Pack In Spain: Cruising On And Off The Court
Aug. 11, 2012
Friday was another game for the Wolfpack.
The players had the day to themselves to enjoy the beach, the pools or explore the area around our hotel before the game. Most of them took it easy because Saturday would be an off day with a team cruise around the island on the books.
They also had to do some moving as they were finally all relocated to the same floor at the hotel after a few minor problems at check-in. This is normal procedure when the team travels during the regular season. It helps to have the team in the same locale when the coaches need to communicate changes in the itinerary, meal times or if the players need treatment.
On the drive to the arena, we noticed a low-gray haze that hung in the air. It looked to be smog, but we were told its sand from the Sahara Desert in Northern Africa. There is about 300 miles of ocean that separate the Canary Islands and African continent, but strong winds carry this sand and deposit it on the islands. In addition to the rocky, sandy landscape, more is added from 300 miles away. Even the gym the Pack played at on Friday wasn’t immune. Some of the seats and in the upper reaches had a thin coat of sand on them.
Friday’s game took some doing to get on the radio back in Raleigh. Normally, the Pack In Spain radio voices of Nima Omidvar and Chris Kingston are transmitted back to America via the internet, but on Friday they had to do the entire broadcast from their cell phones. Yes, cell phones. The regular broadcast equipment was rendered useless when we were told that the low amount of bandwith needed to carry their voices would affect the ability for others to access the internet at the Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. The information technology staffer from the school told us that some five buildings and 300 people work off the same internet connection. Not sure how correct that is, but it did make us appreciate the many conveniences that we sometimes take for granted back home in the U.S.
As for the game, it was another NC State win, 85-70, over CB Gran Canaria. T.J. Warren logged another strong performance with 26 points with 13 rebounds. Scott Wood found his touch from downtown, especially in the second half. On the night, Wood connected on seven 3s and finished with 23 points.
Coach Gottfried was pleased with the way his team played and the leadership the four returning starters have shown,
After Saturday’s breakfast, the team loaded a bus and headed to the harbor for a coastal cruise for a few hours. The water here has a deep blue color to it, but it is still clear enough that you can look into it and see the ocean floor in the shallow parts.
Our captain slowly took us out to sea for a bit with the hopes of seeing some dolphins or whales. The best we could come up with was a small turtle. Maybe next time.
The gentle rocking motion of the boat had one of two results. Either you were lulled into a nice nap or it made you a little seasick. Fortunately for those with seasickness, it passed and everyone was able to enjoy the rest of the cruise.
On the inbound part of the cruise, the crew took us closer to the shoreline to give us a great view of the resorts that dot the coastline. While there were some hotels and condos near the shore, most were built into the valleys of the surrounding mountains to provide guests with a scenic view.
As we moved toward the spot where the crew would stop the boat to allow us take swim, they provided a lunch of pasta and salad. We were instructed to take the leftovers on our plates and dump the overboard for the fish to eat.
The boat anchored about 200 yards off shore and it was time to hit the water. Even though the weather in the Canary Islands is hot, the water is cold. It felt as if it had come off one of the nearby mountains.
Everyone from coaches, players, staff, and family members enjoyed the hour or so of swimming and banana-boat rides. Plus it’s not everyday you get to see six-foot-plus basketball players swimming in the ocean.
After a safe return to the harbor, the travel party loaded onto a bus for the trip to the hotel.
Sleep will come easy for everyone tonight, which is good because the Wolfpack will be seeking its fourth win of the tour on Sunday against the CB Gran Canaria Select squad.