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15th March, 2017

El Ferrol

We come towards the end of our very successful ‘Central American Discovery’, one final port, El Ferrol in Galicia. Arriving in the late morning, the almost cloudless sky allowed bright sunlight to reflect from the traditional old buildings above what is now the yacht harbour. It is a most interesting port, protected from the sea by a three mile narrow channel, but opening up into a large bay where the Spanish have always had one of their main naval bases. Fishing of course, and a modicum of commercial ship activity still exists, but it also has one of the main shipyards for the building and repair of large gas carriers.

Tours to the pilgrimage city Santiago de Compostela were soon on their way and wouldn’t return until dinner time, while a scenic tour around the beautiful coastline of Galicia left after lunch. For the great majority though, it was a gentle stroll into town, a town apparently modelled on the Portuguese city of Lisbon. Once past the old quarter close to the harbour, with the naval arsenal on the right, six parallel streets form a rectangle with a square at either end. There are many interesting buildings, including the old fish market, the Town Hall and, of particular note, the Exponav Museum that displays a considerable amount of artefacts relating to Spanish Naval history. In the nearby arsenal there were a number of active warships and also the only Spanish aircraft carrier built to take the Harrier Jump Jet, now decommissioned and waiting for the inevitable.

I took the decision to sail the following morning, having been given a certain amount of ‘wriggle room’in case of bad weather. This allowed quite a few of the Saganauts to take a stroll in the evening and some to dine ashore. A small restaurant, recommended by the pilot, was given a recce by Mrs R earlier in the afternoon and turned out to be quite exceptional gastro wise. A most pleasurable memory for our last call, and I can thoroughly recommend the Albarino.

The same pilot boarded just before 0800hrs, the weather chilly, but bright and clear as we departed the berth and headed out into the Biscay. A good crossing is forecast yet again, another bonus for what has been a wonderful voyage. Great memories for all the Saganauts and, somewhat poignantly, for Mrs R and me. All things being even however, we shall return for the final three week swansong at the end of April.

Captain Philip Rentell

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