Location: Gran Canaria, Canary Islands

Today we were in Las Palmas on the island of Gran Canaria. For all you bird lovers out there, do not be fooled. I have been here in the Canary Islands for a whole day now and have seen NO canaries. The only birds I have seen are pigeons with mangled feet. My wakeup tactic this morning was a tray full of warm, freshly made pancakes. With a frantic wafting motion of my hand, the sweet aromas floated into the shipmate’s sleepy nostrils. The results were impressive, and the day began promptly. Today’s activities were scuba diving for half of the crew and shore time for the other half.

The marina we are currently in is hosting the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers, which is an event where hundreds of yachts depart for the Caribbean together. People of all ages, sailing backgrounds, and many different nationalities. The atmosphere in the marina is great. The excitement is infectious, and Argo is pulling a steady crowd of admirers and people who like boats. People who like boats, that also love talking about boats. People who like boats, that also love talking about boats, especially to other people on boats. The man in the marina office this morning was different, however. He said that he does not like boats!!!!!! What a strange place to work for someone who does not like boats, I thought to myself. I was worried for a second. I said nothing. The marina office fell silent. He was completely surrounded by boating enthusiasts. But…….. But he thinks that Argo is beautiful, and he has a picture of her in his house!! Phew.

From reports that I have been hearing at dinner tonight. This is what I know about today’s excursions:
The divers saw some cuttlefish, a large grouper, and several colorful nudibranchs. The dive guide had a rather large dive knife and crushed several sea urchins to attract an array of fish. This technique is pretty old school and frowned upon by divers and environmentalists. I don’t crush sea creatures, but based on my successful pancake wafting this morning, I understand that food can be used to entice even the sleepiest creatures out of their cave. Well, I say I don’t crush sea creatures. That may not be entirely correct. Part of our Atlantic crossing preparation saw several divers scrubbing all life off the hull of Argo today in the hope that we would sail faster to the Caribbean.
Meanwhile, the shore team found a thrift shop. The laundry was washed. Many snacks were purchased, and it sounds like our crew did some mingling and met some interesting sailor folk.

We are now into the final week of preparations before our Atlantic crossing. At this point in our trip, we have covered 2,500nm together and have already done a good amount of preparation. Even so, there is still a fair amount of work to ensure that everything is checked and double-checked.

Pictured: Dana and Jackie’s scuba selfie; Jake, Amanda, Jackie, Dana, Ian, and Aric on the beach between dives; Smash, Sydney, Cylas, Peter, Jonas, and Lex in the dish pit during cleanup; Natalie, Lex, Ev, Emmalee enjoying some time around town; Argo at the dock in Gran Canaria.