Biscay behind us...
24 September 2010 | Bayona
Biscay now behind us...!
The deed has been done.....it was the big hurdle for us and something that was hanging over us making us anxious and unable to really relax. We left Port Louis on Friday 17th September, rather than the Wednesday as originally planned, mainly due to the sea state forecast becoming calmer. I made a huge sausage & vegetable casserole and stocked up on easy to prepare food and we left our safe haven in France at about 8am and after passing the Isle de Groix put our trusty ship on a South Westerly heading to Finisterre some 375 miles away. We aimed to go around the Cape of Finisterre onto the Atlantic coast of Spain rather than the usual stopping point at La Coruna which is on the bottom corner of Biscay. Our main reason for this is that the boat is not insured in Biscay after the end of September so we were on a deadline to get around this point.
So how did it go?
1. The swell is big, uncomfortable and unpredictable most of the time!
2. It felt like we were the only living people on the earth for three days - we saw one ship, one other yacht and about 6 fishing boats.
3. The wind was either 6 knots or 25 knots, and even when we were sailing rather than motor sailing sometimes a rogue wave would come from nowhere and shove you in the opposite direction letting the wind fall out of the sails - giving the effect of living in a giant washing machine! This effect was exaggerated when we crossed the continental shelf going from about 150m to 4000m - deep!
4. It was knackering.....
5. We saw regularly saw dolphins, who would come and play in our bow wave - these were the moments which made our spirits soar and made us glad to be alive. We also saw grey whales, pilot whales and stormy petrels. Something none of us would have wanted to miss.
6. Finn found his sea legs after just one day, he could read, watch a DVD and made a Lego digger all at an angle of 45 degrees down below in the saloon, and when the rest of us could only manage a small dried biscuit he was wolfing down a hot meal. Oh to be that young and resilient!
7. We had a hairy moment with the engine as we crossed back over the continental shelf on the Spanish side. We were having to motorsail at the time and suddenly the engine lost its revs and Aid had to do a quick change of the primary fuel filter and then about 7 hours later the same happened again so the secondary fuel filter was changed. As this was all happening, I was on deck keeping watch in the dark with no moonlight, and we were bobbing around with no engine and no wind when a massive 'blow' came up beside the starboard side of the boat followed by a very strong fishy smell, our nosy visitor then went under the boat and did the same thing on the port side before continuing on their way after deciding we weren't very interesting - it was all slightly surreal and I felt like I had just tripped out on LSD
8. On the Monday morning we rounded Finisterre and for the first time the sea went flat, the sun was hazy over the Spanish coastal mountains, the wind farms on the top of the hills were silently rotating and we ate a civilised meal in the cockpit that didn't involve bracing yourself against the cockpit sides. Finn and Phil had a shower and I managed to finally get my book out and have a read on the foredeck - and I put my shorts on!
For us it felt a real accomplishment, I appreciate lots of people do this trip year in year out but it is a trip that Aid and I have only done on someone else's boat and we didn't have the responsibility that went with it.
We then took refuge in the Ria de Muros anchored in the very charming fishing town of Muros about 10 miles into the Ria. The climate has suddenly changed, the days although short are hot and sunny but the evenings are still chilly. When we arrived I jumped in the water next to the boat and had a check of the prop and scrubbed around the waterline. Sleep came very easily and we were tucked up in a safe calm quiet place. Bliss .....we had arrived !
We spent three nights at anchor in Muros and treated ourselves to a couple of cheap 'Menu Del Dias' ashore and generally enjoyed the peace and quiet.
We then had a horrid days sail to windward and are now tucked up in Bayona Marina, my poor washing machine has been working flat out but at least we now have clean beds and clothes again ! Unfortunately it's costing us 50 Euros a night to stay here so we need to be on the move again very quickly, or become bankrupt! We're now off to explore, will keep you posted !