To Lekeitio – 21 to 24 July, 45, 5, 0 miles
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.
Donastía/San Sebastián from offshore
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.
Ondarroa (tourist board photo)
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.
Lekeitio entrance, where we first moored
Looking down onto the town from the calvary
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.