As I write it is Friday afternoon and we are at sea again.
Two hours ago we left Victoria harbour in St. Peters Port, Guernsey.
The ebb tide gives us a favourable current and with a Westerly wind we are making 11 knots with the engines running at 1000 rpm. Normally this would give us 7 or 8 knots.This is the last leg of our journey and as one of our Dutch readers put it, ‘the horses can smell the stable’. We are champing at the bit, we want to be home.
Let me take you back to Vigo, on the Spanish coast. A lovely old town on the Galician hills with a view across the Bay of Vigo. It reminded Peter B of the bay at Vancouver in Canada.
He should know, he lived there for years and has a Canadian passport. His lifelong dream is to build a wooden cabin in Canada and he plans to do this after this trip. There he will live out his last years on this planet. He bought the land thirty years ago, close to Toronto.
A year ago he spent a month on Vancouver Island, following a log cabin building course so as to be prepared. He now has an official certificate so that he can work as a log cabin builder. I wish him well.
On arrival we were very tired but happy to have our feet firmly planted on the ground. We moored on one of the pontoons at the Real Club Nautico, right in the middle of town, close to the restaurants and cafés.
We were starving, even me. My father would never let me say I was hungry, because I hadn’t know hunger during the war.
This didn’t stop me answering back.
I would call him a stupid farmer, his family had been farmers, then he would grab me and give me such a clip around the ear that I would fly through the room and end up against the opposite wall.
I would imagine I was the Karate Kid. Bruce Lee couldn’t have done it better.
Apart from a warm ear I was unhurt. I was OK, my father too. These days he would be arrested for child abuse, maybe he was lucky.
I can forgive him his moments of rage, I pushed him too far.
I learnt to watch my words, my wife says I still do.
We were hungry, still nice to be able to say it.
Peter W was taking us out to diner as it was his last evening with us. He was to fly home to The Netherlands the next day.
Of course we planned to take advantage of this, ordering all the good things on the menu. We could see hams, sausages and meat of all varieties, mouth watering for hungry sailors such as we were. Our plan fell through though.
After a starter of deep fried octopus I had my eye on the 1kg T-bone steak. That would keep me quiet.
It wasn’t to be. My stomach had shrunk after those days at sea and I realised that forcing the steak down would end up in a visit to the local hospital. This was a situation I had never encountered before.
The rest of the crew had the same feeling, their eyes bigger than their bellies, and also ran aground after their starter.
We drank coffee and headed home, leaving a confused waiter in our wake. He had expected us to order our way through the menu.
Peter W had a cheap night out.
On Monday morning we filled up and left Vigo, having waved Peter off. He was travelling via Lissabon back to Amsterdam and home.
As night fell we rounded Cape Finisterre, the North West corner of Spain,and headed into the Gulf of Biscay. Though Biscay has a bad reputation we had a relatively quiet crossing to Guernsey. I was even able to sleep in the forward cabin again. The sea was peaceful, the wind gentle, ‘no worries’, my old neighbour would have said.
We had one worry though, one that we hadn’t encountered earlier on this trip. Mist!
I hate mist.
Orientation becomes impossible and it is exptremely difficult to judge distances, especially at night.
You can only trust the radar, and our radar is not one to be trusted.
It would miss the echo of ships that we knew were there thanks to the AIS. Still this was what we had to be going on. A reason to be extra careful, but no need for an extra watch.
We arrived in Guernsey in watery sunshine, returning to a harbour we had visited earlier and our boat was quickly recognised by the harbour master.
We filled the tanks to the limit, even filling the bladder tank with super cheap diesel, 79 cents, then followed the harbour master in his dinghy to a mooring he had chosen for us in the middle of town.
An real English gentleman, friendly, quiet and efficient. They are not all like that, not that we have had really bad experiences.
Say England, and Guernsey is England, and you say Fish and Chips.
We sat outside at the Boat House, the place to be in Guernsey, and ate ours happily. Then we turned in, not having the stamina for a night on the town. The trip was beginning to take its toll.
I will finish with an anecdote from JB of L, back on form.
The Norwegian waterfalls in the Fjords, known to be among the higest in the world, are fakes.
I googled, as I trust you will too, and found nothing on this.
There will be one more report before we arrive in the Veerhaven in Rotterdam, next Sunday at around midday.
Until then, with greetings from the ships boys aboard the Four Seasons,