We finally left Bilbao Saturday lunch time, after a stormy start to the day it brightened up and we seized our opportunity to escape – after a very friendly visit from Spanish Customs who came aboard to check we had no illegals on board. All paperwork in order, so off we tacked out of the harbour against a strong swell and even stronger wind.
The afternoon and evening brought rain and north westerly winds, but we knew this was about to turn as the forecast promised us a change of fortunes. 1st June and we have thermals and so many layers you struggle to mountaineer across the heeled boat. I now have so many bruises on my knees, all those sticky outy things knee height (and those that aren’t – my knees are like bony magnets attracted to metal objects). We tacked all night, pushing poor Joy into wind and swell, but at least we were sailing and not still stuck in Bilbao, timing our three hourly shifts to coincide with a tack, and in the early morning we were sure that we could still see the wind turbines at Bilbao!! Aaahh.
Sunday brought lighter winds and sunshine, yes that’s right… sunshine…and with the sun we removed a layer whilst getting the asymmetric out of its hole, a beautiful sight achieving 7-8 knots in 10-11 of true wind which now had turned north easterly, pretty good for a 37 tonne old lady. And then the dolphins briefly came to play, by this time the wind had dropped to 6 knots and we were lolling about at 2-3!! No bow wave for those dolphins (more like a stern wave, I think at times we were actually going backwards) so on they went in search of fun. With sails just flogging in the swell, at about 6pm we gave up and the donk went on, and we motored reluctantly all through the night. A beautiful sky with bright stars and a new moon, and lots of annoying fisherman coming to investigate us, either nosey or protective of their grounds.
By morning the wind picked up and at 6am the asymmetric went back up and we sailed almost down wind all the along the coast. Couldn’t actually see the coast as it was shielded by menacing clouds and mist, however we had sunshine although the wind was still bitingly cold. Jez finally found the fishing line and lures that we had been searching for all week, packed in the bilges, so now we were after a fish supper – but the last home grown lamb joint was out defrosting just in case! The wind picked up to 20 knots so down came the asymmetric and back into its hole ‘til next time, and out came the genoa. We continued to achieve good speeds, even in the very heavy swell. They would have to be keen fish to catch our lure! We calculated a 1am arrival in La Coruna so pressed on, rounding Cabo Ortegal early evening where the winds were gusting to 30+. Continuing at a great speed we helmed the old lady past La Coruna into the Ria entrance en route for our anchorage about 6 miles in. With the smell of roast lamb wafting from the galley (yes I know, at 1am, but we hadn’t had chance to eat as we had been keeping a vigilant look out for the last few hours as there was so much traffic around La Coruna and we just seem to attract fishing boats, oh and the lack of success with the fishing!) we slipped silently into Ensenada de Ares and were relieved to find an anchorage where the fisherman hadn’t laid their lobster pots. We devoured the lamb and I fell asleep at the table!
When we finally awoke this morning (Tuesday) we discovered just how beautiful our anchorage was, panoramic views of sandy beaches and greenery. And at last, a break through – the shorts and t-shirt cupboard, which we have been longingly looking at for the last 6 weeks, was finally opened! Sunshine, blue skies and idyllic scenery, we slapped on the sun lotion and laid on the aft deck, finally Summer has arrived – or we have arrived at Summer.
We also caught something on our fishing rod too – no not supper unfortunately, a local motor boat that had rudely come so close to nose at us whilst sunbathing – he caught our line and looked very embarrassed as he unhooked our float from his engine. Two other English boats arrived into the bay this evening and anchored behind us, our exclusive anchorage no longer so exclusive.
A very enjoyable few days and hopefully a taste of what is yet to come.