From San Vicente de la Barquera we went to Ribadesella which was again a port where we could moore for free at a wall. There would have been a marina but we preferred the free of charge wall. The only „payment“ we had to do was to go through a routine check by the Spanish customs. A very polite officer came on board, checked the ships papers, our passports and then went to the Englishmen who were rafted up (im Päckchen liegend) next to us. Although we were the only boats at the wall we had to raft up because there was only one stair.
The main attraction of Ribadesella are the cave paintings. Within 15 minutes footwalk from our berth (Liegeplatz) we reached the visitor centre. Because we did not have a reservation we had to wait until 14:45 to get a guided tour. Unfortunately the tours were only in Spanish but luckily the exhibition in the museum was in English and Spanish. So we got the main information about the detection of the cave and its importance. It is as important as the cave in Lascaux in France.
From Ribadesella we went to Gijon were we arrived at dark. As usual it was a bit challenging to identify the red and green harbour entrance lights from the as well blinking stop lights on the street behind the harbour. But eventually we arrived there after a calm day with little wind.
In Gijon we stayed a day, met some nice German couple already under way since four years (with winter breaks were they return home to Germany) and also our English friends of Stillblue came there again.
Because we were getting a bit under time pressure we decided to invest a little bit into diesel and go 90 miles in one go to the Ria de Viveiro. It was again a combination of sailing and motoring because the wind was quite weak. But we were rewarded by a clear sky with all the stars and during the day dolphins came up to the boat. The best was a dolphin that found us in the Ria de Viveiro when we checked out a possible anchor bight. Asa managed almost to touch it because it was rubbing its back and belly against our boat. She even got her bikini on to go swimming with the dolphin but by the time she was ready it had gone.
We shortly went into the marina to shop and after two hours went out again to our anchor spot. It was still early afternoon and we rowed to the beach.
When we were sitting on the rocks on the beach having a coffee and some biscuits we saw the dolphin swimming very close to the beach. Now Asa couldn´t be stopped to go swimming with it. And she went to it and it got so close that she could even touch it!
When we rowed back to our boat we a saw little motor boat close by and were wondering what they are doing so close to SeaBelow. It turned out that they were watching the dolphin how it was playing with our anchor line by rubbing its back against it while swimming along the anchor line either bottom to top or vice versa.
We spent a quiet night at anchor there and the next morning we sailed to the Ria de Cedeira where we again anchored close to the fishing harbour. Under a clear sky we had dinner.
On Wednesday morning we lifted the anchor and sailed to La Coruna. At first the wind was not very strong but it developed slowly more and more and finally reached 4-5 Beaufort. We arrived in the bight of La Coruna, got into sight the oldest and still used light house, the Torre de Hercules, which was already built by the romans.
The harbour master guided us to a berth close to the washing rooms and the marina is close to the old city. In the marina we soon spotted some other cruising
yachts like us. The Swedish boat Thalassa with three young Swedes on board, Emma with a couple from Norway and some more German and Norwegian boats.
As it was Bernds last evening we went to the town to eat. We found a place serving mainly tortillas and Asa and I ordered one each, expecting something different from what we finally got. It was basically eggs with potatoes, tasting like Bauernfrühstück. It was so much that we could not finish it and asked for doggy bags. Later we saw that people usually share such a dish among several people. That made perfect sense to us.
Afterwards we went to a different bar where we met the Norwegians also celebrating the last evening of one of their crew. It turned out that he was on the same flight as Bernd the next morning at 7am.
During the day I visited the flat where Pablo Picasso lived for some years from 1891 until 1894 when he was 11 to 14 years old and his father was a professor at the nearby art school. In the house the flat is still in its original state from the 1890ies with the bed rooms, living room, kitchen, bathroom and saloon. During this time he already started to paint.
The Norwegians invited us to a barbecue for the next evening and Asa asked if we could bring the Swedes as well. So the next evening we had a barbecue on their board and Matthias arrived from Hamburg during the evening. After his arrival the party went on until 3 am, at least for Matthias and me, the others carried on much longer.
On Friday morning Matthias and I visited the old Roman lighthouse.
Because we were determined to sail on that day we left at 4:30 pm and headed for the only 12 miles further Caion in oder to arrive there before sunset at 8:15 pm. Due to calm we arrived there just bevore sunset. It is a tiny little harbour with quite a lot of swell. All the fishing boats were gone so we just picked up a mooring. The worrying thing was that the water was quite shallow and I was a little bit nervous whether we would also have enough water under the keel at low water especially with the swell that intruded into the harbour. But everything went well and no fisherman waked us up during the night asking us to leave his mooring. Because it was late and the whole situation was not very inviting we did not go ashore.
The next stop was Camarinas in a ria as the fjords are called here in Galicia. There another crew member was waiting for us, Marcos from Madrid. He was already on the pontoon when we arrived and helped us with the mooring. We walked through the littel village which made all in all the impression of being a poor place.
But we probably found the best restaurant of the place, the marina bar. Usually such places are not famous for their food but the owner was very welcoming, speaking fluent German because he had worked 19 years in Switzerland and he served us a locally caught and freshly prepared fish. Before the fish was prepared he showed us the complete fish. We even had our own dining room. Actually it was the main meeting hall of the local water sports club but is was furnished with dinner tables and we were the only guests in this room. We had asked for a quiet corner because the bar room was packed with people and a TV blarring.
On Sunday we sailed to Ribeira. It was an excellent day with mostly sun, a good wind from the right direction but also needed because we had to go 50nm.
In Ribeira we anchored off the beach next to the marina. When we arrived just before sunset we had a moderate wind blowing from Land which died around 10pm. But we all woke up during the night at around 4 am because the wind was now blowing strong onto land and producing short steep waves. The anchor was holding perfect so there was no urgent need to do something, it was just a bit uncomfortable also worrying. We tried to get a little bit more sleep unitl sunrise so that we could move to the marina.
So we did after sunrise. But it was an awful day with heavy rain and strong wind and we were stuck to the boat. In the afternoon the wind eased and we took the chance to walk around the little town. It was not much to see and one of our main interests was the coach station because we were planning to go to Santiago de Compostela the next day.
So we did and it was a very good decision, Santiago de Compostela is a great place even in rain. We got a private tour through the university because some parts of the normal tour were not accessible and no other tourists for the tour anyway.
From the roof top of the faculty of Geography we got a superb view over the city and we even got to see the so called American Library which was initially said to be closed.
And also the actual library where the students were busily working.
From Ribeira we went to the Ria de Aldan just north of Vigo were we again anchored over night.
From there we went around the corner to the Isle of Cies which is part of the Spanish Atlantic National Park.
One needs a permit to go there by boat and thanks to our Spanish crew member Marcos we had already gotten via telephone the information what information we needed to hand in. It were the boat driving license, the ID of the skipper and the registration paper of the boat. Then a form had to be downloaded, printed out, filled in by hand. So the printer I had bought came in very handy. And thanks to modern communication possibilities we could do it all via smart phone while lying at anchor. Marcos took photographs of all the documents with his phone, sent it via e-mail ot the national park administration and the next morning he called them. And within 2 hours we got a e-mail back with the permission to go to the island.
When we arrived we saw a beautiful beach and us being the only yacht. We rowed ashore and took a two and a half hour hike up the mountain to the light house and back. Besides the park rangers we did not see anybody else.
But when we came back to the beach we saw three other yachts sailing into the bight. One Swedish and a German boat that were travelling together and a Spansich yacht. So Before we left there were 4 boats at anchor in off-off-season on a remote island!
We then motored to Vigo where we went out for dinner to celebrate the last day of Matthias stay on board. We had a plate of seafood for 4 persons. Most of us ate for the first time several of the food, e.g. crabs, langustines and certain shells.
When we came back and we were asking for the toilets of the yacht harbour we met the crew of a German and of a Norwegian boat the happened to be in the other basin. We chatted with them for a while but met them again the next day.
The yacht harbour at the Real Club Nautico is really good because it next to the old town, has a sauna and swimming pool that are included in the harbour fees.
Here I found the time to repair the Windpilot self-steering system. Matthias had brought a new central axis because in the old one the inner threads (Gewinde) of the central holding bolts were broken, another damage caused by the accident in Eastbourne already back in July. Thanks to the reliable, quick and friendly service of Peter Förthmann of Windpilot I got the spare parts prompt and easy.
We spent two days there. The weather worsened while we were there and for the whole week a southerly wind was forcasted. Everybody was discussing whether to go or not.
We decided to go on Sunday afternoon over night to Leixoes near Porto. As it turned out it was the perfect decision because we had a wind of 4 to 5 Bft all through the night from north blowing us south. A little while after we had arrived in the middle of the night at 4 am the wind started to turn to west and rain started. We went to sleep and got woken up by the wind howling in the rigg. But that turned out to be only the start. During mid day it must have been in gusts around 9 to 10 Bft. This was the time when Julia arrived to sail with us for some time. The boat was heeling (krängen) so much that the fenders were to low and we got some marks on the boat side from a nail sticking out of the pontoon. So we adjusted the fenders and also moved the boat to the other side of the box. That way it was blown away from the pontoon and no damage could be done by the pontoon.
In the evening the heavy rain stopped and the wind eased and we four, Asa, Julia, Marcos and I, went to nearby Porto and had a very nice dinner to celebrate Marcos last evening on board.