Sonntag, 18. November 2012

Down the Shore of Portugal and 'Home' to Madeira

From Galicia, Taniwani headed south stopping in known places. New for us was Porto, in that we didn't go into the harbor of Leixoes this time around, but entered the river at Porto to check out the brand new marina on the south side of the river. It turned out a nice new experience, as we were able to launch our dingy and drive upriver for some ten miles - a very pleasant sight seeing tour, that one could imagine going on for much longer. 

With Taniwani we would only get as far as the pretty double deck bridge built by Mr. Eiffel, but the marina actually offers river boats for rent and one could easily leave the the own boat there and explore the river for a week or so. It is possible to cruise some 100 miles inshore. Maybe some day we try this.

We soon moved on south, stopping in Aveiro, Nazare, Cascais and finally Sines, before having a fairly comfortable and still swift 2 1/2 day sail to Porto Santo. A few more days of beach life and a final wonderful sail to  Quinta do Lorde marina in Madeira. There we prepared Taniwani for the winter and the haul out, and a few days later, Taniwani was back on the dry, again under the huge runway where we had started our 3600 miles round trip back in May.

Montag, 27. August 2012

Rally Bayona

We were in Bayona well in time to organize a safe place for our son Felix's VW camper van at an underground car park very near the Monte Real Yacht Club, were all participants of the rally started to gather. This seemed particularly important, as it was already broken into Felix' bus in Bilbao and now it would be left alone for two weeks.

Felix and Floortje, his girl friend, had already been on an extended tour with their camper van, first to Norway, where the engine broke so that the car had to be transported back to Germany for repair, and now, with an all overhauled engine on the long trip through France to the Iberian peninsula, where they would join us for the two weeks of the rally.

The Rally Bayona is by comparison a small event, with around 20 boats. Alfredo Lagos senior, now 86 years old, had been organizing this event for many years, roughly every two years. In his function as port officer for the OCC and the RCC, Alfredo has aimed mainly at doing something for members of those clubs. Practically it is open to anybody recommended by members of these clubs.

We first heard read about this event in the 'Flying Fish' the publication of the OCC over two years ago and decided to join the 2010 rally. For us it is not a big deviation from our Atlantic islands tour that we had been doing every year since returning from our circumnavigation. Having really annoyed the 2010 event, it was clear we had to come again.

Extremely well organized by Alfredo and his wonderful family, this event is a fantastic roundtrip through the Rias of Galicia, with many excursions to interesting places.

As always one comes away, having made many new cruising friends and much sympathy for the Lagos family and having the youngsters on board, it was even more fun this time around.

As always, it starts with a trip to Monte Tecla, a fantastic viewpoint high above the river that separates Spain from Portugal, and aside from the view, one can see the remains of very early settlements that are claimed having had several thousand inhabitants. Interesting to imagine the many closely gathered round houses bustling with life. All this is followed by an incredible dinner party in the garden of Alfredo's house. Incredibly nice ambiente, fantastic food and great local wine all amplified by the warm hospitality of this nice familiy.

Then the rally moves to the beautiful Islas Cies where the group can battle through jungle like underwood to the outside of Islas San Martin or hike up to the prominent lighthouse on the middle island with a great view over islands embedded in fog patches.

Another nice dinner event was organized at a beautiful old estate in the bay of Aldan. A visit to Salvora Island, with its fascinating rock formations was a real highlight. On went the rally to Puebla del Caraminal where the fleet remained docked for 3 nights, while enjoying numerous bus tours to spectacular viewpoints, old monasteries, a wonderful palace  and again gorgeous food and fine wine all the time.

The longest leg was from Puebla to Muros, passing in fog through the tricky canal between Isla Salvora and the mainland. It turned our a fantastic sailing day with ample wind pushing us into the Ria de Muros, the last of these deep inlets, just south of Cape Finisterre. Here the highlight was driving up the winding river Tambre to a lovely spot at an old power plant. Despite some rain in the morning and the first part of the boat trip, it turned out another great day.

The rally finished with a grand dinner at the yacht club of Portosin. Mant new friendships were made during this rally and everybody praised the dedication of the Lagos family organizing this memorable event.

We took off to the south again the next morning and put in another overnight stop the Cies before going back to the marina of Monte RealClub de Yachtes, were Florttje and Felix left us again to move on with their camping van. We only remained in Bayona for one night, as now not part of the rally, the Club would charge the full fee which was the highest Taniwani had payed for a berth in 12 years. Actually way out of anything in the vicinity.

So we moved out again and into the Ria de Pontevedra, this time to the fishing town of Bueu. A bustling town with menu good shops and a good size harbor just used by a vast fishing fleet. But anchoring in front of the beach was good and only a short dinghy ride into town.

Finally we anchored for a last time in the Cies before leaving the area when our new friends on Whisper, Sandy and Noel came in to the anchorage, this time accompanied by Noel's Simon, and so we had to try the fine Rioja that Alfredo had organized for us at a great price. It was a nice last evening in Galicia before Taniwani headed out of the Rias, early in the morning, bound for Porto.