Heading For Spain

Alan & Mary Phypers
Sat 4 Sep 2010 09:59

Well after further research on La Rochelle it seems the repairs to the marina are behind schedule plus the La Rochelle boat show starts on 15th September so it is getting even busier with exhibitors starting to arrive.  They have apparently so far replaced 6km of pontoons which give a sense of the scale of the damage!


We have therefore decided much as we wanted to visit La Rochelle this is not the best time to do it and it will still be there for another day.  Added to this the weather is set to be fair for the next couple of days before a depression comes through so it seems like a good time to cross the infamous Bay of Biscay!!!


Having sailed every day recently we therefore decided to have a day off yesterday and hired bikes, the thing to do on Ile d’Yeu where they far outnumber the cars.  We had a lovely day cycling around the whole island which has dirt tracks for bikes around the whole perimeter, it was absolutely beautiful and gave us a chance to exercise our legs rather than our arms for a change.


We are slightly wary of leaving France where we now feel very at home and Mary at least can now speak French reasonably well, and Alan can confidently ask for pain au raisins in the boulangerie for Spain where particularly on the north coast it is less geared up for sailing and we speak very little Spanish.  I am sure once we arrive, however, it will be fine and reading the Spanish phrase book it is starting to come back to me.


We were planning to go to Santander first but as this would be about 36 hours there is a risk if we leave early in the morning we would arrive in the dark if we don’t maintain our speed.  We have therefore decided to head further west to Gijon which has a nice looking marina and to take two nights so arriving early Monday morning.  There are lots of lovely looking harbours along the north coast but most don’t have marinas and seem to either require fender boards and ladders for the harbour wall, neither of which we have, or asking to moor up against a fishing boat which until our Spanish improves is also a bit daunting.  I’m sure once we get there this will all seem fine but for now we are playing it safe.


The winds are forecast to be light and most forecasts have them from the north or east although some say southerly so not sure who to believe.  Either way at force 3 we will probably need the engine which Alan is currently topping up with oil in anticipation.  So fingers crossed the weather stays fine and we leave at 14.00 when the fuel pontoon opens.