Ria de Arousa - Ribeira

Mon 6 Aug 2012 17:08
42:34.03N 08:58.71W

We stayed a day longer at Portosin, it was a Friday after all, (never set sail on a Friday... if you're on passage it's fine, but you don't start a voyage on a Friday if possible, as it's bad luck), but it was mostly because some friends of ours from Portland Marina had crossed Biscay in their  26ft Sadler and had emailed to say they would be catching us up that afternoon. It was lovely to see them, they arrived about 1:30 am so we made them brunch next morning and got together in the evening to try out our barbecue. The barbecue clamps on a stand on to the rail at the stern of the boat, which is perfect at anchor as the boat always swings around to be head to wind, hence any ashes etc are blown overboard rather than on deck. The coals were burning merrily when suddenly the wind gusted up strongly and shifted direction, swinging us around towards the harbour wall. We'd not had the wind in that direction since we anchored, and when the chain had stretched we felt too close for comfort, so our friends set off in the dinghy back to their boat and we both upped anchor and moved further down the beach before re-anchoring and resuming our barbecue. It was lovely evening, lots of chatting comparing our crossings of Biscay, and our impressions of the different places we'd stopped in on our routes down.

The next Ria down, Arousa, is a big one, about 5 miles across and 15 miles long. Some Dutch cruisers we'd made friends with had radio emailed us to tell us that they didn't think much of the first port, Aquino, so we went straight around to Ribeira. Again, as the winds were light, we had some interesting pilotage, keeping close to shore, inside isolated rocks and reefs, and then through a little channel between the islands and rocks that guard the entrance to the Ria, watching the depth meter carefully as we were in about 5 meters of water at times, me helming, Phil conning us through. As we go through we almost hold our breath... rocks to the right of us, reef to the left. Approaching the channel at an angle means it can be hard to judge the middle of the channel, to come through square on rather than ending up going closer to one side or the other. As we slowly approached the true channel became evident and we gradually righted our course to keep ourselves out of danger.

Ribeira proved to be a much larger town than we had been used to, with a lots of chandleries and fishing shops and a big supermarket. I'd sort of forgotten that Spain had big supermarkets, we'd been in little villages or in the ports of towns, large supermarkets are usually out of town. Next to the town there's a long curved sandy beach, we anchored at the far end of it, just outside of the line of yellow buoys marking the swimming area. The sea was gorgeous, clear and refreshing in the heat, lovely to jump off the boat into. I took a sponge and got a little extra exercise swimming on the spot whilst cleaning the weed off our waterline - it was only down one side, possibly the side that was most in the shade when we were in the Portosin marina. As you scrub you push yourself away from the boat (one of those equal and opposite forces things!) so it's quite hard work swimming hard towards the boat to keep the pressure up!

It was our turn to be treated to a barbecue that evening, our Dutch friends and their daughter and son in law invited us over for a feast of mackerel that they had caught, so we had another lovely evening with the good company of new friends.