Monday, July 11, 2011

The Bay of Biscay

As I write this post I am somewhere in the middle of the Bay of Biscay on the Brittany Ferries ship - the Pont-Aven, travelling from Santander in Spain to Portsmouth in England. The ship has WiFi on board - the price is €5 for one hour or €10 for three hours. I thought the €10 option to be reasonable value given that we are so far from land. However, the connection cannot be re-used and will run out regardless of whether you log out or not. This seems a bit mean and petty - it cannot be for technical reasons as I know it is quite easy to allow people to log on more than once using the same details. Shame, but nice to have nonetheless.

I set out from Madrid this morning at 8.30 and kept going for 166 miles until I needed petrol. I stopped at a small town where I also relaxed for a few minutes for a coffee and a pee. I wasn't the only animal to pee as a dog used my front wheel to pee on - little bugger! Today was much cooler than previous days - in fact I was glad of my leather jacket in the morning air. Yesterday I could barely stick it in the afternoon heat of central Spain. Riding towards Northern Spain is also interesting as the scorched level landscape gets left behind and some green fields and forests start to appear. As always in Spain, I found navigation easy enough and got to the ferry port easily enough. I'm glad I did not splash out on a SatNav. At the port I queued up for check-in with about 20 other Harley-Davidsons - boy did we make some noise!

The ship is very nice - it doesn't seem to be very full. Being Brittany Ferries, it is actually a French ship. The crew are even French - unlike Irish Ferries where everybody seems to be Polish. I even practiced my French! The ferry trip is 24 hours, so a long evening and morning ahead. I'm hoping to sleep a lot, but already I have heard kids running up and down the corridor outside my room, have heard a baby crying, and the walls are very thin. On top of all this I managed to get some nasty sun-burn on my thin-haired scalp while out on deck earlier reading the paper. Nearly three weeks in the hot sun (30C plus) of Murcia without any bother and wearing factor 20 to 30 all the time, and I get sun burned in Santander in two hours in temperatures of about 25C. Idiot!

Tomorrow is a race against time. As there are a lot of Harleys on the ferry, and I am on the lowest deck, it could be some time before I get off the Pont-Aven. It is due to dock at 2pm. I'll ride straight to Holyhead (about 320 miles), but I'll need two stops for petrol - the ferry to Dublin leaves at 9.30pm. The trip should be about 6 hours, so there will be no time for hanging about.

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