Moonlight Adventure

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


Thursday 27th August 2009

Posted by yachtmoonlight on August 28, 2009 at 12:16 PM

Last Thursday morning was a rare drizzly day. When we woke up there were several small boats in front of the anchorage, nearer the beach with snorkelers in the water diving down for razor fish which they pull out of the sandy seabed by hand.

We went ashore as John wanted to go to the ‘Ferreteria’, which disappointingly didn’t sell ferrets, or any small mammals for that matter. It was a hardware store, which is one of the very types of shops that I find exceptionally dull. I have never been able to find anything interesting whatsoever in a visit to B&Q and after doing elephant impressions with the grey foamy pipe lagging and running up and down the aisles riding on a trolley, I get bored extremely quickly. As well as not selling ferrets, the Ferreteria also didn’t sell grey foamy pipe lagging and didn’t have trolleys, so my attention span was very short. The only things I found vaguely interested where the huge fishing nets which john said I wasn’t allowed (“but just think how many swimming crabs I could scoop up in one go….”) and the ‘No alsatians’ signs. John bought some fishing bits and bobs (hooky, weighty, liney type things) and we wandered off to look around the other shops in the town.

The locals seem to have shop window displays down to a fine art, as I found many shops with interesting and classy looking goods in the window, to walk in and find the shop full of cheap tat. Sometimes the goods in the window bear no relation whatsoever to what the shop actually sells.

There were a number of shops called ‘Bazaars’ which sold pretty much anything on randomly merchandised shelves. One shop seemed to specialise in toilet paper and bras. If you wanted to buy something specific, I have absolutely no idea how you would go about finding it. We were looking for some birthday gifts, and as we didn’t think toilet paper or a bra were suitable, we decided to wait until we reached a larger and less strange town and headed back to the boat.

The sun came out in the afternoon so I braved the sea with John and we swam off the boat. The water was quite cold, but it was alright after a while (when all feeling in limbs had been lost). John snorkelled under the boat to check that no damage had been done to the keel when we ran aground and scared off a crab which had taken up residence on the prop.




There were more small fishing boats in front of us in the anchorage on Friday morning, but these ones were casting nets and hauling them back in, catching large numbers of sardines.

Charles and Penny told us they had found free Wifi access at the town library, so we wandered up as we needed to catch up on emails, banking and update the website. The library turned out to have fantastic facilities with free fast Wifi access and a large room with about 30 PCs which were also free to use. There were a lot of children using the PCs, who seemed to be dropped off there while their parents when shopping and picked up later. They were all very well behaved and quiet, although the young chap on the PC next to me who was no older than 10 will no doubt grow up to be a serial killer based on how much he seemed to be enjoying the blood and guts in the very violent internet game he was playing.

On the way back to the boat, I posted some postcards. At least I think I did. I put them in a large circular metal box with a letter-shaped slit in the front but after I had dropped them in I realised there wasn’t actually anything on the box stating that it was a post-box.

Back on the boat, we watched as a French boat started to drag its anchor. The skipper was on a neighbouring yacht when his boat lost its grip and started to drift away. The people who were on board the dragging boat obviously had no idea what to do, so thought the best plan of action would be to stand on the deck, shrug their shoulders and look baffled. When the skipper noticed his boat was leaving without him, he darted back to it in his dinghy and managed to regain control, but after several failed attempts to re-anchor, they headed off across the Ria to a nearby town with a marina.


In the morning, we moved on to an anchorage off a small town called St Uxia de Riveira in the Ria de Arosa. We sailed through some very narrow rocky passages on the way, which I found quite scary, but John was completely calm and knew exactly what he was doing as he’d spent a long time poring over the charts and preparing the passage plan.

The weather was glorious and we had a great sail past some beautiful scenery.

After anchoring, we both had a swim off the boat and warmed up afterwards with a hot solar shower before relaxing on the boat for the rest of the day.


The anchorage was very rolly in the night, so in the morning we set off for Escarabote, further up the Ria. When we were close to the anchorage we noticed that it was quite exposed and with the forecast winds would not be very sheltered, so we changed our plans and anchored in the bay at Pobra do Caraminal.

The water was very clear and we could see hundreds of small fish swimming in shoals around the boat, so we joined them for a swim.

Charles and Penny arrived in the anchorage in the afternoon after also deciding that Escarabote wouldn’t be a good option.

Later in the afternoon, we heard a brass band ashore. A procession was walking through the town and we could see a large number of people had gathered by the sea front. We found out later that this was part of the town’s annual festival.

A large red rescue boat that had been anchored further out in the bay, moved into the anchorage and started shooting its water canons a huge distance in the air (which drifted over us!) and a small boat decorated with flags motored out under the spray to lay a large wreath in the water out in the bay.


(The rescue boat)


As the small boat returned to the harbour, the rescue boat span round in circles, still spraying water high in to the air.


(The rescue boat firing water canons in the air - we will post more piccies and a video of this on the Photo Gallery and Videos pages))


Fireworks shot up in into the sky and exploded with loud bangs as boats all around sounded their fog horns. It really was quite a spectacle!


(John sheltering from the rescue boat spray!)


When the small boat reached the harbour, the rescue boat backed out and headed away from the town, just as its fog horn lost power and went from being a menacingly loud “HONK” to sounding like someone had trodden on a mouse.

As the sun set over the town, a fairground sprang to life and a life band sang very loudly (and very badly) until 4am the following morning.


In the morning, John announced that we couldn’t go anywhere until he had a shave as his beard was so bushy a wombat had moved into it. After he had de-wombatted, we went ashore with Chris and Penny to find a nice café for coffee and a croissant.

We walked through a small but very nice park into the town and watched as the brass band we heard yesterday marched through the town. Close behind the brass band was another band of women playing pipes, drums and tambourines. We stood and watched them as the passed by and then found a small café on the edge of the park.


(One of the bands in Pobra)


As we enjoyed our drinks and croissants, the heavens opened and it rained heavily, which wasn’t a bad thing as it washed all the salt off the boat from the rescue boat water canons the day before!

It turned out all the shops were shut because of the town festival, so we headed back to the boat.

A little later, a Dutch chap from a boat anchored next to us came over to ask if we knew why the shops were closed and invited us over for drinks.

We went over to the Dutch boat later on and had a very pleasant evening with Henri, Akke and their two extremely pleasant children Lotte and Silke who both greeted us in English!

Later in the evening, the fairground started up again but thankfully the rubbish band didn’t.


The sun came out again on Tuesday, and the shops re-opened, so we headed to the supermarket to stock up on Cookie Monster biscuits and we bought a bag of huge mussels for dinner.

We explored the town, which is a maze of narrow streets leading onto small squares with statues and fountains.


(One of the squares in Pobra)


Back on the boat, it was very hot in the afternoon, so we swam over to the Dutch boat to invite Henri, Akke and the girls over for drinks later that evening. The water is still quite cold but it’s very welcome and refreshing on a hot day!

We had another very pleasant evening with Henri, Akke and their daughters. While we chatted in the cockpit, the girls went down below and amused themselves playing card games.

John cooked the mussels in cider for dinner, which we ate with big chunks of fresh local bread.


Yesterday, we moved on to Baiona, which was a six hour sail. It was quite cold and windy (unfortunately mostly from the wrong direction) and the sea was quite choppy.

We had hoped to stop off for lunch off the beautiful beach on Isla Ons, which was once voted the best beach in world, but the anchorage was very choppy so we kept going. We are planning to stay in Baiona for a week as there is a lot to see and do and we need to stock up on fuel, water and provisions, so we might have a chance to pop back to Isla Ons later in the week.

When we arrived in the anchorage we found it was very sheltered from the gusty winds and was very hot. Both tired from the trip, we relaxed in the sun for the rest of the day and had a quiet evening on the boat.


Strong winds are forecast for the next few days, so this morning we filled up with fuel and then moved into the marina as the anchorage is very exposed to the wind and choppy sea.

After enjoying the marina showers, we set off to explore the town and headed first for the replica of Pinta, which along with the Nina and the Santa Maria sailed with Christopher Columbus when he discovered the New World in 1492.


(The replica of Pinta)


It cost one Euro each to go aboard, and we explored all around the ship, which didn’t take long as at 20m it is surprisingly small. The replica was built in 1993 to commemorate the 500 year anniversary of the return of Columbus from his voyage and to be honest, it’s not in great shape, though probably better than the original (said John…). The handrails are coming loose in several places and the paintwork is peeling, which is a shame, but it was still very interesting and we had fun clambering all around the boat.


(John aboard the Pinta replica)


We had a brief walk around the town and wandered into a couple of very strange shops which sold mainly models of witches, which were incredibly ugly. I have no idea why there is such a demand around these parts for ugly witch models and can’t understand why anyone would want to buy one as they really were quite awful. Very strange. We much preferred a very nice delicatessen, where we bought some fabulous raspberry chocolate.

Feeling a little peckish, we decided to find some tapas and chose a bar that looked nice. It soon became obvious that we are is a much more touristy area now as the tapas was nowhere near a good as in the smaller towns we have visited and was a lot more expensive!

Back on Moonlight, we enjoyed a chilled glass of wine in the cockpit and watched the sun go down.

Categories: August 2009, Spain

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Reply Peter
3:50 PM on August 28, 2009 
Seems like you're both having a fab time. I love the blogs - keep 'em coming. Bet you're both missing DSG! Take care both.
Reply Mum
5:46 PM on August 28, 2009 
Great that you arrived just i time for the annual festival; and really interesting to read about Columbus' (replica) boat. It is just fabulous to read your Blogs..... like travelling with you!
Reply Barb
7:05 PM on August 28, 2009 
You seem to have a talent for arriving on festival days ! August bank holiday festival in Blighty this weekend no sign of fire works or rubbish bands yet, going to have a look thru your latest pics now, have fun, take care : )
Reply Andy and Char
4:20 PM on August 29, 2009 
hi you 2, great to see your adventure is going well. spikey and Casper are doing great. Casper is getting so big!!. Loving the blogs. take care
Reply Mum
8:45 AM on September 3, 2009 
I love the duck umbrella!!!