Monday 06/06/2011 Ría de Vigo to Ensenada de Barra

The forecast was still windy from the north for today, so it was looking unlikely that we’d be able to make progress out of this ria and up as far as the next. So instead we decided to stay in sheltered water and enjoy sailing down to another anchorage with a view to heading out tomorrow when it’s due to drop.

We sailed off our anchor and then about ten miles downstream to Ensenada de Barra at the mouth of the ria. Galicia is known for its seafood and the rias are full of mussel rafts, which are anchored in sheltered spots around the place.

They are strange looking things and a bit alarming when you first see them, but they became quite fun to tack between today and for the first time since the Sporades sailing Planet became like dinghy sailing on flat water again with not too far to go, and we had a lovely time.

We reached Barra and saw a good spot open up with a couple of large ketches already anchored there. So we decided to sail onto anchor as well, and felt quite pleased once we’d managed it without any fuss, and all the more pleased when we realised the two ketches were the Spanish naval sail training boats we’d seen motoring in ahead of us half an hour before. We had some lunch and pottered for the rest of the afternoon, and watched the two ketches head off again in the direction of Baiona. We wondered why they had stopped for such a short time, then it dawned on us. How civilised. Clearly in Spain the siesta is obligatory even when sailing.

A little while later a helicopter flew overhead. It circled a couple of times then worryingly began to drop height until it hovered overhead quite close. Then it pulled away and flew off again, leaving us a bit puzzled and concerned. I went back to reading my book until Si, who was sitting in the cockpit, put his head below and asked my whether we might be in a military restricted area, given that a large customs cutter was powering over to us at speed. Then they stopped and started launching their rib. I realised that Planet was a bit of a mess and that we hadn’t actually done the washing up from lunch or anything. I decided that on balance it was better to leave it that way than to start tipping dishwater over the side as customs made their way over to check us out; it might all look a bit suspicious. So in the end we waited and sat in the cockpit with a cup of tea until they arrived. They were categorically the nicest customs people we have met. Two of them came and sat on Planet and filled in forms and discreetly peered below without actually going to have a look. The other guy stayed in the rib and chatted to Si about classic boats. They apologised for their presence and actually laughed when I said that Planet was untidy and I hadn’t done the dishes. Generally customs people are grim-faced and make you feel a bit like a crim, and manage to hang the threat of turning every locker in your boat upside down over you right up until the point they leave. This lot were so nice I nearly offered them biscuits.



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