Catching Up

Zipadedoda of Dart
David H Kerr
Sun 6 Aug 2006 18:04

Puebla del Caraminal Marina


It’s been six days since we last updated the blog, and quite a bit has happened in the intervening period.


We are currently in the above mentioned marina, in the Ria de Arosa. Our position is 42 degrees 36 mins North, 8 degrees 56 mins West.


We left Bayona, (for the third time), on 3rd August, heading for Isla Ons. We had managed to get the VHF radio working again, but sadly both the weather fax and the Navtex are still not working. It looks like the main mast head amplifier is “no more” and we will need to get a new one fitted once back in Dartmouth. Still the good news is that we are able to get detailed weather via the Mailasail server, from both the French and Met office services.   


The weather for the last week, has to say the least, been difficult. One minute there is no wind, then literally from know where, we suddenly find we have force 6 to 7 NE winds. This makes a lot of anchorages untenable.  As was the case on the 3rd August when  we got to Islas Ons. The only anchorage there is open to the NE and the winds were gusting 35 knots. Anchoring or picking up any of the restaurant buoys was out of the question. So we diverted to Sangenjo in the Ria de Ponteveidra. Sangenjo is anther Vilamoura. There was once a tiny fishing village, with some lovely granite buildings, a few of which still survive. But the predominant architecture is that of the 1960’s. All packed in as tight as possible. There is one main beach. I have never seen so many people packed in so, tightly, on a beach. You could hardly see the sand!  There were just thousands of holiday makers. They are served by hundreds of restaurants, bars and discos (more of which later).


Sangenjo marina (Nautico) was completed relatively recently, and it is well designed with all the facilities you would expect, catering for Super Yachts of 160 feet or more down to little fishing boats. The exception was its security, which was pitiful. Given we were charged Euro 52 per night, (the most expensive so far)  we were surprised that this was so lax,  especially as this part of Galicia has a serious drugs problem. The other interesting fact as that none of the marina office staff spoke a word of English (except when it came to asking for cash), although the chief “Marinelo”, did have enough English to get across what he wanted to do to help, and he was very charming with it.


Whist we were there, two of the sail training ships that have been in the Tall Ships Race, followers fleet came in. Each one had what seemed like dozens of young people on them, aged 14 to early 20’s. The first ship to come in had been at sea for 3 days for the Cascais to Sangenjo leg, and before that some 5 days on the Cadiz to Cascais leg. They told us of horrific seas off Cabo san Vicente. 5 metre waves and a force 9. All made our experience seem tame! The second one to come in had been at sea for 9 days. Watching the crew heading for the showers was like watching Linford Christie in urgent need of a visit to the loo!!! The weather has been so bad that the Tal Ships themselves have sustained quite a bit of damage (torn sails and the like) and are now spread all over the Atlantic, trying to get into La Coruna for the 7th August.


On Friday night we decided to eat on the boat as the local restaurants do not start serving food until after 10pm. So after a nice meal, bottle of wine and a game of Pass the Pigs, we headed for bed.


We were awoken at around 0400 by about 20 youngsters from the training ships plus some local Spanish admirers, having an impromptu pontoon party, adjacent to our boat. After 20 minutes of this, I had an exchange of pleasantries with them and they moved on. It was then we heard the discos! They simply got louder and louder and did not stop until after 0600 in the morning.  So we thought it time to move on.


Off we headed for Ria de Arosa. As we dropped our mooring lines there was not a breath of wind. Crystal clear skies and despite the sleep depravation, all was well with the world. The forecast was for another force 7 NE wind, with Force 8 later in the day. Within 10 minutes of leaving the marina we had F7 on the nose, and it stayed that way for several hours. So we motored around the Ria, taking in the sights. There are countless floating rafts here that are called “Viveros”. These are used to cultivate Mussels. So a sharp lookout needs to be kept at all times. It was too rough or windy to contemplate any of the anchorages we had considered in the Ria, so we headed for a marina in the North East corner, called Villagarcia. When we got there it was full.  This was starting to feel like the Solent!! So we reluctantly headed for the current marina. The pilot book was not at all kind about this marina. So we were delighted to find that when we got here, it was a brand new facility. Completely contrary to what the pilot books suggested. There was a “Marinelo” on hand to guide us in and take our lines, into a finger pontoon. The finger pontoon is around 10 metres long and stable. Wow! The beach adjacent to the marina is sparsely covered with holiday makers, the town is lovely traditional Spanish architecture and there does not appear to be any building over 4 stores high.


The only down side we have seen is that the marina is still “work in progress”, and finding anyone to speak English has so far drawn a blank.


The other feature of the last week has been the forest fires. Apparently there are in excess of 30 fires raging around the Rias at this time. Last night we had one on the hills directly up wind from here, and the whole area was covered in an acrid smoke. This was stinging to the eyes, and today I had to hose off the ash from the boat. As with the Mediterranean, they have helicopters and float planes that land on the water, scoop up masses of it and then fly over the fire to drop their cargo, in the hope of putting out the flames. As a write this, the whole area is blanketed in what looks like a bad fog. But the wind is positively hot……………and full of sooty ash.


Last evening a Vancouver 38 pilot Salon came in and we helped them moor up. The Skipper is a Spaniard, with an English wife and they live in Reading. They have a friend on board who is a sail training instructor. So we had them round for pre-dinner drinks. Most enjoyable, and Jennie did a little bartering with Sue and we are about to have  (a very late) lunch of  fresh Mussels cooked in white wine. This is a worrying trend as we now seem to be going native and eating later and later.


The weather forecasts for going around Cape Finisterre are nothing short of dreadful. So we will probably pick a quite moment tomorrow, to cast off, and head up North to the next Ria.  This is called Ria de Muros. There is a (apparently) good marina in Portosin.


Hopefully the weather will become kinder over the next few days. If not we will have to consider leaving the boat here and flying home.



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