Arrival in Spain
03:08.10, 43.32.38N 7:02.17W
Today started with a change of wind direction from West to sort of North but not really any wind so it was the first time the engine went on for a while. This is the first day of clear blue skies and the first day we could really tell we had come south - the sun was scorching by 0830 in the morning. Adam made bread! - and it was most edible.
The wind picked up during the day although it was hard to tell as we were sailing downwind as we got further south we gybed around to try and get a better line on LaCoruna, it was then we noticed that the wind and swell had really picked up during the day - previously we hadn't really noticed much swell but realised how big it was when we saw a tanker in the distance - you could only see the top of the bridge so it looked more like a building than a boat, the radar could only see it every so often.
All was pretty peaceful and we were thinking that the Bay of Biscay was not really much different to a slightly longer trip to the Isle of Wight - we didn't think we would have much adventure to write of, that was until night fell on our last night at sea. . . . the wind steadily continued to increase and our forecast of a force 3 turned into a 5/6 - but it wasn't the wind that gave us excitement but the swell which we were surfing down. As per the last two nights - darkness fell and it was absolutely pitch black, clouds came over and no moon (until midnight when it decided to rise). As per the previous night - the coming of darkness seemed to bring out fleets of fishing boats - all flashing orange lights to signify they had huge purse nets between them with which to trap unsuspecting yachts-folk - it felt like we spent hours trying to avoid fishing boats which seemed to chase us around . There was one which I can only assume was some kind of huge factory fishing vessel that was covered in floodlights - it looked like a UFO, but no lights to give any clue as to its direction of travel - two hours of cat and mouse saw the wind and swell continue to increase.
In amongst the hurried checking of bearings on fishing boats and trying to avoid being part of the catch ,the sky did clear and the stars were the most amazing we have ever seen - just looked like a blanket covered with stars. We took that in for a minute or so before returning to see which boats were bearing down on us now.
by 0100 with the boat surfing along and the waves getting bigger we decided that a better port of call for tired folk would be Ribedea so we gybed around and went to the closer port (only 35 miles rather than 70) with difficult sailing conditions and large seas there would be no sleep for this crew tonight. The trip to Ribadea follows the coast line for the last 30 miles as we looked to land the coast line was lit up we assumed with buildings, it was only with the coming of day light that these lights revealed themselves to be fish farms (not indicated on any chart), with the arrival of morning the wind and swell decreased and time for a weary crew to get some rest. I knew it was time for Susie to get some sleep when she fell asleep behind the wheel whilst I was talking to her! Between them, Stargazer and the autopilot had carried us the 30 odd miles to Ribadea with us two sat at the back watching out for ships and trying to stay awake listening to the swooshing of waves - occassionaly getting soaked.
Ribedea was a welcome sight a new marina with easy visitor berthing - by seven in the morning the sea was glassy and we could see the mountains on the shore, our boat gradually slowed to a stop as the wind died completely and we switched on the engine for the motor in. Time to tidy up some of the deck and try and look half way organised for the motor into the Ria.
Horror of horrors - 50 metres from the Marina entrance the engine did something it has never done - it stalled! - how could we get this far then the engine fail almost touching distance from the shore. Luckily it fired up again and we were safely tied up in a couple of minutes - however - investigating the boat we found a big bunch of fishing net around the prop and rudder hence the reason for the stall - time for Susie to get the wetsuit on and sort it out. Not sure how long we had been dragging that along.
We had to have a glass of wine at 1100 on Tuesday to celebrate successfully crossing Biscay - but by 1200 we were both in bed and fast asleep.. . .
Here's a nice Atlantic Sunset . . .
and here's our dawn sight of land - Hurrray, Ribadea is in the distance on the left of the pic - the water is just turning to glass