Video – Ireland to Portugal

A video summary of our roughly 950nm tour this summer from Cork, Ireland, to Lisbon, Portugal.
We meant to spend a little more time cruising the southern Irish coast and ideally round Fastnet Rock before heading south. However, the weather convinced us to leave right away to take advantage of the northerly winds (and to avoid the upcoming strong southerlies).
While the water remained cold all the way to Lisbon, it was clear that we were moving south as day after day we were wearing less and less layers.
While La Coruna does not look that pretty from the water, we were quickly convinced we found a hidden jewel when walking down the old town alleys with endless rows of restaurants, bars and an amazing atmosphere until late. That in combination with outstanding food and endless opportunities to visit historic sites made for a good start into the Iberian part of our tour.
Santiago de Compostella did not disappoint at all; neither did Lisbon – fantastic destinations on their own.
What surprised us was the natural beauty of the Islas Cies (a must stop for any visitor in Galicia!) as well as the atmosphere of Porto. We wish we had been able to spend more time in either location.
On the downside, the water was much colder than expected and we therefore sailed in a fair bit of fog (we never saw the Portuguese coast north of Lisbon…).

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Paradise and back

It wasn’t quite paradise but Islas Cies are pretty cool.
We went ashore at about 10 in the morning and walked most of the paths for the next 5 hours and could not believe the views the islands had to offer – from perfect beaches (voted the world’s  best beach by the Guardian in 2007) via very cool forests to quite impressive views from the mountain tops to everything in between…

We walked until we could not more and  were happy to finish it all with a swim in the still pretty cold water.
While we did expect some people on the islands (we had to get a special permission to visit with our own boat upfront), we were quite surprised to see ferries drop off tourists by the truck load – it is fair to say that we were not alone out here – nevertheless, the experience was awesome and this might have been the best day of our trip yet.

We then moved on to Baiona, were we not only had our first Med-mooring experience and dolphins in the harbor, but also saw the replica of one of Columbus’ ships who had sailed back here on one of his explorations.

We also had dinner, but it wouldn’t quite make today’s blog post. The icecream afterwards, on the other hand, should – it was simply outstanding…

We can tell we are back to civilization as people speak English again and prices are going up.

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And it keeps on getting better

When we changed our plans yesterday, we were not so sure that the detour to Muros was a good idea. In hindsight, it
was a very good one.
Not only did we meet super-friendly Pedro (and his colleague that spoke English extremely well), enjoyed walking the narrow streets, taking in amazing vistas of the mountains, the ria and the fish farms, but also decided this morning to walk 5km to the beach and lagune. And what a walk it was; winding roads overlooking the ocean, small villages and the bouquet of the wild woods along the way – with quite a reward at the end, an extremely picturesque lagone, Lagoa de Luro, in combination with very large sand dunes, an endless beach with huge breaking waves, framed by mountains on either side.
Not too bad for a start.
We got back to the marina by noon, had a quick shower and moved on. As predicted, the wind filled in, we set our sails and sailed along an impressive landscape.
What made this sail even more remarkable was not only the dark blue sky, but the 10-14 feet rolling swell. It was breathtaking to see these waves hit the rocks we navigated around and listen to the thunder when they exploded – very nice.
As we bore off the last point, we changed to the gennaker and had a very nice broad reach in monster waves towards Islas Cies. The usual firedrill takedown (the wind had significantly increased by then) was followed by a search for a good anchorage. We found one (a little rolly but still quite nice) and had a nice seafood meal, lots of salad and a mango desert.
We are still not tired of the Rioja and our Spanish is improving with each bottle – Ai Caramba 😉

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