Now it’s been six days since this journey took a new twist as we got a new crew onboard. Maybe you remember that we posted some months ago that we were looking for some additional crew? Through the crewbay website we were contacted by Stine, a Danish girl who had seen our ad and was looking for some sailing opportunity in May. For us it’s been very important to find someone who was rather flexible in terms of time and did not demand of us to know where we would be a long time in beforehand. We also preferred to have our first experience with taking on crew with someone from a country with a culture similar to ours, to avoid unnecessary confusion. Since Danish and Swedish is similar enough we can usually use our native tongue. I think I speak for all of us when I say that we were rather anxious and excited the day she arrived, but everything went well and we had a relaxed dinner and evening onboard to get to know each other a bit and do some planning for the coming days. If you want to know more about Stine we might do a short interview later, or ask her to write a guest post about what it’s like to sail on Mouni with us!?
To introduce Stine to life aboard Mouni with us we had the perfect(!?) idea to visit the national park of the Cies islands outside Ría de Vigo. That would give us a short sail and some relaxing days on the hook until the wind would change to a more favourable direction. We prepared by getting an anchoring permit and buying loads of food (including a birthday cake for Stine that we managed to smuggle in without her noticing). The sail out from Vigo went smooth with the fair winds and not too many big ships to avoid. The coming days would treat us with magnificent views, the first swim of the year, some epic failures and all types of weather. Plenty of time to get to know each other 🙂
We dropped the hook off Isla de Faro next to Linnea and launched the dinghy for the first time to row ashore and explore the island. We had heard about a nice walk up to the lighthouse and took off up the hill. Crossing the beaches, passing the eucalyptus trees, hiking up the mountain we got magnificent views of the cliffs, and the surrounding islands. All in all, we met one person on land. A Galician paradise.
But it was a sweaty walk and I really got in the mood for taking a swim. Throwing off the clothes and running down into the chilly water was definitely refreshing! With all the clothes on again it was time to jump up on the dinghy and row out to Linnea where we were invited for some beer. The first attempt was a failure, a breaking wave crashed in over the dinghy once we all had jumped in leaving us all wet with salt water up to the waist and stuck on the beach. There was a drop in the sandy bottom just a meter off the beach which caused the waves to break. The second attempt we went further out and managed to get out before the next breaking wave. Epic failure nr 1 – be careful when taking off in the dinghy from a beach with breaking waves.
But we needed to get back to Mouni to change clothes before we could row over to Anders and Tryggve on Linnea to relax with some beer and Mejillones en Escabeche (pickled Galician mussels). Life was good.
All the other boats left in the night, but we stayed and battled the wind and waves through the night. After not so much sleep we got up at five and moved the boat to the neighbouring island, Isla San Martiño, after breakfast. Here we found better shelter from the wind and after a couple of hours of additional sleep we were ready to wake Stine up with singing, flute and cake for her birthday. It was a rainy day so we spent it relaxing on the boat; reading books, playing games, indulging in the pancakes Stine made and ending it all with a movie night. During the day the wind was roaring while the rain poured down and at one point Jens discovered that the dinghy had turned itself upside down in the water. Now that isn’t in itself a big problem, but the oars were still on the dinghy and one of them got loose and floated away in a rapid pace. Jens jumped into the dinghy and paddled after as fast as he could to save it, but lost track of it in the waves and rain. Finally I could see it through the binoculars and Jens could salvage it and return the boat. Well done! Epic failure nr 2 – never leave the oars in the dinghy.
But life is not all easy in Galician paradise. After yet another night which didn’t provide the best sleep we decided to make a run for Bayona, just a few miles away. But since the wind was turning to straight by the nose and we were surprised by a strong current against us we had to give up after a few hours and turn back. After hours of zigzagging in three knots we now raced back in over six knots. Epic failure nr 3 – spending five hours tacking but getting nowhere.
Back on the hook on the Isla San Martiño we decided to instead jump into the dinghy and explore this island too. Well, Stine actually decided to swim ashore and therefore could help us get in and out without getting wet this time…
Isla San Martiño is basically completely unexploited. While Faro has two restaurants and a ferry in high season, San Martiño only has one residential house by a beach and the rest is jungle, cliffs and mountains! Even though Jens forgot to bring his shoes we hiked through the jungle up to the top of some cliffs that offered a great view over the island and the sea. Back on the beach the sense of harmony settled as we enjoyed a beer and a salsicca before heading back to the boat. How precious to get these moments after all the hardships that cruising life also involves.
The final night on the islands was really calm so we were well rested and ready to start the sail towards Portugal the next day! More about that next time…
– Petra (Jens & Stine)
NOTES FOR SAILORS
Islas Cies is part of the Atlantic islands of Galicia national park (also including Isla Ons), which means you need to get a permit to enter and anchor. This can be done through a marina, their office or online. Both Isla de Faro and Isla San Martiño is worth a visit, Faro for its famous beach and viewpoint from the lighthouse and San Martiño for the secluded nature that is only accessible by your own boat. The anchorages are on the east side of the islands and can provide reasonable shelter from westerly to southerly winds .
More information on this link: Parque Nacional Illas Atlánticas (click on the UK flag on the webpage to get the instructions in english)