24 July 2015 | Ria Vivero, Spain 43’40.55N 7‘36.16W – Luarco, Spain 43’32.87N 6’32.08W via Ribadeo, Spain
Some British people have the ability to speak any language, anywhere in the world, without any instruction or any regard for the person they are talking to. The key to this ability to point vigorously, shouting VERY loudly and slowly in, of course, English which is spoken with a local accent. It’s also important to ensure your tone is condescending in the extreme and add a local ending to words such as ‘ski’ for Eastern Europe or ‘o’ for Italian. If the Ruffians had this skill set they wouldn’t have got into any of the pickles they have sailing (or eating) their way along the northern Spanish coastline.
Leaving Vivero we tried our best ‘dolphin’ speak and said goodbye to our adopted friend who was in love with our anchor trip line. We tried to get him to escort us out of the bay by whistling and squawking. We even showed him our anchor float, but all to no avail. Our dolphin speak didn’t work and he was distracted by things much more interesting and more fluent than us.
Reaching Ribadeo our language skills were to be once again tested. The local market was in full effect, the butchers were busy butchering and the fishmongers were busy mongering. All the produce looked amazing and we elected to buy some meat.
We’d managed to leave our phrase book and dictionary on Ruffian and so working out which meat was which, without any natural shouty ability, was going to be a challenge. To alleviate our pain the butcher started making ‘moo moo’ noises and pointed, then ‘oink oink’ and pointed and finally ‘quack quack’ and pointed. Fiona responded with rubbing tummy motions and yum yum’s with increasing or decreasing enthusiasm.
With all the sign language complete we left with yummy yummy moo moo and a crowd of amused Spanish speakers buying their carne de vaca, gallina or carne de cerdo.
Wanting to make the best of the weather we quickly pushed onto Laurco where we really thought something had been lost in the translation of how to tie up. We’d read that in Luarco you tie your bow to a ball, swing your boat through a space that is smaller than the boat and then tie the back of the boat to the harbour wall. We were confused as to how to swing the boat around but were happy we’d somehow manage it if no one was watching and if we didn’t have a 60ft boat behind us waiting to do the same thing.
So entering Laurco we had a crowd and a 60ft boat breathing down our necks! All the ingredients for a disaster. The crowd comprised of friends by association, Penelope III and Patience, along with what felt like the whole of the town who were out for an evening stroll and behind us was a brand new, out of the wrapper, Hanse 573.
What happened next is all a bit of a blur, but the next thing we know were sitting on Penelope III eating pizza, supping beer with Ruffian all tied under the shadow of shadow of the Hanse, with no recollection of really how we got there. It’s amazing how the memory can blank out traumatic episodes.
Laurco was a charming little town and we were really getting into the Spanish lingo. There was morning coffee, or café con leche, and for lunch there were Empanadas, but as you’d expect we were still not fluent. Only after buying, dissecting and tasting our empanada bit by bit, did we work out the meaning of ‘atun’ and ‘carne’.
We watched Penelope III and Patience head out into the weather that was now very much broken, rain lashed the decks, wind whistled through the riggings and waves crashed onto the sea wall. Instead of sailing we took the not so manly, but much more sensible option of hiding from the rain, fearing we’d dissolve, and staying out of the wind, as we don’t do leaning over sailing anymore (we’re so soft).
Feeling confined on Ruffian and Iain needing to take Fiona on one more of his outstanding guided walks in the rain we braved the elements and after going to the most exposed headlands and clifftops we found ourselves searching for wifi and a way to warm up. There was nothing for it but hot chocolate.
Chocolate seems to be a pretty universal word. In French it’s chocolate, in Italian it’s chocolate, in Portuguese it’s chocolate and so we felt pretty confident that even without our phrase book we’d be able to order a hot chocolate. Up to the bar we stroke and asked for a chocolate, all we got was confusion. After much tooing and froing the waiter said ‘Ahhhhhh. Chocolate.’
Ordering our chocolate we realised that there was something to be said for the skill of just speaking English with a foreign accent and so in the miles to come we’re going to be trying that to reduce our levels of confusion.
Someone is still catching something.
Ruffian under the ancient gaze of Spanish citadels.
How Spain works. CCCOOOOFFFFFFFFEEEEEEE.
Art and religion go hand in hand.
One design race boats. Spanish style.
That took some doing. Actually tied to land.
We always seek the high points.
To have a view of the sea. Ruffian and Shoe Shine tied to the wall below.
That grain store isn’t going to be holding much grain.
You’ve got to love a rainbow.
No poverty in this church!
Rain, rain go away.
The illustrated history of Luarco.