Saturday, 28 July 2012

Wendy’s Diary 28 July – A month of no sailing but meeting with friends!

Our journey so far has followed some unexpected paths – the biggest being my 3 months in a wheelchair living with some now very dear friends Annie and Philippe. This last month since I last wrote my diary has been unexpected in that we haven’t moved the boat, rather strange for a summer month. I left off last time with John’s impending dentist appointment...all went well there. In the days we were waiting for his appointment we discovered that there was a large Celtic music festival being held here 12-16 July. I had just booked a flight back to the UK on the 12th to see my mum for her 80th birthday, and John decided he would like to stay in Ortiguiera for the festival whilst I was away. So we are still here 5 weeks after arriving.

When I headed this entry a month of no sailing, it isn’t quite true, the ria is large and we have explored the little creeks and one day went out to Carino, the port just outside the ria which now hosts the fishing boats that once worked from Ortigueira. That evening we met a couple from Guernsey and spent an enjoyable couple of hours drinking “Tinto De Verano” (red wine of the summer – a type of red wine spritzer that is nicer than it sounds) on their boat. The anchorage was a little bumpy so we headed back into the ria on the next tide – 2am and were back in our usual spot by 4am (John’s idea not mine).

Richard and Chris, some good friends from Cornwall arrived a few days later on their catamaran Aquarelle, accompanied by Howard, another River Tamar boatowner. We spent a lovely few days socialising, if anyone ever asks me if there is anything I miss, it is seeing my friends, so this was really lovely. Howard became a grandfather the day after he arrived, so we celebrated with a couple of bottles of good cava. Then sadly the time whizzed by and after nearly a week the others headed off for Brittany. Howard ran into problems with his new autohelm and returned within a couple of hours, whilst Aquarelle sailed off to France.

We spent much of the time tied up to the quay. Unfortunately we managed to knock an anchor overbaod and watch it sink out of sight without anything attached. Richard provided his scuba gear and JOhn donned his boring old wetsuit in attempt to retrieve it. Unfortunately the water was too cold and too murky and the attempt failed. A couple fo days later with the help of Howards super magnet and our underwater CCTV we had the anchor safely back on board. 

We had met up with an English couple who live here several times and they took us on a tour of the local peninsula in their car – it is always lovely to be able to see a bit further inland. We visited one of the Rias that we had sailed passed, and had coffee in an old semaphore station that has been converted into a restaurant, which has fabulous views in both directions along the coast. The scenery reminded us very much of Dartmoor only closer to the see, with granite rocks amongst bracken.

Mum's Birthday
On 12th July I flew back to England, primarily as it was my mums 80th birthday as I wanted to be there to celebrate that with her.  I had a lovely weekend with family up in the midlands for that, then a few days in Cornwall catching up with friends and doing some shopping (for the boat mainly – not me). I stayed with Amy for a couple of days in her little flat provided by work, very strange to be me visiting her in her own home. We had a lovely couple of days together around Port Isaac, it was nearly a year since I had seen her so lovely to be able to spend the time together. I then stayed with Jane and family who provided a bed in Saltash whilst I finished my visiting/shopping.  

On the beach at Polzeath - not quite warm enough for me to go in the sea.

A hot chocolate with all the trimmings to warm us up on a July day!

The week was soon over and I flew back to Spain where it was nice to be home and catch up with John and all his news of the festival and his week without me. He had thoroughly enjoyed the festival, met some of the bands to chat to and had even stayed up until 3am one morning caught up in the throng of the festival.

We had an invitation to join in at a local fiesta a few of days ago where we saw Queimada being made for the first time, this is a Galician drink a spirit distilled from wine and flavoured with special  herbs or coffee, plus sugar, lemon peel, coffee beans and cinnamon. The really interesting part being it is set alight, and then the burning liquid is ladled out and slowly poured back into the pan from a height. Think of lighting a Christmas pudding only many times more spectacular. This was done in a dry grassy patch of land and every so often a bit of burning liquid would be spilt and stamped out before it set the grass on fire. Health and safety is thrown out of the window when the drink held in the ladle, the flame blown out by the maker and poured into disposable plastic cups. How they didn’t melt is beyond me, however the drink was actually quite tasty, a sort of hot liqueur.

Me and Annie

A couple of days ago John had suggested tying up alongside the wall for the morning, making it easier to go to the market with the bikes and do a general food stock up. Back on the boat I suggested we return to our anchorage and John wished to stay alongside the wall. I was down in the saloon when I heard someone call my name, there aren’t many people here who know me by name, so was quite surprised and went to see who it was. To my amazement on there on the quayside stood Annie and Philippe, our friends from St Nazaire. It transpired that they had been plotting with John and that was the reason he wanted to stay on the wall, he knew they were arriving and had decided to surprise me – he certainly succeeded!

The view accross the Ria

The 600M Cliff

 They had booked into a local hotel and we spent a lovely couple of days together catching up on news from both sides. Yesterday we explored the local mountains/cliffs in their hire car. At one point they reach over 600m, the highest cliffs in southern Europe and amazing to see. Cows which remind me of Jersey cows and wild ponies roam the cliff tops, under the shadow of wind turbines and around a hermitage that is many centuries old, a curious mix of old and new in one place. We then went to Cedeira, our next port of call in the boat, strange to visit somewhere by car first knowing we would soon be sailing there. We finished the day with a rather splendid meal in a local restaurant and bid farewell to our French friends sometime after midnight. They are now on their way to Porto from where they are due to fly back to Nantes.
Animals grazing under some of the many wind turbines

Today the Fiesta of Santa Marta has started in the town, with a selection of local bands (both orchestral and pipe) marching through the town. The music tonight is likely to carry on until well into the morning, so I feel a siesta coming on in preparation for a late night. The weather is looking good for sailing on Sunday, so I think we shall finally be moving on from here.