Galicia '18

Sada, Galicia 3.5. – 20.5.

  • Posted on: 23 May 2018
  • By: Eve

This sailing season started at a fast pace. We arrived in Sada on Thursday the 3rd of May and already at the same afternoon she was back in the drink. From there started busy two-week long spring maintenance period and on Sunday the 20th of May we cast off the lines in Sada. What a start of the boating season of 2018.
Sada, Spain
Galicia is one of the rainiest areas of Spain. We were a bit unsure how much moisture there is inside the boat? However, Suwena was in an excellent condition after the winter. So we started with regular spring maintenance items and full cleaning for making her ready for the summer. Mostly everything went as planned. Additional repairs were replacing of an inverter and a carburettor of Pikku Suwena’s 9 year old outboard.
Eve washing a dinghy in Sada, Spain
Again, we can include one excellent wintering marina to our list. Already while asking for quotations the marina staff was good at responses despite of small language barrier as we do not speak Spanish. Nothing that we could not solve by Google Translate. José Manuel and Begoña were always very helpful with big smiles. In addition, José Manuel delivered numerous spare parts deliveries, that Andrus ordered last minute online to our pontoon berth. We have always received parcels in all marinas but here is Sada they were delivered to the yacht directly. What an amazing service. Thank you!
José Manuel, harbourmaster of Sada
Sada seems to be quite popular wintering location among long distance cruisers. There were boats from several European countries and even from Australia and the USA. For storing a boat for extended time and making service, Sada is an outstanding location. Even the supermarket is next to the marina :-)
Suwena in Sada marina in Spain
The only negative side was the north-western swell from Atlantic entering ría and somewhat entering the marina swaying the boats. Of course, during our stay there was NW swell for the whole week of those two. One of the mooring lines went almost completely chafed broken despite protecting it with rubber hoses from the cleats. It was quite a ride :-)

Also the food service was hearty. The restaurant of Club Náutico de Sada, Mercado del Puerto offered amazing lunches. Fortunately we did not stay in Sada for many weeks as Suwenas live weight would have gone up for sure. The lunch that costs 9 € included both two appetizer and two main course choices served to the table. Both dishes were really huge. In addition, we got a basket of bread, dessert or coffee and a glass of wine or beer like it is typical in Spain. Usually the morning chores onboard supplemented by this lunch necessitated a good nap afterwards :-)

This year Suwena’s lines were cast off rather early when we started the summer voyage in marvellous sunshine today on Sunday the 20th of May 2018.
Suwena at the fuel dock of Sada in Spain

Scenic Route of Galicia 16.5. – 17.5.

  • Posted on: 25 May 2018
  • By: Eve

To have a little breath between boat chores we rented a car and went sightseeing of Galicia. The most famous place must be the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela that was built in 1075 – 1211. The shrine of St. James inside the cathedral have been for over thousand years one of the major pilgrimage destinations in Europe. Over one hundred thousand pilgrims walk the Way of St James (Camino de Santiago) annually. We saw pilgrims everywhere and they were easily distinguished from a long walking sticks in hand. It was also a good to see that the cathedral is in everyday usage and there was visible wear from many feet and hands passing through.
The cathedral of Santiago de Compostela
The cathedral of Santiago de Compostela
The university of Santiago was already founded in the early 16th century. It is still a major part of the town and we could see young students buzzing around everywhere creating energetic and lively vibe. Overall, we could see that Santiago is doing rather well.

We continued on a scenic route of Galicia. Next stop was to have a walk on magnificent four kilometer long sandy beach of Palya de Carnota. The day was sunny but windy and thus we had the whole beach on our own.
Eve at the beach of Playa de Carnota in Galicia
Then we headed to Mirador de Ézaro that is a popular challenge of bikers. The route is climbing from sea level up to 270 meters in a distance of 1.8 km and the deepest gradients are 30% steep. Our little rental car had quite a struggle going up the hill. For ourselves, we wouldn’t even dream pedaling up with our tandem :-) From the above there was a fantastic view down to the village of Ezaro, the Atlantic ocean and of course to the land’s end of Spain, the cape Finisterre.
View from the top of Mirador de Ézaro in Galicia
Waterfall of Mirador de Ézaro in Galicia
Every country has its own end of the world and in our sailing voyages we have visited already quite a few. Now it was time for the western land’s end of Spain that is also the official end point of the St James pilgrimage route. Many who have arrived from afar will burn their shoes at the milestone of 0.000 km.
Andrus and Eve at the end of Camino de Santiago in Galicia
Lighthouse of Cabo de Finisterre in Galicia
Next day we headed to the north from Sada. Our destination was the unbelievable natural beach Playa de Catedrales. At low tide the water is withdrawing and revealing hard sandy ocean bottom. 16 meter tall cliffs are rising vertically from the sand like the pillars in cathedrals. The feeling was high as we arrived just before low tide and could walk around easily without getting our feet too wet. We could only think how different this place will be in a few hours time when the sea is rushing back and swell is hitting the cliffs.
Eve at the beach of Playa de las Catedrales in Galicia
The beach of Playa de las Catedrales in Galicia
The beach of Playa de las Catedrales in Galicia
Now then we have had a sample of Galician scenery and Suwena’s spring maintenance is about to be ready, it’s time to start our summer voyage on Galician rías.

Redes, Ría de Ares 20.5. – 24.5.

  • Posted on: 28 May 2018
  • By: Eve

It was perfect to start the summer voyage on a warm day in beautiful sunshine. The weather was like this when we departed Sada on Sunday. The first leg of the voyage was amazing five nautical miles long just into the neighbouring bay. Sada is located on Ría de Betanzos and we sailed north-east where the bay splits into two. The other fork is smaller and called Ría de Ares. This bay was recommended by many locals as their favourite anchorage area. Whenever we asked for recommendations everybody replied: Redes on Ría de Ares.
Suwena dressed for the summer of 2018
There were quite a few sailboats, motorboats and waterjets on the ría. The wind was light, and we like many others were eagerly adjusting sails trying to catch any breath of the wind available. We’re in no hurry and it was magnificent feeling to be back at sea with the boat quietly moving through the water. It was like the dust of the winter was blown out from the brains :-)

There are numerous beaches in Ría de Ares. All of them were full of weekend lovers. We continued deeper into the ría and dropped the hook in front of the village of Redes. When we arrived, there were already about ten other boats anchored. In the evening all local boats weighed their anchors for return voyage and only one French yacht spent a night with us. In the morning they also departed, and we could have the whole bay to ourselves for the next three days. Amazing! Originally we were going to stay here two nights, but the bay was so lovely that we stayed four nights here.
Suwena anchored, Redes Ría de Ares, Galicia
Suwena anchored, Redes Ría de Ares, Galicia
Suwena anchored, Redes Ría de Ares, Galicia
Even if there was forecasted wind and swell to the Bay of Biscay, our anchorage was really well sheltered. Suwena was lazily swaying in small wavelets. The best in anchoring is when the boat is in the middle of nature while the birds are singing and the sea is creating smooth sound around us.

We also put the dinghy into water and took Pikku Suwena to Redes for having walks. Redes is the small Galician village and we could even spot the typical Galician gallerias there.
Andrus lowering Pikku Suwena, Redes, Ría de Ares, Galicia
Redes, Ría de Ares, Galicia
Redes, Ría de Ares, Galicia
Pikku Suwena in Redes, Ría de Ares, Galicia
When sitting at lunch in one of the two restaurants we could nothing but admire the hospitality and friendliness of Galicians. Locals were chatting comfortably from one table to another and even into the other restaurant. Everybody seemed to know each other. One man even was singing during his whole lunch, and every now and then somebody joined with few frases from neighboring tables as well. People were relaxing during their lunch and so did we, indeed.

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

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

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.