In preparation for our trip, we read the book “The missing centimetre” of a Swedish man called Leon Schultz who gave an honest account of how he and his family spent their year sailing. In his book he describes how many cruisers, in their haste to get further south, miss out on cruising in the beautiful rias (estuaries) of Galicia. He highly recommended spending time here and we are very grateful for his advice. Cruising here has been a real treat especially because of the numerous opportunities to find very good shelters and amazing sailing in flat waters.
The numerous estuaries in question are divided into the rias altas (northern) and rias bajas (southern). The rias altars are on the northern coast of Galicia and the southern geographicly south of A Coruna. Our time was spent in the southern estuaries of which there are 4 principal ones : Muros, Arousa, Pontevedra and Vigo.
We spent the month of August cruising along this coast, in and out of these large estuaries, spending a number of nights in each. The large size of the rias means that they are sheltered from the Atlantic; making the water accessible for swimming, paddle boarding, snorkelling etc. Albeit the water being fresh, we all swam alot each day.
Interspersed between the rias are the beautiful islands of Cies and Ons, which are Atlantic Islands in the Natural Park of Galicia. Another little piece of paradise with wonderful water, sandy beaches and interesting lizards.
Galicia, and in particular the towns of A Coruna, Cambarro and Baiona, are beautiful old port towns; bustling with restauarants, bars and animated with regular town fiestas. We were told that the people in Galicia ‘sleep on their feet’ and it soon became clear that town parties, which go on until the early hours of the morning, are commonplace.
Galicia is also renowned for fresh seafood with grilled octopus, calamari, sardines and mackerel being our firm favourites. The people of Galicia were also very welcoming and friendly.
The history and the culture of this part of the world is also incredible. A reminder of this is in the town of Baiona which in 1492 was the first town to receive the news of the discovery of America by Columbus’s fleet.
While in Vigo we managed to meet with Luca, a very good friend of Filippo’s who currently lives there. We spend three wonderful days with him and his family – eating good food, playing football and going surfing. We miss our friends and it has been very nice to spend some time with Luca.
Take a look at the video below to see what we got up to here.
As for life on board, there are some challenges. The kids are missing their friends back home. However cruising with Phil, Tom, Stan and Ted on Bella has been a lifesaver as the boys often meet and play happily together. We have however built up a small community of fellow cruisers: boats such as Vela from Denmark, Kobbe the Holland, Anna from Norway, Dania from Sweden. In the town of Baiona the marina was bustling with cruisers from all over Europe with diffetent destinations in mind; the Caribbean, the Canaries, the Mediterranean, etc. Amazing to see so many people choosing the cruising life.
Another challenge is the fact that we as a family live in such close proximity to each other all the time – is not always easy! Whereas usually we take ourselves off to work and the kids to school, which brings diversity of thinking and company, that’s no longer an option. We are still figuring out how to manage this new dynamic. We seem to be having more arguments than before but also more amazing times together. It is clear to see that we have left a more balanced environment for something more extreme where the lows are lower and the highs are higher. We are going to have to draw on some new coping mechanisms. We will let you know if we figure this out!
In short, 2 months in and it has already been an amazing adventure albeit with challenges. There is however no time to overthink it, the journey continues. Next stop, Portugal!