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Sailing Letter August 2015

September 7, 2015

We have spent almost all of August in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, and we will stay here until Sept.21, when we will move to Lanzarote to wait for right time to sail to Cape Verde. The time has been spent with boat projects, jogging and nice walks in the city and meeting nice people.

Our Spanish is improving, we use as much words as we know and then it is hands and feet. Could be rather funny, as when I had to buy soil for our herbs and asked if the soil I had was the correct one for the purpose: este (point at the package) por este (point at the flower)? What I got back was a lot of explanation I did not understand so the man in the shop led me back to the packages and talked even more. After a while the word nutrición came out and then I understood. They had soil with or without nutrition (or fertilizer). Happy I went home with what I needed.

We had similar experience with the engine repair: Peter had prepared with google translate and the useful book we bought, “Spanish for sailors”. The engine man was patient and said everything 4 times with different words, looking us in the eyes until he was sure we had understood.

The Spanish people we have met are happy that we try to speak Spanish and they correct sometimes and give us the words we don’t know. I think language is an underestimated “problem” when sailing. We are so used to the thought that English will be understood everywhere, but in Spain, outside tourist areas, not many people speak or understand other languages than their own, which by the way is one of the world’s major languages. Google translate is fantastic, we use it when looking at TV programs to learn more words, but you need internet connection. Normally you cannot afford to use your phone like that in your daily business abroad.

During our stay here in Las Palmas, we started to run low on cooking gas. Last time we got the bottle refilled was in Madeira, 3months ago. Our bottle is a Swedish standard, not used anywhere else so exchange bottles is not an option, but there is a gas station in the nearby village, that refill bottles. Peter got a lift with our friendly neighbor, so off he went with a happy smile. He was not happy coming back. We had been very careful, leaving Sweden, picking the best bottles with a late pressure test date label. That turned out to be of no value since the production date (1987) was the important one. Here in Spain they do not fill that old bottles, tested or not. We will have to manage with camping gas bottles from the grill until we reach Cape Verde. There and further west we will be able to refill our bigger bottles again.

The next (and last) weeks in this marina we will keep on with our projects ensuring that the Iridium system works and that we have all spare parts we need before leaving this excellent place. However, we are looking forward to moving on. First to Lanzarote with some anchoring on the way to clear the hull. Then the first bigger jump for us to Cape Verde. Interesting to learn how it works with a longer trip: how to stock up on food, will we be able to cook in a good way, sleeping possibilities and if the Iridium system give us the possibility to download the weather forecasts that we need.

Boat projects

  • All winches have now covers to protect from dust
  • Engine overhaul in search for the strange noise: it was a leaking gasket
  • All portholes and skylights have been checked and polished
  • We have installed a satellite phone (iridium)

Nature

  • Staying in the marina it is natural that you don’t see much nature. However we have learnt that in these islands there are less variety of birds, few mammals etc, due to the distance to land and the dry climate.
  • The city is kept very clean so we don’t even see mice or cockroaches (only one or two) which we specifically appreciate.
  • Some stray cats, but not as many as we have seen elsewhere
  • The nature onboard is happy. The Rosemary from Almerimar grows, the Thyme from Rendsburg (!) is still alive, the new oregano looks OK and the Greek Basil that had to be skipped a month ago, due to some green inhabitants, is getting a second life via some branches I saved and put in water. (That’s what I needed the soil for)

Gastronomy

  • We have done our own mojo rosso (red strong sauce) with good result
  • We tried Vieja (red parrot fish) a couple of weeks ago. It is very good and a canarian speciality

Until next time,

BR, Eva &Peter

From → Sailing Letters

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