I said we'd be on our way by 10.30 or 11.00. Alex
took the long view and said I had previous form when it comes to 'mending' things, and predicted 1 o' clock. In the end, we
puttered out of a sun drenched harbour in Gijon at 3.30 in the afternoon. It took that long to locate the necessary fuel filter,
replace it and get the system running again. I
smelt like a garage forecourt as we left.
But the sun was bright and the swell was low -
nothing like the day of our arrival in Gijon. We slipped out past two enormous ships berthed alongside the monstrous conrete
commercial port and headed north to round the Cabo Penas - Cape Woe. We cleared it doing about 4 knots in a very gentle wind, with
mountains rising 2000 metres behind the coast -
some with snow on them.
We had a Sunday ashore, unable to do any of the
repair work because shops were closed. We melted in amongst crowds of locals promenading along the sea front and thronging cider
bars above the port. The local brew has to be poured from a bottle held above the head into a glass held below the waist. This
ensures that the street and your clothes get
maximum exposure to the cider, while the minimum actually lands in the glass.
People would use a communal glass, neck
two-thirds of their cider in one and throw the rest on the street. When we
tasted it, we could really understand why people
made sure that so much ended on the cobbles. It tasted like window
With an airy promise of fish for supper, I stuck
the trolling line out with a curious orange minnow 'chugger' on the end. We could see quite big fish jumping out of the water
as we went, but they all seemed to studiously avoid the lure. We got the spinnaker up in a lame attempt to squeeze a bit more
speed out of the force 2-3 wind we had astern.
And just as we sheeted home the chute, Alex mentioned casually that the fishing
reel had been clicking out for several
I leapt to the fisherman's seat, facing aft and
began to reel in. It was at times hard work and at others surprisingly easy. Suddenly the whole rig darted off to the
right, tugging hard, and we knew we were into a big beast. He came in closer and closer while Alex fumbled for a net. She
pulled out the plastic handled shrimp net that
measures about 4 inches by 4 that was part (only part!) of my leaving present
from Dairy UK. Thanks chaps! We could only fit
the fish's tail into the net, so we had to haul him out on the
We don't have a fish book onboard, so free rein is
given to classification. I reckon he was a small tuna - powerfully built and firm fleshed. Alex errs on the side of a large
mackerel. I think they're the same family, but for the record, we're calling it a small tuna. He weighed about 3 to 4
pounds and tasted pretty good with garlic, parsley and lemon. My eau de diesel scent has been replaced by parfum de
Now we're in Luarca, where we had meant to arrive
by mid afternoon yesterday. It's a fishing village about 40 miles west of Gijon. This meant we arrived in darkness, following a
series of lights into the harbour, where we are the only boat to be moored up in the visitors area. Locals were fishing with
rods off the breakwater at midnight when we
arrived, and willingly took our stern line to make fast to a bollard. Being
exhausted, I didn't inspect the knot so it could
be a double granny, but it seems to have held the night.
We'll toddle round the village then set off for
neighbouring Ribadeo this afternoon. tough life...