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Date: 19 Aug 2012 18:25:00
Title: WOW Spanish Style

42:12.14n 08:54.04w

Well, we're Waiting on Weather again... just like we were in Falmouth. Well, not quite like we were in Falmouth...

There ought to be the Portuguese trade winds blowing from the North along this coast at the moment, all ready to take us to Lisbon. For some reason that I've not yet fathomed, high pressure tends to settle over the Azores. That means that the winds get sort of pinched between that high pressure area and the heat low on the land mass of Iberia, giving a lovely steady stream of wind along the coast to take us southwards. Unfortunately that's not happening at the moment, it's South westerly winds just now, so we're waiting for a nice settled Northerly to come back again so we can do the 230 odd miles in one go, as the Portuguese coast isn't very hospitable. Not many ports and those that there are have bars across their entrances that can only be crossed near high tide and in light weather. That's shallow areas of sand and silt, by the way, not physical iron bars, nor convenient places to get a drink! We want to drop south pretty soon as September will bring depressions and unsettled weather to this region.

Although we enjoyed Vigo, we much prefer being at anchor than in a marina so we decided to come back out to the Islands at the entrance to the Ria and wait here for the wind to change. Phil did a super smart manoeuvre (thanks Mum! That's 'man' as in 'manual', meaning 'hand', and 'oeuvre' meaning a piece of work, of labour or art or music, rather than egg - which is 'oeuf' with an 'f'!)to get us out of the tight marina, by the way. We were moored facing inwards so needed to turn around, as the entrance has a bit of a dogleg to get through so it wasn't practical to reverse out of. The wind and tide were coming against us, into the marina, so Phil simply let go the aft lines, kept the fore lines attached, but swapped them over to the opposite bow, and let the wind and tide gently swing us right around 180 degrees. I know it sounds simple, but I've not seen it done like that before with a large boat, all 55 feet of her swinging round in a tight marina, and many folk would have been flailing around trying to do three point turns with no bow thruster...

We went to the smaller, southern island this time, Isla de San Martin, it is really beautiful with crystal clear water. We're anchored in about 8m of water at the moment and we were sitting drinking coffee this morning, looking over the side at the star fish moving along the sea bed. It's steep rocky cliffs on the Atlantic side, and at either end, mostly wooded, but with a beautiful sheltered sandy crescent of a beach that we're anchored in. It's a bird sanctuary so you're not allowed to walk in land on the island, but you can go land on the beach to swim from it or walk along it. I'm sending this by radio, no internet here, so I can't send photos so you'll just have to imagine it!

So here we are, waiting on weather, what to do whilst we wait? Well, yesterday we took the dinghy across to Isla Cies, along with some Dutch friends on another boat here, and we walked up to the lighthouse on the top of the hill, through the pine and eucalyptus woods. It's 195m high (the hill, not the lighthouse!), so a decent climb and wonderful views from the top. We got back on board in time for a bite to eat and a nice siesta, before taking the dinghy over to the rocks, anchoring and going snorkeling for a while. Just off the rocks there's a patch of weed, so that's were the fish hang out. As soon as I put my face under I could see below me literally millions of tiny tiny tiny baby fishes, then out of a patch of weed came a procession of lovely dish shaped fish, all in a row, black spot on the tail and a strip on the body fore and aft... and so it went on, a fascinating world to spy on. After we had showered and rinsed our wet suits we fixed some supper as our friends were coming over to join us for the evening meal.

A hard life waiting around, hey?

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