Ensenada de Banana to Pte Caballo beach, Illa Arousa, via Pobra beach

Wednesday 18th June 2014

Winds southerly, F3 with smooth seas.

13NM (757NM)

Today was a well-deserved ‘no alarm’ day, given the events of the previous night. I looked at the clock sometime after 08:00 and thought ‘not yet’, so turned over and woke ready to get up at 09:30! Pete had been up for 45 minutes, and I found him reading his book in the cockpit. It was such a calm morning, which must have been the pattern of the night, because I hardly stirred.

It was another morning of nothing happening very quickly, and when we eventually picked up the anchor, it was 11:30! Where does the time go?! Pete wanted to haul the mainsail on the anchor, which is somehow easier to deal with – I guess the anchor is holding us into the wind, rather than trying to hold it on the wheel, and tail the main halyard! When we set off, the wind was livening a bit, only to about 12-15 knots, ahead of what looked like cloud. I thought perhaps the forecast weather had arrived early – but a whole 24hours? As I studied it, it seemed to be more like fog, although it wasn’t so thick, but I was a bit concerned, as fog can be a problem in these parts. What if there was a bank of fog ahead? And the viveros…. Hmmm….

We set off in lovely sunshine, which rapidly became dampened by this bank of misty/murky/almost fog, and I said to Pete, “we’re not going to tack through the viveros, are we?” No came the reply, but almost! When you pass through them, it’s more evident that they are laid with clear ways between them, not enough that you’d want to short tack through a line of them, but you can make a course through them – so I found out! We were close hauled, but not beating, and I had commands of ‘wind in’ or ‘loosen’ according to how Pete wanted to trim his way through, and then we tacked around one, so that we could take the eastern exit from the bay. I don’t think I took a breath until we were at the other side, it was mighty exciting! Pete was having the time of his life!

Illa Arousa had disappeared in this veil of ‘fog’. This wasn’t in the forecasts we’d seen, so I was worried that we were again not current enough on the weather to have the play around in the bay. So I half requested/half suggested a stop off Pobra beach so that we could assess the conditions. Pete was good with that, so we tacked our way across to the beach, and were surprised to find four other boats in (plus one that was on a mooring). We decided to anchor in the bay, away from the others, but it shelves so gently and we seemed to be a way out, but we were only in 5m water! All secured, Pete decided that he wanted to go ashore for bread, so he set out in the dinghy, rowing ashore. I sat in the sun!

Foraging for what?
Foraging for what?

When we were in Pobra last, there were very few people who seemed to use the beach, but today there was industrial use of the beach. We’d arrived just ahead of low tide, and there was an army of shell-fish workers (are they fishermen, farmers, harvesters?), somewhere between knee and waist deep, foraging for something! It looked incredibly labour intensive, but there must have been 30 people working away. It would be great to know more about it – what they were ‘fishing’ and what the cost was. Is it the illusive and expensive goose barnacle that we’ve read about? I’d wondered why we hadn’t seen them foraging before, but we think we arrived on a Friday (presumably not at low tide) and over the weekend, they mightn’t work.

Put yer back into it, love!
Put yer back into it, love!

Pete came back with bread, and we had a lovely lunch. We must’ve been at anchor for a couple of hours, and the bank of ‘fog’ had cleared, so there was a decision point. Are we staying, or are we playing? The wind won! So, again we hauled the mainsail on the anchor, and almost sailed off. We were going to take a look at the anchorage we’d rejected yesterday (on the grounds of wind direction), and then sail over towards VillaNova. I wouldn’t let Pete sail through the viveros to look at the little beach on Illa Arousa, as I wasn’t convinced there was a whole amount of room to turn around in, so we heaved-to and had a look. We decided that it would be a very good place, pretty as well as suitable, so Pete gybed us round and we headed off with the wind on the beam to explore further up the Ria.

Pete couldn’t help himself but turn through the viveros, close-reached, as we travelled in towards Villa Nova. We decided that Villa Nova looked far more attractive than Villa Garcia, but perhaps that’s a deliberate ploy on the part of Villa Garcia. According to the guidebook (I may have said this already), but Villa Garcia is supposed to be the cocaine capital, where all the money comes, with Galicia being the place where most cocaine bound for Europe is landed. Villa Garcia doesn’t look that attractive from the water – less attention? Our mission accomplished, we then gybed round, and back towards Illa Arousa. We were in a south-westerly direction, so the wind was ahead of the beam, although it did bend a bit (and didn’t do the 90degree flip that happened to me yesterday). Again, I wasn’t one for sailing into the anchorage, so we took down the sails before going through the viveros.

Really - we're going through there?
Really – we’re going through there?

There was already one boat, a Spanish one, off a smaller beach. The pilot book warns of rocks along the shoreline, so that was the main hazard. We’ve anchored in about 10m, and have a lovely position, sheltered to the south by a rocky headland, looking at a busy beach. It’s full of sunbathing locals, and kids playing in the water. I got my wish to do a little laundry, but since I hung it, the clouds have crept back in! The sun and breeze took the worst of the ‘drip dry’, but I’ve had to string the washing line inside, so Whinchat resembles a Chinese laundry – again! The cloud was forecast to come in tomorrow, but perhaps it’s here early. There is no deterioration of the weather (and wind concerns) so we are not unduly worried.

Another boat arrived, and has moored in front of us. It’s from Australia! We haven’t seen many Australian boats in all of our sailing, so that’s quite cool. The crew of three went ashore to the beach-side cafe, for a beer we think (stereotypically). Pete offered to row me ashore, but it’s gone damp and cool outside. He pointed out that I haven’t set foot off the boat for a couple of days, but that’s OK, because we will go to Pobra tomorrow to provision. Pete’s head chef tonight, and has made a kind of risotto/paella with chicken remains, and some of the chorizo that we had from Noya (a while back). He calls it his version of fridge food, but it was delicious! Unfortunately the generator crashed a couple of times, so something else to have a look at, but not tonight. Tomorrow we get to be more organised again, but we need to update ourselves for food, beer, water and weather before we make plans for the days ahead.

Today’s haiku:

cloud spreads, snuffs the sun
turns the sea battleship grey
we look up and sigh


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