Biscay Crossing

Beez Neez
Skipper and First Mate Millard (Big Bear and Pepe)
Mon 21 Jul 2008 10:23
We left Ste Evette at eleven o'clock on Wednesday the sixteenth of July. Wind was a steady three to four. Sails up, Hydrovane set.
A lovely flat calm sea, out went the trolling lines and my first success, a mackerel, next the ugly one, we let go. I didn't want anything looking like that in my grill pan !!!
The mackerel was gutted, beheaded, opened, a little salt, pepper and butter, one and a half minutes in the microwave and voila, a fresh starter for skipper.
 Our four on four off shift system works brilliantly well. We both get eight hours sleep, eight hours on watch and eight hours together which includes all meals. Beez is extremely comfortable.
 Bear's best comment "Shall I get the Guernsey flag down and put up the Spanish one?", "No leave that in the cupboard and get the French one down skipper".
Skipper sorting out the staysail, a sunset and me in night watch mode, one ear has channel sixteen, the other has some music, on random. The Snooopy strap purse holds
the "little chap" (MP3 player) with about six hundred and fifty albums on it, a very eclectic mix, you never know what will come on next, Bob, Bangles, Bach or Bowie.
 Day two we saw small groups of dolphins, then just as I had got into bed at six am, twenty five of them came to play with us, it was their chattering and clicking that kept me awake. We saw
 over a hundred during the rest of the day, I said I would pay them to jump and let me get it on camera, but each time I clicked they had disappeared. DO DOLPHINS SLEEP ???.
 Apparently YES. About eight hours a day, they sleep one side at a time. One eye open, the other closed. If they slept both sides at once they would drown as they consciously have to breathe.
The Spanish coast, a man without WD40 is like Blue Peter with no sticky backed plastic. The choppy water of Finisterre, although not 3D.
 Is it true that the Bay of Biscay is often "grey and tempest tossed" or is that just another one of those popular myths. The truth is that fear inspired by the Bay of Biscay is entirely justified.
 Winter storms are fierce and frequent there; the weather changes abruptly as cold fronts associated with lows pass through, and the seas, which are often crossed, can be extremely
 uncomfortable. The abrupt rise of the sea floor to a depth of one hundred and ten meters, due to the Continental Shelf, causes the reinforcement of all waves with periods over twelve seconds.
 Moreover, The Rochebonne Plateau, the local shoal shoal thirty miles offshore at a depth of only about thirty feet brings additional risks. No doubt about it, the Bay of Biscay's unpleasant
 reputation is richly deserved. We left on a flat calm sea, by the end of day three we were feeling winds of five to six and the sea behind us was a moderate swell with cross breaking waves
 with white horses after the wind suddenly changed to east, north, east at three am. By the time we reached Cabo Villano the winds were rising to thirty knots, then as we approached Camarinas
 thinking we would find calm, the local wind called Nordeste Pardo meant as we entered the Ria we were getting near to thirty five knots. I actually parked in an eight !!! at thirty eight knots.
 Bear chucked ropes to four "beefy locals" who knew the winds well. I had to hold off with full reverse. We got in to the last accessible berth before the winds rose to forty five knots, two boats after
 us had to  anchor in the bay, first time Bear has seen anchor sails used in earnest. The weird thing is the wind never drops below twenty knots in full sunshine all day and all night. We switched
 the engine off at eighteen forty five on Saturday the nineteenth, a journey of three hundred and sixty three miles (log said two hundred and twelve). A total of seventy nine hours and forty five minutes.
 Camarinas exploration will wait as we sit this out for a couple of days DVD fest. Sorry I bitched about twenty eight knots in Trebeurden. Bear has had to replace chaffed shore lines already.
STRANGE to have breaking spray from waves wetting the cockpit inside a marina ??? Waves break over the substantially wide pontoon !!!!!