Ría de Muros

Caramor - sailing around the world
Franco Ferrero / Kath Mcnulty
Thu 3 Jul 2014 21:37
Having sailed round Finisterre, we decided to cycle to the lighthouse. On the way we stopped off for a coffee in the village of the same name. There were hostels everywhere and we realised that the Camino Santiago de Compostela, the long distance footpath from the French border along the north Spain coast continues beyond Santiago to the 'end of the earth'. The waitress told us that the pilgrims burn their old shoes and t-shirts once they get to the lighthouse. This story amused us and we guessed somebody would be making a roaring trade in t-shirts and new trainers.

However, once we got there we were absolutely disgusted, there was a fire pit where some 'pilgrims' had burnt their clothing but the new trend seems to be to abandon shoes (smelly socks and all) on random rocks, turning a beautiful peninsula into a landfill site, (not to mention the souvenir kiosks!). I felt really sorry for those who had spent five hard weeks walking to arrive at a rubbish dump. Our consolation prize was to meet the great great great grandchild (who lives in Canada) of the Welshman who supplied a new mast for Joshua Slocum's sailing yacht 'Spray' in Río de Janeiro after she was dismasted on her round the world voyage.

We have now sailed further south, into the next ría; the Ría de Muros. We spent two days anchored off the small beach at Muros and worked while the rain (of Welsh diluvian proportions) went through.

Yesterday morning we motored the 5 NM across the Ría to Portosin marina 42:45.77N 8:56.67W to take on water, re-supply, shower, do the laundry and leave Caramor in safety while we head for Santiago de Compostela.

Portosin marina from the restaurant terrace

On previous trips we have often headed for marinas simply to take a shower, this is no longer necessary thanks to the excellent shower we now have onboard. Diesel engines on boats are cooled using sea water. Our old engine had a direct system where the raw salt water circulated through it and was rusting it from within. Our new engine has an indirect system where the internal water circuit can either be cooled by sea water or diverted into a coil to heat domestic water for a shower. As the salt water no longer circulates through the engine, corrosion should be less and the engine last longer. We installed a domestic hot water tank in Holyhead shortly before leaving and although excited by the prospect of a shower had not realised how much this would extend our range and keep us away from expensive marinas. We do need to be careful about how much water we use though, because it comes out of our drinking water tank.

Once secured to the pontoon, Franco worked and I laundered then at 4pm we got the bikes out and cycled to Noia a few kilometres up the road at the end of the ría.

During the Middle Ages Noia was a very important Galician city and the main harbour for Santiago de Compostela, the capital of Galicia 35 km away. In the summer the Bishop would move his residence here. In those days Noia often came under attack, including by the Duke of Lancaster in the XIV Century who wanted to annex Galicia so that he could claim the throne of Castille. Later, during the reign of Elizabeth the First, the 'pirate' (to the Spanish) Francis Drake attacked Noia in response to the 'Invincible' Armada which had been sent to invade England.

Noia harbour has silted up badly and only small boats can now get in. The poles mark the channel.

After wandering through the well preserved old town and arrived at the main promenade where we came across an excellent street performance by Circo Vaya, as part of the Council funded summer programme 'Noia Rúas Vivas' which started yesterday!

Circo Vaya acrobatic performance

We cycled along the sea front while waiting for restaurants to start serving food (from 8pm). At 10pm we joined the crowd for a performance by the Galician band 'ACadaCanto' which in addition to being thoroughly enjoyable, gave us an insight into the music, language and dance of Galicia.

Today we caught the bus into Santiago de Compostela, an hour's journey through hills and Eucalyptus forests. The modern city spreads across several hillsides but the old town is very compact, extremely well preserved and beautiful. Had I been a Franciscan monk I would certainly have travelled here rather than seek some austere freezing cold cell in the north of England. The city was full of hobbling 'pilgrims' searching for (God knows) what and we ended our quest ... at the icecream parlour.

We were delighted to find a street named in Franco's honour.

Santiago old town street

View of Cathedral, convent and university in background