We anchor down in Cederia and the feeling of joy is wonderful. Relief for making it across the bay mingles with excitement for what lies ahead.
The Ria is beautiful and at this time of year it is empty of yachts. South Star and crew are happy to be safe in harbour. The lure we towed most of the way yielded nothing but a plastic bag! The shocking state of the ocean these days. 70 million tonnes of plastic produced in Europe every year and a considerable amount finds it's way into the sea. Here it breaks into smaller and smaller pieces whilst absorbing toxins. Birds, fish and sea creatures mistake it for food and eat them. It really is the catastrophe of the moderen age. This stuff never goes away. I guess we are going to find out how bad things are on the Atlantic coast of Europe during this trip.
In the afternoon we row ashore and explore the town. Very pretty houses with white wooden balconies look down on the harbour. We wander around and get supplies. It is much cheaper here compared to France so we can splash out on some wine and other luxuries. An afternoon on the beach completes our day and Bryher is happy to play in the sand.
We did think if we made it this far we could find a cheap marina and stay for the winter if needs be. We have been lucky so far with the weather and the year is closing fast. Soon this coast will become wild and dangerous. We decide to head off and journey down the coast a bit to see what we find.
We leave Cederia on the 1st November bound for Laxe – 50 miles away. As we are leaving I nip below to disconnect the hydraulics which power our anchor winch. Bryher is halfway up the steps from the saloon and I knock her off. Luckily she is ok but it's a lesson we need to be really careful.
We sail down the coast past La Coruna. If we were to visit here we would add some 30 miles to our journey and we want to get round the corner and into the Southern Rias as soon as we can. At lunch time I nip below and make my first ever 'starry gazey pie'. As I come up on deck, Bryony by chance is reading Bryher the Mousehole Cat – presumably to prepare her for the lunch ahead. The pie is a great success but the sardines are a little salty. It's hot and the sea pretty calm so we are having a really nice motor sail.
We make Laxe as night falls and are keen to get in before full darkness as we have never been here before. The anchor goes down off a sandy beach and a large glass of wine helps us to celebrate the place. Up go the sails in the morning and we manage to sail off anchor and out into the bay. My eyesight must be getting worse as I steer round some seagulls thinking they are lobster pots. We are bound for Camarinas – 20 miles away. We get a call on the VHF from our friends Paul, Emma and two daughters on Spirit. They are heading south for the winter too. We agree to meet at Camarinas.
In the afternoon an aptly named Spanish fishing boat 'Rouge Y Pas' starts to pass us fairly close. I wave but get no response. He overhauls us and cuts across our path ahead. I reason he must be heading for the next fishing port on the coast. As he passes some 200 yards ahead he shoots his nets and I have to take drastic avoidance measures not to run into them. He then behaves erratically seemingly chasing us like a scene from 'Duel'. The event makes us worried as we did not expect such dangerous behaviour from fellow sea dogs.
We arrive into Camarinas in a rising wind and sea. There are waves breaking on either side of the entrance making it a little tense. Soon we have the anchor down in the harbour and we row ashore to explore.
We leave the Ria early on the 5th November and it is on this leg we will round the infamous Finnisterre. As we leave the Ria the swell is fairly steep in the entrance and it's a shock as we did not expect it to be quite this rough. As we gain further distance into deeper water the steep waves draw out and become less of a concern. As the morning progresses however the wind, which (blessed be) is on the starboard quarter, increases and soon we have waves chasing up astern that appear higher than our wheelhouse. We are sailing along at a good pace though and it’s fine so long as you keep looking forward. It is an exhilarating sail though and South Star again is loving it. Bryher manages to be sick into Bryony's cleavage which has a comedy value but takes some sorting out.
As we pass Finnisterre the sea state improves and we decide to keep going past our planned destination. We keep on sailing all day, passing the intriguing offshore islands that make up the marine nature reserves off shore. We are visited by a pod of dolphins and Bryher is now really getting a lot out of their visits. I watch her watching them and feel a huge satisfaction in getting this far with our family crew. In these moments there is no doubt about what we have chosen to do. You do however get to suffer the full range of feelings all in just one day.
The sun sets and we are carrying on to the Ria De Vigo. Bryony puts Bryher down for sleep and I sail in between the Islands and the mainland. The phosphercence is incredibly bright and more dolphins arrive and glow brightly on the bow. I stand there watching and identifying the navigation lights as we enter the Ria. Bryony comes up and we drop the sails around midnight and motor over to the anchorage. We sailed 85 miles today.
The dawn reveals us to be anchored off a lovely sandy beach backed with pine trees. We go ashore after breakfast and realise it’s a nudist beach. Being November though we have it to our mostly clad selves. We spend the day here on the beach having lunch and enjoying a bottle or two of our boat brewed ‘Trawler Tribute’. Made in Dourananez, aged under sail in Biscay, 40p a pint. We would like to stay for the week and explore the Ria but we know deep down that we must carry on South. Next leg wil see us leave Spain behind and pass over into Portugal.
'What do you reckon Bryher...Spain or Portugal?'