Aldan to Isla de Salvora 42:28.0 N 09:05.0W

SV Jenny
Alan Franklin/Lynne Gane
Sat 9 Aug 2014 08:50
Dear Family and Friends,
Friday 8th August

I am doing a batch of diary entries today to catch up with itinerary! Leaving Aldan in the mist, sailing NNw we arrived some time time around 1pm, at Isla de Salvora, also shrouded in mist. Alberto, Alfredo’s son, arrived to take us ashore. As a national park access is limited and controlled. Unfortunately as we were about to set off the heavens opened and it poured for a good half an hour. We debated where to go but felt others had put much effort into arranging this for us, so we should.

The island is a mixture of rounded granite boulders, at times the shapes reminded me of a Henry Moore sculpture, trees, wild flowers and scrubland, sea bird colonies, rabbits and wild horses. I am guessing the horses were introduced through human occupation. As with so many of these rocky outcrops it has a lighthouse. In days before GPS sailing along this coast at night, you would have needed to pay close attention to the light sequences, all different, to identify which lighthouse you could see as there are so many of them. A small breakwater protects the smallest quay, overlooked by a “palace” and a tiny church. These buildings belonged to the owner of the island who would spend sometime here in the summer. A small village of granite cottages, now abandoned, supported some 70 people, farming the land, growing maize, potatoes, onions, fruit and vegetables, rearing chickens, cows and pigs and fishing in the local waters. It must have been a simple and stark life, amazingly only ending in 1970. The villagers would ‘pay’ rent to the owner in produce which was shipped away from the island. Like all backwaters the relative harshness of this life and a big rental rise saw off the last inhabitants. It stands in ruins, glimpses of the old life still visible in the granite hearths, bread ovens, salting tanks to preserve the pork and possibly fish as well, dressers fashioned from bricks, collapsing shutters to the windows, granite sinks with a sea view, these cottages were small, always a kitchen and then 1 or possibly more rooms for larger family. Little sanitation or none. These cottages gathered around a rectangular yard, combined living with the farm yard buildings beside them. A walled garden might have held animals or have been a cottage garden. With no running water in the cottages, it had to be fetched from a spring which still runs with water filtered through the granite beneath our feet. Walled fields, a kiln for firing tiles and 2 large granite pans for washing clothes, are testament to a forgotten lifestyle. Behind the cottages were more of the rat proof store houses made of granite and some 4' off the floor, (oreos is what they are called, but undoubtably not how you spell it.)

We were also very lucky to have a geologist in our rally who gave a very interesting talk on the rocks and their formation. It is testament to him that we were all listening in the torrential rain! Happily it brightened up.

Now we are heading for the marina at Peubla del Caraminal in the ria de Arose, it is raining again but on the bright side we have been invited to Ed and Sue’s boat Angel Louise for drinks, so I have baked some cheese shortbreads on passage, to take with us.

Thats all for now folks, all our best wishes Lynne, Alan and Derek