Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Leaving Spain

Wed 20th August – 27th August

First stop when we arrived at Vigo was the tourist information office. First one was closed (at 5pm since it is aimed at cruise ship passengers) and we set off with our limited map provided by the marina to find the other one. Two hours later and only thing we had found was somewhere to have a drink. However, by this time we had completed the cultural walk through the whole of the old town without a proper map (it really is not that big).

Could not get excited about Vigo. It is the largest town in Galicia and the modern part is as interesting as the small old historic part and the modern part was not that interesting. On the plus side we did have an excellent meal at one of the restaurants after a 2 hour walk around the town to try and find the “perfect” restaurant. If we were not so indecisive we would not get so much exercise and surely weigh a lot more. Sometimes it would be nice to go in the first restaurant we come to!

The next morning we went off to find the chandlers with the help of some addresses off the web, a proper map and directions from the very helpful Tourist Information staff. Chandlers in Spain do not display items in the shop but you have to ask for them. Knowing this, I still failed to either translate the list of items I wanted into Spanish before we went or bring a dictionary to help. Not a smart move and therefore the only items we purchased were some Sikaflex (same as in English), a fender and some warp because we could point to them. My attempted mime and helpful gestures to indicate that I wanted a base valve for a Jabsco sea toilet were lost on the staff (in both shops) but maybe mimes probably do not translate well.


Final stop on our Spanish route and looking forward to seeing the town. Not disappointed when we arrived on Friday and we actually berthed on a finger pontoon that was almost big enough for our boat. The club house is very impressive and when we asked about eating in the restaurant there was a definite muted “it may be possible”. Not sure that was a really enthusiastic invite so we gave it a miss.

Finally found a marina with a washing machine after nearly two weeks and at 12 euros a wash I had high hopes – but it turns out we had to do it ourselves. Spent the afternoon between washing clothes, cleaning the boat and fixing the window with the Sikaflex we bought in Vigo. It was only a small repair and had not yet started leaking but I did not want to take any risks. I was pleased how well I had repaired it (amazed even).

Our normal search for a restaurant meant that we had pretty much explored the town by the time we found a restaurant and we had Crepes for dinner. OK it was a surprise to us and we had not looked at the menu properly but gone by the fact that it was rated “3” in Trip Advisor and it was busy but there was a table free. That is how you end up eating Crepes for dinner when you were not expecting it.
Given up trying to get a new seal for the forward heads and decided on Saturday morning that I should have one last go at taking it apart and seeing if I can get it to work properly. With that done we set off for a walk around the Parador which overlooks the harbour. Beautiful walk around the walls which give unparallelled views around the whole bay.

Walking around the Parador

Our private beach in front on the Parador

We had a slight change to our normal Sunday of cleaning the boat and doing the washing. Instead we serviced the engine as well as set up the blog site. The most important thing was to service the engine so I naturally started by setting up the blog – and then fiddling with it so I did not actually start the work on the engine until gone midday. Finished the engine about 5pm (a few hours later than planned) and then left to anchor off the beach. Basically it is free to anchor and the showers on board are better than at the marina. Only downside is we have to dinghy ashore but we were going to eat on board anyway so we lost nothing and we had use of the marina for most of the day. At 60 euros per night in the marina at Baiona it is more expensive than England and the weather is not that much better!

Off to Portugal

For the first time in a long while we are up at 7am (6am in the UK) on a Monday morning. Still dark and we faff around with tea etc by which time it is light. We have 12 hours sailing ahead of us to get to Leixoes in Portugal with light winds from the South West. After weighing anchor, Catherine goes back to bed and I start my two hour watch before she takes over.

Dolphins come to say goodbye as we leave Baiona
After about 4 hours we have a discussion about why we are going to Leixoes. Apparently neither of us actually wanted to go there and the historic town of Viana which we are just about to pass is one we both thought looked much better. So after a little communication, we agree to stop at Viana for the rest of the day.

An English couple (Jonathan and Anne) who we have bumped into from time to time (but always while sailing so we had not spoken but knew their boat name) helped us moor up. Later on another English couple (Alan and Lyn) moored next to us coming in like drowned rats through the rain and mist that had set in. Jonathan hosted a tapas and wine session aboard his boat in the evening which was very jolly and a good few bottles drunk. Nice to know that we are not the only people with ambitions on the world with a few gaps to fill in on the actual plans themselves.

We need to pay our Light Dues

Raining and very misty the next day so decided not to go on the Leixios. We did however find the office to pay our Light Dues (a kind of sailing tax) to the Portuguese Government. A fine of £150 euros if you are caught without the certificate.

It was our second attempt to find the office having been given two sets of directions already on how to get there. Finally I asked in the Tourist Information Office (who had never heard of the place) but suggested that we try the Maritime Police Office further down the Quay. The building itself is set back from the road with no signpost to say what it is. Catherine noticed that one of the car parking spaces was reserved for “Capitaine” and so we tried our luck. Third office we went into (none of which we signposted) we found the right place. We had spent some three hours on this venture over the last two days.

But we were now there with all our ships papers and patiently waited the 20 minutes while all the forms were filled in, the certificate drawn up and three copies made. We then received our invoiced and duly paid the two euros for the certificate!And before you have any cynical thoughts about this, if all the other sailors were as diligent as us, the Portuguese Government would collect enough revenue to almost pay the administration costs to collect the tax. Must be worth it.

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