Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Celtic connexions

Coruña's Torre de Hercules, world's oldest working lighthouse
We had a super time in A Coruña, largely thanks to our local friend Ana who we met in Pontevedra. She, of course, knows all the top tapas corners to aim for and under her tutelage we partially adapted to Spanish eating times, getting in an extra meal between ten and midnight. The Club Nautico marina wasn't toooo expensive and is perfectly located in the centre of town. We treated ourselves to 5 nights (buy 4 get one free).

Ana was also very generous in taking us places in her car, including Lidl (yay!) and out to the Mediaeval Fair in the nearby town of Betanzos. This was an important place in mediaeval times and still has the look in its historic centre. The fair was attended by many vendors of olde-timey stuff and culminated in a licentious street theatre witch trial fireworks display.

Cabo Ortegal, another major cape rounded

In A Coruña we saw posters proclaiming an international Celtic music festival in Ortigueira, one of the next destinations on our itinerary. So, to get there in time, we reluctantly skipped Rias Ferrol and Cedeira and made for the super snug anchorage at Ortigueira.

It's quite exciting pilotage to get into this ria - for some reason the buoys marking the channel only begin halfway in, after crossing the bar and rounding the first bend, and it is impossible to get in or out with a northerly swell running. Once you are inside, the waters are totally sheltered - you can't even see back out to sea. We were expecting a lot of visiting boats for the festival, but there were only two others - both of which had only learnt about the festival after getting there.

The entrance to Ria Ortigueira at half tide
The channel
A careful choice of anchoring spot is necessary
Placid water inside

As usual with Spanish fiestas, this one was put on by the town council and the three nights of music were provided free of charge. We went ashore for the first two bands and then drifted back to the boat in the canoe, took in another band from the comfort of our cockpit and then slept through the final two bands of the night. Thus we missed a Japanese harmonica ensemble but did manage to see the Oban Pipe Band.

The set-up for the festival
The scenery around is striking, with walks all the way to the outside of the ria and some lovely beaches. Looks like we'll hang around a while now that the festival crowds have left and the town is returning to its normal sleepy self.

Railway bridge at Ortigueira
Here, after just over a year on board, we made a major advance in onboard showering technology. The black bag solar shower never thrilled us, due to its trickle delivery. The garden sprayer had the pressure but didn't heat the water so efficiently, despite painting it black. Sounds obvious now, doesn't it? Heat the water in one, spray it from the other. Wonderful hot shower in the cockpit.

Another flash of inspiration has led to the use of our mosquito net as a partial sun shade for the cockpit. The more functions each item on board can serve the better!

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