We left La Coruna on the morning of the 26th August and headed across the sea a whole 10 miles to the Ria de Ares! The forecast was for strong winds from the NE (force 6/7) so not ideal for going further south or round Cape Finisterre. The Ria de Ares is very sheltered, particularly from the NE, so we decided it might be a nice place to spend a few days. The Rias are just like large Scottish sea lochs. They are all a bit different and there are ones on this north coast and further south and round Cape Finisterre.
Getting to Ria de Ares was interesting as the waves were probably the biggest we have encountered the whole trip. Andy wanted to try out the second hand staysail that we bought before we left. Just as well we did not have the full jib up as the wind gusted to over 20 knots quite suddenly and stayed there off and on. The staysail worked well in wind over 15 knots but was not big enough in lighter winds. So a rethink required…..
Ria de Ares is lovely, with fishing villages with pastel coloured houses tumbling down to the sea and small towns dotted around the edge. We anchored off Ares village and the local yacht club. There were lots of kids having fun in dinghies and the town was full of locals and Spanish holiday makers. The beach was pristine clean, like all the others we have come across here. It was lovely being back at anchor after a few days in the Marina. The boat swings into the wind so it gets a nice breeze through it all the time and it is much more private than the marina.
In Ria de Ares (Vaila third from the right)
We had a coffee in the sunshine at a little place on the sea front and then went in search of a supermarket for some shopping. We also found a Chinese run store and managed to get Andy some new sunglasses and a butane refill for our gas lighters. We have been searching for this refill before and since we left the UK. Health and Safety laws prevent it being sold in the UK these days! The Chinese don’t bother, thank goodness! We spent the afternoon on the beach, swimming and lazing about. Amazing how quickly the time goes. Everything takes a while when you have to walk everywhere and then cart purchases back to the boat in the dinghy. That is our excuse anyway!!
Postal delivery the Galician way.
We left Ares the next morning and moved round the corner so we could be closer to the main town on this Ria: Pontedeume. The town is quite big with some very old medieval buildings and churches. The girl in the tourist office spoke English and was very helpful. It was still very windy but the town streets were sheltered. Lunch was tapas at a local restaurant and then more lazing about!!
Church in Pontedeume
Street of the fishermen
Houses with glazed balconies (Gallerias), typical of Galicia
The medieval bridge at Pontedeume
The next day we had an energetic day and made up for all the sloth. We took the dinghy to Pontedeume, walked 7 Km up hill to the national park, hired bikes and cycled 16 Km through the park and to a monastery and then walked 7 Km back to the town.
The park was made to protect one of the last remnants of Atlantic deciduous forest in Europe and covers 9000 hectares. There are lovely oak, ash, hawthorn, sweet chestnut, hazel and alder trees and lots of ferns, some of which are rare survivors of the carboniferous era. It was lovely cycling through the shady trees and the river was crystal clear and there were not too many people about either.
The crystal clear waters of the Eume river
Monastery of San Juan de Caaveiro (founded in 10th century)
Back in Pontedeume we had an ice cream and visited the medieval tower before heading back to Vaila and flopping!
Tower of Andrade, Pontedeume
That was yesterday (29th August). Now we are back in La Coruna after a lovely sail back. We even saw 2 pilot whales coming in to the Ria de Ares as we were leaving it. We are catching up on weather forecasts and shopping and washing before heading south on Sunday. It’s a hard life!! The weather is still lovely and warm, shorts and tee shirts everyday. Hopefully it will keep going like this for another month at least.