The Rias of Northern Spain

August 18, 2009

We spent four days in Coruṅa mainly because we needed to get hold of a new anchor winch.  The old one needed a new motor and Duncan decided that even if we managed to buy one, the winch itself was not really man enough for the job and could let us down at some point – not a happy thought.  Accordingly on Monday, he and I tramped across town to a chandler’s that we’d been told of.  They were most helpful and although they didn’t have exactly what we required they were happy to phone round their suppliers until they found the correct specification.  We were offered a cash price and as anchor winches don’t come cheap, we agreed and then had an entertaining time drawing sufficient funds from ATMs around town in order to pay for it the following evening.  (I was contacted by the fraud department of my bank very worried about the unusual activity on my account!)  On Tuesday evening the chandlery contacted the marina with a message that the winch had arrived and was ready for collection so we stumped back across town to collect it and Duncan and David spent a happy evening installing it.


Widow Twanky's Washing

Widow Twanky's Washing

Whilst waiting in La Coruṅa, an enormous wash-a-thon was conducted and on Sunday morning our boat definitely won the prize for being the most impressively decked out with washing – see photo!  The volume of washing was even larger than expected for four people spending five days at sea, because Duncan’s clothes locker was found to have been leaking so his entire underwear & sock supply had to be washed.  In fact we sort of knew about this before leaving Falmouth & Polly had kindly washed all his T-shirts whilst we were there, but we’d stupidly not really addressed the problem.  This time however, much time was spent identifying where water was getting in to various parts of the boat and trying to resolve these issues.  In addition, various other repairs were done, emails sent and general admin sorted before we set off on the next part of our journey. 


David - a very brave man to sail with such utter nutters

David - a very brave man to sail with such utter nutters

David walked miles all round the city and up to the Torre de Hercules but failed to find a tobacconist to sell his particular brand of cigars.  Duncan and I tracked down a supermarket and even better, a produce market where we had a happy morning buying meat, fruit and veg.  Neither of us speaks any Spanish worth mentioning but we had a lot of laughs with the stall holders trying to make ourselves understood.  My impression of a pig snorting caused particular hilarity but did at least confirm to us that the interesting-looking chopped, marinated meat was indeed pork as we hoped.


Jeremy was due to leave us at Coruṅa and spent a good deal of time trawling the net looking for possibly ways back to UK.  In the end he bought himself a week’s bus travel and set off on Wednesday morning to explore this part of Northern Spain before he flies home from Bilbao next week.  Duncan, David and I bid farewell to the sights of La Coruṅa and all the amenities of its very smart new marina and set off west around the coast.


Our original intention was to go all the way to Cape Finisterre on Wednesday evening but by 4.30pm the wind was dying so, rather than use a lot of fuel carrying on by motor and probably arrive after some time after dark, we decided to head for the nearest safe anchorage listed in Reeds almanac which was the Ria de Corme y Lage.  The village of Corme where we anchored was not particularly inspiring although the countryside around was lovely, so we cooked supper on board and contented ourselves with admiring the view from the boat.  Next day we carried on round the “shoulder” of Spain to Cape Finisterre – the western-most tip of Spain and supposedly the furthest point of the ancient world.  (Did they not know about the British Isles for heavens sake??)  There were lots of little boats moored in the harbour at Finisterre but we found somewhere to drop anchor, put the dingy into the water and set off to explore the little town.  Once again the town itself was largely modern and unremarkable but we sat and enjoyed a beer looking out over the harbour and enjoying the wonderful warmth.  The restaurant we selected promised paella as an option on the Menu de Dias but sadly, when we tried to order, the paella was off so we were forced to make do with spicy meats instead.  Nevertheless it was a pleasant evening and on Friday morning we sallied forth in the dinghy again to visit the little supermarket where we were able to restock the fridge before carrying on again. 


As I write this on Friday, we progress south along the coast.  There is not a breath of wind and the sea is as smooth as the proverbial silk.  It seems a shame to have to motor so we will not try to go far today but will explore another of the Rias or inlets along this part of the Spanish coast…


…We spent Friday night at Ensenada de San Francisco in the Ria de Muros.  Once again the scenery was lovely and the temperature hotter than ever.  We only motored for about three hours so we dropped anchor in early afternoon.  David tried to fish without success and Duncan started work on the bimini as it was obvious that we were likely to need this now.  Later they both went for a siesta & I continued to tidy up loose threads etc on the bimini.  It is no work of art but that evening we were able to sit & eat supper beneath it.  It does not offer a vast amount of shade but is better than nothing and, as previously mentioned, can act as a prototype for us to refine & improve upon.


After our evening meal, we took the dingy ashore & walked along the headland to a lighthouse I’d noted as we came into the Ria.  It was a lovely walk.  The heat had gone out of the day but it was still pleasantly warm; it was very still and peaceful with just the sounds of cicadas and distant noises from a beach by the town.  There were beautiful views across the Ria with the lights from little towns and villages across the water starting to come on and the hills behind fading into the mist.  As we reached the lighthouse the sun had just gone down but the sky to the west was lots of shades of pink. 


By the time we returned to the little beach where we’d left the tender, the stars were coming out and the bats were starting to flit in the trees.  We sat and enjoyed a nightcap and watched the lights along the shore.


We set off on Saturday to get to the next Ria: Ria de Arosa.  For about three or four hours we were in fairly dense sea fog and reliant on the radar and electronic instruments to help us find our way. 


To be continued when we’re not sitting in a bar without the Ship’s Log to remind us of just where we’ve been for the past few days…  Go figure, it’s great not being at work anymore!!!!!!


One comment

  1. Hi utter nutters, yes, I’m a month behind but it’s still very enjoyable – what’s a bimini and how to you pronounce it? Bi-mini as in two minis, bimini like bikini or bimini like Rimini and other variations? Any chance of any more maps like to one you had from Falmouth to La Coruna? I find that interesting? Lizzie xx

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