Our first trip in the motor home for 2017 was planned along the north coast of Spain and down the west coast of Portugal with a bit of cycling thrown in.
We booked on Brittany Ferries 07:45 sailing from Portsmouth to Santander on the MV Base De Seine which is the economy sailing, advertised as having basic facilities aboard.
The vehicles are parked on deck which is open to the elements and a good deal of salt is on the vehicle when you arrive at your destination, on the plus side we were told we did not need to turn our gas fridge off as we were in open air which certainly met with Kaye’s approval. The cabins were a higher quality than we expected with an outside window, twin beds, plenty of electrical sockets and a decent en suite with a very hot and powerful shower. As far as we could tell the down side of the economy boat was a longer crossing time of about 6 hours, no onboard entertainment and reduced catering facilities but the self-service restaurant was adequate. The only worrying aspect was that this is the only Brittany Ferries boat that have I have been on that give you a demonstration of how to fit your life jacket.
The forecast was for a rough crossing for the first few hours but as the low pressure pulled away to the east the wind eased, I am normally a good sailor but with a large cross swell and the boat rolling the public lounges on deck 8 high above the sea surface were not to my liking and our cabin 2 floors below at least reduced the boat movement.
The self-service restaurant served a good quality menu at reasonable prices and overall if you don’t mind an extra 6 hours on the boat the economy service is good value.
We arrived at Santander at 13:15, exactly on time and soon disembarked and were on our way. Kaye had located a ** camping aire in Santander at the marina and next to the airport with 6 spaces and we were thankful for the Satnav to wind us through the spaghetti of roads and junctions.
The aire was directly opposite the boat yard where a very nice “Discovery 55” was sitting in a cradle and undergoing cosmetic repairs.
At the other end of the scale a very small “Rodman” day fishing boat with a “Se Vende” sign. As evening approached a Ford Sierra pulled up and an elderly gentleman got out to walk around the boat. I just knew this was the right boat for him, his brown jacket, trousers and shoes were exactly the same colour as the ugly duckling. After 10 minutes another man, presumably the salesman appeared and following a very animated phone call a ladder arrived for a closer inspection. Hatches were lifted and the two men stood on the boat talking for one and a half hours and just as the last of the daylight was fading a handshake, I reckon the boat had found a new owner.
It also surprises me that in the most unlikely places you will see an old English red telephone box, photographing them in odd locations is another quirk I seem to have developed, I guess we are all train spotters at heart.
We settled down for our first evening in Spain with the added bonus that nobody had appeared to collect our parking fee so that’s one in the bank and all in all a good start.
** Aire at Marina Santander N43.2743* W3.80539* Carretera Al Puerto Deportivo €6 per 24hrs + €3 electricity