The chart above shows Pippin’s Biscay route, a leg from Penzance of 502 nautical miles at an average of around 125 miles a day, which is fine by me.
Mature marina señorita was all smiles today, and giggled when I again apologised for my earlier indiscretion. I was there to pay for Pippin’s berth and I would leave next morning, but it became clear that maths was not her strongest suit, so I borrowed her calculator to help out. Returning later to pay for a diesel top up, I borrowed her glasses to add up the bill. All had ended well, I thought, strolling back to Pippin. I didn’t get far when I was brought up short by a very loud string of Spanish from behind me, which translated read something like: “STOP thief!!!!”, which wasn’t unreasonable given that I was still wearing her very nice glasses. I don’t think I will be forgotten in these parts for a while.
A gorgeous 37 footer had arrived during the night, skippered by a tough Dutch solo skipper with billions of sea miles under his belt. I was glad I had scrubbed up Pippin, who held her head high with pride, alongside her new friend. Anyway, her Dutch skipper was also heading the same way so we’ll meet up again at some point. That’s the thing about distance sailing, particularly alone for you invariably come home with more friends than you left with and possibly one or two, who would rather not see you again.
I always endeavour to replenish Pippin whenever she is stabled, as any good soldier should see to the needs of his steed before his own. In attempting later to replenish ships stores I failed, it being a Sunday, but it was a pleasant walk and uplifting to note that graffiti is not solely a British thing – indeed certain words in the English language have a universal resonance, as the rough scrawl of “F..k the police” on a gable indicated. It had none of Banksy’s style though. It is said that modern graffiti originated in Philadelphia in the 1960s, though I can’t believe that our cave dwelling ancestors didn’t have a go on long winter nights. I’ve even discovered graffiti aboard Pippin up behind a panel in the fore cabin; “Andi was here!” it reads in black felt pen, and I have a bone to pick with him as that is exactly where it leaks.
Whilst doing my usual boaty checks before heading out to sea, I spotted my limp, wet yellow Q flag dangling from the yard arm, a pathetic invitation to the local Excise to check me out. Noone showed the slightest interest though, some I stowed it.
Back in 2015, after recrossing the Northern Passage from the Scottish Isles returning to Northern Ireland, I awarded the Northern Irish the Willis gold medal for rain – that is RAIN!!!, not rain. At 0830 this morning I nearly took that medal back to award it to the Spanish, but didn’t as upon reflection it just didn’t cut it; none of that miserable in your face penetrating, merciless cold water. Gentle thunder accompanied us upstream, the faintest breath of wind defying all forecasts and coming in from the south. With less than 5 knots of wind, I handed responsibility for forward motion to the Yanmar and Hastings, who grumbled gently away. Meanwhile Spanish strawberries – absolutely delicious – toast and heart stopping espresso served as breakfast.
So we chugged on through the little fleet of ship’s anchored off Puerto Alumina Espanola, whose factory chimneys belched smoke, which presumably contributed to the weather gathered above the town, black clouds that later burst into rain. The land also reminded me of Northern Ireland, green and gently sloping, big hills behind, or were they mountains?
Having tried and failed to sail, lunch was a grumpy affair as I rummaged in an unsearched galley locker to find some more Branston for my toasted Spanish bread, also delicious. Having consumed 2 half empty pots of the stuff already, I felt the chances of discovery to be slim, but Eureka! A third half empty pot. I can only assume from the sheer number of half empty pots that, like me, the previous owners of Pippin – Pete and Tracey – also had senior moments whilst playing the locker game at meal times. If you are reading this P and T, is there any more of the stuff buried aboard?😀
I don’t generally place waypoints on my GPS, but decided to select my personal anchor spot behind the breakwater in Viveiro but would you believe it? Sitting right smack bang on my waypoint was a smart German vessel, whose skipper raised his mug in salute, as I sent Mr Rocna 3.5 metres down to explore the Spanish mud which he did most happily. The German was bigger than me, as was his steed, so I won’t argue.
Tomorrow I intend to explore the little town of Viveiro and get the feel of my very first Ria though as I write this, Spanish rain falls lightly through the still air, but with none of the menace of the Northern Irish stuff.