|A Pobra de Caraminal from the Ria|
We sailed off in light mist, fog and showers to the Ria de Arousa, rounding Cabo Corrubedo and bypassing Illa de Salvora to the next stop on the ICC Rias Baixas Rally, A Pobra do Caraminal. We weren't sure whether they'd have room for us, so we anchored and went ashore. The anchorage was very protected in about 30 feet of water. It was quite an international gathering there with Dutch, French, Swedish, Irish and Spanish vessels anchored nearby.
We had a free BBQ at the marina, with free wine and beer, and got a free copy of the book A Galician in Ireland by Placido Castro who visited the Blasket Islands in the 1920s. If was a truly delightful account of his visit and beautifully written. His family are trying to rekindle the cultural ties between Galicia and Ireland.
We took a bus tour to the wine country and stopped at a sacred monastery along the way, Mosteiro de Armenteira. Peter Haden told us a story associated with it. A soldier got tired of fighting and decided to become a monk. He used his fortune to establish a monastery and became the Abbott. One day, while he was sitting in the garden, a bird sat on his shoulder. At that moment, he became so content --because he suddenly realized what heaven would be like -- that he fell asleep. When he awoke, things looked a little different. He approached the monastery and a monk opened the door. "Who are you?" asked the soldier Abbott. "I'm the Abbott," replied the other. After some discussion, the soldier Abbott realized he'd been asleep for 300 years, such was the strength of his contentment. There is a church and a cloister now occupied by nuns who tend to the place. It is a very special place for Galicians.
This region is the center of the albarino grape and wine production and there are numerous wineries one can visit and sample the local wines. We visited Granbazan, the largest of the regional producers; we were fascinated by the way of training vines to grow horizontally on trellises about 6 feet off the ground. It provides maximum exposure to sun and keeps the vines off the wet earth while providing ventilation below. The grapes are harvested by hand from underneath. They made a big deal about being close to the sea - 2 km - with the salt air infusing their wines with a special salt touch. That was good to hear. Read more here.
We also had about 200 of us there for a 5 course lunch. Each lunch was paired with the different wine, not all of which were great but one was outstanding. Tapas to start, a shellfish ceviche, then a typical Galician pancake stuffed with langoustines. We were of course stuffed by then but it was by no means over. The main dish was roast pork with potatoes and peas; finally a flan and ice cream accompanied by coffee and liqueurs. We were all feeling happy after four hours of food and wine and singing "que sera sera".
|Five course meal at Granbazan|
I was sitting next to Peter from s/v Zig Zag. He made his fortune in jelly beans. It was a great story. He and his wife, who was originally from Oregon, would be leaving their boat, a Beneteau 50, in Xufre, which we were thinking about, too.
Connected to the mainland by causeway is Illa Arousa. We visited the haulout facilities at Xufre where the owner, Nito, is a yachtsman himself. The facilities were pretty good and well priced, but there's no marina so you can only haul out. Their tiny dock was full. There's really no anchorage except across the inlet along the wooded point. We liked Nito and we saw Jaime Young who was there working on Killary Flyer and Tara was being repaired. We moved on.
The anchorage off the beach at Punta Caballo was a nice getaway with most visitors leaving by nightfall. The lighthouse is now a high end restaurant. To get there, one must negotiate between mussel rafts but that's no problem. We also stopped in Villagarcia but didn't stay. The restaurant right on the harbour was very nice, but the pontoons really needed work.
|The marina in Caraminal|
|Playground in the waterfront park|
|Getting water from the town well|
|The walled grounds of private estates|
|Restaurants on the waterfront|
|View from the anchorage|
|Mosteiro de Armenteira|
|An ancient wine press?|
|Mosteiro de Armenteira church|
|Cafe in Meis|
|New scallop shell signs for the camino|
|The cemetery at Meis|
|Grapevines at Granbazan|
|The balcony at Granbazan|
|Kids walking along the beach|
|The beachfront in Caraminal, Gadis supermarket on the right|
|The beach and anchorage|
|Friends from Ireland|
|At Nito's yard in Xufre|
|Festival days in Xufre|
|The anchorage at Illa Arousa|
|Leaving the Ria|