Monday, November 6, 2017

Back to Galicia

Anchored in the Cies

In October, Alex and I had a chance to return to Galicia and go sailing for another week. We'd spent two months there in the Rias Baixas this summer.  The Ryanair flights from Dublin are only twice a week. We flew out on a Thursday morning and were on the boat before noon. It was a foggy, drizzly kind of day and we were wondering what to expect.

Nevertheless, we trudged up the hill from Punta Lagoa to town with our trusty cart and shopping bags to provision. The Froiz was open and the bakery still had one loaf of fresh bread. Yeah!

Walking up the hill above Punta Lagoa

Above the lighthouse in Cies
Our friends Alberto and Jenny Lagos picked us up for dinner in Vigo. Jenny had made reservations at a modern tapas bar A Mordiscos on Cale Real. The food was amazing. The best pulpo we'd had yet, wonderful croquettes, carpaccio de solomi, bocatin pastrami, a tiny burger, and a few other tapas and some albarino from Granbazan. We had a lovely time. They told us about the fires just the week before that torched the Eucalyptus forests just on the fringe of Vigo. They had feared the fire, considered calculated arson by multiple people and fanned by the winds of Hurricane Ophelia, would get to Vigo. Fortunately it didn't. But our deck was covered in scorched pine needles and ash.

The next morning, the fog and drizzle seemed to be setting in so we walked up the hill in the other direction toward the Rúa do Doutor Corbal to explore the area, hoping to find the little church on top of the hill. We didn't but we did find the lighthouse, the beach and what appeared to be an abandoned beach club on the Paseo da Praia da Guía. It was massively constructed and beautifully appointed. We wondered what the story was.  It seems the Club de Remo Virxe da Guia is an active rowing club but you would not know it from the clubhouse.

Amazing clouds over the Ria de Vigo
The following morning, the weather turned gorgeous, warm and sunny. We started the engine, slipped the lines and headed out to Isla Cies. We got permission to spend two nights and this time anchored in the main anchorage off the beach. It was Saturday, we were the only boat there and there were no tourists on the beach. How different from the last time, when millions covered every inch of beach in the summer. Before long several more boats appeared. One Dutch, one French and one Spanish. Quite an international collection for so late in the season. The swell was rather strong and waves were crashing over the causeway on the island. It was a bit bouncy for a dinghy ride. We were too lazy to go ashore and just relaxed on the boat.

The next morning, we were crushed. A ferry arrived and disgorged a load of passengers. Close behind it was a second ferry. We'd missed our chance to have the island to ourselves. Oh well. We went ashore anyway, tied up at the ferry pier and walked to the lighthouse. We saw only 3 people the entire time. The lighthouse was not impressive and neither was the bird spotting shed. So we walked back and searched for octopus in the lagoon. A guy came running up asking how we'd gotten to the island. Seems two journalists had missed their return ferry but had to be back in Vigo within 1.5 hours. It would take us a lot longer than that, so they continued their quest to find a ride before the 6 pm ferry.

Oh what a night in the Cies
We were surprised to see the restaurant open and ordered a couple of beers. But the bathrooms were locked shut. Right. It appeared that these were special tour group ferries. A beautiful evening on board and only one other boat in the harbour followed. Bliss.

The next day we went to Cangas, remaining in the Ria de Vigo, and again had an unusual encounter there. We anchored off the beach well behind another little sailboat. Shortly, he upped anchor and sailed by saying there was too much swell closer in and we were right to anchor where we did. He re-anchored even farther off. His boat was called China Blue Jester. It's a very unique design. Basically a folkboat with cabin, unstayed junk rig, and massive self-steering. He stopped by and we introduced ourselves, but he never gave us his name. Just rowed back and forth talking up a storm. In looking him up, I've discovered his name is Tim McCloy. He had been single-handing in the Rias for quite some time. Told us all about Blondie Haslar and the Jester Challenges he has sailed.

We did shore leave in Cangas, walking the length of the town and stopping into a few shops along the way. It's quite a pleasant town with nice clothing stores, butchers, and restaurants on the street along the marina. Things were closing up for siesta so we went back to the boat. Never saw Tim again.

Pretty French boat in the Cies
Our next stop was Moaña. The anchorage inside the mussel rafts and just outside the marina was quite secure. We went ashore and got to the fresh market (colourfully painted building) in time, buying fresh rye bread, 1/2 kilo of little sardines, and a bit of cheese. Just perfect. Had lunch of beers and tapas and met a British couple who had spent several years living aboard in the marina. They sold their boat and bought a flat because of Brexit. They want to get their residency in before they can't. Said the town was very welcoming.

The next day, since we were just across the Ria from Punta Lagoa, we motored up to see the bridge. We realized they were adding two more lanes in either direction and the very last piece was being hoisted into place that day. What a marvel. The original bridge had two lanes in each direction. The new bridge has two more in either direction outside the original ones. Very cool. Inside the bridge is a very sheltered area that appears to be relatively undeveloped. We saw later from a bus that there are two more marinas inside but in relatively shallow waters.

We had almost no wind all week and only sailed for the couple of hours it took to get from the bridge back to Punta Lagoa. But we had fabulous weather otherwise. About 25C, sunny and no fog and no rain. Now it would be time to attend a conference at the Parador for three days and then do the laundry and put the boat to bed for the winter. It was another fine trip to Galicia.

The lighthouse near Punta Lagoa

Boats anchored off Praia da Guía

Mirador at the bird viewing spot on Cies

Tankers and cargo ships anchored off the Cies

Shorts and T shirts at the end of October. 

Beautiful sunset over the Cies

Praia das rodas

Idyllic anchorage in the off season

Pine and eucalyptus forests

Big swell and surf

Aleria happy in her anchorage

The birds have reclaimed their beaches

Nicely protected from the swell 

Unbelievable weather

Daria is happy

The marina in Cangas 

China Blue Jester in Cangas
Anchorage surrounded by hills

Aleria anchored in Cangas

Mermaid statue in Cangas

The waterfront in Moaña
They are big on art in Moaña

Even the playground is artistically nautical

Art in Moaña

The walk along the marina in Moaña

Tapas in Moaña
The meat stand at market in Moaña

Fresh fish, veg, meats and breads at the market in Moaña

The main street in Moaña

Fountain and park in Moaña

Statues and seating in Moaña overlooking the anchorage

Vigo lit up by the sunset as seen from Moaña

The anchorage at Moaña

New construction in the Ria de Vigo

Bridge being expanded over the Ria de Vigo

Two lanes added in each direction

The last segment being hoisted into place
Sailing back under the bridge

Return trip under the bridge

Sailing to Punta Lagoa

The naval cadets on maneuvers

Ferries plying the Ria de Vigo

Sailing out of Baiona

Baiona from the ramparts of the Parador at Monterreal

The walls of the fort at Monterreal

Dinner at the really interesting restaurant above Punta Lagoa

Fish and chips with albarino - no menu, select your fish from the display

The conference welcome at the Parador
Back on Aleria, sails off, lines secure

Yacht club regatta on Sunday

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