A day in Pobra

Saturday 31st May 2014

I would never have expected that a day could be passed so pleasantly in Pobra! A no alarm clock day, so surfacing not particularly early, to blue skies, sunshine… and a wind shift. The pull of the showers won (not too bad, plenty of free-flowing hot water, and with only three visiting boats in, no real pressure on the one loo or two showers). By the time I’d come back to Whinchat, Pete was standing on deck, frowning. He didn’t like the combination of wind shift, and wind strength. The waves were running beyond the breakwater to the east, and we were in danger of a repeat “Sada” experience. Pete said that we should move. I thought we might get breakfast and coffee first, so dived below, but by the time I’d come back on deck to air my towel, he’d disappeared, only to be seen coming back with the Marinaros, picking out a spot in the marina. That was it – we were moving. Fifteen minutes later, we were tucked up inside the marina, well inside the protection of the outer wall, with the cargo ships providing added protection from the wind. It is certainly less bouncy, less wearing but not such a pretty view!

Breakfast was late, around 10:30, and after a bit of pfaffing, we went to the market in search of provisions. Where I’d done so well in past days, my Spanish left me. I don’t know why I end up doing the trying in such circumstances, but I resorted to pointing, and the interpretation of the numbers when it came to paying – the accent is so thick here; it became hard work today. We patrolled the fish stalls twice, trying to find something we could cook on board – without it stinking out the accommodation. Rule out mackerel, and any oily fish. Rule out anything that looks too alien and we wouldn’t know what to do with it. Rule out anything that doesn’t look like it will fit in the Remoska… what were we left with? Salmon!!! And that’s so not Galician, so we went meat instead, where my Spanish rallied, and we came away with two fat pork chops, 400g of minced beef and a massive chicken breast. That was good, and the lady was really trying to help us out. From there we went to the veg ladies, and queued up for potatoes (ordered ok, a kg), a half kilo of peas, and then I resorted to hopping-pointing to get two courgettes. We had a bonus of some coriander, which smells amazing. The amount she asked for, I had no idea, so waved a 10 euro note, which seemed to be enough, although she more slowly counted back the change… that I understood. “Practica” as the Muros pharmacist said to me. We’re trying!

We went in search of bread, and ended up at the port side of town without coming across anything. We bumped into the couple who’d helped us moor the previous day, and stood chatting to them. They have a beautiful boat, two masted, called Winter, and they over-wintered in Galicia last year, and after cruising this year, will take the boat to the Canaries. It’s always interesting hearing other people’s plans. Perhaps we will do the same one year – perhaps if we make it to the Baltic. It would make sense for that. Anyway, guided by them, we went back towards the market to buy bread, and decided it was time for refreshments. Coffee time had somehow passed (13:00 by now), so we sat in a pretty little square and had a beer. Pobra really is a little delight. Behind the main strip along the bay, with beach, marina and harbour is a line of fairly uninspiring modern buildings. As a backdrop to the beach from the boat, it’s fine, but they hide a treasure trove of narrow streets, shadowy against the warm sunshine, with few cars. You turn here and there and meet a little square, or a church… or a museum! One square is dedicated to Valle-Inclan, with a museum there. We have no idea who he was (sorry), and didn’t make it in, but I have a fancy he’s a philosopher, and Pete’s guess is a poet. His images show him with a most splendid beard. I should really google him and find out more.

Valle-Inclan, depicted on the wall of a cafe next to the museum
Valle-Inclan, depicted on the wall of a cafe next to the museum

We had lunch on board, and there slipped away the afternoon. I was writing, Pete was reading the iPad paper, and then plotting our next few days, given the weather does as predicted. Pete was too hot in the cockpit, so I rigged a screen using one of my scarves. It’s amazing how quickly a few hours slips by, without doing very much. I was blogging, lying down, watching someone work very industriously on the foredeck of their boat, watching the clouds, shifting around. And then the evening was here, and time to cook. We debated whether to go ashore, pretty half-heartedly. We have a well-stocked boat, and Pete loves what I produce from the galley. It’s something like “Ready, Steady, Cook” at times, and tonights was a complete forage. I soaked the mince in some red wine, and chopped up a load of veg (onion, garlic, mushroom, red pepper, carrot, tomato) and sautéed them, adding in some white wine. In those went to the Remoska, whilst I cooked off the mince, adding in some of the coriander. This was the inspiration to go slightly spiced, so I added some of the sweet paprika, pepper, and let it cook a while. It looked too thin, so fortunately there was some tomato puree in the cupboards – so that was a very good addition. I’d thinly sliced a rather decaying sweet potato, and lined the top with that. When they’d softened, I added a little grated cheese.. so we had a kind of spicy mince with a sweet potato gratin. Rather good, and nothing left to show for it. Of course it helps washing it down with some Rioja, but it was one to think about doing in the Aga (perhaps with some cumin…. yum….)

So another day has ebbed and flowed, and without doing very much (my mother would approve muchly), it’s been lovely. The wind is currently whipping through the marina, setting halyards jangling. About 20 knots according to the instruments. It is as forecast, which is something. We’re following our service of choice at the moment – passageweather.com. It covers wide areas, but is generally spot on. And once you have a forecast, what choice do you have but to go with it? Especially for Mr & Mrs Prudent here… and on that subject, we have a few days of potentially glorious sailing weather ahead, before it all kicks off again towards the end of the week. But until then, we’re going to make the most of it. The bay beckons tomorrow – or does it?!

Today’s haiku:

Heaven’s carnival
fluffy white clouds wave, sun smiles
warm; we are so blessed.

 

 

Portosin to Pobra

Friday 30th May 2014

Winds, initially about F1-2 in Ria Muros, then north-westerly F4-5 out in the Atlantic, then F2 in the Ria Arounas
Swell, less than 1m, slight conditions with the wind, glassy in both the rias.

40 NM (613NM)

We’d shaken our lines just after 09:00, and under blue skies, we left the rather shabby town of Portosin. Of all the places that we’ve been, this would be the one that I’d least recommend. Even Sada, with its bumpy mooring, fared better. We left fellow sailors from Germany there until Sunday (for minor boat repairs); that would have felt far too long.

Pete was determined to sail today, with the forecast for northerlies, F3-4. As soon as I’d tidied the fenders and mooring lines, it was ‘up with the main.’ However, the wind wasn’t really north in Ria Muros, but was decidedly east, and decidedly light. We ghosted along with the wind behind us, the Yankee not really knowing what side it wanted be on, and with about 5-6 knots, not really enough to fill it anyway. Pete went and ‘poled’ it out, himself acting as the spinnaker pole. The only consolation was that it was very warm, so I had my first outfit change of the day. Breaking out the shorts for the first time! Whoop whoop! When the boat speed dropped to below 2 knots, I thought it was time to fire up the engines and head out to sea in search of the wind. Not that we could see a wind line, but Pete calculated that at this speed, we’d take 36 hours to get to Pobra! We were surprised that no one else was out on the water on this beautiful day, particularly as the forecast had been for such favourable conditions, with a very small swell. Ria Muros was busy with activity of the fishing boats, but no other sailing boats appeared. In fact, we only saw a couple the whole day.

Our course was to take us clear of the hazards in the endurance to the ria, and then west out to sea, before we could turn south. Pete’s course was a prudent one, since there are all sorts of shallows and rocks in between the two rias – Muros and Arousa. I could see the odd white horse appearing on the water ahead, and wondered if it was wind…. Perhaps. I said nothing, but watched as the wind speed indicated a slow increase – 5, 6, 7… then 10! At this point I announced that the wind had arrived! With that, Pete slowed the engine, set the sail, deployed the yankee and then killed the engine. Awesome! The wind was from the north-west, not quite as bid, but good enough! We had a fantastic beam-reach for a couple of hours, and as we turned more south, we enjoyed a broad reach. With the benign seas, Whinchat was making great speed, effortlessly dealing with the running sea behind. With this change of wind, it brought a change in clothes. A deck shirt (a thick cotton shirt) and my summer sailing shoes. It was a bit too cool for bare feet now.

So why had the wind suddenly appeared? And why hadn’t it funnelled in the ria? I’m pretty sure the wind hadn’t just arrived, but had been blowing all the time – so that it was rather us that had gone out to join it, rather than it joining us, so to speak. The only thing that made sense, but possibly a coincidence, was that we were now clear of the headland of Cabo Finisterre, and therefore this might have been creating some wind shadow. Why it didn’t whip up and down and around the ria, I don’t know. That’s my notion for what had happened, but whatever, the 15-18 knots of wind that gave us a great sail was very welcome.

Pete did most of the helming, or being in charge of Doris, only taking over from her when our course swung a little more south-easterly and Pete wanted to goosewing.. with much better effect that we’d had earlier coming out of the ria. Me, what did I do? Changed my clothing, again! The wind was cool, but also the skies were filling with increasing cloud, so it was a jacket and socks/daps and trousers. The shorts were very short-lived! However, the good sailing wind and gentle seas I think were a good trade-off. I gazed at the sea for ages, watching the constant motion, quite hypnotic in a way, with flecks of white horse rearing up and charging down the small waves. Wonderful.

As we approached the Ria de Arousa, Pete wanted to go down below and check the charts, so after gybing, I had the helm. I was intent on reaching the waypoint on the chart plotter, as I figured that Pete would have plotted that with some care. I got us back on course to a xte (cross track error) of less than 10 metres (not so tricky with the wind behind you). No need to gybe down through the wind, because we were doing a nice speed, some 7 knots, and with hazards around, it was plenty fast enough.

Ria de Arousa is Galicia’s largest ria, and is a massive open bay, once you get through the hazards at the entrance (lumps of rock and an island or two, notably the Isla Salvora, a bleak outcrop that we rounded). The hills around it are low lying, so you have this feeling of great space, even though it is enclosed. The entrance is just over two miles wide, and we continued sailing up for another 10 miles, bending around the course of the water. The entrance is quite beautiful, with these islands and then a curving coastline on the left (as you go in) with golden sandy beaches. It’s hard to make a photograph do it justice, but perhaps this will go some way…

It's oh so quiet in the bay....
It’s oh so quiet in the bay….

It looks like a prime area for anchoring, but the book cautions against the floating viveros, these mussel farms. They seemed to occupy all the best spots! As we sailed further up the ria, the amount of development seemed to increase. Pete had read that Ria de Arousa is the most commercially developed, with many towns along its shores… so this wouldn’t be the place for quiet anchorages, we’ve left those in the north, apparently (to return, hopefully with better weather).

From about 20 knots as we were turning around Isla Solva, the wind faded as we headed into the ria, much to Pete’s displeasure, however the sea was glassy calm (see photo above). We were in no rush, so we were both happy to drift up river with the wind, picking our way through the channel via channel markers I sat on the bow seat for a while, watching the world as we drifted by, and took a couple of lovely photos of Whinchat looking back through the sails…

Whinchat from the bow seat (sorry about craning you neck)!
Whinchat from the bow seat (sorry about craning you neck)!

As the channel narrowed, the viveros seemed to increase in number.. I took a photo of them – they seem to me like battleships lined up ready to go to war. Something a bit sinister about them – and there is quite a fleet, and you can certainly see why the pilot book cautions against straying too close to them (and warning against night sailing).

The viveros, one of many!
The viveros, one of many!

As we headed up the river, the geography must have been such that the wind found its way back to the water, picking back up to speed, so we were short tacking near the top, dodging about a couple of little Spanish yachts who were out for a play (both with heavily reefed genoas; it wasn’t that bad). Whinchat must’ve looked a sight, in full sail, powering up the water. There are also few blue hulled boats around, so we like to think she’d look distinctive.

Of course by the time we came to moor, the wind was pretty unhelpful, and it wasn’t our finest manoeuvre. We were assisted by an English lady (and later her husband), but there was a fair amount of driving, thrusting to bring her alongside. At no time were we in any danger, or risk of damage, but it was just less smooth than the skipper likes. All snug, we are on the end of the long pontoon at the edge of the marina – a little exposed if the wind shifts, but with beautiful views over the town’s beach. I wasn’t sure that Pobra had much to offer (from Pete’s descriptions, having tread the books and the CA app), but on first pass, it’s a busy town, with some character. It isn’t charming, like Muros, but it’s not past its best, like Portosin. There are plenty of bars, restaurants, a market, and a delightful park along the sea-shore, which when we walked through this evening. It was thick with the sound of small children playing. I think Pobra will serve us well – and the best thing, they had WiFi installed only today, so Pete was able to get his emails and discover that we have the permit to visit the National Marine Park islands (them with the very long name).

Today’s haiku:

white horses ride out
wind hollers out, flicks the reins
a summer day hack

Noya

Thursday 29th May 2014

Well, the ‘we’ll go south, whatever the weather’ bravado of yesterday? *coughs* The weather won! What a truly miserable day, a combination of the finest of Scottish and Cornish mists, with a very Spanish twist, as it was quite warm. The cloud was so low that you could not see the hills on the other side of the water, just this swirling, thick grey air. There was little wind, and what there was was from the south… so a cocktail of not-very-inviting-conditions for sailing. So, despite an alarm, and action stations being good and ready to go, by about 09:30 we’d stood ourselves down and decided to do “something” else. Pete is a self-confessed ‘not very good at this’ kind of a day. He likes plans, busy and action. I saw it as a laundry opportunity!

We dithered about what to do. The girls in the office were all for sending us to Santiago da Compostella, but I have a fancy for an overnight stay, not a couple of buses and arriving as everything shuts. I pulled a face at that one. We sighed, and sighed some more, looking at the skies, until we decided that we’d *just* go to Noya. We have conflicting information about it. The pilot describes it quite well. The Galicia guidebook says that Muros is nicer. The CA app reviews say that it’s not worth a special trip. It’s billing wasn’t exactly high. However, we decided that we’d give it a go – Portosin certainly hasn’t much to fill a day.

Pete had a bus timetable from the marina office, dated 2013. It’s still current, however, it only has the departure time from Riviera (further south) and it’s roughly 30 minutes from there (actually, it was 45 today). There is no actual bus stop marked in Portosin, but you wait by the bank/supermarket. Just as we were about to give up, the bus appeared, and my day-by-day Spanish got us two tickets, for a quoted price that I understood. Small delight. Within 15 minutes we were in Noya, deposited in the quite unattractive bus station.

We’d spotted a market along the river, so we headed back towards that. As markets go, it was mostly clothing, linens and so many trainers. Plenty of shell-suits – which seem to be the fashion item of choice in Portosin – and aprons. However, we lucked upon a more artisan seller, selling cheeses, jamons, chorizo, and bread. We stood in line, and received little morsels of his goods. It was brilliant, a queue huddled under his tarpaulin cover, munching away. We watched an old guy buy enough chorizo to last six months, he must’ve bought 50! He was rewarded with a gift of an unlabelled bottle of white wine, albarino, apparently. The next lady bought bread, cheese, and pancetta, sliced with the ribs still evident. Her bonus was some mini chorizo. And then it was us. The usual question about what was ‘centeno’, which we bough a massive slab of, some of the cheese that we’d tasted, and then a couple of chorizo. Our bonus was a mini slab of maize bread, which was the one I’d thought was rye. Oh my, how gooey is that. Can’t wait for breakfast! Might have to poach an egg…. From there we wandered into the static market, fish stalls in the centre, meat around the edge, as shown below…

image

Pete really wants to make the Raxo, so we decided to buy some pork loin. Step forward Mrs W-H! In Spanish, I was thrilled to order 400g of ‘lomo de cerdo’. Pete had it marinading by the end of the evening. After the exertion of that, and buying a cauliflower, it was coffee time. We found a charming little pattiserie where the little taste was an apple cake. Pete had two. Technically we shouldn’t have needed lunch, but what else was there to do on a rainy day in Noya? Find the churches, first.

The one church, Iglesia de San Martin, sits in a small square, and is supposed to be the town’s highlight (according to Footprint Galicia). Well, the front was covered in scaffolding, so you couldn’t get in that way, and the back was locked. An old guy was standing there. He indicated to me to rattle harder. I did. He then walked off, saying something. He turned to us and said “follow me.” It was like something in a movie for a moment. We looked at each other, and trotted behind. He pointed to another door, a tatty green door, and indicated to push. I did. It didn’t budge. He shook his head, and pointed to a door bell, so I pushed that (Pete some way back), and watched the old guy retreat. I was tempted to do the same. We waited a few momements but no one came, so we scuttled off. We’ll never know if the Iglesia de San Martin is the gem of Noya. We found the other church, approved by the guide book. Iglesia de Santa Maria, in the middle of a town cemetery, which reminded me of a shrunken version of Buenos Aires. This rather forlorn church had no seating, no pews, but housed a collection of tomb stones taken from the graveyard and displayed. They were rough slabs of granite, ranging in age from 10th to 17th centuries, with a variety of carvings on. Some were stick men, or stick features, tools of their trades. Some were more elaborate. In this shadowy church, bereft of any comforts, it was quite eery. I enjoyed picking at words of Spanish to try and work out what the curation was. I thought it superior to the rather shut Iglesia de San Martin.

image

We’d reached the lunching hour, on the run up to 14:00, so we wandered around for a bit until we found somewhere that met Pete’s criteria (remember, interesting and busy). Tasca Tipica, somewhere in the old town was an awesome find. There are tables outside under the arches, just about out of the rain, and then a bar area, and further behind a restaurant area. The walls are thick stone, and it has a rustic feel. Our waiter rescued us from the Galician menu (a twist too far on the Spanish we were trying to accumulate), and we ordered a few selections. It was outstanding. Fat, juicy pieces of octopus (as photographed), homemade croquettes, grilled squid (the best bit) and a mixed salad. We passed a couple of hours there, and missed a bus in the process. No worries.

image

By the time that we’d hit a supermarket to buy a bottle of wine or two (and chocolate) we got the bus back to base. Our verdict of Noya? It more than filled a chunk of a rainy day, and particularly with market day, we’d say it was worth the bus trip. By the time we got back, it was only drizzling, but warm with it. I was intent on doing some laundry, tick, achieved, and that was it for the day in terms of activities. We’d activated my Euro Traveller thing on my phone so we both enjoyed speaking with our mums, and we had a little shaky Facetime with Georgie and Mary. All very lovely.

Pete was chef this evening, cooking up a Remoska Paella using the chicken bits and some chorizo. At lunch, I didn’t think I would eat another thing, but it was delicisio, and nice not to cook for a change.

We were rewarded by a magnificent (magnifico) sunset, as the wind shifted from the mizzly south to the clearing skies from the north. It was such a welcome sight after the gloom of the day. You can really understand why shepherds might have taken such delight.

We’re determined to leave tomorrow. The sun is supposed to shine, and the wind is due to be from the north, blowing 10-15knots. We’ll take that. We’ve paid tonight so that we can leave early in the morning. If we cast off by 09:00, that’ll be good enough.

Today’s haiku:

Day under a cloud,
north wind blows the blues away –
a sailor’s delight

 

Muros to Portosin via an anchorage at Punta Aguiera

Wednesday 28th May

Winds a light breeze at SWF2-3, shifting more WF3-4 post lunch stop
Seas, smooth in the bay

11NM (573NM)

(low bandwith means I can’t upload the photo I want to… or the text apparently, here’s another attempt)!!

We’re so good at decisions! Not! This morning’s was another classic. Pete spent the afternoon plotting out some possibilities in the coming weeks, and had in mind to make passage of about 35NM to the ‘next’ Ria, however, a check of the weather forecast… Light winds and lots of heavy rain. Pete thought he didn’t fancy another long day of motoring, especially in the rain. So we were in another quandary. Do we try and take a bus to Noia (a very historic town at the head of Ria Muros), or have a drift-about-day-sail, drop the hook for a couple of hours over lunch, and then head to Portosin? And to think that I’d set the alarm, and actually got up, at 07:30! On Tuesday night we were one of about eight visiting boats, and no one seemed to be intent on moving. Except the charter boat, the smallest, lightest boat in the marina (about 32ft), with six burly French blokes on it, they’d hauled one of them up the mast! Another was flicking a fishing line around the marina – grey mullet feeding on all the crap of the marina? Eewwwww…..

Anyway. I’m not sure what the critical factor in the decision was, but we decided that we’d have a play-sail today, not going very far, but moving with the wind. We would drop the anchor for a lunch stop, and then move on to Portosin. It just sounded a far nicer option than motoring south, and we are/were in no rush. The fridge is still full, after all, so we don’t need any facilities, although we do like a WiFi!

Despite such an early start, with a bit of pfaffing, decisions, watching the French, we cast off about 10:30 and just about as soon as I’d stowed the fenders and coiled the mooring lines, it was Whinchat into the wind so that we could haul the mainsail. As soon as that was up, and I was turning downwind, somewhere, Pete clicked off the engine. He was serious about a drifty-saily day! There was no course, no plan, but a series of ‘viveros’ to avoid on the port side (some way off), and we were ghosting along at a couple of knots, tops. There wasn’t enough wind to really goose-wing and fly the Yankee, my least most favourite point of sail – but as Pete pointed out, there was no real risk of an accidental gybe doing any damage. The wind just wasn’t strong enough. The ‘bay’ of the Rias (not sure how to describe it, as it’s not banks, nor cliffs, as there are sandy beaches pricking the shoreline, so bay will have to do, for now) is rather like the whole of Falmouth Bay inside the mouth of the river. Some 5NM across, so perhaps a little bigger, but it gave great sporting ground for us today. Us, and Lion of Flanders, who was also messing about, but seemingly only under mainsail (and not motoring, bizarre under such light winds).

We were in danger of reaching our destination anchorage far too quickly, so Pete hastily chucked in a couple of way markers, like a race course, so that it would give us some more ‘play’. Whinchat is a heavy boat, coming in at 13 tonnes, and most wouldn’t expect her to respond well in light winds, but she does OK. We were doing 6 knots in 10knots of wind just about on the beam, which was certainly more than enough for today. I had the helm for an hour, but from then onwards, it was Pete’s. Just mucking about.

Pete had an anchorage in mind, a long, gently curved sandy beach on the southern side of Rias Muros, just behind Punta Aguiera. There was very little against the shore, backed by wooded hills.
I wondered if Pete had half a mind to anchor under sail, “well, we might as well,” he said. So we did. Or rather, so he did. Perfectly, in about 9m water, sandy bottom, good holding. Sometime after 13:00 we were securely anchored, 30m chain out. Lovely. It was a Whinchat Ploughmans. I baked a baguette for Pete and then ‘French’ reheated the rye bread to bring it back to life. Great trick. That with some little plump tomatoes, sliced serano jamon and some cheese. Job done. What else was there to do? The weather was trying to be kind. A lot of clouds, mostly high. although there were some rain showers drifting around the bay, none of them landed on us. Pete had downloaded the paper and was content reading this. I was finding sitting on the hard teak cockpit seats hard on the compression in my spine – my solution, to lie down (easier than getting cushions). Apparently I had a snooze…. followed by another nap! Well, it was vaguely warm, and the motion was so soporific. The only thing going on (after their own lunch) was the Army on drills learning how to drive a RIB ashore. As fun as that looked, it was still too much like hard work. At some point, Lion of Flanders came inside us and anchored ahead. I think if we’d have been where they were, we would have stayed. It was so peaceful, but we were just a bit too far out for an overnight (probably a function of the anchoring by sail, which put us beyond Pete’s waymark, but it was so cool to do it). So, some three hours after we’d dropped the hook, partly reluctantly, we hauled and drifted towards Portosin.

It has a reputation of being a very friendly, accommodating marina… which it has been. There are massive hangers full of dinghy/racing gear, and a couple of Open60s tied up. In this respect it reminded me of Howth (Ireland), a serious racing community. Although the Open60 looks a bit tired. There is no one around, that said, so race night can’t be tonight!! The pontoons are a bit tired, patched up, and there are some fairly shabby looking boats as you walk the pontoons. The town itself, well, I’d say it is the most run-down that we’ve encountered. The pilot book describes it as having ‘little charm’, and this is generous. Perhaps it is a cool, off season, mid week visit that does it no justice, but we’ve been trying to translate it into an English equivalent. It is a new town, small population, no evident industry (not even big fishing boats, they’re in Muros). A couple of sleepy bars, two butchers, a couple of corner shop-style grocery stores. And an amazing beach!! Deserted, and the bar with the best view of all shut (we ended up in one on the quay). What is there to recommend it? I’m not sure. We think we will certainly move on in the morning.

Tonight I think that I’ve really turned Spanish. We went for a wander having arrived here around 18:00 (we’re not really sure), been through the usual documents/tying up rigmarole, stopped for a beer, and then got back to the boat about 20:00 (just before the rain). It was only then that I started cooking the roast chicken.. this was after discovering that most of the normal bits that are removed, weren’t. Pete had to complete a half-dissection before it could be pronounced fit to cook. So, it was about 22:00 when we sat down to eat. I am sure that I would never had contemplated it at home, but here, it makes sense.

One reflection on the day. We have good WiFI here actually IN the boat, so I’ve been ‘wilfing’ a bit. It’s the Pendennis Cup this week in Falmouth. Pete and I were lucky enough to go onboard Velacarina in 2012. She’s racing this year, but more importantly for us, so is Cyrinthe, our friend Nick’s boat, crewed by an assembly of Rustler suppliers. They will be determined to do their best to win, despite Nick’s natural inclinations, and we are sorry not to see it. The photos look amazing (blue skies, what’s that???) and I’m sure we would have been in the bay on “Kevin” if we’d been at home. 2016 we shall have to be there again.

So, chicken digesting, we are thinking about tomorrow. Forecast looks to ‘blow up’ over the weekend, so we will move on tomorrow, wind or no.

Today’s haiku:

boat rests at anchor –
in an ocean cradle rocked,
hums a lullaby

Boat chores in Muros

Tuesday 27th May

Whinchat - one of only a few visiting boats in Muros
Whinchat – one of only a few visiting boats in Muros

It felt a really good decision to have moved to Muros, even though the gusty wind from the south never really appeared, but the rain did! And, rather more troublesome for sailing, very low cloud, like swathes of fog covering the hillside. By late afternoon in Rias Muros, you’d be hard pushed to believe that the rias is surrounded by high, sloping hills.

We’d missed our slot in the laundry queue, as our Swedish neighbours had the same idea, but it didn’t matter because we had all day. In fact, so did they. When I was chatting to Mrs Atlantis ab Gothenberg, she said that they were in port waiting for a new battery, as theirs sort of melted yesterday. It was a very bad smell, she told me! They’re heading to the Greek Islands, having started in Gothenberg a couple of months back. They came through the Caledonian Canal (it was really freezing, she told me), and then crossed from Ireland to Coruna, hitting a big storm with 15m waves. She sounded too cheerful about that, and talked about refusing to night sail around here because of the ‘viveros’, the mussel/clam farms. I’m with her on the latter, but will never get the apparent thrill of man/boat and storm.

This morning, before the serious rain arrived, we provisioned for the next few days. We really enjoyed our little exploration of Muros, discovering to our delight that it was market day! You could buy anything from salt cod (one stallholder selling only this – and what do you do with it? – it smelt disgusting), to fake Gucci handbags, via second hand shoes to fruit and veg. We gathered some massive peppers, apples and peas in their pods. We also found an artesan bread stall, and I was able to ask for ‘pan de la centeno’, again, and be understood. I’d actually pointed at ‘pan de la maize’, so next time I shall have to try that. It is the most delicious bread – highly baked with a thick, crunchy crust and the softest, doughy, slightly dense inside. It is wonderful, and will be perfect in the morning to have with an egg (or apricot jam if time is of the essence in the morning).

We stopped for coffee in a lovely cafe, in the old theatre. We were sitting at a table near the bar, with Pete looking at one TV, and me another. Pete’s was playing MTV, and mine was a daytime TV programme (no idea what channel), about prostitution, and busting brothels across Spain, with lots of half-blurred images of ladies touting for business. Pete’s MTV was playing a video where the lead singer was cavorting with a scantily clad lady. There was something quite wrong, and a diversion that I’m not going to allow myself to go with. I will report on my new use of Spanish for the day, when I asked the waitress where the ‘sevicos’ were (complete with run up in Spanish). She had such a pained look on her face, it was comical. However, I was not put off, and continued mashing her language, but, once again, I was understood. It amused me for a goodly while, thinking that I must have sounded like the “Poloceman” in ‘Allo ‘Allo, in a kind of reverse. Google it if it draws a blank; it was a BBC TV series in the 1980s.

So, Whinchat is now swept, well, Dysoned (a mini one, of course, a big one would be silly on a boat). The laundry has been washed, dried and put away. The fridge is full of fresh food, including a whole chicken to roast a la Remoska, and then make a Paella with the remainder.

Pete has again enjoyed the iPad edition of The Times (we love the subscription service, and our vouchers are being well used in St Ives!), and has applied for a permit to visit the (take a deep breath) “Parque Nacional Maritimo Terrestre de las Islas Atlanticas de Galicia.” No wonder the Spanish speak so quickly, they will run out of breath if not! These islands lie off the coast of Galicia a little way south of us now, and we hope to be granted a permit so that we can anchor there. Fingers crossed that we will have calm conditions to allow us – the permit should come without issue, just bureaucracy… although Ana from the Marina Office has been brilliant in helping him out. Pete has also planned where we are going to tomorrow, although I watched him enter it onto the chart plotter, I’m not actually sure!

Despite having a fully stocked fridge, we’ve decided to eat out tonight. This is an area famed for its Octopus, and also something called ‘Raxo’, which we couldn’t work out what it was, but good old google came up trumps. Pete says it sounds amazing – something to do with pork loin, and that I’d approve of the way of cooking, but other than that, he didn’t say… and I didn’t ask! Probably too busy doing laundry.

So, as the rain has stopped, it’s time to find an aperitif – as at 20:30 it’s far too early to eat!

Today’s haiku (with a bonus syllable, as it works better):

thick mist hugs the hills
clouds suck the Atlantic dry
oh heavy sky be strong

Camarinas to Muros

Monday 26th May 2014

Winds F1-2 sort of W-SW
Swell NW 1-2m, dwindling in the afternoon

43 NM (562NM)

Galician coastline - we're where the pin is on Muros

Galician coastline – we’re where the pin is on Muros

Any sailors reading this will well recognise the ‘dither’ that can happen when considering the weather forecast and one’s plans for the day. Over breakfast we studied the latest forecasts, consulted with the charts, and thought about the pile of laundry. We decided that it was not a good idea to plan to anchor in Corcubion, around the Finisterre headland, where we’d hoped to. After all, mooching about the Rias is partly why we’re here, and we seem to be zooming by! This particular spot seems to be particularly exposed to the south, which is where the wind is forecast to blow up from. The prevailing summer winds are northerlies, so usually it wouldn’t be much trouble. And so the dilemma begins. The forecast for the day was for no wind, well, very little, so it was a day of motoring in prospect (some 40NM) to Muros (for a chance of laundry and provisioning), or a day of staying put and doing the laundry and provisioning in Caraminas. What to do? I was very apprehensive about a long day at sea, given my flirtation with the Mal de Mar previously, but equally knew that we’d be two nights in Camarinas, because beating in a strong southerly in the pouring rain wouldn’t be an option for Tuesday either. Pete said that it should be my decision. No matter how many times you look at a forecast, or study a chart, it doesn’t give you any new information. You just have to plump for a decision.

I decided that I would err on the side of caution and that we should stay put. I thought I might regret that the following day, when we were a little stir crazy, but that was that. I then grabbed the Spanish Phrase book, and marched up the hill towards the laundry, picking out a couple of words that I hoped would explain that I had a lot of laundry and I wanted it back the same day. I needn’t have worried, because it was shut. 09:30, and no sign of life. By the time I’d marched back down the hill I decided that we would move on, after all, so as I climbed down the companion-way, I announced “let’s go!” A somewhat bemused Pete said nothing, and prepared to go to sea. Some thirty minutes later, we were under way.

Pete hadn’t even plotted a route, and I knew that there were some navigational hazards to pick our way around, so I took the helm on the first leg out on the leading lines that we’d followed in, as Pete went down below to work out our route. Just as I was nearing the end of the course to follow, and knowing that we were taking the southern route out (we’d come in from the north previously), the next way marker popped up on the screen. We were good to go.

There was a slight swell rolling, probably the 1-2m as forecast, but it was very lazy – by that I mean a slow rhythm. However, as we turned south-west, to come out around the headland, it was a bit lumpy.

“Today this will be described as ‘tippy rolly’,” I announced. Pete agreed. We just had to hope that the motion would wane as we headed with more south (therefore putting the swell more behind us), and as we headed into deeper water.

I’m pleased to report that we had a good day, despite there being no wind. In the 40NM of being at sea (until the last couple of miles), the maximum speed was 8knots of wind. As Pete put it, it wasn’t worth the pfaff of hauling the mainsail to have it flapping about, so we didn’t bother. We seemed to join a flotilla of boats heading south, most of which were motoring, although one boat, Jajou (or something like that) hauled its genoa and sailed. We saw them come into port last night, about three hours after we arrived. Full credit to them.

For a while we were relatively close to the shore, so that you could really pick out the features of the coastline. Pete told me about a place that we passed quite early on. A church perched at the end of Muxia’s headland, at the southern tip of the mouth of Ria Camarinas where there is a Festival for fishermen to pray for safe passage, and the offering is a small model of their boat, and so you can walk out to the church and expect to find lots of model boats. That would make a lovely walk. There’s a marina (a new one apparently), so perhaps we will make a pilgrimage to the church of boats on the return.

Somehow I was on the helm, and on watch all day, for the eight hours at sea. It wasn’t by design, it just happened, and most of the time I was hand steering, giving Doris a day off. Actually, I only deployed her when the blood stopped flowing in my hands, turning my fingers white, and I had to bring them back to life. It wasn’t a warm day, but it wasn’t really cold either, so the white fingers seemed a bit extreme. I was in cropped trousers and my RAFYC jacket, Pete was in his usual jumper/Rustler jacket combo, although he did remove his jacket when the sun shone later in the day.

The course that Pete had plotted took us offshore a little way, perhaps three or four miles, as there are all sorts of rocks and shallows that present potential dangers. We decided today that we must be cautious sailors, worrying about the wind/lee shore when anchoring, always trying to keep up with the weather, and taking the most prudent routes. In fact, perhaps we could have taken an inshore route, placing the hazards on our starboard side, as the conditions were so calm. But then, we don’t have good enough charts to do that. Of course we have a chart plotter, but if that were to fail….. Is cautious good or bad? Well, I think we are who we are, and cautious is fine by me. We tracked a couple of boats that took the inshore route – the boat that was sailing, and a Swedish boat, Atlantis abv Gothenberg. We told ourselves they had better charts.

We probably went as far west as we are going to go on this cruise, Cabo Finisterre is the most western point of Spain, and we’d rounded that. Cabo Finisiterre is an impressive towering cliff, with a lighthouse on top (which apparently does have a restaurant, which you can walk to, and we hope to on the way north as we missed it going south). It was around here that we saw flocks of gannets, gliding amidst the rolling seas.

I had the spot of the day, “dooooooooophiiiiiiiiiiins” off the starboard bow. A few dorsal fins appearing through the oily swell, oily in texture because of the lack of wind, not some environmental disaster! They were on a mission somewhere, and didn’t give any kind of display, they just ploughed onwards. We watched them until we lost sight of them; not that long given the swell of the oceans.

My observations about the sea today were that after a while, I stopped noticing the movement, as I thought you must do. Pete spent the day reading the downloaded paper, which I don’t think I’m up to yet, but I could happily pick things off the chart plotter, querying into AIS. The swell becomes a topic of conversation during the day. “It’s not tippy rolly anymore,” or, “I think there still must be swell as the fishing boat half disappears every now and then, ” and, “there’s definitely still swell because the cliff top that I’m marking my course to disappears quite rhythmically…” But, by the time we’d rounded into Ria Muros, it had definitely flattened out…. and rather unexpectedly, this is when the wind arrived! We’d rounded the rocks off the entrance to this very wide Ria, around Punta Carreiro, wider than the Fal for example, and there was no stopping Pete from unfurling the Yankee so that we could ghost along for the last couple of miles, engine off, although unfortunately the sound of the fans cooling the engines never ceased, so we were always with the mechanical noises from Whinchat.

Our arrival in Marina Muros seems to have coincided with a visit by Spanish Customs, so shortly after mooring up, we were boarded by three officials. They were very polite, even jovial, although they had to debate whether Pete’s response of “I don’t know” to the question of where were you going next, was an appropriate one. Fortunately the guy with the pen seemed to think it was OK. It is clearly a formality only, as they didn’t ask to look down below, or any searching questions about what we might be carrying. According to the pilot book, Galicia is where most of the cocaine bound for Europe is landed, but we evidently didn’t fit the profile of drug traffickers.

The marina at Muros is two years old, and can accommodate many visitors, around 150 based on the empty berths, I’d guess. There is a resident fishing fleet, and a few small motor boats. We are one of four boats in today. The facilities for visiting yachtsmen are like no other – a WiFi room with a couple of sofas, a little kitchen with ‘free coffee’ and good laundry facilities. The ladies showers, well, deluxe! None of your public swimming pool standard, but something that wouldn’t look amiss in a spa resort! Can’t wait to road test those!

A first ‘turn’ around Muros reveals it to be a very charming town, medieval at its old core, with lots of narrow, twisty streets, steps between levels. We stopped for a beer, looking at the water, and then provisioned for an evening meal. We bought the most beautiful looking veal steaks, which we had with garlicy potatoes and sliced beans. Somehow we missed lunch (a cupa soup and an oaty bar) so we were both ravenous. A day of boat jobs for tomorrow, so a no alarm day ahead.

Today’s haiku

Gannet Troop training
skimming the ocean valleys:
formation flying

Shore leave in Camarinas

Sunday 25th May

This was a planned day ashore, after the relatively long day on passage. No alarm clocks. No schedule. No expectations (it was Sunday). We started the day with a shower – and a relatively short walk to the facilities, all of 50m, better than 500m – and unlimited hot water! When you are on boat rhythms, small things like freely running water get really exciting. For the record, the showers at Camarinas are rated highly, the water was hot and wasn’t on a time release push button. Pete, for one, was in shower heaven.

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We know not to expect huge things from a Spanish town on a Sunday, but what a wee gem of a place! We decided we’d have a little wander after breakfast, and walked over the evidently new bridge into town. Pretty much everything was shut – except a plethora of little cafes, with people scattered between them taking coffee in the sun. We were walking towards what Pete thought would be a beach, but the chart was way out of date, as we were heading towards an industrial part of town, but en route we found an Artesan Baker (Sunday opening!!!) and we went in, with me waving my few words of Spanish at the baker (thanks sooooooo much Jeannie), who preceded to sell us a glorious round of rye bread. It was all I could do to stop Pete from taking off a chunk right there – it was warm, soft, the best way for bread! We meandered back towards the harbour, and took a beer/wine in the sun before deciding what to do. We’d vaguely thought of being very Spanish and having a long lunch, but the bread we had was so tempting. We decided that we’d head back to Whinchat and have a bread/cheese/jamon serano lunch. Wonderful!

Pete then pulled out a guide book, and we discovered that Camarinas is the place for lace…. which explained a museum we’d come across (open, but not that inviting) in town. He announced that we could walk to Pharo Vilan, along some dirt road, which would be three miles. What else was there to do (except perhaps lie in the sun and read a book, but we’re not really those kinda people), so I donned my walking sandals, tied my Rustler jacket around my waist (you can never be sure of the next shower coming in my relatively small experience of Galicia), slapped on some Factor 30 (a minimum for us) and off we toddled. We headed up the hill, out of Camarinas, soon joining what felt to be a procession, a few groups of people strolling. We were clearly taking part in a typical Sunday activity. However, all peeled off at a sign for the football stadium, but we carried on. The dirt track never really revealed itself, having been replaced by a smooth tarmac surface, relatively recently you’d surmise.

It was a glorious walk. The verges were thick with wild flowers – don’t ask me to name many, but bright yellow, small blues, small pinks, the odd foxglove, and interspersed, lots of wild fennel! It was in some ways like walking at home – except the sound was most certainly belonging to the knees of the cicada, most definitely not heard in Cornwall. We walked around the edge of the Parc Ecologique, or wind farm. These massive structures towering over us, the ones we’d watched from the water the day before (perhaps Pete more than me….) They have a graceful beauty to them, and a whisper as they rotate. I never really understand quite what the fuss is all about when people oppose them, they are quite magnificent, and give power in a far better way than burning coal or in some nuclear way. Anyway, the Galician coastline is scattered with these wind farms. As we headed beyond the shelter of the trees, and towards the open coastline, we were trying to work out where we’d come the previous day. I wasn’t much help, but Pete was trying to work out the bits of coastline that we picked our way around.

As we approached the Pharo Vilan, the landscape opened out, revealing what might be a very hostile landscape. The gorse shrubs were low lying, presumably hanging on tight against the prevailing winds. There were no trees – well one or two – so the form of the landscape could be truly appreciated. And above it all, on a rocky bluff, was this striking lighthouse.

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On the path up, my shoes slightly rubbing, my legs weary and my throat parched, I joked to Pete that they should have a bar there – no chance, says he. How wrong was he? There was a small exhibition about the Costa de la Morte (three charts depicting all the wrecks, I counted 33 around the Camarinas shores, goodness knows how many in total). Somehow fitting was the sight of a wreck on the shores just behind the lighthouse, barely discernible to the naked eye (and certainly not when we’d debated it from Whinchat the day before), but to the super zoom – no problem.

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The delight of the afternoon was that there was a bar! We took water, and a leaflet that showed us that we could take a coastal path back to the port. We were all for that! The walk back was just delightful, perhaps a little longer, but we walked hugging the coastline, the open water on our right (starboard), the rugged landscape on our left, and a group of walkers to amuse us. We met them at the start of the path, when they were taking water. We passed them when they stopped to chat, they overtook us… then they stopped, we passed them… they overtook us. It was the source of much amusement for them, clearly identifying us as english. It was a case of the hare and the tortoise; the steady pace won the day, as when we made port, there was no sign of them.

What a perfect afternoon! The sun was high in the sky; no need for the Rustler jackets, and Pete even walked in his polo shirt. Remarkable. By the time we got back to Whinchat it was after 19:00, so time to unwind and prepare supper. Time just leaks on board, and it was about 21:30 when we were eating. We were debating what to do the following day – we had looked at the weather, which was forecasting a southerly blow on Tuesday – oh joy, the direction of travel, but more importantly a planned anchorage that would put us on a lee shore. I went to bed not really sure what the following day would bring. We decided that we’d set an alarm and check the weather in the morning. Laundry is getting to near critical levels, so that was also a factor in what to do. Such wonderfully mundane things to worry about. Now that’s what leaving everything behind is about!

Today’s haiku:

lone tree bows deeply,
bent double by the cruel wind,
smiles, says ‘I’m still here’

Sada to Camarinas

Saturday 24th May 2014

W 2-3
Swell N2-3 metres to very little around Costa da Morte
57 NM (519NM)

We set an alarm at 06:30, so that we would make good time leaving Sada as we knew it would be a long day on the water to Camarinas, some 55NM plotted out on the chart plotter. We wanted to check the weather, again, we had to pay the marina fees and there’s the usual pfaffing in preparing the boat for sea after a few days ashore. For the non-sailors, it’s best to stow everything away, as you never know what conditions you’re going to get, and risk things getting chucked about down below, getting damaged or damaging something else. Pretty much everything gets stowed.

We eventually cast off about 08:15, which makes for quite a lot of pfaffing! Of course it was raining, so we were in full heavy sailing foulies, me with an extra layer of gilet, as I didn’t trust the conditions to deliver ‘warm’. There was very little wind, and a little bit of swell coming up the Ria towards Sada. Was this really enough to cause the snatching of poor Whinchat in her berth? The swell predictions were spot on in direction and size. Unfortunately the wind predictions were also pretty accurate – not much! As we came past La Coruna, the wind was from the south (we think that it was funnelling), but there was enough to sail. So then began the process of grinding out the reefed main, with me on the wheel trying to hold Whinchat in the wind, with a rolling swell behind me. It seemed to take forever, but there was about 16m to grind out at Pete-speed (there are no electric winches on Whinchat), so totally understandable. This motion, going pretty slowly on low engine revs, was enough to throw my insides into turmoil, and I felt the edge of nausea wrapping its ugly self around me. Straight to the helm, in order to concentrate on something. Focus is the enemy of seasickness, if you can manage it. Pete also chucked Stugeron at me, which is a wholly chemical way of dealing with things. Pete kept asking me how I was doing, and at some point I said, “OK, but soon the Stugeron will kick in and I’ll pass out.” I clung on to the wheel, making reasonable progress, until the wind died, we started flailing around a bit, and, well, to put it bluntly, I was desperate for a pee. That was my undoing. Life jacket, outer foulie, foulie trousers unpeeled in the cockpit, and then a dash for the aft heads, eyes shut to pee. By the time I’d got back up on deck, focus had gone, and the nausea had raised its game. “I think I’ll have a lie down,” I announced.

Perhaps this is where we need another guest blog, because that was me, essentially, for the day. Pete reckoned that I was ‘out’ for seven of the eleven hours of passage. I can’t argue with that, but part of me cannot quite believe that I ‘lost’ so much of the day. Mine was in a fog of drug-induced sleep, with weird dreams and the occasional wrestle with nausea. I did wake a few times, to debate whether I would eat or drink anything. I had a packet of crisps, and later a mini mars bar. I refused to drink anything, for fear of needing to pee (which I had to again, setting off the waves of nausea). When that happened again, I said to Pete, “I think I’ll have a nap,” and so another two hours disappeared.

What did I miss? A day of motor sailing, with the wind on the nose, and not very strong, and the fact that the approach is not recommended in darkness… Blue skies (although buried underneath the sleeping bag, Pete’s foulies and my hood wrapped around my head, not much of the outside was coming in). The striking coastline of Costa da Morte, the Coast of Death (so called because of its treacherous nature and the number of wrecks and lives claimed over the years). Seeing other yachts appear on AIS. Fortunately, no dolphins were missed! Poor Pete had to do another passage solo; it’s a good job he’s as resilient as he is.

I roused for the last hour, as we picked our way through the navigational hazards – a lot of low lying rock to get around, none that you can see! The route was a kind of zig-zag, as we followed markers and leading lines. The rias here is so sheltered from the northerly swell, that is was gloriously flat calm. It is so beautiful, a rugged coastline pricked with yellow sandy beaches – I didn’t have the foresight to take any pictures. There is one huge craggy outcrop, with a lighthouse (perhaps) on top. Perhaps we will walk that way today and I can get some photos – or when we leave. By the time we came to moor I’d shrugged off the fog of the drugs, and was able to execute the tying up routines. I think Pete was a bit relieved! Mind you, we were greeted by by a marina chap, who told us where he wanted us to moor. Lots of hand signals, and the odd Spanish word. I have to do better! So, we’re in a very small marina, with only a few visiting boats tied up. There are more spaces than not. There are also four boats at anchor, including one that followed us here. You don’t pay to anchor – and you don’t have shore power, WiFi and the ability to walk and have a beer…. Which is exactly what we did last night.

The really good thing about feeling seasick is that when you make land, it goes away. It’s like the land shakes its grip. So, just what was needed was a couple of beers and some tapas. Chiperones (baby squid) and tortilla. You wouldn’t necessarily think that it was the reviver after hours of feeling, well, crap, but it is. I cooked supper – and we ate around 21:30, so Spanish – thinking about the day.

One of the things that I kept on thinking about was the crew of Cheeky Rafiki. I’d seen the headline that they’d found the upturned hull, and that the keel had basically been ripped off. In moments of lucidness, feeling the sea move us about, I thought about them. It wasn’t until we got in and connected back to WiFi that we learned that their liferaft was still in the boat. Those poor men; those poor families. They were experienced, and yet it would seem that the conditions overcame them, and took them. It is so sad. The boat that would have given them such delight in the racing, came undone. Cheeky Rafiki is a racing boat, and unlike Whinchat, is not really the design for crossing oceans. For the avoidance of doubt, and in case my mother/mother-in-law has made it to this part of today’s blog, our keel could never come off. It’s moulded into her hull, encapsulated is the term, and she really is designed for putting to sea, and dealing with challenging conditions. She will never win races, but that’s not her design, but she will and does look after us. There should be a better debate on the boat classifications, in my view, and perhaps this dreadful incident will promote some sensible reflections about fit for purpose.

Today’s Haiku – perhaps some interpretation needed! When seeking to be soothed during moments of seasickness/stress, and we are under motor, I often imagine us being pulled along by 50 underwater horses powering their way to harbour.

fifty horses ‘neath
the bucking bronto seas – oh
take us safe to port

Still in Sada!

Friday 23rd May 2014

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Looking east from the harbour wall…

Not all days are spent in an idyll, although perception might be that it is. Today was one of those days. We didn’t expect to go far, because of the swell forecast (+4m), but we thought we’d move. Only we woke to the sound of very heavy rain beating down on the coach roof, just torrential. It didn’t inspire either of us. By the look of the sky, it had a ‘set in’ feel about it, thick bands of grey scurrying overhead, busy in their work of making us wet. I went to pick up the weather forecast (the 500m walk to the WiFi point), and it didn’t cheer either of us…. which set us in a pattern of ‘oh what should we do…’ Stay, or go? Staying in Sada? Or if going, where? Coruna? Ares? It never seems right going back somewhere you’ve come when you’ve just set off. Ares? Another small town, which we’d arrive at when it was shutting down, wet, cold and having travelled all of four NM.

We dithered most of the morning, and decided to do something positive. The laundry! It was exactly the sort of day for chores (I had already cleaned the heads and the oven, oh the joys), so we loaded the laundry bag in a bin bag to prevent it from getting wet. Well, we got the keys to the washing room, and were shown how to work the machine, and I asked about the dryer? “Eees broken.” “Que?” It broke last week (when it was sunny) and they hadn’t gotten around to getting the company out. With no prospect of getting our washing dry, we surprised the marina staff by not bothering. What kind of a day is it when you can’t even do your laundry? At that point, in a fit of peak, I was all for leaving and heading out of Sada. However, we sought reason in a trip to get a coffee (and find some of the artesan bread we’d found in Coruna – if anyone knows the Spanish for Rye Bread, please comment back, as I’m sure that’s what we had there, and found it everywhere in France, Siegle). We could have gone, but we don’t have to get wet, and we’ve time, and we are really just making time anyway until we can round the coast…

So, here we are. In fact, the clouds did peel back for a couple of hours, and we’ve managed to get our towels dry for the first time since I’ve been here. We had an excellent boat lunch – local lomo, bread (I had wraps), cheese, and the largest, juiciest apple we’ve had in ages! I braved the showers again – this time bloody freezing, but actually ever so refreshing – enough of a report to make Pete not bother!!! And for the first time since I got here, walked without a rain coat on! Pete has downloaded the paper, and we’ve been able to sit (for a short while) in the cockpit in the sun – although let’s be clear, Pete hasn’t taken off his winter jumper!

I spent a hysterical half an hour trying to do some pilates in the workout zone on board (tucked down between the table and the seats in the saloon (it is literally the length and width of the yoga mat), but Whinchat was yanking about on her warps, so the added instability was quite a challenge. Try doing a side-plank on a surface moving backwards/forwards/side-to-side. It was very entertaining!

Soon we will go for our evening promenade, take a beer, and watch Sada prepare for its Jabi Festival this weekend = a celebration of eating cuttlefish! It begins tonight with a concert – which in Spanish style doesn’t begin until 23:00. If it is raining, and we’re the other side of a bottle of Rioja, I don’t suppose we will see it, but will doubtless hear it across the water.

Today’s haiku:

wind screams through rigging
halyards hammer on the masts
all sick of the rain