….on to Spain – late September

Chateaulin to Ria de Muros

12th to 24th September  Click for Route

Alongside in Chateaulin

We spent a while alongside in Chateaulin up the peaceful River Aulne while gales swept across the Bay of Biscay. I lay alongside my exclusive little pontoon and not a single other boat ventured upriver to this beautiful riverside town. The charming Breton lady in tourist office charged not a cent for my berth; yet M and Bob had showers in a metal box down the road, and I shared electric socket with passing campervans that stopped overnight on the road alongside.

…a pretty riverside town
…and stained glass

There were pretty and invigourating walks in rural Brittany for crew and cultural outing by train to Quimper. (Quimper has a distinguished history and buildings that go with being distinguished, esp. Catholic and distinguished {picture is bit of many fabulous stained glass windows in the Cathedral}) Thinking of the train journey, there should have been a photo of the ticket inspector. She was as glamorous as a majorette in an American high school – blonde, slim, smiling, and in a peaked cap – sweet and indulgent with M’s pathetic ‘O’ level French! However can First Great Western match that?



…anyway, back to me, Henrietta…after nearly a week, we left Chateaulin near HW in afternoon drizzle, headed downriver, through the lock, and on to anchor at dusk at a particularly beautiful tree-lined curve in the river, a big French training yacht anchored nearby.

Leaving Chateaulin through this lock, Guily Glaz – a delightful name

Now, because you don’t always want to hear tales (or read blogs) of blue skies, fair winds, sparkly seas, gorgeous sunsets while sipping wine, etc, I can now tell you a tale of doom, gloom, disaster and despondency (ie. the stuff of more readable journals).

P1010214As anchor chain was hauled aboard in this beautiful anchorage next morning, it, the anchor, stuck/snarled/would not budge. Sailors may guess the rest. For others I should say, we tried everything to raise the anchor: forward, astern, chain out, circles, tug, release a lot, tug, chain loop down chain, assistance of French yacht with enough horsepower to pull a cruise ship (it snapped the loop of chain!). We didn’t sink, no-one was hurt, nothing is broken. But after over an hour we applied the hacksaw and chain was severed. We were free but anchor was gone forever. This is M’s almost new Rocna (that’s a type of super-anchor). He wants to cry – but sailors don’t cry (except I suppose the famous Ellen). (We later learn that I’d been anchored on some sort of ship graveyard. Doubtless the wicked spirit of a sunken hulk had snarled anchor and chain – no mention in the Almanac though.)

Enough nonsense – but thought you’d like to know it isn’t all ‘plain sailing’. Although there are two other anchors on board, M decided to head for Moulin Blanc in Brest to find another super-anchor, this being one of the best serviced sailing bases in Northern Hemisphere, with chandleries, sailing schools and helpful experts on every corner….later, no Rocna but a good substitute and 40 metres of new chain (about 100m altogether now).

Heading for Spain
…a sunset or two or three on the way

Next day we left Brest. Three days and nights later we arrived at the northwest corner of Spain – Galicia. Crossing Biscay wasn’t dull. It was tiring. From exciting well-reefed sailing at start, we slopped to many hours motoring, before wind picked up again for lots of rolly-polly running across southern Biscay….then dropped again. A swell in Bay of Biscay with inadequate wind is very uncomfortable, as many of my fellow boats know.

First port of call was a spot in Ria de Camarinos (for Spanish experts, there’s a squiggly accent on the ‘n’). It feels ‘end-of-season’ and quite empty but there are shops and cafes and it’s M’s first sailing in Spain, and Bob’s first visit to Spain.

Camarinas was the first of our Spanish Rias. They’re said to be similar to Scottish lochs, and they are very attractive with wooded shores and high mountains as backdrop, but there are lots more seashore villages in Spanish rias – they’re warmer and no midges either, of course.

Into Ria de Camarinos as these boats were leaving (red ensigns I think)

After Camarinas… on next day round Cape Finisterre to Ria de Corcubion – an unscheduled but beautiful stop, necessitated because M despairs when the wind fails (he hates motoring), and he doesn’t venture into alien rocky approaches after dark.

And now, a day later, we’re at anchor off Muros in Ria de Muros. We seem to be in the company more-or-less of the same mini-fleet of three French yachts down this stretch of Iberian peninsular.

It’s a hard life, mending fishing nets

2 thoughts on “….on to Spain – late September

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s