Cruising on Diomedea

Diomedea is a Van de Stadt Tasman 48. The name is the species name of the Wandering Albatross of the Southern Ocean.

25 June 2016 | A Caruna, Galicia, Spain
23 June 2016 | Ria de Muros, Galicia
18 June 2016 | Ria de Arousa
16 June 2016 | Islas Ciel, Galician Atlantic islands, Spain
13 June 2016 | Cascais
09 June 2016 | Cascais
09 June 2016 | Sines
09 June 2016 | Sao Vicente
06 June 2016 | Lagos, PortugaL
04 June 2016 | Cadiz
03 June 2016 | Gibraltar
28 May 2016
28 May 2016 | La Linea, Spain
28 May 2016 | La Linea, Spain
21 May 2016 | Estepona, Costa del Sol
19 May 2016 | Agua Dulce
17 May 2016 | Nearing Cabo de Palos
16 May 2016 | Ibiza
14 May 2016 | Palma
07 May 2016 | Mallorca

A Caruna

25 June 2016 | A Caruna, Galicia, Spain
David and Andrea
After rounding Finisterre, our track took us rather slowly to Camarinas and a lovely quiet anchorage for the night before an intense day of motoring in dense fog along a rocky but windless coast to A Caruna. We sat glued to the radar as there were numerous fishing and sail boats about that did not have AIS transmissions. Their radar signatures were small and erratic and they would only “appear” visibly at about 500 metres. Evasive action was required from time to time. Entering the harbour was not problematic fortunately. We did not get to see the Tower of Hercules from offshore but rode around on the bikes to see it by land the next day. The tower was first built in the second century CE during the Roman period but its current form is from the 18th century.
The name of the city possibly derives from Celtic “Cork Orunnach” meaning the Harbour of Brave Men. Apparently, the Celtic king Breogan founded this city, then known as Brigantia. His son left here to voyage to Ireland and then returned, supposedly having seen that island from the top of the Tower of Hercules. There is an impressive modern statue of Breogan at the tower.
As always, we seem to arrive in new towns on Sunday or the day of either a national or local public holiday and so it was in A Caruna. The Midsummer fiesta of St John (San Xoan in local Galician language) was celebrated. Bonfires are a major feature of this event and participants have to jump over the fires 3-9 times chanting incantations against witches (yes, pagan origins). The main focus of this activity was the otherwise lovely curving strand of the ocean beach. Shamefully in our view, the morning after the party the beach was covered by hundreds of acres of rubbish piles containing plastic bags and other debris as well as burnt wood. Some bonfires were still smouldering and being extinguished. An acrid smell pervaded the area. The town council was in the process of cleaning the beach with an army of men and various tractors.

Rock On

23 June 2016 | Ria de Muros, Galicia
David and Andrea
The passage around to Ria de Muros was a spectacle of granite boulders and islands. Mostly all well-marked but still plenty of traps for young players. This northernmost ria is also the most beautiful and least developed. For those who don’t know, the rias are basically submerged, non-glaciated river valleys, somewhat akin to fiords. Those of you in Australia may be familiar with some of our prominent rias, i.e. Sydney Harbour, Port Hacking and Georges river. For the Kiwis, try Marlborough sounds.
There are several nice anchorages and an excellent marina at Muros town itself. For us the main attraction was the Iron Age Celtic settlement, “Castro de Barona” on the southern shore. It was inhabited from the 1st century BC for about two hundred years and today is remarkably well preserved. We walked into the doorways of small round houses from more than 2000 years ago and tried to imagine what life was like on this tiny promontory, walled off from the land and secured by the sea. The Celts were possibly originally from Austria and spread across much of Europe. They were incorporated into the Roman empire and then eventually confined to the islands of Britain, Ireland, and to Brittany. Their polytheism eventually was metamorphosed to Christianity and today we listen to mournful songs in Gaelic tongues that sound good but we have no idea what they are singing about. (a bit like Fado)
Muros town has been a fishing village for more than 1000 years and the tradition continues today. Mussel farming is huge as well as many other forms of aquatic harvesting. The town church is from the 13th century and the forum was a meeting place for the guilds (or trades). Fortunately the restaurants are more contemporary and the food was outstanding, particularly the “pulpos” or octopus, scallops and of course pimientas de padron from the nearby town of that name. We were able to visit the town of Noia at the head of the ria. The town is possibly named after the great granddaughter of Noah, who is said to have founded the settlement. The ark is incorporated into symbolism on the town crest. There is the fantastic old church of Santa Maria a Nova, with very old and very new graves all around. Supposedly the earth surrounding this church was imported from the Holy Land. We caught the local bus back to Muros but not before being accosted by a local drunk and a Jehovah’s Witness proselitiser whose Iphone evangelical app did not work, forcing her to resort to the carbon-based analogue format (a book). A hire car jaunt took us out to Cabo Finisterre, another limit of the Roman world. The last part goes along the Camino de Santiago (The Way of St James) which finishes at the lighthouse, about 90km from Santiago de Compostela. St James was an apostle who was martyred in Jerusalem in 44 AD by beheading. (Sound familiar?) The trail was originally a pagan path leading to Finisterre long before Christianity subsumed the marketing idea. We saw many hot and tired (and presumably but not visibly enlightened) pilgrims baking in the fierce afternoon sun. The Camino souvenir shop was doing a roaring trade in fridge magnets fashioned after the scallop shell symbol of the walk. The Camino is big business these days with about 250,000 people making the pilgrimage each year.

The Rias of Galicia

18 June 2016 | Ria de Arousa
David and Andrea
Isla Cies proved remarkably appealing for us and so we lingered in the bay despite a slight roll from the residual swell. The island is a bird sanctuary and one can take very enjoyable walks up to the lighthouse for stunning views of this granite and lichen crag. Now, when I say birds, I do mean seagulls. All you Sydney-siders who think that the only reason seagulls exist is to steal chips from your plate or poop on your boat, then we respond that they actually do also live “in their natural habitat”. The island has numerous breeding pairs and we saw many newly hatched chicks staggering around whilst their fairly aggressive mums patrolled nearby. We were enchanted as the gulls soared on the updrafts of the precipitous cliffs. Very Jonathon Livingstone Seagull.
It was then a delicious close reach romp up to the next Ria Pontavedra. We dropped the hook off a beach but soon found that the anchor was fouled and not holding. Bringing it up we noted a large boulder wedged into the anchor’s “roll bar”, refusing to be dislodged by various rope tricks. Finally we gave up and drove to the nearby marina Sanxenxo. For years I have carried a 1 metre long crowbar on the boat as said implement had been recommended as an essential tool for long distance cruisers. Well, finally, I found a use for it. For the task of prising the boulder out from the anchor, the crowbar was remarkably effective.
Sanxenxo is famous as being the base for the Volvo RTW yachts prior to the start of the 2005 race and today the “Mapfre”branded Volvo 65 is sitting in its cradle looking ready for anything. Sanxenxo is also infamous for the nearby discos which blast across the berths till about 5am.
After the disturbed night it was northeast to Isla Ons and a short walk to its lovely lighthouse (Chance Bros again!) before an excellent windward leg to Ria de Arousa. We are so loving these 10-15nm hops rather than the 50-70nm deliveries. Flat water, clear skies, 18 knots true wind, minimal traffic, what’s not to like?

Farewell Portugal

16 June 2016 | Islas Ciel, Galician Atlantic islands, Spain
David and Andrea
Definitely dodgy. The weather forecast for the 220nm run north along the Atlantic coast provided the rare commodity of favourable winds but it came at a significant price. Huge seas, squalls and rain driven by a low sitting to the north of Cape Finisterre were to be the penalties.
Our time in Cascais had come to end after a successful repair of oil leaks around the oil filter bracket mounting on the Yanmar. I learned a lot about how to remove 18 year old gaskets that were stuck on like, well you know what. We had made some new friends but as is so often the case they are going in different directions.
The problem for us was that the steady winds along this coast are from the north. Most boats going north motor the distance in short hops early in the mornings, taking about a week or more to do it. In our infinite wisdom we decided to take the “window” and cover it in one go.
At 45 miles we were still motoring in calms before a small front came across and the NW breeze built. We were hard on the wind for a while but could hold our course. The breeze backed enough to slightly free the sheets but then increased. And with it the seaway. Diomedea was in her element but she goes to windward so much better than we do. The barometer had dropped 10 mBar since casting off. By dawn we were in full conditions, 2 deep reefs and staysail, confused seas up to 3.5m. The first of many line squalls came in at 38 knots. The day wore on as Diomedea slowly drew closer to her goal, but also relentlessly nearer to the never-ending lee shore with no ports of refuge available. Finally we came to Cabo Silleiro (near Vigo), the entry to the first of the Spanish Galician rias only to find that the harbour entry appeared quite dangerous. The massive swells, ramped up by an outgoing tide, were funnelled directly into the bay before finding shallow water. We would have had to run downwind toward this presumed zone of breakers, past numerous reefs, before gybing at the last minute into the small bay of Baiona with the marina. In 30 knot torrential rain squalls. Strangely there was no local boat traffic to be seen. Now, you might call us gutless, but we aborted the approach and continued on to the stunningly gorgeous anchorage of the Galician Atlantic islands where we enjoyed a settled evening. The rum and coke was excellent.

Dia de Portugal

13 June 2016 | Cascais
David and Andrea
Today is Portugal’s National Day. Celebrated to commemorate the life and times of the great poet Luis de Camoes. He wrote the epic poem, the Lusiadas, which celebrates Portugal’s successes and history, especially maritime. It was published in 1572 and runs to 8816 lines of verse. Certainly harder to memorise than “My Country” by MacKellar.
Diomedea remains in Cascais (pron. Cash Case - So called because you need such a thing to live here we have decided) whilst getting her oil leak sorted. We have taken the opportunity to ride our bikes up to Cabo de Roca, the westernmost point of continental Europe and a very stunning piece of geography. Also we have sampled live Fado music at the very excellent “Cascais em Fado” restaurant (fish and pumpkin soup, beef from the Azores islands, salmon, chocolate mousse cake- yum). Fado, from the 19th century, is melancholic, mournful, longing music about life on the sea and of poor people, done to a formulaic structure with classic and Portuguese guitars. Acceptable for an hour or so.
Cascais, primarily a fishing village, became popular with the wealthy when King Carlos 1 frequented the area as part of his wide ranging nautical interests. He was a keen oceanographer commissioning rather nice motor yachts to do deep water studies. Easily achieved here as the Setubal and Lisbon trenches are up to 1200m deep and only a few miles away. All sorts of weird fish life were found and can be seen in the Museo de Mar. He and his son were assassinated by republicans in 1908. The monarchy only survived a further 2 years after the deaths.

Getting up to some Mischief

09 June 2016 | Cascais
David and Andrea
This is a replica of Bill Tilman's Bristol Channel pilot cutter from 1954. He used it for high latitude exploration and mountaineering and did some incredible stuff. The man was impervious to hardship and was lost at sea in his 80's along with a young crew sadly. Mischief was lost in 1968 on Jan Mayen near Greenland. This replica was built in 2007 and is berthed next to us here in Cascais.
Vessel Name: Diomedea
Vessel Make/Model: Van de Stadt Tasman 48 See Pix here
Hailing Port: Sydney
Diomedea's Photos - Main
40 Photos
Created 22 November 2015
20 Photos
Created 8 October 2015
34 Photos
Created 18 September 2015
7 Photos | 6 Sub-Albums
Created 12 July 2015
11 Photos
Created 12 July 2015
1 Photo | 8 Sub-Albums
Created 8 June 2015
5 Photos
Created 18 May 2015
32 Photos
Created 17 May 2015
69 Photos
Created 20 March 2015
47 Photos
Created 5 December 2014
14 Photos
Created 5 November 2014
Diomedea's Cruise through the Indo archipelago
1 Photo | 4 Sub-Albums
Created 27 August 2014
40 Photos
Created 25 June 2014
Diomedea cruises to NZ
1 Photo | 25 Sub-Albums
Created 3 May 2013
11 Photos
Created 23 April 2012
1 Photo | 13 Sub-Albums
Created 11 January 2011
8 Photos
Created 19 October 2010
Various destinations
6 Photos
Created 19 April 2010
6 Photos
Created 6 April 2010
3 Photos
Created 6 April 2010
Compass Adjustment 2010
8 Photos
Created 21 March 2010
A visit to this yacht.
5 Photos
Created 19 February 2010
Cruising over Christmas
10 Photos
Created 11 January 2010
Some photos of Diomedea sailing
27 Photos
Created 7 October 2009
4 Photos
Created 24 September 2009
9 Photos
Created 7 September 2009
64 Photos
Created 28 August 2009
75 Photos
Created 9 August 2009
2 Photos
Created 14 July 2009
Diomedea gets the big makeover
51 Photos
Created 13 July 2009
4 Photos
Created 17 April 2009
12 Photos
Created 7 April 2009
6 Photos
Created 8 March 2009
18 Photos
Created 14 December 2008
4 Photos
Created 4 October 2008
1 Photo | 2 Sub-Albums
Created 27 September 2008
1 Photo | 9 Sub-Albums
Created 12 August 2008
1 Photo | 6 Sub-Albums
Created 15 June 2008
In Tonga
6 Photos | 3 Sub-Albums
Created 14 May 2008
Doing stuff in the Bay of Islands
2 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 27 April 2008
Fun night at the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron prior to departure
13 Photos
Created 27 April 2008
The action shots whilst Diomedea is on passage to New Zealand
13 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 27 April 2008
Photos of the Ship of Steel
12 Photos
Created 28 March 2008