Camariñas 43.07:6N 09.10:9W
The night before leaving A Coruña (Monday 8th August) we discovered that Texas (the band) were playing in the square, not 300m from the marina where we were. Having had a soft spot for Texas in the 1990’s I dragged the mate over to watch them. Not as though this was difficult as the mate loves festival type things. Also, being in Spain, this concert was free – and – with a very well mannered, well behaved crowd to boot.
It was a very nice evening, the only downside being a late night – meaning grogginess all around for our early morning departure from A Coruña. Neither I nor the mate are that good at early starts but with 50NM to go we had to get on with it.
Our passage was to take us along the Costa de Morte towards Camariñas. The forecast showed a 1.5m swell with around 15 knots of wind from the NE building to 25 knots during the afternoon. What actually happened was no wind to speak of in the morning and a swell of 3 to 4m with a short period. Stargazer took the waves well, but we were clipped on in the cockpit and had to hang on tightly, most of the time. By mid-morning, it was clear that the mainsail we had raised in A Coruña had to come down as I guessed the swell would be worse as we past Islas Sisargas. The mate, having had a new form of anti-seasickness pill seemed OK (the mate does the hauling down at the mast). So, I turned into what wind there was and hence the swell to drop the mainsail. Well done to the mate, for standing at the mast in swells of up to 4m and getting the main down in a tidy manner. It should be easier than it is, but Stargazer’s sails are new and being new, they are still quite stiff – making harder work of the process.
That all done, with the mate safely back in the cockpit, we continued on under reefed genoa. As we thought, rounding Islas Sisargas the seas took on a larger swell – consistently 4m and up to 5m at times. The height of the swell is not terribly important IF the period between them is a long one. Sadly, these weren’t and 4 to 5m seas with a period of 6 seconds mean this was a rough sea by anyone’s standards. Everyone we’ve met who rounded the Costa de Morte said the same – it’s rough! Luckily, Stargazer is one of the original Firsts, designed by Frers and Berret (both are world class designers - the former took over Nautor Swan design from Sparkman and Stevens following his association with Firsts) so she took the seas admirably.
Thankfully, about 5NM from Camariñas the swell reduced to a manageable 2 to 3m and we rounded Cabo Villano into the ria. And, what a wonderful looking ria - green and lush with quiet, sandy beaches. Camariñas itself is a small fishing village, with a little Spanish tourism. We quite like the change from the hustle and bustle of A Coruña. We’ve only been here a day and may head off in another couple of days or so, but it’s nice to relax in the relative peace of the village marina. The mate has even had time to get our summer clothes out of storage (under a bunk – tricky access, to say the least) but still, it’s only August and it is Spain so we do need them.
We’re moored alongside an Irish singlehanded sailor. He invited us onboard last night; the mate, who drinks gin, was almost force fed some Irish stuff (by our host Alan, not me I hasten to add). Still she must be used to gin by now as she appears to be her ‘normal’ self this morning.
I’ll let the mate tell you about Camariñas…
After having fun lining up churches against the backdrop of other buildings in the late afternoon sun (not easy!) to find our leading lines into the ria, it opened up to reveal lush, pine clad shores topped with wind turbines (a giveaway that that the coast of Galicia is a windy place) and the small towns of Camariñas on the northern side and Muxia on the southern side. Spanish marinas are very welcoming with a helpful marinero to assist you into your berth – this is particularly useful as you are given no indication of your berth until frantic waving at the last minute which certainly keeps us both on our toes.
The marina is small with a rustic charm and only a few minutes’ walk around the harbour to the town, where the waterfront is lined with cafes and bars (with people seemingly on the beers from mid-morning). As with most Spanish marinas we have stayed in, it is right next to the port – in this case a very active fishing port. Thankfully the hake trawlers keep relatively civilised timings – out at about 2000 and returning about 0900. The crying of gulls, a very fishy aroma and Stargazer being bounced around indicate their return! There is obviously a pecking order to landing their catch and it is amazing to watch the boats dance around at close quarters to take up their position in the landing queue.
The ria also has its fair share of beautiful sandy beaches. We went for a walk around the headland to the west of town, through tall pines, and stumbled upon a lovely beach. It is only about 30mins away on a less meandering path so I had better finish this, pack my bikini and get ready to head back for a relaxing afternoon.
As the UK is enjoying another heatwave, the weather here seems to be unsettled so we are keeping an eye on the GRIB files to see when we might be able to head south to Muros. We are also keeping an eye on pesky orca reports too. Having spent all my working life delighting in seeing marine mammals, I spent all of the journey from Coruña to Camariñas not wanting to see anything! The day we travelled here this stretch of coast turned red on the orca warning traffic light system (I’m glad I didn’t know this until we arrived). It looks like they are heading north so once we get to Muros we should be in the green light area – fingers crossed. Obviously not all individuals in this subpopulation of orcas have a penchant for nibbling rudders, but I’d rather not take my chances.
The beach is calling so I’ll sign off for now.