Monday, July 31, 2006

Lisbon to Cabo de Sao Vincente

Thursday 27th 2006


We arrived at Sines at around 6pm after a stonking sail, averaging around 6.5 knots and sometimes more. As usual we came screaming into harbour. Great sail!

Colin & Maureen were already there (we met them at Bayona) amazing really but Maureen comes from Ramsgate (she has the accent & reminds me of Maggie) and has just sold a house in Sandwich.

Whilst looking for a spot to anchor I noticed a large stage and said to Pete “here we go again” it transpires that Sines was hosting a World Music Festival, not really my cup of tea but Pete likes some of it.

Sines has a long sandy beach which looks like it’s been imported and the water at the shore is a slimy green colour, I’ve only seen water that colour before in a stagnant pond.

Off we went with our small rucksack carrying essentials for our expedition into Sines, 20 minutes later we were finished and sitting in the town square having a drink, not alcoholic by the way.

In my opinion Sines is as dull as dishwater, there’s nothing horrible about it but nothing exciting apart from Vasco da Gama came from there. Sensible guy got the hell out of Sines and went off to find India.

Vasco ded Gama hiding in a palm tree

I’m probably being a little hard but it just didn’t ring my bell & others must agree as it isn’t mentioned in the guide book.

We were ready, glass of wine & sitting on deck waiting for the music to kick off and it did, at 10 o’clock. It comprised of some French bloke doing dodgy renditions of once were great songs, I’ve never heard the great rock track “tastes like teen spirit” dissected & massacred to such a level. At 11:30pm we could take no more and retired to bed and slept through it.

1st time we have encountered mosquitoes since Leixoes & we have been munched!!!! Pete’s reacting badly to them his weep mine just swell up and itch.

Left this morning at 07:30am bound for Sagres & Baleeira which is around 60 miles.


There really is no more to say about Sines. It has nothing wrong with it, but also has not a lot going for it. If we had not already been to some really nice places, we would probably quite like it??!

We set sail for Cabo de Sao Vincente at 07:45. This South-Westernmost tip of Portugal has an anchorage just around the headland that we hope is protected from the North-Westerly wind and swell. We set off with a reasonable amount of wind but it has now died to a light breeze. The swell and waves from the winds of yesterday are rolling us backwards and forwards and slamming the sails and rigging as we corkscrew and stir the sea with the rudder. A boat parallel to us about a mile away is suffering the same fate. I cannot work-out how else to set the boat-up to prevent the tiresome and wearing (wearing on the rigging and wearing on our nerves) flogging of the sails.

With luck, we will get some good afternoon breezes to steady everything and speed us on our way.

Thursday 27th 2006 (afternoon)


Well, the afternoon breezes did arrive and we decided to put up the cruising chute. This worked wonders as we strapped the mainsail in fairly tight and set off at 7.5 knots. With the chute out and the mainsail reasonably sheeted-in, we stopped rolling and shot along at a very respectable speed. The wind picked-up a little more so we kept a good watch on what was going-on.

Romping along with the cruising chute

Three years ago, I jerry-rigged the attachment point where the chute attaches to the front of the boat. This consisted of nylon cord wrapped about 8 times round a hole in the bow-roller and then strapped to make secure. This has been chafing for a good while now, so I kept my eye on it. Of course, it was when Fliss had just served soup that we had that extra gust that “pinged” two of the lines apart. Of course, we didn’t want the tack of the chute flying away and then having trouble retrieving the sail, so I jumped-up to pull the snuffer sock over the sail and douse it.

It was about time to take the sail-in anyway. As I pulled on the snuffer line, it was lifting me off the deck as the wind tried to open the sail out again. However, we soon had it all under control but I returned to Fliss complaining about my choice of soup positioning………It covered the inside of the cockpit with beef & Tomato and soggy bread!

We got the headsail out and made excellent progress until the quartering seas screwed us around causing it to flap occasionally and then fill with a sudden slam that put too much strain on the fore/backstays. We took it down and were still getting up-to 7 knots under mainsail alone.

The seas around Cabo de Sao Vincente were quite confused, probably due to the echo of the waves back from the cliffs. As we approached, I donned gloves to stop the burning of fast-running sheets as we gybed the mainsail and let it run-out on the opposite side. Then, as we passed the off-lying tower of rock just-off the main headland, we did the usual………Head downwind, yank-in the boom, bear away until the wind catches the other side of the sail and let go the sheets……….BANG! We blew the mainsail again…………..the seam just below the last one that went off Portland unzipped itself completely….Bugger!

Cabo ded Sao Vincente

We only had a mile to got so we sailed with the parted mainsail until we got into the shadow of the cape and calmer waters to deal with it. Bugger, Bugger!

We are now anchored in a nice cliff-lined bay just past the cape (37 degrees 1.5 Minutes North 8 degrees 60 minutes West), the sun is shining and the gusts that were frittering over the cliffs and shaking the water have now calmed. Very nice.

Tomorrow, we will be changing sails and we are very glad to have a spare set.


Superb sailing conditions today very fast! We think we saw a French boat called Bi-Colour in the distance (we met them in Avieiro) and within no time at all we stormed past them, no need for sail tweaking Nadezhda was having the time of her life!! They went passed our anchorage an hour ago bound for Lagos, we think.

Every time we gybe Pete & I have this horrible feeling so today came as no surprise, repair job in Gibraltar and we’ll ask them to strengthen the other seems at they appear to be the weak spots.

Lovely calm evening now just us & another British boat anchored.

The other Brit

Tonight Spaghetti Bolognese, pasta, red wine (5 euros for 5 litres) and a lovely setting.

Saturday 29th July 2006


Yesterday we took off the old mainsail and replaced it. It was quite gusty and this made the task quite difficult and long-winded. This completed, we jumped into the dinghy and rowed ashore but could find no way of getting up the steep cliffs that did not mean leaving the dinghy to beat against barnacles so we returned to the boat.

Not being able to get ashore, we decided to unfurl the headsail and we rocketed down the coast about 2 miles to a lovely beach that was surrounded by cliffs and caves and was quite sheltered. We went ashore and walked up to the cliff tops but the plateau at the top was flat, sparse scrubland that did not inspire any further investigations so we returned to the boat and took advantage of the calmer conditions to change the headsail as well.

This beach also has its contingent of nudists. This consisted of three pricks standing with hands-on-hips as proud as can be.

This morning, we awoke and decided to move-on to the next bay. The sea was white-capped beyond the bay even though it was calm where we were anchored. We decided to put two reefs in the mainsail (a useful exercise with a new sail) and set-off. Soon, with mainsail only, we were doing 7.5 knots downwind and decided not to get the headsail out nor do any gybing practice. We found our next anchorage after the end of the cliffs. This means that there is no protection from the 25 knots of wind that is blasting off the beach (the hand-held anemometer flicks between 20 & 30 knots). We are hoping that it will abate so that we can launch the dinghy and go ashore but I think it unlikely and we certainly do not want an unscheduled visit to North Africa!

Peaked caps are securely strapped below-decks and we have taken-in the flexible solar panel after it made a bid for freedom. Luckily it was tied to the grab-rails. The wind-gen is pumping-out max power and is surprisingly quiet (ie: cannot be heard above the rest of the wailing). I keep thinking the kettle is boiling!


The 1st anchorage was absolutely stunning, very clear water that this morning you could see the reflection of the dinghy and Nadezhda on the sand, we could also trace the anchor chain and see the anchor. The sky last night was fantastic and Pete answering the call of nature in the middle of the night reported seeing a shooting star.

Just East ofCabo de Sao Vincente

....and again

Boy did it blow in the early hours and we both woke up with a start, thank god for the Bruce anchor as it certainly digs in and we have complete confidence in it.

I did have a tragedy yesterday as the dinghy got swamped and my phone was in the bag, unfortunately phones and salt water don’t mix that well. The tragedy was that I lost all my video clips and pictures that I’ve collected over the years, my own fault but from now on any electrical stuff gets out in sealble plastic bags.

It is very windy here! Force 6-7 I think but very warm. The plan is to run to Lagos on Sunday or Monday.

I do hope this is just a weather pattern going through and not the Portuguese trades as it will be a baptism of fire for young Robyn as we will have to sail down to Gibraltar but luckily there only short sails and worse comes to the worse we’ll stay close to Faro.

What I like is that navigation of these seas is really easy! No sticky out rocks to miss and the water around headlands is deep and the winds are consistently north’ish in direction. Quick question though, you know they say when you cross the Atlantic you head south until the butter melts, what do you do if you only have margarine onboard?.

Coming into this bay the depth suddenly goes from 7 meters to zip so we came gingerly in.

Isla Berlenga to Lisbon

Tuesday 18th July, Wednesday 19th July 2006


Hello, just got back from walking around the island and snorkelling off a beach just opposite Nadezhda. The fish were lovely, small ones, big ones and yellow fish which came right up to our masks, I watched one fish launch itself out the water.

It is a truly beautiful island with loads of caves, rocky coastline & deep blue water, you know the colour that the sea should be!

Nadezhda seen from Berlenga fort

Yesterday, what a brilliant day, you know we had a lunch date with the fake galleon, well it turned out that it wasn’t a day trip boat but part of an association and it had travelled all over, Atlantic & Brazil you name it, it had been there.

The lovely skipper who had a really kind face (a real crusty old sea-dog) offered to pick us up to take us the little castle, we declined as we had our own “rubba-dub”.
So at 12:45pm we headed off and got 50 yards off the boat and realised that we were short on petrol. We turned around filled up then headed off again. Mr lovely skipper spotted us and thought we had an engine problem promptly came over & offered us a tow.

When arrived at the jetty he told two young members of his crew to lift our boat out and told us to make our way to the lunch meet.

It was fantastic! We were made so welcome, in fact doted on!. We sat at the main table with Pedro, Pedro, Pedro & Teresa and many others. We had barbequed sardines & another fish that they couldn’t tell us what it was, it’s translation was “Stick Face”. Teresa showed us how to eat the sardines the Portuguese way (you put the fish on the bread and peel the skin from the tail, then when the fish is finished you eat the bread). The fish was delicious, amazing as we both avoid fish. There was salad, fruit for desert & copious amounts of red wine.

They were brilliant & understood our sense of humour.

They set sail (motored) at 3:30pm and as they raised their anchor we motored over to say thank you for a wonderful afternoon, the lovely skipper gave us a wooden plaque with the boats coat of arms. So a big thank you to the crew of Vera Cruz which means the “True Cross”.

The Portuguese have been so hospitable and sorry Ash but I’m glad that they beat us at football!!!

Last night we sat on deck with thunder & lightning all around us, it got so close that we put the satellite phone & laptop in the oven, we also disconnected the VHF just in case we were hit. It was amazing display.


Again, Fliss has got to the computer before me so I will simply elaborate on bits that caught my attention.

Vera Cruz looks like a Disney-boat. The sort that could be a poor mock-up in an amusement park. This is why we thought that it simply motored tourists out from nearby Peniche on the mainland. Not so! They sail whenever they can and the boat is owned by an association and everyone gets a turn during the busy sailing season. Apparently, Brazil was originally named “Vera Cruz” when the first Portuguese settled there and so the boat, that is a replica of the ones used during that period of discovery, had to be sailed there. After that, they went to New York and back via the Azores (also Portuguese). Pretty amazing.

Vera Cruz will probably be in Lisbon when we get there since there is a tall-ships gathering (they set sail for Antwerp at the weekend) but Vera Cruz will not be sailing with them. We hope to get an invite for a look around.

Yesterday evening, we went for a scoot around in the dinghy. The island has an almost unbroken rock shore of pink granite that is fissured and broken creating high-sided mini-islands and caverns. Just around the corner is a cave that goes right through the cliffs and into a massive amphitheatre bay with vertical cliffs all around. We found another smaller cave that, again, took us to another bay but the swell was coming from that direction and we scuttled back again, the rocks of the cave just missing the side of the dinghy as the swell pushed us forwards and sucked us back again.

Steep cliffs and caverns

Berlenga pink granite fort

From a different perspective

We motored around the little island on top of which is the pink granite fort. This is joined to the mainland by high-arched granite bridges that are slender and graceful. These are a magnificent feat of engineering as they span a considerable distance and cannot be any more than 2 or 3 feet thick at the apex. They did not even look safe to walk on yet they have been standing for 400 years!

One of the Bridges joining Fort to land

We went for a walk over the island today which only took an hour and a half. It is a nature reserve and you must keep to the designated paths that circuit the top. Not that you would want to deviate from the paths since the whole island is covered with seagulls that want to protect their young. We were dive-bombed on several occasions. The problem was that when the seagulls were busy trying to get rid of us, other seagulls were making-off with their young, I watched as one gull swooped-down and headed-off with another’s chick in its beak. One less seagull to crap on the dinghy!

Thursday 19th July 2006


We awoke early (7:00) and hauled-up the anchor and optimistically hoisted the mainsail. No wind again, so we motored for a few hours. After a while, a light breeze appeared from starboard and we got the cruising chute going for about two hours until finally the light airs faded and we were back to motoring.

As we rounded Cabo de Roca, a stiff breeze kicked-in suddenly and we rocketed-off with the wind right behind us. Turning round the next cape, we unrolled the jib and stormed into Cascais at 8.5 knots. Great end to an otherwise uneventful sail.

We anchored in the bay inside the breakwater that protects the marina amongst a number of other British boats. We had bought a hammock in Aveiro and since forgotten about it. I saw it lying on the side and rigged it to each end of the spinnaker pole and then extended the pole out over the side. It is really comfortable and you can get in and then swing yourself out over the water and gently rock with the motion of the boat.

Friday 20th July 2006

We went into Cascais today and spent a few hours wandering. The town is a very upmarket seaside resort with palatial buildings and quaint side-streets. We took a walk around the fort, looked at the marina (Eu38 per night!) and wandered through some very nice local gardens with peacocks, geese, ducks and other foul. At the entrance to the gardens was a grandiose stone-built building that had the word “Museo” (Museum?) on a sign pointing at it. Well, it wasn’t a museum but you could go into a peaceful courtyard in the centre of which was a fountain. We peered in through the windows at the chandeliers and opulence inside.

Grandiose Cascais

The back-streets are full of the aromas of barbequed fish and meat and waiters tout alongside the umbrella-topped tables that line the streets and squares. Since we have saved an unbelievable fee by not going into marinas, tonight we are going to treat ourselves to a meal ashore – the first dinner out since starting the trip.

Elegant Cascais

It’s windier today and we could have had a good sail – Sods luck eh?

Other than that, I have donned mask and snorkel and scrubbed the fine green weed from the propeller. In addition, Fliss remembered that our steaming light did not work last time we used it so I shimmied-up the mast and replaced the bulb.


Well, not much more to add really.

Lovely place, wonderful weather & a hammock swinging gently in the breeze, this not working lark is really hard work!!

Pete forgot to mention that he caught his 1st fish at Berlenga, it was a really good size as well. We marinated it in lemon, garlic & chilli’s and put it in the fridge overnight. In the morning Pete put in the oven and cooked it for a good 20mins or so…. It was presented to me & I’m sorry but it ended up overboard as it wasn’t cooked long enough, it was also quite bland.

Looking forward to dinner out tonight as we’ve been really good and cooked everyday.

Thought I saw John Owen this morning and waved frantically at the man on board as he passed us by, Pete stuck his head out and said “that’s not a Vancouver 28” poor bloke is probably still puzzling who the short brunette on the double ender is. (by the way I didn’t know what boat John Owen had).

Anyway hammock, cup of tea and a good book awaits. Bye for now.

Tuesday 25th July 2006


We left Cascais around 09:30am bound for Lisbon. Fantastic fast sail and a bit of a shame really as it’s only a short hop (around 13 miles). We left early as the tide can run up to 5 knots in the river at Lisbon and we didn’t want to fight it.

In our usual haphazard and lucky style we arrived in Lisbon in time to see all of the tall ships leave Lisbon for Antwerp. The fanfare of all the little ships seeing them off made a busy Saturday in the Solent look like a quiet day in the Lake District. Each time a British tall ship went passed we pegged the king size duvet cover Union Jack to the rails and received a cheer from the appreciative crew (the flag wouldn’t fly due to the wind being behind as, also the wind had died). We saw our friends “True Cross” following them out but they were back on their mooring last night.

Tall Ships

and Lisbon bridge

As we approached the marina a speed boat appeared and a nicely spoken Englishman said “you’re a long way from home Nadezhda, river Hamble yes?” he was an official from the tall ships race . He asked of our plans and said “you can’t go wrong with Alan Pape design” he said cheerio and then sped off. We never did find out how he knew she was on the Hamble and could only assume he’d seen her there.

Lisbon at 1st was a culture shock after the beautiful Cascais but I can only think of it as a new pair of slippers, strange at 1st but you end up loving them.

A quote from the guide book:

“As romantic as Paris, as fun as Madrid, as laid back as Rome but small enough to fit into a handbag – Lisbon is faded, beautiful and difficult to leave.
It’s aesthetically extraordinary, dipping a rising over seven hills”

I couldn’t agree more, steep steps, café culture and vibrant, very reminiscent of Venice & San Francisco.

Tram & steep streets

....and again

Lisbon does have it’s problems like any big city, drunks (not British for a change), homeless & drugs, in fact we were offered marijuana on a regular basis and if we weren’t offered it we wanted to say to the dealer “hey, what’s wrong with us eh, think were to old to smoke it”. I watched one homeless man walk up to a lady in a café and take her food off her plate, she wasn’t amused!.

The marina was basic but not too expensive unlike Cascais which was 38 euros a night, thank god we anchored at Cascais! And was around 2 miles from the centre of Lisbon and possibly on the male gay joggers pick up route, you could tell they were gay by the pink shorts, leather peaked caps and they jogged in a certain way.

In a day and a half we must have walked about 20 miles, we did the usual tourist sights, castle, cathedral and walked up thousands of steps in the baking heat.

We both loved Lisbon and really would have liked a little longer there but we have to start making serious moves for Faro. It’s not far to Faro but it’s better to be safe than sorry.


The sail from Cascais to Lisbon was great. We were leading the pack who were headed in our direction and Nadezhda fought-off the lighter and (theoretically) faster boats all the way. As we got into the river, the police waved us across the other side to make way for the Tall Ships that were just approaching the upstream side of the bridge. It seemed as though the masts would not fit under and I am sure that, in some cases, there was little room to spare. We downed-sail and drifted amongst the other boats that were there to send them off.

Lisbon is lovely. Steep hills, narrow streets, and trams. Some parts are simply higgledy-piggledy mazes of steep narrow pathways and steps with no room for cars. The wizened old ladies with walking sticks having to carry the shopping at a snails-pace.

Large portions of the city are paved with white granite and black basalt cubes about 4 inches square that were laid by convicts. These are quite slippery and treacherous on the steep hills (more difficulty for the old women!). In the squares, they are laid in zig-zag and undulating patterns that make you feel giddy.

Lisbon main square

Lisbon street-life

Steep, narrow streets

Yesterday, a man called Carlos came along as we were preparing to go into town. He offered taxi services, boat services and gas re-fills. We gave him both our gas canisters and they were waiting for us in the marina reception when we returned in the evening. So, we are fully gassed-up again.

Today, we are headed for Sines. The wind is a fairly decent Force 3 on the beam We were headed for Cabo Espichel but they were doing live firing exercises and we had to detour 3.5 miles off. When we were about 4 miles off, a warship came and asked us whether we knew live was taking place (using a megaphone) so we went a little further out before heading South again.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Viana de Castelo to Berlenga

Saturday 15th July 2006


We arrived Leixoes at approx 9pm last night after 50/50 of sailing and motoring. To say that its an attractive port would be absolute lie and no matter how much the local mayor offered the “Rough Guide” to mention it, they didn’t.

Imagine Fawley fallout meets Dungeness then that’s the backdrop, you could taste the fallout and as we got closer my skin itched and the air got warmer.

Lovely Leixos

With this in mind we decided to give Porto a miss (plus save marina fees) and anchor off the beach for a quick exit to Aveiro in the morning.

More joys to behold. Leixoes has a long sweeping beach (people were swimming! Are they mad? they must be given the amount of fallout dumped on them each day). To the left of the beach was a live concert playing at full volume (thankfully it wasn’t traditional Portuguese music, slightly rock I would say) in the middle of the beach a theme park with a commentator who loved the sound of his own voice and wanted everyone else to enjoy it. At the far right hand side an open-air disco or rave again played to maximum volume. The crowning glory was the thunder & lighting just behind them. The whole package reminded me of Dante’s Inferno and it made me think that this was what hell must be like. I’m turning vegan & embracing Christianity, I’m not taking any chances!!!

Leixoes translated means “Port of the Damned”.

People say that the North Portuguese coasts pales in comparison to the Spanish Rias (good call on the Spanish keeping the North-West coast) I hope not but Leixoes is a bad example.

Something we find amazing is that Portuguese don’t take the VHF seriously (Spanish too but to a lesser extent). Yesterday a chap called up another boat and asked if he wanted a banana as he was a monkey (channel 16 – emergency channel) the other skipper impressed us with his understanding of the English language & promptly told him to be quiet and he also questioned the other guys parentage. This happy little banter went on for a good 30 mins, maybe more. Same subject, same response.

No wind today. We did put the xxxxxxx chute up. You may wonder why the x’s well we don’t refer to it by it’s full name as we believe that when we do we jinx the wind and the wind dies, just like you say the Scottish play not Macbeth…Damn I’ve done it now we’ll be motoring all the way!

Calm seas, boiling hot & only 15 miles to Aveiro.


Well, I can’t add too much more. Fliss’ description of Liexoes is very good. You can see the red and white striped chimneys of the oil processing plant from miles away. They belch smoke and flames that drifts horizontally until it falls over the town to the South. The smell of petrochemicals is diabolical and the Marina is known to be oily, dirty and smelly. We parked in the lee of the outer breakwater just off the sandy beach with the view of going into the marina for a day and visiting Porto. However, we are not on a forced-march through the old historic towns of Portugal and the weather has been so hot that marching dry, sun-baked streets did not appeal. So we are on our way to Aveiro (40 degrees, 38.5 West, 8 degrees 39.6 degrees West).which is up a series of canals inland.

Absolutely no wind, the boat sat for 20 minutes with the super-light cruising chute hanging like a curtain. So, again we motor!

Lifeless xxxxxxxx Chute

Sunday 16th July 2006



We arrived at about 6pm, swelteringly hot and played dodgems with all the power boats racing at top speed through the canals.

There was another British boat anchored at the entrance of which we recognised, they’re not very friendly and we have renamed them MW. I won’t elaborate.

Let me quote a passage from the Portuguese cruising book:

“Aveiro is a remarkable and pretty provisional town. It is often called the little Venice of Portugal, as it is surrounded and criss-crossed by many small canals. Aveiro sits at one end of a bizarre lagoon with slat pans shimmering white under the piles of salt on the narrow causeway between”.

Steady on old chap! I think someone got slightly carried away or had his palm crossed with silver.

Lets rewind a bit to the beginning. We motored up the under whelming canal right to the top and ended up a Yacht club pontoon. We were made very welcome and a nice man said that we could moor alongside another boat. The chap was almost embarrassed about the mooring and qualified it by saying that it was a friendly and sympathetic club. This is true.

It is mosquito hell, so you wash off the factor 40 and then stick on your 50% deet. This is the bit that I dislike most about cruising in baking hot countries. Your skin never gets a chance to breathe.

The yacht club is situated in a derelict and totally run down part of Aveiro, remember Mad Max the movie well I’m sure that they must have filmed it here. There are loads of stray cats and dogs and going on what the dogs were up to last night there are bound to be more soon.

Aveiro Yacht Club - Very Freindly

The people of the yacht club were lovely and said that we could use their showers, water & electricity and we’ve tried to pay on a number of occasions with no luck and no-one has asked us for money.

The town is nice but it’s just another Portuguese shopping experience.

So at 9pm tonight were off to Berlenga (an island off Peniche) to swim and be au-natural again. Its around 90 miles.

I haven’t disliked here but I can think of nicer places to moor.


Again, Fliss has beat me to the juicy bits. The entrance to the canals was a bit like the “River-Hamble Scramble” (VERY busy narrow entrance) except that no-one bothered with keeping to port or starboard in the channel. It was a free for all. This was not helped by 4/5 knots of tide up our chuff and we surged up the maze of channels running the engine at tick-over just to keep steerage. The nautical almanac said that the only place to stop was through a lock and to moor between piles but the cruising guide indicated that there was a club pontoon immediately before the lock. And so there was, a hard-left hand corner where the surging tide eddied unpredictably so we about-turned to head into the flow and were told to raft alongside another yacht by the helpful staff/members.

Having parked, I looked back downstream and noticed pylons over the river (not noticed on the way-in due to concentration on tidal eddies, navigation etc). There was noting in the guide about them so I assumed that they were suitably high enough no to make any deal about them. However, one very tall mast looked as though it would have trouble getting underneath. As we sat sampling the local Port on deck in the evening, a British couple returned on bicycles and stopped for a chat. They owned the tall-masted yacht and had indeed hit the wires. They said it was like a lightening strike and it had fried all their sensitive electrics and navigation gear! Since there is no possibility of any repairs here, they are off to Lisboa (Lisbon) to see what can be done.

We will be leaving at pretty-much high tide tonight and will approach the cables with extreme caution. I still need to find someone who knows how high the cables are so that we have a bit more confidence in running this particular gauntlet.

Ah, Oui! Je pense que le bateau a la entrée de le canale containiere les Vanquier Miserables!

Monday 17th July 2006

Well we made it to Berlegena and so far it has been quite eventful.

We left Aveiro and motored down the waterways, the channel was very well marked so Pete piloted us out & I helmed until we got closer to the entrance (or exit which ever way you look at it) and there were port & starboard lights everywhere they were marking entrances to different canals. Thank god for the almanac. The almanac says you should line up the 2 red lights on leaving or entering the harbour walls, Well it got to a point were I was going to get the boat hook out to fend off that I said to Pete “I’m turning no matter what” we were that close!

No wind again so we had to motor (has anyone ever motored around the world?) I couldn’t sleep so I said to Pete that there was no point us both being up so he might as well go to bed, we hadn’t sighted another boat for hours. You guessed! it within an hour I was surrounded by them. I kept calm and waited until I tracked one boat in the distance who I really couldn’t work out what he was doing so reluctantly I had to wake the skipper up. Pete said don’t worry he’s heading for Finger of Fudge (Figueira Da Foz) but I then spotted his starboard light, he was heading straight for us, travelling really fast and with no intention of changing his course (we had right of way). We had to make a drastic course change and go behind him. Pete put the radar on and we tracked at least 7 other boats within 3 nautical miles of us. I was glad that I hadn’t woken him up pointlessly.

I went back to bed an hour later (still couldn’t sleep) and he didn’t see another boat.

We had company just off Berlenga a school of dolphins playing with the bow wave, I just love watching them playing as they are so graceful!

It looks lovely here and we’re anchored in 19 meters of water and not too far from the shore, well go exploring later.

We haven’t mentioned this but our GPS anchor watch system appears to be very frightened of waking us up, it timidly bleeps, almost apologetically. On return we are going to market an anchor watch system that shouts “WAKE UP YOU LOSERS WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!” at a hundred decibels.

Interesting situation with a fake galleon this morning which I’ll leave Pete to explain to you but the skipper has just come over & invited us to join him, his crew and guests for a drink at 1pm,,,,, what shall I wear???????.


39 Degress, 24.6 minutes North, 9 degrees, 30.4 minutes West

As Fliss said, we left Aveiro at 21:00hrs and, of course, it was soon dark. The navigation was a bit tricky since, with channels all around, we had to leave starboard lights on starboard (which is usually a complete no-no) and head between pairs of port markers. All in the dark unable to recognise the channel we had come-up the day before. Anyway, no issues except that the leading lights in/out of the final channel moles lead us very close to the northern one (hence the boathook to fend off!).

We started sailing at a respectable 5 knots but that soon dropped to 2 knots and, as usual, we motored almost all the way. The mainsail went up, flogged like mad in the small swell and came down again, up……., down……, up – you get the picture!

Over the night, I heard a clear, crisp British voice from HMS Liverpool asking for details from various boats that were coming and going around the separation zone to the West of us. They often got no response. However, after one exceedingly British and polite request for information, the (delayed) response was “Why doesn’t her Royal Highness have an ice cream and leave us alone?”. No further communication was made!

Also on the VHF we can still hear Mr Monkey and his banana. He broadcasts day or night and must have a serious range because we have heard him for well over 100 miles now. His tuneless whistle is the most irritating.

Fliss: I’m sorry but it makes me laugh every time!

We have no charts of Berlenga Island but the C-Map chartplotter has sufficient close-up detail. The guidance in the Almanac says that this is a poorly charted area and navigation must be made with care so we downed sail (not that it was doing anything) and motored-in staying well-off until the final point. The depth is 20 metres and appears to be all rocky bottom so we rigged a line to the crown of the anchor and used an anchor bouy just in case we get the anchor fouled. This is the first time we have done this, and it seemed to work ok. Out went 60 metres of chain and we dragged it over the rocks until it came-up taut and firm.

Arrival - Berlenga

18th July 2006

I got up, made coffee and got fresh sliced pineapple for breakfast and then got back into bed to have the coffee and read. A mock-galleon that was moored well offshore of us had swung and was fairly close but I kept my eye on it as the kettle boiled – no problemo. However, as we lay finishing-off the coffee, a whistle was heard and we jumped out of bed to find the Galleon only a few feet away. He had swung round with the wind and we should have done so as well thereby keeping the distance between us. However, we had not swung round our anchor since it was behind us (glad we had marked where it was with our anchor buoy). We therefore deduced that the chain had got snagged somewhere so I put Nadezhda in reverse to pull us back. No luck, we were firmly attached to something so we had to raise a whole length of chain coming perilously close to Mr Galleon as we did so. It then broke free and we reversed back beyond where our anchor lay before laying it back out again. It seems that holding is good on rock since the chain is enough in itself to snag on things!

Anyway, lunch ashore with Mr Galleon & Crew.

Islas Cies to Portugal

Monday 10th July 06


Lazy sail yesterday from Isla de Norte (only 6 miles) to Bayona.

I really enjoyed the trip as I navigated the passage whilst Pete sun bathed, strange really but he seems to be doing this a lot at the moment. It’s really easy navigating with the GPS but we noticed yesterday that it put us on the wrong side of a westerly cardinal. When we leave here I’m going to do it taking bearings and using the chart only. Looking at the chart it seems an easy journey as when you get out of Bayona you turn left missing the rocks. I’ve got a lot to learn but it’s great when you don’t have to consider tides.

Bayona, um! Strange place! Quite pretty but definitely a tourist resort. Lovely old town, nice beaches and shops that sell lots of pointless stuff (like good old English seas side resorts).

When I get to a big city, Lisbon I think, I’m going to sort out my wardrobe as all my clothes are to thick. Pete did warn me.

We walked a long way yesterday outside of a gorgeous old castle and then we walked inside the gorgeous old castle (now a hotel but you can pay 1 Euro to walk around the grounds). We walked up the seafront and then down, up & then down, get the picture! A total of 10km’s we think.

Last night we watched Italy win the world cup with the locals, very nice!

Another blistering hot day today and we have to sort out gas and connectors and get some provisions in as yesterday all the real shops where closed.

The marina is very basic but the very nice man told us on registration that our boat was 10 meters, we argued it until he showed me the tariff, 10m 19 Euros 12m 33Euros, he said that as it was our 1st time he would only charge us the 10m fee.

We visited the local very posh yacht club and where told to “bugger off” actually he said it was “members only”.

Anyway all in all lovely it’s been lovely in Gallicia and I’m sorry to leave the Ria’s but really looking forward to Portugal.


Yesterday’s sail was a gentle lollop, we played a bit with Nadezhda around the Islands, picking up accelerated air between the islands and then set off for Bayona. Being in a marina is not as nice or easy to moor as being at anchor since we have to mess with all the mooring lines. However, the pilot book suggested that the local marinas do not like people anchoring and often go out and move them on. The local yacht club told us we were not welcome and, having resorted to a cold beer on the beach, we could not get the girl to serve us! Welcome to Bayona.

The marina has no real facilities and so the clothes washing will not get done and I think we will simply re-provision and move-on. I had thought about getting some more fuel but the small moored boats clustered around the fuel berth leave no room to swing a cat… can therefore wait until another time.

My main concern now is cooking gas. We have two bottles and we are well into our second. The local bottles come in two forms, both of which have different connectors to the English ones. One of the local varieties is too big to fit into our gas locker and the other (camping gas) variety are a bit small. The guy at the local petrol station (Repsol) did not have connectors for either but told us “Manyana” so we will go back today and see if he has acquired one. Communication with the locals is difficult, the guide book says that the Spanish are as anal about their language as the French and the Brits …. We should have learned at least the basics of Spanish but both of us are poor language learners and we cannot learn every language of the places we will visit.

(F: Pete is actually doing quite well as he can order a beer & wine, ask for bread, eggs & he knows how to say that he doesn’t understand.)

Eggs is easy, simply say “werewolves” in a Chinese accent!

Anyway, Portugal tomorrow….another language that we do not have the any information about on-board. Apparently, they tend not to expect foreigners to learn their language and therefore the going may be easier.

Tuesday 11th July


We motored into Bayona bay where a British yacht was anchored that we had taken piccies of as we both had sailed-in. We offered to send them by e-mail but we think that maybe too many beers the night before had made him forget his e-mail and we took his address and had a chat as we juggled the boat just a few yards from his. He was spending 4 years away and was again heading South so maybe we will meet again?

He told us that the weather forecast was force 7 and possibly gales for the region and we checked the Navtex system we have on-board (which concurred). However, out pictorial Grib file showed no sign of strong winds close to shore but we still decided that whimpishness is the better form of valour and we decided to head a little North back to the Islas de Ceis and spend the day in the sun and on the beach in lovely surroundings (for free – of course). The day was a little windy but not as the sea-area forecast suggested, our second (alternative source) Grib file showed that the winds were about 50 miles offshore as a shallow low pressure system off Spain & Portugal met with a big high pressure system in the Atlantic.

View from Bayona Fort

Wednesday 12th July

The Navtex forecast again told of winds of Force 7…we avoid these if we can! However, the Grib forecast still forecast that these were to the West of us so we bit the bullet and set-off South to Portugal. Yup, We had some serious Atlantic swell coming from the area of higher winds but not a lot of wind ourselves. The jib refused to fly and the boom of the mainsail had to be tied back to stop it flinging around as Nadezhda was rolled from side-to-side. We were eventually going at less than 2 knots. Our target destination was Porto but we resigned ourselves to Viana de Castelo and stuck the engine on. We passed into Portugal at 14:40 BST and lowered the Spanish cutesy flag and raised the Portuguese one.

Of course, the wind picked-up big-time when we were 30 minutes away from Viana (just to make mooring interesting) and it went cold enough to don fleeces. However as we motored up the river to the marina, the wind became like a sauna and we stripped-off again. We were lucky to get a pontoon mooring and tied-up and almost passed-out with the heat…………welcome to Portugal. It is now 20:00 BST and 33.5 degrees Celsius! Serious Betty’s!. There is a 2-week festival going-on on the waterfront (bookselling??!?!) and we have been serenaded to typical Spanish (oops, Portuguese) guitar and vocal ballads over a amplification system, very nice!


Firstly, it is very, very hot and I have just had a cold shower, a bit of a shock but very welcome.

Pete didn’t mention the fun & games last night. At 7:30pm we decided that as all the other boats had left we would explore the island. Very nice and loads of jumping fish. The interesting part when trying to get back to the boat as suddenly there was breaking waves. I jumped into the “rubba-dub” and so did Pete and each time we did a wave hit us and took us straight back to the shore with a real soaking. Pete amused me trying to row on his back with his legs flailing! Very funny!!!!

Well we made it back after the 5th attempt and decided to move too more protected anchorage (it was blowing).

Again we have been fishing and caught zip… I spoke to a Spanish lady and she was amazed that we hadn’t caught anything, her suggestion was too say “Peche Arrivee” so far they haven’t and to be truthful it don’t want them too as I’m quite happy with tuna out of a tin, I don’t like the thought of bashing something over the head.

It was quite exciting dropping the Spanish flag & hoisting the Portuguese flag, onwards & upwards.

By the way the guy on the boat was called Colin and he was from the East End of London.

PS; Pete………..

Luckily the Portuguese serenading has stopped. Ok for ten minutes, but getting a bit doleful. Hopefully they will get the Led Zep tribute band out later!

Friday 14th July 2006


Hello all! Well here we are in Viana do Castelo and due to leave lunchtime for Porto.

It’s a really nice city lots of little side streets, fountains and very quaint.

Yesterday we recorded 46c on the barometer in the sun which did make walking really hard work but we wandered around the old city and visited a shopping centre. I bought a skirt and Pete bought shorts and a hammock (in preparation for the Caribbean).

When we checked in, the marina guy gulped when he checked the depth of Nadezhda (it’s wrong on the ships paper as it shows 2.35mtrs) we told him that she does only draw 2mtrs. Last night on the way back from the yacht club I said to Pete that when we arrived the depth was only reading 4mtrs and given it was springs and that the tide had reached it’s peak it might be worth checking the depth. Well it turns out we were sitting in 30cms of mud. (reading was 1.7mtrs).

Last night the festival started again (they celebrate anything here) I suspect that they might just have a festival to celebrate opening a new bottle of Port.

The music is something to behold a mixture of a cat being tortured and a flock of agitated seagulls. I recorded it on my phone just so that on our return we can share it with you, bad luck Robyn you’ll be the 1st! It finally finished at midnight.

Today is cloudier, thank god as yesterday was unbearable they must be having a heat wave as the locals are finding it hard.

I really like it here as it has a lot of character but it’s again time to move on.

It’s only 30miles to Porto, which is meant to be nice, but the marina at Leixoes is meant to be minging with dead cats & dogs floating around.


41 degrees, 41 minutes, decimal 65 North, 8 degrees, 49 minutes, decimal 32 West

(by C-Map calculations, this puts us on dry land – the Marina must be new).

It has been much too hot to do anything apart from slink along on the shadowed side of the street. At 18:00 hrs yesterday, the temperature reading was 38.5 degrees in the shade. Our only respite was to spend one or two hours in the shopping mall which was air-conditioned. This was followed by a walk back to Nadezhda with our food and wine provisions in two rucksacks – Phew!

Later, we will pay our harbour dues and ask if the Marina is a similar depth all-over so we can be assured of getting-out without blocking the main fairway by going aground. I don’t really want to go aground because it will scrape-off the antifouling on the bottom. So, we reckon that we will have 2.2 metres depth by 14:25 BST and hope to leave then.

Muros to Islas Ceis

Wednesday 5th July (Evening - Muros)

Again, the majority of boats here are British. We even outnumber the Spanish.

We ventured into town with the wind whipping around the dinghy. The town of Muros is lovely with cobbled streets and old stone house clustered around the harbour. We spent time wandering around the back-streets and up and down the narrow stairways that rise above the seafront before stopping in the local bar to watch 20 minutes of France versus Portugal. Don’t know who won but France were 1-up when we left to ensure we were back on the boat before dark (we have mistaken other boats for ours in the past).

Thursday 6th July.

We awoke early with the sun beating down. There appeared to be no wind but as we motored out of the bay, a breeze stirred and we turned-off the engine. We took the inshore route between the rocks out of the Ria and therefore had the best scenery as we gently ran goose-winged (one sail out on one side and the other sail flying on the other side) in calm waters.

The wind backed as we headed down the coast and we pretty-much goose-winged all the way. Nice and warm with the wind behind us, we did not feel the cool air. Again, we took the inside route into Ria de Arousa and as we turned-up into the Ria, we realised just how hard the wind was blowing. This was exaggerated by the funnelling effect of the hills and we blasted along with a top speed of 8.5 knots (very good for Nadezhda).

Entering Ria Arousa

Note for ourselves: The wind picks-up in the afternoon and is not noticeable when running downwind.

We’ve come about 10 miles up the Ria de Arousa to a place called Puebla del Caraminel. We are anchored just outside the marina off a sandy beach. A local police/coastguard came and got fenders out as if he wanted to board us, but he simply asked how many people were on board and seemed satisfied at that. Considering that he came from nowhere, we wonder whether the marina are miffed at the loss of revenue and asked them to check us out!

Talking about anchoring…….with wind in our sails and with sheltered Rias which are good for anchoring, we have eventually achieved the low-cost budget cruising that is also planned for the future. Today, we had bread and ham for lunch and a Spanish omelette for dinner, total cost of a couple of Euros.

This evening is blissfully warm and we can afford a beer on-deck with the awning-up to keep the sun off us. Fliss has fallen asleep outside, so no word from her today!

Friday 7th July 2006


Hello, not sure what happened last night but I crashed out on the deck, something to do with the immense heat and being totally chilled out.

Normally I suffer from extreme insomnia but I’m sleeping like a baby, it’s fantastic!

Left at 07:45 for our long journey to Ria Pontevedra (16 miles) and reached a max speed of 8.11 knots.

What a stunning place this is! We are anchored at a small island called Isla Ons of a beach which is fringed by clear azure seas and perfect white sand.

Tunny net fishing at Isla Ons

I was clearing up the decks after laying the anchor when someone caught my eye, she was either wearing a skin coloured bathing suit or was in the buff. Curiosity getting the better of me I checked it out on the binoculars, Pete of course had to confirm my suspicions and low and behold we had anchored off a nudist beach. Pete and I giggled like two naughty school children.

We took a walk to the light house and down to the ferry pier and double checked that our beloved Nadezhda was ok (we haven’t left her unattended with the new anchor).

Isla Ons Lighthouse

We love it here as the scenery is stunning, food and drink is cheap, no Hamble scramble to deal with and best of all no tides!.

Tomorrow we are off to Ria Vigo which I believe is around 10 miles.

Having a great time! Wish you were here…

Isla Ons


42 degrees 23 minutes decimal 282 N, 8 degrees, 55 minutes decimal 427 W

The Rias are definitely worth the time spent in them. In fact, we could spend a good couple of months here if we had the time. The Ria de Arousa is cited as being a “cruising ground in its own right” and the off-lying islands and intricate inlets are superb. Rocky coasts and perfect beaches.

The Grib forcast for the next few days is Northerly force 4, Northerly Force 4, Northerly Force 4 which suits us fine. However, as we sit in our anchorage, it is certainly a very “good” force 4 blowing offshore. We have just watched a yacht scream past with just the jib hoisted and hope the wind direction does not change overnight since the anchorage is not exactly sheltered from the NE or East.

Yes, a little shocked as the lone female wandered as bold as brass in the nuddy. She was soon followed by what you might mistake for a German who had a large arse and strutted backwards and forwards along the shore. We went for a long stroll across the island that is quite high in the middle with the lighthouse perched right on top. When we returned to the beach, they were all at it!……minkies and winkies everywhere!

I braved a swim off the boat earlier and this lasted a good ten seconds as the water is f,f,f,f,freezing. We have also had the fishing line out but, even though we know there are fish down there (you can see them at the ferry quay), no bites so far.

The ferries are now ploughing-in to take the naturists back to the mainland since there is no real accommodation on the island, so we will be left in peace with the beach and the island to ourselves. Hopefully the wind will ease for a pleasant and warm evening.

Saturday 8th July 06


Hello, lovely evening last night at anchor as it was just Pete and I.

We left Isla Ons at around 11am this morning (too early for the entertainment) bound for Islas de Norte. Very little wind so we ghosted under head-sail alone.

The sun shone and we did around 3 knots and just relaxed as we didn’t have far to go.

I must say that the Ria’s just keep getting better as Islas de Norte is absolutely stunning again clear azure water, lagoons, white sandy beaches. The sand is so fine and deep that it’s hard work walking, your feet sink into it.

Arrival at Islas Cies (Ila del Norte)

Pete asked me a tricky question yesterday and I had to answer it honestly, Solent or the Rias for cruising, I had to think for a few minutes (not really) and it has to be the Rias. What a wonderful place to keep a boat as this part of the world has so many beautiful islands and all within a few hours.

A bit concerned how the Portuguese coastline will fare as northern Spain has been spectacular and the weather keeps getting hotter and wind favourable.

We’ve ended up anchored off a beach called Faro a real Spanish tourist destination, the beach is packed & there’s loads of boats anchored.

This place wouldn’t be out of place is you stuck it into a brochure for the Caribbean.

Amazingly enough we haven’t seen a British boat for days but one has just turned up.

Were planning on staying another night and just moving anchorages as Isla de Norte is so beautiful and we have plenty of time before we have to be in Lagos to meet Robyn.


42 Degrees 13 minutes decimal 4 North, 8 Degrees 53 minutes decimal 9 West

Not really much more to add. The Islands are steep and hilly with granite outcrops and tree-lined sides. The rocks give-way to sweeping sandy beaches and crystal waters. Imagine the Isles of Scilly but with a bit taller. An amazing place to keep a boat, the local sailors are really lucky.

Anchorage - Islas Ceis

La Coruna to Muros

Sunday 2nd July

43 23 5 N 08 28 5 W

From Fliss……….

Hello all we’ve just left La Coruna bound for Corme very little wind and travelling at around 3.2 knots. With motoring virtually all the way from the Hamble we’ve decided to try to sail as much as possible.

La Coruna I thought was a lovely city even though it does look from sea like an industrial port. The city is really cosmopolitan and has a real energy to it. Lovely little squares, churches & narrow little street’s bustling with café’s. It’s really clean & the locals have made a real effort with the promenades.

We did the coastal walk yesterday (around 3km). The beach is a lovely horseshoe bay and is ideal if you want to go surfing.

Torre de Hurcules Lighthouse - La Coruna

It’s really cheap to provision but the bars are on par with UK prices and much smaller measures.

Fantastic shops! It was really refreshing not to see British Home Stores, Woolworth’s & all of the usual fodder to get at home.

The Spanish love to dress up and you can spot the foreigners a mile off as “We” have the standard dress code, shorts & t-shirts.

I love the café culture and it’s great to just people watch sadly I didn’t do any retail therapy as Pete gets fed up trawling around shops.

Last night we decided to promenade so I made a concerted effort to dress up so I donned my best dress and sandals and off we went. We wondered around the back streets and then ended up a little bar. Pete had a beer and I ordered a glass of white wine, when it arrived it was tiny. They nice Spanish lady gave us some Tapas which consisted of mussels in a tomato’ish sauce and rollmop herrings thinking it was complimentary we felt obliged to eat them. Pete took one look at my face and did the gentlemanly thing and finished them off. We did have to pay for them by the way.

So good-bye La Coruna and “Hola” Corme.

From Pete………

Well, I think Fliss has summed it up. We went to the fuel dock to fill the tank but the man there would only give us 100 Euros-worth. I couldn’t get the gist of why he wouldn’t allow us to fill the tank so we will have to top it up when we get to Bayona.

Today is a short hop of approximately 30 miles to Rias de Corme y Lage. (meaning Estuary of Corme and Lage). We will spend one night there and then move-on.

The wind has died (less than one knot of forward progress) so the engine has now gone back on again.

Making the Portuguese flag in preparation

Sunday 2nd July (Continued) Happy birthday Liz

We arrived in Corme at approximately 16:30 BST. The little bay enclosed by a harbour wall was quite quaint and we anchored alone except for a Frenchman. After curry for dinner, we blew-up the dinghy and Fliss rowed us ashore. The village is reminiscent of a Siberian industrial town without the industry. Grey apartment blocks most of which appeared as empty as the streets. It did not take long to decide that there was nothing of interest so we rowed across the bay to a soft sandy beach where we rowed ashore backwards trying to gauge the gap between the waves…..we did get a bit wet!

We sat on the beach with a beer (Fliss had a glass of wine) whilst we watched the swell crash on the shore and wondered how we were going to re-launch the dinghy without a real soaking. Luckily, when the time came we picked a calm moment and rowed like hell to get into the deeper water.

The surrounding rocks are granite and the sand is soft and composed of silvery slithers. I was covered in spangly stuff that would make a teenage girl proud and it is difficult to remove.

Monday 3rd July – Happy birthday Ashliegh

Fliss prepared the boat, raised anchor and motored out of Corme. We leave the engine cooling seacock open and check that we are getting a good flow of water occasionally, but not necessarily the moment we set-off. Just outside the harbour wall, I noticed a different pitch from the exhaust noise and saw steam emanating from the exhaust… water coming out. So the engine went off and we bobbed in the calm (no wind and no tide). It took twenty minutes of poking with a long kitchen knife and a fork to pull the weed out that clogged the inlet. I had the seacock fully open and the top off the strainer but no water was coming out. Eventually, after removing clogs of weed, we got a water spout bursting out of the inlet and we put everything back together and set off.

The wind picked-up, dead ahead and we tacked through the sunny but very hazy day to Ria de Camarinas (43 degrees 08 minutes North, 9 degrees 11 minutes West). Just two miles from our destination, the wind died to almost nothing and we were managing 1 knot plus a bit of tide so we chose the quiet time to use the pre-prepared solar shower and clean-up.

Camarinas is a nice little town, it has a small marina, a harbour and is surrounded by hills of rolling pine trees (and wind farms……the whole coast is littered with wind farms). Very pleasant. The Norwegians and French and Swedish are in the marina and the four Brits are on the cheap anchored behind the breakwater. Cold meats, eggs, bread and salad on the cockpit table tonight.


Corme what a strange place it is. As Pete describe it, it wouldn’t be out of place in a Colditz style movie.

The guide book said that it was fiercely insular I couldn’t agree more, I’m sure that every one is related by 1st line blood…. You know what I mean!

I felt a little uncomfortable there as the teenagers must be bored silly and I suspected that if the opportunity to misbehave presented itself they would take it.

Maybe were being unkind but I wasn’t unhappy to say adios!

Lovely day today as we managed to sail and the sun shone.

Time to say goodnight as dinner & GT awaits.

Monday 3rd July (evening)

Nadezhda at anchor - Camarinas

There is an old double-ended Colvic with a Brit flag flying. It looks like budget cruising hell. There are 3 youngsters aboard so, when they pass-by in their inflatable at half a knot (old outboard), we wave them across and proceed to ply them with beer. I was hoping to get rid of my Carlsberg collection but they drank the San Miguel and Grolsh as well! They were two blokes and a girl. The single male ‘borrowed’ the boat from his dad who was too old for sailing and the three of them have quit work and are heading for the Med for an indeterminate time. The girl had never been to sea before and they regaled their antics and the amusement of the female being flung across the cabin with the entire contents of the lockers on top of her. Great bunch and very amusing evening.

Tuesday 4th July (Flikkas Birthday).

It doesn’t need to be said that we got up late. Fliss was a little worse for ware, I scrubbed the deck, fitted a catch on the loo door, checked the exhaust silencer for molten plastic (after our blocked sea-water inlet) and did some other odds and sods.

Otherwise….a lazy day with some re-provisioning for the next leg.

Wednesday 5th July

We set off for the Ria de Muros at 07:45 (BST). We had a good broad reach to start with and were stonking along at over 7 knots. Of course, the wind died and we were left with an Atlantic swell rocking us side-to-side and threatening to shake the living daylights out of the mainsail as it slammed this way then that. So we took the sails down and motored around Cap Finisterre.

Cap Finnisterre

Slowly the wind picked-up from dead astern so we pulled the Jib out and poled it out to stop it flogging and had a good run down to the entrance of the Ria. Once around the rocks at the entrance, we hoisted the main-sail and broad-reached at over eight knots to the little town of Muros.

Anchored here now, the wind is funnelling down between the hills and is stronger than we have had in weeks…..all in the right direction for going South so tomorrow might be a record-making passage.


A great sail today especially the bit coming into Muros, being at the front of the boat you can really feel the strength.

Dinner tonight chicken cooked with bacon (the chicken is yellow, but not out of date) with roasted (very small) potatoes in garlic & rosemary with Spanish cabbage. Not sure if we’re going ashore as it’s blowing a good ‘un.

Looks quite pretty here with clear azure water close to the beach. People are swimming are they mad???

Tomorrow Ria de Arousa I’m really looking forward to that!

Muros at Night

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Landfall at La Coruna

Thursday 29th June (Conitinued)

The day passed without wind, the long and gentle ocean swell reflected the burning sun in flashes of brilliance. About 15:00, we saw the mountains of Spain, grey in the distance – Land ahoy!!!! They were about 30 miles (6 hours) away.

The raging Biscay storm

As we approached land, a small breeze started. Aha! We thought, sea breezes….if we go close rather than pointing directly for our destination, we will get some winds and get the sails up. The wind increased a fraction and we got the mainsail up….and rolled and the boom banged backwards and forwards and the sails slatted idly and we took it down again.

Finally, half an hour before we reached La Coruna, the wind DID pick up but damned if we could be bothered with the sail again so we motored into what I can only describe as your usual industrial port with ships, cranes, gantries and piles of coal everywhere…..welcome to Spain! Actually, the town is quite nice, the Old Quarter is quaint and the centre is cosmopolitan.

We berthed and popped the ‘Arrival Champagne’. An old leathern geezer came and asked how long the boat was (in Spanish). I replied ’12 metres’, to which he replied ‘non! Non-posseeebleu!’. Well, we are 40 foot long which is a little over 12 metres and the Aries wind vane on the back sticks-out even more. I thought that he was saying that we were liars and he handed me the arrival questionnaire and walked-off pointing at the ‘Recepcion’. So I duly filled-in our details and took them over. We had an interesting chat where he gabbled away in Spanish and I replied ‘Huh?’.

Apparently, they do not take Visa, Switch, Mastercard….etc. They want Euros, which we did not have. I did my best impressions of sticking a card into a hole-in-the-wall and he took me to the doorway, stuck his arm around me and pointed up the street. It was easy to find but would not suck my card in. I tried it the right way, the wrong way, upside down and upside down/back to front. By this time, someone else was waiting so I let him have a go. It took his card straight away so, after he had completed his transaction, I tried again and it worked!! I asked for Eu500 but the limit was Eu300 whereupon I made a mistake and pressed ‘cancel’…this was my second mistake since it spat my card out. It then absolutely refuse to take it back again….I tried the usual combinations of insertion technique (see above) and then tried sneaking-up and surprising it but to no avail Time to find another cashpoint!

Anyway, cash in hand, the leathern man communicated that the berth we were in was for boats over 12 metres in length and so we moved around the other side of the pontoon and he came down and spent 15 minutes tweaking our pontoon ropes until he was satisfied with the precise positioning….that’s what I call service!

Friday 30th June

We lay-in this morning.

Later, we ambled slowly around the Old Quarter and to the old fort. We did the ‘Continental Thing’ of stopping at a couple of bars and sitting outside with a beer and generally relaxed in the sun. Having just come back from the Supermercado where we bought luscious tomatoes (that SMELL like tomatoes), cold meats, fresh bread, cheeses and wine, we are about to dine on the table in the cockpit in the warmth of the late afternoon sun.


I completely agree with the above but I might just add that the tomatoes were also plump. Wine at 45 pence a litre & whisky at £4 (UK branded name) were sitting here on deck toasting Gordon Brown’s good health.

We are planning to head West to sample the Rais and anchorages along the coast after tomorrow. Will keep in touch when we can.

It’s really hot evening and has been a lovely warm day.

Got to go Caesar Salad requires attention.

Biscay Part 3

Continued Wednesday 28th June 19:30pm

From Fliss…..

Hello again

Just thought I’d let you know of this evenings events.

Another beautiful evening, smooth seas and clear blue sky with just the odd clouds.

Usually at 6pm it’s Pete’s time to go off watch but tonight he didn’t want to go as in the distance he noticed another school of dolphins. Armed with the camera we both walked to the front of the boat. Pete said that they had sent a scout out and within a few minutes 2 dolphins appeared and played with us for about 20 minutes. We then heard them talking to each other and they turned around and disappeared towards the back of the boat.

Two dolphins accompany us

This isn’t the end of the story as I spotted a bizarre looking critter flapping around in the water and walked back to the front of the boat, it turned out to be a fish which must have been 3 foot in length and a good foot in width. The dolphins wondering why we had turned around promptly re-appeared which frightened the fish and it dived under the water. Pete hadn’t seen it so I helmed and he gave directions on where the fish was. Pete reckons it was a sailfish (he could be pulling my leg) which uses its large fins to move around, it’s fins were as big as the fins on dolphins.

The marine life is amazing and with the clear seas you can really see them, tonight’s delight was transparent jelly fish with a orange tip sometimes on their own or they form a huge cluster, Catherine wheel type brown ones, large intestine type ones, many different types and amazing to see them so clearly.

Finally after a sleep inducer Pete retired at 7:30pm which is half an hour later than he should.

Did we mention our watch keeping system? Well I do 18:00-10:30pm or sometimes 11pm and then Pete does 11-4/5am Usually he goes back to bed after I get up for four hours and the rest of the day we share the watch.. It seems to work well but tonight we may share the night watch as tomorrow afternoon around 5pm we should be in La Coruna. I’m looking forward to arriving but I wouldn’t have missed the trip down here…. Rest of the world here we come, yeahhh!

Very easy watch so far tonight as all the boats are travelling in the same direction.

Champers is in the fridge ready for landfall. At the moment we have done 348 miles and we are at position 45.21 7 N 08 03 7 W and approximately130 miles to go.

From Pete…….

The morning started with a deep red sun rising into a sky layered with high golden-embroidered clouds. Another day of sunshine was in-store. I let Fliss get her beauty-sleep this morning since she was fast asleep and didn’t even hear me clumping and rattling my safety-harness shackles on deck.

The original agreement with watches was that I would do the night shift (which is 22:00-04:00). Each side of this is a four-hour period where Fliss is on watch (18:00-22:00 & 04:00-08:00) and I therefore get the opportunity for two sets of four hours sleep. This works for me since I have no problem dozing-off and 8 hours of sleep is sufficient. Having said that, we have had an easy crossing so far and the watches have not needed to be rigorously applied but, before the next long leg of our travels, we need to agree a formal system, write it down and post it on the wall. Then, when in rough weather, we easily know whose turn it is to get a cold dousing!

The day was uneventful. At 05:00 I raised the mainsail to a tentative breeze and soon had the jib flying as well. A little later, we turned off the engine to give it a rest for a couple of hours until, very slowly, the speed dropped to under 3 knots and we resorted once again to the ‘Iron Topsail’.

At one point during the lazy afternoon, a private twin-propped plane came at us from the sun. Feeling like we had travelled back to the Pacific 1945 we squinted to pick-out the Chilli-bum logo. Luckily, this one was friendly and he buzzed us low just a few hundred yards away. The pilot was wearing red and gave us a wave before slowly gaining altitude and disappearing.

Towards the evening, the light ripples faded and the sea turned into a calm oily gently rolling mass. In these conditions, you can see right into the deep (4800m deep in fact). I said to Fliss that if it wasn’t so deep, you would be able to see the bottom! The calm waters allowed us to view the rich marine-life that is usually obscured by the ripples in the same way that patterned glass obscures my view into the next-door neighbours bathroom (actually, our house doesn’t overlook anyone – but you get the picture).

Fliss has already mentioned the dolphins. I scanned the horizon for boats and noticed some freak waves. Studying more closely, these transformed into leaping dolphins that were somewhat closer than 3.6 miles away. A whole school of twenty or more went past and one gave us a brief visit by shooting under our bows. I thought that was all the show we were going to get but, shortly after, another school of dolphins (must have been the loiterers) came past us in the same direction as the first. Two scouts broke away from the pack and played. They kept turning their heads sideways watching us watching them watching us…….

Watching us watching them........

Tonight………..” The sky is splattered with stars and the milky-way arches over us. The slither of reddish moon has just slunk beneath the horizon (which means it must be more than 3.6 miles away and no longer a navigational hazard). Venus dominates over all on the starboard-quarter.”……..the same as it was last night. The only difference is that there are lights that keep appearing in the distance and then disappearing again. It took me a while to realise that these were not boats dipping across the horizon but the reflections of stars on the smooth and undulating sea.

Thursday 29th June


The dolphins are back again making splashing and breathing noises. In the dim glow of our steaming light they are clearly visible. They race forwards under-water leaving jet-trails behind them like torpedoes. First of all they will race forwards and then playfully execute a tight manoeuvre and dive under the hull, the jet-trails obediently tracing their paths.

There appears to be a yacht 2 miles off the port side (this is a guess but the nav-lights appear to be a steaming yacht). If so, then this will be the first yacht sighting since we were about 10 miles out from the Lizard Point.

Biscay Part 2

Wednesday June 28th (00:15)

The sky is splattered with stars and the milky-way arches over us. The slither of reddish moon has just slunk beneath the horizon (which means it must be more than 3.6 miles away and no longer a navigational hazard).. Venus dominates over all on the starboard-quarter. Only two times before have we seen such a spectacularly clear night sky and this was many moons ago (forget the pun!). The sea is calm, the wind-gen has gone to sleep and we motor gently across our little goldfish bowl whilst staying perfectly in the middle of it.

The winds of yesterday morning kept us going at a brisk pace of 6 to 7 knots all day. Perfectly on the beam, we had a very comfortable sail in perfect conditions. The sun has shone all day but the air has had a cold pinch that has kept us in our fleeces.

At about 15:30, we were down to 5 knots and Fliss suggested that we deploy the cruising chute. This should have returned our speed to 7+ knots, but by the time it was up, the wind had deserted us and the mainsail slatted idly and the chute sagged and billowed, and sagged and billowed. So, back on with the engine again and conditions have not changed since (apart from the fact that it is now dark).

Without the wind, the conditions warmed-up considerably so I got the solar shower out, filled it with the crystal sea-water and sat it on deck to warm-up. The solar shower is simply a black polythene bag with a hose and sprinkler attached to the bottom and supposedly heats the water under direct sunlight. Anyway, I did not have the patience to wait that long and we both therefore had a not-quite-tepid sea-water shower followed quickly by a warm rinse with a freshwater flannel. Bliss. Tonight, it’s back-on with the less-than-fresh thermal underwear.


Just after the shower, the depth-sounder lost its reading as we passed over the edge of the continental-shelf. We are now truly out of the English Channel and are formally in the North Atlantic Ocean. We decided that this was a cause for celebration so cracked a beer each after which I went off for another 4 hours of glorious slumber.

During the day, we had seen a number of schools of dolphins playing at a distance. I awoke at 22:30 (half an hour late for my Watch) and shortly after, Fliss heard a splash close-by. Suddenly we were surrounded by streaks like torpedoes through the water as a large school of dolphins joined the boat. Ahead of the boat splashes of phosphorescence told where small fish were breaking the surface in a vain attempt to escape as the dolphins swarmed after them. We sat at the front of the boat watching at least 20 dolphins herd the shoal amazingly clear considering our only light was the onboard navigation lights. The dolphins stayed for over half an hour, gorging themselves, chatting to each other in their high-pitched click and making low whistles as they surfaced for air.

Now, all is quiet, the fishing boat to starboard has turned, is now showing its stern-light, and moving ahead of us. Another cup of coffee is called-for.

Wednesday 28th June - Fliss

My god Pete I didn’t realise you could be so poetic!

A truly amazing day.

The shower incident was so funny, not that Pete’s Sunday best is funny but there he was in the cockpit having a cold shower in the North Atlantic. The salt-water soap he bought is ok for the skin but useless for your hair.

Not one for being left out I also gave it a go, actually the shower works really well it would have been nicer if the water was warmer and the boat wasn’t rocking so much. Pete didn’t escape the camera, enough of this for now.

I have never seen a sight so spectacular as the dolphins, the hunting skills were brilliant to watch the way they used Nadezhda to direct the fish. We were wondering if the fish were attracted to the light or the vibrations of the engine but the hunt went on for a good 30 mins or so. Not sure if Pete mentioned this but one dolphin turned on it’s side and looked directly at us.

It’s now 8:15am and I have been on watch since 7ish. Were just going through a shipping channel so sadly I had to disturb the skipper as we had a massive tanker bearing down on us, I was told to “hold my course” and all was well as we passed side by side.

Since then I have seen loads of different boats all travelling in different directions I have decided to stop & leave it for another 10 minutes before waking Pete.

Memo to oneself :Stop reading Yachting Monthly horror stories on super tanker near misses.

Whilst typing this I have dolphins playing with the bow of the boat in-fact they’re everywhere jumping in & out of the water.

Kids, I would have loved you to have been on the boat and witnessed last night it was a fantastic show and the sky was indescribable, saying that Pete did a good job.

Summary on this part of the trip:

I have loved all of it so far, the big seas, different weather & the wild life. The getting used to sleeping on the boat whilst she’s moving proved difficult for the first night but now we both have got used to it. Neptune has been kind to us with the weather and seas and I’m looking forward to La Coruna for our well-earned bottle of cheap champagne which we bought in Falmouth as we are saving all the good stuff bought as gifts for major mile stones.

Just turned the engine off as we have more wind and the sun is shining, this is the life.

Really strange thing is that I used to fret terribly at home about long passages and their perils but I now I wish I hadn’t wasted so much time & energy. I realise that it won’t always be like this but it does give you a feel good factor.

Hope every one is well & lots of love.

Morning Sun across the Biscay......