Bay of Biscay Day 4 (Max’s blog)

Fortunately nothing exciting happened on this night. Dad woke me up at four in the morning for my shift, mentioned that the wind was nice, a bit overcast skies and the Spanish coast was approaching. Another sailing boat had passed us going the opposite way, so that was the only light visible, situated somewhere behind us. Stuck my head up and was overwhelmed by what was going on. Sure enough, the other boat’s light was behind us, but there was a slight drizzle, I could see a flashing light from a Spanish lighthouse to the port side on the horizon, two lights were to my right and pretty much straight ahead there was a flashing orange light. Most of the things I don’t have a problem with. The lighthouse is known, the rain isn’t a problem and the two lights to my starboard (right) I knew were two boats. The flashing orange light had me stumped, though, so I got dad up to check it out. Turned out it was a fishing boat doing some trawling. The official sign for a flashing orange light is a hovercraft, but apparently Spanish fishermen love to use them, too. Kept my distance from him and Dad went to bed after a while.

Until Heidi got up and took over for me, the sea once again got rougher and it felt like the wind had gotten stronger. Probably not, though, as the only thing that had changed was that we had to go from half wind (wind coming from the side of the boat) to hard on to the wind (going against the wind as much as you can). The rain came through sporadically and the boat was rocked around a lot more, so much that I was surprised that Heidi could sleep in the front. When you stand at the back and see the front of Artemis rise out of the sea and then crash down again you wonder how anyone can sleep at the front. 

Once she was up and took over I went to bed after a while, as I was also feeling a bit queasy from the sea. My stomach seems to be the most sensitive to motion sickness out of the three of us. Heidi seems to have a stomach of steel, as she can read and cook in anything we have been able to throw at her so far. Dad was sick once a few months ago because he was ill, too. I myself haven’t been “properly” sick, though, just getting towards it. 

Anyway, I digress. Slept of the sickness and when I got up again later in the morning we had the Spanish coast to our port. Absolutely not what I expected of Spain. To begin with, you should be told that I have never been to Spain or anywhere down this part of Europe before. So I was expecting a flat country with a sort of Mediterranean, dry climate. Nope, there are some hills (if you’re from Allgäu) or mountains (if you’re from the UK 🙂 rising out of the coast with green forests and fields everywhere. Small towns with white buildings dotting the landscape and the sky is overcast with low twenty degree temperatures. 

Once I had gotten above deck, dad went down below to bed and passed out in bed. In the end it was Heidi and me that got us close to the Spanish coast and the port we were heading for (specified by dad before he went to bed). A catamaran passed us within ten meters, close enough that I mentioned to Heidi that we should get ready to do an emergency avoidance maneuver (we had right of way and out in the sea if you start doing erratic things to avoid someone, things can go wrong fast). Once closer to land without hitting the three other boats that were visible in the sea, Dad showed up again and we packed away the sails and the wind vane. Switched on the motor and motored into the protected lagoon, passing rocks and coastline that looked more like Scotland than Spain. Considering the weather currently in the UK (dry and dead), Spain looks more like the UK should and the UK looks more like Spain normally does in pictures. 


Motored around a protective headland and dropped the anchor outside a small town called Cedeira. Drank a cream liquor as celebration, had some dinner and then went to bed and looked forward to a long and well deserved nap. 555Km (or 328 nautical miles), three nights, two days without seeing any land and only so many boats that you can count them on one hand. Less than an hour of burning fuel for the engine, all the rest sailing with only the wind and the crossing is over. Sort of reached the Mediterranean now, as the Bay of Biscay is the big hurdle that you can’t really cross during autumn and winter (you can, but good luck and have fun) and looking forward to exploring Spain now (and I want to catch a fish!!!). 

Good night and Max out.

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