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The Next Bit of the Rias of Northern Spain

August 19, 2009

The trip to Santa Uxia de Riberia on the Ria Arosa was entertaining, as we left under motor in no wind but soon caught a breeze as we head south towards our next stop.  The wind brought with it the fog for which this coast is notorious and visibility dropped in seconds from a couple of miles to no more than 150 metres or so.  It was at this point that you suddenly become reliant on your electronics; the chart plotter shows you where you are and the radar tells about other vessels in the area.

The Skipper & wife relaxing heavily!

The Skipper & wife relaxing heavily!

 

Chart of Muros to Ria Arosa

Chart of Muros to Ria Arosa

 

It was just as well that everything was working as planned, as the fog was such that you really couldn’t see anything beyond the immediate vicinity of the boat.  The route we were on was one to avoid a series of islands and reef round the mouths of the Rias and if we hadn’t got the satnav system we would have had to head out to sea until the fog cleared; dead reckoning would have seen us sitting on the rocks.  As it was, we were fixated on the lcd screens showing the radar echoes and our progress on the chart until the fog cleared as we completed our transit round the last of the reefs.

 

Our chosen anchorage in the Ria Arosa was at Santa Uxia de Ribeira, a busy little town tucked in on the eastern side of a small peninsula jutting out from the north of the Ria.  As we approached, there was a mass of yachts sailing down towards the town, aiming for the turning point in a race.  We were grateful that our planned anchorage worked out, as the thought of trying to get further up the Ria in the midst of a fiercely contested race was a touch intimidating.

 

Wall to wall yachts

Wall to wall yachts

 

View from the boat at Ria Arosa

View from the boat at Ria Arosa

The anchorage was not the best one; it was pleasant enough, looking out over a small village and well protected from the weather.  However, it seemed to be a fairway to and from the nearby town for all and sundry.  Boats large and small continued to pass us until darkness and started again in the early morning.  At least it was free!

 

David discovring that there were no fish at Ria Arosa

David discovring that there were no fish at Ria Arosa

We took our time the following morning getting things in shape before we moved off, once again on the motor as, guess what?  No wind!  We were heading for the town of Bueu (no I don’t know how to pronounce it either) on the Ria de Vigo.  It was only 20 off miles away but we don’t much like using the motor, so a short trip was better than a long one with no wind.  We did get a little wind round about midday and entered the Ria de Vigo and came across the most crowded waters we’d encountered since leaving the Solent in April.  David, who has managed to avoid the south coast of England, had never seen so many sailing boats in one place before.  We made the majority of the crossing of the Ria on the starboard tack (wind coming over the right hand side of the boat).  Those of you familiar with the rules for the prevention of collision at sea will know that this means that other boats on the port tack have to give way to you.  You then engage in a game of chicken with the other yachts in your vicinity, hoping that the other skipper knows he has to alter course whilst keeping an eye out for those who either don’t know the rules or who don’t want to play by them.  Great fun, like playing dodgems with 7 – 8 tonnes boats!

 

Chart of Ria de Arosa to Bueu

Chart of Ria de Arosa to Bueu

We anchored off Bueu (still can’t pronounce it) in the early afternoon and went ashore to stretch our legs.  We had run out of food on board, so we had decided to have supper ashore.  As it was early, we had a couple of beers in one bar before moving on to have a fish paella in another little place.  We then walked on through town to a little bar on the outskirts where David and I drank brandy whilst Julia had a glass of wine.  The walk back to town sobered us up a little before we took the tender back out to the boat.

 

The following morning, as did a big shop in the town before setting off on our last trip to a Ria.  We were aiming for the most southerly of the Rias before Portugal; the town of Bayona.  Again, this was a short trip but we managed to make most of it under sail, as we didn’t set off until midday, when the seas breeze starts up in this part of the world.

 

Chart of Bueu to Bayona

Chart of Bueu to Bayona

Again, the water was fairly crowded with yachts and the rules of the road were being fairly well strained at times.  We had a good run down into Bayona.  The entrance to the Ria is easy enough but can only be done through a channel right down on the southern side of the bay: there’s a series of islands and reef across the rest of the entrance which precludes  its use by a boat drawing much over 50cm.  We rounded the promontory with a castle on it and were into the outer harbour, where we dropped anchor in the company of a lot of German boats, all being very correct and flying anchor balls.  We decided that we wouldn’t let the side down and dug out our anchor ball from the locker, figured out how to put it together and hoisted it up the mast!  We even lit the anchor light that night, again for the first time since setting out down the Rias. 

 

Bayona Castle

Bayona Castle

The anchorage was very picturesque, surrounded by hills running down into the sea.  The reefs in the mouth of the Ria made for calm seas but this was offset by the large number of boats, large and small which spent much of the night going back and forth round the anchorage.  We didn’t bother going ashore, as we had an early start planned for the next morning.

 

Bayona Sunset

Bayona Sunset

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2 comments

  1. That guy you have on board named david cos would not know one end of a fishing rod from another . So don’t epend on him for your dinner! Say Hi from me will you. Hope you have good sailing for the final leg of you’re trip. P S You’re blog is brilliant.

    Regards, D McC


  2. Sounds fantastic. Glad all is goin so well for you: you sound very relaxed.
    Here in NE USA/Canada we are running the wrath of Hurricane Bill (no, not Clinton) and the weather is very interesting. Central Park lost dozens of trees overnight on 18th, and Lake Ontario is pretty choppy. Plenty of thunderstorms. Luckily, no need for winch or anchor during girly road trip – due to leave for home (if we can take off) on 25th.
    David has by now surely realised what he has taken on – good luck with them, David, we all wish you well!



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