Sunday 18 November 2018

Las Palmas

On Thursday evening we had a great meal at a Tapas bar in Santa Cruz.  Run by a couple of old(ish) men, it was as Spanish in atmosphere as could be.  It specialised in ham with several dozen legs of Bellota Iberico ham hanging behind the bar - we had several delicious dishes and too much red wine before staggering back to the boat.  

We had decided to leave a day early as the winds looked slightly more favourable to sail on Friday rather than Saturday, so we'll have to leave our exploration on the interior of Tenerife and cycling up the volcano for another time.  The wind started off well, and we had several hours going downwind towards Gran Canaria.  It then died a little and whilst we could sail, we wouldn' t have reached Las Palmas before dark - so we put the engine on.  James and I (Rob) both felt slightly queasy in the rolling sea - could be just 1st day at sea, too much red win or the effects of a jab the day before.
Hauling up the mainsail - James v concerned

Downwind to Gran Canaria
 We rounded the north end of Gran Canaria and then motored past miles of docks and big ships.  I think West Africa is growing as an area for oil exploration and the Canaries are a stable base from which to operate - certainly there is masses of very expensive drilling and production infrastructure here

Checking in at the marina took a while - they do like their bureaucracy here - but we managed to complete formalities and moor up in time for the 1st ARC party.  Very good food and wine until the band started.  To our curmudgeonly ears they were much too loud and out of tune (humbug!) so we retired to our bunks

Yesterday, we settled in and dealt with our safety inspection.  A couple of minor points but generally all good.  We're gradually meeting more of the neighbouring crews and boats - there is such a wide variety of boats taking part from a 34ft hallberg Rassy to an 80ft (51ton!) Oyster.

Today is the "opening ceremony" - trooping round the marina grouped into countries behind a band.  Think the Olympic Opening Ceremony but 1/1000 of the scale.

When we did the ARC last time, we had a Serrano ham ( called "Babe") that fed us most of the way across.  It was greatly loved & appreciated.  After our evening in Santa Cruz, we've educated ourselves to understand that Babe was just the "entry-level" ham, and there are many grades of slightly nicer and much more expensive hams that we could get. Which sort of ham to choose?  Advice gratefully received. 

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