Baiona to Aveiro
Baiona (Spain) to Viana (Portugal) 30nm
Have reached Portugal! Brilliant sail here, flying downwind on strong thermal northerly. Made land in Viana do Castelo, which is a windsurfing paradise - the thermal wind really ramps up here and there are great flat water and wave options. Thanks to Fran for lunch, Monica for photos, and all the other windsurfers for such a nice welcome. Brilliant spot Viana where the thermal wind really ramps up. Thanks for additional support to André, Rui from Viana Locals surf shop, and Sonia from Aquario bar. Gear sleeping at the very very nice new Beach Center (kite / surf / windsurf hire).
Galicia, thank you so much for everything. I can't express enough my gratitude for the solidarity and kindness that has been offered throughout my journey through your wonderful lands and frequently brutal seas.
23-4 (but written on morning of 24th, before sailing)
Viana to Porto 30nm
What a difference some favourable weather makes. Two 30nm days and I'm now having breakfast in Porto (multiple pastel de nata and caffè, unable to source expedition porridge...). Swell has been small, wind (yesterday) not strong, but consistent enough to zig-zag my way downwind. Golden beaches, turquoise water, and comfortable enough sea state. Many birds heading north. The terns are like friends not seen for a while. Savoured the sail into the river Douro, with the first of Porto's bridges in splendid view, and closer up visible a constant stream of nose-to-tail traffic... What a privilege to be a windsurfing nomad.
Thanks to Vasco and Fernando from Douro Marina for sorting out a container to stay in, then linking me up with Sasha - on route from Germany to a new life in the Azores - who could offer a cabin on his boat, and lend of a bicycle.
Porto to Aveiro 30nm
Full planing out of Porto for a few miles. Winds drops but still enough to enjoy an hour pleasantly wobbling downwind on a very open zig-zag course. Then more planing with fast and open zig-zags - excellent conditions. Then the wind, and more significantly the sea, really kicks up with about 10nm to go. Am forced into sailing at times a tighter course, so sailing further but and progress toward downwind goal is slower. Take a typical fall for the conditions: board decelerates when ploughing into a lump, sail loads up too much to hold, avoid a fierce catapult but am pulled forward over the rig. The momentum of the fall capsizes the board and sends the mast underwater, still hooked in I'm pulled down underwater too. I keep hold of boom, clear harness line from harness hook with free hand, am 90% confident nothing else is entangled, and indeed can reach the surface without issue. No drama, but aware it isn't sensible to be doing that too often given all the snag hazards my 'outfit' comes with.
Nervous of breaking swells so don't dwell: instead bang a Mars bar, check distance to target - 7nm, crank on downhaul to maximum, continue with more caution, and reach Aveiro harbour (in reality an artificial, enormous headland, complete with alarming overfalls where river current meets the swell and wind sea) with just one more fall. Phew. Good one.
No contacts here but nice place, and good pizza whilst watching Liverpool FC play some beautiful football, before sleeping on beach.
No sailing today. Forecast 20 gusting 30-35 knots. Difficult to see the sea beyond the rock harbour wall, but yesterday's taster of too much wind makes sitting out today an easy choice.
Local guy called Hugo came to say hello, linked me up with the notably friendly and helpful Port Pilots - for a good place to leave the gear, offered a shower, and - for this evening - a meal with his family. Many kind helpful and friendly people everywhere - the healthy human condition! - and in Portugal too.