Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Castro Urdiales To Ribadeo, A Reminder Of The Jurassic Coastline.

     It was with some reluctance that we left Castro Urdiales to head west along the northern Spanish coastline. The first leg was a short 3 hour hop to Santona where we encountered another blessing of the fishing boat festival outside the harbour. We went in for a quick look before going into a wonderful new marina at Laredo on the opposite bank. The Marina can take over a 1000 boats but probably only had a maximum of 250 so we had a choice of many berths which made berthing very easy.

The Knights Templar Castle & Roman Bridge
Leaving Castro Urdiales
The Castle & Church Of Castro Urdiales
Quite Stunning.
Blessing Of The Laredo Fishing Fleet
Fort Santona
    Laredo looked very dull from the marina but we went in to investigate and stumbled into a fantastic Swinging Sixties Party attended by the whole town. They really do know how to party in Spain, the whole village, including stall holders, bar and restaurant staff, kids and grandparents were all dressed up for the occasion and having a most wonderful time, all without an excess of alcohol. Well, we had to join in, less the dress code, and enjoyed ourselves enormously.

Guy Building Up An Appetite
The Swinging Sixties Band!
All Dressed Up & Having Fun
     The following morning, we walked along the 5 km beach from Laredo to Santona. It is a wonderful beach with very Russian like hotels or flats set back from the beach. The Spanish (there are no foreigners here) also looked Russian so we assumed that this was the poor Spanish resort of the north. We caught a ferry across the river and had a wander around Santona but there was not much of interest. We returned and enjoyed a good snooze on the beach close to the marina. The beach walk having stiffened up our ankles.
The 5Km Russian Beach!!
Beach Life At Low Tide
     As explained the Marina was new and very smart except it appears they forgot to build an ablution block. We eventually found the showers and toilets in a large empty hanger within ships containers. This was a real reminder for Guy of his Army experience and showers in Kosovo and Afghanistan. They were however very good. The price of the marina was a bit of a shock at £36 per night! Ow.

The Fantastic New, But Empty And Expensive Marina Of  Laredo
    Kisti Two left her most comfortable mooring on 22 July and we headed off with the intention of  visiting Santander and finding an anchorage along the coast. The northern Spanish coast is well known for its misty and foggy weather and it obviously decided we had been having too good a time so fog, mist, rain and a confused sea decided to attack us along what looked very much like the Jurassic coastline of Dorset.

Back To Needing A Brew Sailing And Top Layer
Approaching Santander In Mist
Stunning Architecture Of Santander
Santander Hotel
     We went in and had a look at Santander quite quickly as the pilot indicated there was no place to be had in the town marina. Quite surprisingly Santander only has a marina well up river  for visitors, but some anchorages.We decided as the weather was not suitable for the anchorage in town to press on. We hurried along the Spainsh Jurassic coastline looking for an anchorage but the weather became foggy, windy and we soon experienced the awful swell of Biscay. A bit like the English Channel in a strong easterly blow. The wind also died so it was a long motor including overnight to reach Gijon, the next port some 100 nm further west.

Planet Of The Apes Rock
Double Click The Pictures To Get Full Screen Picture
Fantastic Buildings At  Comillas
Tom, What Are They?
Good English Sailing Along Spanish North Coast
   We arrived at Gijon Marina at 0800, filled up with fuel, tied up at our dedicated berth and collapsed asleep. We were shattered after the nights bashing and both needed a good rest. Gijon is a large city and the marina is in the heart of the night life. It is a popular first port of call for Brits crossing the Bay of Biscay to refuel in all respects and this we did. We enjoyed a delicious meal out on the first night and then had an English couple round for a BBQ. They were the first English boat and English speakers we had seen for over a week so it was great to get away from our awful Spanish for a bit. As usual we toured the city and marvelled at some of the architecture both on bicycle and on foot,
Gijon Beach

Gijon Cafes & Bars
Gijon Marina With Bars In Background
    The weather improved so we departed Gijon on 26 July heading for our first Spanish Ria, Ribadeo. It was a misty start but we had an enjoyable motor for 80 nm to Ribadeo and were able to see some of the coastline. We have concluded that Spanish fishing trawlers have a yacht magnet on them. Our Radar was excellent at picking them up early so as to avoid clashes. It was an easy entrance at high tide and we were welcomed by the 'marinero' and put on a comfortable end jetty.

Spanish Fishing Magnet For Yachts!
Ginny Preparing For Ribadeo Marina
Castrapol Opposite Ribadeo
The Merchants Town
     Ribadeo has clearly seen better days but we had great fun exploring the back streets and finding many old buildings, some still smart and others in a terrible state of decay, but they gave us an idea of its past. The central square was stunning with some lovely old buildings. Kisti Two was stocked up again with beer, wine, port and food all at a reasonable price compared with France. Guy the mule supporting Ginny in this task as the supermarket was at the top of the hill.
Ribadeo Square
Ribadeo Customs House

Old Ribadeo Streets
     Another long walk ensured we covered every aspect of the town and its surroundings finishing off with a couple of good beers overlooking the harbour. Still the only Brits!

Ribadeo Marina From Town Lookout
Bridge Across The Ria With Marina Beyond
Kisti Two In Ribadeo Marina
The Local Sail Boat With A Latine Rig, Of Which There Are About 25.
Something Similar To Small Egyptian Dhows!
    A strong wind has been blowing through so we have stayed here for 4 nights as it is a reasonable price and lovely safe spot. We also managed a BBQ in the rain much to the astonishment of the locals. We spoiled ourseleves today with a Zorza, spiced pork dish. Delicious,

Searching For Spanish Gold!

Guy On The BBQ.
    The slide below shows our coastal hugging route from Castro Urdiales to Ribadeo. A very English coastline with the weather to match and not many places to stay so some long legs. We depart tomorrow for the start of our Spanish Rias crusade heading west still, starting with Viveiro along to Corunna before we turn south again along the Atlantic Coast of Spain. Our Spanish is improving but it will be lovely to see some Red Ensigns again.

Along Northern Spain. Kisti Two Is At Yellow (wind)  Arrow