I don’t wish to appear too smug… but I really think that life could not be better. We are at anchor about 200 metres away from the charming Spanish town of Muros, and the anchorage is just beautiful.
We woke up in La Coruña on Tuesday to thick fog. There was much discussion about what to do, because we had planned to move on that day, but didn’t want to risk it. We decided to wait and see what the fog did, and during the course of the morning we had a visit by… our Southerly 38 friends from Falmouth! Perhaps you remember them from a few posts back? They were planning to set off into very high winds and unpleasant conditions, and we thought they were a little crazy? Well, we’d kept in contact with them by email, and so we knew that shortly after setting off from Falmouth, they sensibly abandoned their plan and turned around to pull into nearby Plymouth, at which point their crew disembarked and went back to work… leaving them without crew for their Biscay crossing. We said, “Just cross the two of you! It will be grand!” But their insurance wouldn’t allow it- they needed three people. We’re glad our insurance doesn’t have such stipulations.
So they found a random bloke who was happy to crew, and crossed Biscay 24 hours after us. They popped round- Fiona and Mike their names are- and told us that, fog or no fog, they were leaving that day because they had to be in Lisbon in a few weeks time for a flight back to the UK. Sense a pattern?! Nick told them in no uncertain terms (unfailingly polite though, as ever) that it was too dangerous at the moment and they should wait.
Either way, by lunchtime the fog had lifted slightly and visibility was reasonable enough that we were happy to leave and hope it wouldn’t worsen again. So off we went, waving goodbye to La Coruña, which we have very fond memories of.
That night we anchored off a little town called Corme, which was an uninspiring modern place with little charm, from what we could tell. We didn’t go ashore, preferring to anchor off a nearby beach and enjoy a well earned beer with dinner. The next morning, we left.
The day sailing in fog had been arduous. We had the radar on all day and had to have two of us on watch whenever possible. It was also cold and there was nothing to look at but degrees of white and grey. However, the second day was much better. The fog had cleared, and although it was a little misty, visibility was good. We could admire the Galician coastline, half shrouded in mist, but impressive all the same. The sun shone, and we found ourselves part of a little convoy of boats (some of whom we had met in La Coruña) who were all taking advantage of the light winds and clear skies to round Cape Finisterre. To make the day even more perfect, Nick finally caught a mackerel. And then another one. And another. Five in total, but after three we said that was plenty, and threw them back. We ate them for dinner that night, and they were sublime.
Now, Cape Finisterre is the western most point of Spain. It is notorious for it’s high winds, which seem to funnel around it from the north, and it’s best passed in only calm conditions. So, that’s what we did, and once we were around the corner, we knew we could slow down and take our time meandering around the Spanish rias.
I’m not quite sure how to describe the rias. They’re not lakes. They’re not rivers. They’re not inland seas. They’re similar (I think) to the fjords of Norway, but the mountains are capped with vineyards instead of snow. Have a look at the handy tracker on the right of the screen (or go into Tracking on the main menu) to have a look at the shape of the coast. Then check out the photos. I’m sure you’ll be able to put two and two together.
Anyway! However you want to describe this part of the world, there’s no doubt it’s absolutely beautiful. The mountainous terrain is rugged and covered in rocky outcrops and dry wooded areas. Villages are dotted around the place, usually on the seafront, and little bathing beaches are prevalent. Nick went swimming to the one we’re anchored off this afternoon. He came back panting, and predictably said, “God, that’s further than it looks!”
We’ve been ashore to explore Muros every day, and it’s a charming place. Plenty of bars and restaurants, all featuring a menu dominated by seafood, and there’s been plenty going on. Yesterday was market day, last night there was some kind of band playing (until 4am! These Spanish sure know how to party…) and today they were setting up a fare of some kind. There were lots of posters displaying the word ‘Fiesta’ with various dates underneath, and it seems that this is a very popular spot not just for visiting yachts, but for Spanish holiday makers.
We had our own little fiesta- or what passes for a fiesta for us these days! Once again we crossed paths with Fiona and Mike, the other Southerly owners, and since we Southerlys have to stick together, we went round for drinks one evening. They’re a lovely couple, and we’re very much hoping to continue to bump into them as we sail down the Spanish and Portuguese coasts. They’re also making a crossing to the Caribbean this winter, so it looks like we’ll be following each other around for at least the next 12 months.
There is a marina here, but we’re quite happy at anchor. It’s an interesting exercise in self-sufficiency, plus it’s free. With the wind generator and solar panels as our only source of energy, we’re finding that we’re having to be very careful with our energy consumption. That means only one episode of Sons of Anarchy per evening! How we’re coping, I don’t know. Recent discussion has turned to ways of both making more energy, and being more clever about the energy we are using. I shall keep you updated. You’re obviously dying to know.
Now, onto a far more interesting topic: food. I shall now devote quite some time to detailing just how bloody civilised the Spanish are when it comes to food and dining out. Nick and I, after a morning grocery shop, had a coffee at a little cafe- the type with plastic seating and loads of Spanish families with young children milling round. We ummmed and ahhhed about what to eat, only to discover that, upon being served our coffees, we were also given a little plate with four slices of cake on it! And, dare I say it, but the coffee here is actually better than Italian coffee. There. It’s out there. Maybe it’s the free cake (moist, fluffy cake it was too) that’s making me overly generous, but I’m sticking by it.
So, after coffee and cake, we have another little wander, then stop for a beer before heading back to the boat. And what happens, when we’re given our beer? Oh yes, a little tapas each is also served. And, if you either wait long enough, or order another drink, they’ll come around again, and give you some more. Sometimes you’re given whatever they have, whether you like it or not. Other bars (we’ve tried several, purely for research purposes you understand) come around with a giant platter full of little tapas and you can pick your own.
Civilised, like I said.
However, as much as we love Muros, we’ve been here four days now and it’s July next week, so, one eye on the calendar, we are moving on. Not far, of course. Just to the next ria along. How it’s going to beat this, I don’t know, but we shall see!