42:15.63N 08:46.95W Cangas Marina

Tue 28 Jul 2015 15:08
Zoonie took us on another lovely sail under genoa passed derelict canning and whaling factories to Cangas marina where welcoming hands helped with our lines. Within no time the marina washing machine was busy with the dark coloureds while we planned our stay around a trip across the ria to Vigo on the half hourly ferry (like the Isle of Wight) a walk all around Cangas shopping big time as we were running low on essentials like uht milk etc and any other ideas that came to mind, and they did.
The marina, started by altruistic locals in 1981 who could see the needs of the people of Cangas for learning water based  skills, is located right in the middle of the harbour area and centre of town. A short paddle board away (if we had them) is the ferry dock for Vigo and the islands, with the bus station and taxi rank alongside. The main roads are forty minutes from the airport that caters for internal flights to all the main Spanish International airports; so perfect for links to the UK.
We arrived to the sound of rockets, some welcome! A man had emerged from a grey modern hatchback on a slipway by the harbour. He opened the back up and took out a big box of rockets, laying it gently on the concrete slip. (I wondered if he had managed to get car insurance) He then proceeded to take one at a time from the box, light it while holding it in his hand, then as soon as it started to whizz he let it go up with a whoosh and bang. He did this at irregular intervals 25 times over the next hour or so and at first Rob jumped every time, but his survival instinct kicked in and he listened for that whoosh so he was ready for the bang!
Within minutes of arrival we had wandered ashore and stumbled across the Patron Saint James Day procession making its very solemn way from the Cathedral Santiago de Cangas on a circuit through the town and back for a service at the Cathedral. The fine wooden carving of St James (the Moor slayer) was carried shoulder high by six stout men while the followers were dressed in pilgrims attire of brown round brimmed hats (now the Panama hat) with brown cloaks, scallop shell motif on the shoulder and assisted with wooden staffs. The faithful procession swayed from side to side as one to the beat of a drum and bagpipes. I got the impression this was an act of faith and not laid on for any commercial reason. Older folk were dressed smart and attractively for the occasion and children held the hands of their subdued parents.
The flower filled cathedral was packed for the service presided over by Saint James. We squeezed in for a moment, that was quite enough for Rob and I hoped we could come back later for a closer look at James, but the massive doors were locked.  The cathedral is located on the Rua Santiago, pilgrims’ route to Santiago de Compostela. In 2013 over 218,000 folk signed up to do the last 100 km to the most famous Christian pilgrimage destination in the world and receive their compostela, and the numbers are growing. A devout form of keep fit. All based on an apparent apparition......
James was son of Zebedee and Salome and brother of John. He was one of the first disciples to join Jesus and was present when Jesus ‘walked on water’. James taught about Christ in the Holy Land and in this Iberian part of Spain, he may even have ventured as far as the UK as did his brother. However it was at the battle of Clavijo here in Spain that James is thought to have appeared and helped the Christians slay the Muslim Moors. From then on he became the patron saint of Spain and many other catholic parts of the world. So much for preaching love and human understanding. End of lesson! James was beheaded by Herod in 44AD (some think his fiery temper got him into trouble) and his body was brought ashore at Padron just north of here and taken to rest at Santiago de Compostela. A nineteenth century papal Bull (Pope’s word) declared the remains to be those of James. DNA analysis... hmmmm, but just maybe.
That evening we went for a wander along the shore line beside where we came in. The Masso name was a big family business started by two brothers. We walked past the now derelict factories. First was the massive iconic Masso canning factory which stands out for the attempts to preserve it as part of history. It now has white metal screens protecting its outside walls, a high wire sectioned fence prevents the spraying of graffiti and a fine new promenade continues on past it despite much of its roof having collapsed. The wide slipway is a haunting reminder of the final destination of the intact giants before they were hacked, processed and rendered down into oil. Every part of them was used, first the blubber for oil, then the flesh for food, the skeleton for umbrellas and corsets and other parts for medicines and perfume fixatives. The whale factory closed in the 1980’s after the International Whaling Commission was successful in getting 23 out of 30 of the world’s countries to ban the practice. Even the harsher, as we see them ‘cruel’, aspects of history should be preserved for posterity, for the teaching of new generations. At the time they were fishing the seas, whether for sardines, cockles or whales, to make a living, unlike today’s whaling for fortune, in the full knowledge of the detrimental effect on the species.
In Vigo next day we learned there is a Masso Museum in Bueu, back across in the Ria Pontevedra, so that will be another excursion by bus.