Calypso Capers

Illas Cies – paradise!

in company with a crowd......

Over the winter we had obtained our permit to visit the islands of the Parque Nacional Marítimo Terrestre de las Islas Atlánticas de Galicia.

The website, with information on the different islands plus permit application is HERE

We left Cangas in very light winds to travel 7 nm to Illas Cies, anticipating a couple of days of good weather for our visit. We were not disappointed and experienced cloudless skies and temperatures in the ate 20’s.

We approached the archipelago of 3 islands slowly under sail, before losing patience and firing up the engine for most of the trip.

We chose Rodas beach, one of 3 anchorages approved by the national park authority.

The anchor held quickly in the sandy bottom and we chilled in the shade in the cockpit for a few hours allowing the heat of the sun to calm down!

We went to the islands in company with Charisma and Shiraz and had arranged to eat aboard Charisma that evening.

Before doing so we launched the new dinghy for the first time to go ashore. The trusty old 2-stroke 4hp Yamaha (31 years old) fired up third pull and off we went.

We had attached our pneumatic wheels to the transom. Whilst we had heard that the sand is soft on this beach it has to be said that this is the softest sand we had ever seen. 

Pulling the dinghy up the beach was very hard work indeed. Every footprint was several inches deep and the pneumatic tyres just sank in and dragged. Fortunately we weren’t going far and so left the dinghy near the water’s edge!

Calypso is on the left of the photo – sporting the anchor riding sail.

After a really enjoyable night aboard Charisma all six of us had something of a sleep in the next morning. We do remember getting back to Calypso but our use of life jackets when in the dinghy was perhaps especially appropriate then!

When we finally got ready and went ashore many of the day tripper boats had already deposited hundreds of visitors and we had missed the opportunity of walking in the cool of the morning and without the large numbers of trippers, including many school parties.

We put the new dinghy cover on to protect against the blistering sun – and also to hide from view the lifejackets, oars and other stuff we leave in there.

We climbed towards the top of the island through the cool, dappled shade of woodland, mostly eucalyptus. 

The view down to the only naturist beach on the island, Praia das Figueiras, was stunning, with the white beach and azure blue sea. Unfortunately we didn’t get to go on the beach – maybe next time!

The rock formations towards the top were fairly extreme and interesting. As were the large green lizards. 

We were lucky to visit on a day with perfect visibility.

The man in the little information shed near the ferry terminal had told us that there was a spectacular rock formation at the top – called the Queen’s Throne. 

As we arrived a couple with photographer in tow were having photographs taken – she with very pregnant belly. We had seen them posing on the beach as we arrived and he, a very lovely chap, had helped us to drag the dinghy up through the soft sand.

This is maybe a “thing” in Spain – we have witnessed bare pregnant belly photo shoots twice before on this trip!

As the photo shoot concluded it was our turn to sit in the Queen’s throne – and it was from here that we took our most spectacular shot of Calypso at anchor to date.

It is a bit like “spot the ball” or “where’s Wally?” but she is there, honestly!

Descending back to the beach we then headed towards the campsite.

Illas Cies comprises 3 main islands. We were anchored of Rodas beach which fronts a lagoon separating the northern island from the central one, the campsite being on the central one.

At the Western side of the lagoon is a causeway crossing the lagoon.

As we crossed the causeway the tide was running in hard through it and we could see the teeming aquatic life that this lagoon is known for.

We walked through the campsite which has 2 restaurants – a self service one in the main building (where we shared an empanada to put us on) and another which is not signed and is accessed beyond a sign saying campers only. We thought the track looked interesting and pretending not to understand “solo campistas” found a fabulous little restaurant with shady balcony overlooking the lagoon, and far from the madding crowd that was now building on the island.

Unfortunately it was busy and after being ignored for half an hour we left and walked back to the large bar/cafe at the ferry terminal to joing the Charisma and Shiraz crew for drinks (water for Paul after last night’s excesses!)

And as we drank our beer/albarino/water there emerged from the madding crowd of the ferry dock a vision of loveliness – heading to Praia das Figueiras no doubt.

Photo credit – John Godfrey, Aka “Jittery John, and now Aka “Good God Godfrey”!

On our second night in the anchorage the crews descended on Calypso for a Cobb party – ie bring your own protein to cook on the Cobb and we’ll supply the salads.

Another fun and boisterous night ensued and fortunately we didn’t have to try and remember how we got home the next morning!

Our 2 night permit had now ended (you can have up to 3 nights at a time) and we left the anchorage on Saturday morning, a little busier than we had found it as other boats arrived.

We headed towards Baiona, another much anticipated delight – we hope!

Distance traveled since leaving Arzal – 50 nm

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3 thoughts on “Illas Cies – paradise!”

  1. Had a great time with you both and of course the Bisphames. trying to have a ‘dry’ day today but so far its all gone wrong!! look forward to seeing you all again very soon. A great blog Paul x

    • Hi John, I feel your pain! Hopefully we’ll have a few more memorable times together before going our separate ways – one of the not so enjoyable aspects of this life, but there’s always a winter welcome waiting in Yorkshire.
      See you and Debs soon Good God Godfrey! x

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