Having moored out side the town we went ashore in the morning to replenish stocks at the local supermarket, stopping off on our way back to lunch on octopus and calamari rolls. We really fell in love with this little town, with it’s unspoilt simplicity.

Muros by day

Muros by day

Having looked at the weather forecast for the evening, we decided to move across to the other side of the bay to be more sheltered. Winding the chain up is good exercise, but I can’t wait for the anchor windlass to be mended!

We put a tripping buoy out, as there were reports of foul holding, but the buoy was floating a couple of metres under the water and a potential hazard to other yachts, so I got my cozzie and goggles on and, after getting my breath back once the shock of the cold water passed, I dived down to tie a length of line around the buoy with a small fender attached to it.

With help and guidance from Marcus, warm and dry in the dinghy!, the new anchor buoy was in place and I was safely back aboard!

Knowing that we were likely to get gusts of up to force 9, we decided to drop our second anchor, on warp, to hang just under the bow and stop us shearing away as much. Great idea in theory, but not something we will not do again in a hurry………
In the morning, we decided to set off early and head for Sant Xuxia to meet up with Loic and Marie, who had leap frogged ahead of us and were going to wait for us. When we came to lift the CQR that we had dropped on a short line, we found out the main anchor chain had wrapped itself around the anchor and was stuck fast.
After a lot of hauling on warp and attachment of ropes to take the strain and straining on the ropes we’d attached,….. we managed to extricate the CQR and safely stow it.
When it came to winding in the 50m of anchor chain, we found it had fouled on about 10 meters of heavy ground tackle……. So two hours later than planned, we set off to meet ‘Maloiva’.

We had a great sail to Ria Arousa (no comment needed!)sailing at 7knts with half the main out and the stay sail. We saw loads of dolphins. They seem to like our additional speed and clean bottom.

Dangling my toes to try and entice a dolphin to come closer!!

Dangling my toes to try and entice a dolphin to come closer!!

At about 1600 we rounded the headland and saw a single yacht waiting for us.

'Maloiva' waiting for us

‘Maloiva’ waiting for us

As soon as we had anchored Loïc and Marie came across for a glass of wine and to invite us over for dinner…..what a great welcome. We spent a lovely evening with them and will no doubt see them further down south in Portugal.

 

We have had real trouble with the anchor windlass. After Roger and Margaret left for Vigo, we eventually decided on the course of action needed to get the anchor motor and gearbox out to see what is wrong with it…….we had to cut a hole in the top of the chain locker to allow the gearbox to drop off it’s spindle and the whole assembly to then follow. The problem is that when the new motor was fitted about 15 years ago, they cut a hole, put the new winch in, boarded it up and then fiberglassed the board firmly in place.

Dremel Man in action

Dremel Man in action

Once again Marcus swung into action with his dremmel and after about 10 hours work, we managed to drop the heavily corroded miscreant down through the deck. Thank you again Ian for steering us towards the ‘wonder tool’ that is the dremel!
On Wednesday, after spending a couple of hours searching the Internet for quotes for a lift, scrub off, anti foul and relaunch, we asked at the office here if they could give us a quote and found they were going to beat all the prices we had researched, so we arranged to be lifted out on Thursday.
We went to see the Boatyard manager and he was struggling in English to explain the charges and what we would have to do and when. I realised he was throwing in the odd German word so I unpacked my rusty, but still serviceable Deutsch and we were sorted! I knew that French and Spanish would be useful on our travels, but thought my German skills would never be used.
It was a heart pounding experience watching our pride and joy, our home, our passport to the world… being lifted up on the travel hoist.

A nervous few minutes as she swayed a bit in the slings

A nervous few minutes as she swayed a bit in the slings

On the way back in with newdark blue bottom

On the way back in with newdark blue bottom

Once in place and chocked, the Boatyard manager was nervous about leaving us just on the cradle, so decided to leave us in the slings for the night, anti foul in the morning and put us back in in the afternoon. That suited us, because living on board on the hard means trotting up and down a ladder for the loo and not using the sinks onboard, plus we’ve got used to her moving and don’t sleep so well when ‘the life’ has gone out of her.
Once back in the water we moored briefly to get the back stays refitted

I was on the end of the winch ..... such trust!!

I was on the end of the winch ….. such trust!!

and to visit with Barbara and Cormac on ‘Island Life’ an Island Packet. Cormac has done a lot of single handed sailing over the years and has been everywhere. They now keep their boat here, conveniently placed for the airport and flights to and from Ireland .. these are the people we met on the first day who had lived in Waterford.
And so back to Muros to anchor for the night.

Saturday 17.08.13

We left Corme at 9.15 in fog, ready for our passage around Finisterre.

Leaving Corme

Leaving Corme

We decided to head out far enough to give us ‘sea room’, in case the conditions worsened, and found the fog a lot thinner the further we went out.
Lots more dolphins came to play and I got some video of them on the iPad, unfortunately I haven’t got the right connections to transfer it yet…. perhaps that’s a good thing as Marcus can be heard muttering in the background and I sound like an over excited leprechaun! .

After we seemed to be clear of dolphins, we let out the fishing line to try and catch dinner. Unfortunately, just after Marcus had gone down for a nap and I was sunning myself on the foredeck, I heard the line begin to whizz…….we’d caught something!

I’m a complete ‘wuss’ when it comes to reeling in a flapping fish, so I had to go and wake the Master Fisherman. On the way I glanced back at the line and found we hadn’t caught a fish, but a sea gull. The poor thing was flapping in vain some 100 meters behind us. Marcus managed to reel it in to the boat and lift it out of the water in the catch net

We won't be trailing mackerel spinners again!
We won’t be trailing mackerel spinners again!

…..it had the line caught around its leg and although it was still alive, it was clear that it wasn’t going to survive, so Marcus did the most humane thing and ‘dispatched’ it swiftly.

Meanwhile I was totally useless and had fled to the front of the boat and took brief peeks (and a photo) of the Gull Garotter and his catch.

As we approached Finisterre, the fog began to lift and we could see that there were other boats out there in the fog!

Finisterre appearing out if the fog

Finisterre appearing out if the fog

We arrived in the Ria de Muros at 1930 and dropped anchor well away from the ‘foul ground’ mentioned in the almanac.

Entering Muros

Entering Muros

Muros is an old fishing town with stone colonnaded buildings and narrow stone paved streets, that wind and cross each other and open out into small squares. For all you Yachties …. It is one of the best little towns that we have been to and well worth a visit. The anchorage was on the deep side, but in sand and the access at the town slip was easy for the dinghy. I wish I had more photos!

The square we stopped in for a drink

The square we stopped in for a drink

Sunday

After lunch at the local Mac’s……..

Murso's own Mac's

Muros’ own Mac’s

………..we wound up the 55 meters of anchor chain we had out by hand and headed across the bay to Portosin to moor up in a marina while the strong winds forecasted blow through.

We arrived to a cacophony of rockets booming and sirens and horns blaring ……. how did they know we were coming???

It turns out that it was St Carmel’s day and all the fishing fleet were ‘dressed’ and local boats, of all shapes and sizes, were gathering for a trip around the bay to bless the waters. We quickly hoisted our St George’s pennant to join in the spirit of the occasion and  give it it’s first airing……(must get some more flags!)

The flag we bought in Quimper

St George we bought in Quimper

The flotilla heading off for the blessing

The  ‘dressed’ flotilla heading off for the blessing

St Carmel and her boys returning after a hard evenings blessing

St Carmel and ‘her boys’ returning after a hard evening’s blessing

We have met up with some other  boats, moored on the our pontoon, flying the Cruising Association burgee, … Margaret and Roger on ‘Magnetic Attraction’ a 41′ Premier Steel deck saloon, and John, Colin and James on ‘Kika’, a 38′ 1976 Rival.

This is just another case of coincidences….. back in January,  at the Jimmy Cornell talk, Marcus  sat next to Roger and I  sat next to John. There were over 100 people at the talk and we all sat at the same table and are now on the same pontoon in Portosin! We are all bound in the same direction so will definitely meet again.

In the evening we set off towards the town, with Roger and Margaret, to get something to eat. We sat down at 2315 and were served our meal at 0010, just as Carmel’s firework display started, right in front of the restaurant. We were sitting outside and had half an hour’s free entertainment and an excellent meal. We’re still adjusting to eating so late in the evening.

Monday

The day was spent trying to get to grips with the anchor winch and Marcus welcomed the advice and help Roger gave him.
Roger has spent the last 10 years readying their boat for the cruise, so he has been extremely helpful diagnosing the probable problem with the anchor windlass and helping with suggestions for the extricating of the motor from the deck locker.

Marcus bowing to Roger's superior knowledge!

Marcus bowing to Roger’s superior knowledge!

The problem seems to be that the gear box worm has gone…… whoosh over my head! I’ve heard of worms turning, but not going……and if gone….where to? Anyway the upshot is, we have got to cut a hole under the motor to drop it down into the chain locker before it can be stripped and then, hopefully, it’s worm will return.

 

 

Friday 16.08.13

Whether it was the wine the night before or the fact we are becoming rather blasé about these coastal hops, we somehow managed to cast off before re-attaching the wheel! A little hasty adjustment and we were away, bound for Corme

Leaving La Coruna

Leaving La Coruna

The sea was silky smooth and there was very little wind, so we hoisted the main to steady us in the Atlantic swell and motored our way towards Corme.

The sea was so calm that Marcus decided he would start to look at the anchor windlass that has failed, so with his Chief Engineer’s hat on (and dungarees), he spent some time with his head down the deck locker at the bow.

Bob the Builder, make way for Marcus the Mechanic!

Bob the Builder, make way for Marcus the Mechanic!

We saw a couple of sharks and lots of pods of dolphins, some came to play in our bow wave and some ignored us and carried on their way.
Have you ever thought about how dolphins sleep??! We did…..and found out that they shut one eye and the other half of their brain sleeps, so as they lazily make their way they really could be half asleep!

A pod that came to play

A pod that came to play. Always exciting!!

As we neared the shore and were sure there were no more dolphins about, we let the fishing line out in the vain hope of catching dinner. The sun was losing it’s heat as we approached Corme and a bank of fog followed us into harbour.

Corme

Corme

Just as we were approaching our anchorage, the fishing line began to pay out at speed. With the Captain at the wheel, there was nothing else for it, but for me to deal with the rod. While other anchored yachts looked on, I reluctantly reeled in our catch. I was curbing my instinct to run away when anything flapping comes near me and bravely hauled in our catch, which thankfully turned out to be some old rope. Not a profitable day’s fishing……must remember to reel in the line before entering port!

By the time we were anchored and ready to row ashore the fog was thick and a local man called for us to follow him to the best place to land the dinghy. After helping us to drag ‘the beast’ up the slip, he then came with us to show us where we could get something to eat. All this achieved with no english and very little spanish, but a lot of mime!

Such kindness from strangers is heart warming.

 

.

Thursday 16.08.13

We left Cedeira at mid day and set off for Coruna. A pretty uneventful motor sail,in beautiful sunshine, to arrive in La Coruna at 1630.

La Coruna

La Coruna

We decided to stay in Marina Coruna and were met on the pontoon by the Marina manager, who spoke flawless english with an irish accent. It turned out that he was Irish, but now spoke with a spanish accent, having been here for 10 years!!

Moored next to us were a couple, Lawrence and Ann on ‘Hecuba’ (a Beneteau 49), making their way down to the Canaries for the ARC. We were invited on board for a drink and as we got talking we found out they come from Sevenoaks! Yet another coincidence! We left with a present. An ‘surplus to requirements’ Muggie cup holder… a great little moulded tray for taking drinks safely up into the cockpit whilst at sea. The instant kindness and generosity of fellow voyagers never ceases to amaze us.

We walked up into the Old Town to find dinner and a supermarket. We found dinner in what looked to be a fairly classy restaurant. The standard fare was on the menu……chips with this, or chips with that!     Marcus can’t quite get his head around the fact that drinks are served in the can for you to pour and ice cream dessert is served in the ‘1 of 4’ tubs that have clearly come from the supermarket!!

After dinner we went into the impressive main square where they had free entertainment of Galician dance and music. There was a group of women in traditional dress who moved like Tiller Girls on castors, while a man with castanets leapt around like a demented bull fighter on speed. The crowd loved it.

 

 

Tuesday was a day of ‘doing the chores’. We took the bike ashore to get the washing, which has built up to two big bags full, to the laundry. The folding bikes are great for shopping and carrying weighty items. Anchoring often means a lengthy walk to the town.  Our miming is getting very good as we managed not only to get the washing dropped off, but also managed to find the phone shop and get a new sim card for the iPad. The final chore…..and it has been a chore…..was to get the boat insurance papers signed, scanned and sent off. Internet connections are varied, so we decided to fax them…..another successful Spanglish pantomime!

Wednesday.!5th August

Our first anniversary with Island Kea. Time has flown and we are still as delighted with her as we were when we got her last year. We are really living the dream and are blessed to have a boat like this to do it in.

Our Pride and joy

Our Pride and joy

Back to reality. ….The washing needed picking up.

“We’ll take the dinghy up the river. We can moor right next to the laundry” said Marcus. When we got near, the dinghy was touching bottom, so ‘someone’ decided that I should get out, paddle ashore, collect the washing (which you may remember was so heavy we needed the bike to get it to the laundry) and meet him by some steps back down stream.

After hefting the bags for half a mile along the esplanade in bare feet, I lumbered down the steps to the waiting dinghy. Poor Marcus, he must have been exhausted with all that sitting waiting for me to arrive!!
In the evening we went to a taverna we had spotted in the back streets of the old town Judging by the prices, we thought the menu must be for tapas, so we ordered three plates…. they turned out to be three main meals!!!  By skirting round the copious amount of chips on each plate, we managed to negotiate our way through to repletion!

Having seen our mistake, the man on the next table offered his help with the menu ….. a little too late, but a good entree for a chat. He told us a lot about the area and thought that Santiago Di Compostela might need more than one day …… we’ll see.

Our daily walk from the port to the town

Our daily walk from the port to the town

We seem to have arrived here at the start of their Fiesta.

On Friday there was a fun run with all ages and abilities taking part, and on Saturday there was a fun swim, again with all sorts taking part, swimming along the edge of the sea wall and up into the mouth of the river.

And they're off!

And they’re off!

A couple of swimmers had to be fished out, but most made it in their own time.

The bands and evening entertainment started on Monday.

We spent the day on the beach on Sunday……picnic, cool bag …..the full works! The cove we chose was full of people on Saturday, but we had the beach to ourselves for the whole afternoon…..

The beach Saturday

The beach Saturday…..

 

.....and Sunday

…..and Sunday

…………once we’d scared off the couple who thought it was theirs for the day!

On Monday we got to grips with the timing of the day. Shops open at 1000 until 1400 then close until 1700 when they open again until 2100. No wonder we found it hard to get a meal….we were looking at the wrong times! We discovered a Pulpa Bar (octopus) which has been set up in the middle of the town.

The Pulparia

The Pulparia

The octopus is boiled in a copper on the street and is some of the fastest food we’ve come across. It’s cut up to order and seasoned with chilli, rock salt and olive oil, served with crusty bread …..

Pulpa ..... Before and After

Pulpa ….. Before and After

………….delicious. We went back there again for lunch today.

In the evening, after spending a frustrating day trying to download insurance forms from the malfunctioning wifi at the Tourist Information office,

Internet access on a bench

Internet access on a bench

….we decided to hang around to see the entertainment in the main Plaza. There were lots of children in fancy dress all playing and enjoying themselves with little input from parents and no bad behaviour! Adults were sitting outside the far-too-many-to-count bars and cafes that line the plaza with no bad behaviour! A local band processed around the town and ended up outside the cafe we were sitting in.

The local band with drums on wheels

The local band with drums on wheels

The entertainment started at 2230 and went on until 0200.
Eat your heart out Adele……no 11pm curfew here!!

We didn’t know what to expect. At the sound check we thought maybe jazz, but as it turned out the first act started with an ABBA number and was a bit like a Butlins Red Coats act, with the performers trying a little too hard. There were 5 singers, who did a lot of frantic salsa-ish dancing which eventually got the crowd moving …….and a band of 10 musicians…..all of them sounded great when they played for their individual sound check, but the act was a bit cheesy and they spent a lot of time swaying rather than playing.

Unlike the toddlers and kids who were still going strong at midnight and awaiting the next acts, we had to admit defeat and made our way back to the boat.
We will get used to the split day……I think the key is to take a siesta in the afternoon to give us the stamina to last the evening!

On Tuesday we spent the day preparing for our trip across Biscay. The problem with stocking up with food is that we keep eating it!
We spent the afternoon cleaning the weed off the Hydrovane rudder, stowing everything securely below and I got out the old main sail from our first boat, St John II,  and experimented with using it as  a sun shade …..just I case it becomes unbearably hot in Spain!
At about six, the normal frenzy of boats jockeying for passage through the tidal lock to the inner harbour began and Marcus caught sight of ‘Lady Panache’ from the Hamble with Gerry and Debz on board making their way in. Needless to say we met up with them later on and spent the evening catching up over dinner.We met Gary and Penny, who had built their own boat and are sailing with Lady Panache. We managed to stick to our midnight curfew, despite having to ‘pass’ on a jazz bar on the quay.

Penny, Debz, Gez, M&M.....Gary was taking the photo!

Penny, Debz, Gez, M&M…..Gary was taking the photo!

Wednesday morning and a quick trip ashore to double check the weather and download the latest to ‘Weather Tracker’ an amazing app that you can plot your course overlaying the wind arrows. Depending on the average speed you enter in the course, the wizardry can show where you will be and with what strength and direction of winds at intervals along the course line.
Put simply, it means we can avoid bad weather further down the line! I’ll let you know if it works.
We left Belle Ile on Wednesday at 1115 and arrived here in Cedeira on Friday at 1630.
We managed to sail most of Wednesday and all day Thursday, but by Thursday evening we had to motor sail, as the wind died right down. En route we saw whales ‘blowing’ on the port side and a pod of dolphins passing to starboard, other than that we saw very few ships, no other yachts and only one lone sea bird until we got about 6 miles off shore.

Entering Cideira. A very welcome sight.

Entering Cideira. A very welcome sight.

We decided not to go all the way to La Coruna as it would have meant arriving just as it was getting dark. We are delighted with Cedeira (even though we are not quite sure how to pronounce it!). The mooring is very sheltered from the northerly winds that are due to pick up in the next few days and there is a sand dune backed white sandy beach in front of the town. We are at anchor and looking forward to exploring the area. We went into the town last night and landed in the middle of a local fun run. Great entertainment ‘people watching’ as we sat in the square having managed our first hurdle of ordering drinks. We are frantically trying to pick up some vital phrases ……. if only I’d taken those Spanish classes during the winter!!

We left Benodet and Sainte Marine on Friday morning bound for Ile de Groix

Sainte Marine

Sainte Marine

Benodet Beach

Benodet Beach

……but they didn’t have room for us there,  so we crossed back to the mainland and stopped over for the night in the over priced marina at Kerevel, Lorient. The only thing going for it was that it had a space big enough to take us. It is too far out of the town with few amenities and massively overpriced. Needless to say we moved on pretty swiftly in the morning.

We arrived here in Le Palais on Belle Ile on Friday (2.08.13) after a great sail over …… we were zipping along, fairly close hauled, at 7/8 knots.

We followed this beauty out of Lorient. What are the whiskers for?

We followed this beauty out of Lorient. What are the whiskers for?

Finding a place for the night is difficult as there are so many yachts on holiday in this area and very few sheltered anchorages.

After a lot of ‘courage plucking up’, I used my stumbling French to phone up and book a place for us here. As Dan says ..’its never as bad as you imagine, once you get started.’  We were met by very efficient ‘berth control’ who helped us moor up to a buoy astern and our bow tied to the harbour wall.

Our mooring (second one from the left!)

Our mooring (second one from the left!)

Le Palais is a very popular port with a laid back approach to life. The ferries arrive every half hour or so and there is always a crowd of people gathered on the harbour wall to wave and cheer a welcome.

Le Palais from the boat

Le Palais from the boat

The impressive fort that over looks us

The impressive fort that over looks us

The inner basin is for locals and fishing boats

The inner basin is for locals and fishing boats

After exploring the area on foot and dinghy on Saturday, we decided to take a look at the rest of the island by ‘car’. I think they saw us coming and gave us a bone shaker……just as well not to risk their newest model with ‘The Toad!’ at the wheel.

A tight squeeze for the Toad!

A tight squeeze for the Toad!

The Toad at the wheel

The Toad at the wheel

Moi avec coordinating colours

Moi!  avec coordinating outfit

We had breakfast in Sauzon, a very natural little village at the north of the island. If the winds had been calmer it would have been a good place to anchor. Trés tranquille!

Sauzon

Sauzon

Considering the volume of tourists that arrive daily, we were amazed that the roads, cafes and beaches that we visited en route, weren’t at all crowded.

Surf beach......think we'll wait 'til the Caribbean!

Surf beach……think we’ll wait ’til the Caribbean!

Monet painted these very rocks!

One for Mummy ……Monet painted these very rocks!

Despite the lack of people around, I just popped to the loo at the cafe and when I returned, Marcus had hooked up with some local totty!

A true british gentleman, helping an old lady to her car!

A true british gentleman, helping an old lady to her car!

We have been having problems with accessing the Internet and again, with the pressure of choosing the right time to cross Biscay, we realise how dependent we are becoming on it to access weather forecasts and grib files.
We are tracking a low pressure system, with associated thunderstorms, that is due to cross the south of Biscay on Wednesday. As soon as it is safely out of the way we will set of for La Coruna in Spain. A friend of ours, Loic, is tracking the same low and will be leaving Benodet during the same weather window…….we will hopefully meet up with him and his wife in La Coruna.