Saturday, 2 July 2016

Sanxenxo, Cangas, and Bayona

I say this at least once every 6 months or so but it bears repeating: I’m a lousy photojournalist.  I’m too lazy.  My blog is more like the parable of the blind men asked to describe an elephant; an ear here, a tail there, leaving the rest to your imagination. Apologies from the get-go.

After the small village of Combarro, we made our way to the swanky seaside resort town of Sanxenxo.  Instead of docking at the Sanxenxo marina, where our IMRAY guide said “beware of the disco” we went to the Royal Club Nautico Sanxenxo, which has its clubhouse perched over the Sanxenxo marina but its docks are on the far north side of the marina, parallel to the beach and close to town (and far away from the disco).  I can’t report on the prices since this port is included in our exchange program with our home port of Arzal and we stayed for free.  I’m assuming it’s more expensive than the Sanxenxo marina because there was no one else on the RYC visitor’s docks except Mareda and our buddy boat for the last two weeks, Belisana from St Malo. We thoroughly enjoyed the use of the clubhouse and its superb views over Pontevedra.  We also discovered the most modern laundromat we’ve ever seen and took advantage of a relatively unpopulated dock to dry 3 weeks of laundry.

Laundry day in Sanxenxo.
We left Pontevedra with 15 knots that built steadily to 20 knots on a broad reach as we made our way to the Vigo Ria and the Cangas marina (nothing really to recommend it if you don’t have a free exchange program).  The marina is very small and doesn’t really seem to have space dedicated for visitors, although we were given a nice spot under the port office.  Manoeuvers are tight and we were glad to have helping hands both tying up and casting off. 

The morning after we arrived, we noticed some ashes on the boat and thought it was from the ubiquitous firecrackers that are set off every night. We took the ferry to Vigo for the day and from the top of the Castro park we could see thick smoke over the hills above Cangas.  When we returned, the air was almost unbreathable and the boat looked like an ashtray.  We quickly brushed off as much as possible and stowed the bimini, dreading what the combination of ash and the next morning’s dew would do to the canvas.  That evening, the helicopters began airlifting water to the hills, and after a few hours, things seemed to have been brought under control. 

Mareda covered in forest-fire ash.

Spanish fire brigade air-lifting water over the hills of Cangas.
The next and last hop in the Galician rias was down Bayona.  We had been told that the Monte Real Yacht Club was much nicer than the municipal marina, and we decided to give ourselves a treat. Our first surprise was that we were treated to our first Med mooring – docking stern-to the dock, picking up a mooring line (lazy line) to hold the boat off the dock, and securing with docklines on either side.  The marinero from the port office took our lines and handed us the lazy line and after quite a bit of adjusting, we finally got Mareda into a stable configuration.  We later learned that Med moorings are trickier when you have a 2-meter tidal range, as the mooring line goes loose at low tide (your stern bangs into the dock) and goes taught at high tide (lines tight and dock far away).  We awoke this morning to find that some good soul had rearranged one of our fenders to keep us from banging the edge of the boat into the dock… of course, we didn’t hear a thing.

Bayona Parador over the marina.

Beach access, Bayona.

Cies Islands nature reserve from Bayona.

Cies Islands from Bayona.

Our first Med mooring with Mareda. Love our transom !

Med mooring in Bayona; lazy line pulled tight at high tide.
Tomorrow is a landmark day: the end of Spain, beginning of Portugal and its long Atlantic coastline !