Moonlight Adventure

The story of our travels on board Moonlight, our Vancouver 36.


Friday 14th August 2009

Posted by yachtmoonlight on August 16, 2009 at 10:40 AM

The sunshine keeps on coming and Monday was another beautiful day. So warm that John decided to have a swim off the side of the boat (the water is still far too cold for me!). After he got out, he rinsed off with fresh water and then shook like a spaniel, drenching the cockpit and everything in it, including me.

The tide was right out and the water was very low as we walked into town, leaving a considerably larger beach and shoals of fish visible from the harbour.


(Cedeira beach when the tide is out)


We decided to look for a supermarket and found one by heading in the direction people were coming from with supermarket shopping bags. I looked around the shelves, mostly baffled and used my Spanish phrase book to try and identify some of the produce on sale. We gave up when the phrase book advised me that a particular packet of olives came in a Camomile Tea and Bone sauce and just bought some random things that looked vaguely edible including various tins of unidentifiable sea-creatures. We also bought a box of chocolate biscuits because it had a picture of Cookie Monster from Sesame Street on the packet (or ‘el Monstruo de las Galettas’ to be precise) as you can’t go far wrong with blue fluffy monsters.

We found a park bench to munch some hot bread and cheese while I perused the supermarket receipt and found the we had been charged 4 Euros for a small piece of cake resembling a slice of jam roll with chocolate on one side about an inch thick. Oooops. It was very nice though.

I noticed the park had a sign which consisted of a picture of a West Highland Terrier with a red circle around it and a cross through it. I’m not sure if this was a generic ‘No Dogs’ sign or whether they were specifically discriminating against Westies, which would seem a little unfair.

In the afternoon, we took the dinghy across the bay to a tiny beach we had spotted from the boat, which is only accessible by dinghy, not from land (as it has high cliffs all around it).


(The small beach)


We had the beach to ourselves which was fantastic. We drew turtles in the sand (well, I did), enjoyed a paddle and then swam in the sea (the water was much warmer off the beach than in the anchorage). John managed to get a nasty nip from a small white crab, so I decided to keep my Crocs on for the swim!


(Ann swimming in Crocs!)


We found some rock pools on one side of the beach which were full of shrimps so tame we could pick them up in our hands.


(A friendly shrimp)


After a lovely hour and half on our private beach, we headed back to the boat and John decided to snorkel under the boat to wrestle sea creatures out of the impeller (which had clogged up, stopping the speed log from working), armed with a toothbrush.

In the evening, Charles and Penny from a nearby boat came round for drinks and tinned sea creatures. We had a very pleasant evening, followed by dinner of the remainder of the football pitch fishy pie we bought the day before.


On Tuesday morning we moved on to a marina in Sada to refuel, do some washing and find some internet access. We had a terrific sail there in perfect conditions around the beautiful coast of Galicia.

When we arrived, we decided to fill up with fuel before we berthed so we spotted the fuel dock and headed straight for it. When we were about 10 metres away from the dock, we suddenly stopped and John announced with more than a smidgen of panic that we had run aground. Great big oooops. Of course, whenever this kind of thing happens, you always have an audience and lots of locals stood in the harbour and called up their friends and family to come and look at the stupid English people who tried to sail a 36ft yacht into the part of the marina reserved for only very small boats. Owned by mice. Or ants.

Some (very small) Spaniards in the marina who were heading for their (very small) powerboat nearby stopped and tried very hard to help us. We threw them a line which they tied to the pontoon, and John tried to winch us backwards with the engine in reverse, back into deeper water, but we were well and truly stuck. The Spaniards informed us that (luckily) it was low water and the tide was rising, so we had no option but to sit tight until the tide lifted us off and we could get back to where the big boats go, which thankfully it did after about half an hour, so it could have been much worse!

As soon as we were back afloat, we headed for a berth and the people on the boat next to us explained that the fuel dock we should use was at the other side of the marina.




We drowned our sorrows with a cool beer and had tinned sea creatures with salad for dinner.

In the morning, we took the boat over the correct fuel berth (for big boats) and topped up without further incident. We wandered to the marina office (past a No Sausage Dog sign – this breed specific dog discrimination must be common in Spain) to use the washing machine. A washing machine it may have been, but a rinsing, spinning or door opening machine it certainly was not. After much abuse and threats of the intervention of a crowbar, John finally persuaded it to give us our sopping soapy clothes back, which we then had to rinse on the boat. Thankfully being another very hot day, everything dried very quickly pegged around the boat.


(Sada marina)


The spray-hood frame had broken that morning when we were trying to put it down, so John spent a happy hour fixing it with some kind of strong gooey gluey stuff that I am not allowed to touch (as it will evidently lead to me sticking my fingers together, to John, to the boat or all three). I asked if while he was at it he could also stick the rubber bit on the front of one of my trainers back on as it was coming loose, which he did, adding a clamp to hold the rubber bit in place while the glue set. We now have a spray-hood as good as new and I have a trainer with clamp marks permanently embedded in it.

Charles and Penny arrived on their boat from Cedeira in the afternoon and we had another very pleasant evening of drinks and nibbles with them on their boat.


We decided to go exploring inshore yesterday and took a bus to Betanzos, which was the ancient capital of Galicia. The bus ride was rather hair-raising to say the least. The driver looked and drove like the school bus driver on The Simpsons and played loud rock music all the way there, possibly to drown out the sound of cars honking and screeching all around us as the maniac bus careered along the 12km road to Betanzos, straight over roundabouts and round corners on two wheels.


(The bus driver)


The bus ride was very cheap and I would recommend they put a few extras cents on the price and beef up their Public Liability insurance.

We arrived a little shaken after 20 minutes (for what was supposed to be a 30 minute journey) and headed straight for the Tourist Information office which was conveniently situated close to the bus stop. The lady in the Tourist Information office was very helpful and gave us a map of Betanzos and some leaflets. She also recommended that we visit three ancient churches and the ‘Betanzos El Pasatiempo’ gardens.

The three churches were nice but not particularly astounding.


(One of the ancient churches in Betanzos)


One of them had a thing about pigs and had them carved in stone all around the walls and some chap’s tomb had been laid to rest of the back of a stone pig and bear.


(The tomb resting on a stone pig and bear)


Very odd. One thing that really tickled me was that all three churches had done away with the usual candles which you can normally buy and light for a small donation. These churches all had electronic candles instead. Each had a row of these electronic candles and a slot for putting your donation in, which would then ‘light’ (switch on the bulb) on one of the ‘candles’. Now, I’m not a religious person, but somehow I doubt this is quite the same as lighting a candle if you are, but I found it most amusing.

After the churches, we headed off for the gardens, via a pleasant walk along the river that circles the old town, stopping off at a small supermarket to buy some snacks (and more Cookie Monster biscuits) for a picnic in park that leads on to the Betanzos El Pasatiempo gardens.


(The river in Betanzos)


As we arrived at the park, we walked through a very modern children’s playground with an adult exercise equipment area next it (which I thought was a splendid idea) and on into the park, which was rather lovely.


(John using the exercie equipment in the park)


There is a pond with bridges across to an island in the middle of it which houses a large pagoda with benches sheltered from the sun and a hedge maze (which had obviously defeated many people judging by the amount of person-shaped holes around the edges of the hedge). We found a lovely spot on a bench under the shelter of some trees and enjoyed our picnic.


(The pegoda in the park)


After lunch, we continued across a walkway to the gardens, which are unbelievably magnificent and completely bonkers.


(The Betanzos El Pasatiempo gardens - I will post more pictures of the gardens on the Photo Gallery page)


They were created between 1893 and 1920 and are a maze of ponds, grottos, caves, statues and sculptures. It’s a magical place and we both loved it.

As we walked through the caves and grottos (which were a wonderfully cool refuge from the baking sun) we gradually made our way up to the top of the gardens where a giant lion sculpture looks out across Betanzos.


(The lion looking out across Betanzos)


After a very enjoyable walk around the gardens and back through the park we headed back to the bus stop. When the bus arrived, it was the same driver as earlier, but in a different bus, so we could only assume the morning bus didn’t make it and was wrapped around an olive tree somewhere.

Thankfully we arrived in Sada in one piece and headed back to the boat for a quiet evening.


We left Sada at 9am this morning and after a hazy sunny passage we arrived at Corme just after 4pm and were the only boat in the anchorage. The holding wasn’t good (very weedy) and it took three attempts to anchor close to a small but very crowded beach.




I noticed my feet were looking more and more like a Zebra’s (striped that is, not hoofy). This is because I have mostly worn the same sandals and I now have two very white stripes across each foot.

When we get back from our sailing adventures I think I’m going to develop some ‘reverse sandals’. The idea is you buy two pairs of sandals with the straps in exactly opposite positions, so wearing each pair 50% of the time would give you a perfect foot tan. I think I could be on to something there.

After an hour with the anchorage to ourselves, a large catamaran joined us and decided to drop their anchor in our sink. Anchorages appear to work just like car parks. If your car in the only one in a car park, you can guarantee the next car that comes in will park next you. It’s the same with boats, there’s a bloody great big anchorage and the catamaran decided to anchor so close to us we could see the skipper’s nose hair (with which he was generously blessed).

As the evening progressed more boats arrived in the anchorage and more people filled up the tiny beach, making it a very noisy place to spend the night, especially when the rock music started (and didn’t stop until 5am the next morning). Not the best anchorage I have to say, but never mind, we are off to Camarinas in the morning.

Categories: August 2009, Spain

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Reply rohit
5:33 PM on August 16, 2009 
Hi Ann,
Reading these blogs just make me feel you are hav ing fun.

Takre care - Rohit
Reply gwen
7:45 PM on August 16, 2009 
Stick with the high-tec, on-board washing machine you have already. It never goes wrong or jams with the door shut and you don't have to lug all your dirty washing ashore. it's called a bucket!
Reply Mum
1:10 AM on August 17, 2009 
The Pasatiempo Gardens look absolutely fabulous.