Safely in Spain

Ananda's blog
Keith and Stella Myerson
Sun 19 Sep 2010 23:10

43:07.59N 9:10.92W

Monday 20th September 2010


After a quiet crossing of Biscay, we were surprised this morning to be surrounded by a fleet of perhaps 50 fishing boats.   Viewed against a grey dawn, they looked like giant insects with their enormous outriggers.  But we were still over 50 miles from land - why were they all here?  A quick peek at the chart soon explained their presence.  We were sailing over the edge of the continental shelf, where the depth of the water changes precipitously from over 4 miles to only 100 metres or so.  Presumably, upwelling currents here provide an abundant feeding ground for fish, with rich pickings for fishermen.



So many fishermen might mean less fish for cetaceans, but this certainly did not appear to be a problem on Stella’s birthday.  With perfect timing, a large school of common dolphins arrived just after Stella had opened her birthday present - a new camera.  They spent the entire day and most of the night playing in Ananda’s bow wave, delighting in performing acrobatics, leapfrogging over each other and, every so often, turning on their sides to look up at us through the crystal clear water.  Each animal seemed to have its own distinct personality and many sported a range of scars, possibly from injuries sustained by propellers or even fishing nets.



As we head southwards, the air is becoming noticeably warmer.  Despite being covered by a crust of salt from butting into the short channel seas, Ananda now feels drier, and so the night watches are becoming more comfortable. 

The VHF radio provides an interesting window on the world.  One skipper sounded most irate and indignant that another ship had passed too close to his own.  So how do yachtsmen on tiny boats feel in the same situation?  When about to be run down by a supertanker, I usually try and call up the ship on VHF, hoping a little polite conversation might wile away some time before drowning.  Not all reply, despite the use of a lot of technology to call them directly both by name and by callsign.  Are their radios turned on?  Or are they too busy on the bridge doing their internet shopping?

Now it’s dusk, the moon has already risen, and we are preparing for another night at sea.  We are sailing over a ‘submarine exercise area’, whatever that is.  I suppose if you don’t exercise your submarines regularly, they must get pretty unhealthy.  Still another 25 miles to go before we arrive at Camarinas, on the north western tip of Spain, for a little rest and paella. 

Just over 4 days non-stop from Eastbourne and another 700 miles on the log – not too bad.

Buenas noches, mi amigos.