43°22.1'N 008°23.7 W Monday 20th July
A Coruna, Galicia - One of two blogs uploaded at same time - see Cedeira prev.
We have had a great few days with Paul, shame in part about the weather (sorry Paul!) and that Julia couldn't join him. He found us ok and settled in (knows the boat well already). We spent day 1 exploring Coruna, the old town, squares, churches, markets, etc and stocking up. Coruna is much nicer than it looks either from the air (Paul) or from seaward (us), which is somewhat industrial. There is the equivalent to Plymouth Hoe, but more impressive with a 2nd Century AD lighthouse (oldest working Roman lighthouse in the world) on a promontory overlooking the sea with the city behind. This was apparently instrumental in defeating those dreadful English "Hawks" who dared to come and attack their beloved land!! Eat your heart out Drake!
Day 2 took us to the Ria de Ares, a gusty sail at first in swell that became much more sheltered as we entered the ria. We went past Ares and on the little village of Redes where we anchored off. Sometime when we were there Paul swam off the back of the boat - no mean feat given the water temp was only about 17.5 deg C! I did get a terrific picture of Paul pretending to be a frog but have agreed not to publish unless permission granted. May save for future blackmail opportunity. We went ashore for a wander, to be enthusiastically accosted by a little old lady who kissed me (W) on both cheeks and tried to invite us into her house while telling us all about her life, the village, etc! At least that's what we think she was saying!
We were also hailed by a brown lithe little man in a jaunty cap who was crewing for a resident Englishman in the annual Irish - Galician classic boat race that day. The Englishman had won the race for the last four years. The annual regatta consisted of 6 boats in 3 classes, so only 2 boats per race. We were introduced all round to the two main competitors, the Englishman (Martin, pretending to be Irish just for the Galicians) explained a little bit about the local regattas and fests for this weekend and we promised to stay and cheer him on. It turned out our anchored boat looked like being the ideal spot for the finishing line. So we took ample pictures of these beautiful boats, and unfortunately Martin lost his first race in years. It was close.
Day 3 - Went back to Ares where there was yet another local festival on, stages going up for the evening's musical entertainment, but we stayed for lunch as the locals had built up huge fires with enormous grills on them for barbecuing sardines on an industrial scale. For 5 euros you got a drink, a massive hunk of traditional bread and 5 of the best-tasting big sardines you could ask for. We watched the local technique, as you ate these with your fingers at picnic tables provided, using the bread sometimes as a sandwich, sometimes as a mopper-up. Wonderful.
Weather not brilliant, murky now and more drizzle, came out of the ria and into the next to have a look at Ferrol. A big shipping port, the town itself is supposed to not be bad - we could not find anywhere suitable for the boat, however, so headed back out to where two castles on either side of the ria guarded the entrance and parked under one of these impressive fortifications, the Castillo de San Felipe. Went ashore for an explore of the ramparts and ruins. Being used for Wedding Photos at the time.
Sunday, Day 4, back to Ria de Ares and Bezantos to have a look at Sada for lunch (impressive modern marina there that we used only for filling the boat with fuel properly) then headed back towards Coruna to anchor overnight at Mera, opposite Coruna. Finally having some good weather, the sun was hot, the water was clean and warm (20 deg plus) so we all went for a swim. Ashore to find yet another festa in progress, with pulpe (octopus) served on wooden platters and live music. The first band on was traditional Galician and absolutely superb. But we had steaks waiting to be bbq'd for us back on the boat, so left the revellers to it after stocking up on ice-creams and patatas fritos. A noisy night and rolly night, W didn't sleep, R sort of and P surprisingly OK.
Monday - Today, back to Darsena Marina in Coruna, packed Paul off for his flight back and we doing a few domestics as well as now weather watching for the next leg due west to Camarinhos, then past the wild and beautiful Costa da Morte (Coast of Death - lovely!) to then round Cape Finisterre (end of the earth, literally, or land's end). Then we can start going downhill - we hope.