Happy New Year from Las Palmas

Trip Start Aug 01, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Happy New Year from Las Palmas, Gran Canaria. We've been here two weeks and have enjoyed the relaxing attitude of the people on the dock as well as the people in the town. This is the place from which we will start our crossing. There are wonderfully large shopping areas where we can buy most everything we need.

We haven't done much touring on this island, but have walked most every day. One of the "art forms" evident on this island are large fiberglass dogs either standing or sitting, painted in a similar style to the Chicago cows. We were told that there are 54 such dogs scattered around the island.

The siesta is commonplace every where we've visited so far this trip. Shops open around 9:00 am, close between 1:00 and 4:00 pm and then open again until 7:00 pm or so. Nice lunch break. There are many times when we've had to put projects on hold because we've forgotten about the siesta. Many restaurants are also closed until that magic 7:00 pm hour - or later. I haven't gotten my body used to eating that late and so, eating out isn't as much of a treat for me as I'd like. Chris and I have turned into real early-to-bed, early-to-rise kind of folk. Maybe it's actually only early-to-bed kind of folk. We usually retire by 9:00 pm and read for a bit and then settle in for a nice sleep. We then are up around 8:00 am! Of course, this is only while we're not en route. While underway we have our watch schedule and condition of the seas to dictate when and if we sleep.

Most of the people on this float are working on one project or another in preparation for their crossing. There are two other boats that we have gotten particularly friendly with. After we arrived in Gran Canaria on a Sunday morning, we began looking for our friends on Gilana, but couldn't find them. We guessed we missed them and wondered, once more, if we'd ever see them again. On Monday night, as Chris and I were returning to the boat, we saw a yacht arriving in the dark. We hurried down to help catch lines and we discovered that it was Gilana! They had gone on to Tenerife and it was unpleasant enough for them that they decided to backtrack to Gran Canaria to wait out the weather for the crossing. So, our friends are close again.

We had a wonderful Christmas dinner on Quest with Jeanne, Jeff, Mike, Laura and Liz. We bought a small turkey and cut it in half (wouldn't fit in the oven as it was). Jeanne and Jeff did most of the cooking and that was a wonderful present for me! Although I profoundly missed our family and friends, it was good to have these new friends to share the day with. The local people here (I'm not sure how far this tradition extends) don't celebrate December 25 as much as they do Epiphany - the feast of the Three Kings. Gifts are exchanged January 6, so the stores are still frantic with holiday shoppers.
We are watching the weather forecasts and hope to be gone by the 6th, so we won't be around for that.

Last night we enjoyed a wonderful dinner with the Gilana gang and then stepped out on the dock to watch the fireworks. They were nearly as long as the Juneau display and every bit as colorful. Then the parties continued on various docks until way past any decent hour. We retired by 1:00 am.

The weather here has mostly been in the low 70s, a bit of rain here and there, some windy moments, but on the whole, very pleasant. As we head toward the Caribbean, we're told the rule is to head south until the butter melts and then turn right. We'll keep a bit more control on our heading, but at this point our plan is to head for Antigua and then visit different islands. We were advised that our plans should be cast in jello and that is what we sticking to. Rather than just spending a few months in the Caribbean, and then heading west through the Panama Canal, we may go north and visit the eastern coast of the US and then back to the southern islands. Right now our plans ARE cast in jello, so we're not sure when we may get back to Juneau.
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