No Goujons in Gijon

We are sitting here in sunny northern Spain in the city of Gijon in Asturias. It took us just 4 days to cross from Falmouth to Spain across the Channel and Bay of Biscay. We were sailing across the deep part of the Bay with a depth of 4000m below us! The worst part of the whole trip was crossing the Channel due to the confused seas ( a F9 gale had just gone through) and the amount of shipping. After that we settled into a routine and did 2 hour watches. Having Sally on board made all the difference as it meant we could theoretically get 4 hours sleep in between watches. 

We had amazing encounters with dolphins both day and night and came very close to some huge Biscayan Right Whales, which was a bit scary! The stars were brilliant and we were treated to meteorite showers every night.

After 3 days of not seeing land, the sea madness set in and we felt an urge to pen a poem, which is reproduced below (with apologies to poetry lovers everywhere):


Vaila’s Biscay Adventure

On our voyage across Biscay Bay, we were determined to make it all the way.
To help Vaila in this intrepid quests, were Andy, Petra, Sally and the rest.

Vaila is a reliable craft with comfy bunks both fore and aft.
She sails through swells both high and low and attracts the dolphins to come and go.

Andy is our main man, who is not keen to get a tan!
He likes to sail with two ladies blonde, of whom he is extremely fond.

Petra is the skippers mate and her culinary skills are great.
Navtex is her favourite toy, but whale watching is her secret joy.

Sally is the skipper’s sister and she takes no nonsense, mister!
She’s sailed on the Biscay a couple of times, but never all the way across in a straight line.

“Joe”* is our automatic crew, who can be left to helm for an hour or two.
He has no brains just point and go, but if the battery fails he’s on a go-slow.

“Miss Scarlet”** is really hot! The best sailor of the lot.
She finds the wind afore the beam and Vaila sails along just like a dream.

On day three in the Biscay abyss, Petra said “there’s something amiss”.
Is that smoke that’s up ahead? No, it’ a sixty foot Biscay Right Whale spouting water from it’s head,

We shouted down below to skip and woke him from the deepest kip.
“What do we do, the whale’s right here?” “Put the engine on and let’s get clear”

The whale had other things in mind and followed for a very long time.
Sally was scared to death but Petra replied at least he’s not got fishy breath!!

In the hours of the darkest night we had the most amazing sight
It wasn’t torpedoes interrupting our sail but dolphins leaving a phosphorescent trail.

On a different, starry night, the Milky Way was our guiding light.
The shooting stars lit up the sky, their fiery tails caught our eyes.

All together we make a great team, with watches and rotas not much time to dream.
The voyage will take a whole five days but the memories will last for us always.


* The character of the autohelm is purely fictional and bears no resemblance to persons living or dead.

**Miss Scarlet is a Hydrovane self steering gear which can work without electrical power (see photo below).



Letting go the message in the bottle



Biscay sunset



Arrival in Spain and a traditional celebration with Sally.

We are now looking forward to a few days here, sampling the local cuisine and drinking the local cider. The cider is very dry and not fizzy and is elaborately poured from a great height by the skilled barman! I don’t think I will try the pouring as I will get my clothes wet!!

We are relaxing into the live aboard lifestyle and have already met quite a few couples who are on the same journey as us at varying speeds.

5 thoughts on “No Goujons in Gijon

  1. Anne Welch

    Congratulations, what an achievement, trip sounds fantastic, what an experience! Loved the poem. Enjoy some relaxation in Spain now.
    Love to all, Anne

    1. petraeag Post author

      Can’t believe how quickly you replied to this!! Just finished posting and still have the computer on. We are feeling recovered now after a couple of night’s good sleep. Off for cycle round town (bikes free with Marina and Marina fees very reasonable). Staying here till Thursday. Sally flying back then. We are trying to organise a couple of days in the Picos. Mountains instead of the sea for a change. Love P xxxx

  2. Fenella

    Congratulations! Poetry not bad either but maybe stick to the job in hand!! Such an achievement and adventure – have a fab time in Spain and soak up every minute.


  3. petraeag Post author

    Lovely to hear from you and glad you are enjoying following our blog. We are enjoying this part of Spain and relaxing a bit now the big sail is over. We are going to be here until Thursday, when Andy’s sister Sally flies back to the UK. It’s raining today unfortunately but going to be nice again tomorrow. There is a big fiesta in the town on Wednesday with fireworks and music so we are looking forward to seeing that.

  4. Pat Rebelo

    Hi Andy & Petra – what a great Blog – keep it up and I hope to check in once in a while. I hope the journey continues to be as interesting as the first few legs.


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