Bay of Biscay has quite a reputation, and we now know why. Very short and
steep waves, as a result of the great differences in depths: from 770
meters quickly "shallowing" to 125 meters! In combination with 25 kts of wind... It means you and your boat get a
nice salt shower. When winds had died out
and waves had flattened a bit, JW served at 5AM macaroni with
ham & cheese, our favourite dish when we are at sea.
2 Our first
landfall was in Basque Spain, according to the Basques not at all Spain
because they plead independency. In the first port we found a nice berth
alongside a quay. In (bureaucratic) Spanish countries one has to be
extremely polite, so we headed for the harbourmaster at once. The girl
in the restaurant on the pier told us that there would be someone by the
end of the week, and the cook gave us permission to stay, so our stay
was official now.
can see and feel the resistance against Spain everywhere. People are warm
blooded and hot headed. Also due to the warm weather the atmosphere
is boiling and we saw political grafitti all over the place on rocks and
The Basque country is small but there live a lot of people, as we
encountered every two miles a new attractive port! But we were hurrying along the coast
with 6 miles per day!
3 Most ports are
only fishing ports, in other words: no harbour authorities, just do as
you like but don't bother the fishermen. An alongside quay berth, or
doubled up on a fishing vessel. Today's neighbouring fisher gave us immediately
several artifical baits to catch bonito, his speciality. They look
extremely cool with rubber strings and glitter, so if the catch at sea
fails, P can always use them as ear hangers and catch something ashore...
The fishing trade works as follows: fishing vessel arrives, picks up its
moorings and brings ashore by tender 30 bags of 10 kilograms each. These
bags contain the best fish, like tuna and they are handed over to family & friends
and some are meant for out of pocket sale on the quay. Only the other day
the big bulk and lesser fish are transferred to the quay for the fish
mongers. So we eat the tuna steaks from the bags...
People here are very friendly and helpful, and although most speak only
Basque and Spanish, we succeed in having some conversation.
The tourist board knows what is really important in life: they hand out
lots of folders on must see's, but JW also found a big brochure on the
Basque cuisine. Including recipes, a.o. our favourite side dish “Gernikako piperrak”:
small green peppers. Bake them softly in olive oil, drain and sprinkle with
course sea salt. A real treat!
So we enjoy ourselves: the landscape (overwhelming), the friendly atmosphere (haven't seen any riot so far) and
the friendly people. We'd have been very sorry if we'd missed this beautiful country!