The Rías Baixas or Caribbean feeling

May 26 – June 20, 2019; 787 nm and 88 days after departure from La Rochelle

It is absolutely amazing. The four rías (Ría de Muros, Ría de Arousa, Ría de Pontevedra and Ría de Vigo) provide so many  beautiful caribbean like beaches that it is unbelieveable that they are not more touristically developed. The beaches we’ve been to were often completly empty and only in the evening sometimes a few locals take their dogs for a walk or just linger at the beach or do some sports. The nature is breathtaking. It is very green with millions of flowers, pine trees, eucalyptus, ferns and lots of other plants.

Ría Arousa, Praia da Corma
As well in Ría Arousa. The dolphines very close to shore.

A lot of different bird species enjoy their lifes in this beautiful nature and my friends the dolphines like to swim deep into the rías in shallow water, just to say hello. 🙂 Just as nice are most of the little villages. They are quiet, old harbor towns with labyrinthine alleys with grain stores and lots of Cruceiros. (Crosses made of stone).

the typical grain stores in Combarro, Ría Pontevedro
and a cruceiro

One reason why this wonderful piece of earth is not too crowded might be the fact, that the beaches indeed are dreamlike but the water temperature is fridge like. I mean really, really cold. We -being more or less forced to jump into the water, to get ourselfes clean – have made it from 3 seconds in the water up to 20 seconds. Not much improvement of the temperature yet from when we started end of March ;-). If you now think why don’t they use the inside shower? Well, our fresh water temperature is the same as the salt water temperature as our water heater only works with shore power or if we leave the motor running …

El Capitano pluckily swimming for 20 secs in Ría Muros. It was on a Sunday evening, the beach was crowded 😉

We spent more than 3 weeks in those fantastic Rías. By the way the Galicien Rías generate a lot of Mussels. In 2006 they generated 95% of the total amount of mussels grown in Spain, which itself produced 60% of the world’s production. I don’t know the actual numbers but I’m sure it is still similar. The 3500 licensed viveros contribute to the 230.000 tons produced each year, taking advantage of the unique conditions of the rías. Clear Atlantic water flows with the tide, bringing food to the 20m lines hanging down from the platforms. 50% of the viveros, the platforms, are located in Ría de Arousa alone. That sometimes made sailing a bit difficult for us because we were too chicken to sail in between the viveros. The spanish sailors didn’t seem to be worried… 🙂

Viveros in Ría Vigo
a single platform in Ría Muros
and one with a dolphine in  Ría Pontevegra

Though as great as it was we had one sad time. We finally had to say goodbye to our dear single- handed friend Laurence. He wanted to go south at a much higher pace than we do as he wanted to be in the Algarve already by the end of June. As we knew we probably won’t see him again, we arranged to meet him for a last time. We gathered together in Ría de Arousa at a nice bay called “Praia de Barraña” and invited him for dinner on Altimate. The next day we had to sadly wave goodbye.

Laurence approching for our last dinner together

Being lazy was our goal for the next upcoming days. We enjoyed the dolphines, who visited us almost every morning and evening 🙂 as well as the nature and the wind who was always blowing in the right direction for us to move to another wonderful anchorage. Or maybe it was the other way round and we moved on when the wind was in the right direction where we wanted to go?

That was on a short trip from Vilagarcía, after buying our groceries, to Praia da Corma. Sweet sailing 🙂

We took long walks in every anchorage we stayed and were always thrilled of the nice view, the empty trails or the cute villages.
Eventually we needed some food and had a short stopover at Vilagarcia, a huge town compared to the quaint little villages (with around 37000 inhabitants) to get some bigger provisions to keep us going for a week or so. In most of the other tiny villages we could only buy some fruits or a few vegetables. In one shop they had one tomato 🙂 yeah!

After a long walk El Capitano and “Hugo” our yellow, loyal friend and big helper to deliver groceries to Altimate. Ría de Aldán
Ría de Vigo, Praia de Barra on a walk to that little red lighthouse
another perspective, same anchorage

On one beautiful sailing day when we were heading to Ría Pontevedra we finally made it! Yes, we caught a fish, after around 650 nm!!! We think it was a mackerel. So far we really have had a hard time catching fish. I don’t know what we did do wrong, but hopefully the lump is cracked and we will catch more fishes.

The first bite 🙂 since La Rochelle

In Ría de Aldán we found a save shelter from the expected lowpressure which generated strong southerly winds over the Atlantic. The gusts which reached almost 40 knots were not aproblem as we didn’t get any swell in the bay. It was just a bit noisy and as it was blowing in the afternoon we had no issues who needed to do the anchor watch. 🙂

Our shelter from the storm at the anchorage, (looking east)
in Ría de Aldán. (Looking west)

Galicia has a lot of national parks. For sailors very interesting are the four amazing islands Islas Cíes, Isla Ons, Islas Sálvora and Islas Cortegada. It is necessary to get a Navigation Permission to get an anchoring permission. That is surprisingly easy to do online so we were allowed to stay at the islands. 🙂 Due to wind conditions we could only stay one night at Isla Ons. It was a pity as we didn’t even make it ashore. 😦

Isla Cíes, a view on a beach at the north east side of the island

On the other hand we were lucky and stayed four days at Isla Cíes and could explore the island with its beautiful flora, fauna and birdlife. One day we were attacked by a seagull who was probably protecting its breed. The bird was very convincing! It was targeting our heads in a nose dive and also trying to hit us with its falling excreta. That made us jumping and turning in one move and speeding back until the bird stopped shrieking at us. Sorry bird!

This was NOT the attacking one. We weren’t able to take photos while running. 🙂

Another storm was approching, a move was necessary. This time we decided to hide from the low pressure in the marina of Baiona. Only a few miles away, south of the island. Here in the marina we used the time to do our laundry, four weeks no washing produces quite a lot of dirty cloths. Using the washing machine in the marina was very expensive, so we wanted to find a laundrette. That was very worth looking for! Although it took a lot of time and walking. 10 km, not a usual disctance to cover for your regular laundry, however, sailing life keeps you in shape ;-).
We did all the mandatory work on the boat, did the provisioning and the planning of our further trip. For the time being the Spanish chapter will be closed until we arrive at the Canary islands probaly in October/November 2019.

Now, we are keen arriving in Portugal. Our first destination will be Porto.

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