Saturday 19 November 2016

Try again

Up at 0730 and started work installing the new water trap. Finished doing that around 0830 and started the engine. Success, thankfully. The engine noise dragged Mick out of his slumbers and we had breakfast and then set too double checking the pipe work for leaks and putting the contents of the cockpit lockers back in place.

We discovered a small leak in one of the water pipes that Mick finally managed to fix with new pipe brought back from Arguineguin by Jo. I had to alter the cockpit locker side panel due to the new water trap being a slightly different shape than the old one. In the process of installing it I broke the pipe from the stern gland greaser to the stern gland. It's essential to prevent water leaking in through the propeller shaft. I was able to shorten it OK but getting the old olive back on the pipe in order to make a seal and prevent the grease from leaking out was more difficult. Eventually Mick came up with a technique that worked - using a small socket to push the olive on the pipe. I then promptly pulled the pipe out when packing the locker and we were back to square one. Went in search of a replacement Olive locally but no luck. Really did not want to traipse into Arguineguin again and so spent ages trying to reshape the olive and get it back on the pipe. Eventually in act of desperation I hit a punch through it too hard and split the olive. That was not the intention but it did mean we could get it back on the pipe and wonders of wonders it all held together!

After a few other jobs including going up the mast to lubricate a squeaky pulley we finished all the must do tasks and repaired over the pontoon to Jo and Esther for drinks and snacks and had another very enjoyable evening. Then back to the boat to check the weather. Concluded all OK (despite the likelihood of encountering some heavy swell en-route). So, providing no further disasters we should be departing tomorrow morning.

Friday 18 November 2016

Tempting Fate

Left the pontoon this morning at 1000 in strong winds. Still frantically trying to get boat out when black smoke pouring out of cockpit lockers. Engine overheating. Had to lie across a few other boats waiting for marina guys to help us back to berth. Turns out the skipper - bloody fool - forgot to turn engine water inlet on. Water pipe on exhaust system melted. Agustin took me into Arguineguin to get new pipe. Esther fed us on my return. After lunch recommenced battle. Found one end of water trap on exhaust also melted. Back to Arguineguin. Amazing they had one. Now in Iron Mongers looking for copper pipe to make a lightning conductor! They have some of that too! I'll have that then back to boat and Mick to fit new water trap!

Dark by the time I got back so further work suspended. We'll carry on tomorrow morning.

Too tired to write any more!

Thursday 17 November 2016

Ready to go tomorrow Friday 18/11/16 (almost - all things are relative)

Augustin (OCC Port Officer) and Sonya (back) entertaining us Yachties

After what feels like a year of preparation we are now almost ready to leave Pasito Blanco for Mindelo on St Vincent in the Cape Verde Islands.

Mick arrived on Sunday gone and we have been undertaking final preparations ever since. Of course not everything is done but I have not met a yachtie who has ever finished their to-do list.

We have in part been waiting for the right weather window and after consulting with Chris earlier this evening we are satisfied that we should have an OK passage of between 8-11 days down to Cape Verde.

We have had a very enjoyable time here for the last few days thanks largely to Augustin and our wonderful neighbours across the pontoon, Joe and Esther in Vivienne. Agustin entertained us royally a couple of times. Ester cooked a fabulous meal for Mick, Chris and myself (and Jo) last night and we had an absolutely superb evening thanks to our hosts from the emerald isle.

Chris, Jo, Ester and Mick last night

Chris and I and Sue had already benefited from their hospitality earlier in the month. They plan to cross to the Caribbean in a month or so once their son has joined them. it's possible therefore that we might see them then.

Jo, me Sue (before she flew home) and Chris on Vivean

Quite possibly the worst experience of my life was the 5 hours we spent in the supermarket on Tuesday to provision the boat. We finally left with three trolley loads of food and other stuff and I was convinced we would not be able to find enough space to stow it. Anyway we throw it in the cockpit at about 1900 and dragged Jo out for a drink or two at the Yacht club and Mick and I ate as well - god we were hungry and thirsty.

Yesterday we spent the whole morning stowing our provisions but to my great surprise we found a home for everything and still had stowage space left over. Arctic Smoke is though now rather lower in the water than she once was!

This morning was spent checking the weather forecast, yet more jobs and then we finally gave ourselves some time off and went into Arguineguin and had a great and inexpensive Paella.

View from the Restaurant

Afterwards we wandered around the town, found the two cheepy Chinese shops and bought various exciting sundries like small washing up bowls to fit our sinks! A visit to the chandlers was also made to buy more boat stuff and we bought an extra camping gaz cylinder at significant expense (60 euros). We now have three so hopefully will not run out of gas on our passage across the Atlantic.

This evening we said good bye to our new friends in Pasito Blanco including Colin who's boat Roang (another ex Hoo/Medway sailor) was struck by lighting whilst out of the water. He now has a very large bill which hopefully the insurance will cover and his sailing plans have been set back a number of months.

I hope this does not prove too optimistic but next stop Mindelo, Cape Verde.

Thursday 10 November 2016

Returning to Gran Canaria

My flight leaves Gatwick at 0725 tomorrow (Friday 11/11) and so I should be back in Pasito Blanco around lunch time.

Still quite a lot to do before the off, not least provisioning.

Mick's due to arrive on Sunday.

Target departure date is 15/11. Destination Mindelo, St Vincent, Cape Verde, perhaps via La Gomera.

Plan is to be there by the end of November; have a a few days rest and then head for Martinique (or ANO island near by). The longer term plan is to get to Cuba so I don't want to enter the Caribbean any further south.