Vigo - first day

Thu 16 Aug 2012 15:18
42:14.52N 08:43.35w

We were a little daunted by the pilot books' description of the Real Club Nautico marina we were heading to in Vigo: narrow entrance, no room to manoeuvre (now that's an interesting word to spell - manual and oeuvre, egg in french, hand egg - handle something carefully as you would an egg?), and Mediterranean style mooring. What's more the entrance to the Marina is next to the ferry terminal, so high speed catamarans come right across the entrance, indeed, as we approached we had to hold back to let three past. There are two more marinas, north and south of this one, they're more modern, but cost more and are both quite a way out of town, whereas this one is right by the city centre and what's more, is a lovely old well established one with beautiful buildings, 30's style, in the form of ocean liners. 

We were just about to start reversing out when we were relieved to see the Marinero nipping out to greet us in his RIB. He showed us to a hammerhead  not far from the entrance, took our mooring line and even helped us put on our springs. 

Ok, some explanations for non sailors: 
Mediterranean style mooring: where you go stern to the pontoon, which have no fingers coming out from them to tie the sides of your boat to, and you have your bow moored via a rope to a chain running parallel to the pontoon.
Marinero: chappy or chappess who the marina employ to help you with all things nautical
RIB: Rigid Inflatable Boat, they have a rigid bottom but inflatable top part, so are squashy when they hit things. Marineros  buzz around in them, they have an outboard motor, guiding you, delivering things, and even using them a bit like tugs to take a line or push your stern around and so on.
Hammerhead: the cross piece on the end of a pontoon, easy to moor up to, you just motor alongside and jump off on to it.
Springs: Nope, we don't have springs to bounce us off the pontoon, nor springs on our boots to pogo around the town! Springs are the mooring lines that stop you moving backwards and forwards along the pontoon. You put them on after you've got your fore and aft lines on.

Once we got settled we realised the something was going on on shore, there was what sounded like a running commentary going on over a loudspeaker and the sound of music playing. We walked up the pontoon to find... a Gas Gas stall, followed by a KTM stall, followed by a Red Bull stand, followed by a tyre stall and a makeshift clinic offering massage and physio! There was an urban sports festival in full swing: the biggest skateboard ramp I've ever seen, and a second competition area full of little ramps and half pipes and jumps and rails and such; a huge BMX area with big stands for people to watch from; a trials course, for push bikes and motor bikes; a free running area with obstacles and raised platforms to jump from and, to top it all, mad motor cycles jumping american trucks!

It was brilliant. Guys on BMXs were coming flying off ramps, spinning the bike beneath them, landing and scrubbing off speed by skidding the rear tyre sideways then flying up and round a near vertical wall... The free running boys were like jack in the boxes, they seemed to have springs in their heels, doing somersaults and flips as they dropped from ridiculous heights, rolling as they hit the ground then doing a hand spring onto their feet again before flowing over the obstacles or diving and rolling over lines of curled up people. The skateboarders seemed to have glued their boards to their feet as they flew up, turned and managed to land back on the board again. The concentration, incredible balance and pure physical energy that the trials riders had was marvellous to watch - I wanna try!

For the motorbike jumping the Spanish had made an attempt at health and safety: they had a few hay bales along a 40cm high stone step that ran alongside the jump and in a couple in front of lamp posts and a crowd barrier was in place to keep back the people - it must have been, oh, all of 10 feet from the landing ramp. And that was only so the bikes had room to ride back to the launch ramp after they had landed. I must admit it was pretty exciting standing so close, my heart was in my mouth so many times as they let go of handle bars, turned somersaults, swung their legs from left to right, all  in mid air, but we were able to retire on deck where we had a fine uninterrupted view at a slightly safer distance. It's not often you can watch motorbikes perform from the comfort of your own boat, nor do you often get to walk past bike stalls and trials arenas and BMX displays when you pop to the loo or the shower!

In the evening music played quite late and the 'yoof' were around having a good time well past the small hours, but as Phil remarked, sitting on deck listening to the hubbub at 5 in the morning, there were no fights or swearing or bad atmosphere, it was all good spirited, people a little drunk and happy, some singing, just a background sound track of people having a good time. No aggro at all a credit to the Spanish.