Spanish Rias, A Coruña

A Coruña, Cedeira, Corme, Rias Altas, Sailing, Spain

The morning in Cedeira greeted us with drizzle and fog, plus we had to sort the autopilot before continuing, so we quickly decided to stay another night at this lovely anchorage. Seeing how we had used only a tiny amount of water on passage (a promising show of discipline for longer crossings), the skipper permitted use of the onboard shower - after five days we both smelled in need of one and there was no point wasting wet wipes when we had full tanks and a refilling station a day ahead.

Cedeira at night.

I then investigated the noisy autopilot drive, narrowed the problem down to the reduction gearbox inside and stripped it down. I thought perhaps the grease I'd used was running away due to the heat, so used Superlube this time, which is good up to 235°C. But then I checked and the old grease was also good for 200°C - unlikely to be the problem then. There was no visible damage or wear on the nylon gears and after cleaning and re-greasing them with Superlube the thing purred like a kitten once again. I think perhaps I had missed a spot last time.

Fog lifting over Cedeira.

Then I refueled Diesel from the jerrycans, planned the passage to A Coruña and we just took it easy for the rest of the day. Much unlike the crew of a Trainera that was zipping around the Ria at great speed, powered by 13 rowers with arms like a horses hind legs and an oarsman yelling at them like the drill sergeant in Apocalypse Now.

Approaching A Coruña - Torre de Hercules from afar.

The next day we headed for A Coruña, our original destination for the Biscay crossing. We avoided a bunch of shoals and outlying rocks the atlantic swell was impressively breaking on, headed past the unmistakable Torres de Hercules lighthouse and into A Corunã harbour. A large customs cutter headed straight for us at high speed, but seemed content with leaving us unmolested and passed astern of us. Feeling our way into the marina, we were greeted by holas and wild gesticulating and were soon tied onto a large pontoon. Despite best efforts with additional floating wave-breakers, the marina suffered from some swell, but with our rubber snubbers rigged sleep was no problem.

In the park.
Why we had to go to mad tapas road.

The town of A Coruña invoked some mixed feelings. A large industrial harbour (complete with a petrol refinery backdrop shooting smoke and flames into the air) with large tower blocks, big hotels and a cruise ship port. A large seafront walk was incredibly busy after siesta, but there were lovely green parks to be had as well. The "tapas road" was sheer madness. Around 21:00 the restaurants here open and absolutely everyone, locals and tourists alike crowd into this one long road full of restaurants. After walking up and down the road once, with a few breathing breaks in quieter side roads, we found a free table after a mere hour and some fairly average seafood tapas. The main entertainment was the chief waiter, who I suspect was a multi-dimensional being - he seemed able to exist in many places at once. Away from this madness, we also discovered an excellent ice cream palor and a nice quiet café with some tasty malt beer (there seems to be no real distinction between a café and a taverna here - you can have coffee and beer in either.)

Infectious madness.
Who needs mad tapas road.

We've also pulled out the folding bikes, and after some pumping they were ready for a trip to the really nice park that surrounds the Torre de Hercules. There were menhirs, a muslim cemetery and a huge horn that looks like it may once have been making sounds when the wind was up, before it rusted too much. The Galicians take pride in their celtic roots and much of the park was dedicated to this.

Tower of Hercules up close.
This horn toots no more.

After three nights in the marina, it was high time to leave. The big city madness was getting to us and there were anchorages and sandy beaches in quiet Rias waiting around the corner. We did the laundry, filled the water tanks, refueled and cast off for Ria de Corme Y Laxe and its multiple sandy beaches (and fast, free wifi from the nearby tourist apartments).

Laundry day!
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