Tue 25 Jun 2013 18:26
It was noon on Sunday before I lifted my head from the soft clutches of the
pillow and joined the rest of the crew enjoying breakfast in the cockpit. A
glorious blue sky and the warmth of the sun immediately felt on my pale
northern European arms. With the wind still strong and the swell jostling
Pamarzi against her fenders we sought approval to move from our visitors
berth to a pontoon in a more sheltered spot. We were granted a place just
across from a full sized replica of the Pinta. The vessel used by Columbus
for his epic voyage. Once securely moored in our new location we connected
our shore power leads and cooled the interior of the boat to a blissful 16C.
Once Pamarzi had been thoroughly washed down the remaining afternoon hours
were spent with some exploring the charming little town of Baiona and others
(me!) sorting out internet connections and catching up with emails.
That evening we dined in the marble and pine clad halls of the Monte Real
Club de Yates. Surrounded by brass plated honour boards celebrating the
victories of notable offshore races. One board was dedicated to the
Lymington to Baiona race. Amongst the winners was in 2002 the renowned Piet
Vroon with whom Rob sailed on that notable occasion. We were served
disappointingly average food by a charming Spanish lady whose smile never
left her face. Back across the gently swaying pontoons to the boat for a
night punctuated by loud music and even louder fireworks doubtless in
celebration of one of the many Saints whose exploits ( real or imagined)
have resulted in this town closing for a holiday tomorrow.
We were up and about respectably promptly on Monday morning and after
breakfast and boat chores we each set about to amuse ourselves in various
ways. Rob to explore on foot, Ryan in thoughtful study aboard and Lynn
busying herself with domestic matters. Releasing my bicycle from its
entombment in the lazerette I headed South on the coast road. After four or
five miles I felt my leg muscles relax in their efforts. I hadn't lost it
and I started to enjoy the smooth road, warm breeze, 15 to 25 miles per hour
pace and steady heart rate that allowed me to enjoy the Atlantic ocean to my
right and wooded mountainous slopes to my left. After ten miles or so,
intrigued by a small, rust stained, shot gun pellet pock marked sign
indicating a road that wound sinuously up the mountainside to a village
where presumably the pock markers lived, I turned off the velvet asphalt of
the coast road and started climbing.
Sheltered by grassy, wild flower filled banks and green clumps of shrubbery
it was quite, no traffic here, just the bleat of an occasional goat and
drone of an insect or two passing on their pollen centric way. A gecko raced
soundlessly across the dusty, sand coloured road in front of me. Further and
higher a slumbering snake warming his blood in the sun slithered away into
the under growth at the sound of my tyres crunching on the pale ochre
gravel. Higher still, heart rate rising to become the dominant feature in my
ascent I crossed a stone bridge spanning a small boulder strewn river. Were
there fish hiding in the dark pools between those smooth and rounded rocks?
The village closer now. Either side of the road cool clear water burbled and
chuckled in stone culverts a couple of feet wide and the same deep
irrigating the bijou mountainside fields of sweet corn, tomatoes and
courgettes separated by fruit trees, miniature peaches and nectarines
already set in the branches. In the village nothing stirred, perhaps the
good Catholics of this place to had indulged in the reverie of the previous
night. A sleeping dog its coat similar in colour to that of the road raised
its head and yawned revealing red jowls and tannin stained teeth, the only
movement in this somnambulant hamlet. Beyond the dozing canine a junction,
forking left, northwards and downwards towards the coast. A handful of
joyous downhill miles later I joined the main highway at the moment a
peleton of club riders passed. Tanned, sinuous calves, Lycra clad buttocks,
vivid, scarlet club jerseys and expressionless faces behind dark curving
Oakleys. I increased their number, we raced into town me jubilant in (at
least for a few miles) being able to match their pace.
Back at the boat showered and lunched Ryan joined me in discovering how to
free our tender (no longer is dinghy good enough) from the clutches of its
wire hawsers, belly bands and lines (without of course reading the manual).
We succeeded and lowered her silently on powered davits to the water where
she lay close to our transom, white leather seating, small white wheel,
potent looking tungsten coloured Honda engine. Only three knots in the bay
around the marina but once beyond its limits with throttle pressed she
lifted onto a plane and skimmed across the blue rippling waters to the beach
on the northern side. Lynn next, Ryan alongside as tutor confidence was
Evening saw us in a shady square enjoying beers and people passing, jousting
with our repartee, what fun. Back to Pamarzi and pasta in the softly lit
cockpit, quieter tonight now that the Saint has been suitably honoured.
Cheese and wine and lots more talk, washing up done berths beckoned.
We all lay late the following morning till sun drenching our cabins stir us
from our slumbers. Our pace hastening after breakfast readying and
provisioning for today we leave for Portugal and Cascais.
Roger, Lynn, Rob and Ryan