Our Diary News from Viana Do Castelo
Hi Everyone,
Tuesday 30 September .............................How time flies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Position : 041,41.610N

I just checked where we were up to on the last email and we were at La Coruña waiting to round Cape Finisterre, about 170nm Started off heading west and the wind died off in the afternoon so we decided to stop at Lage for the night. Another yacht, Nechtan, was also there and we all enjoyed an evening stroll through the village. Encountered the locals practising bagpipes - and giving us a personal rendition! Really great, since Tom is a piper himself!. Nechtan is a lovely ketch with Tom (a Scot) and Sue (an Aussie) - a fun couple Next morning we sailed to the Ria de Camarinos - the rias are really pretty inlets very like the Norwegian fiords or parts of Scotland, but a bit more sun and warmth. We anchored off of a beach at the top of the ria and enjoyed a few days peace and quiet. Used the rib to explore the ria and discovered a fiesta at one of the villages - so we decided to return that evening to enjoy the food and music. In the meantime we had a picnic lunch on a deserted beach and collected fresh mussels from the rocks (which Keith made into delicious Moules Mariniere the next day!). The fiesta that evening was great fun and we joined in on the "barbecue" - with boiled octopus as the main speciality. I don't know how many of the beasts were devoured but they started cooking them at midday and were still going at midnight -when a firework spectacular was the grand finale. The next few days were lovely and relaxing with nice walks through the pine and eucalyptus forests. One night we had to move from our anchorage into the harbour to shelter from a strong wind warning.

Next day we set off for Cape Finisterre - and it was dead calm!! We motored into Ria de Muros and anchored outside the harbour at Portosin - just off a lovely little beach. We ended up staying in Portosin for 5 days due to bad weather. Portosin is very small, but with some nice walks and beaches. So how did we spend the time? ..... don't know really, life is just too busy....... Thursday 18th, was spent dog sitting! Some other friends from a boat called "Zilver" (from Holland) have a lovely black labrador with them. Mary-Anne had been having a bad toothache and had arranged an appointment in Noia, which is a bus ride away, and wanted someone to look after the dog, while they were away. So we became pet sitters for the day, which was fun.

Friday was spent socialising, reading and shopping. Saturday we organised a barbecue on the beach, which was fun. In the end six boats came with a total of 14 people. We stayed until gone midnight, still very warm. Sunday we woke up to a dull day with lots of wind, so we decided to go into the Marina. The wind blew and it rained until Monday 22nd. Although during the showers Keith managed to fix the wind generator, which had loose magnets and also the guide for the anchor, which had bent. The marina/yacht club allowed him to use their workshop, which was very useful.

We finally got away on Tuesday 23rd and headed for Vigo. As we were leaving Ria de Muros we were joined by a group of dolphins, which was a great bonus - although they never stay around to photograph! We had a very good sail that day and anchored in the next ria (Ria de Arosa) for the night, just off a beach. In the morning we woke up to find people walking around the boat! - well, wading really. Looking for cockles in the sand with long rakes!!!!. All the rias, although very pretty, were starting to look the same, so we left there early in order to make Vigo. The wind was light and the weather fine so we sailed most of the day. Just off Vigo there is a group of islands called the Isla de Cies. As it was a fine night we decided to anchor in one of the bays overnight and ended staying two days because it was so beautiful. We were anchored in 5 meters of water and we could see the starfish on the bottom. Just like an aquarium. Had some lovely walks and just laid on the beach for most of the day. Christine even went in for a swim, although the water is still a bit chilly.

The next day we motored over to Vigo and tied up in a Marina. Vigo itself is not much to write home about, but we took the opportunity to visit another Internet cafe - and we think we may have finally got our website working - even if it's not quite how we want it yet. If you want to look the address is www.pocoandante.dial.pipex.com. We've put some photos there... But it has taken so long for us to figure out that already they are out of date! Hurray....... we can start improving it now we understand the technology. However, we have had a shock in that our phone bill over the last month or so has been huge, together they were over £400! So we will have to cut down on phone calls!

Anyway, on Sunday we left Vigo for Portugal and arrived at Viana do Castelo late that evening - after a super sail out of Vigo (reaching at 7.5 knots) but then the wind died and we motored some of the way before picking up some very light airs (3.5knots of wind). We finally arrived at about 11pm and didn't fancy trying to navigate up the channel and into the marina at low water, so we anchored off the beach outside. But just as we were approaching, we were joined by a small group of dolphins playing around our bows - and although it was night time they were visible under the water by the phosphorescence. Very early next morning we came into the marina (after a very bumpy night due to Atlantic rollers) and explored the town yesterday. Now we're stuck here again because of a gale warning just to the South - but, hey, what a place to be stuck! A couple of other yachts that we know have also arrived - so the party continues...

So what has life been like...............

The navigation is much easier than we thought. No real hazards or tides to worry about; there is always a harbour close by if you have had enough, although only a fishing village, but shelter is usually good. The wind has mostly been either 10-15 knots or blowing a gale, which has usually been forecasted a couple of days in advance. Normally we have been doing 30-40 miles a day, leaving at about midday and arriving at the next destination in the evening. We have been getting in a routine of travelling daily during the week and stopping somewhere during the weekend. The social life has been great, with lots of people willing to share a beer and a tale in the evening. The trick is just to have a friendly welcoming smile. The main problem is to find time to oneselves sometimes. Reading, boat chores and shopping are the main time consuming exercise. Reasonable supermarkets are sometimes hard to find and as there is minimum storage we are only buying three to four days of fresh produce at a time. We get disappointed if the sun does not shine - but just sitting on deck watching the world go by and chatting to passersby is not a bad way to spend the day. And cloudy or rainy days give us a chance to catch up on emails and sleep!

There are always new places to explore and when we have had enough of one place, or it's not to our liking, we move on. Budget-wise we seem to be coping, although shocks like phone bills etc. (which seem to be a common problem) don't help. Kim (who is looking after our mail and business matters), has been absolutely brilliant and her help in communicating bills etc. has been tremendous. Thanks, Kim!. Most of the other cruisers we meet have been great, always willing to lend something or give advice. The community is certainly what we'd hoped for - and more.

Next plans include Oporto, Lisbon, Lagos, Cadiz ... We borrowed a pilot book for the Moroccan coast - and now we're thinking of exploring there!