When we last updated the blog we had just arrived in Baiona. Movement across the land border between Spain and Portugal was still restricted so we were a little concerned that this might cause some problems but no questions were asked and we are still waiting for our first visit from Spanish Customs. ( We had three visits when travelling in 2019).
Baiona is an important sailing town with a proud heritage. It was the town where Columbus set sail for the New World. The walk around the castle and the view are good over the sea.
We had planned to spend more time here but although the sea was quite calm in the marina the surge was high and the boat was constantly straining against the lines making it very difficult to get a good night’s sleep so after two nights we decided to leave.
Friday the sea had been flat but when we walked around the castle. Saturday morning the sea looked very different, we were in for a rolly ride. We looked at the weather and swells were around 2 to 3 m offshore, we were planning to stay close in and for most of the time would have some protection from the outlying islands. Small boats were heading out for a race and we decided that we could safely leave. (Perhaps that is a sign that the boat wants to leave port and is resenting being tied up?)
It was a short trip, 2 to 4 hours depending on where we decided to stop and the boat rocked from side to side. We could hear the china and glass crashing around below decks. The amazing thing is that there were no breakages ( we have only broken glasses by dropping them never whilst sailing.. So far).. There was no wind most of the time although for a brief time we sailed on head sail only. We then pulled up the main only for the wind to die away.
Our first planned anchorage did not look too well protected in the weather conditions so we carried on to Ria Aldan where we had spent a night on the way south and we knew would be better protected.
We were the only boat anchoring there so plenty of space, we found a good spot away from the rocks and the anchor held first time.
The sea was rolling a bit but the motion was not uncomfortable and we had a good quiet night ( until the anchor alarm went off at 7:30 am.) The boat had swung around and with 40 m of chain out. The settings on the alarm were a bit tight, we were still firmly anchored.
We woke up to a rainy Sunday morning, tea and Radio 4 Sunday service was the order of the day. As the morning went on the weather brightened and we decided to inflate the dinghy and go ashore and explore.
The next morning it was time to move on to the Ria Arousa. The sea was calm now but still little wind. We motored slowly through the Ria enjoying the scenery as we progressed up the Ria
We decided to head for Villagarcia as we needed to do laundry and shopping. Villagarcia is a large town in the rias and clearly a major shopping and commercial area for the region. There is also an active port with a fish processing industry.
We had a small weeping of seawater from the engine’s heat exchanger. Graham had purchased spare gaskets before we set off just in case it got worse. In Cascais he could not loosen the bolts holding it in place and did not want to break a bolt with all the problems that would cause. The weeping was likely to cause further corrosion as small drips of seawater were getting on the electrics and bolts. Trying to turn the bolts with the engine still warm was successful, the cap came off the parts were cleaned up and reassembled. The engine was started and the drip was much worse now! Dismantling the parts again and he could see that the rubber gasket had slipped during reassembly and was cut through. We found a shop locally that could order more replacement parts and we had to wait a few days for them to arrive. The cabin always looks a mess whilst works are underway.
The time was not wasted as we were able to get out and about and explore the area. The views across the Ria are stunning with sandy beaches. There are always small harbours and local landmarks to explore.
Sometimes it is the small things in a place that makes it interesting. We cycled past some grand mansions now well past their prime. One might think looking at the buildings they could make a fine hotel with views of the Ria. That would have been true once but now they overlook the port and the fish processing plant and what the pictures can’t convey is the ever-present smell. I guess these buildings are destined to crumble away.
A little further down the coast road we found a great park, just a pity we did not have the Grandchildren close by to enjoy it with. The local primary school also had a very interesting design, each classroom seems to be linked by a grass-covered tunnel.
The high tech port security caught Graham’s eye. Should I go through the turnstile or hop over the chain?
After 4 days and with the engine fixed we sailed across the Ria to Cabo Cruz, the winds were light but we were not going far so 2.5 knots was OK. We anchored in the bay and took the dinghy ashore. It was siesta time and the town seemed deserted. The town was about 8 miles from Villagarcia but felt much more remote.
After a quiet night, we left to sail to Portosin. There are a number of ways out of the Ria Arousa. A shortcut exists to the north and saves nearly 10 nautical miles on the trip north. The pilot books warn that this is a far weather passage in daylight.
The weather was good and the swell small (less than 1m) so we decided to go through this channel. It was interesting and at times we seemed close to rocks. As we approached the open sea the swell was evident and we had to pay close attention to our course. I really would not have wanted to go through the Canal de Sagres if the weather was anything but light winds and small swells. Rocks and boats do not mix well!
We stayed in Portosin for 4 days. For the first time this season, we meet up with other cruisers for drinks. A boat from the USA heading back to Maine in the next few weeks and an Australian boat. They had travelled from Freemantle to the UK 5 years ago and are now making their way slowly back to Australia. It is always good to hear others stories and share experiences.
In Portosin we got the bikes out and cycled to the Roman fort at Castro de Baroña about 8 miles away and the next day to Noia. We had to cycle on the roads but we found that the Spanish drivers normally kept a good distance away when passing so it felt safe.
The harbour had its own resident dolphin who would swim past the boats quite regularly and keep us entertained. Unfortunately, I did not manage to get a photo.
We have now rounded Cabo Fisterra and are at Carmarinas for a few days. We are halfway along the Costa da Morte (Coast of death). Let’s hope we make it safely along the next half. The weather does not look great for the next few days so we will have time to look around.