Saturday, 28 July 2012

Ria De Arosa

Monday 23rd July

We left Muros at  09.45 in sunshine and a gentle NW F3, poled out genoa, set the mizzen and full main. As we turned SE to round Cape Corrubedo guess what, dolphins around the boat again! Only a few this time and they didn’t stay for long but always a welcome sight.

An interesting observation on these coastal passages is that with changing winds, gusts around the headlands, plus the swell ‘Arry sometimes has difficulty keeping up. We have resorted to the old electric Autohelm on these occasions. I hope this keeps working until we can get the tiller pilot working with ‘Arry’s tiller.

A gentle sail past the Isla Salvora and into the Ria de Arosa. As we rounded the island the evening breeze kicked in and we had a very fast sail all the way to the anchorage off the beach in Ribeira. Once again we had some of the big dolphins near the boat as we were deciding where to anchor.
The bay with our anchorage near the other yacht

Ribeira gets a bad press in the pilot book and Lonely Planet, however we cannot comment as we didn’t go ashore but the anchorage at the eastern end of the beach was beautiful. A backdrop of beach, sand dunes, a campsite among the trees, a mini island sheltering you from the east and inside a small offshore reef was in marked contrast to the commercial port at the other end of the bay (where the marina was).
View from the cockpit with local visitors

We thought we might have another swim as it was quite warm, but the water was much colder than in Ria de Muros. The beach below the campsite was full of people, but not that many swimming but it may be warmer in the shallows – although 30m from the beach we were only in 5m of water! So we had a pleasant evening watching all the activity on the beach which stretched all round the bay. 

Tuesday 24th July

We awoke to thick fog! 30m from the beach and we couldn’t see it! The swell had picked up and we were bouncing around as though we were at sea. So our planned dingy ride ashore was abandoned.

 Still we only had a short distance to go to our destination today. Vilagarcia marina is our destination to collect our package, a journey of about 12 miles so we will wait until the fog clears. Fortunately the fog was starting to clear by lunchtime so we set off. There was even enough wind to sail all the way.
Isla Rua

Sailing up the ria we cannot help notice the huge numbers of mussel rafts, this is mussel farming on an industrial scale. A pity we don’t have better visibility as this looks a really interesting ria with many islands and some interesting pilotage among the mussel rafts, islets and rocks! With many places to visit you could spend a week or more here (as long as you don’t mind mussel rafts wherever you look). This Ria is about twice the size of the Solent with many anchorages, harbours and towns to visit.
Mussel boat
The Package

This has been alluded to for some time so we must now explain. For the mariners reading this you will know that getting weather forecasts is very important, for the unknowing, trust me, we sailors worry about the weather more than anything.

Before we set off the big debate was how we were going to get weather forecasts when at sea. In harbour it is easy, there is often the web or it is posted by the harbour office. At sea it is a different matter.

On the last boat we had a piece of kit called a Navtex receiver. This is left switched on and receives the weather and navigation warnings broadcast by the various coastal stations around the world. You just programme in the stations local to where you are and it stores these messages for you to read at your convenience. This boat didn’t have Navtex and I was persuaded that the Navtex function could be covered by a short wave radio connected to a laptop PC.  Not so easy as the computer has to be on when the stations are broadcasting and the radio has to be on and tuned in, plus on a bouncing boat a laptop is not easy to secure.

We have abandoned this approach and purchased from MESL in Bristol, UK a Navtex receiver. This was shipped to the marina in Vilagarcia. It was not there on arrival but was delivered later in the afternoon and brought round to the boat by the marina manager after we returned from a walk around the town. It is now fitted and working so gives us another level of confidence in our weather forecasts.
Marina entrance

The town of Villagarcia is mostly modern but with a few interesting old buildings here and there. For shopping it would be excellent with pleasantly laid out pedestrianised streets and a big shopping centre.

There is a good chandlery at the marina, wifi, no laundry but a nice upstairs cafe serving especially large measures of Larios, Spanish gin. Along the harbourside are several bars and restaurants and a cinema. Madagascar 3 in Spanish would probably have been quite entertaining after the gin.
View from the bar!

The next day was very foggy again, so Richard fitted the Navtex and I spent nearly all day doing pictures and the blog.

Tomorrow we are off to the Ria de Pontevedra intending to anchor at Combarro which is an old town famous for it's horreos and Pontevedra highly recommended by various sources. 


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