Las Palmas first impressions

by Jax on September 1, 2014

Unlike many marinas we have visited of late where traffic passes through and locals keep their boats to use on weekends and holidays, Las Palmas Marina is a real community, taking living aboard to another level.

CruisingYacht

The boats are invariably older, but predominantly ocean going (either just returned or allegedly heading out, though don’t be surprised if they stay here for another year…) and kitted out with extensive long distance cruising equipment – wind vanes, solar panels, fuel canisters on deck, bicycles etc.
And they are mostly inhabited – often by couples, sometimes by family, occasionally (at the moment – see more on this below) by crew. The most popular activities seem to be sunbathing, reading, socialising and maintenance (probably in that order, with the latter not featuring too prominently on some boats) as opposed to actually sailing, but we strongly suspect that these people are very much like us and when you are used to sailing long passages you can’t really see the point in popping out for an afternoon jolly to nowhere.

Our new neighbours all seem very relaxed, friendly and helpful, and we are very grateful to one gentleman who on our first day here goes out of his way to warn us to lift the dinghy at night – in the marina! There is a card entry system for the security gates to the pontoons, but unfortunately the secret to accessing them without a card seems to be widely known.

Quite a few boats have animals on board, including a couple of cats (so hopefully no need to worry about rats, although we notice a boat with cut up plastic bottles on their lines just in case, and think that maybe we should dig out our own rat deterrents, which haven’t seen the light of day since we were in Greece) – one of which seems to be happy to curl up on any boat where he won’t be bothered. This ship’s cat and Adrian have quickly developed a mutual loathing, and the cat glares and spits at Adrian as he hisses at it when they pass on the pontoon.

Cockroaches have been spied at the shore end of the pontoon, and so I think it’s time to deploy the traps. We knew this time would come, and its definitely not one of the upsides of blue water cruising, but prevention has to be better than (all but impossible) cure.

Come October an awful lot of the boats here get displaced to accommodate the ARC. Most owners seem to not too grudgingly accept this – everyone knows that is the deal with this marina, but some grumble about it more than others. One can only imagine that from now until November there will be a lot of movement. Currently we are fortunate to have neighbours who can keep an eye on the boat for us when we are away, but they have their marching orders from the beginning of October, so we won’t know who has replaced them and slightly worryingly won’t be here to keep an eye out when all the boats are coming and going – best make sure we’re well fendered!

There has so far been little opportunity for getting to know the city, and most of that has been spent eating and drinking (some good, some indifferent) . We did have a wander round on Sunday afternoon though, to the beach on the other side of town (playa de las canteras), which in these parts gets very grandly described as ‘one of the best city beaches in the country’….but to us, it just looked crowded and bordered by the kind of shops and cafés that you might have come across in the 80s in an unloved seaside resort in the UK (all busy regardless). We were informed though that as Sunday (August 31st) was the last day of the summer holiday, everybody was out making hay while the sun shone (occasionally through the cloud cover) before going back to work today.

Playa de las Canteras 096

The beach on this side of town (playa de las alcaravaneras) was less crowded, but that’s probably because it faces on to the container port, which might put off some less dedicated beachgoers, but evidently not everyone. Behind this beach runs one of the main roads through town, it does feel like a big, industrial polluted city…..I know I’m not painting the most flattering picture, but we will still give it a chance and hopefully will find some of its redeeming features. If not, we will have to explore some of the rest of the island, which is supposed to be lovelier….I am most prepared to revise these first impressions.

Playa de las alcaravaneras panoramic 098

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