better exchange the decades old Danish VHF for a modern one. The analysis of the two radios cost me 50 Euros.
I at least ordered a new VHF in Bremen at SVB which was sent to Leo in Hamburg because he was coming to visit me that coming week.
When he arrived the weather was quite bad so we spent the first day to install the VHF which all in all was not a difficult job. So now I have a proper DSC device and we even managed to connect it to the GPS so that it also transmits the position in case of an emergency.
Sailing to the south of Gran Canaria
The next day the ARC had its start and after we had seen off some boats who I had met, like the boat and same skipper I sailed the ARC two years ago, we also set sails to sail just 9 miles south to Taliarte. We arrived there a little after dark. I knew from the hand book that they had no facilities for visiting yachts but we saw a nice swimming pontoon where we moored. But instantly a security guard showed up and told us in Spanish that we should leave and go to Las Palmas. We asked why we could not stay there and he said very excited and determined that the pontoon belonged to the city council and nobody was allowed to moor there. When we did not immediatly showed a will to leave he asked us for our papers. The problem was that the pontoon had no connection to the land so we could not just hand him our papers. He then told us to come with the boat to the quay wall. I did not like that idea at all because the wall was made for fishing boats with big dirty tires as fendrs, rusty chains and bollards big as our boat. And even worse the wall had an edge jumping back almost exactly at the height of our deck and there was still some swell in the harbour. With fenders hanging quite high we could just avoid the boat being pushed against this edge. This was the situation at low water so after a while the water had risen and the edge was no problem any more. But due to the swell the boat was still moving forward and backward a lot and I was all the time afraid of it hitting the really horrible looking wall. At low tide it was so high and no ladder anywhere we had to build a rope ladder from some lines to get onto the quay to give the guard our papers. He drove away with them and came back 10 minutes later. He handed us our papers back and said we could stay for one night.
Ok, „thank you“ we thought (and some more things I will not write here) and so we stayed. We cooked a simple pasta dinner.
In the middle of the night I woke up at high water although I had not set my alarm clock. I checked the mooring lines and the fenders, adjusted their height a little bit but overall everything was fine. Now at high water it was no problem to reach the quay, I could step down from the deck onto it.
The next morning after breakfeast we set sail, just the genoa, and sailed in a beautiful downwind course to Posito Blanco. The wind was blowing with force 6 but only until a certain point where many wind mills were installed.
Beyond that point the wind had almost completely died and we even had to tack (Kreuzen) the last few miles.
Posito Blanco is a yacht harbour next to a golf course in the middle of nowhere. When we moored at the reception quay Senem and Didem, two Turkish women from Istanbul, who were looking for a boat to cross the ocean and who I had met in Las Palmas, visited us and we walked to Maspalomas, a well known big holiday place with only hotels and holiday apartments but it has a wonderful beach with big sand dunes.
We admired the sunset and went to one of the many restaurants there. They had to go back to their hosts and Leo and I sailed the next day to the just 6nm distant Puerto Rico. A place even more purpose developed for tourists. It was a beautiful sail, no ocean swell, bright sunshine and a light breeze. We had beer on the beach and afterwards checked the bars out. It was off season so in most bars were not many guests, only in the Rock´n Roll bar were many people. We got ourselves a beer and because it was still early in the evening, we sat at a table with anti-slip stainless steel sheet metal as cover. I found that strange but took it as just a design item. But not long after I had put my glass onto this surface a waiter came and politely asked me to put the glass in the Rinne that was on each side. I did not understand why but did as I was told. Not long after Leo had come back from the toilet we learned why. One of the body builder shaped waiters jumped onto the table and started to dance. Immediatly several short skirted and high heeled girls jumped onto the table as well, now dancing right in front of us with skirts short that you could see almost everything.
Aha, we thought, are we men supposed to dance there as well? At least for me it would have been a bit difficult, because the beams of the ceiling were so low, that I constantly would have hit my head.
Anyway, after a while this dancing was over and because it had gotten late, we drunk and we wanted to sail 40nm miles back to Las Palmas the next day we went to sleep.
The next morning we found much better wind then forecasted meaning we had the wind from the back almost all the way up the coast. One hour before sunset the wind died and came back very weak from ahead so for the last 8 nm we turned the engine on because we wanted to be in the harbour at a reasonable time.
Back in Las Palmas
The next day the skipper of the German catamaran Cayluna celebrated his birthday and had invited us among other German sailors to the Asian restaurant Wok in the El Muelle shopping centre near the cruise ship terminal. It was really excellent all-you-can eat-buffet where you could choose also raw meat and sea food and get it cooked in front of your eyes in the kitchen. Especially the meat was excellent, seldom found in restaurants.
The next day, Saturday, Leo and I went to the Las Arenas beach on the west coast of Las Palmas to watch the high waves because a storm was blowing like it had not for ten years the people said. The beach was closed for swimming and we were hiding behind a corner of a house for not to be hit by the rain and wind and in the evening we went out dancing with Senem and Didem. The next day, Sunday, Leo already had to fly back home.
The following days I spent with working on the boat and with Senem and Didem and their skipper and his first mate, because they had meanwhile found a boat. They left on 6. December and hopefully they have a safe journey.
New try to fix the SSB
So, after everybody had left I was able to concentrate again more on my boat. I called an old German guy to look once more into my SSB. He was the first one to examine the machine in a way I thought it should be done. I brought a device with him to measure the sending signal and the reflected signal, which tells how good the radio is working. He said the antenna tuner was ok, but that the radio had a problem and he took it with him. When he brought it back he was very pleased with its function. But he said as well as others before that I have to improve the ground of the antenna. For that we went to a shop to get 3,5sqm of copper foil I put into the bilge, soldered the stripes together (die Blechstreifen zusammenlöten) and he also wants to make me a new antenna because the thing also did not work properly.