Summer weather in western Spain and Portugal has the large high pressure area centered west of the Iberian Peninsula over the Azores. It’s called the Azores High.
The fair weather allows a lot of sun, heating up the interior of the peninsula and causing the formation of a so called “heat Low”. That is an area of low pressure caused my intense heating of the ground. Hot air rises, air must flow into this area on the surface to replace the air that is rising. Thus the typical pattern of converging air at the surface, a low [pressure area.
Now, with a Low to the East and a High to the west, we in between are caught in the winds caused by this pressure gradient. Thus as the day gets hotter, the low gets stronger and the winds therefore must increase.
These afternoon winds, hot and dry, then make the numerous forest fires now burning pretty much unmanageable. Last night was the worst here in the last three days since we have been in Baiona. The winds stayed strong all night, keeping the fires going, thus it was smoky all night.
Rinsed Dauntless off this morning, ash is everywhere.
Now this problem is exacerbated by the fact as told to me in broken Spanish and English that the problem in Spain is most of the fires are purposely set and the fire fighters are on strike. Thus the government plan seems to be to wait until winter and the rainy season.
So later this afternoon we will pull out and head south to Portugal. There they have even more fires burning, but I think they are at least trying to put them out.
Winds died down again, so after a few hours we decided to anchor in the harbor of A Guarda. A very small harbor just north of the border.
As we pulled into he very small harbor, a Spanish flagged catamaran suggested we anchor a few hundred feet ahead of him and we did do with less drama than usual.
Of course, the best part of anchoring is being in your cabin, half asleep, when you feel the boat starting to move as the winds picked up. So at midnight, up again, check everything, we have turned around, but had not dragged anchor.
In fact, we’ve never dragged anchor since I got rid of the CQR and replaced it with a 55# Delta. That’s thanks to Parks (or was it the cat) at Hopkins-Carter in Miami, who convinced me the Delta was as good as any more modern anchor.
But being in a dark cabin, felling the boat movement, if even at anchor, it is easy to convince oneself that the boat is heading out to sea or to land at 20 knots.
Doesn’t matter that Dauntless couldn’t go 20 knots over Niagara Falls.
No, your mind can convince you of anything.
So, seeing all was in order, I went back to bed.
That lasted 10 minutes, until I heard another thump.
Up again, now, I released I had to put the snubber on (when we had anchored the winds were calm).
Though the winds stayed up, the snubber sis it’s job and we pretty much stayed still other than the usual rocking and rolling. By early morning though the smoke was again obvious, so we pulled out into a very hazy, smoky landscape.
As we turned south to Porto, the Atlantic became almost flat, as the winds once again died down and went northerly at 6 knots.
Tonight, I will tie to a dock; Porto or is it Oporto?