Hola y bienvenido a España!
19 July 2012 | Hondarribia
Well we've made it to a new country today and this has given us a new sense of purpose as it must be said we were starting to flag somewhat. We left our anchorage home at St Jean de Luz which we had stayed at for nearly a week with the whole anchorage to ourselves and as you can see from the pics already posted,a beautiful setting and free! We'd ridden out some storms which had blown in and were glad to have put out the 2nd (kedge) anchor off the back and x5 the depth's worth of cable on the bower anchor - we were going nowhere and the kedge kept the bow pointing into the swell making life much more comfortable. On our last night there in a bit of a blow, a lifeguard appeared on large board asking if we were alright - taken by surprise somewhat my french let me down a bit but was able to covey that the little inflatable beach boat she'd found blown up on the beach did not belong to us but we'd seen the 'Challenger 2' craft attached to a motor boat on one of the moorings next to us earlier (now gone) so must have blown off having been left on the mooring. She seemed somewhat relieved as it would have been a legthy search along the beach looking for perhaps people in trouble. The next morning the motor boat returned and in my best french was able to get across that the lifeguard had their little inflatable (they were looking for it). I went across in our Tinker and helped them moor up (they young chap had a broken foot in a plaster cast!) and the mother seemed v relieved as struggling in the blowey conditions. I gave them a lift ashore where we were met by the father and they gave us a bottle of champagne for my troubles!
Next was to get ourselves ready by pulling up the two anchors and motored out of the little bay - it was only 8 miles to Hendaye with the wind on the nose so didn't bother with sails. Got a bit wet with spray it must be said and the only point of navigational interest was a drying reef which we went outside of safely. Several yachts sailing about on daysails enjoying the breezy conditions and French customs launch went passed. Simple harbour to get into with the usual breakwaters - bit of a tight turn and narrow entrance into the marina and we were creating the usual interest for the locals / tourists with Bells doing circuits of the deck making the usual sound signals! God knows how many photo albums she's going to feature in but it's going to be a lot! Found a berth having done a few turns and avoided the ferry trying to reverse into us - then had to move to the berth two down as requested by the office. Hendaye is v nice with a great big beach and the sun was out so nice and warm - plenty of people walking along the promenade and given that the neighbours had a huge black dog (Kim thinks it may have been a Newfoundland I think) we felt a little bit like a tourist attraction. Dani and her family made us v welcome and regularly asked how we were doing and whether we needed any advice - they kept their boat there pemanently. A few meals out at the various places to eat - varying in standard - the best food was to be found at the 'yellow one' called Santa Maria. A bit of a rest was in order wth a little restocking from the little supermarket conveniently by the marina (not much stock but okay for the essentials).
A massive voyage from one side of the river to the other, and possibly the shortest journey we have ever done on Petrella! But significant none the less as we were entering Spain! Flags were the topic of conversation - damn difficult to know what to fly when! In the end we steamed into the marina with our French flag still flying (oops) which was swiftly changed for a Spanish one by Kim as soon as we were alongside the pontoon. However, it must be said that it is the Basque flag which is in general use around here - unfortunately we have not got one though. Upon my visit to the office to book in (more technology than an Apple store - it's a v nice new marina here) I leant the Basque for thank you (although not a chance I could spell it!) Moral lifted alot when we moored up here - it's a beautiful place, the marina lady gave us lots of information and we're v much looking forward to exploring the old town which is steeped in history. Got a map and read up a little history of the place plus some v friendly French boaters next to us who helped us moor. Bells is on the foredeck doing her usual 'watching whats going on' and life is good. Pics to follow shortly.....