Ria de Muros
6 – 9 April 2007 : Ria de Muros
The first Spanish Ria (estuary) we visited was the Ria de Muros. The town of Muros itself came highly recommended, so we headed there first to see if the proposed marina had been built. After a couple of nights at anchor we fancied the comforts of a marina, and a leg stretch ashore. With the Easter weekend also upon us, we wanted to be somewhere “big” so that we can watch the festivities. We sailed in a gentle breeze towards the harbour, but there was no sign of a marina, so we headed back out across the harbour towards the marina at Portosin.
Portosin Marina is owned by a local yacht club and is very posh, with big expensive boats and lots of flash cars. We tucked Rahula at the end of one of the pontoons, so that she wouldn’t catch yuppie rash and start demanding newer electronics and shinier stainless steel. We didn’t dare venture into the yacht club bar itself, especially while making a “yacht bum” fashion statement. I gather the salty windswept look hasn’t caught on yet in Spain... (although I have now cut my hair for the first time in quite a while – J)
Portosin itself is fairly dull, and most things had already closed for the Easter weekend. We still needed food for the weekend, so I ended up queuing in the butchers for an hour. While I was waiting I scoured the dictionary for the different cuts and types of meat that I wanted. I had a little speech all prepared, so that I got exactly what we needed. I then watched the butcher, and wondered why all the meat looked pretty much the same. I figured that I was just being a typical 21st century towny who can’t recognise meat unless it came on a polystyrene tray, wrapped in cling film with a little sticker telling me the cut and animal. It was fascinating watching the butcher take half a side of a cow and slice it up into the various cuts people wanted. Eventually it was my turn, and to my great disappointment all he had was beef. No lamb, no pork, just beef. Fine, I thought, I need some mince. But he didn’t go and get a little polystyrene tray of mince for me. He started cutting up the half a cow into little slices, putting them on his scales and asking me if that was enough. How do I know how much meat goes into 300g of mince?! It comes in a tray! With wrapping! Luckily a nice woman who spoke English helped me out, and I managed to get what I wanted. I really never thought I would miss the clinical confines of a British supermarket, and all that wrapping which used to annoy me so much.
After the trauma of the butchers I needed a real supermarket to do the rest of our shopping. The nice British couple in the boat next door told us that Noia was the place to go, so off we went. The town was named after Noah as he allegedly landed there on his ark after the Great Flood. I looked for pairs of exotic animals canoodling in the park, but there was no sign. Only lots of dog poo. I suppose it was a long time ago and the animals must have dispersed. After being cramped for a whole flood in one boat I suppose they wanted a bit of space. I know how they feel.
The streets of Noia were absolutely packed with people doing their last minute Easter shopping and wandering around with big cellophane wrapped chocolate eggs (no Cadburys eggs here). Then suddenly at 2pm the streets emptied and all the shops shut, and it became a ghost town. We still had 2 hours to kill until our next bus back, so we found a pavement café and drank beer.
Views of Noia
Despite our shop-a-thon we were still too late to buy bread, so I reached the upper echelons of domesticity and baked. I made a loaf of bread as opposed to randomly shaped rolls onboard for the first time this trip, from scratch, without the use of a bread maker. To my surprise, it turned out really nice, though I did get the quantities a little wrong. The bread was perfect with a lovely consistency, but it was more of a loafette than a manly Loaf big enough to feed three people. Still, as it was “only little” we ate the whole thing the following lunchtime.
My First Loaf
(N.B. It isn’t really burnt. I discovered that gas ovens are
really hot at the back, so you need to turn things around…)
Buoyed by the success of my loaf, and as it was Easter, I decided to make Hot Cross Buns. Unfortunately, as this was a spur of the moment decision, I didn’t really have all the ingredients required. I substituted with “suitable alternatives” which we had onboard, but things didn’t look promising when the dough failed to rise. I persevered, and put them in the oven anyway, but then forgot about them while James and I were sorting out the boat’s ropes. So we ended up with “Warm Happy Buns” as James and Mark nicknamed them. Apparently they were still really nice, but I still think that is more to do with the amount of sugar and cinnamon in the cakes than their resemblance to hot cross buns!
When the Portosin Marina office reopened on Saturday we found out how much it cost to berth Rahula there. They cheekily base their prices on length x width, so as a big fat catamaran we were totally hammered! We quickly changed our minds about spending the Easter weekend there as it would have blown our budget for the month, and decided to head across the Ria to a free anchorage in Muros.
We made it to Muros on Sunday afternoon just as big rain clouds started to come overhead. It had been gloriously sunny and warm all day, but the heat of the day had generated some huge thunderclouds. We were soon in the middle of the most almighty thunderstorm; I had never seen anything like it. The sky was purple, and lightning was striking all around us. The thunder was so close and loud we could feel the bangs. It rained hailstones the size of grapes so that we could barely see the sea surface anymore, and the noise of the hail hitting the roof of the boat was deafening. We felt very vulnerable at anchor in the middle of the bay, and ended up turning off all the electrics, just in case a bolt of lightning did decide to strike the boat… After about an hour the storm passed, and it was a lovely, balmy spring evening again.
This became a daily occurrence for the next 3 days. During one thunderstorm James got brave, and went outside to watch the lightning. Then a bolt struck the water really close by, and the thunder was so loud he jumped straight back inside, uttering all manner of expletives. It was funny seeing all his hair stand on end! (I nearly died! J)
“Rain Drops keep falling on my head…”
Muros turned out to be a very pretty little old town with arched and colonnaded streets. Well worth a visit if you are ever in the area!
Unfortunately we had become too accustomed to ignoring the rise and fall of the tide around here (I’ll be thrown out of the RIN for that one…J), because the range is normally too small to make any difference. However, on a long shoaling beach, even half a meter of tide means the water goes out a long way. This meant that when we got back to the dinghy it was much further away from the edge of the water than when we left it. There was no option but to roll up our trousers and wade in, dragging the dinghy along until the water was deep enough for the dinghy to float with three people in it. This proved to be quite a way, especially when the sand turned to squelchy mud full of creatures.
James wading… Mark wading…
Me getting a ride and keeping feet dry!
That evening, after the daily downpour, we had our first BBQ onboard. Summer had finally arrived!