4th September 2020
Ensenada de Limens, Ria de Vigo, Spain – Baiona, Spain via Moana, San Simon & Playa Barra, Ria de Vigo, Spain
All good things must come to an end and nothing lasts forever. All things and situations are temporary and happiness may be fleeting. With these thoughts in mind it’s important to be happy when you can, live in the moment and take every opportunity that presents itself to you. The Ria’s of Spain are coming to an end and Portugal is beckoning; however, we’ve still found happiness at every turn, lived in the moment and found opportunities to explore new.
With our hearts in our mouths we slipped under the bridge into the flat and protected waters of San Simon. Taking boats under bridges is always a worrying time and even though we know our mast isn’t 100 meters and you could fit multiple Ruffians on top of each other, we were pleased that those peaceful waters were not broken by the sounds a mast crashing down instantly turning a sailing boat into a motor boat. Once inside San Simon, thanks to Brock and his big outboard, there were some exploring opportunities that lay so far from Ruffian that even Brock was going to be tested.
Blasting miles (it really was miles) across the bay we set foot onto Ila San Simon and instantly felt covered by a shroud of despair, that same shroud would have covered many people who came here in days gone by. We walked up the slipway in the footsteps of people who had made a one-way journey, either due to being quarantined sick or imprisoned by the Franco regime. With the calm water gently lapping at the shore and the picturesque hills dominating the landscape, this place could have been a haven for those poor souls, instead it was some form of hell.
The second mammoth dinghy expedition for Brock took us miles (it really was miles) up to the head of San Simon. The further we went, the shallower the water became, the warmer the water became and the saltier the water became. This was the perfect setup for the saltpans that had been abandoned for 200 years and nature had been slowly taking over.
As we hiked the hills the processing plant was now part of the forest. Trees grew through what was once a huge operation with vines snaking up walls and the ravages of time were laying waste to mans endeavours. Below us was the expanse of the salt pans which were being slowly filled by sediment bought by the still waters of the ria and recolonised by any and every salt loving plant. We mused how nature always wins in the end and maybe this fate will befall our post C19 world.
Knowing our time in the Rias was almost over we once again took to the beaches however our plans were to be thwarted and replaced by something quite different. As we anchored off Playa Barra the windlass once again refused to play ball. This time however things felt different.
Usually when the windlass doesn’t play ball Iain takes to the switches with a screwdriver and uncovers a world of corrosion that is a joy to clean and easy to fix. This time however there was no corrosion, there was nothing amiss. This was a bigger problem.
With the beach still shining Iain donned his best troubleshooting head, his multi-meter hands and contorted into the most uncomfortable of positions in the most hidden away parts of Ruffian. As time went on Iain’s confusion grew in line with his frustration. Everything was telling him things should work, but should and would are 2 very different things.
After hours of tracing wires, checking continuity, and looking for corrosion Iain finally had a brainwave; he checked for voltage drops and, boom, the corrosion hidden inside the wires was in plain sight on the meter. With new wires in place, grazed knuckles and a lot of apologies to Fiona for his potty mouth we once again had a working windlass, but no beach time.
Our final stop in the Ria’s was upon us as we sailed into Baiona. Its towering castle protected us as we dropped the anchor and its winding streets proved welcoming as we looked for farewell drinks. Everywhere we walked we happened across sculptures and artists lined the streets painting sunsets and bobbing boats, setting in stone and in paint the happy scenes they saw before them.
Like the artists lasting impressions, we hope that all good things will not be temporary and don’t have to come to an end. Our time in the Ria’s may have ended, but we’re being called to the good things in Portugal and that is only a day away.
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