42:33.75N 08:59.26W Portosin to Sta Uxia de Reveira in Ria de Arousa

Sun 12 Jul 2015 10:27
That night we lay awake listening to the wind as it started at the head of the ria, gaining momentum as it sped towards us and hurled itself around the corner up river from us sending bumpy waves into the marina. Zoonie pitched up and down pulling taut on her bowlines and slapping her stern like a the fluke of a whale. Sleep was not to be had. So, like the friendly Dutch couple who also had a restless night, we left this fine marina with its beautiful clubhouse and welcoming staff and set off under genoa alone SW towards Ria de Arousa.
Offshore the wind dropped away lacking the steep Ria sides to funnel it so on went the engine once more and we dropped anchor in 7 metres off the fine beach near Riveira Harbour. Many folk on the beach were enjoying the hot sunny evening and we pledged to do the same the next day after a good nights sleep.
10th July
Which lasted till 5.00am when the wind picked up and found us ghostlike in our white towelling robes hanging over the anchor chain wondering if we were dragging. What started off as a grey day just picked up from then on. We motored the tender down the little safety route between red and green buoys (to keep us separate from swimmers)to the beach where a charming young spanish lifeguard (see what I mean) helped lift the dinghy above the high water line and promised to look after it while we were away, using that international language of mental understanding.
Riveira is home to deep sea fishing trawlers as well as the boats I have described in other blogs. The fish quay area was very busy with white refrigerated articulated lorries waiting to loaded, and the grand style and pleasing design of the town architecture suggested a lucrative heritage from the sea. The pedestrian precinct parallel to the main harbour road was full of classy shops, swimwear emporiums and a municipal market selling mostly locally caught fish and meat. We bought two sea bream, (dorada), 6 sardines, (sardinas) and 2 handfulls of goose barnacles or percebes in spanish. These latter are exported all over the world from here and are a delicacy costing up to 70 Euros a kilo. In the UK we sweep them back into the water after they have been high pressure hosed off the hulls of yachts!
Tapas is to be recommended here. Strips of local cheese, delicious olives, crisp biscuits with thinly sliced sausage and hams with each round. After two beers we’d had lunch too. Another charming young spaniard sorted out our wifi at his bar and we caught up on home news.
We lounged on the empty beach in the afternoon, most people coming down later when the sun has started to descend. A refreshing swim followed by a walk and then back to the boat for a challenging supper. The lady at the fish counter inferred the goose barnacles needed to be popped into boiling water for just a few seconds. we could then open them in different ways. I tried prizing open the beak so the pale orange cheeks and feeding filaments could be eaten with the tubelike body. Rob separated head from body and just ate the tubes. They were tender, delicate and slightly salty and we enjoyed them, but we are not connoisseurs so any further description would be pompous. We grilled the sardines on our cast iron griddle and they were yummy. After all the culinary exploits the sink needed a little help in draining in the evening. As I delved into the floor cupboard for the friendly plunger Rob said “I like to see my woman on her knees”. He then saw an alternative use for a sink plunger.
That night there was virtually no wind. Zoonie barely moved. We were in for a peaceful night at last. Or so we thought. I was awoken just before 4.00am to the sound of a powerful diesel engine thumping very close by filling our cabin with light and the sound of voices. My first thought as I went to stand on our berth and pop my head out of the hatch above was “That’s a bit close for fishing matey”. The sight of the dark hulled police boat with its two swanky angled white dashes near the bow just a few feet away was not at all threatening as the three men were aiming spotlights at Zoonie’s stern trying to make out her name. “Zoo, Zoo?” “Zoonie,” I called smiling, “She’s called Zoonie and we’re English,” “Ah si, Ports?” “She’s registered in Portsmouth”. Fortunately that was all that was needed, they accepted we were not people or drug smuggling and moved gently away towards the other anchored yacht.