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2008 Log
Page 6

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Our Route North. Click to enlarge.
Our Route around Spain.

Sunny Spain!
So what's with all this rain?.

We are now in Spain and the rain is not falling on the plain.
With Galicia being such a green part of the country it should not be a surprise to us.
We visit Portosin in Ria Muros, Camarinas and . . . . . . .

Portosin (13th May, 45 Miles from Bayona)

W    e had met Mike of Seawynds last night but he had then gone and anchored in the bay as he had a   single-handers dislike for lazy-lines. Mike was also planning to leave Bayona and head for Ria Muros. It seems there are quite a few ex-Lagos yotties heading North this year.

The Passage to Portosin. We rose early and reviewed a rather mixed forecast for the days weather. Keith and Jo of Sapphire Voyager said that, as they were going to go all the way to Coruna (120 miles), the weather was well short of ideal. Our journey being only a little over 40 miles was allowed to be a bit more boisterous, we felt.

Motoring down the Ria we could see Mike also hoisting sails and making ready to leave. Mike is circa 70 and simply wondered if he could single-hand his Najad 37 Seawynds up the Atlantic coast.

Our passage took us outside of the coastal island and into the unsheltered Atlantic waters. The wind was force 3-4 from somewhere behind us and the waves were less than the forecasted 2m. Behind us we could see Seawynds.

By mid morning the name of the game became squall dodging. Black rain clouds were passing across our bows some miles ahead but luckily we were in hazy sunshine, until, a rather dark looker came out of the west directly towards us. We had at least 20 minutes notice of its arrival and even more luckily it decided to pass slightly behind us. We saw about 25 knots but as we had pre-emptive reefs in both sails we shrugged it off. Mike, a couple of miles behind, seemed to just disappear. He later told us he only had 30 knots as it had passed behind him also.

Click to enlarge.
Our ICOM 706 HF/VHF SSB radio.

Inside the Ria we decided that, as the following days weather was to be torrential rain, we would pass by the anchorage of Muros and seek the sheltered pontoons of Portosin. Being plugged into shore power has advantages when the weather is hostile. Mike, who had motored passed us in the Ria, did likewise.

At 1700 I had an excellent HF/SSB contact with Amy Rose who was mid Biscay. They were doing 8 knots over a flat sea but had already got the torrential rains we were expecting.

With 10mm of rain forecast it was difficult to know quite how best to spend the day. We decided a visit to Noia was perhaps best we so set off for the 0900 bus. Now something you need to be aware of, 0900 is its start time from the terminus. So quite what time we would see the bus was an unknown. Janet estimated T+30 mins whereas Barry said T+45 min's. It turned up T+57 min's and took 15 mins to Noia. Noia is a smashing old town even as circa 3mm of rain fell each hour. We walked the streets always looking at the first floor (English nomenclature) to see what the architecture was like pre renovation. It really was super, sadly no photos. We had lunch in a Pasteleria; 6 Euros total for a 3 course meal for 2. Further details of Noia can be found on the City of Noia's Website.

Back in the marina Mike suggested a meal in the yacht club. As Janet was jaded and somewhat damp she eagerly agreed to meet at 1930. We had a splendid meal - thanks Mike - and agreed to be off to Camarinas the following morning.

Camarinas (15th May, 47 Miles from Portosin)

Our alarm clock was still silent when Mikes engine was heard. He was leaving his berth and it was just 0715. Being awake we had breakfast as we always do, come what may, and set off in pursuit.

The Passage to Camarinas. The SW wind was naturally on the nose as we travelled down the Ria, so for 2 hours (yes with engine assistance) we beat out to sea. Heading North from the Ria means deciding whether to negotiate a passage through the rocks or go around them. We chose the latter. Once a sea we progressively bore away until we were on a reach towards Cabo Finnistere. We could see a few other boats, some going South, one behind going North and also one in front going North; presumably Seawynds.

Sometime about midday we came across Gannets by the score diving into the water. They each looked like Concorde as they entered the water, they were so streamlined. Under the water were dolphins herding the fish into the killing zone. Seagulls harried the Gannets for there catch, most times succeeding. Sad. We scattered the lot as we sailed on through and then the dolphins moved to post lunch playtime. Maybe 20 of them rode our bows for 15 mins. Never flamboyant but always omnipresent.

For the last 2 hours we motored, in a dying wind, into Camarinas. Mike waited for us and took our lines. A good days sail but we were glad to be in. Maybe the weather would buck up tomorrow!

Click to enlarge.
Lost? Not with these signs
on the PR route.
Click to enlarge.
Lunch stop overlooking
a little bay on the PR.

We were charged 20 Euros per night though, amazingly, a fully serviced annual berth would be 600 Euros inc VAT. We might be back!

We read in the cruising guide that a nice walk was along the Coast of Death to the lighthouse at Cabo Villano so naturally we gave it a go. The walk is actually part of the national network of walks so is well signpostedand its name is presumably prompted by there being 114 ship wrecks on his coastal stretch alone. It was a pleasant sunny afternoons walk of 5.5 Km. We had our packed lunch on route and whilst in beachcomber mode, found an old trainer with about 1 Kg of resident goose barnacles. Probably enough for 8 persons in a restaurant. Just before the lighthouse we passed a huge wind farm. It had both small turbines (presumably older ones) and huge ones. We photo'd a blade with Barry along side for a size comparison.

After 2 days on the pontoons, and because of the warm weather, we decided on anchoring on our last night before moving on.

See the Camarinas town web site for general information.

Laxe (18th May, 20 Miles from Camarinas)

Leaving Laxe involves following 2 transits out to sea. They are big and prominent so no problem to bleary eyed crew.

The Passage to Laxe. Light winds and particularly when they are behind us meant a slow passage. On route we heard Finisterre-Traffic's radio weather forecast which mentioned SW winds so we changed our plan of going to Corme and opted for Laxe.

Just as we were entering the Ria a herd of Dolphins surrounded us and played for perhaps half an hour. Really wonderful. Then just as we had anchored the heavens opened, the rain was torrential. Mike, about 5 mins behind us, again disappeared inside the rain. He later appeared but the rain continued for 20 mins so he sailed in circles until he could see to drop the main-sail.

We had a quiet evening on board and planned another 0830 start the following day.

Coruña (19th May, 36 Miles from Laxe)

Two years ago we had a week in Coruña and enjoyed it very much so we were looking forwards to revisiting the city.

The Passage to Coruña. Light winds meant motoring for the first few hours but by late morning a decent wind arrived and we sailed the last 20 miles to Coruña. The Darsena marinero helped us into a 12m berth. Mike on Seawynds followed us in after he had fuelling up and Keith and Jo of Sapphire Voyager could be seen across the marina. The Lagos trio were reunited.

Coruna is a super city, and the capital of Galicia. We spent a week waiting for the weather to improve so allow us to move on, and at no time did we feel the city was lacking. With 13 museums (10 free) and loads of art galleries one could spend a week here easily. We enjoyed the old town even though torrential rain repeatedly caused us to shelter in door ways. Wow was the weather bad? It was so bad that Barry didn't go out on the evening of his 61st birthday to celebrate. Just as well the cruise liner decorated overall, as recompense, so making it feel like a birthday.

Good news though; WiFi is available from Cafe de Darsena 200m from the marina gates. And its free.

On our last weekend we saw the Corpus Cristi prosession through the city. Surprisingly, on both of the two previous years we had seen this same religious parade in Spain; once in Castrapol and once in Seville. And most surprisingly the smallest town of Castrapol was the best.

See Coruna tourism's web site for general information about the city. It has an English language option.

Betaznos 22nd May, 29Km by bus from Coruña)

Its on the river from Rio Sada but as the river is barely 1m deep we went by bus. Its a lovely old town and well worth a days outing. It is of course rural Spain so we neither expected nor heard much English. Its a hill top town so has much up and down and many of the streets are as steep as 30 degrees. As its a poor area the old houses have not been tastelessly restored, rather they have been left to the point of almost falling down. Luckily new money and good taste is saving them but I'll bet the locals will never again afford them.

When we left Coruña it was cool and overcast but on arriving in Betaznos we were able to sit outside at a cafe in the main square. Later we had lunch del Dia in a little cafe where not a word of English was spoken. Super value.

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