Calypso Capers

Mera, Ares and dolphins!!

We left Coruna and headed out to anchor for a few days whilst the weather was so settled. First stop was Ensenada de Mera, shown above, just 2.5 nm across the bay from Coruna. The main town beach is in the distance, with the smaller and prettier Praia de Espineiro in the foreground left. We were joined by Adam and Lynne, who anchored closer to the main beach than we did – shown in the photograph above.

We were accused of being over cautious and “anchoring off-shore”. Well we pleaded guilty, but in our entire sailing history we have anchored less than 20 times. We are confident enough when it comes to dropping the anchor and laying out the chain, digging the anchor in – and all that – but we are still learning where to drop the thing in the first place. At least we had plenty of fuel for the outboard!

Here we are, somewhere over there in the direction of Coruna:

There was a good beach bar where we had beers and the best fried fresh anchovies ever:

On quieter weekdays the life guards were happy to allow us to leave the dinghies near the water:

……but it became very busy as the festival of San Carmen was celebrated and we had to drag the dinghies up to the tree line. The beach was very pretty and the water was clear and fresh (ie cold) but we all braved the initial shock to the nether regions and enjoyed the swim. Lynne was definitely the first dolphin of this post (and actually swam back out to the boat without suffering hypothermia.)

The highlight of the San Carmen Festival, heralded earlier in the day by the usual barrage of bombs echoing around the anchorage, was a sardine party on the beach. Hundreds, possibly thousands of people gathered on the beach and lit fires. Sardines were barbecued on the beach or could be bought ready cooked. Unfortunately they ran out just as we arrived and so we went off in search of food in the town that was now athrong. The only restaurant that offered a table then took an hour and a half to produce a pizza. By the time we returned to the beach the party was in full swing and the crowd were singing along with the band. What a night!…………..

But we were worn out and headed home in the dark! Fortunately one of the 2 yachts had remembered to turn on the anchor light…..

After a few nights we parted company again as Calypso moved 9 miles around the corner to Ares. Initially we went into the marina so we could take a shower (our solar camping shower keeps us clean but is not the same as the real thing, and we don’t like using the showers in the heads compartments), and also to give Calypso a shower and wash down the salt and sand that accumulates in the cockpit and dinghy.

The marina sits just outside the town of Ares, a very short walk away. We were surpised to find that this was the most expensive marina in Spain to date at 34 euros. Fortunately we had picked up the free ASNauga discount card in Ribadeo which gave us a 15% discount.

The facilities were average Spanish standard, but we were surprised that a wash and tumble dry for visitors would be 12 euros (half that for berth holders). We didn’t really feel that this marina was bothered about welcoming visitors (although the marinero was a lovely chap) and so decided to visit the town and then head out to anchor next day.

On the way into town we saw people cockling/clamming on the beach at low tide:

We were still in the San Carmen festivities and here in Ares was a sea swimming meet – and around the corner we came across a knockout competition of local teams playing this game:

We have no idea what it is called (answers please?) The idea is that heavy metal discs are tossed to the huge shackle with spinning arm looking like a 2 headed spoon – with a point scored when the arm spins. This was the second semi final. The skill and accuracy was impressive and held our attention for ………a few minutes. The town of Ares was interesting, but maybe less than the other places we have visited in Spain so far.

Here is the town and marina from out in the anchorage:

We went out to anchor of the beach in just over 3m below CD. As this was neaps we would not have below 4m at low water. And the water was so clear here that at low water we could clearly see the anchor chain, anchor and lots of scallops!

We very briefly met Martin and Peta of Cinnibar, who we would meet later back in Coruna. They set off from Edinburgh just 5 weeks ago and a few days later (after a stopover in Coruna) they would be heading back home again!

Paul and Cathryn called by in their dinghy on the way back from the beach towards their blue hulled Bowman, anchored next to us:

They came aboard for a glass or three. We learned that they were on their way home to the UK after their second trip around the world. And one piece of advice they gave us resonated – not to move on from Galicia too quickly as this is one of the best sailing grounds in the world. And this just confirmed our suspicions. We are coming to the conclusion that spending another year in this area might be a good thing!

After one night in the anchorage we headed back into Coruna for a dinner date aboard Charisma.

As we made the 10nm return to Coruna there was not much wind. We happened across a group of dolphins hunting with great commotion – much leaping out of the water and noisy gulls fighting over the spoils. We slowed and watched until the feeding frenzy ended. As we slowly motored away, rather than having a rest, the pod came to play…..you can see the video we made HERE.

Distance traveled since leaving Arzal – 583 nm

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