Along the North Spanish Coast

Sun 8 Jul 2012 21:42
43:39.07N 06:29.94W
Today, when you look to the North, we are back in our blue bowl again. In the middle of our dish of deep blue water, splashed with white as the swell breaks around us, with a pale blue bowl turned upside down over us. But when you look to the South, to Port, the view is filled with the coast, unfolding like a story.

There are mountains here, blue shadows against the sky, 600, 700, 850m high, and in the fore ground woods and green fields roll down towards the cliffs. Towns and villages nestle into deep grooves, long curves of sandy beaches sweep the base of the cliffs, layers of greys showing the passage of time and forces of nature with folds and turns. Every now and again, like frozen waterfalls, lighter streaks on the cliff face mark land slips into the sea below.

Headlands stretch out to reach us, with tumbled jagged rocks following their line into the sea. At the entrance to a Rio, high rise buildings and industrial developments mark a larger town, the next Rio has huge white bridges arching over the river, taking the coast road towards the West.

As evening falls the world becomes grey on grey. Grey streaks of cloud over a slate grey sea to starboard, grey water colour washes, mountains, then hills, getting darker each stroke until finally someone took some charcoal on its side and drew a solid dark line all along, just above the sea, to mark the cliff.

And then the lights start appearing. First, just the lighthouses... three I can see at the moment along the coast, first 4 flashes every 20 seconds, the next 3 flashes in 15 seconds, the last 2 flashes in every 12 seconds, lighting up our sails as we come abeam. Then, a little while later constellations of orange street lights start to appear. There, faintly, is a road up into the mountains. Here, a village, there a town spreading along the cliff top. I can see there must be a beach below, as the lights make stepping stones along the promenade. I know that it will be full of people right now, like in Gijon, seeing the sights and being seen.

It's lovely to be back sailing again after a few days in port, and exciting: ahead is a new entrance to navigate, a new place to explore, more of the world to see as the coast slides by us at a walking pace.

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