Another day, another anchorage. Woke up this morning to the sound of rain beating down on the roof. Or it could have been the deck. I suppose as we were inside at the time it would be the roof.
But now the sun is shining, and looking out the door, or the hatch, the little anchorage of Baiona looks absolutely lovely. Home for the next couple of days at least. A little exploring and sightseeing, laundry, shopping etc, and planning the next leg.
Baiona is pretty much the last stop in Northern Spain before the long 320 mile trek down the Portuguese coast to the Algarve. We won't do it in one go of course, there are a number of stops on the way, one of which will be the capital city of Portugal, Lisbon. Or Lisboa, if you are Portuguese. We would quite like to visit Seville as well, maybe stop there for a week or two.
We arrived here last night after a fairly unpleasant trip from Muros. The wind and swell was worse than forecast and we lost the use of our Genoa (Big sail at the front) for the latter half of the trip. We were very glad to arrive. Quite sad to have left Muros though because we met up with Roy and Jeff, two friends I met whilst Jan was away, and we had a lovely time there. We also went by bus to Santiago.
Santiago, if you didn't know already, is famous for its cathedral, and pilgrims. Back in the 8th century, someone had a great idea of digging up St James, one of the disciples, and taking him back to Santiago as a tourist attraction. Guess what, it worked. Thousands and thousands of pilgrims flock to Santiago each year to do pilgrim stuff. We did tourist stuff, some of it on a Segway!!
If you don't know what a Segway is, and don't worry, most people don't, it's a sort of two wheeled transportation device. No, not a bike, not a scooter, and not a shopping trolley. A sort of small platform big enough for two feet, with the wheels port and starboard rather than fore and aft, and a handle. You stand on it and off you go. It's quite fast and you can cover a lot of ground and its fun. However, you tend to look quite daft, and feel quite daft. Especially as they make you wear a cycle helmet and a fluorescent jacket! It's a bit of a tourist attraction in its own right really, all the other tourists stare. Google it, you'll get the picture!
We've seen lots of dolphins now. They come up and play, swimming just ahead of the boat, under the bow and darting from side to side. It's really fantastic to watch. We need to see a whale now. Well not now exactly. Maybe next time we go out to sea....
Here we are, waiting again.
Our next hop is along the "Coast of Death" past "The end of the world" so we would really like to do it in settled weather. Unfortunately, whilst the weather at the moment is actually quite pleasant, it certainly isn't settled. The forecast changes massively every six hours or so, so we are never sure how much wind there will be, what direction it will be in, what size the waves will be or if it will be sunny, cloudy, rainy or thick fog!
But as it is completely lovely here, we aren't too bothered yet. We rolly pollied into Camarinas the day before yesterday, emerging out of the fog bank into sun and clear blue water, golden sand and a small port surrounded by green hills.
We have found food, the post office, traditional lace makers and a nice bar so all is well. The anchorage is calm, the weather warm and the fog bank stays out at sea so we will stay put for a bit and chill.
It's a hard life!
I met Jan from the airport at La Corunna on Saturday evening, after her ten day visit to sunny England.
Just by chance that day I learned that it was mid summers eve in Corunna. Well, it was probably mid summer's eve in most places in this latitude but La Corunna celebrated it big time!
The bars and restaurants spill out onto the streets with barbeques on which they cook Sardines. Thousands of sardines. The whole town smells of barbequed sardines. The beach, after dark is taken over by thousands (more than 100,000, according to the local paper) teenagers who are allowed to light bonfires. The only night of the year when that is allowed.
At midnight, a massive firework display starts and hundreds of bonfires along the beach light up. It is impressive. So standing on the promenade looking over at the amazing sight, breathing in a mixture of smoke, barbequed sardines and pot! What a night.
The next morning we went to look at the beach. There was a small army of municipal workers, diggers, trailers, trucks. The whole beach looked like a council waste site evenly spread as far as the eye could see. The town had fun though.
Whilst I was here, HMS Illustrious breezed in and tied up against the harbour wall, quite a sight. She was also quite a sight this morning, following us out of the harbour, spookily appearing behind us from the pea soup of fog we were sailing in. In fact she was the last thing we saw for the next fifty miles. We were only about six miles from shore but we had thick fog for the whole trip.
She wasn't quite the last thing we saw however. Dolphins, at last, three of them, swimming along beside us. That made my day, having been looking for them for the last three months.
We are now anchored in a really beautiful Ria called Camarinas, enjoying dinner and a glass of wine. The sun is shining on the lush green hillsides which surround us, having left the fog along with the swell and the dolphins where they belong, out at sea. Until tomorrow. Perhaps.
06/18/2012, A Corunia
Well, the picture shows the next morning and a storm battered Rosalyn tucked up with her new pal and a much better sky behind. Not for much longer though, because another day's slog awaits.
A fairly uneventful passage, this time. The only excitement was when I nearly collided with a large whale. I leapt for the wheel and the autopilot in a panic, only to realise I had dozed off and dreamt it.
Now Rosalyn and I are safely tucked up in the Royal Club marina in A Corunia. Another small milestone in our epic skive from reality.
A long list of jobs compiled for tomorrow, and the rest of the week. As well as doing the washing up before Jan gets back.
Off to bed now.
06/17/2012, Puerto Alumina
The forecast was pretty good, well, for Biscay it was good, not much wind, no rain until midday and 18 knots of wind for the last couple of hours. What more could I want?
I was sitting at anchor, had just finished checking the weather and was about to drink my morning cuppa when I heard the gentle rumble of an approaching boat. Ah, I thought, my new friends are just passing by to say goodbye, so I ambled towards the companionway steps when suddenly there was a loud bang and shuddering. Luckily for me Rosalyn is built like a brick greenhouse so not a drop of tea got spilt.
I accelerated up the steps, slipping expertly into the well practiced meercat stance at the top, to be greeted by the rather odd sight of a fishing boat protruding at a right angle from our stern, aboard which was a little old Spanish gentleman waving his arms about, slapping his head and babbling something in Spanish which was probably 'Aren't I a muppet then?'
The poor man was horrified. He was probably thinking his retirement dream was over. He looked very white for a Spaniard. Anyway, we inspected the damage. His prow had glanced off our stern and ended between the stern and the suspended tender. Any further to the left and its anchor would have been lying on Jan's pillow.
Rosalyn only had a wind genny stay come adrift but the fishing boat had a trashed pulpit. Which was probably nothing compared to the embarrassment and damaged pride of its owner. I eventually quietened him down by shaking his hand and repeating de nada over and over. Which I think means no problem or something similar.
Classic error though, switch on autopilot, switch brain off!
Just to cap that one off, my tea got cold!
I eventually got going, saying goodbye to Roy on the way and a little later passing Wendy and John on the high sea.
The sun shone, the wind tried to blow, and about 3 o'clock the rain started. Then about 5 miles from my destination, it came out of nowhere, well, the north west, and so suddenly I had to pinch myself, 32 knots of wind and waves like you wouldn't believe. Oh dear, I thought.
I battled on to near the entrance of the Ria I was heading for but by the time I got there the wind had veered northerly and straight down the Ria. Well, If you have ever sailed up the Stour in 15 knots you would have an idea what 32 knots, funnelled between two mountains might be like.
So I turned around and battled back to the last refuge. A commercial port called Puerto Alumina, So called because it is the home of one of the biggest aluminium processing plants in Europe, and a ship, to which I am very gratefully tied up to.
Tomorrow's forecast looks good!
06/16/2012, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Hampshire
Hours in airports. The joys of the M25. Not sure I can remember how to drive a car. No beach in sight. Sleeping in a bed that doesn't rock is very odd. Rick isn't here with me. Continental IT doesn't work in the UK.
Hugging the kids.
Sloppy, girlie movies.
Dinner with mum, dad and Jen.
Get to see some mates.
And given that the weather is the same here and in Spain, it isn't too awful to be home...... :-)