|Weighing anchor by moonlight|
|Heading out as the day dawns|
The beauty of not being on a schedule is that you can afford to wait for the right conditions. We had our first 200+ mile day -- 202 mi in the 24 hours since 6 am. Dawn arrived and the night had rushed past. On my first 4-hour watch, we were doing 9.5-10.5 knots the entire time under reefed main. Yeehaw!
|Adjusting the Monitor windvane|
|There's the sun...good morning world.|
The next night we were 2/3 of the way there already. It was very dark when I came on watch, but shortly I looked up and saw the Big Dipper. The, the still full moon broke through the clouds and lit a silvery trail to our midships. I tried to take pictures but all three cameras failed to capture the magic.
|Glorious conditions across the Celtic Sea|
|A little damp and boisterous in the Bay of Biscay|
After Alex took the watch, the wind shifted South and we were on a course for A Coruna. We had to decide, keep sailing and make landfall there or furl the headsail and motorsail to Finisterre. We chose the latter. Fog closed in around us as we approached the shipping separation zones. It was great to have AIS. Several ships passed exactly 3 miles astern. The radar was on for corroboration and to pick up any vessels without AIS. The seas got a little more boisterous and every once in a while a big wave crashed over us and things got a mite damp.
|Ship passing astern|
|Fishing vessel trawling|
|Making our way among the fishing fleet close to Spain|
It got noticeably warmer as we approached Spain. Things were going well, so instead of stopping in Finisterre or Corcubion, we elected to continue on to Portosin in the Ria Muros y Noia. I had the final watch approaching the Ria just before dawn. I spotted a fishing boat with no AIS on and managed to figure out that the strobe lights I was seeing were marking a giant net he was trawling with. Just then he turned on his AIS and I was able to discern which way he was heading -- directly across our path. I turned hard to port to avoid the net. He kept the AIS on until we were clear, then turned it off again. I wondered why.
|Moonlight over the yard arm|
As we turned into the Ria, it seemed the entire fishing fleet was coming in with us. On AIS it looked like we were being attacked by an intergalatic invading force. We dropped anchor just outside the breakwater, took a shower and had a lovely breakfast. Invigorated, I didn't want a nap any more, I wanted shore leave in Spain.
Before heading ashore, Alex decided to check one more time to see if he could get the fridge working. He lifted the floorboards and the entire underbelly was covered in thick greasy soot. Some time in the final few hours, the exhaust had clearly failed. Our idyllic cruise in Spain was starting off with a bang.
|Uh oh, it's disappearing. Radar on.|
|Getting a little better and lighter inside the Ria.|
|Fog is lifting, day is dawning, and we spot Portosin.|
|The breakwater at Portosin.|
|Dropped anchor at 6 am, 3 days exactly after departing Ireland.|
|Where we anchored.|
|Pretty day after all.|
|At the marina in Portosin.|
|The ICC and OCC RC burgees. Spanish courtesy flag up.|