Archive for January 31, 2011

Life in Las Palmas

Posted in Fun, Photographs, Surfing with tags on January 31, 2011 by maidofmettle

I wasn’t really expecting to stay long on my second visit to Las Palmas, but I’m enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would. Usually voyaging is very much about moving on – it’s the first time since the Guadiana that I’ve actually returned to somewhere, but quite a contrast to that – a big bustling city and marina rather than beautiful countryside and free anchoring. It’s often the people you meet that contribute a lot to my impressions of a place though, and that’s probably especially true now I’m on my own. There’s certainly a friendly and interesting crowd of people here.

Having enjoyed a few evenings on other boats and thinking of leaving soon it also seemed like a good time to invite people round to Maid of Mettle. Although we briefly fitted seventeen or eighteen people aboard for Caroline’s birthday last year I think this might be the record for actually fitting people in comfortably. Seating and serving drinks and nibbles for eight people plus kids actually worked pretty well, making for a very nice evening.


Taryna, Dave, Petra and Sarah

(the kids have gone back to another boat by this point)

Hilary, Dave and Paul

We’re planning a group excursion into the interior of the island soon, which should be a great day out. I’m looking forward to seeing more of the interior – other than one walk around and into a crater I’ve mainly only seen the coast and beaches outside of the city – I think I’ve seen much less of the rest of the island than Chris and Caroline still. The beach is nice though, and I have been fairly busy..

I’ve always been interested in trying surfing at some point, probably even before I gave snowboarding a go. Not that I was imagining having done that would be much help in the water – in terms of balance surfing is supposed to be more akin to off-piste snowboarding, which I can’t claim any expertise at except reliably being able to fall off before hitting a tree. The beach here is probably the handiest good surfing beach to a harbour, as well as the excellent qualification of being where I am now as opposed to where I might go in the future. So I decided to give it a try…

Well, surfing is certainly harder than snowboarding. And much, much harder work physically – whether walking or paddling out, quite possibly with a strong cross current, paddling to get going or springing up to stand on (or fall off) the board. One thing that is definitely similar is the initial difficulty in ‘relaxing’ when you’ve just stood upright and started moving.

Unfortunately it’s even harder than snowboarding to take photos of, so here’s one of the beach, complete with big rollers and two-tone sand.

Surfing beach – La Cicer

On the domestic front, I need to take the cooker apart again to clean some bits and probably replace several. I think one burner is partially blocked, and the other one has an impressive paraffin leak. It’s a very safe fuel and cooker, but it does require some patience… Fortunately I had my contingency plan in place a week or so ago – an electric hotplate which should hopefully also cut down on the need for stove servicing, as I can use it instead whenever I have shore power. It made a very nice stew with dumplings the other night. Hang on, that doesn’t sound like hot weather cooking….

Now with this last bit I’m obviously not looking for any sympathy, just extending to you the possibility of a little schadenfreude – the weather has actually been relatively poor here lately. It’s unusual for depressions to come this far south even in winter, but there are a succession sweeping through at the moment, bringing strong winds and rain though not actual cold. The last couple of evenings have had that kind of feel – sitting in the cabin at a secure mooring (and Las Palmas is one of the safest harbours in the Canaries) with the wind howling outside is much like sitting by a log fire on a chilly day.