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Deep Blue
Living The Dream
First visitors, Red Bull Air Race, Port Caves
09/04/2007, Porto

Arrived in Portugal at Leixoes (pronounced 'layshoinsh'), a suburb of Porto, to be met by Deb and Joe who arrived at the marina at the same time, loaded down with our shopping request of Tesco's Bombay Mix and Oatcakes, and who stayed with us for a few days.

We were expecting the language to be similar to Spanish however it is completely different with, what sounds like, an eastern European accent. Surprisingly, we reverted back to UK time although we had only dropped south, down the coast. There is a distinctive Englishness about the place with most people speaking the language, signs and transport info in English, red post boxes and similarities with UK architecture. We took the metro into Porto which was one of the best public transport systems we have ever used being very cheap and easy to navigate around. The city is very clean, the setting on the wide River Douro is beautiful with lots of old, terraced buildings. The port cellars are on the south bank and all offer free tours with a tasting at the end. Unfortuately, we were too late to visit the Taylor's cellar but our perseverance paid off at another cellar where we were lucky to have a private tour and tasting. During our stay, the Red Bull Air Race was taking place. 13 pilots and planes from all over the world were taking part in a slalom course down the main river in the centre of the city. The planes were about 60 feet above the water and we had waterfront seats along the river banks to watch from. It was very exciting and heats have taken place in London, Rio de Janiero, Istanbul, USA etc. The weather here is more like what we were expecting - hot, so we are now turning brown at last. If you have never visited Porto, or rather Oporto as it is known locally, we can thoroughly recommend it. You have to be fit though as most of the city is on a hill with lots of steep streets. Check out the photos of Porto in the 'Portgual' album in the Gallery.

Waved goodbye to Deb and Joe and then found a Lidl's store nearby where we did a re-stock for the next journey.

Off today (Sunday) for an overnight trip to Navare before the next destination of Lisbon where we should be able to give you a further update later in the week.


Hello from sunny Baiona where we have spent the last 3 days.

Managed to get the TV working on the laptop today so that Chris could watch the Grand Prix. We then visited a replica of īPintaī the boat that Christopher Columbus sailed on and were brought back to earth with a bump when seeing the conditions that the sailors had to endure.

Off to Lexioes tomorrow on the outskirts of Porto. Debra, my sister, and her boyfriend Joe are arriving tomorrow for a few days which we are really looking forward to.

Bookings are now being taken.

Santiago de Compostela
08/22/2007, 42 45.0'N:08 56.0'W

This was our first day trip since arriving in Spain. It took two buses to get to the cathedral at Santiago which was fun in itself as we do not speak Spanish but are quickly learning.

Santiago was only an hour away and is where the tomb of St. James was discovered at the beginning of the 9th Century. It has been the focus for thousands of pilgrims and is now the most important place after Jersualem and Rome for them.

The cathedral is magnificent and the town very olde worlde. The only down side for us that there were hundreds of people visiting and it didn't seem quite right they so many should be allowed in at the same time to trample around.

After a lovely day, it was back to the usual priorities of shopping, washing and finding wi-fi.

Hunter Gatherers in Camarinas
08/22/2007, 43 07'N:09 10'W

Arrived in the fishing town of Camarinas on Saturday night and squeezed Deep Blue into the sliver of space that they allocated to us.

On Sunday, we went onto the beach to look for some dinner! The pilot book said that it was a good place to find shellfish and they were right. Between we found enough mussels and cockles for a starter and a main course. Only Chris had done this before so we followed his instructions. It was really easy and with a little white wine, garlic, onions and cream the mussels slipped down a treat followed by Spaghetti a la Vongole.

It was a great sense of achievement finding your own food and much better than a trip to Sainsbury's anyday.


After a busy few days in La Coruna, we headed for the quiet anchorage of Corme. It was only a one street place but a good place to test out our new anchor, that held beautifully.

In a candlelit cave on the beach that night was a music show provided by local bands. It started at about 9pm, with pipes and drums and lots of local people came to watch and took photos. We went over with Dave & Elaine in the dinghy. By the time we got there, the music style had changed slightly to heavy metal and so it continued to 9am THE NEXT MORNING!

With slight headaches and lack of sleep, we then headed for Camarinas.....................

La Coruna

Thought youīd like to see where we are moored in La Coruna marina, just left of the ultra posh Yacht Club (where else!).

Itīs a buzzing place at the moment because there are lots of racing yachts coming and going as part of a race programme around France, Ireland and Spain.

Itīs a Bank Holiday here today and almost everything is closed (unlike Bank Holidayīs in the UK) and everybody seems to be chilling in cafes or walking small dogs along the promenade.

We are going to go and watch some flamenco dancing tonight in the main square which should be fun.

Thinking of leaving tomorrow for a short day trip south west of here so long as the weather is ok. Itīs currently sunny and bright but very windy, so we will need the wind to drop a bit. The next couple of stops are in small fishing villages that are unlikely to have much in the way of internet services so we will be in touch asap.

In the meantime, we are now using our new mobile number as per the card we sent to you. Donīt forget that it is a UK number and costs you no more than a UK call to a mobile phone number to call us.

Dolphins, Whales and Dramas
08/14/2007, 43 22.0'N:08 23.0'W

Hello from sunny Spain!

Well, the journey was as good as we could have wished for weather-wise. The sea was calm, the sun shone so that we arrived with a good colour on our faces. After 7 hrs, the yacht of David & Nancy broke down for the umpteenth time. The four of us turned around and went back to them. Dave, who is an diesel engineer, went onto their boat and spent time trying to get them sorted. Nothing worked. Anyway, 4 HOURS LATER, the decision was taken that the four of us would carry on. David called the coastguard to let them know but they were not really interested, afterall a sailing yacht has sails and is capable of moving without an engine. The only problem was that there was no wind! So, off we went feeling a bit strange about leaving them but there was nothing more we could do and to have stayed would have achieved nothing and could have put everyone else at risk.

Next couple of days were very tiring but a great experience. Dolphins accompanied us and we saw whales too, that was something else. On the third day, I got bad seasickness and was out of it for 24hrs, heaving every 15 minutes! Chris dug deep and spent the next 24hrs looking after me and getting us to La Coruna. How he did it, I do not know but he did a fantastic job and never complained once.

We arrived in La Coruna on Sunday with Dave & Elaine and have been hear since. It took us another day to catch up on sleep. We didnīt even wake up until 2pm the following day. But, that day, Elaine got a phone call from David to say that they had just arrived in La Coruna!!! They had DIYīd the boat the next morning and carried on.

Anyway, all is well here. It is a Bank Holiday tomorrow and we are looking forward to all the celebrations that will be happening. Relaxed and happy.

We should be leaving here on Thursday to go further down the coast and will keep you updated.

Departing UK

As of now (2pm Wed), we are intending to leave Falmouth at 7am tomorrow for our crossing over the Bay of Biscay to La Coruna in NW Spain. We shall have one more weather check before making a final decision but this looks like the plan at the moment.

The other two boats are going with us and we look forward to updating you from Spain!

Last leg of UK journey - Plymouth to Falmouth

Just a short hop really down the Devon/Cornish coast to Falmouth. Probably our best sailing day of the whole trip, charging down at about 8.5 knots in beautiful sunshine. Fantastic.

Arrived at Falmouth at absolute low tide and promptly went aground right outside the marina entrance. The marina guys came out in their workboat and towed us off no problem and apologised for the state of their marina entrance which was being affected by dredging further up the river.

Met up with our friends, Dave & Elaine and David & Nancy who had arrived here 3 days earlier. They were in Shotley with us and left before us so it was good to catch up with them in their two boats over a few beers.

Now waiting for a weather window before we head across Biscay. Looks like it will not be until the back end of this week, at the earliest based on current weather reports.

32 hours at sea - Brighton to Plymouth

With the Bay of Biscay crossing coming closer, we thought it made sense to do an overnighter in preparation for the 3/4 days non-stop that it will take us to get to La Coruna.

Left at about 10.30am after filling with fuel (42p litre). The sun was shining and the sea was calm so it was t-shirts and shorts for a while.

As the evening drew in, we put on our foul weather/warm gear to make sure that we stayed warm and comfy throughout the night. It was just off full moon, and therefore the moon lit the sky and cast a silvery shadow over the sea. There was a warmish breeze to help us as we negotiated several tankers and fishing boats in our path.

Sandra had a 1 hour sleep around 11.30pm and again at 6.30am. Chris didn't and carried on at the helm even when the rain and wind eventually arrived.

We arrived at the famous Plymouth Sound tired but happy with our's and the boat's performance at about 4pm, had a shower in the marina facilities, something to eat and sleep at last !!!!!!!!!!

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Who: Chris & Sandra Mennem
Port: Shotley, UK
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