Sunday 19/06/11 Ribadeo to Cudillero

We finally left Ribadeo today, with a forecast for reducing swell. In the end we stayed put over the past few days, as what looked like a moderate to fresh westerly breeze turned out to be rain and strong gusts and lots of swell. We enjoyed Ribadeo; everyone was very friendly and despite wind and rain, we had a lovely fifth wedding anniversary on Friday pottering on Planet and eating yummy food in the evening.

After a bit of a lumpy start we got a nice breeze that filled in until it convinced us to put all our sails up. We flew along at 5.5 knots for about fifteen minutes, then it died and everything clanked around noisily so we ended up motoring, and we got slower and slower as a little breeze from the east got up in the afternoon. On the plus side, the swell was dropping all the time, which gave us more options. We’d been hoping to stop in at Luarca, as everyone has recommended it to us. But the last few days have been a bit rolly even in Ribadeo, and from the looks of things Luarca’s outer harbour is quite exposed to northerly swell. I googled it and found lots of comments about sleepless night and decided I would rather have a safe berth than somewhere pretty. Maybe we might have found a spot in the cosy looking inner harbour had we gone, but I made the boring decision to play it safe as everyone’s comments suggested we’d be lucky to find anywhere to go.

As we’re going on to Gijon tomorrow, we thought Cudillero or Avilés looked better for today, and tempting though Avilés sounded, with its talk of heavy industry and scores of cargo ships, we plumped for Cudillero instead. The swell was down to less than 1.5m by the time we go closer, which was nice as Cudillero is a largeish harbour with a tiny and quite shallow entrance that you get into by driving almost onto the rocks straight ahead and then pulling out at the last minute and doing a sharp right turn. Engine failure would be fairly disastrous in a situation like that, a thought which cheerfully crossed my mind as we headed in past an audience of Sunday strollers probably desperate for some foaming rocks and splintering timbers. As it was it was no problem, but I certainly wouldn’t want to do it with any swell running.

All the visitors’ moorings seemed to be taken up by French boats whose owners spent the evening looking cool and sculling across the harbour in a suave and sophisticated manner with jumpers tied around their shoulders. They kindly waved us over to a pontoon that was free, but the surge that was creeping into the harbour was so bad once we’d tied up that it was like being on a very jerky swing, so we moved and picked up a spare mooring in the middle of the harbour. The Club Nautico man came and told us off, then let us stay for one night, took our details (including my father’s address from the Emergency Contact details page of my passport despite my assurances that this was definitely not my address – sorry Daddy!) but then charged us nothing. Result! Cudillero is very pretty, and it was a beautiful evening and gloriously sunny and calm and warm as we sat in the cockpit waiting for dinner to cook.

It reminded us of home with kids jumping off the wall at high water and houses built on a slope above the harbour. Of course, we reassured Planet, our resident Cornishwoman, Portscatho is much nicer.

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