Basque country, Spain

The 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.  

PHOTO 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.

You 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 banners.  
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!

PHOTO 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... 

 
PHOTO 5 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!

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