After arriving in Spain we spent the first week in a marina and slept, a lot! We’ve never slept so much. Not wishing to rub it in, but we’re struggling to get up before 9:30am. Waking up between 10-11:30 has become normality. Trina keeps pointing out our body clocks are following the astronomical sun as the sun here doesn’t rise properly until 9am, so in Trina’s eyes noon is actually around 3pm. The problem is if you wake up at 7am it’s pitch black, so when you’re finally awoken by the sun it’s 11am and your mornings gone.
Our lazy breakfasts are accompanied by BBC podcasts. We’ve been listening to “50 things that made the modern economy”, which sounds pretty dull but really isn’t. Should you find you have 10 minutes to spare, I recommend making a cup of tea and listening to a podcast, however bizarre the topic may sound (such as barbed wire).
We’re basically like children on our summer holidays these days, and need some parental guidance right now. We get up late, pig out on crisps and chocolate bars, and every day for the last 3 weeks has involved drinking, not heavily but I’m drinking beer like it’s water right now.
Trina’s having a holiday from being a vegetarian. Things from my last ARC trip are popping up in shops and bringing back memories, such as Bimbo bread, which is laced with god knows what never goes moldy!
On our first walkabout in Spain, we passed an old Spanish guy on a hill as we looked at small stone buildings used to store wheat. The old man gave us the full history of wheat storage in broken English. He then went on to tell us all about Santiago De Compostela, and talked us through the many noteworthy historical events that happened throughout the years in Muros. Great great, great, lots of enthusiastic nodding as all three of us reached new levels of understanding through the medium of broken English, pigeon Spanish and mime. Things though started to take an unusual turn of events, when we learned all the Nazi’s retreated to Galicia, and that he was famous in America. Apparently he’s known as Mystic Blue, the love child of JFK and Marilyn Monroe. Our eyes glazed over when he proclaimed to be the Messiah.
Trina’s been looking for Spanish Fiesta’s so we could sample some of the local flavours, but found we’d either missed most of the fiesta’s or they’re too far away. There was one fiesta which looked like some sort of donkey festival, so off we went.
We took a taxi to a small village not far away from Vilanova de Arousa where we were staying. We watched adults and children racing donkeys through the streets with very little concern for health and safety 🙂 Some donkeys pottered along, others refused to take part, and some raced around the corner herded by professional donkey chasers.
Following the crowds we found the main square where we watched adults and children attempt to scale a tall greasy pole. The object of the game was to scale a greasy pole and touch a bottle of rum, and then further up a bottle of water, with very little concern for health and safety. The blokes were too heavy and cumberson to scale the pole, so it was up to tiny children to win the rum!
Later on in the evening we found a small bar. I ordered some wine that came in a cereal bowl and Trina had a beer. We did our best to converse with an old man at the bar, when another chap came over and asked how the hell we had found his village and the fiesta. His name was Paco and insisted we come to his house for dinner.
Next minute we’re in Paco’s house. Paco, a jazz musician took us back to his house where his family were sat having a feast. We were greeted with exceptional hospitality and offered all sorts of dishes and chatted through the evening. Great evening!
Later we went with Paco back to the festival and then onto the bar we had first met in. The wine I had been drinking earlier turned out to be illegal wine, which the locals drunk. We promised to see him play a gig later on that week and said our goodbyes.
Later in the week we went to see Paco’s gig and had a superb time.
Paco, if you ever read this. Thank you so much for your kindness and generosity. We promise to come back next year.
Adjusting to our new life
The first couple of weeks were pretty strange. For me it felt like a bullet train juddering abruptly to a halt. Having spent the last few years rushing around, creating lists, checking to-do lists to then doing nothing was a bit of a comedown. After the first week I was a bit annoyed I hadn’t learn’t the guitar, played the fiddle and read some books. We had to remind ourselves that not doing anything after 1 week was absolutely fine.
My chat was also pretty non existent. We now spend every day together, so what do you talk about? As Trina put it “before we had separate lives, now we’re living one life”. We don’t have work to talk about, and our friends are far away. Neither of us watch Strictly Come Dancing or Britain’s Got Talent. So it’s fair to say our new life will take some getting used to.
We had one pretty magical night anchored off Terrestre de las Illas Atlánticas. Most of the islands we’ve anchored off have a lighthouse, so at night beams of light sweep across the night sky. This particular night the sky was clear and full of stars, but when you looked over the side of the boat into the water it was if another galaxy of stars filled the sea. All around the boat the sea was full of phosphorescence (tiny bits of algae that emit green light when jostled). Suspended in animation the sea was a faint glitter of luminescent green. For the next hour we played around disturbing the water to make patterns in the sea. We threw cups of water over the side, cast a fishing line back and forth, peed off the boat you name it. I can only compare it to a scene from Fantasia. The sea was a canvas, and any ripples you made glowed bright luminescent green. The bigger the splash, the more vibrant and intense the colours were.
We’ve done very little in the way of boat jobs. We have a small mossy curtain to the forepeak, and a mossy screen over the hatch. The most effective way of killing flies on the boat is to spray them with febreeze until they can’t fly anymore. The upside of this technique is self explanatory. Thanks Nigel for the top tip!
We’ve rearranged some cupboards and thrown a bucket load of crap off the boat we don’t need or think we can do without. Each time I think we’ve thrown out enough stuff, we find more.
The old car stereo eventually died. Before the crossing I had to periodically punch the fascia to turn the stereo on. Well, that was never going to last so we bought a new one. We can now bluetooth or use a 3mm audio jack from the cockpit to play music. I’ve also hooked up a usb charging socket in the cockpit cupboard.
We also bought a cigarette inverter to charge the laptop whilst at anchor which works a charm.
Sailing the Rias and visiting Islands
All the sailing we’ve done has been pretty easy so far. The biggest learning curve has been where to anchor. It’s hard to appreciate what the consequences of anchoring in exposed places can be like until you’ve experienced them.
We had one night when we had very little sleep. The wind was howling and the boat was bucking up and down like a wild horse, in a manner that mean’t there wasn’t anything you could do but lie down in the saloon until morning half asleep half awake. We had anchored in a place exposed to the wind, with rocks behind us. I set an anchor alarm on my phone which kept going off, and paired up the phone with the chart plotter so we could view the chart plotter from the phone to quickly check if we’d moved. That was a long night.
We sailed to small island where we caught up with Nigel on Azura who we first met in Falmouth. We love Nigel. Nigel was the chap who gave us that little bit of encouragement we needed back in Falmouth to cast off the lines and make for Spain. Talking the night away in the cockpit over a beer, anchored off a beech under the glow of a lantern was what it’s all about. New friends, new places..and a couple of beers to boot.
We also had Trina’s friend Ben and his family over for day trip. They’re taking a campervan and their two sons on a year long trip hitting surfing spots along the way.
From the Rias we visited some islands and anchored up for week.
One evening we found a good vantage point near a lighthouse to watch the sunset. The island felt almost deserted and silent, with just the lighthouse keepers child playing in a courtyard with her mother. We watched the sunset from a rock whilst the family sat up against their lighthouse to see the sun go down. What a place to grow up, and what a way to finish the day.
We did a bit of exploring, a lot of reading and a bit of guitar practice.
After that we headed over to Baiona.
One evening in Baiona we went to a Irish pub, that didn’t sell Guiness or play Irish folk music. In fact the only thing Irish about it was the name. Beards don’t seem to be a big thing where we are, and with just a nod and a cheeky smile I seem to be able to sometimes break the ice with fellow drinkers. With a cheeky smile we made some new friends and had them over for a few beers the next day.
Whilst in Baiona we heard of a Dutch boat that sunk nearby. The details were a bit unclear, but the boat foundered on a rocky cliff nearby, and sailors were rescued by helicopter. We think they may have tried to take a short cut, perhaps in the fog which is insane around these parts. Either way it’s gutting for them and a stark reminder for us not to get complacent.
Our time in Spain passed by way too quickly for my liking, and I wish we had had more time to explore the Northern coast of Galicia which is supposed to be quieter and less touristy. But we have a schedule to keep to and need to be in the Canaries by the 1st November. Perhaps one of the downsides to joining up the rally you may argue.
Next stop, Portugal!
ps Mum said she found my diary on the iPad the other night and thought it was very good, but the language not so good. Shit sorry mum! 😉