Blue Spirit sails to Spain

17 July 2011
14 July 2011
12 July 2011
06 July 2011 | La Rochelle
02 July 2011 | Santander
23 June 2011 | Viveiro
20 June 2011 | La Coruna
18 June 2011 | first of the Ria Alto
12 June 2011 | Isla Ons
09 June 2011
08 June 2011 | Combarro
06 June 2011 | Isla Cies
04 June 2011
25 May 2011 | Moana, Vigo
22 May 2011 | Sangenjo
20 May 2011
19 May 2011 | Muros
18 May 2011 | Portosin, Ria du Muros
13 May 2011 | La Coruna

St Denis de Oleron

17 July 2011
We took the first lock from La Rochelle at 10.30 and sailed over to St Denis d’Oleron (or should I say Olderon, which is what the kids have nick named it – I think they must have watched star wars a few too many times) and made it easily over the sill. There was plenty of room for us. We got the bikes out and had a quick ride to the local beach for a bit of exercise.
Sunday morning we had a great ride along a cycle path to the lighthouse in sunny warm/hot conditions. Lovely, the whole trip took about 3 hours. My legs ached as I neared the top of the lighthouses 244 steps. Wonderful view from the top

We are definitely further north, the palm trees are few and far between and there are loads of summer bedding plants in baskets, pots and alongside the road. a real noticeable change in vegetation.

St Martin de Re

14 July 2011
We got up really early to catch the first lock (5.15am) in order to sail to St Martin de Re, a bit of a shock to the system I must say. Still it was a lovely morning and watching the sun rise over the fishing huts in the river was fantastic. We navigated under the 2 bridges with plenty of clearance and proceeded to motor east about Ile d’Aix. There was loads of time to kill as we couldn’t get into St Martin until 2.15pm so we drifted/ sailed at a very slow pace in the wonderful sunshine. Sailing under the bridge was a real treat only to be surpassed by an unexpected swim in warm water while waiting for the lock. The lock opened on schedule and we entered and tied up with no problem. The town was just as we remembered it from of bike holiday in 2004. A very interesting man (Rob) moored next to us and Dave spent some time chatting to him before we went out for Moules frites before watching yet more fireworks.

Rochefort

12 July 2011
Although we hadn’t planned to leave St Denis d’Oleron so soon, there was bad weather coming in and we thought it might be a nice idea to pass the time safe up the river at Rochefort. We rushed about getting ready and left around lunchtime. It was such a lovely day we had the bimini up and anchored off Ill d’Aix for a while before going up the river charante. The next available lock at Rochefort was the following day around 4pm so we stayed the night just round the first bend of the river at Port de Barques. What an eventful night, there was a wonderful lightning storm and loads of wind that seemed to come from nowhere, then after the storm had past, a tanker motored past us! We didn’t think the wind was too bad but a man came to talk to us in Rochefort and said that he had spent the night on deck watch in case of mishap. The town had some lovely old buildings in it and a special treat for Dave, they were making a replica of the Hermonie, an old 16th or 17th century frigate, which we happily paid to have a look around.

We were treated to an excellent firework display but the evening was mared when Dave fell through a gap in the pontoon and pushed amber over the ramp and almost dropped her, I had to go and pull her back up as Dave was still stuck up to his waist on the pontoon ramp. Really scary, fully clothed, Amber would have fallen in and sunk without a trace.

La Rochelle

06 July 2011 | La Rochelle
We probably had the best biscay crossing one could wish for, we left early Mon morning with a W-NW 3-5 giving average speeds of just over 8knts. Were greeted by many pods of dolphins which helped pass the time of day, then by nightfall the wind died away to nothing so we had to motor through the night which was great as the seas went almost flat. Sadly we didn't catch any tuna, which was probably for the best as we had no idea how we would land them anyway. It was a fantastic hot sunny day followed by a stary night. We drifted into La Rochelle early Tues morning just in time for Oz to jump on the no 7 bus to the airport and catch his lunchtime filght. Perfect :-)

Santander again

02 July 2011 | Santander
After a bit of a whistle stop tour of the North Coast, we arrived back in Santander. We had left Vivero with the intention of stopping at Ribedeo to watch the Grand Prix (which we did) but it was such a nice day with the wind blowing in the right direction that we put back out to sea again after the race had finished, hoisted the kite and headed along to Gijon. The last few hours were in darkness as we arrived about 3am but it was beautiful sailing along the coast watching the lights and fireworks. As we rounded Cabo Penas, we ran into a lightening storm, very scary as the forks were coming down really close to us (or so it seamed). We spent the next day like zombies as the kids were up at thier usual 8.30! The following day was a very dull motor east to Santander. Could almost pick out the Picos - still it beats a day in the office.

We have managed to pick up a third crew member (oz) who joined us Friday and are now waiting for the westerlies to come in to take us to France, somewhere near the Ille de Re, probably leave monday morning. After being inspired by some french guys in Viveiro to try Tuna fishing, we are now fully spammed up with heavy fishing line and octopus lures ready for our deep sea adventure.....

Ria De Viveiro

23 June 2011 | Viveiro
After leaving around 7.30, we had a very uneventful motor around to Viveiro. Funny, after all the lovely scenery and beaches of the Rias and Atlantic Islands, as we rounded Cabo Octegal, the coastline became greener and somehow more appealing, we found ourselves, as we had all the way along the north coast earlier in the year, staring at the land scapes. We took the cut through inside the island outside the Ria de Viveiro and anchored in the beautifully bad on the east side. As I dropped the anchor, I watched it plunge down to a patch of sand 8 meters below us, then watched as the chain flowed out along sand then weed. The water was amazingly clear. A quick run along the beach and sand dunes finished off our day and our North going adventures for a while. For the next 200 miles or so we will be heading East.
The next day we came into the Marina for the night to re-provision and had a walk/ride through the town, what a lovely place this is. I am so glad we came back here to explore further. The old town is very typically northern Spanish with narrow clean streets, 4 or 5 storey stone buildings with wrought iron balconies complimenting a multitude of tall narrow windows. Shops below and accommodation above. As normal, there is a wide walkway with stone/concrete balastrauding along the waterfront, just right for losing Amber, who rode off so far on her bike that we couldn't find her for ages. By lunchtime it was so hot we retired to the cockpit under the bimini for a mid day rest. Back out to anchor this after so we stick to our budget.

Back to La Coruna

20 June 2011 | La Coruna
The alarm was set to wake us early so we could get some of the bulk of the journey to A Coruna out the way in case the forecast NE set in. We motored in very little wind and a slight swell for a few hours, then were brave enough to pop the kite. Wow, what a difference that made, we had 10 knts of breeze and were making a good 7knots of boat speed, the motion became quite steady. The visibility was amazing, we could see all the way across the NE coast of Spain right up to Cabo Octogal and as far back as Cabo Vilano. The extent of the wind generators on the ridges never ceases to amaze us. Spain is very environmentally aware, they must generate a good proportion of their electricity by the wind farms. With 20 mins to go, kite still up and running well by the lee, we decided to attempt to drop the the kite (as it takes us about 15 mins) before a windshift forced us onto the rocks! No problems. We slowly drifted into Coruna and moored up in the Marina Nautico. A quick walk around confirmed that this was still one of our favourite places of the trip so far. The marina wall was still covered in fantastic sea creatures.

Arosa to Camarinas

18 June 2011 | first of the Ria Alto
We had to leave Riveira early as the marina needed space for a local yacht race. It was a lovely morning so we ventured North with the intention of stopping in Ria de Muros. There was quite a large swell running as we left which was made sloppy by the reefs and rocks we had to make our way through to get north, after that it calmed off a bit. The sun was shining but the wind was on the nose and light so we were motoring. But the time we got to Muros the swell had subsided a bit so we carried on to stay the night in Finistere harbour, what a lovely place. We had seafood paella with octopus and all sorts in, beautiful. It seemed to be a really calm evening so we made the decision to carry on North to Camarinas before the High Pressure Northerlies set in so carried on passing Finistere really close. Sadly the swell built throughout the whole journey and although it wasn’t rough, the swell made all of us feel quite queezy. Still, we’re now half way up the coast of death, only one more journey to Coruna and the swell is forecast to reduce. The first of the Rias Alto.

Isla Onza

12 June 2011 | Isla Ons
We got up quite early and wandered up to the lighthouse on the isla ons. The island is really beautiful and relatively unspoilt except for the moulded concrete path that runs around to allow the hoards of tourists to walk around the islands. We luckily didn’t bump into any of them until lunchtime. We left the Isla Ons late that afternoon and had a great downwind sail to Ria de Arosa where we anchored in Caraminal. We saw a load of Dolphins just before the last corner, they really are a pleasure to see.

We stayed at Caraminal for 3 nights, one in the marina and one anchored so close to the outside pontoons that we could have almost tied on! The gardens and park area are lovely but the rest of the town was a bit of a ghost town. It has been raining on and off for the last few days.

Pontreverda

09 June 2011
Everyone woke up grumpy. We mooched around doing nothing for ages, then eventually decided that we should do something with the day so we went ashore to find the bus to Ponteverda. After much asking and a little waiting, the bus turned up and the mean bus driver charged us 1.35 each (all 4 of us). The journey only took about 15mins. We got off without knowing where to go so headed down to the river. What a dump! The buildings were not very attractive although the path along the river was really well kept. After a picnic on one of the benches, we thought we had better head into the buildings to see what was behind the horrible looking flats! What a surprise, we found the old quarter where there were loads of really old churches and taverns and monasteries etc. lovely. You got a real feel of what it would be like living in the 16th century. Blue Spirit was still happily at anchor when we arrived back in Cambarro which was a relief. Time for a change of venue, we headed for Aguette, with a view to anchor if there was room between the moorings. On arrival, we were greeted by a man in a launch who said we could stay for free on the pontoons. At first we thought they didn’t have the heart to charge us due to the amount of the bird poo on the pontoon, but it turned out that the main reason was because the pontoon had no water, electricity or ramp ashore, in fact, there was a 6 foot gap half way along. What a lovely unspoiled spot though. One of our favourites to date I think.
Vessel Name: Blue Spirit
Vessel Make/Model: Beneteau 50
Hailing Port: Poole, England
Crew: Dave, Jackie and kids
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Blue Spirit's Photos -

Who: Dave, Jackie and kids
Port: Poole, England