Life at anchor in Alden was a bit of a treat. Our friends Liam and Mags were at anchor there and it wasn’t long after seeing them that we could gauge whether international dog shunning was still happening to the first mate, or whether the international order to shun had been rescinded. Schooner the hound confirmed that no such revocation was evident and dogs shunning Sarah is still very much the order of the day. Alden was somewhere we’d not been before and, although there were lots of boats anchored and it was next to a beach, it was a pretty peaceful spot. Well, at night time at least.
Arriving somewhere new always sets the restless legs twitching. They needed a run out and I had little choice but to tag along and get some exercise. That said, the first mate and I had a great walk up to a lovely view point that extended along the coast giving some stunning views over Ria
Pontevedra and Ria Vigo.
Me, my legs and the first mate returned from our excursion to the sound of sirens and realised there was a significant fire involving scrub land and trees adjacent to the beach. Now, I’m not one for gawping at fire incidents, having spent 30 years as a firefighter, but to be able to sit on the beach and watch the firefighting helicopter shuttling water to dowse the flames, while kicking back and enjoying the sunshine did hold a certain appeal. An hour or so saw everything brought under control and serious beach lounging resume.
Whilst we’d been pottering about at Alden, the first mate had managed to arrange for my brand-new leaky paddle board to be collected from Combarro Marina, so we needed to head into Ria Pontevedra and start the ball rolling. We initially motored out of Ria Alden and then sailed the rest of the journey, dropping anchor just outside the marina for the first night before relocating to the marina the next day.
First priority, packaging the paddleboard for collection later that day. Once done, we were off to the supermarket to sort out some provisioning. Mooching about the aisles while picking up essentials, I
clocked a little fella, middle aged, shorts and tee shirt, flit past me looking slightly twitchy. I thought nothing of it and carried on. He then appeared at the freezer cabinet next to me and as I looked towards him, he peered up from the freezer, turning in my direction. His eyes appeared to moved independently of each other, one looking to the left of me, the other to the right, though not in a cross-eyed way. Very odd.
We continued to shop and made our way to the check out. Just then, a kerfuffle broke out behind us and the funny little fella shot past with a ruck sac full of frozen octopus. He was out of the door in a flash followed by a couple of shop staff. I knew that there was something shifty about the bulgy eyed bandit. The staff re-appeared 5 minutes later with handfuls of frozen octopus, so his ploy to relieve the shop of their tasty tentacles had failed. Octopus was off the menu.
Progress over the next few days was more like a chuckle brother sketch than a serious attempt to resolve the paddle board issue. To me to you, to me to you, to him to her etc. Still, it was a good chance to spend some quality time with Liam, Mags and Schooner and enjoy the occasional Evening Mass (a gathering of the Irish contingent for an early evening tipple or two!)
Eventually we received confirmation that a new replacement board would be sent without first collecting the faulty one. No point in hanging around waiting for delivery, so we set off for Vigo and the chance to locate a reasonably sized chandlers. We decided to head out and pick up some essential boat tat not long after arriving. It was Friday afternoon and siesta was over so an ideal time to shop. First chandlers closed, would be open again on Monday!!, the next was shut as was thenext. It was clear that most closed half day on a Friday and the chances of picking up what we needed were slim. We eventually found the only chandlers open. In fairness it was more clothing than boat hardware so was a bit of a damp squib. Still, nice to get out.
Vigo’s centre was undergoing some serious regeneration and upgrading. Despite the building works the city still had the same vibrant appeal we’d experienced on our first visit. Like all Spanish towns it comes to life in the evenings and there were some great places to enjoy a beer and idle about people watching as the sun set.
A short stay in Vigo and a night anchored at Enseada de San Simon saw us heading back to Combarro where the paddle board was due for delivery. The first part of the journey was under engine though the wind built towards the mouth of the Ria and before long all three sails were up and we were soaring along between 6 and 7 knots. The wind dropped off a little as we approached Combarro, so the sail plan was adapted and we managed to sail right up until we dropped the hook. Result.
Needless to say, the paddle board had not arrived when we returned, despite information to say it had. Apparently, the delivery driver claimed he’d tried to deliver to the marina but couldn’t find anyone to sign for it. Uh? nobody in the marina office in the daytime, you’re having a laugh mate. I suspect he just couldn’t be bothered and didn’t even try to deliver the damned thing, just took it back to the main depot. After more to-ing and fro-ing and hanging about we finally got the replacement board delivered to a computer shop at the top end of the town. Don’t ask! The leaky board still hadn’t been collected and was buried in a store back at the marina. It’s not there anymore!
Portugal was tugging at our shirt tails, it was time to move South to Baiona, a great spot to locate yourself until you get the weather to move on. We said our goodbyes to Liam and Mags and set off motoring out of Ria Pontevedra. The wind had given up by now and we pottered along enjoying the scenery and almost mirror like sea state.
The bay off Baiona is the perfect place to anchor with easy access to the town and everything you’re likely to need to keep you going. I wished we’d been there earlier and without the paddle board debacle, would’ve been, but the weather was good for the following day and we didn’t want to miss the opportunity to sail.
First light and we were up lifting the anchor and off. We weren’t the only ones and were the middle of 3 strung out boats. I knew that the wind would be from the North, not immediately, after a couple of hours and we’d already prepared the monster poles in readiness for a decent downwind sail. Two hours in and the wind had built enough to sail. We poled out the genoa and had the mizzen sail hoisted. We overtook the front boat, though in fairness, only their main had been deployed so it wasn’t surprising.
Winds built as the day progressed and we were absolutely racing along by the time we reached the mouth of the river Douro. We turned and headed inland a short way where we dropped the anchor just short of Porto and just behind Annette, who’d conveniently managed to keep the spot just behind them free. Mmmmm, Porto home of port. More about that next time.