Tuesday, 13 August 2013

The Delightful Rias Altas Of North West Spain, Ribadeo To La Coruna.

     It was the bright and breezy morning of Guy's Birthday that we departed Ribedeo having spent 4 days sheltering from the wind and swell in Porcillian Marina just under the bridge. We had a wonderful ever changing view across the ria to Figueras and up river to Gastropol. Even the ferry stopped running to Gastropol because of the winds so we could only view from across the ria and not explore.   

Departing Ribadeo 
     We sailed along the coast with clear conditions for a change and had beautiful views of the coastline, beaches and towns en route. All the mountains were on show without their capes of cloud. Around lunchtime we saw a few small crabs swimming just under and on the surface. The numbers of crabs grew until we seemed to be in Crab Soup as the crab armada swam by! They came to the surface near the boat and Guy managed to scoop one up in the fishing net. They were smaller than an outstretched hand so not worth harvesting in numbers for eating!

One Of The Crabs
Ginny Enjoying The Wind
     We sailed past several small harbours and coves which would have been great to anchor in were it not for the swell and the weather we knew was bringing stronger winds. We then past the industrial ports of Burela and Puerto Alumina Espanola - the name being self explanatory.

Sailing Into Ria de Viveiro
     Kisti Two sailed into the first real Ria where two tankers were at anchor in more sheltered waters. We looked into the anchorages off the town beach but carried on up to the marina of Viveiro past the fishing port.  A lovely sheltered marina close to the centre of town. We went shopping in a large new Gadis supermarket and bought Guy a toaster and iron for his birthday. He was quick to get the toaster in action but the iron was placed in storage. The first toast and marmalade for 3 months was an absolute delight.

Guy Enjoying First Toast And Marmalade
For 3 Months!
   Having restocked and noted that the wind had died down, we went out into the Ria Viveiro to explore the beaches. We found a stunning private anchorage with our own small beach were we spent two glorious days swimming, BBQing and generally relaxing. Pure bliss. We moved onto another beach for the third night before reluctantly returning to the marina in Viveiro to resupply, the beer had run out, no meat for the BBQ and tapas was calling.

Anchored In Our Own Bay
Our Private Beach And Anchorage In Ria Viveiro
Ginny Learning The Art Of Anchor Bearings
Anchored Off  Playa De Cabello,  Looks Very Tropical
Sunrise In Ria Viveiro
   We took the opportunity to explore the old town of Viveiro and came across some wonderful churches, old narrow streets, town gates and Roman bridges. It was a surprising find of wonderful old buildings full of character and charm. We finished the exploration with some wonderful tapas, calamari and raxos plus excellent beer.
Guy Exiting Old Town Gate
Narrow Streets Of
The Old Church In Viveiro
Tapas And Beer Time
Main Town Gate Of Viveiro
Old Roman Bridge Opposite Town Gate
    We returned in the evening to watch a most wonderful, colourful and energetic show of local Galician dancing and music. It did not begin until 2200hrs and we sat at a cafe table drinking wine and watching this excellent free show with a large stage in the main town square with all the locals. It finished at mid-night whereupon we returned to our earlier bar for more tapas. Its amazing, but the Spanish evening only starts at 2200hrs and you can still order a meal after midnight. Viveiro has certainly proved to be great fun and a wonderful find.
Great Night Of Galician Traditional Dancing
Galician Dancing And Music
    Kisti Two decided that it was time to move on, so we headed round to the next Ria 2 hours away called Ria Del Barquero which we sailed around before anchoring again in our private beach off Playa Castro Vilela. A maritime police boat stormed up to us but decided not to board. We were prepared this time!! The next day, 5 Aug we motored round to the next bay of Ensenada De Santa Marta and  anchored off Carino fishing port. Another poor but very friendly town with cheap beer and tasty tapas. The food could only be ordered after 2100hrs!! All this anchoring gave us the spare budget money to enjoy ourselves out.
Sailing On Towards  Ria Del Barquero
Guy Reading Up On The Pilot Book
Anchored In Ria Barquero
Ginny Enjoying A Relaxing Dip 
Not Another Day In Paradise
Ginny On Anchor Watch
The Town Of Carino In Ensenada De Santa Marta
      On 6 Aug, the weather turned and so we motored round in wet and misty weather round to the Ria of  Cedeira which was a beautiful bay looking like a Scottish loch. It was the first rain we had for ages so a good reminder of home. We even had to put on foul weather gear!! The coastline resembled Scotland and the Ria was quite stunning.

True Northern Spain Weather
Sailing Round To     Ria
Scotland? No Northern Spain
Wet Weather Gear!! Still Smiling.
    The town of Cedeira was quite enchanting with a lot of Spanish tourists. We enjoyed a good walk around the old town, fort and lighthouse which provided for some spectacular views. We met a lovable Dutch rogue called Peter who was to provide us with plenty of useful information. We experienced some of the best tapas yet and were able to have a good face time chat with Zoe from another bar on the riverside. All in all, a useful stop. We enjoyed a BBQ with Peter on the last night anchored in this lovely Ria.

Every Town Has Its Own Fancy Band Stand
View Of Entrance To Ria Cedeira
Kisti Two Anchored In  Ria Cedeira.
Could Be Scotland But Much Warmer
Guy The Rock Lizard Taking A Siesta
Entrance To Ria Cedeira
Peter The Dutchman Joins Us For A BBQ
        On 8 Aug, we sailed round to Golfo Artabro which has 4 rias, Ria De El Ferrol which is a main base for the Spanish Navy, Ria De Ares with anchoring and marina, Ria de Betanzos with marinas and the Ria De La Coruna which has a large marina. We sailed mostly with the cruising chute until the wind died down as we entered El Ferrol. The entrance to El Ferrol was very historical with the two forts guarding the narrow entrance but the harbour resembled Portsmouth so we turned around and headed out to Ares where we anchored in windy conditions off the beach. We awoke early the next day and had a most exhilarating sail around the Ria which took us 5 hours putting in our first tacks and avoiding other yachts for the first time since leaving France. We anchored in the same spot again just outside the Marina. Finally, on 11 Aug, we had to give up anchoring and come into La Coruna marina to escape increasing winds and a spot of admin.

Too Many Tapas, BBQ's And Beer Me Thinks!
Sailing On To Coruna With Cruising Chute
The Old For St Felipe Guarding The Entrance To El Ferrol Ria
The Fort Of De La Parma At El Ferrol Entrance
Fort Of San Felipe
Ginny Enjoying Sunset At Ares
English Yacht Anchored In Redes

The Town Of Ares
The Beach Of Ares
Windy Day Anchored Off Ares
Approaching La Coruna Marina
   The northern rias of Spain have proved to be a wonderful and surprising experience. The marinas have been half full and cheaper than France, anchorage opportunities abound, gorgeous beaches a plenty, very friendly and helpful local Spanish, delicious cheap tapas and tasty ice cold beer. We often felt we were the only foreign tourists.

    The slide below shows our route from Viveiri (white cross) to La Coruna, the red boat symbols. you can see all the rias we have explored and thoroughly enjoyed.

Ribadeo To La Coruna