The Starfish and the Seagull

Once upon a time, or more accurately a couple of weeks ago, a lonely starfish pondered his stagnant surroundings thinking there must be more to life than clinging onto this pitiful rock in this rather dull pool.

As luck would have it a solitary seagull had been peering into that same pool thinking about that little starfish and how lonely and vulnerable he must feel.

Being a very friendly and industrious gull, she decided to broaden the starfish’s horizons and promptly plucked him from the pool.

The starfish couldn’t believe his luck. A whole new world of colour and bustle and life.

Within seconds the seagull had tried to down the whole starfish. No good. Having removed two of the starfish’s appendages and rapidly swallowing them, she tried again to down the tri-appendaged creature!

Several attempts were made, each seemingly successful until the very last moment when it had to be regurgitated, a breath taken and the next try made.

Eventually the gull removed a couple more “arms” and hey presto the starfish was completely gobbled up and the bloated seagull waddled away to live happily ever after (possibly).

Always nice to have a happy ending, which is exactly what the first mate and I had after our night passage to Bilbao. What an eye opener Bilbao was.

The marina was a few miles from the centre so we hopped onto the metro, getting of in the old quarter. I stood agog as I looked around to see masses of people, all on their way to getting well oiled at a weeklong festival in the middle of the city. We’d come from a nicely ordered French city to apparent mayhem. To cap it all I couldn’t understand a word they were saying!

It was a lively and exciting place to visit and the Guggenheim was fantastic both inside and out. There are some photo’s on here somewhere, so the first mate tells me.

The northern Spain coastline is stunning. From Bilbao we needed to head west and it quickly became apparent why there didn’t appear to be many boats sailing this coast. The lack of wind and constant swell can make for a really uncomfortable and frustrating journey. The scenery did make up for this though, particularly the Pico’s de Europa, which formed the backdrop to and already spectacular view of mountains and huge table top cliffs. I knew Spain had some stunning countryside but I’d not expected anything quite like this.

We rapidly moved along the coast, anchoring at Santander and stopping overnight at Ribadesella, where a nice Swedish couple, Erling and Karin helped us moor up, before moving on to Gijon. Another city worth a visit and reminded me of Plymouth a little, although Plymouth is much bigger and looks nothing like it, so nothing like Plymouth then!! Gijon was a great place to stop and rest for a few days before pushing on to Ribadeo.

The number of foreign sailing boats was reducing and it was becoming clear that those you did see were on a similar course to us, heading south for the winter. Another notable change is the weather, which is becoming a little less reliable, so you can find yourself staying put a little longer than you might have planned.

Ribadeo, it has an enclosed lift shaft and staircase leading from the harbour up to a street that leads you to the town centre. It is a bizarre thing, as you have to walk past the road that takes you to the centre of town to get to the lift shaft. There was some great coastline to explore and the town was lovely and worthy of staying for a couple of nights. Incidentally, Erling and Karin arrived the day after we did so we returned the favour and helped them moor up.

Next stop Viveiro, sitting almost at the most northerly part of Spain and the last stop before we start to round the corner onto the west coast. Again, a much nicer place than you might at first think, particularly when you head around the coast. It was here that we first happened upon the Hyper Chen! For the size of the town this was a huge shop and full of any old tat you might want. A bit like the pound shop, but about 3 or 4 times as big a rammed to the brim with stuff.  Need wool, a fishing rod, plastic flowers, pants, candles or a bath mat, then get along to Hyper Chen, they’ve got the lot. Since then we’ve not stopped finding them!

While we were in Viveiro, we met Michiel and Arianne who’d sold pretty much everything they possessed to fund a trip around the world. They hoped to be travelling for at least 5 years and we had a very enjoyable evening with them before moving on. By the way, Michiel tells a great story about hamsters, a computer programme and online betting, but you’ll have to ask him about that!!

Oh, and guess who turned up the day before we were about to leave Viveiro, yep Erling and Karin. There’s a pattern starting to emerge here.

Incidentally the story at the start of this is based on my observations of a seagull trying to devour a starfish while sitting in a marina. I thought it would be a nice way of cheering you all up.

Next time, more swell, wind, waves and fog, but until then adios.

Captain Mac

PS: Andrew & Gill, it’s still not too late to turn around!!!

4 Replies to “The Starfish and the Seagull”

  1. How terribly Cantonaesque.

    There is a fable of a small girl, walking along a beach that is strewn with a million starfish. The starfish are baking in the heat of the sun and the tide will return too late to save them.

    She bends down, picks up a starfish and throws it back into the water. She does it again. And again. And again.

    A man, who thought himself to be wise and experienced, laughed at the little girl and said “Why are you wasting your time little girl, there are so many starfish you can’t possibly make a difference”.

    The little girl looked at him before bending down, picking up a starfish and throwing it back to the water. She returned her gaze to him and said, “I made a difference to that one”.

    Liked by 1 person

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