In the last post, I introduced you to Paul and Emmy, our “crew” for the final legs of the trip to Las Palmas, Grand Canaria. The word “crew” refers to people who work on a ship (or train, or airplane, etc.). That hardly constitutes the relationship to be had among the four of us on this trip. It was a great time of working together and playing together rather than a “skipper/crew” hierarchy.
We had Emmy in the bosun’s chair to work on the SSB antenna before we headed out for our last meal in Barcelona for paella at the Barceloneta Restaurant at the end of the marina. To get to the restaurant, we had to wear these lovely orange safety vests because the marina is being remodeled. Dinner was exceptional, and with that we were ready to head off for Gibraltar.
The sailing was not be be had on the way to Gibraltar. The wind was at our nose, so we motored or motor sailed the five days, 550 miles to Gibraltar with a stop in Valencia for fuel and a quick trip to the Oceanographic museum (the largest aquarium in Europe) for Thane and Emmy and me.
On the way to Gibraltar, we did have a bit of excitement when the mainsail was stuck at the top and Thane had to be hoisted in the bosun’s chair to get it unstuck! A bit hairy while aloft, but he said he wished he had taken the camera with him because the view was fantastic!
Paul and I were on watch when we arrived at the rock of Gibraltar. It was 2:00 am with a half moon setting behind the rock. Unfortunately, the camera would not capture it, but it was magical. The trick to approaching Gibraltar is to avoid all of the large ships in the area waiting to move one direction or the other. At night, it was a bit trickier trying to distinguish which lights were on ships and which were on shore.
We had two short days in Gibraltar to make repairs and more maintenance items like washing the lines and sheets (the “ropes” that are used to direct the sails and to tie the boat to the dock for you land lubbers!) Emmy took the job on with enthusiasm!! But it was one of the more gross jobs to be done.
Our favorite eating spot and our last meal before we left for Las Palmas was at a small Indian restaurant right at the marina. So delicious that we had dinner there both nights.
We left Gibraltar for our final passage together to Las Palmas, Grand Canaria on Friday, Aug. 8th making sure to cross perpendicular to the big boats. We motored close to Morocco at a half knot with the current coming into the strait!
Paul organized the watch schedule for the both passages. It was very helpful to know when a person should be sleeping–which is whenever possible–but hard to do when a person is not tired and wants to enjoy the sun.
The most exciting part of the day when on a passage is meal time. Emmy took on the cooking because she loves it not because she was forced to as crew!! We ate very well. Here’s a shot of our first meal out of Gibraltar–swordfish with asparagus.
There was curry one night and delicious sauces and vegetables and anything else that would go in a bowl, which is the easiest way to eat while underway.
Emmy did a great job and kept us all quite full and content.
We were able to use our new parasailor for one lovely day of sailing. She has been named the “Emmy Sail” because Emmy drooled at the sight of her unfurling. Emmy is an accomplished skydiver and now an ardent sailor, which is what the Emmy Sail is: a combination of the parachute and the sail.
And of course, there are the sunsets and sunrises and moonrises while on the water 24/7. Here are a few.
After the placid days beginning this passage, the seas grew to 3 meters (approx. 9 feet between the trough and the crest of the wave), so we used jack lines whenever we were in the cockpit to secure us to the boat. A bit difficult to sleep, but we managed to keep our wits about us.
We arrived in Las Palmas, Grand Canaria around midnight on Thursday, August 14 after 6 days at sea and 700 miles.
Our time in Las Palmas has been busy again with projects and maintenance, but Thane, Emmy, and I did manage to take a day and drive to the highest point on the island–Roque Nublo–nearly 6,000 feet.
The drive up was manageable and only took a couple of hours, but we took the long route to try to get to the shore for sunset. All of those peaks and valleys in the photos of Tenerife and the castle rock, well, we took that route to the sea and were in the cliffs of insanity for two hours, did not pass one other car, and we only covered 20 miles! So many switchbacks!
Thane was concerned about gas, but the station was closed when we arrived at the closest town. Rather than staying at the one hotel in town because Thane was sure we could make the next town, Agaete, we traveled on–another 20 miles away and another route filled with switchbacks. At least there was traffic on this route and there were not as many switchbacks. The added obstacle to this route was the falling rocks along the road. We managed to hit one and, as a result, had a flat tire to change in the dark along the switchbacks.
But, the stars were magnificent, and all of the piece parts to change the tire were in the rental car. The spare was a bit low on air, but drivable. We did locate gas in Agaete and were on our way. The last twenty miles were on freeway with just three attempts to try to locate the underpass to get into the marina parking lot! It was midnight by the time we arrived–only 5 hours to get back.
Emmy knows a lot about plants and herbs and food and introduced us to the lovely dragon fruit!
Emmy left us on Tuesday, August 19.
That must mean it is time for us to get packed and ready to leave on the 21st. Paul will be staying on the boat until we return on October 28th. He’ll be making sure everything is “ship shape” and ready, and we can’t thank him enough. He’s a bit of an angel–not crew–but he won’t admit to that!
These are the adventures of Asylum, star date May 22, 2014 to August 21, 2014. When we return in October, we will be part of the ARC+ leaving November 9th for the Cape Verde Islands and then crossing to St. Lucia.That means it is time for us to get ready to leave on the 21st.
Thank you to all who have followed us on this adventure and for reading these posts! It has been a good summer, and we are excited to return to family and friends for more adventures!
Until next time,