Playa Aguieira to Muros

Sunday 22 June 2014

Winds southerly F1 becoming F3-4 by the time we’d crossed the bay
Seas, glassy, but with a westerly swell of about 1m as we crossed the bay

5NM (798NM)

We had a very still night at anchor, and woke to an incredibly still morning. What a contrast the wind we’d arrived in! However, the still air meant that somehow a mosquito got through the screens, and I was munched in the night. I wish they didn’t like me so much. I’m getting low on antihistamine, so that will be another funny conversation at some point in a pharmacy. We had breakfast, and decided that we’d head for Muros today. We think we must be getting slower, because despite being up at 08:00, we didn’t manage to weigh anchor until 11:00. Where does the time go?

We weren’t expecting to be greeted by much wind, so we planned to motor across to Muros. Pete had the engine on tick over speed, so that he could “catch lunch” (!). He was trailing his fishing line, with Simon’s tuna lure. We were doing about 2knots, which apparently is perfect mackerel catching speed, but Pete reckoned the lure would be too big for mackerel. We didn’t think that there would be tuna in the bay, and Pete said if he’d caught one, the line would be too weak and it would snap anyway! So, rather unsurprisingly, Pete’s fishing was unsuccessful! We both said we weren’t exactly sure what we’d do if we caught anything. My sister still has the record for a catch on board Whinchat – a single mackerel, which we threw back to sea.

The wind built steadily, and by the time we’d reached Muros, it was blowing around 15knots… just in time for our first mooring in over a week! It’s great coming back to somewhere you are familiar with because some of the anxieties are less – we knew exactly where to go once inside the shelter of the wall, and even which pontoon to head for. There were fewer boats in than when we’d been before, so we rigged for a port-side berth. The marineros was there to take our lines, which was good as it was blowing us off the pontoon. He took the bow and made it into a spring, so I then lassoed the mid-ships onto the rear cleat. All good. I then took the stern line to the cleat, but somehow (being tidy in my mind, I think), undid the rear spring, to secure the stern line. The marineros had moved the bow, so that we had no rear springs. Oops. My fault, so Pete was in astern to keep us from running into the pontoon. All done, as a quick yelp from the Skipper saw me correct things, with the help of the marineros. They are so friendly here, I think it might be my favourite marina of the trip (and I love the ladies showers…). It was only when we’d tied up that I noticed the sound – a brass band. We hadn’t been here before, so figured that Sunday must be band practice day, because the same tune was being played.

Pete went to complete the paperwork, as I went in search of bread. I took a spectacular fail on that, because I got a bit distracted by the sight of women (mostly), making carpets of flowers. I’ve only ever seen it in Brussels, in the main square (and well-dressing in Derbyshire, sort of similar). The old streets in Muros are narrow, and run around the back of the main ‘drag’ along the harbour. I’d got myself on one side of a long ‘carpet’ and didn’t dare leap over it to get to where I thought I wanted to be, so I abandoned it and went back to the boat to tell Pete about it. Muros also felt really buzzing (perhaps it is too much time alone at anchor!), but the cafes were filling up, and there was just a lovely vibe in the town. and I rather wanted to feel a part of it.

Pete hadn’t found the marineros to register us, so we sought him out, for the formalities, but also so that I could try and find out what the flowers were for. It’s in celebration of Corpus Christi, and there were a series of masses today, which would end with a procession in the evening, from the ‘newer’ church to the ‘old’ church (near the harbour), via these old streets. We both went into the town. I’d suggested that we maybe have lunch ashore. Of course, the first street that Pete turned us down, we found bread (not that great a bread though), but also where a group of women were guarding their flower creations, so we turned and wandered along these carpets of flowers. It must easily be a km in length – from the bit that I’d found near the start, winding through the streets, until it emerged at the old church. I took a great number of photos, but the WiFi here is slow, and so, I can only upload a couple of pictures. They give a good impression.

Pete wanders alongside the carpet of flowers
Pete wanders alongside the carpet of flowers
Watching the ladies work on the displays
Watching the ladies work on the displays

I thought at first they were making the outlines with coffee – but it’s probably a very fine soil. The regularity of the patterns is incredible, but this is achieved by a stencil, with chalk, which is then outlined with the brown soil/coffee (all using fingers to trace). They then put the leaves down – pine leaves, so the smell is amazing – and finally the flowers. Lots of hydrangea, and then different petals for different colours. Roses, and I’m not sure what they used for the yellow. Perhaps sunflower petals as they were so bright. The overall effect was just beautiful. Thankfully it wasn’t windy in the little streets, otherwise the effect would have been ruined. They are sprayed, presumably with water on completion, which must holds the formations together and keeps them fresh. Not that they have to last long, by the end of the procession, they will have been trampled on and kicked about.

We adopted a busy looking bar, with tables laid out under a big awning, as our lunch stop. Dusting off a few words in Spanish (not much call for it on an anchor with the two of us), I asked if the waiter had a menu. “Si,” came the very affirmative reply. We joked that we’d either get a wine list, a map or, hopefully, a menu. The latter came, and I ordered (too much, again), but calamares, ensalada, sardinas and tortilla. We were surrounded by Spanish, some who’d come to meet for a drink, before carrying on with their Sunday. A family with a small baby stopped by for some lunch. It was just nice to feel part of it, whatever ‘it’ was.

As the day went on, other boats arrived. I did a load of laundry, and it dried on the boat in no time at all in the hot sun. Pedro, the marineros who’d kissed me goodbye last time, was on shift in the afternoon. He was going to ‘throw in’ the drying, but I chided him that the sun could do it and it would be better for the environment. I’m not sure he really followed!

We were going to go and watch the procession in the evening, which was departing from the newer church at 19:45. We were watching the sky darkening, and I thought there was going to be an almighty thunderstorm on top of them, but it just poured with rain. It didn’t deter them, as we could hear the band leading the march. We could see the rain blowing in from the hills around Muros, and just about as soon as the procession was underway, the heavens truly opened. We lost the sound of the band. Shortly after was the most incredible “BANG”, Pete was laughing on deck (cowering under the cover of the spray hood), and teasing me that it was thunder. But no, it was a series of explosives being launched. Like fireworks without the sparkles. There were two sorts, one that let off a series of pop-pop-pop-pop-pop, and then another that just went ‘BOOM’. This one was excellent at scaring the seagulls, and sent sound waves echoing around the hills. These cracks of sound seemed to be let off with great frequency (every couple of minutes), and lasted throughout the procession. We weren’t sure what it had to do with Corpus Christi, but it added an unexpected dimension to the evening! The rain had passed, so Pete went up onto the quay to look, and could see the procession slowly making its way along the harbour. I then realised I could watch it through the bins, so picked up the sight of a rather bedraggled looking bunch of people making their way so slowly towards the other church. The bangs and cracks from the explosives sounding off all the time. They were greeted at the steps of the old church by a priest, who was waving his arms about. When that was done, the whole procession turned along the back streets, walking over the carpets of flowers, towards the newer church. In terms of a spectacle, the flowers and the ‘fireworks’ stole the show. It wasn’t the turn-out by the town that I’d expected, and the procession was not massive, perhaps 50 people, plus a brass band. The marineros had told us earlier that he had no time for religion, so perhaps that is more true than not for the people of Muros.

Supper was jamon, cheese, salad and some bread in view of the feast at lunch time. We discovered a mosquito in the boat over the evening, which is annoying. I went to bed with bug spray on, horrible stuff, in an attempt to dissuade the little critter from taking any more of my blood overnight (it wasn’t successful).

Our plan is to continue to head north, and now, of course, the wind has turned north! North is great for the shelter of the anchorages in Finisterre, but not for the direction. We’ve decided not to decide to day what happens next, but update ourselves on the forecast tomorrow and then decide.

Today’s haiku:

booms reverberate,
folk trample floral carpets –
for the love of God.

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