Received Friday 12th August

"A Week in La Coruna"

La Coruna from mast of Dart Warrior


We´ve been here in this lovely Spanish city for over a week now. The marina is really close to the nicest part which is the old town. A short walk takes us to our favourite place, an ancient church with tree-lined square; here we sit some evenings with a beer and cool down. The weather has mostly been clear and hot. This gets a bit much in the afternoons but other-wise is great. After being here a few days Nat´s friend from Madrid came to stay and we went to the historic town of Santigo de Compostela. It was busy there but a fascinating place. Another day we all went out for a sail around the bay.

Free Spirit in convoy with Dart


More recently we have been working on the boat and getting some laundry done in the preparation for our departure and trip down the coast of Spain and Portugal. We intend to leave Sunday morning and do short day hops rather than long passages. Our departure is well planned as today we were informed that the marina fees will increase by 30% from tonight. This will take them up to close that charged on the South Coast, UK. Hopefully we can anchor more from now on. Better go now as we have a fellow British cruising couple coming around for dinner in an hour or so. Will report progress once we start moving.

Received Wednesday 17th August : 2330

"La Coruna to Corme":

After 2 wonderful nights at anchor on a wide sweeping beach (why did we stay in La C marina so long?)







We travelled to Corme today in convoy with Kieron and Ellie on Dart Warrior. For the first time we used our cruising chute (a big lightweight downwind sail) successfully. We are learning skills every day at the moment. On arrival at Corme we anchored next to Sam on Ramprasad - a person I had met years ago in Shoreham when building his boat and then admired later after several voyages. We invited everyone over for dinner and Nat did the black bean chilli affair with rice, chips and avo salad. Pretty good I can tell you. Off to Camarinas tomorrow. A shorter hop so Nat and Ellie are keen to get a walk in along the wild coastline on arrival. Happily tired.

Received 12th September: 0800

Corme to Bayona 18th to 23rd Aug 2005 ( catching up with the Log)

Corme to Camarinas - Woke to find thick blanket of fog over this small port. Around 1300 it lifted and we left for Camarinas. Conditions were calm and we motored all the way to arrive around 1730. Shortly afterwards visibility deteriorated and a fine misty rain began. We anchored at the side of a group of ten other boats but soon noticed the wind was changing direction from NW to NE and getting stronger so making our position exposed. And so, just as dinner was ready, we lifted the anchor again (thank goodness for the windlass) and shifted to a lovely snug position on the protected side of the anchorage. Food now almost in our mouths we noticed that as the tide was falling a large bank of rocks were being exposed not a million miles away to port (to the left of the boat). Some heated discussion followed and before long food was again put on hold and windlass began whirring. By now we had become quite a source of entertainment for the other boats in the anchorage. This was not the first time we had repositioned our anchor repeatedly (we average around 2 per location) and we decided there and then to have a sign printed declaring 'Anchor Test Crew - please keep clear' for use in such situations! The next day we stayed in Camarinas as it was very windy. We set up the wind generator which worked well. Later, while trying to gather courage to dinghy ashore, Sam from Ramprasad saved us the trouble by offering to act as taxi. We walked along the coastline and then had a drink with Sam and dinner with Keiran and Ele on Dart Warrior. The next day the wind had eased a bit but we decided to remain in Camarinas. We moved to the marina and had a walk to the lighthouse. We returned to the boat hot and tired and not keen to do the preparation required for the next day's sail. We managed it eventually and later went for a stroll to relax.

Camarinas to Portosin - Although little wind initially, conditions improved and we sailed downwind to the entrance of Ria de Muros then beat into a freshening breeze all the way up the Ria to Portosin. The marina was small and we had some difficulty berthing in the strong crosswind. We wandered into the town after eating dinner to find throngs of locals enjoying a festival.

Portosin to Bayona - A perfect downwind sail in good conditions to this well known town. We stayed in the rolling anchorage initially then moved to the marina the following morning.



Received 5th September: 1900

First Mate's First Log!! Bayona to Cascais

So here I am in Portugal, just me and the old tub. Needless to say, we didn't plan me being here on my tod. Unfortunately, Mark's family has had some quite bad news recently so the best thing to do was to get Mark home. We looked at flights out of N. Spain, but felt that we really needed to get further south so we high-tailed it to Lisbon. We left Bayona and our friends on Dart Warrior last Wednesday morning (22nd Aug) and it took about two days to get here to Cascais, a smart town just outside Lisbon. Not much to say about the trip really because we saw 'nufink'. Just fog.

Although the pictures below are not of this leg of the trip, it gives you a feeling of what it's like to be at sea in fog. It's very eerie.


Dart Warrior in the fog in Corme .... and then 20 minutes later.

One thing we did see though when night sailing was lots of very, very cool luminous dolphins, jetting around Free Spirit like little spirits themselves. Beautiful.

-Cascais (pronounced 'kuhsh-kaish' Sean Connery style) used to be the place to holiday for the Portuguese Royals before, I think, some horrible, horrible man turned up and put an end to all that. Unbelievably Portugal only regained it's democracy in the seventies I think but don't quote me on any of this historical stuff. More about Cascais - external link

Anyhows, the place is obviously pretty upmarket, a great place to be stranded for a week. Today I found Portugal's answer to Yamini (a fab houseware store in Goa) and I'm a very happy gal, although - luckily for our back balance - with no house to furnish. There are only so many rugs and cushions you can have on a boat (but believe me, I'm doing fairly well - mum you would be proud of me). Seeing as it's all work work while the Captain's around I've spent the rest of my time sleeping, sleeping on the beach etc. That sort of stuff. Started a new book - Spike Milligan's Puckoon - only been meaning to read it for eight years (sorry Dad!). Then, all of a sudden, I got busy. Got out of bed early enough on Friday to get the train to Lisbon (cue Sean  ... 'Lizh-bouh'). Half an hour journey, cost me *2.60 euros* there AND back. Goodness knows what has gone wrong with our public transport system in old blighty - it's shameful really. Didn't spend much time there, but loved what I saw. 

Dan and Anne-Marie from the Danish ´Restless II´ then invited me around for a drink. They have been lovely to me while Mark has been away, always keeping an eye out for me. The Dart Warriors Kieran and Ele (Dart Warrior site) arrived yesterday morning, so we went for a wander around last night. Also went to the 'Boca do Inferno' (Mouth of Hell), which is where the sea seeps into an abyss. Quite scary. Talking of which, Captain's back tonight, so I'll be on my way now. Better get cleaning dem decks. 






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