Atlantic Boat Life Canaries People & Culture Spain Surf

Canaries: Getting ready and a pinch of surfing

Written by Renato Matiolli

We have spent a bit more than a week in the Gran Canaria. We surfed, we prepared the boat for the crossing, we did some sightseen and bought a lot of food for the next few days. We also got new crewmembers and watched other sailors prepare their boats for the crossing.

So we arrived from Portugal with one German and two Portuguese crewmembers on board. Mitch (the German) left after a couple of days, João will follow to Cape Verde with us and Pedro (our good Portuguese friend from the Algarve) stayed for a while and he helped with all the preparation for our next crossing. He spent his birthday with us and Sarah had a surprise party for him. As a birthday gift Neptune brought him same waves and we went surfing together.

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The Canaries is a group volcanic islands in the north Atlantic, this means that close to them the ocean is very deep and the swell travels from the really north Atlantic all the way down here without losing too much power. Once these waves hit the islands if creates some of the most amazing and powerful waves I have ever seen. The north coast of the Gran Canaria is not only beautiful but it is also a surfers’ paradise.

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So you must be think we were at the water surfing all the time, right? Not really… there was some surfing involved of course, but in one of the best surfing days Sarah decided to drag us to the botanical garden to do some flower and bird watching. I have to admit that the place was beautiful and very peaceful, so it was a good lay day.

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During another perfect surfing day, the crew decided to go to the center city to see the Santa Ana cathedral as well as visit Colombo’s house. It was certainly also worth a visit and I am glad the guys took me out of the way to do different stuff I wouldn’t do if I were alone.

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Talking about crew, we have new crew on board, to be better described in the next post about the crossing to Cape Verde! But in a nutshell, besides João, the Portuguese guy who was with us in the previous crossing and who will continue until Cape Verde; now we have three new crew members:  1) Paolo, an Italian spaghetti carbonara chef and sailor from Carrara who is also on a sabbatical year (I respect that); 2) Timm, a cool Swedish dude, brand new diver who loves candies; and 3) Jens, a Danish rock star, kite surfer and sail instructor amongst other stuff. We have put up the flags of all the crew crewmembers up at the mast and now we look like a UN boat… so cool! We have been so lucky with the crew on board that it is hard to believe.

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We are amazed how many people are here in Las Palmas looking to crew a boat across the Atlantic. This is where all boats that are joining the Atlantic Crossing Regatta (ARC) leaves. The departure is in a few days so this place is jam packed and any boat not part of the regatta has a hard time finding a place in the marina.

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Since we had to do some work on our engine the team of the marina managed to kindly accommodate us for a couple of days in the marina, but apart from that we had to stay on anchor just outside. And yet again it was time for me to get into the black hole which is the engine room and spend two half days in there.

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We are ready to leave, just waiting for Sunday as the wind becomes a bit better. Unfortunately right before our departure we will loose our good friend Pedro, who needs to rush back to Portimão to the arm of his beloved one and our also good friend, Sara. We will certainly miss this great dude in the boat.

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Right before leaving we stop by the Las Palmas central market to stuck up with fresh groceries. The place was a attrition per se and of course had great fish, meat as well as fruits and vegetables. Sarah wanted to buy everything.

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At the moment, our main concern is Feijão’s recovery. His leg is still a bit swollen and we are concerned. So we took him again to a vet, Jens was kind enough to help us carry him as Feijão is becoming heavier and heavier. The veterinarian took some x-rays, got Feijão temperature and said that everything is in place but he has a fever and might have an infection, so the told us to restart his treatment with some quite heavy antibiotics. It is tough to see him like this. Before we brought Feijão into our life, I thought that every dog owner was a freak… well, now we are these kind of freak people. We can’t imagine our lives without that clumsy annoying little fat beast. We hope he heal very soon.

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Renato Matiolli

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