Monthly Archives: September 2014

Galicia, beaches and sun.

Leaving Coruña heading west, actually getting some wind in our sails, although we try to only move Trusty a couple of hours each day. That way we have time to get some sun and swim a bit. The first night we anchored in a small cove, though being cosy it had a bit of a swell-problem. People talk fondly about the ocean rocking you to sleep, but try having the waves rocking the boat so you almost fall out of your bed. Fun, right?

Hercules lighthouse, the only lighthouse from roman times still used today.

Hercules lighthouse, the only lighthouse from roman times still used today.

So we didn’t get much sleep that night so we set off the next day heading southwest down to Laxe, a small town by a wonderful beach. Anchoring in the bay, we were sheltered from most of the waves. Trusty was almost still the whole night and we all slept well. The town seemed a bit off-season lazy and relaxed and after stocking some more canned-beans, albondigas in sauce and strange looking meat-stews we spent the rest of the day on the beach.

Sitting on a beach is fun and games but it brings a new enemy as bad as the saltwater: the sand. Well sand is no problem, I love spending the days at the beach when I’m in Spain, the normal charter tourist say, you just shower and throw the towels for the maid to pick up when you get home. Well, when in a yacht, and not a big one, there is no shower. The only shower is the sea bearing the boat.

Trusty's new buddy, Fairwinds.

Trusty’s new buddy, Fairwinds.

There is no house-cleaner to collect your towels and you’re stuck with sand all over the place. Sure it’s just bringing out the vacuum cleaner and clean, right? Erhm, we don’t have one, we don’t have power for one so we’re stuck with the sand, until we clean it up by hand that is. (Note to self, next time I’ll have a boat with a room for sandy salty clothes that I can rinse with a hose: a sand/salt lock)

Well after spending a day in the fresh air and getting a bit of sun on our pale bodies we headed south towards Playa des Rayes, it’s a small beach in Ria de Camariña and according to some guide websites it’s one of Spain’s top ten beaches.
Sure, it’s cosy and sheltered and you’re all alone so I can see why people love it but it wasn’t that spectacular. Best one so far but a beach is a beach, it’s full of sand, full of sand lice and you have to walk into the water. I hate walking into water, jumping is so much better.

Beach, the 10 ten one...

Beach, the 10 ten one…

We’ve been tagging along another Swedish yacht called Fairwinds, they have the same background as us, Swedes working in the restaurant business in Norway, so we feel quite at home with them. They are heading for the Caribbean as well but are going to take a different route. Right now they are a bit shorthanded but will get a full crew at the end of the month.
Fairwinds have a curse, a dingy curse… Recently they lost their third dingy so we’re planning on giving them a little gift as soon as we get to Porto and can get all the parts. Right now we have a couple of projects we’re going to work on when we arrive in Porto.

  1. A “rock the boat break”. It’s a piece of plywood on top of an anchor that you lower in the water next to the boat witch will slow down the rocking motion of Trusty as we lay at anchor.
  2. Our secret gift for Fairwinds.
  3. A new pivot stand for our solar panel, the wind catch the panel and lifted it one stormy night. It still kinda works but now we need to sort it out.
  4. Well measured lines for hoisting our dingy and a hoisting rig for the outboard engine.
  5. Cleaning and washing out all the sand from Trusty’s underbelly
Dawn outside Muxia.

Dawn outside Muxia.

We will take pictures and guide you through our errors and successes as we improvise our way around these projects. Well maybe not the cleaning part, that’s easily solved with a hose of freshwater and our bilge pump but the rest might be fun.

We waited out the low-pressure sitting around the Azores giving us bad winds and as soon as the wind died we set off steaming down towards Porto, 30 hours later (all engine) we reached Porto, in Portugal, setting a new record in hitting fishing-net-buoys in the dark. Ok, we only hit a few and missed most by one meter or so but in the dark of the night you can’t see them coming, just hear the thump as you hit one. Not one got stuck and they all floated afterwards so I guess we didn’t do much damage.

Chillin in the sun.. Trusty style..

Chillin in the sun.. Trusty style..

The cruise down was nice except for all the fishing-boats lurking around the Portuguese coast with no AIS. Spotting fishing-vessels in the dark against a populated shore is not fun. There are a couple of thousand lights and three of them is a boat heading towards you, finding Nemo (or Waldo) is easier, but if you look long enough you spot that some lights are moving…
Apart from that nothing actually happened. Dolphins? Yup. Beautiful sunset? Yup. Sun and clear blue sky? Yup, at least until the next day, then it rained a lot..

So now we’re in Porto, sitting here planning our crossing to Porto Santo as soon as the weather systems are back to normal witch should be soon. I’ve been reading Game of Thrones so I guess we don’t want to stay here in Portugal for too long, because Winter is coming…..

P.S. Us girls, relative newbs to anchoring along gorgeous beaches, still quite enjoy them. (Me Per disagree, beaches are overrated, I’ll take the dinghy and a reef anytime..)

Leaving Coruña..

I’m almost done with the AIS post for dummies and will post it soon but I need some examples to go with it so now we’re heading back out to sea again. Our plan is to hop down the Galician coast and maybe do a bit of sunbathing, snorkeling and other fun things you can do on a yacht at anchor. The direction finder will surely work because of a low-pressure that sits nicely between the Azores and Madeira giving us nice sweet southerly winds, perfect when you’re heading… you guessed it, south..

Hopefully the arrow will draw it’s direction towards the east or the west or if I can get my wish fulfilled, north, enabling the crossing out to Porto Santo to become a breeze (hehe pun intended). Until then we’ll stroll down the Iberian Atlantic coast dropping our anchor where we can find shelter from the waves and wind.

To sum up Coruña for you, it was wonderful. Coming from the cold, uncivilized, rainy British Isles  down to a town that’s alive with people, restaurants serving something other then Fish & Chips, affordable wine, beer, food and well not diesel but well anything else. In MarinaCoruña, the marina where we’ve been staying they have a program for handicapped people enabling them to sail small dingies, kayaking or just staying out on the sea in the sun. They have a great time and it’s nice to see the effort the people working with them put in (I guess getting payed to have fun in the sun on the sea is not a bad thing) 5 days a week.
The city it self is a mix between small alleys full of small restaurants, shops and pubs and big 50-80s concrete monsters but it works. If you stroll in the town at 22:30 on a Tuesday the town is full of life and people eating and talking, the way a city should be.
Honest to say since this was the first place I could take of my raincoat, put on my shorts and get some sun on my feet my judgment might be clouded but hey, I don’t care.. It was nice, but now we all want to see more.

We’re excited to see more what this part of the world has to offer, may it be small coves with clear but coldish water, lovely beaches with white or black sand, fish caught from our dingy or just nothing more than what we had in Coruña so be it then..  We’ll have a nice time finding out, unless the icebergs creep up on us. I know I should be safe now and the dreams haven’t brought them up lately but they might just be sneaky, I won’t feel safe until I’m sitting in a chair at Happy Hour Island Bar and have a reef between me and the Atlantic and a Rhumpunch in my hand. Then only will I be able to relax…
(Pictures of Coruña will come when I connect our cameras and open up photoshop to give them a good size.)

Dublin via Cork to Coruña

In the morning of our departure we set out towards the breakwater of Dublin bay after calling up Dublin VTS on channel 12. We knew there might be waves, we knew there might be wind but we didn’t really expect what met us. In the shallow waters of the bay the waves towered high (at least that’s how it felt as I stood next to the mast hoisting our mainsail) and the wind blew salty gusts of seawater on to us when we clang to Trusty and double checked our lifelines.
It wasn’t that bad in real life but one should never make a good story bad by sticking to the truth.

Heading into Cork.

Heading into Cork.

So south we went doing or best to stay cheerful as the Irish Sea hit us with waves, wind and tidal currents. Deciding that we would stop for a couple of nights in Cork we had a good run down the coast although sometimes doing what felt like 5 knots trough the water just to look at the same lighthouse for hours and hours.. Passing the two forts heading in to the Cork bay was pleasant and as we navigated in to Crosshaven we felt like home again. Crosshaven is so much better than Dublin in my opinion, well to be honest we were kind of in the most boring part of Dublin and just the walk to and from the marina was a real soulkiller. Moored up in a marina in Crosshaven it felt cosy and if it weren’t for us wanting to get a bit of tan on our pale hides we could have stayed there longer. Well after restocking our moral-boost candy and eating our final fish and chips for a while we headed out again on our quest for sun and warm waters.

First sunset, Celtic Sea.

First sunset, Celtic Sea.

The first part of the leg was nice. Steady winds from the west that gave us good speed and comfortable waves as we headed down the Celtic Sea towards the English Channel and Biscay. The first night and the first day was kind of the same. Sailing, motoring a bit when the wind died, set sail again, reef down when the wind picked up again and repeat. After the second night the wind died completely at dawn and the sea was calm. The big swells were there but no small waves and no wind at all but instead the sun greeted us. Finally, we thought as we headed southish aiming for Spain, the sun has come to greet us and will follow us all the way to the promised land of rhum and reggae tunes.

No wind today..

No wind today..

Well we had sun, dolphins, whales, sharks and no wind for a whole day but after that the sun abandoned us for some other place I guess. As we looked towards the sunset, the shipping lane loomed closer and closer and we knew we had to pass through it. Waking up the next morning the calm still sea was gone. Now we had an east-south-easterly gale hitting us with at least three different wave patterns spraying Trusty and her crew with salt and wind. It took us a whole day bashing through the waves to get from one side of the shipping lane to the other and sometimes it felt like our lady got beaten up by a heavyweight slugger.
We all felt relieved when the shipping eased up and we could point our bow a bit away from at least one of the wave-systems and stop the constant hammering.

Lazy Monday on Biscay.

Lazy Monday on Biscay.

After that it was smooth sailing and then smooth steaming the last bit down to Spain. As the fog lifted we spied the Galician coast far out in the distance, finally, land, we cheered and burned some more fossils as the wind-gods looked at some other sailor in need.
We might want to make a sacrifice to the ocean-gods soon, any fair virgin who we can throw in to the sea? None? Hmm.. wonder if some alcohol and bacon will do. I’ll have to google that I think..

Coruña is a nice place to stay a couple of days. It’s warmish, even though our boat neighbours say it’s the coldest place in Spain, quite cosy and the city is living at night giving it a more homely feeling than Dublin. A man on a boat from Holland looked at me and commented on my pale figure, why so pale in Spain, he asked. Well, I replied, we’ve been in Scotland and Ireland for a month now, this is the first time I’ve worn a t-shirt in a long time. He laughed and reassured that as soon as we started heading south from here it would change..

Sunset Biscay, note the ship silhouette.

Sunset Biscay, note the ship silhouette.

So, I leave you for a bit and we’ll tourist a bit here and I’ll make a post about biscaya, ais and reefing for dummies soon.

TL;DR version… Dublin, cold, much wind, much waves, Cork, cosy, just enough wind, no wind, sun, no wind, a lot of ships, much wind, uncomfortable waves, dolphins, wind, no wind, Coruña, moored up nice and cosy, we pale and white…


Now we’re finally in Spain, it’s cloudy and cold here.. bummer..

Well the crossing went well and we’ll give you all the details after a shower, sangria and a good nights sleep.

Bay of Biscay

Sun, no wind, sun, no wind, sun, no wind… We’ll at least the first day on Biscay that is the mantra. We encountered a big big pack of dolphins that played around Trusty for almost an hour. All is fine and we’re just taking our time down to La Coruña after a quick stop in Cork.

More updates coming as we reach Spain.