Santander to La Coruna

Chris & Sally Longstaff
Mon 21 Aug 2006 17:56

Santander to La Coruna…29th July-11th August……..


More good food discovered in the “Bodegas” of Santander (old wine cellars/ merchants converted to café/restaurants). Unlike the Tapas bars the food is not displayed but is equally excellent and ‘local’……although one of our exploratory orders did turn out to be ham egg and chips. Scrumptious.

The Holley family, Matthew, Caroline, Tom and Rosanna arrive from Bilbao by bus and Max flies in to airport next to Marina….so we are now 9 aboard! Bunks allocated according to length of single or multiple occupants. In the morning we depart for San Vicente de la Barquera….some 30 miles and 5-6 hours west. Unfortunately gentle winds which remain a feature of much of the week oblige us to motor more often than we would like. However with guests still getting stomach adjusted we decide not to stay any longer than necessary at sea.

Max, Tom and Matthew make a determined effort to catch fish while we travel, but without any early success.

Anchored in the harbour of San Vicente and unveiled the now legendry “Pink” dinghy. Max set about distributing crew and passengers to explore. Max and Tom find nearest bar and console themselves at having to make a first public ‘landing’ in ‘the pink‘. Matthew and I find nearest cash point in preparation for the week ahead with our sons and daughters on board…..“board” being of particular threat!

A gentle motor cruise the next day brought us to Ribadesella and an unbelievably exciting arrival. At low water, our keel up, with a rolling surf heading straight for the beach, we held our nerve and turned abruptly to port squeezing around the wall and through a narrow gap to the calm inner harbour. Ribadesalla is extremely picturesque and also very lively. After a meal ashore sampling the local tapas we settle down for the night only to be woken by a very threatening motor boat and person, in the form of the Civil Guardia telling all the yachts anchored to go on to the town wall. We meekly complied, but were later informed by the locals that the town was expecting a very busy night (or two) with the celebration of a rowing competition. We were warned that our boat may be a target of the drunk and disorderly. We left Ribadesella to its own celebrations.

A short sail to Lastres, where we moored alongside a huge wall with the help of some slightly disgruntled local fisherman. The Lastres male population are, it seems, particularly keen on spending the night hanging out on the quay, fishing. On occasion they are joined by the women folk, who, if of the older generation, sit respectfully one pace behind. We retire to bed confident that our companions will be there in the morning. In the event what greets us is a very large green trawler at 7am, proceeding to untie our ropes…….with the intention it turns out, of tying us to his far side.

The captain was extremely apologetic and so was Mum having presented herself in her pyjamas. Once again we had to leave port! After enjoying the beach we headed for Gijon.

The marina is right in the heart of this vibrant city much to the approval of the teenage members of the crew; we saw very little of them as they explored by night and slept by day. We are starting to meet other boats that are heading South and planning to cross the Atlantic.

Gijon is a great place, and it was a shame not to stay and explore longer. It being Sunday there is a spectacular air display over the main beach and in fact whole town. Also Gijon gets top vote for local bar…..Spanish cider and winkles! Maybe even for best communal tapas meal enjoyed in very back street café by whole ship; chosen by girls while Mathew and Chris consume large quantities of cold beer. Essential.


We were finally able to sail all day to Cudillero for the Hollies’ last day. Matthew started landing mackerel until we had enough to feed all 9 of us; delicious. We celebrated Chris’ birthday with dinner out. The next day was spent relaxing, swimming off the boat and the more intrepid (Matthew and Caroline) exploring further. Max and The Hollies departed early the next morning for their respective destinations by taxi and train, and are fortunate to arrive home a few hours before the airport chaos begins.

Remaining crew (Chris Sally Lauren Maddie) left for Ribadeo and enjoyed a good sail but with an increased swell. In fact it is pretty rough and hard going keeping the boat balanced ahead of a strong following wind and rolling sea; too choppy to pole out the jib, but we pretty much goose wing it. We are delighted to see the marina and staff waiting to take our lines. A walk around the charming old part of Ribadeo reveals a wonderful ancient mansion for sale on the front, which we dream of renovating. Ho ho ho. Definitely one for Lea and Steve.

Our next stop Carino; not so appealing. A grey and windy anchorage, busy with fishing vessels. We were pleased to meet our neighbours, a French couple with 3 children, heading for the Caribbean. The next morning we left at 6am and after a terrific sail, in which, as it happens, we left ½ hour after the French but arrived ½ hour ahead; not that we were paying any attention to them at all. Arrived in La Coruna by 2pm avoiding the strong afternoon winds which are becoming a feature of the days.