Friday 20 July 43 27.8N 05 03.7W

Charles & Maggie Bevis
Fri 19 Jul 2013 20:54
Another pleasant day and 65 miles from Santander, we now find ourselves in Ribadsella. Nothing much to tell other than we had to motor all the way as the wind was light and behind us for the whole of the passage.

A brilliant overnight anchorage just inside the entrance to Santander, spotted by Charlie during his last working visit here over 15 years ago.

Charlie was up nice and early, (4:45a.m.) hauled up the anchor and set off. I stayed in bed for a while longer. The manservant brought me my essential cup of coffee around 7:30, which is a signal that I'm expected to surface at some point shortly thereafter!

A little disconcerting was the appearance of several pylons located some miles out to sea to the west of Santander (not on our chart) and illuminated by a single light some 100 plus ft above sea level and hidden in the early morning haze/mist - look up Charlie!!

The early start was because we needed to be here on a high tide, otherwise we'd get stuck and we certainly didn't want to put on a show for the locals, which We very nearly did a little more dredging by Alkira ( again). The tide rushes out at an astonishing pace and we found ourselves sitting in a rather narrow creek in no time at all. Getting out tomorrow should be interesting as we are longer than the width of the creek, which means we need to turn around and leave on the rapidly rising tide if we are to look anything like competent sailors. As you can almost reach out and shake hands with the people on the beach on one side and the walkers on the footpath on the other side on entering/leaving, we must make sure we put on a good show!

It was a pleasant passage along the coast, although there was quite a thick heat haze, the coastline was spectacular and most striking of all, was the vast mountainous region just behind this beautiful coastline. It seemed incredible that here we were in a 30 plus degree temperature, sailing along wearing swimsuits and in our sight was this huge mountains region covered in snow and though quite a few distant, very visible and quite breathtaking. The coastline and countryside overall is really lovely and we look forward to seeing yet more of it.

Ribadsella is a "time-warp" holiday resort. It's most strange as you simply cannot identify with anything here. The architecture is mostly modern, hence the place is without character. There is a beautiful beach though and it's really clean, an easy to handle surf for the swimmers and lifeguards in attendance, (as there are on almost all of the beaches in high season). Clearly its a holiday resort, but its very simple and its inexpensive. What's strange though is that it's impossible to identify with it and nothing says its part of Spain, it simply doesn't have a personality, you could be anywhere.

The best part for us is that we are on the outer finger of a pontoon, alongside a small marina and everything is completely free! At 5:30 we had to go to a small hut on the quay to meet the local policeman who loaned us a key for entering/exiting the pontoon, a deposit of 50€ will be returned to us once we return the key.

We wandered into the not so old town and had a drink at a quayside bar, the "people watching" was part of the package. Later on we had a wander around the town on the other side of the river. It's a funny little place that's for sure. Bars are all open but none of the restaurants start serving until 8pm. As our day had already been rather long, we decided it'd be easier to eat on board and we could have a relaxing evening followed by an early-ish night.