Around Estaca de Bares and Cabo Ortegal

After a few days at anchor in the Rías Altas, I sailed Ahora to the port of Viveiro for two nights to cure my salad poisoning and to top up on supplies. In addition, after more than a week of body care with only salt water, it was nice to enjoy a freshwater shower again…. 😉

Viveiro by day and by night

The port of Viveiro from above

However, my first steps led me to a mobile phone shop, where I bought a new (cheap) Samsung phone. So now there are finally photos again. In the long term, however, the device should only act as a backup. I ordered a Ulefone from Germany. Hopefully this is better suited to putting away the occasional saltwater showers.

Old Town of Viveiro: Finally I can take photos again 🙂

Viveiro has a quaint little old town, but it only comes to life in the evening. Then however, the streets are full, and people sit in front of the tapas bars everywhere. Time to taste the local specialties.

At dawn, the tapas bars fill up
Variegated scallop: A local specialty (Which may not only by coincidence be reminiscent of the larger scallops. After all, Santiago is just around the corner…)
Provisions bunkered and freshly showered: Ready to move on…

Punta Estaca de Bares

On Friday morning I threw off the lines to finally round Punta Estaca de Bares and the Cape Ortegal. Cedeira was planned as the day’s destination. The weather forecast still predicted westerly winds with strength 5, but the gusts were expected to be limited to a maximum of 6, so feasible (compared to the gusts up to 11 three days before…)

Thus, I got out of the harbour, set sail in the bay (mainsail and the little fock) and off we went, close hauled, course northwest. Initially still in the cover of the Punta Estaca de Bares the boat made good progress with winds up to strength 4, which were however quite fluky in strength and direction due to the rocky shore upwind.

Leaving Ría Viveiro: Finally back at sea!

As soon as we left the cover of the capes, the wind increased to force 5-6 and I tied in the second reff into the mainsail. The waves here were a good 4 meters high and quite irregular near the cape. Even though Ahora sailed relatively dry, I didn’t dare to get the phone out here. I didn’t want to make another sacrifice. Too bad, because the waves offered an impressive picture…

While putting in the reef, I quickly took a picture. Afterwards I preferred to leave the mobile phone in the bunk because of the spray that came over the bow

After I was able to hold a northwesterly course for a good two hours, it was time for a tack. The idea was to be able to sail a straight course on Cedeira after the tack. Unfortunately, the reality was different: I barely managed a southerly course, and the speed over ground was also significantly lower. Obviously there was a current against me. (I had tried to find out before, but unfortunately I couldn’t find any information about it…)

This was of course unpleasant news, since with this course I headed directly to the cape instead of passing it to the west. After some reflection, I decided against taking once more to the northwest to gain height. Instead, I fell off slightly and set course for Cariño, a village with a sheltered anchorage east of the cape. This way I would still arrive during daylight. The Cape could also wait until tomorrow, when there was supposed to be much less wind.

Change of plan: I keep east instead of west of the Cape
Could also be Cape Horn from the looks of it: The rugged rocks in front of Cabo Ortegal

After passing the impressive rocks, the wind and waves decreased noticeably, and shortly afterwards I threw anchor in Cariño and cooked myself a delicious dinner. At least one of the two capes was rounded: with the Punta Estaca de Bares, the northernmost point of Spain lay now behind me.

At anchor in Cariño…
…cooking a delicious sweet potato curry

Around Cape Ortegal

The next morning I got up early, because before noon, only very weak winds from the southwest were announced, supposed to increase in the afternoon. Because southwest was exactly the opposite direction of where I wanted to go, I wanted to use the weak wind phase and cover the 18 miles around the cape to Cedeira under engine.

Said, done. Shortly after sunrise I left the anchorage in Cariño and at half past 10 I rounded the rocks in front of the cape. Like the teeth of a predator, the jagged tips protruded into the sky. Creepy to imagine being close to this in a storm.

The rocks from the east side in the most beautiful sunshine…
… and from the west side. The cape is circumnavigated! Even a mile away, I was still driving through large areas full of foam which the surf had stirred up.

Since there was little wind and it was blowing in the opposite direction parallel to the coast, I dared to get relatively close to the impressive rocks. There was still a good three-metre wave running head-on towards the coast. As a result, the spray on the rocks often splashed metres high and enveloped the mountain slopes in a haze of fine water droplets.

The cliff here is up to 600 meters high, the highest in the whole of continental Europe! I didn’t expect that at all and I was impressed accordingly. It’s just a pity that it was hardly possible to capture this great sight with my cell phone camera.

Steep coast and surf in backlight

The swell from the side and its reflection on the cliffs made for a rather restless sea, which caused the boat to roll quite a bit without a stabilizing sail. But no problem, there were only three and a half hours left. At half past three, the anchor fell in the bay of Cedeira. Thus, Cape Ortegal was also ticked off the list!

At anchor in Cedeira

A few thoughts on the weather

The weather over the last ten days was characterized by low pressure systems moving towards northern Europe, thus causing strong to stormy (south) west winds in the Bay of Biscay. I was very happy about my decision to cross the Bay of Biscay the week before. This had probably been the last reasonable weather window for a few weeks. Currently, even the lost Hurricane Lorenzo, the easternmost Category 5 storm of all time, is moving towards the Azores. The storm has already claimed first victims. Currently, 10 out of 14 crew members of a sunken French tugboat are still missing. A drowned sailor has already been found, three rescued from a life raft. The other 10 probably did not survive the storm.

Hurrican Lorenzo in the forecast for Wednesday: The western Azores will be hit fully!

Pretty crazy what’s going on on the Atlantic at the moment. Luckily, apart from a good swell at the end of the week, I will probably be spared from the Hurricane. Amos, another young single-handed sailor I met on the way, is still in Brittany and is waiting with other sailors for favorable winds. I keep my fingers crossed that another weather window for the Biscay crossing will open up soon!

At anchor in Cedeira

Cedeira is a cozy little place, which lives mainly from tourism. But since the season is mostly over at the end of September, the town seemed a bit extinct. So what! I got a coffee and some delicious tapas anyway.

The promenade of Cedeiros
Statue of the “Fisher’s wife” at the harbour

Sunday promised headwinds and rain, so I spent the day anchored, hid myself in the cabin and completed my sales tax advance registration for my business, the Klabauter-Shop. Not fun, but well, I guess that’s part of life as a digital nomad. After all, it is a useful occupation on such a rainy day.

The rainy day’s activity: cooking (one-pot-pasta)…
… and accounting for the Klabauter-Shop.

Onwards to A Coruña

On Monday morning I got up early again and set off for A Coruña. The Windfinder app initially promised weak southerly winds, which would then turn to the southwest. At least at the beginning, sailing should be possible!

At the exit of the Rìa I passed Thula, a Vindö 45, which had anchored at the other end of the Rìa. On board a young German couple. If I had known this before, I would surely have gone over with the dinghy and had a little entertainment during the rainy day. By shouting, however, we arranged a meeting in the port in A Corua. Since the wind was really favorable (finally!), I set sail right at the exit of the river, and Peter, the Windpilot, was able to hold a good southwest course along the coast with three winds.

The Thula when setting sail…
… and Ahora, just before
Relaxed sailing along the coast

It turned out that Ahora was able to keep up very well with the much younger Vindö 45 under sails. And this despite the fact that I was too lazy to swap the already battered jib for the genoa. On the way, the Thula crew and I took photos of each other’s boats under sail. Very nice, because you rarely get such pictures.

Beautiful sailing: course southwest, parallel to the coast
What a sight! I love this boat…

At Cabo Prior, as announced, the wind turned southwest, so that after a tack I could sail a perfect south course towards A Coruña. Unfortunately only for a short time, because the wind almost completely died shortly afterwards. So once again I had to put the engine to work. Too bad, but at least the first half of the track was absolutely top. Hardly any swell and a 5 knots ride under sail without too much heeling. How relaxing! I was now compensated for the strenuous times with headwinds and swells of the last days and weeks…

At Cabo Prior, the wind died. So I continued under engine with the main as a support sail against the swell (Don’t worry, the rocks were still half a mile away, even if it looks like I’m about to hit them…)
A Coruña and the Torre de Hercules

The entrance to A Coruña was then relatively simple. The Torre de Hercules, the oldest active lighthouse in the world, could be seen from far away. I made fast in the relatively new and almost empty Marina Coruña and was happy about a nice shower and a washing machine in which I could finally wash my rather salty clothes. In addition, the weather was great, so I went to the city to enjoy a salad and a tortilla. A change after all the seafood in the tapas bars.

The Town Hall of A Coruña
Strange feeling to be back in a big city. The first one since Rotterdam…
For a change some (almost) vegetarian tapas

In the evening I got to know Janne and Ilya from Thula over a beer and wine. Very cool people! And above all, it’s nice to meet a few other young sailors for a change. The two had to leave the next day, as they have an appointment further south. But I hope to meet Thula again in the area around Vigo. Definitely thanks for the great photos of Ahora!

All is well


Leave a Comment:

Linda Stryker says 4. October 2019

Loved this English version ; read every word. Thank you for making the effort for those of us not linguistically blessed. What is the translation of the name of your business?

    Jan says 4. October 2019

    Hi Linda,
    thanks, I guess I will keep translating the posts 🙂 The business is named after “Klabautermann”, a mystical figure in German sailor’s tales:
    Greetings to everyone I know in Seattle!

Claudio says 12. October 2019

Thanx for the report again, well done and RESPECT!!

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