We spent 4 days in La Coruna adjusting to the Spanish ‘Manana’ way of life. No shop or office appears to open before 9am. Before we left we bumped into Astaire and Maria on Manana again and were invited on board for a sun-downer.
Early on 12th July we left La Coruna behind and headed south in search of a little more warmth and the promised sun. It was light and drizzly and we motor-sailed most of the way but the wind picked up at the end of the 10 hour journey and we notice our 1st reef had worn through and so wound the 2nd reef in. We went into Ria de Camarinas and to a small Marina in Muxia. When we called up the office the young gent just said “yes yes I come to help” and sure enough he arrived 30 seconds later on the end of the pontoon on a small electric scooter and assisted our arrival. The marina is basically a petrol station with a couple of toilets and showers in a port-a-cabin.
Muxia is a coastal district in la Coruna province on the “costa da morte” (coast of death) above Finisterre. We spent 4 days in there mostly due to the strong winds forecast and recorded over 35kts on our instruments, in the maina behind the breakwater. We did running repairs including a chafe check on all lines and general boat tasks. We went out to eat tapas and started getting adventurous with our food.We also met our first Irish boat, this would be a recurring theme of the next few weeks!
On the 16th July the wind had moderated and with 2 reefs in main and geneoa we again ventured into the Atlantic. We were averaging 7-8kts and should have been 3 reefs but as we approached Cape Finisterre the wind began to drop and as we passed the cape the winds became light and variable exactly as the books say. Contrary to popular belief it is actually Muxia (Cabo Tourinan) and not Finisterre that is the most westerly point of mainland Europe and we passed that hours earlier. As the wind died the dolphin came out to play. We took this opportunity to successfully send a test email via the SSB radio and modem.
Our destination was a small Marina in Ria de Muros that was run by the famous Pedro. Sure enough we called up and the ever helpful Pedro met us on the pontoon and guided us in. The Marina has all the essential berth facilities but once again the showers facilities were a limited in fact 2 of the shower cubical were outside. Pedro explained that we were lucky to arrive today as it was Fiesta day, when the Virgen del Carmen is honored with a waterborne parade. The Marina is set in the center of the village and the Spanish people partied loudly until 6am!! We stayed another day having tried our first sardines and experienced Spanish fiesta but mainly because we needed to sleep.
Our next destination was Ria de Arousa and we left Muros on 18th July, once again in light drizzle but thought we may as well sail south in search of the ever elusive sun. The wind was as forecast directly on the nose and not the Northerly trades as promised in all the pilot books. Anyway Kindred Spirit was reefed down and we sailed into the Atlantic, . as we approached Ria de Arousa the sight of crashing waves of rocks that appeared to be in the middle of the ocean forced us to make a couple of extra tacks and gave them a respectable wide berth.
We chose a small Marina called Riveira but on arrival realised we were too big but friendly and helpful as all the Spanish ports have been, Manuel let us stay on the holding pontoon for the night. The weather was not as expected in Spain in July.
As Ria de Arousa is big we thought we would spend a couple of day at another marina further up the Ria. On 19th July we arrived at Marina Caraminal after a 1.5 hour motor we were greeted by both marina staff and 30-40 red flags adorning yachts of many sizes, we had joined up with the Irish Cruising Club rally to Galicia Ria’s. So we joined in and put up Kindred Spirit’s battle flags.
The Irish know how to party and the marina put on a great entertainment for them that went on until the early hours of the next morning. We spent one more night at Caraminal and decided it was time for us to spend some time at anchor and Ria de Arousa has lots of safe anchorages. We found a little spot and laid the anchor and had lunch but with the wind changing direction we decide to moved to another spot for the night without the onshore breeze. This is when we realised that the windlass just wouldn’t pull the anchor up. So Geoff manually pulled up the anchor and 30 meters of chain and we went in search of a marina space again. Unfortunately the closest was full so we went back to Caraminal Marina. Geoff spent the next 4 hours taking the windlass apart only to discover the next day that it was terminal. Lots of replacement parts required and the windlass is 17 years old. This looks to be the first main expense of the trip. We spent another 2 nights here feeling sorry for ourselves.
On 23 July we decide to visit the maria that must not be missed according to Imray, in the Ria de Pontevedra, Marina Combarro. We sailed the 25 miles in 5 hours. They found us a lovely berth and within a few hours the red flags of the Irish rally started to appear again. The marina was very pretty and the staff very helpful, they called Raymarine in our next Port and arranged an engineer to visit and check our Radar. We spent 2 nights in this lovely town where old small streets meet modern architecture. We though lots of people had tombs in their garden but it was in fact grain stores called horreos . Oh and I did paddle in the sea but still too cold for swimming.
We had arranged to sail to Ria de Vigo on a national holiday, 25th July in preparation for meeting Raymarine technician on 26th July at Marina Moana. We set off with 2 reefs but as the wind behind us Kindred Spirit sailed beautifully downwind but as the wind dropped we motored a little. The scenery is pretty spectacular but hard to capture on my little camera. We arrived at Marina Moana but as they are quite small and it was a national holiday they had no spare berths.
We decided to anchor just outside the marina and speak with marina the following day as they may be a chance of a berth. So with no windlass we dropped anchor and prepared for our first night not-alongside. I set an anchor alarm that was a little too short ,so when we swung on the anchor at night we were woken, twice! We also left the AIS on and the coast guard set off a couple of alerts. so although a successful anchor not a solid nights sleep.
The following morning The Raymarine engineer arranged for us to go the Moana Marine in the afternoon for 1 hour while they check out radar. As we had time in the morning it seemed a good idea to pump up the tender and use the new davit to lower the engine onto the tender. After successful sea trials we returned to KS. Unfortunately the visit from Raymarine was no so successful the radar was broken and needs to be sent to UK for analysis and repair. So this makes the radar the first to go back to Portsmouth. We will be reunited with our radar in Cadiz, hopefully.
Geoff didn’t fancy pulling up the anchor again so we motored across the Ria to Marina Vigo, were super yachts stay. This is the biggest marina berth we have ever stayed in but so very far from town. We borrowed bikes the next morning to cycle to town to shop for for a few essential.
We left Vigo on 27th July knowing it would be light breeze but there was none so we motored all the way (10 miles). Our planned route changed when Geoff saw another yacht navigate an inner passage so we followed. But only once the charts had been closely reviewed, this took 5 miles off our motoring. We had decide to say in the bigger of the 2 marinas in Baiona as the other marina was full, mostly with those red flags of the Irish. The marina was basic and the staff friendly. In fact when we asked for a third night they gave it to us for free. We spent one day on boat stuff and the other site seeing around the headland and of course we couldn’t leave Spain without Paella.
There are quite a few churches and other small buildings of architectural and historical interest, but Baiona’s most prominent building is the Castelo de Monterreal, a castle that sits to one edge of the town. We walked around this walls as well as it ramparts. It had excellent views of Baiona and the surrounding coastline from its elevated position.
We also visited a replica of Christopher Columbus ship Pinta. Baiona was the first mainland landfall after he discovered the New World. If he can make it in the Pinta i’m sure Kindred Spirit with be fine on her Atlantic crossing.
So Portugal here come The Holdens