Ooops, It is now Sunday and it has been a while since we arrived in A Coruna at the north-west tip of Spain having had a largely benign crossing of the Bay of Biscay. Almost exactly three days after leaving L'Áber Wrac'h on Monday we were at the mouth of this historic and iconic gateway to the Spanish and Portuguese Atlantic coast.
We've been meaning to update this blog since we got here but events keep distracting us.- good events, but one's that may have also left us feeling a little fragile when we have had some time to ourselves. Our visit, by design, has coincided with the Coruna stopover of the Royal Cruising Club's Galicia cruise so our days have been filled with an almost constant diary of invites to other Members' yachts - normally accompanied by the obligatory drinks and nibbles, or to group for forays into the old city to savour the fabulous unpretentious restaurants and street cafe's which seem to be such a ubiquitous feature of this ancient port town. With the work in UK which had precluded Fiona from accompanying us on the crossing now complete, she flew in to the ancient town of Santiago di Compestela on Saturday morning which entailed a hasty clean-up to ensure Atlantis was ready to welcome her.
But we are getting ahead of ourselves. Back to France - we were certainly glad we'd set off from UK when we did. As front (and gale) after front swept up the English Channel, the French Breton coast was much calmer. After an early start at 0500 on Monday to catch the tide, it was soon sweeping us west and south towards Ushant (Oessant). It would be our last sighting of land until we got to Spain, Admittedly the wind was still on the nose but it was light and a little engine assistance to the sails helped us make a clean getaway. Monday and Tuesday remained light although the wind direction freed off in our favour. For much of the trip we maintained an average of nearly six knots - which is good for Atlantis. At one point, totally becalmed, we jumped over the side for the slightly spooky experience of swimming in water 4 1/.2 kilometers deep! At other times, we were privileged to witness the sheer joy of being surrounded by dolphins frolicking in our bow-wave and wake. Anyone who denies animals and other creatures can have a sense of fun should see the obvious delight these hyper intelligent mammals get from interacting with sailors.
Unlike the experience of the previous few weeks, the forecasts we'd received immediately before our departure proved remarkably accurate. As predicted, Wednesday morning saw a brief period of stronger near gale conditions but we knew it would pass quickly so, to reduce the stresses on boat, sails and crew, we merely hove-to for about three hours before once again laying course for our destination. By Wednesday night we were in sight of the coast and at 0600 on Thursday we were alongside in, I think, the tightest berth we have ever been asked to attempt, at the end of a cul de sac fairway from which there was no way to back out. Much to our disappointment the teamwork we've developed over the last few days made it a textbook manoeuvre - but at that time of day there was no-one there to admire our handiwork! It is always the way! Just to rub salt into the wound, the Marina Manager then decided he'd made a mistake and we were invited to move to a much bigger berth - but the move once again required us to extract from the snug spot we'd squeezed ourselves into. We decided that discretion was the better part of valour and put off the move until there wasn't a breath of wind and made tghe move the following night under cover of darkness. In the meantime we had other priorities.
Anyway, we were safe. For those interested in the numbers, 389 nautical miles, max wind Force 6 gusting 7, 72 hours at sea. Without eulogising too much, Hector has proved an immensely capable and willing crewman and sailing companion and his cheerful willingness to pull his weight, and more, has made the voyage a real pleasure. I'll now hand over to him to share his own recollections and update readers on events since our arrival:
To be continued.....In the meantime, welcome [back] to Fiona:
I had to smile when you introduced your new crew member - Hector was the name Jon gave to our Hydrovane. I wanted to call it Hyacinth as the alliteration was better but he insisted it should be given a strong masculine name!