Romance on the Sea

On the weekend of the 1st of May, 2016, Aurora & I departed Madrid for an eight hour drive to Pandora in the Ría de Vigo in Galicia, Spain. We left after work but arrived in time for a wonderful seafood dinner at the “Restaurante Mauro” . A great place for a romantic dinner, lunch with friends or a Gin & Tonic sundowner under the sun after a day sailing.

After having a nice commission claim released by my CEO, I decided to treat Aurora to this meal as a small celebration, and also to help her see the great side of the world around boating. Aurora is new to boating, not that I have lots of experience but I’m already in love with it. I’m yet to help her create a romance with the idea of spending years circumnavigating to world and discovering new places and people.

A very pleasant meal & some wine later, we went back to Pandora, rolled out the sleeping bags and had a great nights sleep with the very gentle rocking motion of the boat tied up at the mooring.

Morning came and we had a quick breakfast at a café near by. We have a Nespresso on board, a Microwave and a gas stove but I still need to change the gas hoses before using that. I’m sure they’ll be fine but they do look old and it’s really not worth taking the risk of suffering a gas leak with what that may bring.

We confirmed the pleasant weather on the iPhone and prepared the boat. Starting the engine on Pandora when she hasn’t been used for a while is a task in itself. She takes ages until the fuel line has fuel again but needing to be careful not to burn out the starter motor or flatten the battery, I hit the start button for 15 to 20 second hits. Let her rest for another 15 or 20 seconds and go again. It takes four or five of these before she actually starts but once started, she runs beautifully and we let her warm up while we prepare everything else.

The GPS wouldn’t boot up properly this Saturday morning and after a few resets later, I decided to remove the SD card holding the Maps and clean the contacts. This solved the issue and it just reminded me how harsh the salt air environment really can be. Even though the card was within its watertight sealed compartment, it was still affected.

The bilge had its usually considerable amount of water in it which promptly solved by manually activating the automatic bilge bump. It’s always good to test the main bilge pump before heading out. While Aurora prepared the galley and cleaned the dishes, and threw away old cans of food and old drinks from the fridge. I got below the floor and cleaned with paper towels the bilge area. Man is that messy. It’s as if they’ve never cleaned it. Brave Aurora also did the bathroom (along with the rest of the interior) while I did the fridge. You can really tell that a “guys” boat is looked after in some areas but neglected in others.

At 11am, we finally left the dock and motored away and under the bridge towards the Atlantic. We’re right at the end of the bay and it takes us a good hour at 5 to 6 knots. We crossed other sailing vessels we could tell were from schools and had to maneuver to avoid one of them as we passed the city of Vigo on our left. We wanted to sail also but had the breeze coming in from our bow so decided to avoid having to tack in the bay and motored out towards Islas Cies agreeing that as we turned north after the Islands, we would be able to broad reach towards the Ría de Arosa and towards our destination, Sanxenxo.

It was about the noon and time for an appetitive as we approached the Islands when we realized we forgot to bring some lunch. All we had was a can of anchovies, some crisp and beer to enjoy while cruising under the sun. Good enough for now, we thought.

With the sails raised and a nice breeze, we gently cruised north and Aurora seemed to truly enjoy the silent sailing experience. So much so, that she wrote a blog post about how well she disconnected from work and worries and just enjoyed life for a while. You can read her post in Spanish here. and our facebook page we started here:

We reached Sanxenxo, called them on channel 9 asking for a visitors spot for the night to which they were more than obliging. We moored, plugged in to shore power, fixed up our paperwork and to our surprise, the town was in “fiestas” with live music, loads of people on the beach and terraces and enjoying the great and company. We had a great afternoon shopping, eating and we even danced a bit.

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The mooring cost us a little over €11 plus a €10 deposit on the card to be able to access the port as we please. The port is also at the most interesting and lively part of town so a great place to stop and well worth the visit. You also have the Real Club Nautico next to it, which I understand is more expensive and exclusive but we didn’t enquire by how much.

We had a wonderfully romantic night aboard Pandora and leaving port the next morning to return to base, we were greeted by a pod of dolphins which we tried to record (man they’re fast). That was an added bonus to what proved to be a great weekend.