(HD photos that you can expand)
Pippin rests in Moaña Marina, across the Ria from Vigo, where she stays until family have left for home. It isn’t a pretty town, but it’s people are as friendly as ever and, up to now, I have upset no-one – at least, that I am aware of. I had not appreciated how tired I had got during the journey and, unusually for me, was thus quite happy sleeping, pottering and making lists.
Whilst so doing, I realized that I was not alone in practicing nerdy jobs like hanging over the dinghy, face at water level, scraping the waterline clear with my finger nails. Today I was relegated to the second division. Attracted by a yell, I saw a mature gentleman floating in the marina with a face mask, beneath his boat, a very neat Fjord 33. Although his boat was shrouded in a tarpaulin, there are signs for those in the know to aid identification … things like the curve of the stern, turn of the hull and the shape of the scuppers. It isn’t that surprising, for in a previous life, I had been trained to identify a military tank from a single glance at a road wheel, or position of the muzzle break on the gun barrel. Shouting instructions to his wife, who was scrubbing the tarpaulin with a broom, he eventually passed her up his tool, a 2 metre long garden hoe. Now I never thought of that!
Stress levels were high aboard the other night though, as I listened to the English football team lurch to a penalty shoot out victory against thuggish Columbia. One thing we Brits have learned is that every England football performance at a major tournament is agony, an agony that usually ends in defeat. So rare is success, that when it comes, it sends fans delirious and convinced England could fly to the Moon, before they crash and burn in despondency as England fall over yet again. But still there is hope.
Talking of sport, the sailors in the 2018 Golden Globe Race have now passed these parts on their way round the World. I am rather proud that 95% of the boats in the race are old British boats – British designed and British built – which says a lot for their perceived ocean going ability – after all, at around 35 feet long (Pippin is 34), they are all relative toddlers – but then a cork will survive a storm. There are two British sailors in the race, though I have restricted myself to backing just one, the only female sailor in the race, Suzie Goodall. Go for it girl!
The ferry to Vigo across the Ria departs 50 metres from Pippin, goes every hour, costs a pittance and gets you to Vigo in 15 minutes. I had come to Vigo to get my train ticket to Santiago de Compostela and in typical fashion achieved that, plus lunch and back to Moaña in 2 hours. I had drawn a route plan to the station, with a boaty doodle in my representation of Vigo harbour and a train doodle at Vigo-Urzáiz Station, which I showed the taxi driver, having apologised for not speaking Spanish. So impressed was he that he opened the car door, ushered me inside and sauntered off with my sketch to show his mates. This (diagrams) has become standard operating procedure for me now and has always received a very positive reaction – or perhaps I am a complete prat.
The lady at the Vigo-Urzáiz Station ticket counter looked ferocious, but she understood my scribbles and produced a ticket with a smile. I lingered in triumph over lunch at the station café, and chatted to the Galician taxi driver back to the harbour. It went someting like this – driver hits Google translate button on his Iphone and says “speak now”. I say what I was going to say and he says “Aghh!” and talks to the phone in Spanish. The phone speaks to me in English. We covered weather, reason for visit, where I was going on the train and did I like mussels ….
So I was a tad late for the return ferry, but on seeing me waving on the quay, the skipper amazingly turned back, tied up again and waited until I had huffed and puffed aboard. That’s the Galicians for you, though I suspect it might also have been the ‘man bag’ slung over my shoulder, the sun glasses askew on my nose and the hairy white matchstick legs that labelled me as a lowlife ‘Turística’, but just worthy of help.
Vivero off Moaña, looking up Ria Vogo from the Ferry
Ria Viga’s shoreline is crowded with buildings and its seas with viveros, but the town itself seems quaint and well equipped for the marathon shopper – territory to be explored later, though my endurance on the shopping trail is limited, though I can be redoubtable in a chandlers.
I have been privileged to share time, food and laughter – surely the oxygen of life – in Muaño with new friends, but now it is time to go and join family, starting at the end of the pilgrim’s way, in beautiful Santiago de Compostela.
After which it will be time to turn Pippin’s bows north for the long, lonely 750 nautical mile uphill trek home, though various preparations and lists will need to be made before I cross the startline.