South Past Finisterre
The freaky weather that’s bought searing temperatures to much of Western Europe and the UK has affected us too. It’s been warm but nowhere near the silly heat experienced elsewhere, no, what’s it’s meant for us is that the winds for the past 4/5 days have been predominantly from the South or South West. It’s been no hardship though as it’s kept us holed up in the beautiful Ria de Muros.
We got here on 29th June after an exciting sail around Cape Finisterre. Early in the morning we had to say goodbye to Jake as it was time for him to head home. Given that we arrived in Alderney back on 20th May Jake has been part of our lives for over six weeks and we were sad to see him go, it’s been an absolute pleasure to have him aboard and I for one shall miss his energy and enthusiasm when it comes to sailing. It was a shock to the system to realise that I’d now be the one hauling halyards, sheets and anchor rodes again.
I think it’s fair to say that ‘Gleda’ has worked her magic on him though and after spending many hours reading my old Wharram Design book he’s headed home with plans to build his own Tiki 30. I have no doubt he’ll be following in our wake soon and he’ll always have a berth aboard ‘Gleda’ anytime he wants.
I felt a little apprehensive as we motored away from Camariñas with a forecast of N winds F3-5. Whatever the forecast the winds around Finisterre tend to do their own thing so I knew things could be different once we got out there but with the winds due to move South we had to go.
In the event we did see F6 for a time and it made for some exhilarating downwind surfing, that would have been enough in itself but with the wind came the other Finisterre feature…. fog. We had a couple of hours where visibility was poor, we were averaging over 7 knots and we maxed out at just under 13 knots and unlike our last fast passage through the Chanel du Four there was no tide under us this time!
It was a great relief when the sun finally began to burn through and the fog cleared and there off the port beam lay the famed Cabo Finisterre.
Once round the Cape and closer to land the wind died almost completely, the day became hot and we ended up motor sailing the last 3 hours into the Ria de Muros. As predicted by the pilot book this large open Ria has a much softer feel now that the coast of death lies behind us. From now on as we head South things will gradually get calmer and warmer.
Our first port of call was the town of Muros, a pretty little place nestled under the mountains on the North side of the Ria. With only a small marina I opted to anchor in the Ensenada de Ria, just off the beaches a little way from the town. This proved to be a good move as there was yet another Fiesta of some sort going on with the sounds of fairground rides and music echoing across the bay that night. We were woken at midnight by fireworks which to be fair were pretty spectacular.
We were less impressed by the incredibly loud maroons fired off early the next morning. These Galicians do like their fireworks!
We spent three nights on the hook at Muros with one dinghy trip ashore for a wander about, the highlight of which was a visit to the church of San Pedro de Muros where we climbed the bell tower (I forgot to take the camera!).
Muros is known as ‘a town of sea and salt’ and it seemed everyone fished or gathered shellfish. Early on the first morning we were treated to the surreal sight of hundreds of people wading in the water gathering prawns off the beach.
With the winds still not fair for a passage South we changed the scenery with a 5 mile sail across the Ria to Portosin. We’ve opted for the small marina at the Club Náutico Portosín. It’s a little expensive but may be the last chance for showers, laundry and re-supply for a while. Today we hopped the bus for a short ride into the town of Noia at the head of the Ria. It was interesting to walk around this ancient Galician town with its mix of new and old buildings.
There was also a big indoor market with a floor pretty much dedicated to fish and shellfish. That’s something else the Galicians like.. seafood!
They also like their cafes and so do we. Everytime we’ve ordered a drink we get complimentary nibbles as well. The photo below shows what we got this morning for €3.
The last week has really been another period of adjustment for us. With Jake gone all thought of any sort of timetable has disappeared. For the longest time it seems that there has always been a clear target ahead, leaving Falmouth, getting to Alderney, Oussant, Biscay, Finisterre. That’s all changed, yes we want to get South, yes we want to reach the Algarve and then visit Jacques in Marseille but when that will be who knows? As things stand the winds come back to the North on Sunday and if they do we’ll take advantage, if not we’ll wait. It seems that the freedom we’ve been seeking for so long may well have been found.