Hasta la vista Spain. For now.
It’s not what it seems.
I finally publish this wrap up of Spain almost a year on (14 Aug 18): The journey back was demanding and we lost interest in blogging.
Right now we are in Piriac sur Mer heading south, slowly, toward La Rochelle.
Onward from Ribadesella
28 Aug 2017. We’re back in France. We speak the lingo, we know the supermarkets and we are in the comfortable but dull Les Minimes Mega Marina.
To cover the rest of N Spain from Ribadesella onward:
Santander (via St Vincente de la Barquera ) 75nm
On St Vincente the pilot guide basically says don’t bother. We did bother and went in the hope of breaking up an otherwise very long haul to Santander.
The guide was right. There is only one place to anchor and it was already full. Press on, it’s going to be a long day.
So we arrive around midnight at Santander. Of the first marina the guide says “it will be fruitless hoping to charge in, hoping for the best” and is again right. At midnight there is a security guard armed with a whistle and he knows how to use it.
It’s more than his jobsworth to let you stay, even though there were spaces clearly available.
Marina Del Cantabrico was all he could say. So orft we went a further 20 minutes away from the town. Marina Del Cantabrico has no guard, plenty of space etc. Crash out at around 1230 after 75nm in about 14 hrs…..
We met Timothy Spall and Shane 2 boats up taking their new boat down to the med.
We noted that it was probably a longer walk inside Gatwick than it was from the marina to the Airport
We slept like a log, but otherwise didn’t do anything but recover.
A massive investment has created a large and empty marina.
The journey here was wind on the nose for most of the way, reaching F6. A lively arrival aided by neighbours to get Filibuster secured.
A quick check of the forecast for Bilboa showed rain. Curious, from sunny Laredo that didn’t seem right, and our destination was less than 20nm away.
Until we got the spelling right….
Our chosen marina was full, so we ended up in the outrageously priced (€54 a night) Puerto Getxo. Taking advantage of the free laundry big time seemed to make things better.
Mojo Lost at Sea!
It’s fair to say that after yet another non sail, we were beginning to wonder about Mojo and where it had gone to.
Things were not helped by the Bilbaon B***stard fly. Smaller than a mozzie we woke up before during and after the night being bitten to death. The resulting blisters were “angry”, itchy and bloody….grrr
We didn’t venture into the city….
Next stop Bermeo
Charming and pretty and very much Basque Country. Suddenly we are in another country. The language of which is so alien to Anglo/Spanish/French we can’t understand a word of it.
So the new finger berths look OK, and are OK: water and electricity as normal.
The pilot guide is again out of date and has no mention of the above. Fortunately we have local knowledge from Jerry & Aggie.
And the things we should add to anyone coming this way are:
a) the locals are fishing fanatics
b) at all hours many of the boats in the first photo above head out to fish. Most at a speed that creates a significant wash. And they come back..
c) they all pass by your bow (or stern depending on which way you moored).
A recommendation is to moor stern in. We didn’t and our mojo took another knock that night.
And so farewell to Spain
In Bermeo we looked at the options. Option A was to carry on around the coast then head North along the French coast. Reaching the Gironde in around 10 days. Option B was to regard Bermeo as the closest point to the Gironde and go for it.
B won. We left aiming for Royan well after low tide. Motoring the whole way we got a bit too early for Royan and ended up across the way in peaceful Port Medoc.
Two days later we are in La Rochelle. Familiar places beckon and unless something interesting happens, this will probably be the last post.
The end of the adventure
By the time the boat is parked both of us will have covered more than 1000nm. Virtually all under motor.
Here’s a summary of what we liked and didn’t like in Spain.
- The Spanish. Always friendly & helpful with a smile and good sense of humour
- The temperature: generally mid 20s
- Food – excellent seafood in Galica, great quality meats everywhere and never expensive.
- The scenery
- Cleanliness. Seems to be a passion
- No problem with the language. Quite often they don’t do English or French and we don’t do much Spanish. But if you want to buy a loaf of bread they want to sell you a loaf of bread. No problem.
- The scenery: often spectacular / mountainous. In more ways than one it’s like Ireland without the cold & rain.
We didn’t like
- The wind: always in the wrong direction and often on the nose with resultant unpleasant conditions
- Distances between stops can result in tiring days
- The amount spent on diesel: in a good season we can get away with €150, sailing as much as possible. This year, with adverse conditions we spent just under €1000 🙁
Should you be following in our footsteps maybe it’s worth thinking about doing the trip the other way round to get more favourable winds and currents. However the traditional winds will nearly always be on your stern, again uncomfortable 🙁
And will we go back?
With all those pros of course we will. Perhaps not with Filibuster