OUR FINAL RIA AND OUR MAMMOTH TRIP COMES TO AN END
Another 8 days later with better weather and bright sunshine we left Pobra stopping off at the Isla Salvora ( one of the National Park Islands) permission has to be granted to enter and anchor in these wonderful diverse islands. ( which without too much difficulty applied for; and granted on line).
Salvora has an amazing geological structure, with rounded granite boulders eroded by the coastal winds creating interesting shapes and nooks and crannies for the wildlife to hide.
A few daily visitors were on the beach when we arrived and apart from two other yachts at anchor the evening brought peace and calm with little to do other than walk the path to the lighthouse, swim in the sea, soak up the tranquility and eat on the deck watching the sun set….. An extremely tough thing to do!
We were woken very early the next morning, before sunrise, with local fishermen trying to lift their lobster pots extremely close to the boat. We are not sure if their line was caught on our anchor chain but they managed and after gathering their quarry dropped more pots into the water. Not long after, when just dropping back to sleep we awoke to more activity outside.
We were surrounded by numerous ( about 30 ) small fishing boats at various distances away; from 3 feet to 300 metres!! For centuries the towns and villages located near the islands have been fishing in their waters, for species such as shellfish, sea bass and octopus. As they perform this using artisanal techniques this is compatible with the conservation of the marine park and therefore allowed and is sustainable.
We had read about and seen these boats from a distance ( ie; be aware and keep a wide berth as there poles/cages/ equipment they use are about 10-15 metres long) but up close it was an amazing sight.
We decided that they are given a ‘set’ day to fish particular areas and rotate to other areas to allow for the stocks to recover.
Needless to say we spent the next 5 hours watching, filming and chatting ( even offering coffee to one boat as they were so close we could have passed a cup over the stern of our yacht) these hard working men. Actually we would not have been able to leave as they all drop two anchors abreast of each of their small vessel (approx’ 50 metres) and work between them. I am amazed they didnt pick up our anchor chain in the process. We are still being educated on our journey………. so much to see and learn
At 13.00hrs they stopped fishing, took up there anchors ( with a little juggling around ours!), and with a smile and a wave left us in peaceful surroundings once more.
We entered the Ria de Pontvedra and dropped anchor in Silgar bay opposite a very busy Spanish holiday resort. What a contrast to Salvora!
The next morning into the marina at Sanxenxo, pronounced ‘Sanshensho’ Here we enquired about winter berthing but decided on the next and final marina in Combarro in the ria Pontevedra.
Combarro was also holding a ‘Festa do Mar” …another Festival of the Sea. with a Seafood tent, traditional music and dancing. The marina held a Regatta of tradtitional boats over the weekend which was a delight to see and have front row seats. Our friends Mike and Petra would have been in heaven at the numerous fish restaurants, which we have to admit cannot drool over.. such a shame really. We did try razor shellfish, octopus, calamares and variegated scallops.
Combarro is a town that has been developed over the years but has renovated and maintained the original “old town” to the right (north) of the marina. It is full of historical interest. with a maritime tradition very evident.
This ancient village is full of small fishermen’s houses with elaborate stonework, some enhanced with stone balconies dependent on their wealth. They mostly face the sea with the ground floor housing their work implements and the upper floor being the families living space. Most houses have a small rectangular building called a ‘Horreo’ raised on a mushroom of stone to protect its content from rats and other vermin. They used to hold the fish or grain that was produced by the family.
It is a maze of tiny pathways and roads which in some places seem to arise from the granite boulders. As in other places we have seen the smoothed curved steps have seen many a footfall.
Evidence of Christians moving into this area are depicted in the stone “cruceiros” that have been placed at crossroads of the pathways with the initial function to christianize pagan cults. They had a deeply sacred symbolic meaning as well as protective functions. These places were identified as ‘Magic’ where the witches and ‘megas’ gathered.
Nowadays this history is used to take advantage in the world of tourism with most shops selling trinketry and consumables linked to witches, paganism and also christianity.
Apart from the curio shops there were numerous restaurants feeding the visitors every evening. I took loads of photos of this picturesque part of the town and it feels a nice place to leave our boat.
Chris has made a reasonable deal for us to take the boat out of the water in October until next April. We have been spending the last few days preparing for our departure .
For a welcome change we decided to catch a bus and go into the town of Pontevedra at the head of the estuary. Sadly the historical part was ‘ closed’ on a Monday so we wandered the streets following the paper information given by the tourist information building ( luckily in English) and appreciated the history from outside the buildings being unable to get inside.
We leave for the UK on the 30th ( Thursday) . I think we are ok about it; happy to catch up with our friends and family back home. We go home with the knowledge we will be coming back in October to get Somoya out of the water with perhaps a wee sail then. AND we will be back next Spring to go further south and actually get to the Med.
I will probably write a quick note when we get home to round up our adventures with more factual info ie; marina costs and their amenities etc.
Other than that… this is Lorraine on board Somoya signing out.
Till next time……………