Sept 3rd

We’ve been in Galicia for 3 weeks, and today we’re off to Portugal ! During the last 3 weeks there have been a few crew changes. Dave Need left us at La Coruna, we then sailed on to Muros where we were met by Keith who stayed with us until yesterday when he jumped ship at Vigo to return home. Noley also left for home yesterday leaving a very depleted crew for the next leg to Lisbon where we’re due for the next crew change on 12th.
Spain has been a beautiful discovery…………. The Rias Altas and Bajas providing stunning scenery and many natural harbours . And surprisingly empty too. Plenty of space in the anchorages and most marinas only half full. I don’t know if this is still the effects of the financial crash, but it’s nice not to be fighting for space. Working our way along the Rias Altas on the north coast we had frequent mist and fog to contend with which is normal for this part of the world. Hot when the sun came out and cool in the mist. Nights were also cool with the moisture in the air. We saw dolphins most days before going around the corner past Finisterre and hardly at all since. The photo shows us passing Cabo Finisterre.
The sea temperature has been interesting. Up in the rias we’ve found beautifully warm water for swimming , over 20 degrees, but when out at sea or on the islands it’s been down to 15 or 16 degrees……………. colder than at home !!! And the weather has been good. I haven’t seen rain since we left home. Actually that’s not quite true……………. We had a very light shower in Caramarinas on the day that we’d decided to do a bit of painting. So Sod’s Law prevails and has probably been incorporated into European law. Chris did eventually get the painting of the port capping done in Vigo.
The sailing has been good, enough wind most of the time. Only a couple of days motoring in the calm. And not too many days of strong winds. There were a times in the Rias when we were down to 2 reefs in the main and No2 jib, the wind F5 gusting 6 . The wind funnels down through the rias and around headlands, increasing in strength, but mainly we were in sheltered waters so had no swell. Given the warm winds and blue skies this made for fast exhilarating sails. A big difference between this and similar winds at home with grey threatening clouds !
The last calm day we took the opportunity to get out the new light weather sail (see the pictures in the Atlantic gallery). The sea was glassy with an almost imperceptible breeze, but the asymmetric came out of the bag like a genie, rising up into the sky, and pulled us along at 2 – 3K. Over the next hour the breeze gradually increased until we were creaming along at 6.5 K. The wind was probably still only a low F3, and it was an exciting feeling, but at this stage we decided to put it away. It’ll take time to gain confidence in handling this large sail and, as we all know, getting a genie back into a bottle or even a sail bag is not always easy.

Sept 4th
Yesterday we sailed into Portugal in light winds. We actually motored for 6 of the 7 hour trip but were under sail for 1 hour as we crossed the border. Going at 2 – 3K.
Just into Portugal there were forest fires a mile or two inland and we saw 3 fire planes repeatedly scooping up seawater before flying to dump it on the fires. Pretty exciting as they were loading up with the seawater less than a mile from us at times.