Sunday, July 31, 2016

A Coruna (Visit to Santiago de Compostella) then onto Ria Camarinas

We spent 3 nights in A Coruna and despite the swell we had a great time there. It is one of those places where sailors of the world congregate and we met some great people and exchanged ideas for the next few months. From the cockpit we could see French, Dutch, English, American, Canadian, Swedish, Ukrainian, Japanese, and Norwegian flagged yachts.

The marina is right in the heart of the city which is beautiful, there is a plaza of buildings with the Galician small windowed buildings and then behind that the shopping district sprawls in one direction and the old town and university area in the other. On the headland of the peninsular, upon which A Coruna sits is a lighthouse. The lighthouse, named the Tower of Hercules dating back to the 1st century AD, and it is the only preserved Roman lighthouse that is still in use - just think of people sailing the same route as us in Roman times!!

Tower of Hercules
We hopped on the train to Santiago de Compostela on Friday morning with Lee & Andrew from s/v Katherine. It was about 10 euros return and only took half an hour so we decided that would be easier than hiring a car. The city was packed as we were only a few days after Saint James' Day when many pilgrims aim to be in the town to honour the apostle whose remains are supposed to be buried under the cathedral. It was quite a tourist wakeup call for us as we have been a bit off the tourist trail so far on this trip, however the town is truly beautiful and we had a great day wandering the small streets before settling into a long lunch of langoustines and percebes (goose barnacles - which are a delicacy in this part of Galicia - they taste much better than they look) . As my photos are not that great but here's a link to some of Lee's:
Beautiful Santiago de Compostella
Langoustines - good up sell but yummy!
Lunch in Santiago


Crowds in Santiago de Compostella
Saturday we got a few boat jobs done, had a BBQ on SV Katherine, which was very Aussie when a British sailor popped by with a didgeridoo to see if any of us could play it - the answer was no but Andrew had a go.

Andrew, of SV Katherine attempting to play

View from Sv Katherine in A Coruna

Sunday morning we got up early, refuelled and set sail south about 40 miles to Camarinas. We motor sailed out past the tower of hercules hoping for a sail but instead got a glass off so we polished the deck before the wind came in a little. We poled out the jib and had a gentle sail for a couple of hours before entering the Ria and anchoring way out in the middle looking for a bit of peace and quiet after 3 days in the marina - but of course a huge catamaran comes along and anchors right next to us obstructing our view - ho hum.....

Sailing into the Ria

Our open space in Ria Camarinas

Camarinas - beautiful morning!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Ensanda Ares & Pountedume to A Coruna

It was a gorgeous morning, so we quickly decided that there was no hurry to rush into the marina and agreed to stay that night in this fabulous spot. We had read that there was a nice medieval village just up the Ria so dropped the dinghy in and went to explore – we totally love having such a great rib and 20 horses and we whizzed across the bay and up the Ria to Pountedume in 10 minutes. We tied up on a slip way right in the centre of town and headed to find the castle we had seen on the way in. what a fabulous little spot – we loved the old guys sitting out on the wharf who tried to tell us the water would go away – bless them! We found a great spot for the a fab lunch yet of pulpo, homemade croquettas, and pork with a bottle of Albarino for Euro 26

We headed back to Askari before the water left the tender high and dry, we popped in to the beautiful little town of Reddes on the way back – it really looked strangely like an Cornish Village in the sunshine. Then we had a very relaxing afternoon reading in the sun, sat on our bean bags in a beautiful setting…. Yes this was a great spot!

We had made plans to meet up with Lee & Andrew in A Coruna and go to Santiago de Compostella on Friday so on Thursday morning when the day started out grey we thought we’d head into the Marina – just 8 miles away.

We had heard that both marinas in Coruna were subject to swell but we had not ever seen anything like this when we arrived – the fleet of fishing boats and all manner of other boats charge through the place at top speed creating a total washing machine. We looked at Marina Coruna and thought no and then approached Real Club Nautico to be met by the Marinero who showed us to a berth where both yachts on either side and the pontoon were moving at least a foot up and down. I have no idea how Andrew managed to stay calm and reverse Askari in. She is quite a lot heavier than the other boats so didn’t move as much – but even so we really were not very happy. However, it does ease off over night and is in a great spot so we decided to stay (Andrew reluctantly – he moaned most of the day I had dragged him from his perfect calm anchorage to this…..).

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Vivierio to Ensanda Ares

After a rough night of swell and vomiting aboard Askari, we upped Anchor and headed back into the Atlantic – oh joy! We knew it was going to be a windy day and after so much motor sailing we were up for a sail, however by the time we got to the entrance of the Ria it was blowing 20 plus knots and the visability was pretty average, the wind was on the front quarter but Askari was sailing well with a full main and reefed jib, despite the big seas. We had a couple of islands to pass and then could turn downwind. It was now about 25 knots so we furled the main and sailed for a while with just the jib before deciding it was time to pole out; the first time we have done this in rough seas. We are now a bit more practised and it went to plan, so we soon pulled right away from another yacht sailing under jib alone. It was pretty dramatic sailing in big Atlantic seas along the shear cliffs that eventually emerged from the fog. The wind picked up and for about an hour Askari was sailing at over 10knots in 30 plus knots – omg we still had full sails up and she just sat there.

The trip ended up being so fast towards the end that while trying to reduce sail we nearly missed the entrance to the Ria. It was still blowing about 25 knots so we decided to head into the Ria rather than try and negotiate a marina berth at A Coruna. Andrew had studied the chart and the swell and chosen a spot at Ensanada Ares but we had no idea if the swell would be making it in that far….. We sailed in under just the main and the sea calmed and eventually the swell dropped away and we were just getting wind bullets from over the hills. Then we found the spot Andrew had picked out, expecting to turn the corner and find it filled with boats we were delighted to find the most gorgeous wide sandy beach. Upon closer inspection gently sloping anchorage and only 3 other boats moored way out of the bay. The anchor set immeditly and we were in – relief! It was what we have now started calling a ‘spirited’ trip and Askari was excellent, we do however have to work out a better system for furling the jib in strong winds as it took too long and we were not happy with that.  We ended up having a perfect night at anchor and woke to a calm bay and sunshine.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Ribadeo to Viveriro

We slipped out of the marina at Ribadeo in another grey day and sailed, yes sailed, oh at least a bit…. It was a relatively short trip to Viveiro and we arrived into the Ria about 3ish, the swell had eased and the beach looked beautiful behind a small island so we decided to anchor rather than go in. We had a lovely BBQ lunch then dropped the dinghy in and checked out the inner harbour, it looked like a nice town but we decided the beach looked nicer so went for a long walk and retired back on Askari for a chilled evening. We had a pleasant night until the wind dropped and the swell returned. Then Carolyn went down sick for most of the night – it turned out luckily to be a 24 hour bug, Andrew got it the next day but it didn’t stop us sailing…..

BBQ lunch


Anchorage Viviero

Nice beach but water still so cold - Andrew did go in!!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Ribadeo & Castropol

Ribadeo turned out to be so much fun. As we approached the harbour we could hear fire crackers and no sooner had we got checked in and had a shower the procession started for Del Carmen of the Sea – boats of all shapes and size dressed in flags headed out into the Ria following a fishing boat with a statue of the Virgin Mary, this then visited every port in the river before returning and starting it’s trip around town – the noise was deafening and drums and firecrackers carried on into the early evening. We headed into town for a quite drink and then end the night around 2.30am after having been to a full on concert that was right next to the marina – everyone was dancing and drinking in the street to this amazing cheesy Spanish band. Then at 2am the stage closed and another opened for the next set - we couldn't keep up much after that, so returned to Askari to listen in the cockpit....

Procession heading under the bridge

Beautiful square in Ribadeo

Partying at 1am

Next morning, oh okay maybe it was nearer lunchtime we launched the dinghy and went to explore the Ria. Andrew had this idea we might go and anchor so we took our depth sounder and headed out, however all the spots were far too shallow and the tide was pretty strong so we stayed put. Instead we went for a walk and lunch in Castropol the gorgeous small town on the otherside of the river. Ribadeo is in Galicia and Castropol is in Asturias and the river is the boundary, we got the feeling there is some rivalry! We stopped for a drink in a small bar and met the wonderful 85 year old Racquel who was from Castropol but now lives in Costa Rica and her friends/family from Mexico and Puerto Rico who spend a few months a year at their homes in Castropol – they left in the civil war and appear to have a wonderful time when they return to this small village. There was a big argument going on in the bar, the police officer was in the middle of it – she told us they were fighting about bagpipe competitors in jest, but there was serious noise and articulations! Love this country….. We had lunch at a bar on the seafront, a fiesta was of course underway with big puppets dancing and then Racquel and her friends joined us to help us choose from the menu – just hilarious!

New friends? Castropol

Astern Bag Pipes

Fun in Castropol