43:15.6N 08:57.8W Corunna to Corme

Mon 29 Jun 2015 15:46
With hand bilge pump fixed we have discovered the black water tank macerator pump needs to be self priming as it has to suck air before the effluent gets to it (I wouldn’t be a bwt pump!) and ours is not that kind of pump, so maybe that’s why it has never worked! You say, “ but any decent engineer would have told you that”, so why haven’t they I ask. We’ll get it fixed one fine day.
Near to us on the other side of the main pontoon is where little boats, in particular motor pleasure boats, are kept. A grandfather spends time with his grandchildren, they are crab fishing, he has a couple of lines out over the stern and is using his hunting knife to lever muscles off the waterline of the pontoon floats. Now that’s resourceful and they might have a nice fruit de mer for supper.
27th June. On this coast the mariner seems to experience either high winds or no wind and fog. When Peter and I left in Autumn of Arun there was not enough wind to make waves and black sharks fins circled threateningly. A cheery fisherman called “Vigo next then?” No, we had to say, home to England. But today things are different and we are certainly heading in the direction of Vigo.
In the early misty morning we made our way out of friendly, vibrant Corunna using bearing lines and the transit of two white towers to our right. As soon as they were in line we turned to head along a bearing north of the Hercules Tower one 290’. Then round a little to the west for the Islas Salidas and then downhill all the way to Corme.
About 100 years ago a fine British Schooner was making her way home when a few days out from the Lizard she was hit by a terrible storm from the North. All her sails were blown out and, presumably for lack of an engine, she was blown under bare poles right across the Biscay and fetched up in Corme, where she rotted away on her own lines. An English couple next to us in Corunna had a similar experience. They bought their 32 foot yacht in Canada, sailed her to the Azores and proceeded to sail  around there in the summer months for a few years. Earlier this year they set sail for the the UK and the same happened, but they reduced sail and gave up the idea of the channel in such bad weather and ended up, unscathed, in Corunna, from where they will have another attempt at a home coming later this year.
So despite this granite Iberian coast being known as the Costa del Morte, as indeed it was for many engineless ships in an onshore gale, there are numerous inlets, rias, bays and now harbours and marinas in which desperate mariners can seek safety and enjoy the care and friendliness of the locals as indeed we did.
Now I have always thought Rob to be a mild mannered gentleman, a kinder person than I am, not easily angered by trivial provocations (not all mine) but that changed when the 7th yacht overtook us in the days fickle offering of wind. “Where’s the f...ing wind when you want it?” and “Why won’t the sails set properly Barbs?” I gently reasoned they were of lighter build than us, and you can bet your bottom dollar their tanks have nothing like the capacity of ours, which are full. To say nothing of the cans of peas and beans. And in which vessel would you rather be caught out in a gale?
Mercifully we closed Corme and dropped anchor outside the area of viveros, floating muscle farms with vertical anchor chains at each of their four corners, and just off a beautiful sandy beach. 3 metre waves were breaking on the rocks a short distance behind us but we trusted Zoonie’s anchor would hold. We buried it with a quick burst astern after gently reversing to lay the chain along the seafloor. Anchoring is increasingly being frowned upon by environmentalists as the chain effectively loosens all plant life on the seabed when the vessel moves with the changing tide.
A sole wet-suited swimmer crawls right across from the beach, behind us, to the harbour wall and back twice, as we surge back and forth with the remains of Atlantic rollers heaving gently into the bay.
Choices, choices, Rob says “Either we can pump up the dinghy and row ashore for supper, or stay here, supp on board and open a bottle of champagne to celebrate our first anchorage of the trip?” Well you know what I chose don’t you.
The next morning we pumped up the dinghy and motored in to a patch of sand beside a slipway and as we walked away from the dinghy an elderly local told us, in gesticulations, that the tide would lift the dinghy onto the rocks and we should leave it on the slip. We thanked him and did just that. Phew, lifting the dinghy’s ok but with the motor you can imagine who’s side was higher!
The walk out to the lighthouse on Punta del Roncudo took about 35 minutes and was welcome exercise. Back in town we had a drink in the harbourside bar and then motored  back to Zoonie. The afternoon was spent on the beach, sun-bathing, exploring and generally relaxing.
Today we had a short brisk sail around to Camarinas. It was here, last year that along with four other yachts in the rally we sort refuge from the gale which lasted 4 days. Under a cloudless blue sky and 32’ of heat it certainly looks different today.