Tuesday 1st July
Winds, westerly, F4 (until we moored, then ++)
Seas, very lumpy, 2-3m swell rolling from the west
When I went up to use the servicos this morning, as soon as I got off the boat, I could hear the sound of a distant roaring, as if it were coming through the town. It sounded just like the ocean, but a part of me thought it couldn’t possibly have transmitted through the town. When Pete went up, he heard it too, but thought it more mechanical – air conditioning units, perhaps – and as there is quite a bit of active building work in Muxia, it was possible.
When we went out to top up our provisions, I requested taking the long way around, via the headland, to see if my assessment was right. Was it the ocean pounding the little bay in Muxia? We walked through the town, and before we’d come out the other side, you could hear it – for certain. The waves were thumping into the bay, and were absolutely the sound I could hear in the marina. That’s impressive! The waves weren’t *that* big, nearer three than two metres, but enough to create quite a disturbance to the air, and the roaring. The breakers were curling, and smashing the shore in an explosion of surf. It looked great for surfing – had it not been for the rocks that studded the coastline. We walked out to the headland, by the little church, and the sea was a churned up mass of white spume – perhaps a little disappointing. The photos we had the other day were cleaner, and therefore it wasn’t worth taking a picture of.
It was a little chilly in the wind (Pete hadn’t got a jumper on, I had), so we turned back into town for a delightful encounter with an old boy and two of the smallest puppies – sort of beagle-ish – who looked too young to be out, but were so adorable. They were following us along the path, and the guy was trying to coax them back, and talk to us. I think we could have had both of them if we’d wanted (and we did, in that moment), especially the one who took to my toes! Anyway, I had to tear myself away, but was soon distracted as we discovered it was market day…. mostly cheap clothes (and a whole stall dedicated to shell-suits) so a bit disappointing. Had we needed to top up the stocks of chorizo, it would have been perfect, but there’s only so much of that you can eat (and Tom doesn’t arrive for a couple of weeks!!). So, back into EuroCity and then a stop at Cafe Marina for our usual top-up on the WiFi. It’s almost time to move on when the lady who runs it knows your order – we laughed.
Topped up with weather, and emails, it was then decision time. Should we stay? Should we go – and if so, where? The weather didn’t look that great for breaking from the Ria (and that sea wasn’t talking to me), but we were after a move. So we decided that we’d head across the water to Camarinas, all of a couple of miles, but it meant that we could do the walk to the lighthouse, Faro Villain, that we’d enjoyed so much before.
We settled up (Marcus is great, but Pedro at Muros is still my favourite), and off we went. It was barely worth de-rigging, so I flipped up the fenders, and coiled the mooring warps, leaving them on their cleats. We hauled the Yankee, as when we had got out of the marina, there was a nice breeze, and the action of sailing is usually nicer through a lumpy sea…. and it was LUMPY, with Whinchat being rolled a bit as we came across the mouth of the ria – probably not enough sail out to plough through it, but certainly not worth putting any more out given we had about 30 minutes at sea. Our timing was totally rubbish, as the most ferocious downpour attacked us mid-way through our passage. I could see it coming (from behind Pete at the helm), so had dived down to get the coats. There was no way of avoiding it in the cockpit, and there was no way I was going down below to roll around in the swell, so we both got a soaking! Pete’s shorts had a distinct tide marks, and I had rivers running down my legs as I was huddled under the spray hood. Of course, with this mad rain came an increase in the wind, so suddenly we were in 20knots of wind – with five minutes to mooring.
We were rigged for a port-side-to from Muxia, and we could see a vacant slot that would work, mooring us into the wind (always the preferred option). No sign of the marineros, so I realised that I’d have to be the one to get onto the pontoon, run the mid-ships back, so that we’d have an active spring to secure ourselves with. First obstacle was a frame at the end of the pontoon, so that I simply couldn’t drop down, but had to wait until quite late before leaping…. and then the pontoon was SOOOOOO short, that Whinchat barely took a third of it, meaning my fenders were next to useless. I got another line on (the bow, probably), and then saw how much of the rear of Whinchat was hanging out. So, now half-tied on, soaked, and bewildered. We wandered up the central pontoon to see if the finger pontoons on the ‘port’ side were longer (yes) and whether the Marineros was there to advise (no). We decided that this was not a good place to lie, so we came out and I rigged for a starboard-to mooring. Everything over the other side of the boat, in the rain. Pete was holding Whinchat in the harbour, testing her against the wind – still blowing 20knots. The other side of the pontoon meant a downwind mooring, with a slight chicane into the vacant berth. I’d rigged and was ready, but the wind… Not helpful. We made a slow approach, but slow and controlled wasn’t possible and neither of us felt comfortable, so we aborted that and went for the hammer-head on the adjacent pontoon. That was a superb mooring, with me calling the distance, getting off, and Pete using my spring to bring us alongside. We had Whinchat all tied up, but knew this wasn’t the visitor’s pontoon…. so decided to have lunch and work out what next later. Pete had tried to get through the gates to the dock, but it was very locked, and we weren’t sure that we’d ever get off.
It’s amazing how much better you feel with lunch inside you (and a totally deserved soup, as we were both pretty damp), so we felt equipped to make the move onto the visitor’s pontoon. When we’d come some five weeks previously, we were one of two visiting yachts, with all the space to choose from (not that we had any choice, as the marineros was here to direct us), but we had a couple of spots only. The squalls of the lunch-time attempts had also died down, so the wind was about 4knots as we left the hammer-head for the third time lucky. Of course the wind senses it’s time to moor, so plays games with you, so it built, and I think was about 12knots when we manoeuvred through the chicane… still no one around to help, so I leapt off with the midships, to secure a rear spring, given that we were downwind. All good. Head still down, and going for the starboard bow (as I could reach it), and that was secured. Pete then yelled, and was waving/pointing from the stern. Eh? Could I decipher it? Nope. Not afraid of yelling back, I shouted… “I have no idea what you want me to do..” (!!), so he came forward to throw the port-bow (which I’d secured, but couldn’t reach), as this one would make us more secure. Ah… I understand. He chucked it at me, but it got caught around the seagull wires, so I had to retrieve that as Pete disappeared to the business end of Whinchat (the helm). Then I dashed back and got the sternline, and that secured… we were going nowhere. Only, the anchor was hanging over the central pontoon, and was a complete hazard, so we had to adjust all the lines so that we’d dropped back half a metre…. and only then were we completely happy. Third time lucky!
As we were just tidying up, a couple came from their Bowman 40, Betsy. They were from Helford (!!) and were making their way south, so we were able to share our thoughts for the best spot – and advise them how to get permissions for the Atlantic Island National Park. Let’s hope that Ana or Pedro or other lovely chap helps them when they get to Muros.
We decided that we would walk to the lighthouse, Faro Villain, as the weather looked like it would help us out for a couple of hours. It did, almost, with one frantic unearthing of waterproof coats from the backpack, for the minute that the heavens opened on us. We could see the squall across the ocean, and were unlucky to just get caught in the fringes of it. We hadn’t hoped so well for Pete’s shorts that were supposed to be drying on the rails – in fact, because the sun was so warm, any ‘damage’ by the rain had been undone by the sun. At times it was like walking in a steam bath as we wandered back from the lighthouse.
Back in port, we stopped for a beer in the bar (no beer snacks – it must be just the the weekend), and watched the Marineros direct two boats that had arrived at the same time into berths. Both wanted the now vacant hammer-head of the visitor’s pontoon, but they’re diddy, and no way were they to be allowed on there! A large Dutch boat has moored where we were, so we probably could have stayed, but it’s all good here. We are surrounded by French boats (Pedro was certainly right about it being their month), and watching them moor is always so entertaining.
Tonight’s meal is some very thin pork chops (wafer thin, almost), in the Remoska with a sort-of Lyonnaise potato cooking on top of them – a good slug of white wine, onion, tomato, garlic and mushroom anyway. As it’s so cool (27degrees in the boat!) we will deviate from the customary salad and go for green beans. All good.
The weather looks promising for a break to the next ria tomorrow, although the sea might still be a bit on the lumpy side, but that’s not going to change in the next day or so, but like any other day, decisions happen in the morning!
Wind laughs, blows a kiss
Pete shrugs – Whinchat is ready
Oh crikey – am I?