After the Storm

3 Feb

Well, we’re on the ferry and have made it as far as Brest for the crew change and are now heading for the Channel. It’s been decidedly rolly but nothing we couldn’t cope with so far after swallowing a couple of Sturgeron. Others haven’t been so lucky, though as the sound effects coming from the toilets testified.


Saturday’s storm had been a rough one. Sunday, however, dawned bright but with a chilly wind still making itself felt. There was no rush to reach Santander so we took our time, diverting off the motorway every time we glimpsed somewhere we wanted to explore. We found a lovely beach this way but I have no idea where it was. The effects of the storm the night before were very evident, though and the clean-up operation was already underway. Piles of sand and seaweed in a frothy spume had been thrown onto the promenade and were proving a difficult job for the poor souls trying to shovel it up.


Now at low tide, it was hard to imagine how the distant sea could have come crashing so far in land. This also proved to be the case when we stopped at Santoña. Here the force of the waves had ripped up the granite paving slabs, snapping the tubular steel railings and hurled them some 10 to 20 feet away in places. We had been drawn to this spot after recognising the name as overlooking Punta del Pasaja, the first place we had arrived at in Spain after crossing Biscay on our way to Greece in Seren Môr.


We’d planned to have a leisurely lunch in Santander as the ferry wasn’t due to depart until 5pm. It was not to be, though, as they had decided embarkation would start at 2pm, leaving us tight on time. Quiche and pasty from the cool bag, then. Mind you, if we had gone into town we would have missed the spectacle of the cargo ship being rescued by the tug boats as it listed heavily to its port side. We never found out what ailed it but wondered about shifting loads in the storm.


Boarding early also had its advantages in that we were already chilled out in the bar area before the announcement came over the tanoy asking passengers to remain seated as the ferry left port as “the ship will roll”. Our reaction? Better finish the beer, then!


This is an excerpt from the diary I wrote when we arrive in Spain back in May 2010. You can find all the sailing diary on if you are at all interested.

“Neither of us got much sleep though we continued to try well into the day. When land was sited it was an enormous relief. We had decided to head for the small but sheltered Punta del Pasaja, basically because it sounded easy in the pilot guide. Simply pick up a yellow visitors’ buoy and enquire at the yacht club afterwards. First problem – none of the buoys were yellow. A water taxi appeared and pointed to a buoy which we picked up without difficulty but, of course, someone else appeared saying it was his buoy!

After picking up a second, again as directed, we settled down to get some rest. The water taxi appeared once more to tell us it was 25 euros to stay there – more than a night in a French marina complete with water and mains electricity! The bonus was we could go ashore with him as many times as we liked – except there wasn’t exactly a lot to go ashore for! Quite frankly we were too shattered to try anyway and quite incapable of looking for somewhere else. We paid up.”



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