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*Posted without photos due to limited internet – will update as soon as we can!

Sunday we decided to take a break from boat and crew altogether. In Europe on Sundays, most stores are closed and often restaurants as well. Since we couldn’t do any provisioning, we had a good excuse to get away for the day. After all, this is technically our honeymoon and we haven’t had much alone time or been able to do much exploring / vacation-y things so it was definitely overdue. Paul and Tracy rented a car to see the island so we took off with them! We drove up the coast, then inland and stopped at a random kids horse competition in the middle of the rural hills. We were definitely the only visitors so we got a few strange looks as we wandered around and watched the kids jump their horses, but it was a nice break from sitting in the car. We continued up crazy, winding mountain pass roads that brought back memories of Pike’s Peak in Colorado with narrower roads and fewer guardrails! It’s amazing that the island has such vastly contrasting landscapes! When we reached Ponte de Nieve it was pretty windy, but no snow to be found as indicated in the name – that must come later in the season. We had some great views!

We took a different route down the mountain through some pretty desolate areas with mountainside homes and even a few cave dwellings. We found the famed sand dunes on the southwest end of the island – they were so big they looked to be straight out of a movie scene!  We were long past lunch so we walked a bit hoping to find some beachside restaurant for lunch. Unfortunately most of the restaurants are inland so we trekked back to town. On our way, we discovered we’d happened upon San Bartolomé during the last day of the Winter Pride festival! Colorful billboards advertised the weekend’s festivities but most seemed to be over with. Despite being the last day, people were in good spirits and there was lots of pride and fun going around! My personal favorite was the pilot and flight attendants pushing an airline cart of beer around the city – they were definitely having the best time of anyone we saw! After a heavy lunch and a couple beers, we got back on yr road in search of a good beachside bar on the westernmost side of the island for sunset watching. We found the perfect spot with its own little marina in Arguineguin. 

After sunset, the only thing left to do was drive back to Las Palmas and find dinner. Paul and Tracy needed some work done on their boat, so they’d brought it over from their anchorage and rafted to ours in the marina, so it was an easy walk home. 

Monday was back to provisioning. The guys came upon some good Asian markets and brought us back a 10 kilo gnat of jasmine rice! If this doesn’t last us for the crossing, we’re eating too much! Haha! 

Monday and Tuesday were much the same – provisioning food stores and setting up deliveries. Every night the ARC had either sundowner cocktails or some other event. We often grilled with our rafted neighbors which was always good fun! Bob and I sat at the laundromat for about for hours, most of which was waiting for a dryer. But we met some cool people on another charter boat. The people – always such fascinating stories and interesting to talk to! Tuesday night was our ARC farewell dinner, so we hung out with the Scots from Rose Marie, a monohull whose crew we’d met the prior week. They are always a riot! The dinner had feee flowing wine and beer which is always a hit. The tapas style dinner was based on traditional Canarian fare and included some fun cheeses, a nice salad, and some other items. One course was mini deep fried egg roll looking things. There were two different fillings so naturally we tried both. I ate one bite of the darker one and couldn’t determine the flavor – it wasn’t bad, seemed a little soft inside so it wasn’t meat, but I couldn’t place it. Someone nearby informed me I had just eaten blood sausage…. ick!!! Lots of water and wine was consumed to wash that flavor down.  It was way worse knowing what it was than the actual taste. My reaction opened the door for my crew to tease me about it, and the Scot next to me agreed I had to finish it now to show no fear. My pride got the best of me and I gulped down the second bite with more water and wine to follow. To be honest, it wasn’t terrible, but I’d never eat it again willingly. 

Tuesday was my birthday!! I knew we had lots of ARC things to do, including checking out of the country with border police, checking out with ARC, preparing the boat to take off, and final provisioning runs. I wasn’t expecting much celebration because it was such a busy day. Chris put some Nutella in my coffee to start my day our right! Tracy and Pail brought over birthday cookies! Coffee and cookies – breakfast of champions! The ARC people had to run some errands so they took the three of us with US passports to the frontier police to check out. One of the ARC guys grew up in Las Palmas and though he was only 24, knew all the right people – police chiefs and bar/nightclub owners, hahaha! If only we’d known sooner! Having a translator definitely sped along the process, and they were kind enough to drop us at the Central Market afterwards so Bob, Amanda, and I could grab a bunch of fresh produce. It was a great two story market much like the one in La Chaume only larger and had some fun things to look at! 

We took a cab back to the marina with out goods – we had a lot of stuff and Bob was still recovering from a smashed toe. The first day we were sure it was broken, but we got lucky and it seems to be healing nicely.

Bob and I struck out again for birthday grillables and a cake. They bright it out with numbered candles and sang to me – it was really sweet! And so awesome to have Paul and Tracy there to celebrate as well!

On Wednesday morning, we said our goodbyes to our races neighbors – thought not part of the ARC, they’re headed across the Atlantic to spend the winter in BVI and hopping around the Caribbean. We checked out of the marina, which always takes for-ev-er, and got into position at the starting line for the ARC. This is a race after all! ARC crew came by taking live video and photos and then we were off! We sailed across the starting line but there wasn’t much wind so speak of, so it wasn’t long before everyone had their engines going. So long, Las Palmas!