Flashing yellow

Nick Mines
Thu 11 Jun 2015 08:44

43 32.418N 007 02.183W

Thursday 11th June 2015

As expected we had to motor for the remainder of the crossing in light winds through a lumpy sea left over from the unexpected gale.

With the prevalence of AIS to identify shipping it is easy to be lulled into watch-keeping from the screen but a couple of incidents re-enforced the need to continue to use MKI eyeball as well.  Early evening, I spotted a large coil of rope floating on the surface about 30m abeam of us. Hejira is actually fitted with a rope cutter on the propeller shaft which may have dealt with the situation but contact is certainly best avoided in the same way it is best not to test the air bags in your car!

The other incident was encountered before dawn this morning on our approach to Ribadeo. I spotted a number of vessels not transmitting an AIS signal but showing flashing yellow lights. According to the ‘Collision Regs’ these should be hovercraft but half a dozen, off the coast of Spain? Hmm don’t think so. Assuming this is some sort of code for a type of fishing activity, the Almanac and pilot book were consulted but couldn’t help and even ‘Captain Cooke’ was at a loss. By that time I had already given them a very wide berth.

Incidentally, while on the subject of AIS, if anyone has been monitoring our progress through the tracking apps, we will have disappeared for a couple of days. This is not because we have sunk or been abducted by aliens, we have simply been out of range on our crossing from Royan. AIS works on the VHF frequency and has a limited range so once we were about 60 miles from the repeating shore station, we will have disappeared.

It was strange that we could smell the land before we could see our destination. I could only describe it as resembling cow dung, Dave was slightly more refined saying it reminded him of silage.

Description: Description: C:\Users\NickM\Pictures\Sailing\2015\01 Portsmouth to Spain\Small blog photos\m_11 001.jpg

We passed under an impressive road bridge as the sun broke through having logged 279 miles from Royan. We arrived in the marina at 0920 and were greeted by a helpful ‘Marinero’ beckoning us onto the first hammerhead inside the entrance. Too early for a ‘dirty beer’, it will have to be a dirty coffee and croissant.