Ria De Arosa (Part 2)

James & Amelia Gould
Tue 24 Apr 2007 11:54

19 - 23 April 2007:  Ria De Arosa (Part 2)


On leaving Vilagarcia, we decided to head back to Pobra do Caraminal as it looked like a nice town and we didn’t really get a chance to explore last time we were there.  The town is also famous for its restaurants, so we thought we’d go ashore to sample more Galician culinary delights.


We managed to sail most of the way off the berth, as the wind was in just the right direction to turn the boat and allow us to sail out of the marina.  Unfortunately there was also a little bit of tide stream running, and James had to use the engine to nudge the boat completely round.


We initially anchored off the beach, in the same place as before.  As the afternoon progressed clouds started to build, and it looked like it was going to rain.  The prospect of a wet dinghy ride ashore, combined with two things breaking on the boat on the same day made us both depressed, and soon we decided to blow our thriftiness and go into the marina.


We had a lovely tapas meal ashore in a nice little bar.  The town is very pretty, full of old buildings and large paved squares.  It is definitely the nicest we have visited in this Ria.  The town has a long sandy beach, where we saw the strange sight of lots of people digging for shellfish the following morning.


Shell fishing on the beach in Pobra


Having exhausted all Pobra had to offer in a night and a morning (James kept me away from the tourist office so that I didn’t find out if there was more to see!), we sailed on to our next destination, Cambados.


Cambados is a little off the beaten track for yachts because it is very shallow, but it is a good stepping off point for exploring the Toxa Islands.  On the way, we “raced” an equivalent sized monohull down the ria, beating to windward all the way.  We were really pleased to see that Rahula was pointing closer to the wind than the other boat (not a normal catamaran trait), and going a lot faster!


We anchored right in the centre of the old harbour in Cambados, surrounded by fishing boats and small dinghies.  As we came in, there was a group of kids messing around in skiffs in the harbour – they spent hours rowing around the harbour, throwing each other into the water.  It was all very idyllic and peaceful.



Rahula at anchor in Cambados                                    Kids playing on the beach



Ruins of an old tower in Cambados,                           Which James insisted on climbing…


The boat took the ground in Cambados, and James insisted on staying up to watch the boat sit on the bottom as the tide went out.  He sat there in the cockpit like an old sea dog, puffing at his hookah pipe, then got excited when he could see the anchor stuck in the mud.  He was fascinated by how it had dug in.  I failed to get excited, especially when he woke me up at 1am to tell me that we were aground!

The following day, once the boat was afloat again, we weighed anchor and gingerly motored our way through a very small gap between two islands.  The pilot book was very vague on the route to take between the islands, giving no clear headings and just saying watch out for rocks and shallow patches!  We also didn’t like the look of the anchorages suggested in the book, as they weren’t quite the isolated bays we were after, being situated near some large hotels.  So we found our own anchorage using the echo-sounder and me looking through the water with polarised sun glasses shouting “rock!” so that James could steer around them.  We made it in safely and anchored in a pretty bay south of Isla Toxa Pequena.


Then it was time for a BBQ lunch, and after a short siesta, time to get our inflatable kayak out for the first time this trip.  We decided to explore the little Toxa Island on the first day, and do the rest of the bay the following day.  It was just about low water by the time we left Rahula, and though we made it most of the way around the island on the kayak in about 30cm of water, the kayak did eventually ground and we had to get out and wade.


 James wading with kayak


Approaching Rahula in the Kayak


As if that wasn’t enough for one day, we also took the dinghy ashore to Isla Toxa Grande (in search of provisions allegedly, but really because James wanted an ice cream!).  The big Island was completely different to all the places we have been visiting.  The big Toxa Island is smart, well groomed, full of expensive cars, with a golf course, casino and a couple of expensive looking hotels.  It was also the first real tourist place we have visited on this coast, with busloads of people arriving every 5 minutes to marvel at the shell covered church.  The church was really unusual, but the area was spoilt by the endless souvenir sellers and expensive ice cream.  The pretty scallop shells used to cover the church walls were also covered in graffiti up to head height, which spoilt the effect somewhat.  Still, it was worth a visit!


Scallop shell covered church


While at anchor James put out his lobster pot again, and this time left it overnight.  The following morning we were planning over breakfast what to do with the giant prawns that were no doubt trapped in the pot.  When James retrieved the pot it was full of crabs, and pretty little fish gasping for water.  We felt sorry for the little things, so we let them all go, and had a BBQ again instead.  At least we had finally caught some fish though!


James retrieving a lobster pot full of fish


On the second day at the Toxa anchorage we went out in the kayak again, and this time headed for an island to the south of us that is a bird sanctuary.  We beached the kayak and went for a walk around the island, managing to scare all the seagulls away…  The island was full of washed up bits of mussel bed platforms, which looked eerie perched high on the rocks.  They were decaying slowly in their new resting place, with strange marine life still breeding inside their hulks.


Lesser Spotted Sea Gulls (of the shiteus hawkus genus) in the bird sanctuary


Washed up mussel bed decaying in the sun


After two days playing in this peaceful anchorage it was unfortunately time to go, and head onto the next harbour.