Breaking news! This morning at 8 AM there was 11 degrees outdoors and a mere 15 in the caabin. Dense fog, söowly lifting while the just made it aver the tops of the surrounding hills. Dead calm. Not the best weather for sailing but trully magical. I hope the pictures managed to caapture some of the felling one gets on such an occassion. Man is so small compared to the beauty of the world surrounding us. A world that our civilization seems to be ruining at an accelerating pace...
Almosta no wind until a few miles before the chosen anchorage for today. The fog stayed until after noon, forcing us to wear warm clothes and raingear and practicing that radar navigation again.
In the afternnoon it lifted slowly, revealing another warm and sunny day. Since we were motoring again, most of the day, I took the opportunity to get the fishing gear ready and tried trailing a line. Three maquerels were prodly presented to the chef. On the picture, you can see the first capture. first the maquerel and then a 'bird's nest' of lines and parts of fishing net, that the lead weight on the line had captured. Heavy as it waas to haul back to the boat, I dreamt of BIG fish on the hook...
The freshly caught fish tasted wonderful for dinner, after we had anchored in this little Ria, just a few miles NE of La Coruna. Tomorrow we will go to this lovely old town to explore it.
We are doing 25-30 miles coastal work a day now. Yesterday we left Ribadeo at 8AM, just after sunrise, to take advantage of the outgoing tide for the next Ria that provides good anchorng facilities. Ria Vivero. Yes, the one we were aiming at when crossing the Bay of Biscay. It appears to be more of a resort than Ribadeo, which is a lively town without too much make-up on. Whilst Vivero seems more like all those 'cute' liitle waterfront towns with hotels, summer houses including rentals. Personally, i like the 'real' places, with every day life and people working and living better. That said, Vivero is very nice and provides good shelter.
The sailing was great, 20-25 knot (F 4-5, gusting to 6) from E and a 2-2,5 meter swell from NW made it quite rolly though. We started with the mizzen furled and one reef in the main, but soon enough took another reef in the main to make the ride more comfortable. Indeed, just after having a 'splash' that to some extent fond it's way down the companionway. Most of it ended up in the galley zink, though, so no harm done.
After a night with the boats rolling quite a bit at the anchorage due to the swell, that somehow found it's way in behind the little islet, where we were anchored, 3 of us in total, we wwighed anchor again in the morning to pass
Spains northernmost point - Estaca de Bares - and then Cabo Ortegal with it's offlying needle rocks, known as Los Aguillones.
Not much wind today, after a sloppy start in the heavy swell between the mountaineous shores in the light morning breeze, we could turn to port and made quite good speed with help from the genoa and the tidal stream.
In the afternoon the breeze disappeared completely, the swell had come down by now ad we motored the last hour and a half, trailing a fishing line with no success.
Anchored in a beautiful and very well sheltered little bay in Ria de Cedeiro, just off a wonderful beach with white sand. Here we saw the first swedish boat since the UK. A Malö with an elderly couple from Nyköping. This is the town I lived in when I started in sailing. One of many coincidences in life.
Yup, still here... Tuning in on Spain and trying to refresh the spanish from school. Takes a while I am afraid.
We haven't done anything much worth telling here, just relaxing and talking to a couple of other sailors in tha marina. Particularly a french gentleman who has spent most of the summer beating to windward along the Portuguese caost, in small steps. Statistically there is Northerly winds along the coast most of the time. It's even known as the Portuguese Trtade. He spent four years on Corsica/Corse and is now going home to Brittany where his chosen lady is waiting for him.
Going through the canals of France, Canal du Midi, to Bordeaux was not possible fo him since his boat has a draught of 1,80 and the maximum dredged depth of a part of the canal is 1,40 only.
Not hard to understand that he is a bit fed up with it
We have also had a 'tropical storm' gone lost, pass here with wnds around Force 6-7 last night. A very good reason to stay put. The center of this somewhat desorientated caribbean hurricane reportedly hit Ireland with 45 knots of wind. Imagine the size of the seas that must have gone with it!
The wind wills still be on our nose tomorrow, but on Saturday morning the next little leg is in the cards. 35 miles to Ria Vivero, the one we originally planned to go to after crossing the Biscay.
Vamos a ver! (we'll see)
Can you see our boat in the picture?
The Spell of motoring is over at last! We sailed every cablelength of this 300 miles passage. Starting at 4PM (yup, we were a bit slooow this morning) in a very light breeze we were close hauled all nigtht long in a Force 5 gusting to 6 from W. Needless to say, quite uncomfortable given the short and steep nature of the waves here.
The Bay of Biscay has a very bad reputation among sailors, which in a large portion is not because of worse weather than elsewhere - but the fact that the Atlantic with a depth of 4000 meters 'hits' the continental shelf (150 m deep) in just a couple of miles. Naturally this is resulting in dangerous sea state (Tsunami style) in rough conditions.
Thus, the not so comfortable seastate we experienced, due to the fact that we had 60 miles to go before leaving the continental shelf behind and reaching safer (yes, actually!) water where the depth plunges to 4 km.
I wonder how long it would take for something thrown overboard to travel all the way to the bottom ?
Anyway the sailing was awesome. We reached the deep atlantic water early in the morning which made our depth sounder announce 'zero feet' when it became out of range. The wind veered to NW during the early stage of the night, accordingly to the forecast, and it was very nice to ease the sheets a bit. Now fore-reaching instead of sailing hard on the wind. We made the first 150 miles in 19 hours which is the fastest passage I ever made in Röde Orm and very good for a heavy 32 feet cruising boat.
The wind decreased, still perfectly 'following' our forecast, and at Force 2-3 kept us moving on nicely during the day, when the swell came down from 2-2,5 meter successively. By now they were looong and nice though they made the lookout difficult. Since the boat is equipped with a radar, we mostly kept watches with the radar as it made them easier and safer too. Actually it 'sees' a lot better than the most active crew member on a small boat given that from it's height it 'sees' a lot longer. The radar, that sits at spreader hight in the mizzen mast on Röde Orm, gave us a perfect 'view' of up to 12 miles. I was positively surprised at how well it worked dispite the waves.
The last 90 miles became a new 'race' now with the wind on the beam, since it had veered to N and then further to NE and again gusting to force 6, before we entered Ria Ribadeo at 4AM on the 30th of August. 300 miles in 60 hours giving an average of 5 knots. Not bad at all.
Ria Ribadeo is the most Easterly of the 'HIgh Rias' of Galicia. Approximately 70 miles E of La Coruna. We choose it primarily because we realized early on that we would arrive at night, some 8 hours earlier than expected. Otherwise the original plan was to make landfall at Ria Vivero, 33 M to westward.
The entrance hear is wide and guarded by two conspicuous light-houses on each side of the entrance. It was pitch black when we slowly 'feeled' our way into the anchorage area marked on the chart. We dropped the hook in 18 feet of water, between high and low tide. The tidal range here, now at neap, is a 'modest' 2 meters so no big deal ;-)
No problems/ no worries. All is well with both the boat and the crew.
From here on we intend to do 30-40 mile 'jumps' along the coast using the tidal stream to our advantage most of the way down to LIsboa. Staying as long as we like to and moving along when the wind is favourable. (Northeasterlies are predominant here so that shouldn't be too difficult)
No time schedule whatsoever now, except we want to be in LIsboa before the end of September. Given that i'ts not more than 350 miles to go it's not exactly stressful.
BTW - 'RIA' is a spanish word that perhaps should be explained. The breton expression is 'Aber' as in l'Aber Wrach where we spent a couple of days. A river estuary, created by the tidal action of the sea and surrounded by a mountaineous landscape. At least this as I have understood the word.
As another aside, it's too bad we were delayed almost a month from leaving Falsterbo. Because of this we discarded our original plan to sail via Scotland and Ireland. If so, we would by now have ended a nice 'kelt' roundabout, with our 5 weeks in Bretagne and now Galicia, another part of the Celtic regions. So much more interesting since Isabelle is Bretonnne and was very involved in the folk music and dancing when she grew up. For me, I guess it's mostly a matter of enjoying the music heritage.
First - 2 miles rowing the dinghy in a F 5 headwind right after breakfast
Second - 2,5 km walk with backpacks to town
Third - Some 40 km of biking with backpacks mostly against the wind. Up and down steep hills
Fourth - Dinner with wine in the town after returning the bikes
Fifth - repeating the second, but in drizzling rain and nighfall
Sixth - rowing back to the boat in the anchorage in rain and complete darkness att 10 PM
Great boost for the moral of the entire (!) crew. Add to this that it did wonders for our legs and cardiovascular system after weeks of sitting in the cockpit plus all the good food and wine in France.
By the way - the weather forecast is simply splendid for the next six (!) days, so tomorrow we'll steer to Galicia- Espana!
To this brief description, we found the Island to be immensely beautiful with stunning sceneries together with piqturesque little towns. Belle Isle got our strongest recommendations, see the pics... (unfortunately it's very hard to capture the sheer mightyness of the rocks and the ruggedness of the landscape of the western shoreline; the windward side.)