20th Aug

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.

Amazing geology






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!

tranquility at its best


the picture says it all!










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.

Anyone for coffee?


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.

Traditional fishing


Measuring the size of his shellfish










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.


22nd August 


We entered the Ria de Pontvedra and dropped anchor in Silgar bay opposite a very busy Spanish holiday resort. What a contrast to Salvora!

What a contrast!

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.

The marina at Combarro

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.

Old Combarro


Horreo in Combarro












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.

Each house owner took pride in it’s exterior

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.

Cruceiro in Combarro

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.

One of the many curio shops in Combarro


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.

Witches , Warlocks and Beasties!!!









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.

proud of our journey!

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……………           :)

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On to Ria de Arousa


8 days in the Muros area, we said our farewells to Pam, Pete and Mike as they continued their journey aboard Yacht Renegade to Lisbon in Portugal. we promised to make the effort to meet up again next year if at all possible.

Pam, Pete and their friend Mike leave for southern shores!

We left the seafood and rock festivals only to be greeted with many more along this Galician coastline and the ‘collective’ Rias Baixas !

……As we uplifted the anchor in Muros bay we had a Sea Cucumber caught in the anchor chain. It had somehow swam ( or is it slithered? ) into one of the chain loops and it was impossible to push it out… Unfortunately the only way to release it was to cut it out and throw overboard. :(  otherwise we would have had a rotting corpse in the chain locker!

We had got to the stage of our trip when we reluctantly needed to be thinking about where we would leave Somoya for the winter months. Our original plan of the Med was far from the mark!  That will be next year now!

Fog surrounds us very quickly in Muros bay










12th August

The next sail took us to the Ria de Arousa. With a name like this we must be in for a treat! :)

We were now entering a coastline that included an archipelago of islands that have National Park status. They are a chain of islands that protect the Estuaries ( Rias) on this part of the Atlantic coast. In return they are protected by law due to the special ecosystems that are represented. (Coastal and Subaquatic ecosystems) The flora and fauna are abundant, with ‘waters’ of the National Park  representing 86% of its total surface area. Since the bronze age the intermittent presence of man has left their mark on the islands. Dependent on fishing, farming or raising lifestock to survive these marginal communities also struggled against piracy and with life on the mainland comparatively easy led to their gradual depopulation. This evokes of similar stories of the Islands around the highland coast of Scotland.

We looked forward to visiting these Islands of Galicia.

Our first port of call in this Ria was to be Pobra de Caraminal. This had been ear marked for a possible over wintering site so we came to check it out.

on our way to Pobra

The town quay was filled with a huge tent housing the next festival! and stages set up for more music! We were fast becoming accustomed to wearing earplugs at night to block out the noise which usually goes on till 5 am! Don’t get me wrong … it is nice to take part and listen with the crowds ….. but there is a limit!!

Mary and Erik watch the race boats as they leave Pobra

We met up again with Erik and Mary Omming on board their beautiful Najad 511– Bess Safari Too we enjoyed several ‘sundowners’ and swapped seafaring stories! Their plan was to get to Lagos in Portugal for the winter ‘layup’ so here was the place we said ’cheerio’ to this charming couple. I wonder if we will catch up with them next year. I hope so……

Friends Mary and Erik leave for Portugal





Pobra (as locally known) looks a large town with lots going on. Many restaurants and cafe/bars fill the seafront and the street behind with several supermarkets, fruiterias and panderias (bakers). However there were few interesting shops for a visitor. Good beaches are nearby and of course the Navajas festival and its music kept us entertained (Razor -shell fish….. they were a bit like a fishy chicken!).



We were treated to 2 days of intense activity when a 5 day Regatta in the Rias was brought to our doorstep.

Race Day Madness

all the boats coming in at once!










I took some great film of the “manic’ entrance of the racing boats to the marina. The quiet waters in the bay were suddenly filled with racing boats of all sizes taking down their sails before entering the marina for the night. Their first class racing skills were completely obliterated with the lack of any skill mooring up. I have never seen so many boats crashing into each other AND the other unmanned boats sitting unaware in the marina!  We were stood ready and armed with fenders and a wary eye to whoever parked next to us!  It was quite ashamedly exhilarating to watch!

Chris at the marina in Pobra


Staff were friendly here but the showers were few and rather mouldy so crocs were always worn whilst showering! Wifi was only available when in the marina office building (although Chris could get it on his ‘Badboy”) but that was ok as you could have a drink and chat to the visitors passing through.

That pesky fog rolls into Pobra


Here was the place i would say we met the most british people. A couple of ‘Irish ‘ Boats with ‘colourful’ occupants, friendly and funny with a ‘mother-in-law’ on board who wanted to party more than her teenage grandchildren!

Dorf and James on board another Westerly Oceanlord (9 yrs younger) had sailed many years in the warmer climes, so we welcomed a lot of advice and tips from this friendly couple and exchanged drinks, nibbles and life stories aboard.

Lorraine on board at Pobra


We thoroughly had a good time here which was as well because the weather had become much poorer with full cloud cover and rain at times. The typical coastal fog was also showing its face again :(







Before we left this marina we had a visit from a pod of dolphin  right alongside (and in the bay) the marina pontoons. We hadn’t seen any since Howard and Chris left us in Bilbao. Another delightful sight! We never bore of the gifts of our natural world.



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After being in Portosin for a few days we set off to another port in the Ria. Muros was a larger town this time and altogether more interesting and more ‘going on’.

The Marina is fairly new but had not been finished. ie:- the facilities ashore were sparse at the marina. There was a bathroom       ( like one you would have at home) with a shower, sink and toilet  for everyone! so timing a shower became quite an art :)

The Guy who helped on the pontoons was very pleasant and helpful with fairly good English. The lady in the office was a bit ‘dour’ (as we would say in Scotland) and not the most helpful, but fortunately we required her assistance little!  There was electricity and water at the pontoons so time spent here was not a hardship!

View of the marina from the back streets of Muros

The town was lovely and had many narrow medieval looking streets which were evocative of a former age. As usual with most places we have visited there are numerous cafe’s, restaurants and bars on the sea front . I like the way the Spanish seem to use these establishments ‘en family’ It is great to see three generations in the same place. We seem to have lost that to a certain degree in the UK. The atmosphere has always felt safe and friendly.  We like to find a ‘local’ smaller place up the many back streets.

The little alleys and snickets reminded me of some of the  ones in Holmfirth. I loved the ancient stone steps that show the wear from millions of footsteps over hundreds of years.

one of the many narrow street in Muros


We lengthened our original plan to stay a couple of days to a week here as Chris needed another pair of prescription sunglasses made. His own had broken beyond repair. It was an interesting challenge bearing in mind our lack of Spanish and little English being spoken in the northern parts of Spain!

We made the most of this time exploring the local area and chilling out ( again! ) :)

We did wonder about Muros being a suitable place to leave the boat for the winter but found the Marina to be  very slow in responding to our request for prices etc and when they did it was too expensive compared to quotes elsewhere.

The variation and quantity of shops here were adequate for what we needed but if you wanted more of the type found in ‘high streets’ this was not the place.




even the local churches were celebrating the Olympics here!

It was apparent that the Olympics were being recognised here despite the lack of TV coverage in the bars . some of the streets had multi national flags hanging above the old cobbled streets.

We  bumped into Eric and his wife Mary ( Bess Safari Too)  in Muros one evening. They are from Sweden and are sailing towards the Algarve for the winter. It is always good to catch up with our with fellow sailors  and exchange tales of the sea!   :)

Making friends







Lorraine in the Town Square of Muros





We did leave the marina and had a few days at anchor in the bay  whist waiting for the sunglasses to be picked up which doesnt cost anything and gives a bit more privacy. we noticed that unlike some marinas. Muros marina staff did not welcome dinghies motoring in to the marina to tie up from their anchorage and  wander in to town. we were happy to tie up along the fishing quay and climb the vertical ladder to get into town.

There always seems to be a festival or some kind of public holiday in this part of the world. We have enjoyed a Navajas (razor shellfish!) festival. watched pipe bands. and nipped in to a rock festival!. It is better to take part , other wise you are kept awake all night… and i mean ALL night……. 

Back streets in Muros

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Chris’s Westerly Oceanlord Technical Blog!


Somoya’s engineering officer is at your service

As Lorraine has been doing a great job updating the blog, I have kept a low profile (!), however, pressure has now been brought to bear and I have been ‘asked’ if I would write something a bit more technical for the blog, so here goes…….

Somoya, our trusty 1987 Westerly Oceanlord, has performed exceptionally well so far, she has handled all the weather that has been thrown at her. I would say that the biggest improvement that we have made  since owning the boat has been the installation of the new Volvo Penta D-55 engine. The extra 12HP gained has transformed the boat into a really good motor-sailing vessel. As we have experienced more than our fair share of head winds on the trip so far, we have used the motor considerably, and been able to maintain 6 – 7kts without any problems. Fuel consumption is averaging 3.5 litres / hour which means that the range on a full tank of 200 litres is about 340 NM, plus we always have an extra 66 litres in jerry cans, thus increasing the range to more than 450 NM.

The replacement of the three bladed fixed propeller with a Brunton’s Autoprop has made a large contribution to the increased speed and reduced fuel consumption. The only issue we had to deal with early on was the fact that the bolts connecting the propeller shaft flange to the gearbox flange had worked loose by the time we got to Milford Haven. The nylock nuts were replaced quite easily and have not been a problem since.

I have carried out a complete engine service, replacing fuel and oil filters, and of course, oil. I make a point of doing this every 100 – 125 hours any way, although the manual says 500 hours! Changing the oil frequently is probably the best thing that can be done to ensure long engine life.

Since replacing the electrical distribution panel and carrying out a major ‘tidy up’ of the wires behind the panel, the electrical system has performed faultlessly, and the for the first time since we bought the boat, all the Navigation lights have worked as intended! Before leaving Niall Falconer of Quay Marine carried out major improvements to the battery bank wiring which is now very tidy and much safer than it was. We also installed 4 x 110Ah AGM batteries for domestic power, and 1 x 110Ah Gel battery for engine cranking, again these have performed exceptionally well.

The last major improvement we made was to replace the Bruce anchor with a Manson Supreme. This anchor sets very easily and we have not dragged it once, even after spending a night anchored of a lee shore with a very uncomfortable swell and 25kts  of wind. I do need to install a larger diameter bow roller and extend it a few inches, as it does have a tendency to bang against the hull when we weigh anchor.

I am starting to get used to using the Furuno radar system, which I have not used at all in the past. Probably a good thing too, as we have experienced the fog that can suddenly roll in at any time on the NW coast of Spain. The coastal fog is never forecast, as it is very common here, so it is easy to get caught out! Getting forecasts has been straight forward through email on my IPhone (just send an email to with ‘metarea2.txt’ in the subject field, and a blank message, and it is returned within seconds….try it!). Other IPhone Apps that have proved to be excellent are ‘Tidesplan12’ and ‘WeatherTrack’; these give really good tidal information and Grib files which give a 3 day pressure and wind forecast. For extended forecasts, I use Zygrib on the PC which gives a 7 day, more detailed forecast.

Lastly (if you are still awake at this stage, then I am impressed), the WIFI extender system I installed before leaving, has been great (coming from N America, it could only be called the ‘BadBoy Extreme’!). It will pick up a WIFI signal up to 5 miles away. I have it connected to the mini ITX format PC that I built and installed at the Nav table. Only on a couple of occasions have I not found a free WIFI service that I could access . It also gives  a much stronger signal when connecting to WIFI services provided by marinas. For next season I will improve the system by adding a WIFI router on the boat, so we will be able to connect to our IPad, IPhone & Laptop.

So that’s about it from the Ship’s Engineer, I hope some of our faithful readers have found it interesting, but I will understand if you haven’t made it this far. Lorraine’s normal blog service will resume shortly……….

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Tootling along is the right word as we are just having short sails ( about 20-35 miles) and aim for another bay to drop  our anchor  and shelter for the night or two as we want. It is pretty and there are enough anchorages in different positions to get one that is protected from the Atlantic swell and  wind. It felt a milestone to go around Finisterre which is our furthest point west and actually be heading south!

We have stopped at Corme which had a beautiful beach to sunbathe and swim. the weather was sunny and very warm. The local fishermen use Viveros for cultivating mussels and clams in shallow water  as you can see in the photo we took. They are a hazard, particularly at night as they are poorly marked and the lingering fog during the day that occurs in the summer can make passage through them a challenge…

VIveros can be hazardous to the yachtsman……



A day to relax on the beach… manyana!









my view from the beach.. paradise :)










Rias de Camarinas ( we anchored in Cala de Villa)was a large Ria with the advantage for yachtsmen as there are several anchoring spots with protection from most wind directions. However you have to be careful getting into the Ria in rough seas or wind from the northwest due to shallows in the entrance. The beaches were lovely and we spent time sunbathing, reading and an evening visit into the town . We watched a floundering fishing boat which had run aground in the harbour, the fishermen were frantically trying to get it afloat and moving without damaging other vessels. Another had keeled over in the mud and heavily leaning on its’ neighbour! We were on Spring tides which are the highest you get but they must have been unusually high that day to see 2 boats in trouble.

taking Howards seat !!


Next to sail around was Cape Finisterre  known for being the furthest Western part of Europe.

Approaching cape Finisterre

This rugged coast amply justifies its name as Costa del Morte  !!   :)   Our navigation and decisions en route here were taken very seriously. In the event getting around was no problem  we saw the lighthouses and rounded in to the Ria de Corcubion..

Cabo Torinana Lighthouse




We anchored in Sardineiro and it would have been lovely but for me vomiting and feeling rough (not seasickness) my neck and headache had been playing up.  The night proved very uncomfortable for all as a heavy swell came in 3am

( Pete and Pam Taylor on Renegade had arrived with their friend Mike earlier, and come into the bay to join us and probably regretted it !!!)



We set off today  (weds) towards Portosin but the swell was huge and the wind unfavourable and it was raining! so eventually we decided to turn around and nip into Finisterre harbour close by. Our friends on Renegade braved it and carried on to Portosin. we will go on a calmer day!

Somoya fights the seas!

Contrast in Finisterre harbour that evening!!

The next day,Thursday 2nd August was suitable for us to try again for Portosin . The sea swell was moderate but with no rain and a gentle 2 knot ENE wind (motoring again!) we set off at 09.00hrs.

We had an alarming short period of thick coastal ‘fog’ which is normal for this area but when it cleared we enjoyed surfing down the large waves in to Portosin 3 hours later.

It amazes me how you can change your course in a heavy sea and have such a dramatic change of the ‘experience’ on the boat. One way, you can be facing into the wind  with the swell coming towards you and crashing into the waves . The boat makes massive  banging noises on the hull which is quite disconcerting to hear! The waves wash over the bow and down the deck of the boat, sometimes spraying who ever is at the helm ! AND if you turn the boat around, then the wind is from behind and the swell coming from the rear too, you seem to rise up with the waves and surf down the other side. Altogether that feels a much calmer experience. ♦

Anyway, safely docked in the friendly marina of Portosin we caught up with Pam and Pete on ‘Renegade’ (with their friend Mike, who had arrived to be with them for a couple of weeks) whom had slogged on through the previous days seas . The facilities here good  with laundry, showers, wifi and extremely pleasant staff who are eager to please and speak very good English.

washing day in Portosin!


The town is a small but very busy fishing port.. I think (if we understood the Spanish!) they bring in tons of sardines here. There are a few restaurants and shops but nothing special.. the beauty is in the setting and surrounding hills.







Helmut and his wife Linda also turned up later that day so we decided to have a little get-together in front of the marina around a few tables with nibbles and a drink before going our separate ways for dinner etc .. It ended up a much larger event with other boat owners joining us at different times  during the evening. including a French couple( Nadine and Serge) from La rochelle, Gareth from London (on board Jalfrezi) and a bunch of crew on board a Tall ship belonging to the elite Gordonstoun private school ( Scotland) They had just sailed continuously from Cadiz with pupils  taking part in a tall ship race.

Helmut treats us with his trumpet playing


We had a fab night, singing and entertaining ourselves in the setting sun. Helmut got out his trumpet and played some jazz… ….. perhaps there would be a few sore heads in the morning!  … Helmut mentioned during the evening that this was really a true European gathering  not just separate countries keeping themselves to themselves.. Another reason why i am loving this journey…


Gordonstoun School crew leave for Scotland











Another bit of news… the sale of the house will go through on the 10th August … at long last ( one month late) we had to do a bit of running around to get documents signed and fedex’d over to the UK  but  are so relieved it will be completed soon. Thanks to our friends back home who have been looking after the house and cutting grass etc in our absence. we really appreciate it.



Tommorrow we hop over to the other side of the Ria de Muros to Muros town.  This is a very pretty Ria with hills and water that remind me of a Scottish loch .

Cheerio the noo  xx


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