Getxo, Nr Bilbao, Vizcaya, Basque Country
43º 20’27 N
3º 00’94 W
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Getxo, Nr Bilbao, Vizcaya, Basque Country
We used our unscheduled weekend
(11th & 12th June) in
On saturday afternoon we cycled
the length of the very busy prom along the town beach (
Sunday our relaxation was a visit to the surprisingly extensive remains of some Roman baths, carefully preserved after excavation under a Plaza fronting a church.
Monday 13th June. Around midday we presented ourselves to Windtech, our paraglider, aka sail repairs, company. The sail was ready, & the repair looked good. The boss gave us & sail a lift back to the boat in his car (much appreciated) & we spent the next couple of hours bending it on. It still looked good so we went for a late lunch of cider & tapas to celebrate.
Then a quick look round the Port’s display on their huge development, Puerto de El Musel, to the NW of the harbour. This has taken 5 – 6 years to build, & involved a lot of ‘land’ creation in a tidal environment, using pioneering techniques & lots of concrete. I hope it generates the trade they are looking for.
Last job - settle our dues so we can make a dawn departure tomorrow.
Tuesday 14th June. A 6
am departure, not quite light & motoring in very little wind. We have a
longish passage to Santander today as there are not many ports along this
stretch of coast, & those there are are mostly too shallow for us to enter,
or cannot be entered if there is any significant swell. After a couple of hours
we hoisted the main to stop some roll although still not enough wind to sail.
Around 10 am we were able to still the engine & sail for a spell. That set
the pattern for the day with short spells sailing, motorsailing & motoring as
we try to maintain a good average speed. Around teatime Doug allowed himself a
brief spell fishing, usual result (no fish, wind & speed increased). A big
disappointment was not to get any good views of Picos mountains to the south,
as the cloud was low down on the coastal hills let alone the mountains further
inland. We did see a tall unstayed mast, not on our charts, some 20 nm offshore
in water almost 200 metres deep. At 8 pm we anchored off Playa de la Magdalena
Wednesday 15th June. A
relaxed start with a trip to the fuel berth, several miles upstream. Job done
we decided that there was a nice sailing breeze & we would use it to move
on instead of staying put. So we spent the afternoon on a pleasant light wind
beat to Laredo/Santona. There is a new marina under construction at
We tucked in close to the Yacht Club moorings, occasionally rolly as fishing boats from the town charged past, but terns came past too, & curlews & a white egret appeared as the tide went out. Rain arrived overnight.
Thursday 16th June.
Still wet & no wind. We stayed put for the morning & watched the birds
& horses being galloped on the beach. It looked like a serious training
programme. Then after lunch we hauled anchor. The rain had gone, there was no
wind & the swell was increasing as forecast so it was a motor trip to
Friday 17th June. A day
out playing tourist in
Crossing the river to the ‘new’ town there were more fine building & relaxing squares as we found our way to the Guggenheim museum. The building itself is eyestopping & it is surrounded by several giant sculptures, notably a spider & a floral puppy (our winner), but we were not greatly taken with many of the exhibits in the museum itself.
Back in Getxo the forecast wind had arrived with increasing squalls & showers.
Saturday 18th June. First a provisioning run, getting to the shops uphill using a funicular from the beach. Job done we readied the bikes & cycled to the old fishing harbour at the end of the beach.
The houses climbed haphazardly uphill & were very picturesque with white walls & sprawling flowers. On the water the wind & kite surfers were having a ball jumping the waves. After a tapas lunch we continued in the opposite direction to the actual river mouth to see the Punta Bizkaia, a huge transporter bridge & World Heritage site as the first mechanical bridge. Unfortunately the towers were scaffolded off for painting, so we couldn’t visit the walkway at the top.
Sunday 19th June. The swell is still rolling in so we are doing some of the accumulated chores & round tuits. Hope to depart for France at dawn tomorrow.