There’s Land’s End in England, the sea area here is called Finisterre. We have circumnavigated the coastal strip „Costa de la Muerte“. No encouraging naming, sounds rather like adventure. Many things remind of the time of the great seafaring explorers. A Coruña was once defended against Sir Francis Drake. One constantly thinks, that there is a pirate lurking around the corner. And we had a mini race with a three-master up to A Coruña.
The „Blue Clipper“ used the same anchorages as we did. They even radioed us that we should leave enough space because we arrived in the bay first. The bays on the Spanish north coast are not too spacious. One time when we sailed very close to the Blue Clipper, I dared to request a ship-to-ship radio call with them. (Gradually I get used to using the radio.) We arranged to exchange photos in A Coruña.
Now that we have two bicycles, nothing stood in the way of exploring the city. The distance between the marina and the old town was covered in no time – a blessing for us anti-hikers. In A Coruña the preparations for a triathlon were ongoing. The old town has many narrow lanes with restaurants and shops, everywhere lots of people. They cannot be squeezed into categories. In the evening you could see everything from chic clothes to sports clothes (still the triathletes). To be on the safe side we had zipped the trouser legs to our shorts. You never know, Catholic country, Santiago de Compestela just around the corner. But people can’t be very strict here, because Mathias noticed too many girls in hot pants. 😉
When leaving the old part of the city into the streets with car traffic, the city immediately becomes uglier.
On Saturday evening we went to a restaurant in the old town. We could keep a good eye on the bikes. It is a small disadvantage of the new bike: It attracts a lot of attention, so you have to take good care of it.
The first Triathletes of the Men’s competition reach the finish line:
Of Course, shopping was on the agenda again:
Mathias used the two days to build a bracket for the stern anchor. We put the stern anchor into the port hull. Together with the chain this resulted to a noticeable weight shift. So far the starboard hull was deeper in the water than the port hull.
As an added bonus, I now can much easier access my washing machine in the starboard hull.
We visited the Blue Clipper and it turned out that they had monitored our sailing manoeuvres as we had done with theirs. Two sailboats cruising against the wind, otherwise only fishermen on their way. We always noticed of each other at what time the other was tacking. The Blue Clipper sailed further away from the coast than we did. We couldn’t sail there because we would have had too many problems with the waves. We always admired how close they could go to the wind. But when we met them, we learned that they also had sailed a lot with engine support. Otherwise the waves hit the rig too hard.
The last night in A Coruña we spent at anchor in the bay. The harbour fees are very high here. The weather forecast promised one day of good wind, after that it was supposed to decrease strongly. To make the best of the wind we again sailed through the night. The calm day we drove under motor to the bay near Baiona. Using the engine meant that we could have a nice warm shower at the anchorage 🙂
Baiona is the last stop in Spain before entering Portugal.
After another night sail we reached Porto or Leixões. Where we arrived in the morning with the first daylight. There is an anchorage next to the marina. Because good wind was forecasted for the following day, we decided to stay only for the one day. The harbour is in Leixões and to Porto itself we cycled about 15 km along the coast. Like many port cities Porto is also very hilly and our destination was of course on top of the hill. Mathias mastered the slopes in the first gear of the old folding bike, I had the electric support 😉
After we had just finished listening to all Harry Potter books again, read by Stephen Fry in the most beautiful BBC English, we had to visit the bookstore Lello in Porto. It is regarded as one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world and is said to have inspired J.K. Rowling. The bookshop also looks like the bookstore in the second Harry Potter film. You have to buy admission tickets, which you can redeem when buying a book, and stand in a queue for a long time to enter the bookshop. But it’s worth it. The book selection is a bit difficult, most of the books are in Portuguese or French, there is a small English section. But there you will find a lot of sophisticated literature. So nothing to just relax and browse 😉 In the end, I decided on a classic English detective story, set in Cornwall by the sea.
Porto has a breathtaking coast, have a look at the pictures:
Our first contacts to Portuguese people were diverse. When I stood in front of a shelf in the supermarket and perhaps needed a little too much time to decide, an older man kicked my shopping basket with his foot to tell me to make room for him. He could also have simply walked around the sales rack behind me, or said something to me. The next contact was on the parking lot of the supermarket. There a man tried to earn some money by helping people pack the car. He also approached us and overcame the language barrier, because it turned out that he had worked for a long time in a Portuguese restaurant in Hamburg. We had a nice chat.
After the unusually long and hilly bike tour we slept very well. The next day we had tail wind and used the Parasail to cruise comfortably further along the coast.
I made use of the calm sailing and finally tackled the task to bake on the ship. A cake and raisin rolls were finished, partly baked in the gas oven, partly in our solar oven. To stir the dough I used my food processor, which I had hardly ever used at home.
Weighing the ingredients, however, is not so easy at sea. A scale constantly strikes in different directions. Even if you hang it up, it doesn’t work. That’s why I used measuring cups and rewrote my recipes accordingly, all in units of cups.
The cake tastes good, by the way, and the raisin rolls were also successfully baked. We only still have to experiment a bit with the baking time in the solar oven.
As always, there’s plenty of fruit on board.
Also other things can finally be done when the sailing is calm.
Towards sunset we took the parasail down and set the spinnaker. During the night we drove around the Cabo Carvoeiro. Because we couldn’t bear away far enough to sail between the mainland and the first group of rocks, we drove between two island groups. You could see the dark rocks next to us sticking out of the water, must look great during the day. But now we had to do a jibe to get back to the coast. First we had to correct our sheet, which didn’t lead around the tack point on the outside. Deck light on and use life belts, that worked well. So the safety lines are well attached and they also glow in the dark 🙂 We only have to think of something across the back of the ship. The railing there is very low and in a lot of waves I don’t want to have to go around the corner at the garages.
Here comes a story I don’t really like to tell: We tore up our Spi. It started with the fact that we decided too late to take it down. It was very windy and we made several wrong decisions, which could not be corrected quickly enough in the strong wind. The spinnaker wrapped itself around the jib and could not be taken down anymore. We drove under engine towards the shore and anchored there. Unfortunately it still blew heavily and further attempts to tame the sail enough to make it into the Marina were unsuccessful. In the end the spi ripped. Only in the evening in the marina we managed to untangle it and take it down. We will have it repaired in the Caribbean.
And even more bad luck
The stay in Cascais will last a little longer. Our Volvo marine diesel engine dripped with oil. We reported this to the Volvo hotline and they quickly sent the local repair service to us. For the repair the engine has to be lifted. This is not so easy in our ship. The engine gets lifted in during the shipbuilding phase and then the deck is sealed above it. For an engine exchange one would have to cut open the deck. But the technicians are smart, they built a construction to be able to lift the engine block in the engine compartment. Thanks to the shipyard in Wilhelmshaven for the stable construction, which now has a double function: