San Francisco 1.6. – 2.6.

  • Posted on: 25 June 2018
  • By: Eve

At breakfast on Friday Andrus suddenly asked ”Shall we go to San Francisco?” I replied laughing ”Of course, maybe the weather is better over there”. My first thoughts were, how to get flight tickets and where to leave the boat. Life as it seems however was not so difficult, only 36 nautical miles south lies San Francisco of the old continent!

The weather forecast was promising one beautiful day before several days of rain will start. Originally, we planned to go to Muros but sunny day at the bay of San Francisco sounded inviting – so be it.

The shipping forecast had forecasted 2.5 metre swell at sea and it was rather accurate, making us roll quite a bit. At lunch time we’re just passing the cape of Finisterra and Andrus proposed that we take shelter on the bay behind it for having lunch. It was a way more comfortable to cut the salad ingredients in a quiet bay and having seafood salad before continuing on restless sea.
Suwena passing the cape of Finisterra in Galicia
The Sun however was well hidden behind the clouds despite of promises of the forecast. When we arrived in the Bay of San Francisco there was a French yacht just putting theirs’s hook down. When our anchor had dug into the sand the Sun suddenly came out and we had a beautiful evening and next morning in a picturesque anchorage.
The Bay of San Francisco in Galicia
Suwena anchored in the Bay of San Francisco in Galicia
For Saturday the forecast had changed into strong wind and rain, so next morning in wistful feelings we weighed the anchor and departed to next port of call.

Muxia 29.5. – 1.6.

  • Posted on: 23 June 2018
  • By: Eve

Here in Galician rías the daily sailing distances are much shorter than in our previous summers. The distance from A Coruña to Muxia is 46 nautical miles and it is one of the longest passages this year.

We departed together time with four other yachts towards south. Soon after passing the Tower of Hercules, the last Roman built lighthouse still in use, the coastline was wrapped into thick fog blanket. We’re sailing in famous Costa da Morte where numerous sailing ships have shipwrecked. Pilot books recommended sailing at least one nautical mile from the coast. We’re sailing at the distance of 1.5 miles and were just at the edge of the coastal fog, entering it occasionally. No wonder that this part of the world has got such a charming name, the coast of death, as constant swell is risen by the storms of North-Atlantic combined with the 0.5 to 1 knots southbound current. Still adding the fog to other ingredients, we get quite a recipe.

We left A Coruña in totally calm weather. When we turned south at the Islas Sisargas, the wind started showing some signs. We’ve noticed that the French are definitely the sailing nation of Europe. Also, now the French yacht was the first of the five to hoist the sails. We were sailing also for a while, but the wind was variable and finally died altogether. Sails were flopping in the Atlantic swell as the boat was rolling. It was not fun, and we turned the engine on. A while later even the French yacht gave up and followed everybody else and hoisted their iron genny as well.

Muxia is located on the southern shore of the Ría de Camariñas opposite of the village of Camariñas. Both Camariñas and Muxia were inviting fishing villages and we finally decided to try Muxia. The decision turned out to be excellent. New marina with sturdy pontoons and most of all the marina was protected properly by two breakwaters. Even if there was two-metre-tall swell at sea, in the marina was like Suwena was standing on the hard without moving at all. Also, the marina staff was very friendly. Only WiFi was broken and it could not be repaired during our visit. We were kindly given the password to the town council’s WiFi and somehow, we got a feeling that this was not the first time :-)
Ría de Camariñas, Galicia
There are quite a lot of restaurants being such a tiny village and at least two of them had an excellent seafood and friendly service. The number of restaurants is probably due to St James landing in Spain at Muxia. So Muxia is one of the end destinations for the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage routes.
Muxia, Galicia
Muxia, Galicia
Muxia is located at the foot of a small hill. At the top of the hill were an amazing view all over the Ría de Camariñas. Even on this quiet day while the swell was crashing at the coastal rocks, there were totally calm waters on the other side in the ría. There is a rocking stone called Pedra da Barca on the seaside of the hill that is believed to have healing powers since Celtic times. Of course, I had to climb under the stone as well to rejuvenate. In addition, there is a church Nosa Señora da Barca built to celebrate the landing of St James. Still today the pilgrims come to Muxia for ending their walk.
Costa da Morte Muxia, Galicia
Eve under Pedra da Barca stone in Muxia, Galicia
Nosa Señora da Barca church in Muxia, Galicia
On Wednesday we were suddenly surprised when the harbour’s marinera run to our boat and pushed handheld VHF to Andrus’s hand pointing the talk button. We only speak a few words of Spanish but after trying to communicate by hand signs Andrus asked in English the intentions from arriving yacht. A few more Spanish words and soon the everybody as happy while marinera guided arriving yacht to nearby berth.

We got excited as well because the other boat was the also Nauticat 441. We had a great time getting to know the crew of S/Y Iseult, Jane and Chris while exchanging experiences about our boats. Every Nauticat is fully customised according to owner’s requirements. Even if from outside both yachts looked similar, the interior was completely different. We had both chosen very different layout and colour scheme. The midnight had already passed while we continued discussions about options and praising Nauticat’s woodworking skills on both boats.
Suwena and Iseult in Muxia, Galicia

A Coruña 24.5. – 29.5.

  • Posted on: 4 June 2018
  • By: Eve

After quiet days of anchoring, we were ready for some city time. The wind was rather light for the first part of the 13 nautical mile voyage and we enjoyed ourselves by being out on the water. The second half of the day’s leg passed much quicker as the daily afternoon wind arose to push us to A Coruña. It has been a fascinating phenomenon, when really every afternoon the wind from north was suddenly rising to 20 knots for a few hours. It might be a land breeze, or could it be related to the nearby mountains?

There are two marinas in A Coruña. Marina Coruña is the first one immediately inside the breakwater and it is about a kilometre from the city centre. The second marina is La Marina Real, del Real Club Náutico de La Coruña and it is located in the city center. It has been previously a fishing port and the old town is just next door. We pondered for a while for choosing the marina as we have got recommendations that the marina in the centre is too restless because of all the partying. However, we like to be in the middle of the action and so we went for Club Náutico’s marina. Only on Saturday night there were some youngsters partying for some time at the quay, otherwise it was very peaceful.
Marina Coruña, Galicia
Suwena in the marina of Club Nautico in A Coruña, Galicia
Totally different thing was the swell. In Sada we had the ocean swell entering the marina and so it did a little here as well. However, the major cause of the waves in marina were fishing and pilot boats. It was peculiar that there was no speed limit in the harbour area or if there was any it was not enforced. These ships run at full throttle out to sea and back again while their wake waves created chaos among moored yachts. For example, fishing ship Pombo Cinco (IMO: 8959324) ran several times through the harbour at 9.2 knots according to A Coruña is also a popular cruise ship destination and there were four of them during our visit as well. The cruise ships, even if they are enormous, handled their manoeuvres very professionally and they didn’t do any waves in the marina.

Oh, the town itselfwas absolutely charming. The centre of the old town is rather huge and very lively. As always it feels good to see the city centre that is alive and still popular among the locals and tourists as well, not forgetting university students.
The old town of A Coruña, Galicia
For the town of this size (pops of 250 000), A Coruña surprised us with the numerous restaurants. It did not matter what street in the old town we were strolling there were always a row of restaurants next to each other. And when taking a turn to next street the line of restaurants just continued. The loveliest was that evening after evening the restaurants were full. After eight in the evening when Spanish go for a dinner they have at first a glass of beer or wine with small tapas. The real dinner is starting only after nine with dishes arriving both to outside and inside tables. It was quite a difficult to decide where we would like to have the evening meal as the food in all of them looked delicious and very reasonably priced, indeed. In this port we did not need to use much from our fridge :-)

We like to explore the historic places, so the lighthouse of Hercules, Torre de Hércules, was our top destination in A Coruña. The tower is located at few kilometres on the other side of the city centre, thus we walked across the town and climbed on the top of the 60 metre tall hill where the 57 metre tall Tower of Hercules is proudly standing. The Tower of Hercules is the world’s oldest Roman lighthouse that is still in use, helping seafarers to navigate safely. The lighthouse was built in the second century and the Romans built it to the westernmost point of their empire for marking the end of the world. They also gave a name to this area, finisterra or the land’s end ans the maps ended there.
The Tower of Hercules in Coruña, Galicia
We were in awe looking at the civil engineering skills of the Romans and how the oil lamp and mirrors were used to cast the light into dark Atlantic. It is still functioning with the light that is visible 20 nautical miles at sea but of course nowadays it’s powered by an electric light. The coast near A Coruña is known for its treacherous waters and due to huge number of wrecked ships it is called the coast of death, Costa da Morte.

The age of the lighthouse is maybe best described by the fact that it was already restored in the 18th century when many of the current town’s buildings did not even exist. There are several myths about the building of the lighthouse from which the most interesting is the three days and nights long fight between Hercules and giant Geryon. It is said that Hercules buried the head of his opponent into the hill where the lighthouse was built.
The Tower of Hercules in Coruña, Galicia
Eve and Andrus in the lighthouse of Hercules in A Coruña, Galicia
The view from the lighthouse is amazing. We could see the whole peninsula of Coruña. At the foot of the lighthouse is huge Celtic compass rose that was our next exploration point. The seven symbols of the rose represent seven Celtic nations and the eighth in the direction of the south represent the Galician legend of Tarsis and it is marked with the skull.
A Coruña, Galicia
The Celtic rose is also symbolising our sailing voyages since 2014 as we have been sailing in home waters of six of these nations. We only missed Wales.
The Celtic compass rose in A Coruña, Galicia
In the compass rose the each Celtic nation was marked in their own language: Éire Ireland, Alba Scotland, Mannin Isle of Mann, Cymru Wales, Kernow Cornwall, Breizh Brittany and our host nation Galiza Galicia.

We returned to the boat by walking along the 10 kilometre long promenade of A Coruña called Paseo Marítimo. On our side the waves were hitting coastal cliffs and the Sun was about to show itself between the clouds.
World-famous galleries of Coruña, Galicia