As we left the island of Arki we were seen off by a pod of dolphins, some so big I thought perhaps they were pilot whales. They weren’t but they looked very big and very old too (two with lots of battle scars). It was quite fitting to be seen off by them, as if they were rewarding us with these favourable winds after the last week of motoring everywhere.
This of course puts us into emergency mode and the wind soon catches Esper and as the motors off without even so much as an apologetic glance back over his shoulder, we are left trying to steady our boat. We soon find ourselves sideways onto the pontoon, engine on with no wheel to steer ourselves away.
I enjoyed a fantastic night watch with the moon playing hide and seek behind storm clouds and when I awoke next morning the wind had finally come round. Not quite the south westerlies as predicted but a marked improvement and the sea state dropped back to moderate, thank god. Jezabel just wasn’t pulling in the results, so I tried the paravane with 4m of trace and the thing shot down into the water pulling what must have been its maximum poundage. I decided to pull it straight back in as we were sailing at over 7 knots.
Highlight today was seeing pilot whales, which are basically very large dolphins. In fact Simon claims dolphins are for kids and pilot whales are the real thing and I have to say they really are impressive sight swimming in massive pods alongside the boat, especially when they start jumping out of the water.
El Ferrol is a major naval and commercial port, though there is little to entertain the yachtsman on land. That said the ria has a spectacular entrance, lined by forts either side. We anchored up but didn’t go ashore, which is why I didn’t send a postcard from El Ferrol. Instead we watched the red moon replace the golden sun and change the landscape from a heady mix of green vegetation and mountains into a twinkling Rupert Bear bay.