EPIRB arrival, lively Gijon and moving on

Caramor - sailing around the world
Franco Ferrero / Kath Mcnulty
Fri 20 Jun 2014 17:21
When we checked into the Marina Sunday morning we asked anxiously whether our parcel (our EPIRB sent off for a service) had arrived. It hadn't. I could hear various growly noises from Franco while Marec explained that although the parcel was in Gijon, it hadn't been handed over to the marina staff and that she didn't understand why not. She suggested we call back on Monday and that the girls in the office would help.

Monday morning Martha made a few phone calls. She explained that Caramor was now in the marina and that we needed the parcel. She was left on hold while the person at the other end of the line went to check on the whereabouts of the parcel, apparently the shipping company's I.T. was playing up. Eventually the parcel was found and I was assured the parcel would be delivered. "¿Hoy?" (today?) I asked hopefully "¿O mañana?" (or tomorrow?), with a touch of despair in my voice. I returned to the boat and explained the situation to Franco (more growly noises). We put the kettle on, and just as it was about to boil, a knock on the hull; the parcel was being delivered by boat! When we checked the delivery address it said "Caramor" hence it had to be delivered to her. (I'm just grateful they didn't ask her to sign for it! her writing is terrible.)

EPIRB, pleased to be reunited with Franco

After a good day's work we set off for the paseo, the heart of Spanish life, and the icecream parlour. Franco decided he would have a double. As he ordered the lady explained that the huge mountains of icecream she had been dolling out were singles, not doubles! We were impressed!

We set sail Tuesday morning. The plan: to day-sail west along the north coast of Spain to La Coruña where we will await a suitable weather window to get round Finisterra and seek shelter in one of the rias (sound) on the Galician atlantic coast. We are hoping to meet up with Anxeles (our first Spanish teacher), husband Eloy and daughter Eira who are back in Galicia while Anxeles takes some exams to maintain her teaching qualifications.

After a perfect sailing day we arrived around 4:30 off Cudillero, we lined up all the markers and checked our bearing, it really did look like we were heading straight for a concrete wall. We got closer and closer and still that concrete wall remained continuous, at times like this you really hope that the person who wrote the pilot wasn't having a funny day. Then at the last minute a gap appeared to the right and we swung round into a bustling sheltered fishing harbour. We had hoped to anchor but the anchorage is now full of moorings, luckily a man in a red t-shirt indicated to us to pick up one of the moorings. These were slightly unusual, you pick up the buoy and attach the front loop to the bow, then you follow a rope which is attached to a second loop which you make fast to the stern. The town looked pretty so we rowed ashore. 

Colourful houses in Cudillero

We were lured into a café advertising "homemade madeleines" only to find all they had left were Spanish petit pain au chocolat - with bitter coffee they tasted delicious.

These fishing nets drying in the breeze are part of a memorial to the sea and the mines, the source of Asturian wealth.

A well-maintained fishing fleet - these boats are equipped with very large fishing rods, line-fishing for tuna?

Caramor on her mooring

We left early in the morning, as we were about to hoist the main sail, we realised that our main halyard (rope that pulls the sail up) was wrapped around our radar reflector and spreaders (horizontal bits that stick out from the mast 3/4 of the way up). We simply could not dislodge it so Franco climbed the mast, this was made particularly difficult but the lumpy swell coming in off the Bay of Biscay. (We had a sympathetic thought for Ellen MacArthur who climbed a much taller mast in very strong winds on her round the world race.)

We then set off at full gallop with a good Force 6 breeze from behind, headed for Ribadeo 43:31.81N 7:02.42W, an all weather small commercial harbour where we ignored the marina and anchored off the main quay. I was interested to see vast volumes of Eucalyptus small roundwood waiting to be exported. Galicia has extensive plantations of Eucalyptus, most of which is used domestically in the 500+ sawmills.

The weather forecast was for one more day of wind followed by no wind until Monday. We decided to head for Ria del Barquero with offers a choice of small towns where we could anchor and to spend the week-end there, maybe even take part in the San Juan festivities on Saturday if anything is happening.

As we left Ribadeo, the breeze died to nothing, we attempted to hoist the spinnaker but there wasn't even enough wind to fill it. Eventually we started the engine and motored to Ria del Barquero. On the way we passed an enormous aluminium factory with its associated small town, not dissimilar to Holyhead on Anglesey. Just as we were entering the Ria, the wind picked up at last and were able to sail into Vicedo 43:44.23N 7:40.66W.

Last night we learnt on the radio that King Juan Carlo has stepped down to make way for his son Felipe. You never know, the idea may catch on back in the UK.

Vicedo, a small town in the Ria de Barquero

Tomorrow we will put the kayaks together and head off up river, we may call in at Barquero then Monday we hope to sail to La Coruña.