28. August 2012 · Comments Off on 28/08/2012 Two months in two hours: it just isn’t fair · Categories: Posts

We are still at Ria de Cedeira.

We had some unexpected company and we have been touring the countryside with them instead of sailing on.  Our friends Steve and Helen played a very good joke on us, mind you my humans were stupid enough to fall for it, and they were able to surprise visit us on the boat.


Steve and Helen booked some last minute flights to La Coruna and rented a car to drive to Cedeira to surprise us and celebrate the Biscay crossing, but they needed a ruse to make sure we were on the boat.   They told my humans that they had someone who could transfer Skype to VHF and we were to meet at 9pm on channel 72 for a chat.  Who would believe that one, my humans!  They claim now they were still recovering from the crossing, but they were just gullible.

So at sun set in the Ria de Cedeira we all waited on the boat for the call on the VHF channel 72.

Then it happened, crystal clear reception, there was Steve hailing us on the radio.  We all started chatting trying to catch up with each other.  Going on and on about wishing they were here ect., then Helen starts describing the anchorage.  Was she looking at Google earth?  Then she started talking about a strange green glow from shore and a laser light struck the boat.  The penny dropped!  ‘Are you here?  Oh my god you are here!’  We jumped in the dingy and raced out to meet them.

We had a great weekend together finding good tapas.

And trying the local delicacy: goose barnacles.

We jumped into their hire car and explore some the Rias we passed further North.

And my Uncle Steve taught me to swim.

My Aunt Helen taught me Spanish.

This sign says ‘The very maximum 3 nudists permitted’.  See I am learning!

The hardest part was that our time was too short and they had to go back to work.

It is remarkable that a 2 hour flight and they cover what took us two months to travel.

Speaking of travelling, well it is the end of August and summer is officially going to end soon.  I think it is best if we get a move on.  We want to visit everywhere, but we will have to get moving South or we will get caught up in the Autumn storms.


It looks like the winds are favourable for an easy passage to La Coruna, the capitol of the province, on Thursday.  We understand that anchoring impossibly uncomfortable so we will berth in a Marina for a few days to see the sights, top up with water, do the laundry and so I can have a hair cut with out starting up the generator.  If the winds are unfavourable we can move to the other side of the Ria and anchor up near Sada.

P.S. Any one got a water maker motor they can do without.  Ours is shot!

P.S.S.  And we broke the WiFi antenna as well, so that explains the slow updates on the blog.

27. August 2012 · 4 comments · Categories: Posts

Sailing in Bay of Biscay

Dolphins in Bay of Biscay



23. August 2012 · Comments Off on 23/08/2012 Running Free · Categories: Posts

The best part of making a new port is I get to have a really long ‘guilt’ walk.  My humans feel guilty that, despite the fact they have to play and entertain me on the boat during passage, I don’t really get to go for a ‘walk’.  So the first day into port I always get a really long walk.



Today it was up and down the huge main beach here at Ria de Cedeira.  The calm North Easterly winds have brought low lying clouds and British style misty rain.  The high hills surrounding the inlet are all densely forested.  We met a French man from Audierne, where we just came from.  He said hello to us in English as we were dingying to land.  He told us to tie up to the boat yard pontoon for free.  The poor guy needed an engine rebuild and was heading home leaving the boat behind for repairs. 

After my ‘guilt’ walk we went to explore the town.  There was a main promenade, obviously the tourist centre of town, with lots of cafes and bars just off the beach.  Everything is in Spanish and Ohla, Cee and Mucho gracious is about the extent of my human’s understanding.  Luckely they found an English to Spanish translation page in the back of a cruising guide.  Unfortunately they can now only talk about the boat and the parts of.  Bilge keel is Quillas de balance, cee.


We then followed the steep narrow streets up to the Church to find the old centre of town. 

Here there was a lovely town square boarded by tall narrow packed houses.  Each house shares walls with its neighbour is at least four stories and some no wider then a single door and window.  The upper floors have balconies and lots of windows that are divided up into small square panes. 

It looks like the old quarter has suffered from the recession and some of the houses are empty. 


The small windy streets are only a car width wide and some of the steeper roads have steps up the side. 

The door of the homes opens straight onto the street and, although cars move slow and carefully through them, if I lived in one of the homes I would listen carefully first before sticking my head out.  Little butcher, fruit and veg stands and convenience stores appear suddenly in little residential areas.



Being a British dog I am just getting a handle on something completely new to me.  Flies.  Yes, growing up on the shores of Britain I have never seen flies before.  I chase them all over the boat to the great amusement of my humans.


We came back to the boat for a lunch of tuna sushi and sashimi.  We are going to head back to town to find an internet cafe so we can get some pictures on old emails and post you this new only.  Then the humans are planning to tire me out so they can go out for tapas tonight.  We were told to start following the locals around town about 9pm.

21. August 2012 · 1 comment · Categories: Posts

Yesterday was such a beautiful day at sea. We followed fresh grilled tuna lunch with fresh grilled tuna dinner watching a fabulous sun set.

It is amazing how humble being at sea makes you. You are alone on watch, surrounded by a huge expanse of water rushing by. The wavelets, stirred up by the boats movement, phosphoresce with plankton as they are disturbed. The sky is just filled with stars and the cloudy strip of the milky way is so clear. Their are so many shooting stars I started running out of people I hoped would win the lottery. You are all ‘made’ now.

Oh, but all great things must end. First the wind really built quickly. We decided to take down the main and run down wind with just the foresail poled out. The pole stopped the sail collapsing as the waves built up and the whole thing could easily be reduced or rolled up by one person if things got worse….and they did.

The winds picked up further and the foresail was reduced to a hanky. Yet we were still doing 7-8 knots. The waves became large and confused as the Atlantic Westerly swell collided with the new wind produced North Easterly waves. We just had to endure the boat being tossed forward, side to side and white water breaking over the gunwales.

We never felt unsafe, just unable to walk about, cook, go pee or ‘most importantly’ get any sleep. With the stronger winds we were making our port of call faster, so there was a bright side. We had picked the Spanish port of Ria de Cedeira, not for her great tapas, but because she was an ‘all weather’ port with a great sheltered anchorage in all winds.

As we entered Spanish waters the first thing we encountered were Spanish fishing vessels.  These guys really know how to play ‘chicken’.

 As we rounded the headland most of the waves had eased so we were able to sail into port with ‘so semblance of dignity’ which I promptly destroyed by having a great big poo and pee on the deck as the human anchored up. Just to show the neighbours we have no airs.

So we made it. The big bad Bay of Biscay crossed. Got a lot more water to do, but that was always going to be the worst one. For now I think I will eat, drink and get some sleep. The anchorage is very pretty hidden in steep cliffs of conifers. It has beautiful beaches and terracotta tiled cottages, but not what I always thought of as Spanish. Exploring tomorrow with lots more details for you then.

PS The rain in Spain does not mainly fall on the plain


20. August 2012 · 2 comments · Categories: Posts

I can see now why any one would both fear and respect the Bay of Biscay. We left on Sunday the 19th (Happy Anniversary human owners) with the promise of fair winds to come. Surprise, surprise, surprise, they never materialized.

Instead we beat into a South Westerly wind on the nose with the main and foresail reefed (shorter sails). We were doing great speeds, but as we had to tack, a lot of it was to either side of our destination in Spain. But it was not all bad.

Groups of dolphins started joining us.

They were very friendly and played around the boat well into the night.

 I did my best to bark them away, but I think my barking just attracted more of them.

My human’s had out fishing lines, but were unafraid of the dolphins biting them as they are very smart and their sonar tells them the lure is fake.

Early morning Saturday we left the continental self and entered deeper water. Their was a slight easing of the swell but my human’s still had to hove to (slow the boat down) to cook breakfast safely.

Finally in the afternoon the winds died down and we knew fair winds were on their way. The North Easterly winds slowly swung around and set in very lightly. We have been waddling at between 2-4 knots ever since.

The down wind sailing is lots more comfortable and, besides the Atlantic swell still coming in on the beam (from the side), you can get around nicely. We were so comfortable I slept happily all night in the cockpit and only barked once at the waves when I thought it was those silly dolphins again. The humans left their fishing rod out and were rewarded in the early morning with not one, but two beautiful iridescent tuna.

One was 6lbs and the other smaller at 4.5lbs (yes the humans were anal enough to weigh them, so there is no boasting here). I am to inform the Canadian end of the family that, although They were caught on the female’s lucky lure, it was the male that reeled both of them in. Our first tuna Yahh!

They best part of them catching fish is I get some raw meat. The tuna’s are now cleaned and cut up into 18 big steaks, most of which are vacuum packed into the freezer.

Grilled steaks for lunch and dinner and the left overs in sushi tomorrow. Who cares if we are only traveling at 3 knots……life is good.

Nothing has broken down, yet. The winds are meant to increase slightly, but remain fair for the next two days. The human’s have both had a shower and did not make me have one. So life at sea is GOOD. Just waiting for more scraps from lunch.