Ruffian sits on water, her anchor is on rock.

25th July 2020

Puerto Celerio, Viviero, Galicia, Spain – Mugardos, El Ferrol, Galicia, Spain via Cedeira, Spain & San Felipe, El Ferrol, Spain

Sometimes you get exactly what you expect. Sometimes you get more. Sometimes you get less. The important thing is to take what you are given and either revel in the unexpected pleasure or simply deal with the hand that you have been dealt.

Leaving Vivero we were expecting flat seas, breeze on the beam and a typical day sailing Ruffian, to put it simply, general sailing loveliness. What we were dealt however was quite different, Ruffian rocked and rolled in the swell, sails flapped and banged listlessly and Iain became greener and greener. That salty sea dog exterior is clearly a façade to a soft a squishy interior. As usual Fiona, with her cast iron stomach, pottered about without a care in the world and it was only her care for her poor salty sea dog that stopped her making egg mayo sandwiches and other sick inducing concoctions.

Finally, the breeze filled in, Ruffian scooted along and Iain’s greenness was replaced by the green hillsides that line the entrance to Cedeira. The fresh smell of pine wafted across Ruffian and it was like sailing in a Lenor advert.

In Cediera we were hoping to run and hike the hills, explore its blue waters and take some time to relax. We got exactly what we expected.

As the sun rose over the Ria we donned our running shoes and took to the hills. Entering the forest, with the sound of chainsaws and heavy machinery in the background Iain happened across sign after sign. As his Spanish is somewhat rusty he took these to mean ‘All is well. Carry on running. Nothing to worry about.’ It wasn’t until he happened across a sign which showed a man being squished under a tree and saw trees falling all around him that he realised his Spanish needed some work.

The hills also offered endless hiking opportunities. After ditching the running shoes and donning hiking boots we walked up and up. The pine gave way to tinder dry eucalyptus and the overgrown fireroads that we walked offered great walking, but little protection from the fires that must surely rip through these hills occasionally.

Escaping the tinderbox we weaved our way down into the town of Cediera and Fiona had her shopping hat on. With very low expectations we found ourselves in a shop that was like a tardis. It sold everything from ladies handbags and powertools to granny pants and ‘intimate’ toys. Fiona’s expectations were wildly exceeded as she left having purchased a complete new summer wardrobe for the pricely sum of €30. This is the sort of shopping we can accommodate on Ruffian.

Pushing further west we we’re bound for a little bay that promised poor holding on rock, a view of industry, a shoreline covered with ruined forts and in the words of the pilot book ‘Nothing of interest to the cruising sailor’.

With our expectations at an all-time low the anchor grabbed something on the bottom to safely hold Ruffian, the industry was hidden by a charming village and the forts looked magnificent in the setting sun. Exploration of the forts beckoned and we were not to be disappointed.

The fort was perfect Ruffian fodder. The entry price was within our budget (it was free) and passing through the first line of kill zones and ancient walls the sheer extent of the place became apparent. Gun emplacements looked over gun emplacements, barracks backed onto barracks and they all looked over the entrance to the Ria. Nothing could safely enter without the a-ok of the commander and we could envisage parades in front of his house, all surrounded by soldiers bearing arms standing on walls brimming with guns. El Ferrol’s forts had simply blown our expectations out of the water.

Having been wrong in all our expectations and pleasantly surprised at the resulting activities we are starting to get into the Spanish Ria’s proper. We hope that in the coming days our expectations of perfectly flat anchorages, fringed by pretty sandy beaches backed by charming towns will be spot on.

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Author: Iain & Fiona Lewis

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