Date: 7th January 2017
Position: 28°07.8N 015°25.5W
Wind: SSE 5
Swell: SSE 2-3ft
Where to begin.
It started with Gran Canaria coming into view, in that magical way land does after an offshore passage out of sight of terra firma. There were grand ideas of showers, real toilets, internet, food, frothies…
It’s not exactly ended up that way. Firstly, as usual, it took longer than it should have to make the last push down to the top corner of Gran Canaria due to the wind doing that pesky thing it usually does of heading us. Then, it took seemingly ages to motor the last little patch while we got our sails squared away and tidy, ready for a subtle entrance into the marina. We arrived at the marina in the dark, slowly feeling our way through what was a far more windy entrance than entirely comfortable. A very, very full marina greeted us.
We’ve been having trouble with the sat comms, so had no way if finding out whether or not the booking we had tried to make had been successful, and regardless, it was impossible to get hold of anyone to assist. After a bit more stressful poking of a 67’ boat about the place, we decided it was going to be a non-starter for the night, and managed to acquiesce from the port authority that our only option would be to anchor up in the night-only anchorage adjacent and wait until the morning. Small and already busy anchorage; big boat; already very late. Far from ideal.
A small amount of manoeuvring later, we were anchored snug between four other boats, secure, but a long way from showers, toilets, internet, food, frothies. All the essentials of life. This is where it properly started to go wrong. I won’t go into the full details, but it ended up with 9 of us on the boat, 1 of us stuck on shore, and our only proper form of floating transport off the boat lost in the constant force 5 that is blowing us around our anchor with a vengeance. There were various plans hatched to retrieve this lost crewman involving drysuits, flippers, rafts made of fenders lashed together and the like, but I made a call that this was the point where things could go from bad to disaster very quickly, so our lost crewman was consigned to an impromptu night ashore, while we contemplated what a really quite off-piste evening the whole event had turned into. To make matters worse, the lost crewman had the food, beer, and much needed stocks of tobacco for some. Pasta pesto was finally cooked at 2am, after all hope of proper sustenance was conclusively abandoned. It’s fair to say a slightly peeved and bemused crew has just turned in for the night, unsure how or who to be annoyed at due to the truly random and bizarre way it’s all ended up. I have a night ahead of sitting awake, checking our bearings as we swing on a far from perfect anchorage, and apprehensively watching the wind speed, as it decides whether it will increase past the force 6 it is occasionally showing, from a direction leaving us fully exposed to it and the swell that rolls in.
A long night ahead. Let’s not do this again any time soon.