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28th April, 2018

Gran Canaria

Passing around south of Fuerteventura last night we came out of the lee of the island and into a brisk wind. The Canaries do have a myriad of local winds, both around the islands, inter-islands, and also locally in the harbours. It can be one direction outside, but an entirely different direction in port. The air-masses are modified over the island and down in to the harbours. Indeed, the wind can vary in direction from one end of the harbour to the next!

It was a short run from Rosario to Las Palmas with a pilot time of 0700. I was parking this morning, makes a change for me to get my hands dirty. I had elected to go Starboard side alongside, ‘bow-in’ as we call it, not an operational requirement but I could keep all the quayside activities away from our passengers and the gangway would be next to the exit gate in the Port. All about caring for my passengers. Quayside activities, what’s that then? Off-loading our rubbish, taking on stores and bunkers, and the Staff Captain wanted to paint the stern of the ship. A busy quayside today.

The Pilot embarked once we were in the Harbour. Port Control was giving 15-20 knots in a direction ‘off’ the berth so I ordered a tug to assist pushing the stern up against the wind. It’s quite a long harbour, two miles in fact, so good to keep the speed up otherwise it just takes so long. The tug was made fast, or ‘ben t-on’ as we seafarers say, on the run into the berth.

The wind sock on the end of the berth, the other end to where I was parking (the berth was around five times the length of the ship), was standing up indicating quite a brisk breeze. I approached my ‘stop’ position, and the wind just disappeared, just 100 meters off, nothing. Having ordered a tug to push my stern on to the berth, it wasn’t really needed!

With the ship was cleared on arrival my passengers strolled ashore. It was a great berth, right down-town. The realisation of the close proximity of ‘shopping’ - I could ‘feel’ the gents ‘hiding’ their wallets! It was, generally, a lovely day, warm in the shade but a bit breezy in open areas.

All back on-board was scheduled at 2200.  Save for few late-night wanderers most of my flock were back well before then, so at 2130 we slipped our moorings a little early. Clear of the breakwater by 2200 we set course for Tenerife and slipped into the darkness of the night.

Captain Stuart Horne

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