To Lekeitio – 21 to 24 July, 45, 5, 0 miles

SanSebastian1 (31K)
Donastía/San Sebastián from offshore
After breakfast basking in the sunny cockpit, and buying our last delicious French croissants and oysters, we set sail for Spain in a south-westerly F5, not knowing how far we’d get. The forecast was for moderate winds that day, but strong winds in the afternoon the following day, so we wanted to reach somewhere sheltered and pleasant. The wind gradually eased and backed, until we had full main and Mr Blue pulling us gently in a north-easterly F3. We’d passed San Sebastián, Zumaya and Geteria, and thought we´d now comfortably make Lekeitio. Then, around 5pm, in just 10 minutes, the wind died and came back F5, F6 and finally F7 westerly with gusts of 45 knots, dead on the nose. First we took in one reef, then three, getting the lines wrapped round the end on the boom so that it took us quarter of an hour to get under way again, on a tack inshore. When it was time to tack, the bow was knocked off by the waves, so we gybed instead. Half way round, we decided this was much more comfortable, and we’d run back however far we needed to reach shelter. A quick check on the chart offered Ondarroa, with an east-facing entrance into a deep bay, although the pilot book was not very encouraging. After a couple of miles of surfing at 12 knots or so, we gybed and entered the bay under the shelter of steep cliffs, to find calm water and only F5, and anchored.

ondarroa (64K)
Ondarroa (tourist board photo)
After an hour, the wind had dropped somewhat, so we poked our noses out again, but the seas were still enormous, so we came back, anchored further inshore, and took the dinghy into the harbour. The pilot book was right that the outer harbour of Ondarroa is a bit industrial, and that it would be difficult to find a comfortable berth, but it hadn’t mentioned that behind the harbour is a delightful small town, with a church built on arches against the steep hillside. Next morning was windless, of course, but we decided to motor the 5 miles to Lekeitio rather than wait for the possibly strong winds forecast.

LequeitioEntrance (26K) Lequeitio2 (33K)
Lekeitio entrance, where we first moored Looking down onto the town from the calvary
In Lequeitio, the harbourmaster chased us away from our first and second choices of berth, but we eventually found a spot by the entrance, and soon had a French sloop, Salammbô, with male skipper and three very decorative female crew alongside. And then, after an hour, the harbourmaster told all the yachts to leave harbour as there was a fiesta that afternoon with dozens of prebooked visiting boats. So, we, Salammbô, and another boat anchored outside, where we enjoyed the forecast F6 westerly later in the afternoon. And, not surprisingly, none of the fiesta boats turned up.

Next day dawned with wind and rain from the west, so we stayed put very comfortably at anchor outside the harbour, just off the beach.