Our time in Las Palmas came to a close with final good-byes and preparations to leave the marina for a ship is meant to be at sea. We bid farewell to Chris from England, our neighbor for the past months.
Paul had made fast friends with the family on Cygnus Pena from Denmark, and it did not take long to see why. Alice and Carsten are fun-loving and a wonderful family with Malou and Camille. Perhaps we shall cross paths when they complete the ARC leaving for St. Lucia on Nov. 23rd. Meeting great people, for even the briefest of moments, and having to say good-bye so soon, is the difficult part of this cruising life. We take heart in the possibility that we may meet again for the world is round. And as Paul always says, “’Til our next hello.”
The start of the rally was lively as was the sea-state. Because the rally is for fun and not, technically, “a race,” there was not quite as much of a charge for the start, but still a good effort by many to cross the line in good time.
As the day progressed, we saw fewer and fewer boats. At night it was easier to spot boats nearby from the lights at the top of the mast, but eventually, there were no lights to be seen, and we were on our own.
We started the rally with our two sails wing-to wing. On the second day when the winds calmed a bit, it was time to set up the Parasailor—the Emmy sail–named for our friend and crew from Barcelona to Las Palmas who is an avid sky-diver and a newcomer to sailing but is already known as “Captain One-Tack.” The first time running the lines for the sail are always a bit of a brain-bender. It took us an hour to make sure we had all of the lines ready, but we were assured of success because all the while we were at the bow working to set up the sail, we had dolphins with us—perhaps cheering us on! “Emmy” did not disappoint. She was up for most of the trip and helped smooth the ride. While “Emmy” speeds us through the waves, our Amp Air “Paul” creates energy to keep us going. We named the Amp Air after our friend Paul, who lovingly took care of so many details on Asylum while we were back in SD during September and October. The Amp Air is a three-foot shaft with a small propeller at the end attached to 100 feet of line. The line is then attached to a generator tied to the boat. The propeller on the shaft turns the line which turns the generator which creates power that keeps our batteries working well without needing to use diesel to charge them. Paul took care of so many things for us while we were gone that we were able to concentrate on getting ourselves prepared for the trip instead of using our “diesel” to get the boat ready for the trip. He used a lot of energy on our behalf, and we like having him still “on board.”
At night, after another gorgeous sunset, we decide who is the least tired for the first watch of the night. It’s dark rather early, around 7:00 pm, and a full 12 hours before the sun peaks over the horizon. Everything feels a bit faster in the dark even though the wind instruments indicate we are getting the same speed of wind as we were in the daylight! Fortunately, we had a waning moon to help us see through the long night watches. We spend our time reading books on the Nook or the iPad, watching movies on the computer, or playing games on the iPad in order to stay alert and check for boats on the horizon or chafe on the lines. Sleeping can be difficult if the seas are rolly, but sleep comes when one becomes tired enough to sleep through anything.
After six days, we crossed the finish line in Mindelo on the island of Sao Vincente, Cape Verde around 7:00 pm on Saturday night and enjoyed a nice, long sleep! With only a couple of days to explore the island, fix whatever needed fixing, and prepare to leave again on Wed., the 19th, we were busy. ARC+ had fortunately scheduled a half-day tour of the island so we were sure to not miss the experience because of our collective “to-do” lists. The tour took us to the top of the highest point on the island and down to two beautiful beaches. We were introduced to the local grog (rum) of the island and finished the day with a beach bar-b-que and swim in the surf.
Even though we are all busy, there is still time to gather with new friends and learn new things. Our German friends, Sebastian and Mike (Mi-ke) on “Meise” introduced us to a new way of experiencing Jagemeister shots. Just wear the cap on your nose and tilt your head back! Great fun! After drinks on board Meise, we went to dinner with Sebastian and Mike, Ron and Inneka, originally from the Netherlands and now living aboard “Lily,” and Kathy and Russell from New Zealand on “Oynas.” Great conversations with much laughter.
On Tuesday, it was time to re-provision with fresh fruits and vegetables. We have a small freezer on board and had stocked up on meats in Las Palmas. Shopping the local markets is always and experience with so many vendors selling the same produce—which one do you choose? The fish market was a similar experience. Even though we had plenty of protein stashed in the freezer, when fresh tuna is available, one must buy. We purchased 2 Kilos of tuna for 4 Euros= 4.4 pounds of tuna for about $6! I could not pass it up. We opted not to buy any eel, however.
We were led to the ARC+ farewell party by a terrific drum line and dancers. After the prizes were awarded for the first three places in each division, we were treated to a local dish, “cachula” of beans and meat and fish. Off to bed and our full night of rest for awhile!
The second leg begins at 1:00 pm on Wednesday, Nov. 19th. Time to get ready to go.
We should be in St. Lucia by Dec. 6th or 7th–the culmination of years of planning and preparing.
Almost time to start dreaming of the next adventure—almost–but, we’ll be sure to enjoy the fulfillment of this goal first!
Next stop, Rodney Bay, St. Lucia in 2100 miles.
Until our next hello–