Friday, 1 March 2019

MAPS AND PHOTOS


Taipans Photo Albums 

Vessel Finder also has Taipans current possition. 

 Link to Taipans Anchorages and Map.

I will update our position on the map and produce an icon showing our latest anchorage position. The link to Vessel Finder will also be pretty accurate. 

Thursday, 16 August 2018

SPAIN. SURPRISE SURPRISE. 15th August 2018

Gijon strand

Biscay. Well, that's done, and we won't be doing it again. The passage isn’t far, only 250nm from La Rochelle on the French coast to Gijon on the northern Spanish coast. We chose a window with wind… sailing wind, and that we had, up to 30kn on the nose, also with the horrible messy seas generally associated with Biscay. That the sort of washing machine we expect in the Gulf of Carpentaria in Oz on a crook passage. It took 40 hours to bash our way to the anchorage just inside the harbor of Gijon. A bad pick. But we had been looking at no wind for days. Oh well. Spain. We’ve arrived. Another new country for us.
Gijon. Lovely balconys.

 Gijon is a quite lovely town. It has a  wonderful strand and amazing enclosed balconys. Some really interesting architecture. It's so clean and well maintained. There are bins everywhere in Spain. Great big bins. What a joy for cruisers after the struggles we’ve had in many countries finding somewhere to deposit rubbish. Marinas supply bins but from anchorages, it's often a real drama. One night in the Gijon marina was enough though at €47 per night.


Red Roo sailed into the marina the following morning and we went off exploring together then left to head along the north coast of Galician Spain.  Our first leg was 70 odd miles to Ribadeo where we spent a couple of nights in the pleasant river anchorage and indulged in some local seafood and sightseeing. Octopus is a favorite and can be presented in numerous ways. All of them delicious. Squid in ink and or lightly dusted in flour and served hot and fresh is another popular dish. Yes, Spanish food gets the big tick. Excellent taste and price. Excellent wine and amazingly cheap. Decent wine is only €1.90 + per bottle. Stocking up.

Marie,  ARibaneke, Kris David Jacob and Phil enjoying Ribadeo.

What wonderful anchorages we found. Almost always off some pleasant white beach in clear waters. Mackerel are running but there are only so many mackerel one can eat. The Rias of the north-west corner are a sensational cruising area. Endless pretty anchorages with or without small towns offering a range of little restaurants and supplies and picturesque cobbled streets overlooked by charming stone buildings. Ribadeo to Puerto Alumin. An aluminum port and we were pleasantly surprised what a great spot this was. Perfectly clean and pretty beach. Lots of activity on the beach too. 


Next stop, Carino, before Punta dos Aguillas. This is the last northern headland to round before heading south and into Ria de Cedeira. Cedeira is a gorgeous spot and we stayed several days just soaking up the sunshine.

Camino
Taipan in Camino. Photo Red Roo.

Castelo San Philipe in Ria De Ferrol, just 25nm south, provided a decent place to anchor and an entertaining morning was spent exploring the fort. Construction of this arrowhead fort with double layers of cannon commenced in 1557. A concerted attack by the British in 1800, in an attempt to destroy shipyards, was successfully repelled. Its now owned by the Ferrol city council and it’s free to visit. 

Taipan at Castello San Philipe. Ferrol.  Red Roo Photo.

Just a 7nm sail south into Ria Betanzos the next step was Sada. Here Red Roo, Taipan, and Kim, (Jacob and Aneke from the Netherlands,) caught a bus for a short trip to Betanzos. which has one of the best preserved old quarters in Galicia. St Francis Church, erected in 1387  and St James Church, built in the 15th century. The town is on the pilgrim path of the Camino de Santiago or Saint James Way and has partially intact town walls with three of their original four gates. 

Betanzos

If Modernista architecture grabs your attention, one of its stranger creations is on the boardwalk in Sada. This odd Art Deco building resembles a music stand and is covered in musical notes and clefs. Designed by Lopez Hernandez, this curious pavilion of glass and colored ironwork was apparently due to be demolished in Coruna its original location. It was saved and moved to Sada. Thankfully.


Rather than be caught for a few more days we set off south from Sada to round the notorious Cape Finistaire. First we passed the oldest lighthouse in the world. The  Tower_of_Hercules. It sits on a headland just outside La Coruna. 


Not a great trip. Bumpy. We stopped for the night in Laxe but didn’t go ashore. Corcubion was a welcome anchorage after rounding the cape the following day and we sat out a few days of south-west and south winds and enjoyed more of the local fare ashore each evening. 

Passing A Coruna

From Corcubion it was just a short 20nm hop to Muros for a long-awaited reunion with Sentijn. Kara, Dean, and John, who had sailed directly from the western tip of Ireland direct to Spain. Muros is a charming little waterfront town with many second story glassed in Galleria so typical of this area. Galacia is the name of this region of Spain which has roots in Celtic culture with trading links going back centuries. The town is reputedly seeking a UNESCO heritage order to preserve the sunken verandah architecture prominent on the waterfront and a hangover from days when fishermen kept their nets and pots below the house and dragged it out to the boat each day. I guess this was before the walled harbor existed.

Typical sunken Verandah at Muros

Sentijn. Taipan and Red Roo continued to enjoy each others company for the next few weeks. A trip to Santiago de Compostella was organized and entailed a 2-hour bus ride each way but enabled us to take a look at the countryside. There's a lot of eucalyptus forestry, corn crops and numerous small villages along the way. 

Taipan Sentijn Red Roo and the Nudist beach.

Many homes had hórreo in the garden. Most looked a little ornamental but I’m sure many were still in use. A hórreo is a type of grain store built above the ground on sturdy pillars and with a flat stone on the top of each pillar to prevent access by rats. It has venting in the walls to provide air circulation. Corn, potatoes and sometimes ham and fish was stored in them. The first illustration of them appears in a manuscript from 1280. Similar structures occur in southern England and we have also seen a more elaborate form in Tana Toraja, Sulawesi

Horreo. Grain storage in Galicia.

Santiago De Compostela
The Way of Saint James can take one of the dozens of pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela. Our route was to sail from Australia and catch a bus for the last bit!!. There were hundreds of “pilgrims” arriving at the church on the day we visited. The church is enormous and has a coffin with the body of Saint James on display in an underground vault. The pilgrimage to Santiago has never ceased from the time of the discovery of St. James's remains in 812 AD. The earliest records of visits paid to the shrine dedicated to St. James at Santiago de Compostela date from the 9th century. Santiago de Compostela is itself a vast old city and it would take days to fully explore it. We just brushed the edge before heading back to the cooler coast.

Pilgrims in Santiago de Compostela.

The next few anchorages were swimming spots and pretty island beaches. The Ria de Arousa has numerous islands and anchorages with superb little beaches. It was fairly busy at some of these on the weekends but there was always somewhere to go no matter where the wind was blowing from. We didn’t have a lot of wind and temperatures soared into the 30s for several days so the beach was a popular diversion.


Vigo was our second marina stop since arriving in Spain.  We needed to top up our wine supply while here in Spain. They deliver if you get a big enough order!!  Two nights in Vigo marina was enough though and we fuelled up and left for our favorite nudist beach. We had discovered this beach accidentally as we entered the Ria from the north. We spied what looked like a beautiful long white deserted beach in bushland, and so it was until the sun came out and bought with it thousands, if not hundreds of naked people of every age and description. Nevertheless, it was an excellent anchorage and we managed to enjoy the scenery too.



Our time in the beautiful Rias of Galicia is drawing to a close, however. The Schengen Clock is ticking. We are all affected by the inconvenience and intractability of the Schengen visa. Only Phil from Red Roo is immune because he has a British Passport. The rest of us are watching our allotted days tick by. Now, with Red Roo off the meet a deadline, Sentijn and Taipan are sitting in Cangas awaiting nice downwind sailing conditions to make the 75nm leap to Leixoes, near Porto, in Portugal.


Lets hope we get this one right.





Saturday, 7 July 2018

ALL THINGS FRENCH AND WINE. JULY 7TH 2018


Kereon Light

The great thing about the northern summer is the long daylight hours which enabled us to make the 115nm Chanel crossing entirely in daylight. It was slow going, motor sailing 
from Falmouth to our chosen anchorage at Ushant Island.

Usuant southern anchorage.

Ushant is the northwestern most part of Metropolitan France. The area around the island is considered one of the most challenging to navigate in the world with its many rocks and more than ten-knot tidal streams. Of course we got the current wrong but fortunately, it wasn’t Spring tides and we were forgiven by mighty Neptune. We were only roughed up a little to remind us to be more vigilant. The very impressive Kereon Light was only being lightly beleaguered by the swell. It has certainly seen worse.. 


Brest was 35nm away and here we conducted Schengen formalities and were made very welcome at the Chateaux Marina. Met at the entrance, shown our berth, lines taken, Marina formalities completed on board. Welcome pack supplied and they even raised the Australian Flag. That's a first! 

Cameret Sur Mere was the next anchorage but we were ready to fast track this portion of the coast to catch Red Roo, our Aussie mates. Saint Evette overnight then on to Concarneau for the rendezvous. Concarneau has a wonderful old walled city adjacent to the marina so the following morning we did the big stroll through. Admired all the tourist shops and left. 


Taipan outside the Marina in front of the Walled City in Concarneau.
The French marinas are quite expensive (€47 per night for us) so we were looking for anchoring alternatives and this coast offers lots of opportunities. 

Ils de Glennan

We headed to the Ils de Glennan. This group of rocky islands just 7 nm offshore has numerous anchorages. There is a huge French Sailing School on the main island and we chose to anchor off the School beach. The school has over 100 boats and provides sail training as an optional part of the French school curriculum. There was an enormous amount of activity every day. A perfect environment, with isolation from the mainland, flat sheltered waters and plenty of navigational hazards. The most popular craft was the Hobie Cat and fleet after fleet of these passed by every hour. There are seemingly endless white sandy beaches. 



The weather was very settled so a bit of underwater hull cleaning was undertaken on both boats interspersed with some pleasant walking and swimming. A good old Aussie barbecue was held on a nearby deserted island with a group of British doctors joining us for the occasion. We spent 4 days on anchor at Ils de Glennan, only reluctantly moving on when the forecast indicated an unsatisfactory wind shift.


Red Roo (Australia.) anchored and Il de Glennan with Taipan.
Phil and Maree traveled with us along this coast and Maree have a wonderful blog with lots more details on our adventures together. Check it out at.Red Roo


Lomener just 20nm down the coast, provided a safe haven and an opportunity to refresh supplies before heading on to Port Haliguen, preparatory to attempting the World Heritage Site, Gulf De Morbihan a 115sq km harbor studded with 40 islands and with some pretty spectacular tidal races. 

Taipan in the Gulf De Morbihan

We passed the Gavrinis tomb just after navigating the narrow entrance. This megalithic monument is noted for its megalithic art. It wasn't an option to stop as tours are arranged privately and the current was whisking us past at 4 knots. 

Gavrinis tomb

Taipans anchorages and marinas along the French coast.

Our destination, Vannes, a walled town at the inland head of the Gulf, with its old town, is characterized by narrow cobbled streets and medieval gates. At its heart, St. Peter's Cathedral of Vannes blends Romanesque and Gothic styles, while Place des Lices square is lined with colorful half-timber houses. First inhabited by a seafaring Celtic people, eventually displaced by the Romans the region seems to have been involved in a cross-channel trade for thousands of years. 

Vannes

The marina was a huge disappointment at €47 per night with no power, water or internet. Luckily the City made up for it. We also happened to jag Market day which was useful and fun. Seafood on this coast is readily available and very fresh. Not really cheap but certainly not overpriced.

Chateaux 1 of several hundred!!
There is much to explore in the Gulf De Morbihan and it is a beautiful area, but our Schengen clock is ticking and we can't do everything. We decided to do a wine tour to Bordeaux by car so moved on to La Rochelle via a couple of island anchorages

Anne-marie met us in La Rochelle and we caught up with all things from home and generally enjoyed some wandering in the delightful old city. There was a big music festival on and it was also Bastille day so we were not short of entertainment.
David Phil Me and Maree. Wine tourists. Bordeaux

Red Roo crew Phil and Maree, teamed up with us to do a tour to Bordeaux. We hired a car and drove south. We based ourselves at Medoc in a delightful B&B and spent 2 days driving around the wine growing region and visited Bordeaux city.  
The city of Bordeaux is a beautifully preserved French City. 


The winery tour at Maucaillou was very informative and we came away with a slightly better understanding of the complexities of the French Wine industry. 


On the way back to La Rochelle we happened upon a big show jumping event inside the moat of the Blaye fort which provided an interesting lunch diversion and an oportunity to stretch our legs exploring the fort. 



Arriving back in La Rochell, a weather window presented itself and we decided to make the jump across the Bay of Biscay.

Lots of photos at French Atlantic coast.

More on that next time. Stay tuned!!

Friday, 22 June 2018

IRISH SAIL PAST. CORNWALL PREPARATIONS. June 22nd 2018

Audleys Castle  before the fog.

There was the ominous hum of a big motor out there in the murky gloom as we pulled the anchor. In the thickest fog we’ve ever seen we had to leave Portaferry with an outgoing tide.  The ferry was stationary, motor running, according to the AIS and there was no other traffic evident on the Radar. Taipan was whisked at 10+ knots the five miles down the channel via our incoming track and there was very little we could do about it except steer!!. Thank goodness for AIS and Radar, without which we could have been stuck there for several days. 

Lions Head Light after the fog!!

We had anchored at Audley’s Castle, Strangford Lough, en route from Islay, Scotland to Dublin. This was our second overnight stop on the Irish East Coast. The weather had been light and visibility good, until this morning. A long day followed, to arrive in Dun Laoghaire marina, just a short train ride from Dublin. The Three Festivals Tall Ships Regatta was on and we took the opportunity to visit the wharf to see the ships. 

Street art collage! Dublin

The waterfront mansions south of Dublin. Rich and famous. Enya has a house here.
Wicklow was the next and last stop in Ireland. What a welcome. The Sailing club was open and we were invited and made very welcome. Wickow hosts the Around Ireland Race which has become a very big event attracting international yachting names. The postman was at work on the wharf touching up his ship paintings. Wicklow is set in the most beautiful countryside and we sailed on down the coast admiring its beauty. The weather looked good for a crossing direct to Landsend UK so we continued through the night to make Penzance by evening the following day.

Paintings from the history of the Wicklow Wharf with the artist / postman 

The spectacular anchorage at the foot of the magnificent St Michaels Mount and a good nights sleep before pressing on the Saint Mawes an old favorite anchorage just across the River Fal. Here the St Mawes Sailing Club once again made us very welcome and we enjoyed many evenings socializing with the club members. Especially Glen! During our visit, the Golden Globe yachts came and went and it was exciting to participate in the festivities and meet the contestants.

Tradional Work Boats racing at Saint Mawes.

Cornish Working Boats race in St Mawes and Falmouth during the week. They're a spectacular sight with their colored topsail. These boats were preserved by an accident of history which saw the Cornwall authorities declare that endangered river Oysters could only be harvested in the River Fal using traditional Oyster boats. They must dredge under sail or oars. These boats were therefore preserved and have been elevated to racing status by aficionados. There are still working, sailing oystermen in Cornwall. 

Saint Just in Roseland Church.

Team Taipan at church

Barry called by in his dingy to introduce himself and we caught up with him for dinner then the following day we were taken on a tour of the area. St Just in Roseland Church, a 13th century Church set amongst beautiful gardens beside a peaceful tidal creek. Legend has it that Jesus landed at the site with Joseph. The church is on the site of a 6th Century chapel which served for 400 years until it was taken over by the Bishops of Crediton and Exeter. 


Fal River wildlife

Further up the Fal is the cottage where Churchill and Eisenhower worked out the D day landings, US, and Allied troops hid in the forest along the Fal prior to the landings and there are still the remains of their huts in the area. 

The famous cottage of Eisenhower and Churchills meetings

The Fal River headwaters, where once was a thriving town. The river silted and the population moved towards the coast. The narrow meandering tidal stream provides an ideal habitat for birds, waterfowl, and wildlife.  Returning to Saint Mawes we lunched at the Melinsey Mill, an old corn mill with interesting artifacts and excellent food.


Falmouth Waterfront.
Falmouth

Some days were spent at anchor across the river in Falmouth. This thriving regional center has loads of charm and a bustling waterfront. There are plenty of services for yachts with a huge population of boats moored, penned or hardstanding in the area. 

There are all types of watercraft in Falmouth.

David rebuilt the water maker with a new pump supplied from the UK and solenoids were tracked down to repair a faulty anchor windlass switch. We had the noisy Chartplotter fan replaced by the excellent team at Charity Taylor in Falmouth and we were at last ready to leave for France.

Saint Anthony Head farewell light. Early departure to cross the English Channel to France.
Islay to Falmouth St Mawes