15 Sept 2014

[Captains Blog] Figuera da Foz

&*^%#@$ Fishermen!!! As we were leaving Coruna on Friday 12th (sailing superstition says you should never set out on a voyage on a Friday) we had just taken a photo of the Torre de Hercules (below). This lighthouse has been in operation since Roman times and we still use it today. Who said the Romans didn't do anything for us??? 

Anyway, we had just left Coruna when there was a thud from under the boat. We had been looking out for lobster pot buoys (not always easy to see at the best of times) and there weren't any ahead of us, but we had definitely picked something up. I stopped the propellor, put it into reverse, then back into forward, and there was definitely a judder. We had something around it. Then we saw the rope, trailing out behind us. We were less than a mile from the shore, it was going dark, and we couldn't use the engine. There was only one thing for it, I had to go under the boat to see what the issue was. I cut the line close to Tumi, put on my wetsuit, snorkel, facemask and flippers, and went off the stern. The propellor was completely fouled with a rope. It took me several dives under the boat armed with a Captain Curry knife to cut away and remove the tangle of (floating) rope. 

Once that was done, we were able to continue on our way. Thankfully it was still light enough for me to see what I was doing underwater, but I guess the adrenaline was flowing sufficiently not to notice the cold water too much. However, the episode did leave me feeling somewhat queasy afterwards, and it took me 24 hours to shake it off. The journey from there was a pig. We headed into strong southerly winds all the way, passed through a nasty thunderstorm during which a fork of lightening came down quite close to us into the sea, and just to make life even more uncomfortable, the swell was right on the nose as well. That is why we are now in Figuera da Foz, continuing on down to Lisbon was just going to be more of the same with stormy weather forecast for tonight and tomorrow. We are better holed up here for a few days to let the worst of the weather pass us by. It has been raining on and off all day, and the winds pick up significantly later. We are snugly tied up in a nice marina in a very pleasant town.