14th to 22nd October 2017

We arrived at Baiona in the expectation that the weather would prevent us from going any further South for a while, and we were right. A more adventurous crew, a Norwegian/Canadian couple, tried to make some progress a couple of days after we arrived but returned to the marina four hours later having not enjoyed the 25knots-on-the-nose and uncomfortable swell which prevailed for most of the week. Given that many of the ports immediately South of here close in inclement weather/swell, and that we have kids on board, we decided to stay put until the forecast was more pleasant.

On arrival, given that the marina was not cheap, we intended to stay a night or two to fill up water tanks, batteries, and make re-provisioning easier, before moving to anchor in the well-sheltered harbour. But we decided to try and make use of an extra few days moored to a pontoon to get some jobs on the boat done. There’s nothing stopping us working on the boat while at anchor, but it is easier for Charlotte to take the kids out, and for me to pop and get parts/supplies, when we are attached to a pontoon, so an extra few nights (which we expected to pay 35 Euros a night for) it was. So, this was an expensive week for us, or so we thought.

The day before we were due to leave, Charlotte had a chat with some cruisers aboard a catamaran of a similar size to us (Evanesence) who mentioned that they had been given a pretty significant discount when they got around to paying. Charlotte asked for a discount at the office and hey-presto, the bill was cut by 35% or so. Worth asking for, certainly 🙂 It was still more than we intend to spend in marinas in most good-weather months, but given we had spent the previous fortnight at anchor and most of our activities are free we should end up within-budget, just, for October.

A few things about the city:

  • The castle is spectacular. It’s a 45 minute walk or so around the outside, depending on how often you stop to take photos, enjoy the scenery, or rest your 4 year old. Slightly less around the inside route, which was free when we visited (some guides say there is a nominal ticket price – perhaps in Summer?). Thanks to the presence of a hotel within the grounds, I suspect, the castle is well cared for and served for some great history-ish conversations with our kids. Health and safety is refreshingly and wonderfully absent.
  • There’s a good playground for most age children right outside the castle, and the contrast between the beach on the side exposed to the Atlantic (shingle fringed by rocks of various sizes) and the one facing the marinas (soft sand) is astounding – even more so when there are waves breaking on the Atlantic-side.
  • The old town is well worth a leisurely wander through.
  • Eroski has a very good selection of fruit and veg, at good prices.

A few of the things that got done on the boat:

  • Our first DIY engine service. It’s remarkably easy to change the oil, oil filter, fuel filter and generally check-over a marine diesel engine – and Arthur enjoyed watching most of it too. The engine still works, and doesn’t leak any of the various fluids that pass through it. And, I managed not to cover everything in dirty oil. So a win, all in all.
  • Our (second-hand) watermaker works, and is nearly fully installed. One of the high-pressure connections has a slight fracture in it which leaks when the pressure within the pump spikes. But, it does still work, so even if we can’t find an appropriate connector from one of the chandleries for a while we can use it if necessary.
  • We bought a new gas bottle. The Repsol we visited, at the end of the beach, couldn’t refill our existing gas bottle (a 15kg Calor butane) and the attendant I first spoke to, in broken Spanish, would not accept it for exchange either. So, given we have space in the gas locker for a third, we got one – which unfortunately doesn’t connect to our existing regulator, but is of a type that we’ll see plenty in our planned cruising grounds in the near future. Sorting that out will also encourage me to sort out the gas plumbing, which while just-about-safe is not up to standard, more thoroughly. After securing a couple of parts which were not available at the local chandlers or Ferreteria…
  • I made us an anchor bridle. We have been using an old 3-strand rope which we cleat off on each bow and connect to the chain with a bowline-in-the-bight and large clip through a chain hook. It is already chafing where the bowline is tied, and is a little awkward to get the lengths right. So, I have spliced a pair of lines in anchorplait with stainless thimbles at one end (which will connect through the clip/chain hook to the chain) and eyes at the other.

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