Poorly Paul and Porto
Having waved goodbye to Niall in a Coruña, Paul and I set off, 09:35 on the 28th Oct, for the journey south down the Iberian peninsula to Porto. The forecast of little wind proved accurate and as a consequence we motored, occasionally motor-sailed, the 194 nm between our ports of call in Spain and Portugal. As we rounded the corner of a Coruña we passed the impressive tower of Hercules, reputable the longest continuously operating lighthouse in he world.
Once again we found ourselves in company with Tormalind for much of the journey but again managed to put some miles between us. In the late afternoon we had a following wind of 10-15 knts and decided to break out the Parasailor and give it an airing. Once it was set up it required no input from us to keep it full and pulling us along at a respectable 6 knts past the rugged coast north of Cape Finnisterre. We rounded the cape as the light was fading and made a course along a bearing of 169 degrees 12 hrs.
Paul and I took 4 hr watches (we set a pinger to ensure that we take a good look round every 15-20 mins) and settled into the routine with the quite thrum of the engine and he swish of the wake as the acoustic accompaniment to the gentle rising and falling caused by the swell.
The night became a moment of wonder for me as first one and then a maximum of 12 dolphins torpedoed in to ride our bow wave for almost an hour. What made it so special on this almost moonless night was the presence of quantities of luminescent plankton which had the effect of creating a bright blue-green glow highlighting the Dolphins and leaving a trail wherever they went. With four already cavorting at our bow l noticed four streaks of luminescence heading towards us from 2 o'clock and then another four from 11 o'clock. I suddenly understood what it must be like to see a torpedo coursing its way towards you at speed on a dark night. This has to be one of the most amazing things I've had the pleasure to experience!
The further south the less rugged the coast becomes. Eventually, just as the sun was rising we crossed the border and said 'bom dia!' To Portugal as we raised the third courtesy flag of the voyage. We were running consistently behind our schedule and noticed that we were having to push against a strong current pushing north up the coast. This slowed us down ad we didn't arrive in Porto until 13:45 having a lucky escape as we turned sharply into our berth. The painter of the tender caught around the anchor of another boat and there was a mighty crack as it gave way and the tender swung back into place... Amazingly no damage done to either us or the other boat. We tidied up, checked in with the marina and completed the entry declarations and formalities.
At 16:00 my old workmate Frank Verheijen turned up having made e hours journey from home to greet us and take us out on the town. We had a great evening, Paul sketching the old town whilst Frank and I made a quick tour of it up interesting streets to the station with its walls of blue painted tiles depicting scenes celebrating Portuguese history. Luckily Frank and I just happened on a small shop selling hand made chocolate and I took the opportunity to stock up... Then to a riverside restaurant for a great meal catching up and watching the world drift by on the river. Thanks Frank for booking the table and chauffeuring us to and from the old town.
Throughout this time Paul has been having a miserable time with a severe case of the squits. He keeps on going though it is obviously not easy for him. We just hope that a plain diet of yoghurt, porridge and bread might see him recover over the next day or so. In the meantime after a day of rest we will be starting off at 08:30 GMT, on Monday the 31st Oct, heading the 170 mile further south to Lisbon.