Holding in Muxia

The weather hasn’t improved yet so the decision has been taken to wait till daybreak tomorrow. We are thinking of walking to the monastery but the wind and rain have been lashing down. Bummer. So close to the home stretch. We’ve also had a slight hitch in our domestic arrangements – when I called the cattery to extend Perdy’s stayi was told that they are closing on Friday “until further notice”. Luckily our friends the Joyners are leaping to the rescue to collect her and rehouse her till we’re back.

The Internet is still painfully slow or I would try to upload a few random photos. I have also been working on my handy tips for the sailing wife.

Oporto to Camariña

Leaving Camariña 2

Leaving Camariña

Our plans to move from Camariña to Muxia were somewhat delayed by our marina men (Tweedledum and Tweedledee as Paul calls them) not turning up as promised to help us fuel up. We’d had a power cut earlier so the electrician needed to be called out. Tweedledum said “quatro”, which Paul optimistically thought was four hours, but I thought it might be 4 o’clock and it was nearer 4:30.

Still, we set off, we are in Muxia, and the plan is, weather permitting, to set off for the Bay of Biscay crossing around lunchtime. Four or five days at sea. My lips will never be the same again – I could grate cheese on them.

The monastery at Camariña

The monastery at Camariña

But for now let me backtrack and fill in boat stuff. It is no easier to keep track of what I have blogged than the actual blogging so please forgive me for repetition. Our trip from Oporto to Camariña followed the unfortunate pattern that has plagued us thus far: either strong head winds that slowed us down or winds behind us that were too weak to make any difference or allow for sailing.

There was one moment when the two members of the crew who were on watch decided that the wind was right for sailing. This was after Kevin and I had watched the lights gradually disappear from sight and we motored on in complete, disorienting blackness. When the sailing attempt was made the wind changed direction suddenly, something jammed the helm so it couldn’t be steered and Masquerade wallowed about for several minutes.

We arrive in Muxia

We arrive in Muxia

That is the drawback of the lovely, roomy rear owners’ cabin with the double berth: any noise above, such as winching, pulling sails, or indeed wallowing about, sounds as though poor Masquerade is trying to shake herself apart. So once again I did the foetal position and bleating routine, until I was reassured by the sound of the other crew member not on watch enquiring of those above if it was not possible to pick one course and steer it.

I think the decision was then taken to continue with the motoring.

Moored up in Muxia

Moored up in Muxia

We arrived in Camariña mid afternoon with relatively little excitement, and were moored up by T and T, which the boys said was something more of a curse than a blessing, but they meant well. Three of us headed off to the Club Nautico cafe bar (Kevin not being hungry and having a day of alcohol deprivation in preparation for his spell as skipper across the Bay of Biscay) for beer (coffee and brandy in my case), where we were also given a little racion of paella. The Spanish seem even more prone to handing out little nibbles of food with drink, which I like.

Checking in a the Muxia Marina office

Muxia Marina office

A tour of the town found us one of this shops withe everything, so we got some slightly deeper plastic bowls for eating out of, and I made a mental note that he sold fairly cheap and nasty, but presumably effective clothes that would serve as mid layers for the crossing. I’ve been just on the edge of being too cold on some of the night watches, so I thought more layers would be a good idea. We found lots of supermarkets (we needed milk) and various other stores.

Being somewhat jaded and tired we decided to leave provisioning and clothes shopping for the next day and went back to the boat to regroup. Kevin not being hungry the other three set off again in search of food. Everywhere seemed strangely empty for a Saturday night (yes, we hadn’t thought of that when we decided to leave shopping for the next day) and the one restaurant that the two boys thought looked good was closed for a private party. The nice man did recommend another place, where we had an exceedingly pleasant meal and were the only people in there until shortly before we left.

It turns out that the day was some kind of town holiday, seemingly connected with one of the local churches so most people go to a special dinner at that one restaurant.

Dovecote in Camariña

Dovecote in Camariña

The next day, it being Sunday, nothing was open so we were confined to wandering around the town. There are a lot of dogs in Camariña and an equally large amount of dog poo everywhere, though we managed to dodge it. We also noticed a huge amount of dove cotes, one of which had a very optimistic-looking cat sitting under it. I may not be able to upload photos for all this, as currently I have no internet connection, so you’ll have to take my word for it. In fact, you may not be reading this if I can’t even upload the text.

At least the bakeries were open so we could get something for lunch, and we then made the decision to move to Muxia. Which we did.

Camariña to Muxia

A beer moment in Muxia marina

A beer moment in Muxia marina

The marina here is a little more modern than the one at Camariña, with a very helpful man who assisted in the mooring up and also told us later that our springs were too slack. Kevin thinks that they were tied tightly enough at the time and that storage in the coconut oil lazarette changed their structure.

We had a beer break at the marina cafe, where our racion was some sort of pork rib and chorizo. The bartender was delightful in personality and in appearance like the villain in a spaghetti western. When there was one little chunk of pork rib left, he enquired (menacingly, one could argue, given aforementioned villain appearance), “You no like?” Indeed, we assured him, we liked, with the result that we were given more. “Local,” he said.

There was a little confusion at one point when James asked where was good to have dinner and he said, “Here,” and proceeded to tell us how well he would cook fish and meat for us. We did manage to leave without any unpleasantness and found a very nice restaurant with a charming waitress for dinner, where we had cook your own steak.

Between Camariña and Muxia

Between Camariña and Muxia

It was somewhat interesting in the night: the wind dropped off and then picked up periodically, and my body clock seems to have decided that it should allow for sleep only within 4-hour windows so I woke up at fairly regular intervals to a fair amount of creaking noise.

There is a book by Ngaio Marsh called Singing in the Shrouds and that came to mind when there was a constant, eerie whistling noise throughout the night. I presume it was wind through the shrouds, ropes, whatever the technical term. Now I can imagine what the siren song of mythology must have sounded like.

We have had breakfast, as cooked by chef Kevin, provisioned up at the supermarket, James and I have bought some more layers of clothing and it is currently blowing up a storm complete with hail.

Hopefully it will blow through and we will be able to leave on the Bay of Biscay stretch of the journey.  Gulp.