The Rias Baixas beckon

Magnetic Attraction
Roger and Margaret Pratt
Thu 15 Aug 2013 17:26


15 August 2013 – on passage: La Coruna – Camarinas




Thursday morning. 11am Spanish time (BST+1hour.)  We left La Coruna an hour ago, and plan to overnight in Camarinas before going on down to Muros tomorrow.  The 15kn winds promised by the forecast haven’t materialised so we’re motoring into a sloppy sea.  At least the sun is shining and the Costa del Morte is not showing its teeth.  (Later: wind filled in to 15kn and it’s a nice beam reach.)  Here is the Tower of Hercules – the day mark for La Coruna.

As ever, la Coruna has been a joy.  We stayed in the Marina Coruna, rather than in Darsena in the city centre, and so retained the cool sea breeze in the afternoon.  The downside is that it’s a 10-15 minute walk into the city.  Heads you win, tails you lose.  We were moored next to David and Liz on Lazy Tern – a big Oyster out of Ipswich, who had overwintered in st Katharine’s Dock in London with Henrik and Signe.  All very interesting.  Signe made a tapas feast for us all on Sunday night and there has been a round of entertaining.  Thanks to David, we got a 25% discount on mooring fees by showing the Cruising Association membership card.

There has been a strong NE wind that has stopped boats moving on.  There has been a big French contingent anxious to go north, home; and we’ve also met a number of boats that we’ll expect to see, off and on, all the way down the coast and to the Caribbean.  The sense of community grows, and knowledge is given, exchanged and debated.

Gradually we’re settling back into Spanish norms.  Business hours are 9-2 (or 1.30) and 4-8pm.)  There is a far more active service culture – shops have counters and you have to know what it is that you want, and ask.  With minimal Spanish this is a challenge (even assuming I know what I want!)  But as ever, people are very kind and helpful.  We’ve managed to get the high-dose Stugeron (it’s a sea-sickness pill) for Roger; and discovered that hyoscine is not available; anti-allegy medication that is only available on prescription in UK is available over the counter here.  The seafood is plentiful and of good quality: I bought gambas to cook for Roger’s birthday and last night we had clams mariniere (very tasty.)

A major find has been a wonderful chandlery – Pombo.  It’s a serious distance, and shuts at 1.30 (this is known because on Tuesday we walked and arrived at 1.40;) but rewards an earlier visit.  Roger managed to get bond-breaking tape for the repair of teak decks off the shelf – unprecedented, even in the Solent. 

The city comes alive at night, after about 9pm.  The little alleyways become clogged with people strolling, eating, chatting.  On Tuesday evening we went to a concert (“Cool Swing”) in the main square which started at 10: the stage lights picked up and lit the gulls flying overhead.  The singer wasn’t very good and came on sufferance.  The accompanying band was good, and featured a trumpet soloist who looked like a woolly Luciano Pavarotti.  The trumpeter sitting next to him sported full evening dress and a cheese-cutter flat cap, powder blue under the stage lights.  Bizarre.  Last night there was a firework battle in commemoration of a raid by El Pirate Drake.  It started at 11 at the Playa Riazor.  There were fireworks on each side of the bay, and one assumes that the bigger and better fireworks on the south side of the bay represented the Spanish defenders; whilst the smaller shells and lights under the Tour d’Heruleo represented the raiding Brits.  The Brits were well repelled after a generous half hour of wonderful fireworks.  The explosions were immense and rocked the whole city.  The Spanish do know how to do big bangs! As we walked back it seemed that the whole city was on the move: crowded pavements and throngs of people, including a lot of small children. 

This morning we fuelled up.  Going to the fuel berth Roger commented that the depth was less than expected.  He slowed up and the depth reduced.  He was watching the speed gauge instead of the depth! (a touch of harbour fever?)