Monday 2nd June 2014
Winds easterly F3, switching to a northwesterly F2-3, then vanishing, then west-north-westerly F4-5, including coming to berth in Cambarro!
Seas, slight, mostly protected by the islands against any swell.
My skipper was decidedly sluggish this morning, for no reason that either of us could work out, but it took him a walk to go get some fresh bread to find himself! Even the coffee at breakfast hadn’t jump started him. It meant our 09:00 departure was more like 09:30, not that it really mattered. Pete went to settle up, and had to pay in cash (for the first time since we arrived), but was very pleased to have been given a discount for our spending two nights in Muros (the same group).
It was a little breezy when we left our berth, and Whinchat decided that she wanted to go out backwards, her stern finding the wind and sticking with it. No real problem, although Pete did have to lean on the bow thruster to allow us to actually leave! I think she liked it there. As we came out of the marina, there was a fleet of small fishing boats vying for position for the best dredging of whatever sea creature they were trying to harvest. It made me think of Phil, the joiner who refurbished most of our windows. He’s a razor clam diver, using some mild electronic technique to create a disturbance for the razor clams – not electrocuting them, he says he can hold the equipment. Anyway, that technique is currently subject to an embargo (and claim), but it’s OK to chuck a net in and haul through the sea bed, dragging everything up? Anyway. It was interesting watching them, and obviously a distraction to the main object of getting the mainsail up. That was achieved before coiling and stowing of the mooring lines, although I had to intervene when Pete was trying to deploy the Yankee before my warps were stowed. No standards! 😉 We eased away from Pobra, a haze in the air, not that it was anything to trouble us in terms of visibility. We could see 5-6 miles, plenty of space to look out for the hazards of the viveros. There were loads of little fishing boats out on the water; very industrious for a Monday morning! There were no pleasure boats out; which really makes no sense! It was a perfect day for mucking about on the water. We only saw three sailing boats all day, two out off the coast at the mouth of the Ria Arousa, and one playing in Ria Ponteverde.
Our course took us back out of the Ria, much the way we’d come in, only with a bit more wind than we’d had, but because it was a bit behind us, it felt slower. The water was not as glassy-smooth, but there were ripples stirred by the wind. At times the wind seemed to give up, or find the equivalent of a park bench to rest upon, and then a minutes later, when you’re about to despair, it comes back. At times today we were excited to have 8 knots, at times frustrated when it came around 4 knots. All the time I’m sure there was a constant wind blowing somewhere, but around the mouth of the Arousa, it almost failed. We had reached the mouth, and were turning south, along a stunning piece of coastline, and it was like the wind had decided to jump on board and take in the view. It certainly wasn’t working very hard! With 600m to one waypoint, it was going to take some 40 minutes. That’s slow – almost backwards. I was on the helm, the Yankee having given up, the main wafting around. We were shadowed by Isla de Ons on the starboard side, and there was this gorgeous strip of coastline, mainland, on our port side. Long sandy beaches, without so much development behind, studded with green headlands. As lovely as it was, it was frustrating to sail, so I deployed the engines, looking for wind. We must’ve motored for about 30 minutes, taking us through a narrow channel, and out of the lee of the island, the wind greeted us. Wonderful! I gave Pete the helm at this point, and it was WNW, initially about 12 knots, but it gradually built. I went down below to make some lunch, which we ate as Doris took the helm. Pete had a reasonable play, so I took the helm when Pete went to pee, or something like that!
My turn! For most of the day we’ve had the wind behind the beam, which is quite a feat on 180 degree course. We gybed so that I could make the next couple of waypoints, and by now little white horses (ponies really) were running in the Ria. This was more like it! The wind was building to about 18 knots, and I was torn between helming on and handing it back to Pete for some more satisfying helming. I sat on for a little bit more, and then invited him back to the wheel – he took it! Pete helmed us all the way up to the Ria, I think quite reluctant to stop. This was partly because it was so pleasant, but also the thought of mooring in 20knots of wind is never attractive!
The Marina is supposed to be well protected, and it is, tucked behind a little island, but not from this wind, which was finding its way around either side of the little island. For the first time I called up on VHF to announce our arrival – “no problem” kept coming the reply to my pronouncements (in English; I’ve thought about trying to learn the Spanish radio-talk, but what if they respond in Spanish, I’d be stuffed!) Anyway, as we approached, we could see a guy in a white shirt waving a green flag, we were to go where he was indicating. Port-side-to = good. 20knot cross-wind = not good. Thank goodness he was there! Pete did brilliantly, and the guy got the bow line that I’d chucked, not that it was much good, as Whinchat was intent on mounting the finger pontoon. This Marineros was working hard to fend her off, and a judicious yell at Pete to bow-thrust seemed to ease the situation. “No problem” he kept saying, with his back leaning into 13tonnes of Whinchat. I went forward to secure the starboard bow, in an attempt to keep her off the pontoon, but it was the stern starboard line that has made all the difference – we’re moored across two berths, as we’ve seen in other places – but it’s brilliant. Whinchat is very snug, and isn’t going to rub herself against the pontoon that she’s taken a shine too.
All safely in, with my skipper much relieved, he noticed that there’s a small rip in the mainsail. It was actually a repair made over winter, so he’s sorted that. The other problem was the rear heads – the valve has failed on the pump, so you get your feet sprayed with sea water when you flush (think pump), so he’s replaced that. Very good work!
We took our papers to the office, and then wandered into the little village. Cambarro was once an old fishing village, and its cuteness means that it is now a little tourist trap. There is a very small old quarter, and midst the narrow, shadowy streets are these little buildings on stone stilts. Cambarro used to be an old fishing village, where the ‘horreos’ were stores for fish or grains or vegetables, raised to protect them from the water or rats!
Now the fishing fleet has gone, but the trade is very much in tourism. There are plenty of tat stores around! It’s the only place we’ve been that we’ve seen bus loads of tourists brought in. Two parties of Germans this evening. Heaven only knows what it would be like with any number of people. We were the only ones in part of it. I watched an old lady, in the throws of black mourning dress I fancied, wander up the lanes, almost moving sideways on one bowed leg to the other. I wondered what she might say about its past, or about the swamping by people with cameras and itineraries to maintain.
Tonight we have a curry cooking in the Remoska (of course!), for a complete change. There are a number of restaurants around, but we are still laden from our trip to the market. We will stay here tomorrow and get the bus to Pontevedra, apparently well worth it. We will then need to check the weather and see the latest on the bad weather coming our way, although the barometer hasn’t changed much today (1027, pretty high). Hopefully we have another day of sunshine left….
Old woman shuffles,
stooped low, shrouded in black. Rests.
Sighs, I loved once too.