At Anchor and Ashore in the
Ria de Vigo - Part 2

from 'The Journal of Alacazam', by Mary Swift...

Having yesterday left Alacazam at anchor and sampled 'orejas' ashore, we've vowed never to eat anything we don't recognise as remotely edible ever again. Why? Well, 'orejas' turned out to be pig's ears...

Not long after getting into bed last night I thought I heard fireworks. Dick looked out of the porthole, but could see nothing and said I was mistaken. "Probably the pig's ears", he said. 

We were woken up a few times though by strong wash so there must have been a lot of fishing boat activity in the night.

Even so we are up early for breakfast, as we want to be at the Internet Café as soon as it opens at 1000 hours.

Dick wants to send of the Practical Boat Owner Magazine his article on water ballast and I am sending chapters 2 and 3 of my journal to those who have expressed an interest in reading it.

On the way to tie up the dinghy at the dock, we stop by Summer Lady (a Crealock 34) to say good morning to our pals Mike and Kay, who ask us if we enjoyed the firework display last night, on the other side of the bay (mistaken eh?). They're preparing Summer Lady to move into the marina for a few days as Mike is experiencing problems with his auto-pilot and needs to get it fixed, so we'll catch up with them later. 

We walk right along the front promenade to the beach that we can see from our anchorage, which leads to another, smaller, rocky promontory in the bay. We walk around it and although a pathway has been laid to walk on there are no formal flowerbeds here. The flowers and grasses are just left to grow naturally as a home for the butterflies, bees and other insects; growing down to the rocks where there are brilliant rock pools.

We have walked a long way and stop for a drink at a small bar, glad of the rest. As we start to walk back, we notice a high block of concrete steps that two people have just walked out of. Curious, we climb them and find we have come out onto another road high above the water. The houses here are grand and as we follow the road down we find ourselves back in the narrow streets of the old town.

On our way to the dinghy, we pass Summer Lady berthed on the same pontoon, and stop to have a beer with Mike. Kay has gone ashore for a walk but is back before we leave, having found a fish market and two supermarkets in the two main streets. We had walked the other way but know where she means. Mike is not happy. He has just paid 59,000 pesetas (some £225) to keep his 34ft yacht in the Marina for seven days.

This is very expensive and we think there must be some mistake and suggests he gets over to the Marina Office to check it out. We don't stop long and go back to Alacazam to eat a late lunch of chicken salad. It is 1545 hours; where does the time go?

As usual we have walked miles and after lunch Dick is soon fast asleep in the cockpit. The weather is lovely but there is no wind. The mountains and hills behind Bayona seem to create their own weather system. The clouds are dark grey and it becomes very misty over the mountains only to disappear in minutes, replaced by a brilliant blue sky. The hills are very wooded and quite stunning. Bayona is not a large town and has a prime location facing the Atlantic Ocean and also the bay, but the other side of the bay is highly populated, each small town leading into the next.

Dick decides to try out his new idea for taking a shower. The idea is that using the transom ladder, he takes a dip in the sea to get wet, and then washes using a mousse shower gel (which lathers well in sea water). Then back into the sea to remove the lather ready for a final freshwater rinse on board, hosing down using the 'Hozelock Garden Spray', designed with the intention of anointing insects with insecticide.

All good stuff in theory, and I am almost tempted to try it, until Dick shoots back out of the water as quickly as he went in, displaying undeniable evidence that the sea water is freezing cold. He does persist though and has a really good shower; the 'Hozelock' spraying water, with some force, only where aimed and required, wet enough to remove all the salt water yet with a fine enough spray to use very little fresh water.

Dick looks so refreshed that I am tempted to have a go, but I am not so hardy. The water is freezing and I only go in up to my knees. Until it gets warmer, while water is so easily obtainable, a stand up wash with a bowl of hot water will have to do. I have just gone below deck, when a yacht circles us and an English voice says "Are the natives friendly?" Dick answers, chatting for a while, and it is not until they have gone that he remembers he has nothing on. While he was showering some youngsters had canoed by and I could clearly hear them giggling (well, who wouldn't giggle!).

We have written some postcards and motor ashore about 8pm to post them and to have a drink with Mike and Kay at the Yacht Club, now that they are bona fide members of the marina. The Naiad 50 called 'Harmonii' that had circled us, is anchored nearby and as we pass by in the dinghy, the North Country couple that own her, Julie and Keith, invite us on board. We explain that we can only stay for a few minutes and sit in the cockpit, not going below.

Their yacht is brand new and it is their third and, they tell us, their last yacht. They too are heading for the Caribbean but for the second time. They would not be stopping at the Cape Verde islands as they had been before and did not like it at all. They had had to stay there for six days waiting for a spare part to arrive and could not wait to leave. They said that the people were friendly enough but were very poor and they had found the officials to be corrupt.

We say goodbye and leave to tie up the dinghy on Summer Lady. We had not been able to contact Mike and Kay on VHF and were not sure if they would be on board. They were and were delighted to see us as Mike had just finished cooking dinner, enough for four, chicken with boiled potatoes, zucchini (courgettes) and carrots complete with a bottle of red wine.

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It is quite late by the time we reach the Yacht Club and although it is pleasant enough and we stay and share a bottle of wine, we are not comfortable and walk on into the town in search of a post box. We walk for quite a way but cannot find one so the postcards will have to wait until tomorrow.

Kay and Mike fancy a brandy nightcap and we sit in a small bar on the front promenade. The brandies are large, and as the conversation flows, it is becoming increasingly clear that Kay is a tad worse for wear, but pleasantly so.

We just happen to walk by the ice cream parlour again and it is still open, so in we go. We only have two scoops each tonight though.

We are now near to the main street and search again for a post box but to no avail. They are yellow boxes and very elusive in most towns in Galicia, finding them easily in Camariñas only.

A rock band is still playing on a large stage set up near the entrance to the Marina but there is hardly any audience. It is time to escort Kay and Mike back to Summer Lady and for us to motor back to Alacazam.

We can still hear the sound of the rock band drifting across the water but it stops as we climb on board and we cannot believe that it is 3am. 

Next: At Anchor and Ashore in Ria de Vigo - Part 3

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