Sunday, January 08, 2012

Cruise of the ‘Ishani’, a 26’ Eventide – Part 8

Early on the morning of Saturday, 6th June we obtained our first DF bearing which confirmed we were on track for Cape Vilano. This headland was about thirty miles south of La Corunna. We continued towards the Cape for a visual identification. In due time, an hour before nightfall, the expected hump of land appeared over the horizon. From there on, it was simply a matter of heading north and identifying lights, each with its own specific characteristic. In fact, position fixing at night was easier than by day, because positive fixes could be obtained from compass bearings of the lights. Each fix could be confirmed by checking that the distance and course run between it and the previous one was correct, taking into consideration factors such as tidal vectors, leeway, variation and deviation if applicable.

5th June

Eventually, we identified the powerful light for La Corunna, which shone brightly from the Tour de Hercule. The biggest challenge was sorting out significant lights for navigating our way into the harbour. There were numerable flashing lights which made it all a bit confusing, and to make matters worse, the whole fishing fleet was on its way to sea. As we carefully proceeded under power, we found the relevant buoys leading towards the harbour entrance. Thankfully the wind eased, which helped make the task of finding and picking up a visitor’s buoy not too difficult. Ishani entered the harbour not long after midnight. We secured the yacht to a substantial mooring buoy, dived below and took off our smelly waterproofs before cooking an enormous celebratory meal. We slept like logs until 1030 that morning of 7th June.

Surprisingly we were not visited by customs or police during the five days we were there. Formalities were minimal – all that was required was for the skipper to fill in a form giving details of the yacht and her crew. Personnel at the ‘Real Club Nautico’ made us welcome by offering the Club’s facilities which included showers, toilets, washing machines, the Club lounge and a workshop. We were only charged for the use of a mooring.

Mooring receipt

One of our biggest delights was taking a shower. After thirteen days without a freshwater body wash it was really refreshing. We did our laundry at the same time. As we were not expecting to visit Spain we did not have any local currency, but we did have our bankers’ cards which meant we could pay for telephone calls to our wives from the Hotel Finisterre. Understandably our families were relieved to know that we were well. We could not tell them of our intentions, because we had not made a decision whether to press on for the Azores, or return home.

Bill’s biological functions miraculously returned to normal. On Monday, 8th June we heard about a storm of unusual ferocity at Santander on the North coast of Spain. They experienced gusts of 80 knots causing fishing boats to be wrecked. A child on an inflatable mattress was blown out to sea. Whatever his parents were doing at the time to let him get on a lilo, I cannot imagine. A trough of low pressure moved across that part of Spain, and for us it brought warm drizzle.

We liked La Corunna because it was an interesting city of great character comprised of old and new. There were significant industrial complexes, including an oil refinery and a tanker terminal. Other things of note were a flourishing ship repair business, a Naval College, a Military Hospital and a Barracks.

In search of fresh food we found a nearby market that specialized in local produce. The ancient building had a great atmosphere. On the lower ground floor there was a fruit and vegetable market divided into many aisles. There were also stalls where all kinds of meats were sold, both fresh and processed. It seemed that the owner vendors were in friendly competition with one another. There was a raised central area, the fish market, where we bought hake. On leaving the market we were attracted to a fascinating display of sausages, of which a certain brand appealed to both of us; so we acquired some.

Bill is a better cook than me; therefore I was happy to let him prepare the evening meal which consisted of steamed hake simmered in Mother’s Pride sauce, a selection of vegetables, boiled potatoes and a glass of local wine.

On the evening of 9th June we were taken by a fellow we met on a neighbouring yacht to see the local nightspots. It seemed he had done this before. We listened to live music and we were entertained by all the comings and goings. Despite bars being open until the early hours of the morning, we didn’t see any drunks, nor did we witness any unruly behaviour.

Text for the Day

Romans 11:36 ‘Of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.’

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