Sunday, 29 July 2012

Nossa Nausea

Ria Viveiro

Driven by our need to escape from all-night fiestas, we have made some progress along the coast. We are beginning to get the sneaking feeling that we arrive in each town just in time for the annual fiesta, but, more likely, the Spaniards simply party all the time. Maybe they need something to take their minds off the 'crisis'.

Now 'fiesta' sounds like fun and we are not normally known to be party poopers, but these affairs last all night (6 a.m. minimum) and are taken to be a great excuse to make as much noise as possible. This makes sleeping in an anchorage nearby almost impossible. It wouldn't be so bad if the fiestas had traditional music and local flavour - however, it's always the same Latin disco tunes, sometimes by a live band or orchestra and sometimes just a disco with some maniacal DJ screaming into the mic. There are only so many times one can listen to Nossa Nossa, Lambada etc. and we already exceeded that quota in the Canaries during Carnival, way back in February!

The night before we left the Ria Santa Marta de Ortiguera, a Tuesday night, was possibly the worst offending fiesta yet. It wasn't even in the town where we were anchored but one village over (a couple of miles away), but the amplification was extreme and the band bad. They only played one third of a tune and then screamed for a few minutes, to the accompaniment of some fiendish bass generator, before attempting the next song. Since we had planned to get up at 7 a.m. to catch the tide out over the bar, this was exceptionally poor timing.

We had a lovely sail beating along the coast to the next ria, Viveiro. It turns out that the prevailing summer winds are northeasterly on this coast and there is a knot of current running west, but that just makes us feel at home. We rounded the breakwater at Celeiro only to hear thunder flashes going off (the sure sign that a fiesta is beginning) and the usual Latin disco music starting up. A quick turnaround and we anchored at a peaceful beach around a headland from the shennanigans.

Sunset from our beach anchorage in Ria Viveiro
Islota at dusk
Sunset series III
The next day we sailed back in and walked to the pretty medieaval town of Viveiro from the beach. We enjoyed a wander around the walled town and stopped at the tourist info on our way back. 'You are lucky, there is a fiesta in Celeiro tonight,' the woman said. Apparently the night before was the festival to honour Santiago (fair enough - he's Galicia's patron saint), and this night was the turn of Santa Ana (Christ's grandmother - eh? No doubt she would have been delighted to know how her day would be celebrated thousands of years hence.). On a board outside the tourist info, two more festivals were listed for Friday and Saturday nights. Before the rumbling of the thunder flashes, we were off, back to our beach anchorage.

Castropol in Ria Ribadeo 
Lateen rig in action (especially for Marco)
Our anchorage on the Galician side of the ria
The library in Ribadeo is in urgent need of TLC
Local sailing dinghy fleet, all with lateen rig
A glimpse of the Asturian hills
With no end of festivals in sight and decent wind forecast, we deemed it prudent to move on the next day. Alas, there was not much wind and plenty of northerly swell. Still we made it into the last of the rias, Ribadeo, in hot, sunny weather. This, sadly, is our final stop in Galicia; we can see the green hills of Asturias across the water. One last meal of octopus and pimientos de Padron in the bustling town of Ribadeo and then it's on to cider and meaty bean stews.

Before and after some elbow grease
P.S. A teak brightening tip from the skipper: Scotchbrite + salt water works wonders. No expensive product or harsh chemicals needed.

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