Day 136 – Hola José Ramón Montero Papin

Day 136  30th November 2010

Finisterre – Corcubión

Arrival  42°56.77’N  09°11.28’ W

I was still wide awake by 4am.  I kept wondering if Jose was going to make it through the night. Even though I wrote my story on the laptop, I still could not switch off and sleep.  In the morning, John brought me tea in bed and told me there was no hurry to get up.  I lay resting but still wondering how I would find out if Jose was OK.  I still had his penknife in my possession and wanted to return it, though I still did not know his name.  It was still a bit bouncy onboard, so I knew John wanted to go to Corcubion as the shelter was better there. I considered I could walk back to Finisterre if I had to.

John made the decision we could go to Finisterre for couple of hours as he wanted to check the internet for weather.  We hopped into Nearby and John rowed ashore.  On our way, we rowed past the piece of polystyrene that Jose had clung to.  It was so small and I was filled with emotion again.

As we approached the pontoon, a man was standing there and seemed to be moving to wherever we were trying to tie up.  He was wearing jeans, wellingtons, and several warm layers of clothes.  On his head he wore a peaked cap.  He was saying things in Spanish as we approached, pointing to the boat, then pointing to himself.  I thought we were tying up in his spot and asked John to tell me what he was saying.  Then I noticed his kind face…..

This was the man from last night.

Jose Ramon Montera


He held his hand out to me and I stepped ashore.  We embraced then he kissed me.  He kissed me several times saying gracias many times. The kisses were warm and passionate, but not like those of a lover, more like a father who has found his lost child.

John barely looked up at the man.  I’m astonished he can be so disinterested. I asked him to ask what happened, and Jose told us.  In a nutshell, he was on his fishing boat Gasparita, about to go fishing, when he slipped as he was doing something with the engine. The boat took off and threw him overboard.  He had all the ropes for fishing around him, so it was impossible for him to swim.  He was weighed down with very heavy clothes but managed to kick off his boots.  Gasparita was recovered minus the engine, washed up on the beach.  Jose wanted to take us out for something to eat to say thank you, but we were very pressed for time, so I suggested a coffee would be lovely. 

We enjoyed a coffee and Santiago cake in a portside café. Jose said he was 40 years old and had been fishing for 30 years.  Last night was his first swim whilst fishing. The owner, told us, he had worked on the ships many years ago and had fallen overboard about 12 years ago. Next he started telling us about some unfortunate souls who finished El Camino and went swimming after, then drowned.  The chat was getting rather gloomy so I said I wanted to leave this place quickly as they seemed like an unfortunate bunch! We all fell about laughing. 

Jose walked us back to the pontoon and gave me another hug and kiss. He showed me his boat, which had been retrieved, minus the engine!

Jose Ramon Montera's fishing boat

I will remember him forever!

We had a quick bowl of soup and motorsailed to Corcubion where the shelter was good.  We walked through the medieval town and around to Cee where we stopped for coffee and checked things out for the next day.

Back at the boat, we ate our dinner, and I went to bed at 9.  

I read a couple of chapters of what seemed like a raunchy novel and only put it down when my fingers were numb from the cold.

Menu today

Breakfast –Croissant and butter – real butter scrambled eggs and toast

Lunch – Café con leche, cream of asparagus soup and bread

Dinner – Spaghetti Bolognese with red wine

Snacks – oatmeal cookies, donut, Postre de Santiago

Meraid Griffin

Freelance writer, adventurer and public speaker. Descibed in the Sunday Times as a 'modest explorer'. Nothing modest about me.

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