Sunseeker Chapter 15
As Sunseeker had approached the Spanish coast we listened in disbelief to a weather report broadcast by the coastal radio station perched high on the bluff headland of Cabo Finisterre. The reason for our disbelief was a hurricane reportedly heading for the Iberian coast! Although only the tail end of a hurricane which had ravaged the east coast of the United States it could still pack a punch to a little craft of Sunseeker’s size. At the time I had nudged the throttle a little higher and said, with a nervous laugh that they must have got it wrong. A few days after our arrival in harbour the ‘hurricane’ did pass through. The wind direction changed from the usual north to southwest and its breath could be heard sowing through the pine forests on the hillsides around Bayona. The wind speed was nowhere near that of a proper hurricane but within a few hours the rocks and tiny, picturesque beaches to seaward of Bayona’s castle were being pounded by massive breakers, remains of the mighty ocean swells which had travelled unopposed for thousands of miles across the wide Atlantic.
It brought home to us the vagaries of the sea and the respect in which it must be held. We were thankful to be safely in port and not out there riding those massive waves.
Life on the pontoons was pleasant and never boring. It seemed a popular place with the locals, young and not so young. Over the weekends and early evenings the teenagers enjoyed the sunshine and sea, sunbathing along the boards of the pontoon, making it difficult to pass by without treading on someone’s arm or leg. Fun-loving and vocal the boys teased the girls and the girls watched the boys; always ready to round on one and toss him into the water from the end of the pontoon. They all enjoyed practising their English on us yachties. On one particular day Rene had been checking over the ship’s stores and had come upon some cans of cat food, missed when we parted company with Misty. She was very upset to be reminded of our sadly missed cat but got over the feeling by asking the youngsters if any had cats of their own. Several said they had and Rene asked them to take the cat food for them. When all of the cans had been shared out amongst the cat owners one young boy approached Rene, shyly explaining that he didn’t have a cat. He had a dog and did we, please, have any dog food.
Friday and Saturday nights would see the ends of the pontoons crowded with adults prepared to spend the early hours fishing for squid. They always brought a picnic with plenty of vino and little titbits and, although they tried to be quiet after our lights had been switched off, we were always unable to sleep because of the little squeals of delight as another of their quarry was safely landed. In the morning, as we emerged from below, we would find the pontoon spotted with patches of dark blue where the squids’ ink sacs had been evacuated in their panic to escape. Sometimes, when we had heard a thump on deck the night before, we would have our work cut out to wash the ink from our decks.
The Spaniards love celebrations and every saint’s day is marked by hundreds of explosions as rocket after rocket hurtles skywards, its payload disintegrating in a shattering explosion as its message echoes around the mountains. Until we understood what was happening we were convinced a battle was raging!
The sun on some days was very hot and we were not too surprised to watch, fascinated, as aircraft swooped down from the mountains, skimming the surface of the harbour and scooping up tons of water. As they climbed once more and circled, heading for the mountains, our eyes followed and were drawn to columns of smoke rising from behind a far range to the east. We revelled in the sunshine but it obviously spelled disaster for others.
End of Sunseeker Chapter 15