There was glorious sunshine in La Coruna as our guests arrived this week. Audrey, Mark and Wendy were all here for a bit of autumn sunshine, sailing and a chance to practise their recently learnt navigation skills. The Galician coastline is quite a challenging place to practice as there are numerous unmarked rocks and many headlands that all look the same. The chart started to look like a spiders web of lines as we chose to ignore the GPS and go back to basic navigation and clearing lines. With hand bearing compass and binoculars to hand every one had a go at fixing our position and plotting our next course. On days where there was very little wind, we wiggled down narrow passages and motored close to the land. When there was more wind we sailed further offshore to make the navigation easier.
The Spanish Rias are as beautiful as I had hoped. The northern Rias (Altas) are relatively small and far apart. As we headed south we found they became larger and closer together. By the time we reached the southern Rias (Bajas) they had opened out to provide a huge cruising ground with a wide choice of anchorages and marinas. After spending two nights at anchor in Ria de Laxe and Ria de Muros we chose to visit the very modern marina at Sanxenxo, with fantastic facilities and a very warm welcome in the Real Club Nautico.
Between Sanxenxo and Bayona we sailed past two or three idyllic looking anchorages, and wished we had more time to be able to visit them all. Bayona looked as pretty as I remembered it to be, as we relaxed in the sunshine with a cold beer. We are already planning for next year, and with what we have seen this year we realise there is plenty to fill a week trip just pottering from anchorage to anchorage and not trying to get very far.
After 4 days of relaxing cruising in the sunshine in Spain it was time to set off on our first overnight passage to Portugal. We offer several types of sailing holiday, and this week we were on a combination of short days and longer overnight passages. We were lucky enough to have a full moon and clear sky for our first night at sea, and were surrounded by dolphins for much of the night. We managed to visit two old historical Portuguese towns, Nazare and Peniche before arriving on the Algarve coast. Our best sailing of the trip was surfing around Cape St Vincent at 8 knots.
Throughout the whole week the temperature never dropped below 22, and the shorts and T shirts were out in force. With a flat sea there was plenty of opportunity and room on the deck for relaxing and sunbathing, interrupted only once by a towel overboard drill! As we reached the Algarve coast the water temperature also increased to 20 degrees, making it warm enough for Mark to swim a lap of the boat before breakfast! He wanted to make the beach but at 200m it was just too far.
We are now in Vilamoura marina, scrubbing and cleaning in the sunshine ready for our next trip to Madeira and expecting it to get even warmer. There are still some spaces on our second trip in Madeira, why not join us for a gentle trip around the island.