Spanish Rias August 23 ~ 27

Chris & Sally Longstaff
Thu 7 Sep 2006 18:02

Spanish Rias August 23rd ~ 27th


Mooching around the Rias, which are not at all as expected (by me!). I had imagined rather wild and barren fjords with lots of remote anchorages (as, apparently do lots of people who also don’t read the guidebooks first). In fact they are just like extensions of the coast, only with protected waters. Numerous small, and some quite large towns and marinas. Also hundreds of Viveros; commercial mussel beds. Finding quiet anchorages has therefore been less easy, and we have tended to rely, again, upon recommendations picked up along the way; great but it rather takes away some of the excitement of exploration and adventure.


Trying to maintain balance of remote and civilized (shops!) to placate all members of crew.


Highlights undoubtedly; first night anchored off beach at Ensenada de San Francisco, also Muros, and the excellent Portosin, all in the Ria de Muros. Also, trying to find the best anchorage off the Isla de Arosa in Ria de Arosa, and the tiny cove off Porta Meilan (packed until sundown, when it became exclusively ours!), recommended by a local Scottish speaking Saniard in the Ria de Pontevedra.


We have met numerous very sound people who are now keeping their boats in this part of the world because the relative cost is so good, and they all proclaim the virtues of the Rias; they invariably claim it would take years to explore and appreciate them. I can only conclude that we have not done them justice, as they have not impressed me to any great extent.


(Incidentally……we have had two encounters with dolphin pods, so far, while sailing down the coast, one of maybe 20 or more dolphins sweeping in around the bows; and in the Ria de Pontevedra we saw what I believe must have been a Pilot Whale. Difficult to get close enough to be sure, but certainly seems likely. If so, a first whale sighting)


Weird scenes and strange happenings, Isla Onsa:

Moored off Isla Onsa to sample excellent food (as recommended by David and Jennie, Zipadedoda) and take a walk, to what turned out to be the local nudist beach (see photo, if Sally posted! Owner of bike not apparent, surprisingly). As evening approached the ferries emptied the island of day trippers leaving, presumably, the locals and a few campers.


As we settled for an early night we were startled by the banshee screams of two maniacs racing suddenly across the moorings in either a fast boat or jet ski ~ in almost complete darkness. Settling ourselves and our nerves back to an even keel there erupted a series of 5 gun shots (Sally and Lauren swear they were gun shots ~ based upon what experience is uncertain). The rest of the night seemed to entail various comings and goings of small badly lit or unlit boats, and the suspicious glow of cigarettes in clandestine meetings. This could be suddenly and unnervingly just off our bows.

Skipper was posted to sleep in the saloon, armed with a heavy torch and a repertoire of big dog imitations (fortunately not needed).

Finally, to cap it all, the whole night was accompanied by a very strange rubbing against the underside of the hull, which could only possibly be likened to the noise made by a severed head in a plastic bag!! (seemed reasonable at the time).

In our defence this place was just south of the Ria de Arosa, which the pilot book warns is “the centre of northern Spain’s hard drugs trade” !


Morning dawned to a very peaceful, ordinary day, in the company of some very ordinary looking local fishermen. Will we ever know the awful truth?!