Log Entry Saturday 17th May
We leave today for Viana Do Castelo, our first port of call in Portugal, as we round "El Lobo de Silleiro" a prominent rock out crop our coarse is due south. The weather is terrible, heavy rain, mist and a distintive lack of wind!
To continue please follow the following link: Portugal (The West Coast)
Log Entry Thursday 15th May
We leave Islas Cies heading a further 6 miles south to Bayona, what should have been a very easy, short trip took us about three hours with a strong head wind and resulting building sea. Once in Bayona we refuel and fill our water tanks before moving into the anchorage. Bayona is a holiday resort, its sheltered waters provide an excellent area for water pleasure sport. It holds two massive marinas and associated water sports clubs.
The town is full of history, the castle provides a prominent feature on the water front, along with the huge marinas. The old section of the town full of character with the traditional bars and restaurants.
The Islas Cies can be seen quite clearly to the north.
Log Entry Tuesday 13th May
Today our destination was Bayona, with a possible over night at Islas Cies, weather permitting. As we depart we round the Isla Tambo with its distinctive light house and make our way out of the Ria de Pontevedra - the weather worsens, fingers crossed! Due to the extreme local terrain, a weather forecast had not be attainable either by VHF or Navtex, not unusual in these areas.
As we make our way the weather improves, the journey out of the Ria is frustrating with strong head winds that fortunately drop off in the afternoon-the decision to stay at Islas Cies is taken, an anchorage on the east side of the island provides best shelter.
The island is small (2 miles x 1 mile at its widest point) and is fully reliant on tourism, no fishing what so ever. It has a small campsite, it and the tourist ferries are the only source of income. It has is own solar power plant supplying the few habitants, but generators could still be heard. Its early in the year, the island is deserted, except for the few locals that live there - every thing is closed. The island is beautiful with steep rising beaches of white sand, the terrain a mix of heavy vegetation, especially eucalyptus trees. The waters so clear, again typical of this area allows you to watch the fish with ease.
Log Entry Monday 12th May
We leave as planned our destination, Combarro, Ria de Pontevedra, the morning is very dull with showers forecast as we make our way around the mussel beds and its surrounding activity.
We arrive at Combarro mid afternoon, the fishing village apparently features high on the tourist coach trips due mainly to its undeveloped water's edge - complimented with the traditional restaurants, bars and novelty shops. The older section is stone built with balconies supported by granite pillars.
Log Entry Sunday 11th May
We are awoken during the night, the dolphin had returned! We listen to him "squeaking" and exhausting air against our hull - it sounds like a drum beating. We get little sleep. In the morning he is back again, demanding our attention, he appears to have adopted us at anchor and seams to develop more and more trust.
He/she returns morning and night for he "scrub" with the deck brush, visiting the other boats also thriving on the attention!
A review of the weather forecast gives Monday as the best travel day, we and others from the anchorage head ashore for the traditional leaving party which lasts into the evening in the local internet cafe.
Log Entry Saturday 10th May
Last night about 10pm we were watching a movie, we were disturbed by a light tapping on the hull. I went into the cockpit to find Chris in his dinghy - "I have brought some one to see you"! he said. Looking down onto the dinghy and Chris I was amazed - he had a dolphin, 6-8 feet long! I thought he was more of a blonde man myself.
It was almost as if it was crazing for his attention, he was able to call it to the surface by hitting his paddle on the water, it loved being "scratched and stroked" with the oar. It was certainly content to play as long as it received attention. It was great to watch, the two of them played for some time, then the dolphin and Chris headed back to "Dream or Two" (Probably for a nightcap!).
The weather is not good for the next couple of days, heavy rain forecast, we were amazed to see the news yesterday in the bar (as we sheltered from a rain shower) most of Spain and it's islands were suffering from heavy down pours and flooding - we, fortunately, had seen little rain. With a lazy day ahead we have breakfast on deck and are entertained by the local harbour authorities.
Two tugs secure themselves to the large coaster at the end of the harbour wall, they pull it from the wall then proceed to complete a 360 degree turn in front of us. The coaster and tugs then move back into the harbour and raft the coaster up against a coaster already secured to the wall. Within 30 minutes a fully laden coaster appears in the Ria, the tugs proceed to assist it into the space created by the activity - it now to unload its cargo!
Log Entry Friday 9th May
Thursday the 8th May, time to move on, we are heading together into the next Ria (Ria De Arosa), Puebla del Caraminal is our destination. Chris & Barbara (Dream or Two), Dave (ANSU) and Ann & I lift our anchors about 9am and make our way out of the Ria. We are to take a short route via the "Canal de Sagres" and then through the "Paso del Carreiro". An interesting challenge in navigation to say the least with the rock walled channels less than 200m at some points, to further add to the challenge was the avoidance of local fisherman hauling their nets mid channel. It was a great experience, the tension such no photographs were taken, the closest comparison I could make in UK waters was "it made the Menai Straits look like child's play!" We met up at the anchorage just off the beach at Caraminal.
The port itself is tidal and very busy, with numerous coasters moving freight. The area, as is typical or this region is full of "Viveros" (muscle beds) and are farmed almost continuously, a sizable fishing fleet also exists. A recent marina has brought about the development of the leisure marine industry, both motor and sail.
We awoke to a strange site at low water, the beach, or rather the water line in front of us was lined with people chest high in the water, some dressed in regular cloths? They were digging shellfish of some sort, afterwards the shore line was covered in mutilated crabs, starfish and other sea creatures caught up in the exercise - not too sure of it's justification!
The town itself had been developed extensively, a new modern water front unfortunately submerged the wonderful history hidden in it's back streets.
Entry Monday 5th May
We leave Camarinas, our destination Muros a Ria some 35 miles further south. As we raise the anchor, it and the chain is thick with mud - Ann washes it all down , plus the deck before it re-enters the chain locker (it should have known better). "We will not be returning there it's too dirty" Ann called!
As we take the south channel out of the Ria, the 17th century church of "La Virgen de la Barca" (Mugia/Muxia) casts an daunting shadow. We head down the coast, passing the infamous"Cabo Finisterre", the dramatic view unfortunately spoiled by the mist! As we make our way down this coastline it is easy to under stand why it is known as "Costa da Morte", or the coast of death!
The winds picked up and our progress to Muros was quickened, we quickly came through the mist, the dramatic coastline opening up before us.
At the local anchorage to Muros we meet up with Dave (ANSU) and Chris & Barbara (Dream or Two), the last time we met was at one of the "leaving parties", a "hello party" was almost a certainty!
Muros is a lovely town, famous for it's "Viveros" (muscle farms), they stretch throughout the Ria and are harvested daily by a fleet of purpose built vessels.
On Monday we head ashore to find our bearings with Chris & Barbara, we have lunch (seafood of coarse) and then walk around town. Typically of this region, behind the waterfront is a warren of narrow streets, littered with shops, bars and cafe's. Very quaint, a lot of the buildings built from huge granite blocks.
Log Entry Friday 2nd May
Our departure on Thursday was an original destination to Finisterre. The weather forecast was not exactly favourable (winds SW 4/5 occ. 6 with a NW swell 3-4 meters at first) but we felt it "manageable". At first the lack of wind direct consistency made the swell difficult, our progress was very slow. As time passed the swell shifted to the south west and built very quickly, with both wind and tide against us progress was even slower. It felt like being back in English waters, but warmer - time to re-think our destination, it was almost 4pm and we were not even half way! We were now heading for Camarinas.
We drop anchor in Camarinas about 1930 hours, 8 hours to travel less than 20 miles (as the crow flies). Not one of our better trips, long, but very tiring. The village is still heavily reliant on the sea as one would expect but it also is a local lace making centre. The weather forcast declares near gale south easterlies tomorrow (Friday), possibly through Saturday, giving us plenty of time to look around before we leave.
The town/harbour is well placed in a beautiful corner of the Ria surrounded by rugged woodland, the harbour is very busy with craft of all size, the small marina full of further small fishing/pleasure craft. With regards to the town itself behind the water front a warren of small narrow streets housing the various shops etc.
Log Entry Wednesday 30th April
We sit at our anchorage for two full days until the outside gales begin to drop off. The strong winds combined with the many associated thunderstorms, to us, made even a trip ashore a misery. We kept our selves busy, reading, watching DVD's, planning our next destination and other bits of "stuff" as our kids would call it!
To day we go ashore, we plan to leave in the morning for Finisterre. To us, a trip ashore completes our visit here, perhaps pick up a groceries (fresh salad and vegetables) and post a few due birthday cards. No doubt accompanied with a visit to a couple of local places of public gatherings (bars!).
We went ashore late afternoon, in such a small town as this all but the cafes would close at lunch time. The town is absolutely a developing holiday resort, many new bars and restaurants, a newly completed promenade and new building development on the out skirts of the old town and harbour. The only thing the town lacked was people, but it is early in the holiday season.
Log Entry Sunday 27th April
With all work complete it is now our turn to leave for Laxe, a trip of approximately 35 miles. The weather short term looks settled but strong winds would be on us by Monday. We make the decision to move now and stay a couple of days, to wait until the fronts pass could see us in Coruna for another week? We bid our farewells to the friends we met in the area and thank the marina staff for their help.
The winds, light as they were gave us some passage but we motored most of the way, we enjoyed our time and the friends we made in Coruna. The historic lighthouse remained in our grey horizon for some time. We were over four hours out of Coruna when we received a gale warning (Due Tuesday), the perceived strong winds had strengthened. There was no problem with that our destination gave us good shelter from all quadrants - we arrived and had dropped anchor by 2000 hours.
Lage (Laxe) is a typical small Galician fishing village expanding into a local holiday resort, the 14th century church of Santiago de Lage over looks the small busy harbour. The north harbour wall is occupied with transporting local wood out of the area.
The resort is quaint but does show real signs of expansion, the picturesque wooded horizon broken with cranes.
The weather will keep us here, probably until Thursday until the gales abate and the resulting seas fall to a manageable 2-3 meter swell. In this time we will know this small town well.
Log Entry Wednesday 23rd April
With the weather appearing to stabilise, today there was a mass exodus from the marina, eight yachts set off, all heading south - all but us. We are awaiting a delivery, already a week late - but that's the culture? Chris and Barbara (Dream or Two) and Dave (ANSU) accompanied by his brother Nicky. The numerous goodbye parties (usually arranged by Chris and Barbara) fully concluded. We see them off, we will meet them again as we leave in a couple of days (hopefully). As we walk down the pontoon we bid our farewells to the other cruisers with similar adventures ahead.
Log Entry Monday 7th April
"Marina fever" is setting in! All conversations between the small winter community is based on "When do we leave?" The excuse for "leaving parties" becomes more and more prominent! We take advantage of the brief period of good weather and head out into the Ria again, to live at anchor for a few days, getting used to our chosen life style.
As we enjoy the sun, with locals on the beaches, in small craft (sail/motor/ and jet skies) we receive texts from our parents telling us of the snow fall through out the UK. Ann could have done with it to cool her drinks further!
Log Entry Sunday 10th February
After our week of bad weather (heavy rain and temperatures falling below 12C during the day!) the sunshine returns and day after day of 18-20C, still a little colder at night. With all of our winter jobs and preparation for journey south complete we struggle a little to keep our minds active.
We venture out in Sailaway, visiting small bays within the Ria's, Dave and Jane join us out to Mera. There are "locals" on the beach, some in the water, we stay warm and dry on board, lunch and a couple of drinks put us in good stead for the trip back.
Log Entry Sunday 3rd February
This weekend is "Entroido A Coruna" - a carnival of fancy dress. The people we spoke to are unable to define it's origin, it just happens and has done for as long as they can remember! It was originally a full schedule for the week but heavily concentrated on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We were hit by bad weather starting on the Thursday of that week, Friday evening came and was cancelled due to local flooding, Saturday evening was a great success in our opinion. On Sunday "Festa infantil con inchables" was planned, for ages between 6 and 12 with prizes and all! It was also cancelled due to flooding and hailstones
On Saturday the streets were closed and the precession began lasting about two hours, prizes were to be won for the various categories - a great effort had been made.
Many people had dressed for the occasion, Ann and I felt some what poorly turned out!
The parade concluded in Maria Pita Square, where a stage had been erected and a band played through the procession. The winners of the various categories were announced and presented by some oddly dressed characters (local councilors, TV/Radio presenters) in some form of traditional dress? Of coarse the evening would not be concluded without fireworks!
Log Entry Tuesday 22nd January
We have visitors to the port, a little different to the regular cruise liners - two Spanish and one American warship.
The ships came in from an exercises in the Atlantic, they daily perform "on board exercises" our local area becomes a very secure area, under stand able under the political climate. The local economy clearly benefits from the "shore leave". Ann spends many hours scrubbing Sailaway's deck, I voice my concern over the abrasion to the paintwork. Unfortunately she was sadly unable to attract any attention from the crew aboard the vessels.
Log Entry Sunday 6th January
To day, the 5th January is the eve of Navidad in Spain. Navidad is the day in which gifts are shared, the believe based on the day the three Kings presented their gifts to Jesus. The children will tonight leave their shoes on the windowsills and fill them with straw, carrots, and barley for the camels of the Kings. Their favourite is Balthazar, as he is the one said to leave the gifts. We watch the parade, the streets are busy and filled with excitement, the participants of the parade throw sweets from the floats for the children to collect. It rained heavily all evening but that did not deter the children, they carry bags for their sweets.
The parade is followed by a firework display set off from the harbour walls just out side of the marina, we watch in comfort from Sailaway as the rain stayed with us all night.
Log Entry Tuesday 1st January
We see the New Year in on board Sailaway, the city is alive with celebrations as the stroke of midnight is heard in the Maria-Pita Square. It is supported with an extravagant light/laser show and of coarse the traditional fireworks. Few bars or restaurants are open but still plenty of people around.
As we enter 2008 we return to Sailaway, with on board internet access we contact our family to pass on our wishes for 2008. This causes some confusion in some cases as in the UK they are one our behind? At one o'clock (our local time) we do it again!
We are looking forward to this year, who knows where we will end up, or what adventures lie ahead?
Ann and I wish you a happy and prosperous 2008!