We decided to stay one more day in Combarro in order to visit the town of Pontevedra. We were anchored around four miles down the river from Pontevedra. Since the water was too shallow to reach it by boat, we decided to kayak in and out of Pontevedra with the tide. Challenging but great exercise.
Pontevedra had been highly recommended by one of our friends who used to live in Galicia. He was right! This place is such a gem! Walking around the old town felt like being in a little Rome – an open air museum with an architectural treasure to discover at every corner; all to us, as unlike Rome, there was no soul around in the afternoon.
The following day we continued our progress south towards Vigo River (last of the Galician rias). As soon as the anchoring permission for Cíes Islands was granted by the Spanish authorities, we set the sails and headed straight there. The beauty of these uninhabited islands in the Atlantic (an hour away sailing from the Vigo River mouth) is unmatched. No wonder that the main beach, Praia das Rodas, was declared Europe’s best by the Telegraph! There are no hotels in the Arhipelago, but one can camp and have the stunning beaches all to themselves before the boats arrive with day visitors from Vigo.
Jules Verne himself must have been charmed by the beauty of these shores, as it is recorded he visited the Vigo Estuary twice and he indirectly referred to the Cíes Islands in his fiction masterpiece ‘Twenty thousands leagues under the sea’.
We only anchored for one night in the Cíes Islands. The winds picked up the second day and since there are no marinas to take shelter in, we did not want to spend the night being rolled over by the Atlantic swell. However, we made the most of our short stay. We walked all around the island from one lighthouse to another – these mark the extreme shores of the Island of Monteagudo; we had a pick-nick on one of the finest sandy beaches and I thought to myself that I must be crazy not to take a dip in the turquoise waters. And so I joined Sorin swimming for the first time on our circumnavigation.
We are now in Baiona, which is a lively town with a very luxurious marina and good anchorages. This is sheltered by the beautiful Fortress of Monterreal.
We are currently keeping an eye on the weather, and as soon as the winds are favourable we will be setting sails south. Portugal’s shores do not seem to be as welcoming, so we hope our progress along the the coast of Portugal will be fast.