Sunday, 24 August 2014

Visting the Rias

10th August - 19th August

Ria Murso
On Sunday (10th  August) we were planning to depart but it continues to rain so we stay another day in the marina. Finally sorted out the freezer which was only frozen at the bottom – the water cooling for the condenser unit had an airlock and we found a way to bleed the system quite easily (and after much discussion) and now working very well. Result! Catherine also fixed the handheld VHF that had not been working so we were on a roll.

We also cleaned the boat and took 3 loads of washing to be done. Seems that Sunday is becoming our cleaning day. Definitely going to leave tomorrow.

Next day we anchored at San Fransico Bay for the evening. After the second and successful attempt at anchoring, we decided that we were too close to the shallows off the starboard side and went to another part of the bay. Third attempt at anchoring was seemingly unsuccessful but anchor suddenly held just as we were about to take it up and try again.  Very noisy night with the anchor making lots of noise.

In the morning we could not get the anchor up – stuck at 40m chain marker although the depth was only 10m. Chain obviously stuck under a rock which is why the anchor suddenly held when we anchored last night. 30 minutes later of motoring around the chain and it freed up and we were on our way. No wonder it was noisy last night, the chain was attached to the rock directly beneath the boat. On the plus side it meant that we had no drag during the night!

Set off in 15kn of wind. 30 minutes later we were in 28kn of wind with the sea building so decided to turn back. Hard decision to make but we sailed back into Portosin and went into the marina with the wind at over 30kn. Made coming alongside the pontoon tricky but marina staff helped us tie up. Pleasantly surprised at how helpful the marina staff are here compared to Muros.

Ria Arousa

On Wednesday morning, the weather forecast was good and with a good night’s sleep behind us we set off again.
The pilot book and the chart disagreed which side of the channel this market was located!
This time the wind was light and from the North so heading South was easy. On route we changed our plans from taking the safe and easy route around the off lying island to the more difficult in-shore route with some complex navigation.
Just made it a bit more interesting and slightly more nerve wrecking (even with the plotter) to find both the 250m gap to get through and ensure we went through on the correct bearing.

An early morning view of the harbour
Lovely sail up to Caraminal where we anchored first time in the harbour so felt smug.And it was very restful.

Main excitement of the next day was being boarded by customs when we got back. Four of them in a very powerful boat black boat, shaped to avoid being detected by radar, came alongside to go through our papers, passports and ask about the boat. They were all dressed in black with helmets on so looked formidable. We would like to think that they also had guns but probably not. One of them spoke a little English and with the help of the dictionary, drawing and numbers written on a pad of paper we got through it. They then went off to the other boats moored in the bay. Smuggling is a big industry in Galicia and they obviously through we did not look the smuggling kind. Not sure if I was insulted by that or just pleased they did not turn the boat upside down. Probably the latter.

On the Saturday, after spending a windy night at anchorage, it was even  windier so we decided to go to the marina at Rianxo. Arrived and moored up at the smallest pontoon yet – it was less than half the boat’s length. Still have not quite got the hang of berthing on such small pontoons – all the fenders need to go on the bow and we need more warps to actually secure the boat (and help in windy conditions). However, all worth it and despite low expectations after seeing the marina, the town itself was really interesting with small streets, interestingly alley ways and lots of nice restaurants. Spent an afternoon on the beach sitting in the shade as it was so hot just relaxing.  

We went back into the town in the evening to watch the local dancing with traditional Galician band and dancers in traditional dress. We spent two hours watching the dancing before heading off to a local restaurant with the other 300 people from the audience at about 11:30. Very enjoyable day.

Ria do Pontevedra
On the Sunday (17th) we sailed the 28 miles to Combarro in near perfect winds – 20 knots from the North and slight seas. Wind died after about 5 hours and we had to motor up the Ria to Combarro. Catherine cooked a Tortilla on route which we eat at the cockpit table with some salad as there was no wind, no waves and we were gently motoring along.

Narrow streets of Combarro
Combarro is the first real tourist town we have been to which has a very different feel. It was built on granite rock which forms many of the pavements so it is a little like rock climbing on a small scale as you wander round the old fishing town. Very old buildings line the small streets with plenty of tourist shops and restaurant back to back. Very pretty and an enjoyable stroll before sitting down in one of the more touristy restaurants (it had a good view of the sea). Octopus and razor clams for dinner. Decided that we would not have shell fish for a while – it is getting a little “samey” and every restaurant serves the same 12 dishes cooked in the same way.

The next day Took the bus to Pontavedre to see the historic town which used to be the capital of Galicia. Very hot day as Catherine navigated us around the town using the English guide and map from the Tourist Information Office. Enjoyed the walk and the town was worth going to see, if a little over sold in the tourist guide.

Ria Vigo
On Tuesday (19th) he Weather forecast was again northerly F4-5 and sea state slight so we set off to round to the Ria Vigo, the last of the Spanish Rias. Wind was actually from the South West and did not get above 10 knots (F2) so once again we ended up motoring. Anchored at the end of the Ria in a small lake which is very picturesque. Chicken fajitas for dinner – we really wanted something that was not shell fish and we watched ‘The Thin Man’ while eating dinner on board. Run out of white wine we had bought so we tried some wine we were given in La Coruna by the marina staff (after all the boat had been there for 6 weeks). Decided we could live without white wine for the evening!

Off to Vigo tomorrow.

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