Yacht Pipit


Icebergs in La Coruna! 18th July 2011

Well the weather's not quite that bad, we were defrosting the fridge & ice box so there was a mini ice-floe in the marina yesterday, but it is wet & windy and we hear the worst summer in Spain for 10 years! The photo above is the iconic Shipping Control Tower on the breakwater at La Coruna.

We stayed in the marina at Viveiro for a week as the weather was not suitable for moving on, and there was a very good weekly rate. We did a few jobs around the boat and went for a couple of walks, and read a lot! There's some interesting architecture including windowed balconies that are popular in Galicia and three of the original gates in the old city wall are still standing.

The most impressive of the 3 remaining city gates in Viveiro, Puerta de Carlos V.

How did that get there?

Last Monday the weather still wasn't good for heading west, so we left the marina and anchored off the beach - free of course and a change of view. In fact a rather too rapidly changing view, as the anchor didn't set on the first attempt and was dragging, but a second attempt was successful. It was quite wet & windy overnight and still not very pleasant first thing on Tuesday morning, but it brightened up a bit and we left for Cedeira, an anchorage half way to La Coruna. We had quite a boisterous sail (again) and, for the first time ever, the dinghy shifted a bit on the foredeck. I think this was my (Andy's) fault though, as I had moved the ratchet strap tails to try to stop the genoa sheets fouling the dinghy and the cable glands near the bottom of the mast during tacking. We hove-to and re-tied the dinghy. In fact we've started heaving-to more often - it makes life much easier to reef, cook and avoid getting caught in the man-trap that is the heads seat when the Biscay swell is doing its thing.

There were about a dozen yachts in the anchorage at Cedeira, with plenty of room left and we anchored in good holding and enjoyed a sunny evening admiring the views in the very picturesque ria. A friendly chap came out in a RIB and gave us a flyer (in Spanish, English and French) from an enterprising local company welcoming visiting yachtsmen to their ria and offering various boat services, despite there being no marina, just a small fishing port. In our experience so far, although we always found a good welcome in Brittany and elsewhere in France with marina staff often meeting incoming boats in a dory, the marineros here in Spain meet you on the pontoon, waving you to an appropriate space (and there are plenty of spaces) and taking your lines. Staff are friendly, helpful and generally speak good to excellent English. They really seem to be making an effort to encourage visiting sailors.

Our view at anchor in Cedeira.

On Wednesday we were planning to leave for La Coruna, but Ann wasn't feeling too well (summer cold or somesuch, not too much wine!) so we stayed put for another day. In fact we could happily have stayed there another few days and explored the pretty beaches and coves by dinghy, but we were on a bit of a mission to get to La Coruna before the next bad weather arrived, so we left on Thursday morning.

Not far out, whilst motoring, we noticed a vibration through the helm, although seemingly not via the engine and there had been no change in engine note. Fearing all sorts of expensive rudder bearing type problems and thinking we may well need to turn back for Cedeira we gently motored astern only to see a thick (1" diameter) length of rope attached to a bunch of netting emerge at our bow - we can only assume that it had luckily missed the prop and come to rest on the leading edge of the rudder. The rest of the journey was an uneventful motor in, for a change, fairly flat seas (although still some low frequency swell) but cold with rain and fog at times, although this cleared as we approached the marina.

Torre de Hercules through the gloom.

We went to Marina Coruna, re-developed last year and the first one immediately past the huge breakwater. The showers are, without a doubt, the best since Pendennis (Falmouth) and Portland, no jetons required (whatever the Spanish for those is), 10" square overhead shower heads and adjustable pressure & temperature, the latter going as hot as anyone could possibly want, and you don't have to keep pressing your knob every 10 seconds... It may seem like we keep writing about showers, but they are important to us liveaboard types... Also, the WiFi is free, the pontoons (with ample cleats) are longer than the boat and the staff are again friendly, helpful and speak excellent English. They also offer a 15% discount for a stay of 4 or more nights (that's about two bottles of wine Mark!). There has been some surging in the marina, but this is almost certainly as a result of the grim weather in the Atlantic at the moment. Once again the marina is fairly empty, although there are quite a few British yachts here, including this 95ft beauty Don't know if they realise who we are, but we haven't introduced ourselves yet...

We like La Coruna, walking around it has a nice feel about it with plenty of green, open spaces, it's clean and modern whilst retaining some impressive architecture of bygone days, including lots of the glass-enclosed balconies for which La Coruna became known as the Crystal City. Yesterday we walked out to the lighthouse, the oldest working Roman lighthouse in the world. We should have our third perspective of it when we leave here, but once again our plans have been thwarted by the weather, so it looks as if we'll be here for a few more days yet.

Bronze on the coast path to the Torre de Hercules, with the shipping control tower in the background.

Modern standing stones a bit further on, again with the iconic control tower visible.

More modern sculpture.

What we came to see - Torre de Hercules, externally restored in the 18th century.

If you can't wait until our next update, you may like to look at the Cygnus III blog - a family we have met online through the liveaboard community who have just embarked on a journey similar to ours. We like their sense of humour, and hope to share a mineral water or two (or just possibly something stronger) with them one day if they catch us up...

And one last photo for Andy's sister, although she prefers hers in a glass...