Welcome to Espanyol!

Santander – Alongside

So after our first siesta, we though we would explore. Turned out, this took about 3 minutes as all there was for about a 5 mile radius was a restaurant and the showers/marina office. We fixed our sights on the showers as we were pretty grubby to say the least and after paying an extortionate €42 we wanted to make sure we go our moneys worth! Then we spent the afternoon in the restaurant just relaxing (indulging in WIFI). I had been itching for a Paella for the whole of the sail here, and we had thought to get the bus into Santander itself but decided we would save it for the next day. Of the 30 days we had been away, 22 out of the UK, we had expected to have to show our passports and deal with customs daily in every port we arrived in. This had not been the case as we had not seen a single person interested in our, or Scrumpys documentation. We could have been drug smuggling indentity-less bandits carrying a rabid dog for all they knew!
When back at the boat 2 blokes approached us one showed us his badge as if he was a homocide detective but he was in fact customs, it was like good cop bad cop. One was really friendly & the other deadly serious & moody, but all they were interested in was info about the boat and our passports. When we showed them Scrumpy’s passport they both laughed as if we were total idiots ….thanks DEFRA!
That evening we enjoyed a dinner & bottle of prosecco alfresco in the cockpit in the warm evening breeze, watching the sunset over the marina (& airport runway about 500 metres away!) For the first time in a while we both felt really content & was looking forward to the rest of the evening chilling outside. Unfortunately this wasn’t to be the case as yet another thunderstorm rolled in quicker than you could say Michael Fish & we had to retreat back inside!
The following day we rose all ready to venture into town with Little Scramply Scrat Bag as he had been stuck on board for a good few days. We walked the 20 mins around the airport to the bus stop & waited patiently for the bus keen to explore. The bus arrived dropped some people off up the road & then it drove straight past us, in a moment of panic, disappointment & disbelieve we stood mouths open … but luckily a local turned up to join us who spoke English & he reassured us that the bus was just turning around at the end of the road. We were relieved & slightly embarrassed! 10 minutes past & the bus had returned we were all gee’d up & ready to board, Scrumps chopping at the bit to get on & then abruptly the bus driver said “NO ….NO” and pointed to Scrimple Doodles. Deflated, pipped at the post, gutted…. doesn’t even describe it … back to the Marina of Nothing it is then! We trudged all the way back and dropped off Doodles giving him a bone to entertain himself, but at least he’d had a good walk. Then we trudged all the way back to the bus stop to get the next bus 1 hour later.
We finally made it in to town & found a funny little restaurant in a back street for a Paella where a friendly waiter mocked our attempts at speaking Espanyol. Whilst here we noticed how many Spanish love a bit lash during their so called ‘Siesta’ All the shops were shut between 1:30-4:30 ish … & literally everyone was out in bars; women with big gasses of wine; men with beers…& a traffic warden on a bike chopped a massive glass of wine before cycling off to start his next shift. We though the French were bad with their 2 hour lunch breaks…. Fair play to the Spanish or Lunch Time Lashers as I like to call them now! Perhaps they can teach the UK government a thing or 2 on working hours!
Santander – Ribedesella ( 65 Miles / 15 hours)
Full up on Paella & bread and provisions re-stocked we decided on yet another night sail to either Ribedesella or Gijon depending on how we got on. The sea was a little rough & it had started to drizzle a bit but we figured it would calm down as we got out of the entrance to Santander and into open water and the passage planner forecast was also good. How wrong we were …..seemed we were getting the tail end of another storm. It turned absolutely horrid, with strong winds & rough sea, it hadn’t been this rough since the UK. I did not like it one bit & neither did Scrump Dog. I told Simon that I was not comfortable being left in charge in the cockpit in these conditions so he was going to have to take one for the team until it improved. Famous last words as it didn’t improve all night. Simon reefed in the sails to help make it more comfortable & prevent us heeling over so much. Being inside when the sea is this rough is the worst thing you can do as you just get thrown about & can’t get your bearings. The best place is in the cockpit, so waterproofs on from head to toe & a couple of cushions to sit against I got as settled in as I could & wrapped up Scrumps in his tiger stripped blanket. I managed 40 winks here & there, when I could no longer keep my eyes open. It seemed like an eternity of hell before we got anywhere close to Ribadesella (13 hours of hell to be exact) poor Simon was absolutely shattered & his back was killing him…. but the fun wasn’t over yet! There were a number of warnings in the Almanac for entering the port so we had to be extra careful and there was a good chance that we might have to bin it off all together and head to the next port ….. 30 miles away (at least another 6 hours 😦 )
If the waves were breaking at the entrance there was no chance we could go in but we had to approach close enough to see where exactly they were breaking. We took it slowly fully prepared for an emergency abort. For the first time since leaving the UK we locked little Scrumps in the bedroom as we wanted 1 less thing to worry about & we did not want to encounter a ‘Dog Over Board’ situation. Luckily the waves were breaking close to the beach so we were good to go and able to slip around to the right past the harbour wall into a very narrow shallow entrance …. the next challenge! Monitoring the depth gauge closely to make sure it was deep enough for our keel (it was mid tide so we were confident). As we rounded the corner the force of the tide pushing its way back out of the harbour started to drag us back out so we had to go full throttle, but only moving about 1 knot through the water. Its amazing how strong the currents can be. Once through we were home straight & entered into a beautiful little harbour full of coloured houses with little shutters and surrounded by big mountains. It was so nice to be greeted by this site and probably even more so after the awful sail we had just had.
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