Gunkholing in Gaicia

Ananda's blog
Keith and Stella Myerson
Fri 8 Oct 2010 17:21

42:15.41N 8:42.36W

Friday 8thth October 2010

There could be no doubt it was heading our way.  Dark and rather sinister looking, the craft abruptly changed course and sped in a sweeping arc directly towards us, so fast that its bow wave appeared from amidships.  We held a steady course and waited anxiously.  Before long, we could make out the uniformed crew on deck preparing for boarding and placing fenders along their starboard side.  And they were certainly not smiling.

We were heading across Ria Arosa, where we had been sheltering from some bad weather.  A rather vicious ‘low’ had tracked in from the Atlantic with steadily increasing winds and heavy rain.  At first we had stayed alone at anchor in the bay off Muros, but the swell was increasing and locals warned of worse to come. So we were sailing on our way to a more protected position in the new marina at Portosin, and it was then that we spotted our uninvited visitors on the distant horizon.


The patrullero

(photographed a few days later on a return visit in better weather)



The Commandante and crew of the patrullero ‘Aguila V’ were unfailingly polite but insistent, despite my concerns of the risks involved in coming alongside in a swell.  They manoeuvred their craft skilfully, depositing two crew with non-nautical footwear on our teak decks.  After examining our paperwork, they completed a form in triplicate which was duly signed by all parties and given an official Ministerio de Hacienda  stamp.  Refusing our offers of hospitality, they managed to relax a little before transferring back to their craft with the same dexterity, then sped off at full throttle to seek more lucrative prey.

At anchor in Muros 




Wind and an increasing swell maybe, but there’s no stopping Stellie once she’s decided that now is the perfect time to refit and paint the anchor locker! Everything is hauled onto deck, buckets of soapy water thrown everywhere, then much scrubbing and sanding before covering anything not moving in grey paint.  That’s my excuse for being so grey!


When the depression arrived at Portosin, the force of the wind took everyone by surprise.  Passing directly overhead, it produced a wind shift of 90 degrees in a matter of minutes and the wind blew harder still.   We measured 50 knots across the decks, storm force 10, although local newspapers reported gusts of up to 140 km/hr and some local boats were damaged.  ‘Ananda’, weighing-in at over 30 tons, was heeled hard over against the (fortunately) strongly built pontoon.  But despite a one-metre swell in the marina, we got off lightly by tripling some mooring lines and using spring shock absorbers.


Still more bad weather here in Vigo, and so our rather late season cruise along the beautiful Rias of Galicia is becoming more prolonged (more details to follow soon).  Hopefully things will eventually improve sufficiently for us to head south to Portugal, but meanwhile there is plenty to do.  Along the lines of the cruising philosophy ‘mending things in interesting places’, we have had great fun with the washing machine – an unreliable beast even if not surrounded by sea water and  thrown about in a small boat.  The diagnosis was tricky - the dryer element had shorted to earth and thrown our safety trips. But treatment was even harder, as corrosion had made it impossible to fix, helped by a misplaced screwdriver through a gasket (oops!).  So we have admitted defeat, and yesterday we ordered a new one from the appropriately named El Corte Ingles store. 

Some you lose.