23 June at Ria Viveiro
Friday morning entailed a walk into Ribadeo to replenish a few essentials and then we set off for the Ria Viveiro, about 35 miles to the west. Once again, the wind was in short supply, but the scenery made up for it and the sun came out for most of the passage. Mostly low limestone cliffs interspersed with some attractive beaches and small fishing villages, with farmland and forestry behind and a steep rise up to some half decent mountains. Near Cabo Moras, there were three large bulk carriers at anchor, all servicing the huge aluminium smelter there. The Spanish have created a very big port at San Cibrao, which the chart calls ‘Puerto Alumina Espanola’. Visiting yachts are not welcome…
Around the headland, the cliffs grew and the geology changed to include a mix of quartz and granite, so that the lower rocks looked as though they were covered in the white lacy stuff that you see on stuffed pork in a butcher’s shop. It was a bit hard to tell whether there were good cliff walks, or whether all the tracks were for the forestry workers. Interesting to see so much eucalyptus in amongst the pine – the source of such misery in the recent Portuguese forest fires.
A light northerly breeze allowed us to sail at a breakneck four knots for a while but eventually it gave up and we reverted to the iron sail, but by early evening we were ghosting into the Ria Viveiro. There were a large number of bonfires burning both along the coast and in the hills behind. In the town, we could hear fireworks and occasional blasts of loud music. It turns out that this is the Bonfire Festival of St John; the fires ward off evil spirits that roam as the sun turns south again. We did not plan to enter the town itself: on our road recce last week we had spotted a lovely anchorage behind a small island and just off a fine beach on the east side of the Ria. There were a number of small fishing boats anchored there, but there was plenty of room for us.
Sunset in Ria Viveiro
The fishing boats are brilliant. This is a major industry for the Spanish, so the big boats are immaculate, well equipped and hugely efficient. It’s a tough life though, so the older fishermen spend much of their days in the little ‘sidrerias’ on the harbourside, but then venture out to sea for a few hours a day in their own personal fishing boats. Clearly there is some status attached to these tiny craft, which look like toy versions of their bigger sisters. Powered by a tiny single cylinder put-put diesel, some have a cabin that looks more like a dolls house; others are half-decked and some are open, all are beautifully maintained and brightly painted. I should think that the biggest is about 15 feet long. So if you thought your child’s wallpaper at home had rather idealistic pictures of fishing boats on them (mine did – OK?) the chances are they were modelled on the boats we have seen along this coast.
Out with his mates…?
Tomorrow we plan to move next door to the Ria del Barquero, before pushing round to La Coruna on Sunday.