Day 5 - What really happened in Las Palmas?

Since we had too little time left for blog writing in Las Palmas, I promised you a little summary of the weeks in Las Palmas, which I will try to give you now. Maria and I arrived little earlier than Emelie and the opening of the ARC weeks in order to get as much as possible done on the boat, or that was at least our intended plan. But apparently, two girls sailing alone tend to attract attention, and a lot of people were interested in hearing our story over a drink, consequently, the first days in Las Palmas was a lot about socialization. However, we did put early alarms every day and tried to get as much work done on the boat as we could every day before socialization. It worked out pretty well even though our sleep accounts got quite overdrawn.

One of the first to welcome us in Las Palmas was HMS Gladan, the Swedish Navy ship we already met in Lisbon. HMS Gladan was moored just next to the Texaco station were we filled our fuel tanks when arriving. Two tired sailors with a broken fridge couldn't be more happy when we were invited to join them for lunch. When being abroad and meeting kind fellow people like the ones onboard HMS Gladan, you feel like home, HMS Gladan is incredible hospitable! Thanks for everything! If you would like to know more about HMS Gladan, check out their web page,

Las Palmas´ marina is huge and the best way to get around the area is to use the dinghy. Volare, our dear dinghy, was very well used in Las Palmas. Speaking of the dinghy, every year the owner of the Texaco station, Don Pedro, is organizing a dinghy race. No engine is allowed, but besides no engine, basically everything is allowed. I wouldn't say it is correct calling it a dinghy race, it is more like a dinghy war. I mean we thought we were well prepared and well armoured, having filled water balloons and everything. Apparently, we forgot the rotten eggs, tomatoes and ketchup. However, we had a great time and managed to stay in the dinghy most of the time. But I and Emelie can assure you that getting hit by an egg from close distance is not very comfortable. Both off us had bruises afterwards. After the big dinghy war Don Pedro arranged a huge barbeque for everybody to join. And now we know why the beer in his little Texaco store is ten times as expensive as the one in an ordinary grocery: in order for him to be able to finance the barbeque.

The ARC Welcome Party was a success! Lots of tapas, drinks and entertainment. The local salsa dancers made marvellous performances! Besides the huge welcome party there were cocktail parties, fancy dress party, farewell parties, dinner parties and other parties during the two weeks. Every night the, for the occasion special build ARC-bar, had happy hours and if you happened to feel like you hadn't got enough party, the Sailor's Bar was opened until late at night. Believe it or not, we weren't actually the ones who partied the most, we did put a lot focus on the upcoming Atlantic race as well!

The ARC committee didn't only give us good parties, they also provided us with interesting seminars. The seminars were inspiring and gave a lot of practical tips to our preparations. Among others we visited seminars concerning provisioning, rigging, route planning and returning to Europe.

One day our friends from Johanna and Time Out visited us. In our so called collective it is only Escape and us doing the ARC. Johanna and Time Our are also on their way over as we speak, but since they are not participating in the ARC they decided to prepare for the crossing in the little less busy and more sunny marina, Puerto de Mogan in the south of Gran Canaria As always when the collective is together we have great fun. This time Cantare hosted the welcome drink and we almost sank because of all the people onboard. Afterwards we went to a local music festival, Womad and danced salsa all night long!

Not only did Johanna and Time Out visit us, so did Maria's parents, her grandma and aunt and my parents and my sister. It felt really good having the close one supporting our departure and waving goodbye as we left. On the whole there were lots of people coming to meet us, some of our blog readers from Sweden found their way to our pontoon to say hello, that was so much fun!

For those of you planning on doing the ARC next year, I will give you a small tip. Arrive in Las Palmas a week or two earlier than the ARC-events in order to have time to finish the boat for departure and still enjoy all the fun activities around the ARC. Or maybe finish the boat before arriving in Las Palmas. We managed to get everything ready on time and still have time for parties, events and meeting new people, however, it got little stressful in the end.

Of course lots more happened during our stay in Las Palmas, but as we girls use to say: What happens at sea, stays at sea, what happens in the harbor stays in the harbor, or is being gossiped about at sea. =)

Back to life on the Atlantic Ocean, everything is going just smooth. Tonight we are going to celebrate Emelie's fictitious birthday. We have all come up with fictitious birthdays that will occur during the crossing, making the trip little funnier. Tonight I think we are going to celebrate with coca cola and some episodes of Sex and the City, we will save the champagne until later. Have a nice Advent weekend all of you! /First Mate

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