Speedwell of Rhu Ship's Log

30th of April to 11th of May 2018 - Ria de Arousa

Position Map
Crew : Andy and Helen
Destinations : Puerto de Escarabote, Punta Caballo, Pobra do CaramiƱal, Puerto de Xufre, Rianxo, Vilagarcia de Arousa and Punta Da Casilla.
Distance : 78 miles

We left our berth in Baiona around 0930 with the aim of making a rendez vous with two other Oyster 435s, Modus Vivendi and N'Tiana. It was cold and grey, however the skies slowly lightened up and the winds were almost in our favour. A couple of tacks got us past the Islas de Cies. As we altered course to head up into the Ria de Arousa there was an ominous black sky ahead of us. We quickly put a reef in the genoa and took down the mainsail, donning waterproofs. For about 15 minutes the hills around us disappeared and it started to rain heavily. The blue sky and clouds gradually started to appear ahead of us and the wind dropped as we headed up to the top of the Ria through the viveiros. We found a spot to anchor in calm waters outside of the fishing buoys, off the beach at Escarabote. We had a very quiet peaceful evening, just a few fishing boats came by and a rowing skiff came out for an evenings training session.

 

We were up and ready to weigh anchor by 0930 the following morning, preparing to meet N Tiana and Modus Vivendi just outside Xufre for a photo shoot. Andy very quickly discovered a problem as he started to weigh anchor, calling me to take a look and indicating we may be some time. Despite having anchored well clear of the fishing buoys our anchor chain had clearly ended up lying on a long net. This had wound itself around the chain pulling out either side. There was no possibility of unravelling it without major surgery. Andy cut the rope and net on either side of the chain, tying it back together before dropping it down behind the chain. The rest of the net was eventually removed from the chain and we dropped the baby squid back to survive another day.

 

Fortunately it didn't take too long to sort out and we were ready and waiting when N'Tiana and Modus Vivendi came out of the Puerto O Xufre. We were greeted by a few large dolphins making their way slowly by, but paying no attention to us. Unfortunately the gentle breeze that got us clear of the viveiros had disappeared by the time the we were ready to have our pictures taken. However Pete and his drone were able to take some lovely, well choreographed shots of the 3 boats against the blue sky and mountains. He managed to retrieve his drone without mishap and we waved farewell to N'Tiana, Pete and Miranda as they headed out of Ria de Arousa to catch the wind across Biscay. We then motored into the small bay on the north west of the Isla de Arousa and anchored behind the lighthouse. After lunch we rowed the tender ashore and walked around the rocky shoreline to explore San Xulian, followed by a beer.

We woke the following morning to rain and grey skies. We motored into the wind back across the Ria to shelter from the westerly wind and to reprovision from the large supermarket near the beach. We decided to wait until the following day for the weather to improve before going ashore for groceries. However, we did brave the rain and popped across in the tender to catch up briefly with Bob and Maureen who had arrived on the pontoon in the afternoon.

The following day after stocking up on food and drink we headed over to Xufre. We had intended to raft up on Modus Vivendi who had gone back to her winter home that morning. However, a boat had just been launched in the boatyard and wasn't quite ready to leave their berth rafted up on Modus. There was a mooring buoy next to the dock so we took that. It was pretty windy so even when the space next to Modus was free we opted to remain where we were and row across to the pontoon. Modus Vivendi had newly painted shiny topsides so we didn't want to risk scratching these. We had a lovely evening with Maureen and Bob and a couple of their friends. Andy had his first outing playing his harmonica in public. Fortunately the public was just us and a group of chaps playing guitars with the owner of the pizza restaurant, who played his accordion. Of course I had to have a go on that!

A slow start the following morning saw us heading north to shelter from the northerly winds in the lee of Rianxo Harbour breakwater. Here Andy installed our new fresh water pump, which had been delivered to Modus. This took him the best part of the day but finally we have stopped leaking our fresh water stores into the bilges. The main draw back is that it has a very deep sounding motor and every time we use the water we think a large boat is about to come alongside.

The weather was set to improve, so the following day we sailed down to Pobra do Caramiñal to spend a few days in the marina. We were able to get all of our laundry washed and reprovision with more food and drink and water supplies. We found a map of the area, however there were a couple of great way marked walks. We opted for the 18km walk up a gorge to the Piscinas naturals del Rio Pedras, continuing up the waterfall to a ridge above the town. This gave us views south as far as the Islas de Cies and north to Cape Finisterre. We took in a few extra viewpoints and diversions, eventually finding our way back down to the beach. It was a fantastic warm, sunny couple of days. Although the beach was a little rough underfoot the water was clear, so it was another great swimming opportunity.... but still too cold for Andy,

   

After 3 nights in the marina we were keen to get out to anchor again. The wind was forecast to be north east or north west, which is pretty usual around here. It was suitable for us to be on the east of the Ria so we sailed under the cloudy skies across to Vilagarcia de Arousa. The wind was perfect and after 2 hours and 3 tacks we arrived near the beach well away from the posts marking the clam beds. The sun came out and we both got on with a few repairs on the boat. We decided a train ride would be fun and, since we hadn't managed to get to Pontevedra last year, this is where we headed the following day after taking Speedwell into the marina. It was only 20 minutes on the train so we had plenty of time for a wander and lunch before returning back to Vilagarcia where we had an early evening walk.

   

The next day we anchored near to the Islas Cortegada, another island which is part of the National Marine Park. We had our visit booked so we took the tender ashore and had the whole island to ourselves. I'm not sure anyone was particularly interested in us and no-one was there to check our papers.

 

Our last couple of nights in this Ria were spent at anchor sheltering from the wind. We took the tender ashore for a walk along the coast and to pick up some more provisions at Puerto Cruz.

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