The journey continued to Viveiro, a fisherman´s town with a medieval past.
Cruising life can be lonely, and travelling through France and Spain we have had a very limited social life because of the language barrier with the locals. But I have a feeling that it is all about to change. In Viveiro we moored up next to a Belgian boat that looked like it had been there a while. The boat owner, Renee, told us the tragic story of how him and his wife had been cruising for a couple of years when her health problems got worse and she suddenly passed away as they were cruising on the West coast of France. Renee continued across the Bay of Biscay and when reaching Viveiro decided to stay the winter. This was his second winter in the harbour and he hadn’t really found the motivation to continue sailing from there.
So when I accidentally bought way too much mussels in the supermarket we decided to invite him over to Mouni for some dinner and shared a lot of stories of our travels during the night. Galicia is known for its cuisine and also have a funny way of serving beer in the bars…
We decided to stay a couple of more days because of the near gale force winds that was sweeping along the coast. Renee recommended us to take a walk up the river and it was a nice break from the windy harbour. On one of our walks along the beach we had seen a British yacht anchored, now that the gale had arrived they shoved up in the harbour the next morning. Turns out Myra and her husband had already circumnavigated the globe for seven years in their 39 foot Hallberg Rassy. When coming back they did not feel like they were done cruising and soon longed out to sea again. Now they were on their way back from a “shorter” trip to the Mediterranean. We made sure to ask them about the best harbours and anchoring spots on the way down to Gibraltar and we shared some stories of our best and worst experiences over some tea.
Viveiro had just finished their big-scale celebrations of Easter, and while the little boys were still drumming in the alleys we were admiring the sculptures that show the traditional costumes worn during the celebrations. We also got some help in a fishing store to improve our fishing gear on the boat, including a box of centipedes/worms to use as bait…
Early next morning, we set off for Cedeira, 37 Nautical miles west. We arrived just before dinner time (although with no fish) and were thrilled to drop the anchor for the first time since leaving Sweden. Finally the warm weather has caught up with us again and we don’t need a heating fan to keep us warm during night. There was a beautiful sunset and we enjoyed a cold beer while Jens was playing some tunes on the recorder into the night.
After a slow start we were eager to set sails for a shorter passage (30 Nm) west to A Coruña the next day. The wind was varying, and we sometimes needed the motor when the sails were just flapping in the weak wind. A speed between 2-3,5 knots is perfect for fishing mackerel. With the new bait we managed to catch two of them in a short span of time, of course they decided to bite the hook just as we were removing the Spinnaker boom and there were several other vessels close-by that we needed to keep track of. We approached the bay of A Coruña and was called up by the port authorities on the radio, asking us what direction we wanted to give way to the ferry that was approaching straight in our direction… Since it was a Sunday and nothing would be open, we decided to anchor on the other side of the bay, at Punta Penatoura. It was sunny, warm and the fish tasted great with some mashed potatoes and crisp bread!
Reaching A Coruña was a bit of a milestone, and we moored up in Real Club Nautico after breakfast. On the same jetty was a finish boat, and the owner yelled instructions on where we should tie up in Finland-Swedish when we arrived. He had spent the winter in Algarve and was on his way up to Finland again. A few hours later a Norwegian boat arrived, and all of the sudden most of Scandinavia was represented on the jetty (A German boat also tried getting into the community). The Norwegian guy, Jan, had been sailing straight from Gibraltar on his way to Norway, but out on the Bay of Biscay his main sail torn and the genua halyard did not cope with pressure of the strong winds. Dolphins surrounded the boat for two hours as he tried to sort the sails out before closing all the hatches and tucking himself in to await calmer weather. He decided to turn back and motor the hundred miles to shore and make some repairs before continuing his journey home.
The next day another Swedish yacht, Linnea, with four guys from Gothenburg that just crossed the Bay of Biscay joined the Scandinavian community. It was now clear that the rumours were true, this harbour really is a hotspot for cruising yachts on their way between northern and southern Europe. And it was also clear the Scandinavian countries plus Germany was a bit more eager to start the season early.
One evening we and Jan, the Norwegian, headed over to the medieval old town and the arcaded Plaza de María Pita, surrounded by narrow pedestrianized lanes full of restaurants. While I tried some traditional tapas they went for the steak and we talked about cruising in the Mediterranean and cruising life in general. Then we made the perfect trade, in exchange for dinner Jan gave us a pile of pilot books over Mediterranean Spain, Italy and Greece. The night before we left we went over to his boat “Quiet place” for a beer and got some great advice written into our guest book. He also gave us a really nice fishing rod since it was mostly in the way and not used much on his yacht. Thanks a lot Jan for all your stories, helpful advice, lively discussions and gifts. It will for sure make us better prepared.
After some days in A Coruña it was time to continue south, sailing on the west coast of Spain in some of the strongest winds so far.. More about that adventure next time!
NOTES FOR SAILORS
In Rá de Viveiro you can choose between anchoring by Playa de S. Julian or Playa de Covas. Marina Viveiro is a sheltered marina up the river with helpful staff and big supermarkets closeby. We payed 16€/night.
In ría de Cedeira there is large anchorage, just East of the fishing harbour. Since it is behind the pier it is somewhat protected but if the winds are from SW swell can still make its way through. When we were there only two boats were anchoring but the pilots says it is a crowded place in high season.
Outside A Coruña you can anchor in Ensenada de Mera which is sheltered from North to East. There are several marinas, both close to the older part of town. We chose Real Club Nautico de la Coruna which is west of the old fort (we paid 15€/night). If you are looking for spare parts or other nautical equipment we recommend going to Pombas, a well-stocked chandlery which you can find by just following the main road by the water going south from the harbour.