Its sea race four and following on from the success of the previous three liberations from different stages between the islands of Tenerife and gran canaria, the arona team announce a basketing list of 1,683 pigeons competing over a distance of approx. 95 klm of both sea and land.
With the ferry departing from the port of santa cruz at 7.30 am it made its way cross for an estimated liberation time of 8.45, just short of, land and off the coast of gran canaria .in the previous three sea liberations when liberating from mid seas the pigeons make a line towards land, but on this occasion with gran canaria being so close they now need to orientate and make a decision as to which direction they decide to go, do they fly to the nearest land of gran canaria or take on the Atlantic ocean and fly back in the direction of Tenerife on the distant horizon.
With the ferry speed decreasing as it heads into port Abel Ledesma and the team made the required preparations and liberated the 1683 pigeons at 08.45 into a moderate 23klm sea breeze and a warm canarian temperature increasing to a daily average of 26 degrees.
With the pigeons orientating, we received the news form the arona team that the pigeons were once again well grouped and after a few moments of gathering their line they were reported to be making good headway for Tenerife which was pleasing to hear.
At the lofts the live link was indicating a bright sunny morning at the lofts as over 150 fanciers sat patiently to witness the arrival of the first pigeons with the usual banter once again present to past the time away.
It was just over an hour after the liberation that we were able to see a few shadows over the landing boards, which indicated that first pigeons were present and after a short while three pigeons landed and entered the loft to record their arrival.
Taking 1st place and the honour of first international was the uk/Ireland entry for gareth rankin from Scotland with his entry show boy timing in at 09.56.11.35, over previous earlier races this pigeon has maintained mid table positions however as the training has progressed it has started to find some consistent form with results such as 181st 23rd and 6th positions, the second arrival was an entry for team Denmark and team Gjermund Lyssand with his entry small miracle on the clock just seconds behind the winner at 09.56.20.95,for 3rd position pigeon siry for team Cantarella & Agius Lofts from Malta has made a re appearance at the top of the result being amongst the leading pigeons on 09.57.24.70 following on from its previous 2nd position from island training race 8, there was a two second gap for 4th position as team Croatia entry stoneman 05 recorded 09.59.00.35 5th place goes to a second arrival for uk/Ireland as England’s chris turners entry larkhill jo 2 timed in at 09.59.28.00,in 6th it as the Maltese partnership of Team Ginger Burdnar Lofts and pigeon ginger clayton at 09.59.43.70, team waz of Germany with pigeon ancient orange takes 7th position with an arrival time of 10.00.30.05,just ahead of team Netherlands and pigeon lasterie shop 3 in 8th with a time of 10.01.00.70 for 9th we have team south Africa with the Team Fouche Lofts (Pmb) pigeon named carpark recording time of 10.01.01.70 just holding off the team Netherlands arrival oracle entered by team Team Rien van Oss en Zn in 10th place at 10.01.04.00.
Following on from the top ten pigeons the remaining pigeons were duly arriving at a steady pace as batch after batch returned to the loft indicating that they had successfully overcome there biggest fear to date of crossing nearly the entire span of open waters between the two islands, and what was more pleasing to see was that within an hour of liberation over 1300 pigeons were recorded,
and further more as the day progressed 1623 of the numbers liberated were safely perched in the loft by night fall indicating only a small number were still adrift, with a further twelve arrivals returning the following morning after experiencing a night away from the loft the arona team were pleased that the final number of pigeons was 1634 and a loft percentage rate of 97% were present to go once again in the following days for the first hotspot race from gran canaria challenging for the new car for 1st place plus other cash prizes.
Thursday 12th feb and there was 1589 pigeons on route once again north to santa cruz for the sea journey and prestigious hotspot 1 and survival race, the race offers the winning pigeon owners the opportunity of winning the major prize of a new car or cash equivalent and cash prizes for other leading pigeons, the race itself is described as the survival race as its now the bravery and courage of the pigeons comes into play as they must now face and fly from one island to another over the Atlantic ocean, with the pigeons arriving on site overlooking the coastal waters with a view towards Tenerife early evening Thursday, they were fed and watered and left to rest overnight ahead of the challenge ahead.
Friday morning and whilst all preparations were in place at the loft and visitors had arrived to witness the pigeons returning, the arona team were preparing to release the pigeons at 08.30, when they heard news that on the island of gran canaria able has reported a light rain shower overhead and therefore at the present time he would delay the liberation until this rain cloud had moved on.
With over two hundred viewers logged in on the livestream we received advanced notice just before 10am that the rain on site had eventually moved and the clouds had broken and clear visibility and therefore everyone was happy to cut the strings and liberate at 10.10am into broken blue skies and a north easterly wind which would be slightly stronger off shore ..
With this news filtering though we were all anxious as the time ticked away, and fully aware that once these pigeons were liberated, there was nothing else the team could do or say and it was once again down to the pigeons to overcome their fear of leaving land below them for the complete sea flight to the lofts in south Tenerife.
We received the news from gran canaria indicating that the pigeons following the liberation that whilst approx. 300 pigeons were still on site some ten minutes after liberation and still orientating the area, the majority of the pigeons after several attempts out to sea and returning have eventually made the decision to go forward towards home and gradually faded out of sight, however a few were still in the area as the transporter departed for their return journey.
Back at the lofts the arona team were struggling to maintain an internet connection on the derby arona site due to problems with their server which comes from the USA and with over 250 interested parties logged in for this race, fortunately it didn’t effect the livestream facility at the lofts, . As many were trying to predict the arrival time of the leading pigeons.
It was 11.37 when a batch of around 50 pigeons were clearly visible circling the lofts and as they eventually pitch the trap, and made there way in there was a moment of anticipation as we all sat and waited for the ets system to do its work and announce to us the leading arrivals and winning pigeon.
Taking the top honors of 1st hotspot/survival race and receiving the major prize of the new car is the pigeon named the unknown solider for team Europe syndicate top 10 consisting of Jelle Creemers Jacky Creemers Erwin panis joep Stroetges Jan Leyen Mertens Roger ad Valk Vermeulen from Belgium, Germany and Netherlands and local Tenerife fancier Ludo timing in at 10.37.23.10, the 2nd position and just missing out on the first prize was the German entrant mark Buse and family with their arrival billy lees hope which takes the 2nd place prize of 2.000 euro timing in at 184.108.40.206.
Lubomir Kubacekfor from the Czech republic takes 3rd position and the 1.000 euro prizemoney with his entry tokio 2 timing in at 11.37.24 20 for positions 4th to 10th positions there is also prizemoney for each position as each will receive 220 euro each these will be awarded to Dirk Verstichelen from Belgium with pigeon bucker at 220.127.116.11, Manuel António Guerreiro from Portugal takes the 5th position with pigeon joi at 11.37.25.05, 6th is the current leader in the international averages as team Italy and pigeon peaches arrived at 18.104.22.168 followed in by the first uk/Ireland arrival with team England taking 7th with team team sheppard with shep`s special arriving at 22.214.171.124 8th and 9th positions both go to team Netherlands with team cees van gelder taking 8th place with buzzlord on 126.96.36.199, just ahead of joep9 for team Holland 9 in 9th position with an arrival time of 188.8.131.52 mark gilbert from team England takes the 10th position with southfield jester continuing to hold its current form timing in on 184.108.40.206
The following ten fanciers also take part of the prize fund as each will receive 100 euro as follows.
11 Wales MC3359 Mick Catcher Paul Bamford 1 11:37:27,85 1 01:27:28.
12 Wales MC3381 Blue 91 Team Syndicate Loft UK 1 11:37:27,95 1 01:27:28.
13 germany MC1050 Cosmic Ray Erich Müller 1 11:37:29,55 1 01:27:30.
14 Netherlands MC2257 Bo Team Rien van Oss en Zn 1 11:37:30,20 1 01:27:30.
15 germany MC4063 Pedros Choice Erich Müller 2 11:37:31,15 1 01:27:31.
16 Belgium MC0339 Wild Romance Dirk Verstichelen 2 11:37:34,00 1 01:27:34.
17 germany MC2309 ATLANTIC-PIGEON Alexander Gebel 1 11:37:34,01 1 01:27:34.
18 germany MC2883 Maurits Günter Schneemann 1 11:37:34,05 1 01:27:34.
19 italia MC2665 Ferngully Team Italy 2 11:37:34,60 1 01:27:35 Italia.
20 slovenia MC1328 Birk Team Vladimir Srebotnjak 1 11:37:35,40 1 01:27:3
As you can see by mid day just over 300 of the pigeons were verified on the clock and as we expected, it was always going to be a long day as in previous years from this race point, with pigeons returning at a steady rate throughout the afternoon and and early evening, at nightfall on checking the result 890 pigeons were safely perched and with expectations of more arrivals the following morning and days, these numbers were set to rise even further, at the time of formulating the report on Sunday afternoon a further 57 brave pigeons had faced the crossing and were recorded on Saturday and additionally another 6 had returned on Sunday morning which gives an up to date returns record number of 955 pigeons returning and a percentage rate of 60% of the pigeons home and no doubt more will continue over the next few days.
We now look forward to retracing our steps in the future days when the birds once again go back to the same race point in gran canaria for an additional training race and hopefully all that they have learnt in hotspot 1 will stand them in good stead for the future race.
In the uk is that Chris Sutton from Leicester has offered his services and appointed as the new coordinator 2016/17 arona Tenerife one loft race, most will know Chris Sutton is well established in the transporting of pigeons from the uk to other one loft races in Europe, as for myself as in previous years I will continue to assist chris in the same form that I have in the past in years, by collecting pigeons in south Wales and the west to liaise with the pigeons from other areas for onward travel to Tenerife, further details and shipping dates etc which will be advertised in due course.