A Coruña 43:22.08N 08:23.7W

Andy & Jo
Mon 1 Aug 2022 16:31

A Coruña 

First of all, congratulations to Thomas and Susanne on their wedding day yesterday. I’ve known Thomas all his life and sadly had to miss the occasion, but I know it was a great day. Very best wishes to them both. 

Now, where are we? Ah, A Coruña! The story begins some 10 days ago, the forecast in Viveiro was wind force 3/4, swell 1m, visibility OK and improving to full sun in the afternoon. Leaving Viveiro early we were greeted by fog, blustery winds on the nose (where else?) and upon leaving the Ria swell of around 3 to 4m. I looked over at the mate and she looked over at me. Our looks said it all, we could hang on, but going below was out of the question and doing anything on deck was just not possible. We decided to press on as, giving the forecast the benefit of the doubt, we assumed the day would get better rather than worse; also, we could shorten our trip to A Coruña (some 60 nm to the west) at Cedeira and move on the following day. In the end, the huge swells were caused by outreaching shoals off some of the Cabos. For anyone interested in navigation let it be known that using vector charts on chart plotters for such matters is a rather difficult thing to do. By the time, you’ve zoomed in to see the detail, the entire picture of where you are is lost. Although I knew that, I am ashamed to say that my paper charts just simply weren’t large scale enough. So I stand guilty of subjecting the mate to a three hour ordeal in pretty big swell. That said, it did cut some distance off our passage and by mid-afternoon we were storming along, under reefed genoa only, into A Coruña. 

We based ourselves (we’re still here) at the Marina Real which has easy access to the old town and the supermarket. The latter being very important as there is nothing worse than a hungry mate. 

The old town of A Coruña is very nice. The buildings are in Galleria style, typical of Galicia and some of the buildings are very grand indeed. Sadly, some of the surrounding areas – geared up for visiting cruise ships and visiting sailors (like us) - have lost out to Covid and there is a little sadness about some of the buildings. That said, everything looks good in the sunshine and after a couple of hit and miss days here and there, A Coruña has shown us that in spades – marvellous! 

So, what have we been doing having been here for nearly 10 days? Well the mate hasn’t been shopping yet (note – despite having marked El Corte Ingles on the tourist map on day two!), nor has she been out to eat yet in the evenings. No, she’s been helping me up on the foredeck with a job we just didn’t quite finish in Falmouth (as the job needs dry weather). We’ve been dealing with a small amount of delamination repair and subsequent gelcoating. A glamorous job, it is not! But, we’ve finished it now and a superb job we’ve made of it, even if we say so ourselves. Throughout the time, the mate actually found a fiesta to go to. In fact, we had to go on two consecutive nights – but it was quite interesting and pretty nice to be out with seemingly all of A Coruña lining the streets. It also gave the mate an opportunity to locate her favourite ice cream shop, something which should normally be done on day one as a matter of some urgency… 

We were also visited by the immigration police and told to report to the police station the following day. Luckily this was just for formalities, although language difficulties did have us wondering for a while! 

Our dilemma now is working out when to head off towards Camariñas, 50 miles westward. There are a couple of tricky issues here, not just that the Spanish call this Costa del Morte (Coast of Death), but that the Azores high and the Spanish low combine to bring some very strong winds, and hence swell, to the area. If that wasn’t enough, then there are reports of Orcas (killer whales) ‘interacting’ with yachts and biting their rudders off (don’t believe me? Google it). So we’ll spend another day or two working out when to leave (which may be short notice), but not before the mate goes shopping!! 

The mate is pleased that we also have another fiesta to go to! Maria Pita is the heroine of A Coruña as she saved the city from the dastardly pirate Francis Drake. The Fiesta de Maria Pita starts today (with a free concert by James Blunt in the main square just behind the marina – I can hear him sound checking now!) and runs all month (she obviously did a good enough job to warrant a whole month of celebrations). 

Skip has omitted to mention that Coruña is on the cruise ship circuit, and Marina Real is right next to the cruise ship berth! We only realised this when waking up after a rather bouncy night to draw the curtains and see this.  

Even more surprising was that my cousin and his wife we on the ship (sorry we missed you Andy and Julie)! After two nights of cruise ship visits we have been spared for a few days (apart from a Danish square-rigged training ship though this only seemed to carry a few crew rather than the thousands of cruise ship passengers) thought the port schedule suggests we’ll likely be woken up again in the early hours of tomorrow… 

The sightseeing we’ve managed to fit in, includes walks to the Tower of Hercules (the world’s oldest working lighthouse) and the compass rose of Celtic nations. Kernow has a section on this compass, amazingly, it wasn’t raining on that bit (at the time we were there). 

So, the next stage of our plan is to get ourselves ready to move on around the Costa del Morte towards Camariñas. 

We’ll ‘see’ you there…