Wednesday 28th May
Winds a light breeze at SWF2-3, shifting more WF3-4 post lunch stop
Seas, smooth in the bay
(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.
boat rests at anchor –
in an ocean cradle rocked,
hums a lullaby