The story so far
We set sail on our
Pleased to have
reached the shelter we spent the best part of a week in
We stayed at Camaret for 5 days, which wasn’t a chore since as a port it is one of our favourites. Apart from the walks along the coast, which are spectacular, one of the highlights was to meet fellow cruisers Brian and Dorothy aboard “Caithlin of Argyll.” Like Ali, Dorothy is a keen fiddle player so one very special evening was spent aboard Caithlin enjoying excellent food and a traditional musical session.
finally saw a welcome reduction in wind strength which saw us taking a gusty
north easterly out through the approaches to
Vivero was fantastic, mainly on account of the fact that the marina had just reportedly gone bankrupt, so there was no one to take any money and people could just come and go as they pleased. We had a very happy couple of days here.
Sailing westwards we took a fresh north easterly under clear skies, surfing down the building waves as the wind freshened to 30 knots over the deck (with boat speed of 9 knots I guess this means a gale!) The sailing was great and the green cliffs stunning. A solitary dolphin played in the waves inshore of us, kicking up glistening spray as it jumped in the waves. The quiet returned as we made the entrance to the Ria de Cedeira, a most beautiful ria with beautiful shelter.
next stop was
Leaving Camarinas we rounded Finisterre in conditions that became more boisterous as the day progressed, which (as usual) ended up with reefs in as the wind built to a steady 25 knots from the north. A few common dolphins came to play on the bow briefly and it was a thoroughly enjoyable sail to Ria de Muros.
The first of the Rias Baixas, we stayed for a few days enjoying several different anchorages with good swimming spots in relatively warm water. On our first evening, as we settled down we heard a band “sound checking”. From previous experience we expected that it would start in earnest at and probably finish at about . We went to bed quite early and with the wind howling outside could only hear snatches of music. However at the most spectacular firework display that we had ever seen commenced. It carried on for over half an hour and every time we thought that the finale had come, it continued even more spectacularly. After this the band recommenced and could be heard extremely clearly as the wind had dropped and the volume was increased, even D couldn’t sleep through it! It was excellent, very Spanish with a mixture of modern and traditional sounds. Had we realised that it was going to continue until , we would have gone ashore to watch and enjoy the atmosphere!
Going ashore the following morning(ish) we discovered that it was one of the local fiestas and we were subsequently treated to a traditionally dressed group of musicians playing the local bagpipes, tambourines and drums - very happy music.
in this ria we anchored in
deep water at the head of the ria where we were able
to dinghy ashore and enjoy the delights of the ancient town of
seem to have a habit of coming across local events, and in our final anchorage
off the charming
The following day we had a quiet sail to the Ria de Arosa, a very large area with increased feel of a holiday destination with more development along the ever present white sandy beaches. Once inside the ria the wind slowly freshened from the NE and we had an exhilarating beat inland in the company of the large Dutch yacht “Abel T.” We found a quiet spot to anchor at the top of the Ria – Puerto de Cruz where we exchanged photographs with the crew of the Abel T, Marius, Linda and their children. Their photographs had captured Green Flash at her best. We then moved on to the small port of San Vincente, which for those fellow explorers who read this, is a must for the superb board walk, as recommended in the pilot.
We spent a lovely day anchored off an unspoilt island, the Islas Ons, (recommended only in quiet weather). The anchorage was next to a beautiful little beach, which on closer inspection through the binoculars revealed more than expected, (it was a nudist beach!) We went for an exploration and Ali enjoyed the swimming in crystal clear water. Later in the evening after a very hot day, we went ashore for a little stroll and commented on the complete stillness of the air and the glassiness of the water. Even the boat showed her reflection. There wasn’t a ripple of wind. Heaving the dinghy aboard we settled down to a lovely quiet night but almost immediately the wind began to howl and gust viciously and we had to check several times that it was still blowing from a safe direction. As it died down after a couple of hours we were then aware of the noises of engines, and another look out revealed lots of fishing boats working around us within very close proximity. This continued for a few hours until that noise was lost in the next episode of howling winds and gusts. Looking out again we noticed huge flashes of distant lightning in the south. saw us drinking tea in the cockpit in the howling wind, waiting for a bit more light to leave for a safer anchorage and to be able to dodge the fishing boats which were not always very visible. We left at and were caught up by the biggest ever thunderstorm. Lightning, both sheet and forked was constant, there were huge gusts of wind and when the rain came it was so heavy that we could only just see the bow. We were pleased to reach Combarro in the Ria de Pontevedra and after an abortive attempt at anchoring (the wind soon started to blow strong from the south west leaving us very exposed) entered the marina.
We enjoyed Combarro immensely. The old fishing village is delightful and is built on rocks sloping down to the shore. It is made up of tiny narrow granite streets with rocks bursting out in the middle. There are numerous “horreos”, granite sheds held up on large granite “mushrooms,” to keep out the rats. Very picturesque but better in the early morning before the tourists arrive.
D satisfied his craving for
seafood with tapas in the evening consisting of,
among other things, baby octopus, about 8cm long, tentacles and all! They were
quite nice! Ria de Aldan
was explored the next day. We found a beautiful little bay and dropped the hook
looking forward to a quiet lunch and a stroll ashore. This was not to be. It
was Sarurday and the little anchorage got busier and
busier, one big boat ending up just a few feet from us. ”Studland in
We moved around into the
entrance of our next ria,
the Ria de Vigo and made
for the first bay – the Ensenada de Barra. It was beautiful – steep cliffs on one side,
dunes and heath land behind a very long sandy beach with a little village at
the other end about a mile away. The following morning we set off in the dinghy
to walk around the high headland. As we approached the beach we noticed that as
usual, the Spaniards were parading along in the shallows, but again, not a
scrap of clothing was to be seen except for one man who was wearing socks,
sandals and a rucksack!! That evening we tuned into the BBC World Service and
listened to the World Cup Final. We were of course supporting
We like islands best of all so headed the following day across to Isla Cies, a steep, rocky and eucalyptus covered island in 2 parts, the I de Norte, and the I del Faro. We anchored off the Playa Arena das Rodas, a sickle shaped sandy beach that joins the 2 parts together and had 2 lovely days exploring. The highlight was a walk up to the lighthouse at almost 200m in height.
Our last few days in
Finally we said our farewells
first introduction to
We then moved on to Povoa de Varzim which was to be a
brief stop before continuing south before leaving the boat for August. However,
the metro connecting to
We brought our instruments to the BBQ and were urged to play. We got going and to our delight a Scotsman jumped up and pulled people up to dance. He was a barn dance caller! We had our own personal ceilidh in the corner of the marina on a sunny Sunday eve.
We left the boat on 29th August to return home for the weddings of Eleanor and Matthew (14th) and Katie and Bobby (28th), looking forward to those and to our return on 31st to resume our voyage.