Finally, we were on a way to the islands of Cíes. Last summer our island exploration tour was cut short, and we only spent one night in the anchorage due to the weather. Thus, we were really eager to get back into the Islands of the Gods like the ancient Romans called these islands. Suwena’s navigation permit to the islands was still in date and Andrus only had to get anchoring permit. The permits are handled online, and we were a bit nervous as we applied it just at the last moment. There was still space in anchoring quota, and we promptly received the anchoring permit for Suwena. The islands are part of the natural reserve and the number of daily allowed anchoring permits are restricted. We wrote about getting permits to Galician natural reserve areas in our previous year’s blog story.
Again, we used the afternoon Nortada wind for sailing the 10 nautical miles from Cangas to Cíes. We tacked upwind in gentle breeze and generally just enjoying the sunny afternoon. Weather was perfect and we were definitely not sailing alone on the bay of Vigo 🙂
We arrived in late afternoon and there was a plenty of space left for choosing where to put the hook down. The anchor was lowered in the middle of the Praia das Rodas beach. In total there were about 10 boats anchored together with us. Boats were constantly arriving and leaving and clearly Cíes is very popular both among the locals and the cruisers as well. During our stay we saw flags flying from Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, France, UK, of course Spain and ours Finland.
On Sunday there was a full sunshine and we eagerly put the dinghy down and went exploring the island. For the safety of swimmers, a small fairway marked by green and red buoys lead Pikku Suwena to the beach. The sand was unbelievably fine and soft. Thus, the first sports activity of the day was to pull dinghy higher from the beach landing spot. Hands stretched and feet deep in sand we pulled her above the tide level so she would be waiting for us after the day of trekking ashore.
The islands of Cíes consist of three islands. Southernmost Illa de San Martiño is accessible only by own boat – no ferries at all. We however concentrated to the two northern islands: middle Illa do Faro and northernmost Illa de Monteagudo. They are connected by boomerang shaped sandy spit with internal lagoon.
Our first destination was the southern end of Faro and Praia de Nosa Señora beach, where we anchored last summer for a night. Today was perfect weather for anchoring on this bay and there were already a few boats in this quiet anchorage.
We spent most of day on the island of Faro. In total we walked a tad over 12 kilometers. But the distance does not tell the whole story here because we climbed up the lighthouse of Faro to the height of 175 meters. That was a good exercise!
From the beach to the lighthouse of Faro is 3.5 kilometers. We went around the lagoon and the climb to the lighthouse started in the middle of the forest. The path was in an excellent condition and there were quite a few other ramblers already coming down. As we got closer to the lighthouse the path turned into serpentine and steepened. But at the top it was all worth it. The scenic view all over the bays of Baiona, Vigo and Pontevedra was breathtaking – literally!
In addition to unbelievable natural beauty Cíes is also a natural reserve without cars, bikes, and hotels. You can really walk in peace and enjoy the scenery. Naturally there are ferries bringing people for spending a day on the island and some of them were staying in the tents of camping area. And of course, some visitors arrived by own boat like us.
The ferries arrive from all over Rías Baixas bays and their jetty is on the northernmost island of Monteagudo. In the late afternoon there were up to four ferries queueing for picking up day trippers as most of the visitors only come for spending a day on the island. The sandy beaches start right next to the ferry jetty, and we were quite surprised that some tourists had laid their towels immediately next to the ferries. They were just sunbathing in engine noise and breathing diesel fumes – a real weekend quality time 🙁 Only at stone throw distance there were completely tranquil beaches and trekking paths.
The Sunday evening was amazing. After the day visitors had left the island and only the boaters were staying on the quiet bay. The serene sea was all around us in the warm and smooth summer night. No noise, no light pollution – only tranquility and stars above. Andrus was admiring Jupiter, that usually is only a dot in the sky, today it was like a small disk.
This time we saw the best of Cíes. It is the real pearl of Galicia. No wonder that many come here to anchor, swim, trek or just for rejuvenating.