Reminiscing ... continued

Chapter 12b-  September 30, 2005

Debryn Webster

San Sebastian, Spain

We loved Spain—the people, the food, the cities, towns and the countryside.  We spent a significant amount of time in Bilbao due to a broken alternator so we were able to explore it quite a bit with Doug.  The Guggenheim museum at first glance surprised me with its’ shiny exterior and sudden appearance as we were driving down the highway.  Doug, being much more prosaic than I, no doubt will have a stunning write-up about it.  Every evening the sidewalks and cafes were filled with people young and old dressed up as of they were going to church.  It was simply their evening stroll or drink at one of the numerous cafes.  The mealtimes were something we never quite got used to.  Lunch was usually served between 2 and 4pm and dinner was usually at 9:30 to midnight.  Often we would find restaurants full at 11pm.  The siestas were very long so shops were closed most afternoons until 4pm and then open until 8pm.  With the sun going down around 10pm it seemed appropriate to eat on the local’s schedule.  One of my favorite foods now is seafood paella (a very flavorful Spanish rice).

The ports of Portugal have been a bit smaller, more spread out than the ones in Spain and unfortunately not all of them have been kept up as nicely.  The nicest one is fortunately the one I’ve been in for weeks.  All the towns, however, are very quaint with their old town section of narrow alleys and mom and pop stores.  The Portuguese are a more reserved people but very helpful and friendly when approached.  They all seem to understand a little English as they even air US TV programs in English.  There are cobblestones everywhere here, sometimes even on the main roads.  They can be quite slippery when it rains.  It must be painstaking to construct them as the majority of the sidewalks have cobblestones that are only 2x2 in. which means that they have to put them in by hand.

Entering Bilbao Harbor.

Photo: Doug Habecker

Biobao in rain.

Photo: Doug Habecker

Bilbao emporium.

Photo: Doug Habecker

Dining late in Spain.


I still adjust to having people’s “homes” right next to mine most everyday.  Sometimes our neighbors change daily; sometimes less frequently.  We met a really nice Canadian who just purchased a brand new catamaran.  I’ve never been on one, so I was wide-eyed when I saw the full-sized dishwasher, three subzero fridges, washer and dryer combination, and even a bathtub!  All I could think of was how much work it must be to keep such a huge (57 foot) boat clean.  This Canadian had along an instructor who Kaizen often refers to as “the man who likes to play pirate”.  These two men were a lot of fun to be around and we enjoyed visiting on each other’s boats.  They are off to cross the Atlantic this November. 


We also met an incredibly friendly British couple.  The man’s mother was born in Taiwan and his daughter works in Hong Kong.  Small world!  His grandfather was a Presbyterian minister who started both a Presbyterian boys and girls school in Tainan.  I think Dad Webster might have heard their names before.  We’ve also made friendships with a couple we met in Luarca (the last town Doug was with us).  This Dutch couple is sailing for a year before they return to work.  A very fun couple with whom we even celebrated my birthday dinner.  I received a lure from them with which we caught our first fish!  We have probably seen the last of them as they are already in Morocco heading for the Canary Islands before crossing the Atlantic in November.  We have usually seen the same boats on our route but now most are quite a bit south preparing for their transatlantic crossing.  This signifies the near-end to our sailing journey for the year. 

Photo:  Doug Habecker


 With Doug, Deb's brother.


Saying goodby to Doug in Luarca.

Since our boat is well insulated it stays comfortably cool inside the cabin even when it’s blazing hot outside.  Boo has enjoyed his watercolors, crayons and markers, cars and trucks and of course his ever-present babysitter, the DVD player.  Sam has taught him the complete alphabet and he’s just learning how to hold his writing utensils properly—that will take a little longer.  Since we began sailing Kaizen has learned how to use the potty on his own, dress himself (even with the difficult clasps and buttons!), put on his shoes, sleep in a bed (falling out only once) and say ‘thank you’ in Portuguese.  Kaizen turns 4 in just three weeks but is often mistaken for being 5 or 6 because of his height.  He misses his friends all over the world and often reflects on the various things he did with them.  We have been blessed with so many good friends all over the world.  Thanks so much for staying in touch despite our lack of communication!  It’s meant a great deal to us.  Strange as it may sound, this sailing trip has made me feel even more distant from ‘home’.  Perhaps it’s because everything is in a foreign language, and had limited communication with friends and family—whether by phone or email.  I’ve already read every novel on the boat so I supposed this means I need to start on all the sailing books about engines, storm tactics, and survival.  Ha!

Photo: Doug Habecker  

Bilbao, Spain.


In late October, 2005, Sam, Deb and Kaizen drydocked the "Debryn Ruth" in southern Portugal and returned to their home in Taiwan.  Their plan is to resume the odyssey next May.

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Map of Spain and Portugal

Map of Portugal  


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Page 12b