01 August 2017
We have spent a good few days exploring A Coruna. We took a walk out to the lighthouse and have wondered around the city. The tapas bars feature a lot of fish and ham. There are even a few that specialise in pulpo (octopus). See photo above.
We have decided that A Coruna is a good place to leave the boat as we need to be home in August. We will therefore start our trip home from the second week in August.
The cruise this year has been wonderful. We have visited 30 different ports covering Normandy, North Brittany, South Brittany, down past Arcachon and then all of the Northern coast of Spain. This covered the whole Bay of Biscay coastline.
This cruise has taken nearly 10 days at sea and covered 1,318nm.
Being in A Coruna will mean we are in a perfect position to explore the rias of North West Spain and the coast of Portugal in Spring next year.
It will take us some time to get back with Bella as we will be driving across Spain, France and to the UK. We are looking forward to seeing some interesting towns on the way.
We are signing off now until next year. We hope you have enjoyed reading the blog.
Total Time: 226:00 hours Total Miles: 1,318nm
Sada to A Coruna
25 July 2017
We spent the morning walking around Sada. It was a public holiday so there was not much open.
We did the quick trip across the bay from Sada to A Coruna, refilled the diesel tanks and took a place in the marina. A Coruna is an interesting location as there are many yachts coming and going. Mostly heading to Portugal and into the Med or onwards to the Canary Islands for crossing the Atlantic.
We saw a number of yachts here that we have been sailing along the coast with.
We plan to be in A Coruna and for a few days as it looks an interesting city.
Time: 2:00 hours Miles: 10nm Total Time: 226:00 hours Total Miles: 1,318nm
Viveiro to Sada
24 July 2017
After rowing Bella ashore, we left the anchorage at 9:30am and motor sailed out to sea. The swell was not too high but around the points such as Cabo Ortegal, the waves were more confused which made it uncomfortable.
We were heading to a port near A Coruna called Sada. We arrived 9 hours after leaving Viveiro. After checking in, which is always a slow process in Spain and involves ships papers, insurance and passports, we cleaned the boat and were ready for a night out.
We walked along the front at Sada looking for somewhere to eat. We selected a very unassuming restaurant that on first appearances looked more like a café. However, as we sat there and watched the fish coming out, it became clear we had found a real gem. After a beer, we had razor clams for starter and Simon had a Dorado cooked on the grill and Fiona had baby squid. All extremely good.
The food and drink in Spain is very cheap. We have been paying between €1 and €1.50 for a glass of wine and a bottle is only €12. This is about half the price of France. We have also found the shellfish and fish to be excellent. All very simply cooked and good value.
They do some great fish pastries in this region of Spain. They are large and either round or square and normally have a fish filling. We have mainly had the tuna ones but today had one with pulpo (octopus).
Time: 9:00 hours Miles: 56nm Total Time: 224:00 hours Total Miles: 1,308nm
Ribadeo to Viveiro
22 July 2017
Ribadeo was a nice town with a good small marina. We explored the town on Thursday. On Friday, we got the ferry across the ria to Castropol which was a small hillside village.
We left Ribadeo on Saturday bound for Viveiro. It was a short trip of 5 hours. Unfortunately, it was a westerly yet again, which meant we motor sailed most of the way. We are coming to learn that the wind is nearly always from the west on this coast. At least it looks to be northerlies once we get around Cape Finisterre and down the coast of Portugal.
Entering Ria de Viveiro from sea was good. It’s much bigger than the ria at Ribadeo. We looked at an anchorage off a very nice beach at Praia da Abrela. We did anchor for a while and had some tea while we assessed the swell on the beach. We came to the conclusion it was a bit too high to get Bella ashore. We therefore moved on to the anchorage on the main beach but just behind a port wall so there was no swell at all.
After a swim, we had a BBQ off the back of the boat on Saturday night.
Sunday was a cleaning day. We took the hood and bimini off and cleaned the chrome, windows and wood work and polished some of the fibreglass in the cockpit.
After a walk in the town we are going to BBQ tonight with some of the tuna we caught. All being well, we hope to move on again tomorrow.
Time: 5:00 hours Miles: 30nm Total Time: 215:00 hours Total Miles: 1,252nm
Gijon to Ribadeo
19 July 2017
Gijon was an interesting town with attractive back streets around the marina. The drink of the region is cider and the town had many siderias. It's a non-fizzy cider but poured from a height into the glass to make it frothy.
The trip from Gijon to Ribadeo was eventful for all the wrong reasons. We attempted to leave on Monday. There was some light mist in the marina and no wind, so we motored out of the port and out to sea. After about an hour, thick fog descended. We normally put the radar on and continue in fog, but visibility was less than a boat length. If we had seen a fishing buoy it would have been too late to avoid it. Reluctantly we turned around and motored the hour and a half back to the marina.
We stayed in port on Tuesday as there was still fog around and set off again on Wednesday.
The trip on Wednesday was equally eventful. Within 15 minutes of leaving the marina, while putting Bella's life jacket on we heard a banging noise under the boat. We stopped the engine and out popped a fishing buoy from the back of the boat. We think it had caught on the propeller, but stopping the engine caused the blades to fold and it came loose.
We continued on and had a very large pod of dolphins swim with us and play in the bow wave for around an hour. At one point, there were about 20 with us and 8 swimming at the front of the boat. Bella was going mad - she loves to bark at them from the bow.
The wind started to build after about 6 hours into the trip, but it was a westerly and right on the bow so we were motor sailing. Then, for some reason, the motor stopped! We tried starting it again but it was not going to run.
We altered course to come off the wind slightly and put the jib out to get sailing properly - all be it pointing much too far out to sea. We then contemplated what to do. Do we continue for a further 8 hours tacking into wind or return for a 6 hour sail to Gijon?
Simon thought it was a fuel problem. Generally, a diesel engine does not run because of something in the filters causing a lack of fuel or air in the fuel. Simon bled the engine and saw some air coming out, so that was obviously the problem. The engine started first time and we were on our way again!
During the next 6 hours the wind and sea continued to grow to a force 6 occasionally gusting force 7. The harbour we were going into has a large and safe entrance but still the waves were very large coming in.
We were planning to anchor in the river but this was not possible given the swell, so we went into the small marina just below the town of Ribadeo.
The photo above is of Ribadeo.
Time: 12:00 hours Miles: 67nm Total Time: 210:00 hours Total Miles: 1,222nm
Ribadesella to Gijon
15 July 2017
Ribadesella was one of the most pleasant towns that we have visited on this coast. The narrow entrance shown in the photo above looks tricky to navigate, but in the very calm conditions that we had both entering and leaving it was simple.
We were on a linear visitor’s pontoon which was the cheapest marina we have stayed in at €20 per night with free washing machine and dryer.
The town was small but had one supermarket, a few shops and a number of restaurants on both sides of the river.
We left Ribadesella on Saturday for a great sail down to Gijon. We had a strong following wind all of the way.
Time: 5:30 hours Miles: 30nm Total Time: 198:00 hours Total Miles: 1,155nm
Santander to Ribadesella
12 July 2017
We motored out of the marina and past Santander. It's a great view from the river with the city on the left and a sandy beach which was great for swimming, on the right.
It was a long day to Ribadesella. Although it was not windy, there was both a large swell with local waves and the mixture of the two was not pleasant.
The highlight of the day was that we caught our first tuna! After thinking that the line had caught on a piece of wood that we saw floating past, Simon reeled in. As it got closer it was evident that we had a tuna on the line.
The entrance to Ribadesella has a shallow sand bar of approximately 2m at low tide. By the time we got to the entrance the swell had largely gone. The entrance requires you to aim for the beach with the swell clearly breaking on the sand and at the last minute turning to port to enter the river.
This looks to be a very interesting small town to explore.
We filleted the tuna and had two steaks on the BBQ for dinner and put the rest in the freezer. Bella even had tuna for tea!
We plan to be here a few days and then move on to Gijon.
Time: 10:30 hours Miles: 64nm Total Time: 192:30 hours Total Miles: 1,125nm
Laredo to Santander
05 July 2017
After 3 days in Laredo we left early on Wednesday for the trip around to Santander. We are now into tuna fishing waters and spent some time preparing Simon’s new rod, reel and a giant lure which we purchased in Laredo. The hook is huge – see photos area.
It took us 5 hours to come around the coast, but we were into a strong head wind so motored all the way. We still tried trawling the line, but you really need to be sailing to catch a fish so unfortunately no tuna for tea, we will keep trying!
The entrance into Santander is spectacular with a large sandy beach to port and the city to starboard. We have anchored just prior to the city and we will use this as a base to explore the beach and walk into the city.
After this we will move up river and into the marina. It looks an interesting area so we will be here for several days.
Time: 5:00 hours Miles: 24nm Total Time: 182:00 hours Total Miles: 1,061nm
Bilbao to Laredo
02 July 2017
With strong winds forecast in Bilbao, we positioned the boat on a berth pointing in to wind and replaced the mooring ropes with some fitted with snubbers to ease the motion. These reduce the snatching on the ropes in any swell or gusts of wind.
The winds did come and they lasted from Wednesday to Saturday. We registered a force 9 in the marina on Wednesday evening.
We used the time to explore the two towns close by and took the metro into Bilbao. Hawke came on board for drinks on Friday night and gave us some good tips on places to visit in Galicia and Portugal.
The wind calmed down on Sunday so we moved around to Laredo. There is a new marina here but it's only a third full which is rather strange. Symphony who has been sailing this coast as well came into the marina a few hours after us.
The tuna fishing boats were leaving on Sunday night, so the fishing port was very active with the men preparing the huge boats and the families on the quay seeing them off.
Monday we visited the old town and also upgraded Simon's fishing gear. We are now into tuna territory, so we purchased a very sturdy rod and reel. The lure is huge with a giant hook. If we do catch a fish, it will be big!
The photo above was in Laredo.
Time: 3:30 hours Miles: 19nm Total Time: 177:00 hours Total Miles: 1,037nm
San Sebastian to Bilbao (Getxo)
25 June 2017
We had been looking to cook some Paella for a few days but struggled to get all the ingredients together. We finally got to the fish stalls at the large indoor market at San Sebastian and got everything we needed. It tasted good with results in the photo above!
On Sunday morning, we left San Sebastian and sailed around to Bilbao. We are in Getxo marina which is near the port rather than Bilbao itself as there is no marina in the city.
There are some strong winds coming this week, so we will wait here until they have passed.
Time: 9:30 hours Miles: 55nm Total Time: 173:30 hours Total Miles: 1,018nm