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Dinghy Escapades

07 July 2008 | Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands
In spite of our mercurial engine, we arrived safely in Puerto de Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, and anchored off to the side of the marina, in front of one of the city beaches. Each morning we enjoyed the sound of children laughing and calling to one another as they flew by Issuma in tiny but speedy dinghies and mini sailboards. Richard immediately undertook repair of the engine, which called for multiple trips to the various ferreterias (hardware stores) in the city over the next few days. Because we were anchored, this entailed assembling the mysterious "Dark Dinghy" (mentioned in a previous entry) in order to reach shore. The design of the dinghy is quite amazing. It's a collapsible frame that one opens like an enclosing fan, into which you place the floorboards and extra ribs to keep the dinghy open and set. The great thing about the dinghy is that you can collapse and store it in the V-berth. Also, it's pretty. The tricky thing about the dinghy is that you need A LOT of weight in it in order to be able to row it straight and to not have it slide sideways or spin aimlessly like a top. I discovered this delightful feature one day when I gallantly insisted on rowing the groceries out to Issuma by myself, via Dark Dinghy. This would allow Richard to continue doing his onshore projects. I suppose we all bite off more than we can chew once in a while. It would turn out to be quite apt and prescient that I'd named it Dark Dinghy before ever meeting it.

Richard helped me load the dinghy with the groceries, then waved and smiled as I made a lopsided but bravely grinning departure from the dock. What had I gotten myself into? When Richard rowed us in the dinghy to and from shore, I noticed it took him about 15 minutes. So naturally I thought it would only take me 20 minutes or so. Who was I kidding? Getting out of the marina harbor with no current was not much of a problem, but the moment I rounded the bend of the protective jetty, I began sliding and spinning like a leaf in a whirlpool, even with all the groceries weighting the dinghy! Ay Dio! I began to row like a madwoman, desperately trying to round the jetty towards Issuma, much to the amusement of the salty old local fishermen on the pier, pointing and cackling at the gringa loca twirling wildly between their fishing lines. Laughing uncontrollably and sweating profusely, I managed to seize control of the dinghy, through sheer humiliation and wanting to escape the laughter of the fishermen as soon as possible (also to avoid ending up in Africa :) ). Rowing became easier as I approached Issuma in the small harbor, and by the end of this "adventure," it had taken me not twenty, but FORTY-FIVE MINUTES to reach Issuma. It occurred to me that I could have driven from New Jersey to New York in that time, and I was only transporting groceries! After this enlightening experience, I decided that my efforts and gallant intentions were better applied least until we get a motorized dinghy. :)
Vessel Name: Issuma
Vessel Make/Model: Damien II, 15m/50' steel staysail schooner with lifting keel
Extra: Designed for Antarctica. Built in France by META in 1981. Draft 1.3m/4.5' with keel up, 3.2m/10.5' with keel down. More details at
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Issuma's Photos - Main
Survey pictures taken of Shekin V
14 Photos
Created 29 April 2008