Sunday, 12 August 2012

Wendy’s Diary 11 August 2012 – Summer!

We had bumped into some locals on the Saturday evening whom we had come to know quite well, Ortiguiera was in mini fiesta so was fairly bustling and we sat chatting until around 1am waiting for the tide to turn. So after 5 weeks we finally left Ortiguiera as planned in the early hours of the Sunday morning and spent what was left of the night at anchor at Carino. This made use of the outgoing tide and allowed us to get away on the Sunday with favourable winds.

With the memory of the journey to Ortiguiera sneaking to mind, one of my worst in terms of sea sickness, I was determined that I wanted to have a good sail for a change. We knew the wind was favourable, the swell reasonable and the weather warm and sunny. We also knew that we were due to go past the spectacular cliffs we had visited in the car with Philippe and Annie last month so I wanted to be on form. On turning in at about 4am, I affixed a seasickness plaster behind my ear to let my body get a build up of the stuff before we set sail. I don’t normally do this as I don’t like the side effects of dry mouth, blocked nose etc, but I gave it a go. I am pleased to say it worked and we had a fabulous sail (motor sail to be precise) around the coast and decided to bypass Cediera and head straight for the Ria at Ferrol.   I was happy to cook some lunch on route and by late afternoon with a full battery and the engine running decided to bake a cake..a far cry from lying wretchedly in the after-cabin waiting for the journey to be over!

Freya Frey anchored in the Ferrol Ria. Does the water look good or what??

One of the anchors that held the chains across the river. 
The Ria becomes quite narrow about a mile inland, with old gun emplacements and forts lining the banks. There is one point where a set of anchors (about 12 feet long) on either side of the river held a chain across the channel making sea access in wartime a very dangerous and somewhat foolhardy business. The ria then opens up again with the commercial port of Ferrol on one side and a very pretty bay adjacent to the smaller town of Mugardos on the opposite side. It was in this bay that we finally dropped anchor next to a very narrow but lovely white sandy beach.

Part of the ruins of Castillo De San Felipe
We spent a week around the Ria, swapping one evening to the north side of the river to anchor out of the wind, under the shadow of one of the forts. The following morning we dinghied ashore and had a wander around the 16th century Castela de San Felipe. After paying the 1.10 euros entrance fee we were free to wander at leisure around the ruins, and spent a good couple of hours doing just that.

Inside the castle - I liked the angles of the arches in a diagonal line.
A very English bar next to the quay at Ferrol
On another day we went into the small leisure marina in Ferrol. The pilot book suggests no room for visitors other than tied up along the walls, with the risk of ferries whizzing past on a regular basis. As it was, a local pointed out a disused lifeboat and recommended we tie up alongside it. After doing so John checked in the Port office and they confirmed that it was no problem to stay there, if we stayed the night there would be a small charge (they weren’t sure how much – Spanish Marinas either seem to charge a flat rate regardless of the size of boat, or multiply your length by beam to get square metres and then multiply that by any number that happens to spring to mind).

We got the bikes out and cycled to Lidl’s – the first one we have been to in Spain – over 3 months without finding one!  We also called in at “Brikoking” (I loved the name, it reminded me of Burger king, but was as the name suggests a DIY store) to buy a new drill as the old one died whilst John was adjusting something on the anchor roller. As we left, the rain started to fall, so we stopped off at a nearby hypermarket to get some lunch and hide from the rain. It progressively got heavier and eventually John bought some dustbin sacks which we turned into makeshift rain coats for the ride back. With the two of us and the shopping wrapped in blue polythene, we were not at our most trendy and attracted more than one surprised glance from locals!

A couple of stall holders in medieval dress at the market in Ferrol

The entertainers.
We offloaded bikes and shopping and went back into town for a spot of internet access whilst the weather was poor. Later in the day we explored the Medieval Market that was visiting for a few days. Most of the stall holders were dressed in some form of medieval outfit, even if they were selling much more modern goods. There was a collection of birds of prey on display, some items recovered from a torture chamber and a some entertainers who played music and did generally larked around in a medieval sort of way. It was interesting to see, but we went back empty-handed to the boat and cast off to avoid paying whatever nightly fee the port might decide to charge. We anchored to the north of Ferrol, in a little-used bay which was peaceful and flat, away from the commercial ships which create a rather a lot of chop.

Whilst the anchorage at Mugardos was lumpy from passing traffic, it was also far prettier and the water was very clear and good for swimming.  We spent a few more days there, meeting several other cruisers, including a French couple we had met in Ortiguiera. The weather was getting warmer and the rain that fell in Ferrol was short-lived and the skies stayed blue.

Dolphins...unbelievably hard to catch on film.
Ares was our next port of call, a mere 8 miles around the coast without going out into the ocean proper, so we made use of the outgoing tide to leave Ferrol and head around to the next bay. On the way we saw dolphins again, for the first time this year. They didn’t come and play around the boat as they had in France last year, but they did at least show off a bit jumping out of the water not too far off. Ares is a holiday town with very large beach, wifi provided free by the local council that was accessible from the boat, and sufficient shops for our needs. The Spanish were here in hoards for their summer holidays and for the first time there were lots of other sailing boats, something we just hadn’t seen along most of our journey this year. In addition to the sailing boats there were also a large number of motor yachts buzzing around, making the sea somewhat lumpy. It took until after 9pm for the chop to settle down, but once it did the anchorage was charming.

Stopping for a drink at the rather busy anchorage at Redes
A local with a tiny but beautiful day-sailboat told us quite emphatically that the next bay along was far prettier that Ares, so after a couple of nights we sailed along to Redes. The weather was glorious and for anyone reading this who knows Plymouth, it was like Kingsand and Cawsand on a sunny Sunday in summer. It was heaving with boats which we had to weave in and out of, before finding a space big enough to drop the anchor. It was very pretty; we went for a stroll around the town and stopped off for a drink overlooking the bay before going back to the boat. It appears very much the place for all boat owners to stop off for refreshments, be they on jet skis or large yachts.   With so many boats buzzing around it wasn’t a comfortable anchorage so we headed off again in search of somewhere more sheltered.

My favourite building at Redes...

....and John's
Having ruled out a potential anchorage after a fairly close inspection of a not-high-enough overhead bridge, we moved on to the port of Sada, where just past the marina it is possible to anchor in quite sheltered waters.  With a large supermarket at the water’s edge and the town in fiesta, this seemed a sensible spot for a couple of days.  The weather remained hot and sunny and I took to swimming laps of the boat as a way measuring how far I was going, as I would like to lose some weight and this is enjoyable exercise.

A French family who had anchored nearby joined us for aperitifs. With 2 very small children and a third on the way, they had just sailed from L'Orient, across the Bay of Biscay, landing about 30 miles along the coast from Sada. They have my utmost respect. They were equally impressed that it has taken us 4 months to cover a similar distance (as the crow flies). A couple of evenings we went ashore to see what was happening with the Fiesta: it was lovely to take in the atmosphere in a town so alive and vibrant. This is very definitely a tourist destination for the Spanish, as we haven’t seen or heard another English voice at all.

The "Tall Ship's Youth Trust" anchored near Sada - at night it was lit up like the proverbial xmastree.

This morning with the weather forecast suggesting strong south westerlies we have crossed the bay to hide in a little river directly opposite Sada. It has clouded over a bit but is still very warm, and the wind hasn’t yet quite reached that forecast. We have found another lovely spot in which to spend a lazy day. For the last couple of weeks I have felt like I am on holiday, rather than just not working and living in a foreign country. It is rather pleasant and I could easily become accustomed to a life of sunbathing/reading/swimming J.  

No comments:

Post a Comment