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Reaching for the Rias

We spent lovely few days in Figueira da Foz waiting for the Northerlies to subside. Calm nights, beach time, the fresh fruit, veg. and fish market and crazy golf. The locals certainly didn’t know what to make of the beach cricket.

Lighter winds meant we could push on to Porto and after a long day in offshore sea mist we arrived in sunshine for a short trip up the Douro into the heart of Porto. We were greeted by wonderful views of the old centre, surrounded by the old port houses of Dow, Sandemans, Fonsceca, Warres and many others. Then onto Marina Porto Atlantico for the night.

While mooring up on the visitors pontoon Freddie noticed a gull caught in fishing line lying, saturated and dying, next to the sea wall. We quickly got the wire cutters and managed to free the bird before taking it up into the sun near the marina office. We gave it some tuna and before long it was on its feet, starting to dry off, and looking like it had an evens chance of surviving.

We were keen to carry on to Baiona the following day to make use of a rare southerly breeze. Although light, we could motorsail comfortably and then enjoy a beam reach once we turn eastwards around the north cardinal off Cabo Silleiro. It was a superb approach into Baiona. The mountainous backdrop and dramatic landscape along with a 25 knot pine scented sea breeze drove a heavily reefed Moana along at 8 knots. Freddie was at the helm enjoying the fight, anticipating gusts and lulls to keep her on track.

Once nestled in the shelter of the anchorage we could fully appreciate the raw beauty of our surroundings and understand why this place has always been a draw for sailors over the centuries. Columbus’s first landfall in mainland Europe in 1493 after his ‘discovery’ of the america, Baiona has a replica of the Pinta sitting proudly between the two marinas gracing the town. The castle walls set in pine trees and behind them the statue of the Vigin of Roca, overlook the majestic bays. A truly memorable introduction to the Spanish Rias.

We will be here for a couple of days sampling Galician seafood and the wines of Ria Braxias before venturing to the Islas Atlánticas de Galicia, Ons and Sálvora. We’ve been granted anchoring permission for three nights but need some west in the winds to stay sheltered in these remote outposts.

All being well we should reach Muros within the week to meet Wynne who is planning to fly out to help with the Biscay.

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