We left Muros in a stiff breeze with a bit of a swell rolling in from the Atlantic but the wind dropped rapidly so we had to rely on the engine again. Despite that, it was an easy run in bright sunshine, so perhaps we had finally left the poor weather behind us. En-route we encountered some dolphins, which stayed with us for a while, the first that we
had seen since crossing Biscay. We also heard a “Mayday relay” from Vigo Radio, reporting a sinking sailing boat and asking for any nearby boats to assist. We checked the reported position on the chart, but the incident was over a hundred miles from us so there was nothing that we could do. Six and a half hours later we had covered the 38 miles to Baiona which was to be our last stopping place before Portugal. We moored up on the arrival pontoon which was around 200 metres from the shore so, in the absence of any guidance, we moved closer in to a much more convenient spot, behind “Riff Raff” a boat that we had previously encountered at Camariñas. They were planning on heading for the Canaries and joining the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC). After sampling the wares at a local hostelry we ate on the boat and resolved to spend the next day exploring Baiona.
10th August 2015 Baiona
Baiona turned out to be a fascinating place and, like many of the places we had stopped at, steeped in history. The town had been the first port of call for the Pinta, one of Columbus’s ships returning from his “discovery” of America. We went to stock up with groceries from Columbus Stores and saw Columbus’s bike and also went looking for a chandlery. Yacht chandlers seem to be pretty thin on the ground in Spain but we eventually found one that was open. It turned out that everything was closing early as it was a public holiday. Apart from the groceries we bought some new fender socks, a replacement light for one of the horseshoe buoys which had split and a doormat for the boat! In the evening, we walked up Columbus’s steps, (all 131 of them, we counted) to Columbus’s hamburger joint which was shut. However, the views were stunning so we decided to take some photographs. Unfortunately, the camera was on the boat so we walked back down the steps (still 131 of them) to the boat collected the camera and walked all the way back up again, by which time the restaurant was open. All the exercise was well worth it for the great views and a fantastic hamburger.
Synergy moored at Baiona
Baiona MarinaBaiona Marina from Columus’s Hamburger Bar
We left Camariñas early as the weather was fine and we made good speed motor siling for the first hour or so. However, the wind dropped just north of Cape Finisterra so we motor sailed with the genoa for the remainder of the route to Muros. We had our fair share of Atlantic swell on the beam, but it was a long swell so not particularly uncomfortable. Finally we passed the cape, south of which the weather was going to improve (Honest!) As often seemed the case, the wind picked up as we reached Muros making the arrival on the pontoon tricky. Shortly after we arrived Pedro, who was mentioned in the pilot book, arrived and was just as helpful as the literature led us to believe. He recommended that we moved into the inner harbour as we had moored in the fishing boat area and he said we should have a rough time there with boats coming and going all night. We took his advice and he helped us to move to a better berth and close the facilities. Muros is a lovely town and the Marina office provided all we could wish for, including a small, secluded garden, great showers and free coffee making facilities. The only downside was that we arrived in the middle of a rock concert with the accompanying musical diarrhoea playing at maximum volume until two in the morning.
Post Finisterre celebration
Post Finisterre celebration
8th August 2015 Muros
Morning broke to another windy day, but at least the music, if you could call it that, had stopped. We weren’t going anywhere in the conditions, but we were not too disappointed as we wanted to do more exploring. We wandered around the very pretty old town and stopped for lunch in a café. The town was busy with rock fans, although they must all have had cloth ears as the music was diabolical! During lunch we were entertained by a pipe band, (Celtic tradition is strong in Galicia) and followed the antics of an inebriated Zebra who was extremely entertaining!
In the afternoon we clambered up the hill to take a look at the church and explored the town. Returning to Synergy in the evening, we discovered that the wind had taken its toll of Jac’s towel which we had left drying on the guardrail, but it had now disappeared.
After a very rocky and disturbed night we weighed anchor at 0930 and slipped up the Ria planning to reach Muros, past Cabo Finisterre where we were hoping for better weather. As usual it was not to be. The wind and swell again increased, but worse still, a sea fog came in which cut visibility down to less than half a mile with the view ahead even more obscured. With great bravery we ran away! As we ad only just passed the entrance to Ria in which Camariñas was located we turned around and made for there. As we cleared the open sea both the visibility improved and we arrived in the marina, built into the fishing harbour in bright sunshine. We were so glad that we had done so as Camariñas turned out to be a delightful spot. It is a very small but very well run marina operated by the local yacht club, the Club Nautica. The staff couldn’t be more helpful and the club restaurant was very good. We decided to look around the town and dined on octopus and patatas bravas at a waterfront restaurant. We were so taken with Camariñas that we wanted to stay another night and explore further. However, the following day looked good and with our recent experiences of poor weather, we decided to press on and try to round Cabo Finisterre where, we were assured, the weather would improve.
Day dawned bright and sunny and the swell had eased so we planned to run to Camariñas in the South Spanish Rias. (Ria-ocean inlet a bit like a Scottish sea loch). However, the swell and wind picked up and a front arrived with driving rain so once again we changed plans and made our way to an anchorage in the little fishing port of Corme. After the battering in the swell we were pretty tired and couldn’t be bothered to go ashore in the tender. Besides which, we hadn’t used the anchor much and didn’t want to risk it dragging with no-one on board. Curry for dinner on the boat and hoping for better weather in the morning.
Finally a decent day. Together with the other boats who had been holed up in Viveiro, notably “Patience” and “Penelope III,” who we would encounter later, Jac and I took Synergy down the channel and the Ria out to sea. In a favourable wind, force 5 occasionally 6, we ran the 57 miles to A Coruña in just over 8 hours, sailing most of the way and touching well over 7 knots at times. Mooring up in the marina we were greeted by an Irish chap who worked there. Weird! The marina was well founded and run in a big sheltered harbour. We were making progress again! In the evening we took a stroll into town and found a great, but rather expensive restaurant just off the Plaza Maria Pita, a very attractive square where we dined on Paella and wine, Jac’s favourite.
Impressive Harbour Control Office at A Coruna
Back streets of Coruna
Church in Coruna
Plaza Maria Pia by night
Plaza Maria Pia by day
2nd August 15 A Coruña
We decided to spend the day in A Coruña doing some jobs around the boat. Somewhere to the south of the city a serious forest fire was burning and a plume of smoke was rising. In the afternoon a succession of Canadair water bombers arrived, scooping water from outside the harbour and later from within to drop onto the fire which seemed to have been extinguished by the following day.
3rd August 15 A Coruña
The weather had deteriorated once again so we stayed put and decided to go hunting for a yacht chandler. We assembled the bikes and made our way across the city to catch the shop just before it closed for lunch. Having purchased some stainless steel screws, some water purifier and a new kill chord for the outboard motor. After completing some boat maintenance work and having an evening meal on the boat we turned in for a very rocky night as the swell was penetrating deep inside the harbour.
4th August 15 A Coruña
Day dawned with the Atlantic crashing over the massive sea wall and we were not brave enough to venture out in those conditions. Another day was spent sightseeing and trying to sort out a Spanish mobile phone to try to cut the costs of phoning the UK. Rather than slog back into town we thought we would leave it until we reached Bayona further on.