Santander to Gijon-Attempt 2

In fine weather and light winds we dragged up the anchor at 0730 and, with a suitable salute to the yacht club, once again motored down the river on the same route as we had attempted the previous day. We were able to raise the sails for 2 or 3 hours which gave us a bit of help but otherwise we had to rely on the engine to do all the work. The coast was almost entirely devoid of any other marine traffic, which seemed very strange after the constant stream of fishing boats and sailing yachts around the French coast. After 83 miles and over 13 hours of motoring we arrived at Gijon. The marina was very close to the old town, a great bonus after the distance of the Santander marina and the staff were both welcoming and accommodating. We went ashore to a local bar where the local custom seemed to be to pour drinks from a bottle held high above the head into a glass held down by the ankles. This baffled us and still does! It turned out that the bottles contained Asturias cider, but why this strange long range pouring technique was required we didn’t determine. One theory was that it put an automatic brake on the amount anyone could drink as when the alcohol took effect, it would be impossible to hit the glass. However, there must be another reason. We saw this cider pouring technique all along the Asturias coast.


The weather forecast for the day was for increasing winds to Force 7 so we decided to stay put. Another customs official arrived but he was content when he saw the copy of the form from the Santander customs visit. There must have been some important event on as, commencing mid-morning, a series of aircraft came over and treated us to an air display. The first was a Eurofighter, Typhoon whose tight manoeuvring and powerful engines made an impression on both aural and visual senses. We were then treated to a formation display by Casa Jet Trainers from the military flying school at Salamanca. The finale came from a low flying transport aircraft. Bert, who had gone back to bed, slept through the lot. In the afternoon the promised strong winds arrived with heavy rain. We went looking for a yacht chandlers but only found a small shop selling some useful items. I managed to find a mooring warp shock absorber, as the swell coming into the harbour was causing the boat to buck around alarmingly and putting great strain on the lines. We then found a nice little restaurant in the back streets where we had a lovely meal sheltered under an awning from the rain, which had returned, and we even had a decent internet connection!

Author: chrisgowers

Retired pilot now sailing around the Mediterranean accompanied by my wife Jacquie.

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