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October 30th 2010
Published: February 2nd 2011
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The following week was spent the week with Charles, Alison and Elena. It was great to see them, and to spend a bit more time together than the usual visits at home would allow. They also came bearing lots of gifts and bits and pieces from home for which we were hugely thankful! We spent the first night in their apartment – the first off the boat since July, then set sail together on Monday for La Gomera.

On leaving the harbour we ran straight into one of the islands acceleration zones giving us strong winds and a choppy sea. This was an unpleasant introduction to the boat for our new crew who were all promptly sick. The weather steadied for the passage to La Gomera, but picked up considerably as we approached the harbour. At this point the motion must have stirred up deposits in the tank as the engine promptly cut out! We bled off some gunge in the primary filter but it was clear that the lines were blocked, as the lift pump would not re-prime the system. The wind direction favoured an entry to the marina under sail, so with the anchor ready if required we made our approach. After an uneventful arrival on the fuel pontoon, the marina staff towed us alongside a large wooden schooner, after which we headed to a restaurant ashore for a well earned beer!

Charles and me spent the next few days decontaminating the tank and fuel lines while the girls spent time exploring ashore. We found a slug of black slime blocking the fuel line at the exit from the tank, and a tank full of the same organic “diesel bug”. Out came the tank, which we then flushed through repeatedly with fresh diesel. The engine filters were in good shape which gave ius confidence that the engine itself had not been affected. At 3pm on day two the engine started on first crank, with the only reminder of our exploit being the stench of diesel on clothes, hair etc.

We sailed back to Las Galletas via Playa de las Americas, joined again by our friends the pilot whales. In the remaining days before the family flew back we took a bus trip to Santa Cruz, and explored Playa de Las Americas. It was a great week, although not entirely as planned. We were sorry to see them go.

The next few days were spent doing the inevitable jobs on the boat, after which we moved on to Las Palmas on Gran Canaria to ready ourselves for the big trip.

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