The Long Road Home

It isn’t really uphill all the way home from Vigo, though it feels that way because it’s a fight to gain ground against the wishes of the stubbornly prevailing north wind.  But let’s start on a positive note, always best at the beginning of a very long solo journey.

As I looked back at Moaña in the early morning light, I saw the beauty of Ria Vigo as if for the first time.  Just to reinforce my feelings, a pod of feeding dolphins cruised lazily across Pippin’s bows, cue for more empty film and much cussing .

Having slept well and done all I could to prepare, I felt I had little to do now but pilot Pippin safely through the narrows at the mouth of the Ria.  As we left the Islas Cias behind, a huge foreign ocean going trawler came in from the ocean, deep with fish and a pilot leaped aboard from the scurrying pilot boat.

I know I boringly repeat my maxim that no plan survives first contact, but once again mine soon crashed for I could barely make headway to the north whatever I tried.  It was, I felt, too early to head deep out to sea so I persevered for 2 hours before motorsailing.  Time to take stock and recalibrate, so I rewrote the plan and made sailing a prority over gaining ground for now and off we went.  As if to encourage me, a whale (!) slapped his fluke (definitely a bloke for it was an aggressive slap!) and arched his back, as long as Pippin.  Awesome.

As the afternoon closed, I sent Mr Rocna down to explore the sand of Ensenada de San Francisco, in sight of Finisterre, serenaded by the happy squeals of hundreds of children on the beach and watched by the crews of a dozen yachts pretending not to watch.  Some I recognised as fellow wanderers and the last to arrive was the tough solo Polish skipper I had last seen in La Coruna in his dreadnought of a ketch.  I had won too few miles, burned 2 gallons of diesel and allowed disappointment to germinate, but I had also enjoyed a blue sky sail and a perfect anchorage.

The morning got off to a positive start as I exterminated the 2 flies that had driven me quietly insane in my little cabin.   Good omens continued as Pippin flew out of the starting blocks and powered under sail towards the open ocean.  I saw noone on the anchored yachts, but sensed many eyes on me, unlike those of the wizzened old fishermen in their tiny dorys all around.  These guys are amazing in their tiny boats, each perhaps 4 metres long, bobbing around a mile from shore.  I guess they are catching supper, or escaping wives, but either way, their concentration is absolute, their contentment palpable.

At the mouth of Ria Muros, inshore trawlers scurried busily checking pots and doing their stuff.  Heaven is made of many things, including sailing at 6.7 knots with bacon sandwiches though Hell threw in a bank of thick fog for fun.  Spanish bacon isn’t a patch on British of course, but even so, crispy with Ketchup – a must – and just a hint of diesel from sailing gloves – optional – it is just fine.  Frankly it’s pretty cool sailing through thick fog towards one of the World’s scariest capes, munching bacon sarnies with iron man Hercule in charge.

Knowing tiredness would be an issue, I have pinned a menu plan up in the galley and just know I shall have to be strong not to consume my one remaining Army ration pack too soon.  Anyway right now I don’t actually know where it is, so that’s fine

I knew the SW wind wouldn’t last of course but think positive and make the most of things, particularly when gloom threatens as for me it does.  My current plan has only two words on it – sail north, which is true to my KISS principle so that’s what I am doing.  Where I will be or what I will be doing in 24 hours is a mystery, but right know Pippin is running 130 to the wind at a sedate 4 knots guided by the inscrutable Hercule.

If I was off  St Martin’s Point in fog, I would be deafened by the fog horn.  Here I am 5 miles off Finisterre and I can hear nothing but my tinitus and worried skippers on British yachts calling each other.  Anyway, another positive – I continue to be amazed at how well Pippin sails; God bless her.

I shall leave you now as a. I have discovered another fly and b. I don’t know when I will be out off range.  So from the middle of a pea souper off Finisterre, cheeri as we Guerns are wont to say.

By ajay290

One comment on “The Long Road Home

  1. Hi John, maybe my good wishes are to late. But have a safe trip back. Must be still a great trip. Only your comment on the fog puzzles me. I feel always very scared when sailing through fog. It occurred again when sailing through the chenal du four. Actually I’m already back in Switzerland and Blue Alli is in Cherbourg. On the way back I spent a night in Peter Port, but knowing you were not there I had no reason to stay longer. Hope there is a possibility for a sail to Guernsey later in the year, so we might meet again. Take care. Ronald

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