Chiscos - Atlantic Cruise
Tue 9 Aug 2011 15:27
Shortly after posting the last blog, John discovered a leak on the engine cooling system. A metal box where the exhaust gases are cooled by sea water had cracked along one edge. A quick trip up the pontoon to consult the marina man identified that we had 'un problemo' that needed a trip to 'el mecanico'! This was 6.00 pm on Friday evening so we weren't overly hopeful that anything could be done. However, a passer-by was roped in to escort us directly to el mecanico, thankfully only about 1/2 mile away, and we must have looked a very odd procession with John carrying the metal box and me clutching the Spanish dictionary and no shared language to chat to our escort! The mechanic was in and after establishing that we weren't asking him to patch something that had recently held diesel, he welded the crack there and then. What service! We later found another tiny hole that also needed welding, but a quick visit on Monday morning fixed that as well.
Whilst in Camarinas we enjoyed some great walks. We discovered a series of marked hiking/cycling trails that were so well done we didn't need an OS map to complete a couple of 12-14 mile walks. The walks were varied and took us through woodland, along beaches, coast paths and through rural villages. The coastline is stunning; craggy pink granite cliffs, white sandy beaches and all virtually deserted.
On Saturday we walked to the lighthouse at Cabo Villano, the first to be lit by electricity in Spain. As we hadn't seen anything of it as we approached in the fog the previous day, we did wonder whether someone had forgotten to put a coin in the meter!
On Sunday we walked to the English Cemetery, which is on a headland North of the lighthouse we had seen the day before. This marks the spot where the crew of a ship called the Serpent were buried. This was a British battleship which lost its way during a night storm in November 1890 and all but 3 of the 175 crew were lost. The cemetery seems to have become a shrine for others lost at sea as there were plenty of fresh flowers and tributes lain on the memorial.
Part of the walk was through the wind farm that dominates this headland. The sound of the blades swishing overhead was quite eerie, and the turbines are absolutely enormous close up.
In the evenings we joined the locals of Camarinas in 'seeing and being seen' at the bars around the harbour. We enjoyed people watching as the local lads drove their cars past, slowing down to make sure they were noticed as they passed the bar and then speeding up with a roar from the exhaust. We came to recognise the same cars as they passed time after time!
We left Camarinas after our second visit to the mechanic on Monday morning. The journey to Muros illustrates how difficult it can be to sail on this coastline. The winds were light but the sea was still very rough from high winds we had had over the weekend. Despite the fact that the wind was in a favourable direction for us, we could make no headway against the huge swell under sail alone and had to use the engine as well for the first hour. The seas eventually abated a bit and the wind became stronger so at last we had great sailing conditions and enjoyed a fabulous sail over to Ria da Muros, surfing down the Atlantic swell. We passed the Cabo Finisterre in bright sunshine and blue skies and the coastline was beautiful. It is slightly spoiled by the wind turbines that stretch all along the clifftops; they must stretch for 30 miles in two long lines. They give the appearance that someone is expecting some very large birds to land and has put some spikes all along the edge to prevent it. However, we believe that Spain generates about a third of its electricity from wind power, and there is certainly plenty of wind along this coast to do it with! We anchored off Muros town at about 7.30 pm in a light NW breeze, which promptly strengthened and turned NE as soon as we were settled - the weather changes very quickly round here! It was a lumpy night with the wind in that direction but it has gradually settled during the day today (Tuesday) and we are now sitting in the sunshine preparing to go ashore and explore the town.
We've spent the day catching up on a few chores - the laundry and servicing the outboard engine - and of course a true artiste has to keep in practice wherever he is in the world!