2018 Dec 24, Rough Time at Anchor in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

It’s been rough here at anchor yesterday and today. We had planned to leave Sunday, but it was so nice and we finally got a chance to hang out on the beach, so we decided to wait. Mon and Tue had bad winds (from the south) to depart so we thought Wed. That means we’d be here for Christmas, rather than Christmas on the high seas. Instead of nice time on the beach Mon and Tue blew up 20-30 kts from SE, the worst possible direction: just where there is no protection from the open Ocean. The waves were coming in and I moved Goldilocks, so we weren’t in the worst of it, but still pretty rolly, and a boat a little too near to put out a lot of rode. Still, she held fine through it all. Not so for all. Layla spotted an ugly yellow catamaran a couple boats to our port side, hailing port Hilo, HI, up on the rocks, the jetty that protects the big yacht club, Real Club Nautico Las Palmas. I tried to call the marina, but didn’t get through. There was some chatter in Spanish and a few minutes later several RIBS started checking it out. Nobody boarded it though. Within 10 minutes of us seeing her on the rocks the starboard hull (on the rocks) was sinking at the stern, and it just got worse from there.  

About then a large orange rescue boat “Salvamento Maritimo” came out to give it a go. They got close and looked at it for another five or ten minutes, obviously not sure what they could do with it, when yells from a nearby boat drew them to a second boat dragging anchor. This one, a monohull, was not yet on the rocks so they had a better chance of saving it. They dashed over, spent several minutes sizing up the situation, put a man on the stricken boat, and passed him a line. It must have banged about for ten more minutes before they got it away from the rocks. Another 20 or 30 minutes and they had it into the marina. 

As it later turned out, I’m pretty glad we weren’t in the marina. Our location and others we knew got pretty battered and several boats broke mooring lines and some were damaged. We got off lucky. No damage, just a lost day, spent on the boat ready to react if anything went wrong. When two boats drag in your anchorage, and one sinks battered by rocks, You don’t leave the boat. 

I feel so sorry for the cat owners. I never saw anyone aboard that boat, but what a horrible thing to come back to. There is debris everywhere in the water and washed up on the beach. Two days later the boat is completely sunk and still shedding garbage. They are cleaning up the beach, they are cleaning up the water, but the shattered remnants still sit on the rocks shedding more debris. A sad Christmas Eve, and it hits us close to home. 

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