Calypso Capers

Ria de Aldan

………..didn’t disappoint!

We had read that Ria de Aldan is a very picturesque place with good beaches, the warmest sea in the area and protected anchorages. Whilst Aldan is open to the North, there are numerous bateas (mussel growing rafts) which temper any incoming swell in calm to moderate Northerlies.

We wanted to avoid even “moderate” Northerlies, and whilst the wind was from a Northerly direction as we transited Pontevedra and entered Aldan on the 9 nm trip from Agra, it was too light to fill the sails and so we motored.

We headed for Praia Arnelas in the South Western corner of the Ria. When we had walked across here from Limens we had found a “secret garden” bar and restaurant hidden behind tall shrubs at the back of this beach, where we had a barbecue chicken and ribs lunch. Here is a photo of the beach from Calypso (secret garden behind the tree-line left of centre), and another looking from the beach to where Calypso was now anchored (centre). This is seemingly the most popular anchorage in Aldan, and we were part of a fleet of 15 or more at anchor, but there are several others in the Ria.

We were later joined by Charisma. After drinks and a game of Wizard on board Calypso we took the fairly long (by our standards – 0.4nm) dinghy ride across to the village, Puerto Aldan, and left the dinghies at the long, wide slipway. We had acquired a length of 4mm stainless steel chain in Portugal and used it to padlock the dinghy to a steel ring. We had, just once, had the dinghy moved when visiting a restaurant at night and wanted to improve our security in such circumstances.

We ate at a nearby restaurant that we had seen recommended on another blog – “O Con de Aldan”. And a good recommendation it turned out to be as we shared 3 starters between us – mussels in an orange sauce, scrambled egg with sea urchin and a razor clam salad; all very different to the standard fayre and all very good.

We all opted for a dish of rice with monkfish and prawns which was disappointing only because it was just average!

As usual Val elected to share Paul’s dessert. Obviously his Spanish is improving and the waitress understood his  request that each party sharing said dessert should be provided with the appropriate size of spoon!

When we got back to the dinghy Adam (who had been here last year) warned us of floating lines near the slipway – which was timely advice as we had to push one under the outboard as we left.

Shortly afterwards the outboard died and would not restart immediately. We had drunk our fair share of wine that night and so on the way home the Charisma dinghy had to give the Calypso dinghy a tow. As we got out of the dinghy the problem was apparent – somebody had kicked off the fuel line…….and the Charisma crew had been so pleased to be able to tow us (not that they gloated…) we didn’t get chance to sort the problem before the tow line was quickly established!

Whether or not we had been reported for suspicious activity we know not, however the next morning a fast customs pursuit vessel growled its way slowly past us at very close quarters, and then moved on to worry Charisma in a very menacing fashion!

After that encounter we went ashore and walked around the suburb above our beach and along behind the larger beach leading into town. We came across many interesting buildings, allotments, horreos and holiday homes – including the small cottage (shown below) sitting directly onto the dune behind the beach – now voted as the house we would most like to buy here in Galicia (an enjoyable mindless “dolly daydream” game that we play wherever we are).

Later we went ashore to eat at the good but inexpensive tapas bar beside the Lonxa (fish market) that Adam and Lynne had found last year. We shared plates of fresh seafood, salads and potatoes with a bottle (or two) of local Alabarino wine. All was good, but the highlight was THE best Tarta de Queso (cheesecake) EVER. It is worth coming to Ria de Aldan for this alone.

We will be back. But no seconds tonight as we needed an early night as Adam had an appointment with a surgeon just a few days later and Charisma had to be away early the next morning.

And we said our goodbyes the next morning, Charisma briefly rafted against us at anchor for kisses all round and to pass across the inflatable kayak that they were lending us to try out whilst they were away.

And just as we thought that our livers could now have a rest – Shiraz arrived! Given John’s propensity for trying to anchor on unmarked submerged rocks, we did advise him that the rock directly in front of the deserted canning factory uncovers at low tide and used to be unmarked on charts (according to blogs that Paul had read a few years ago). It is now marked on our chart – and John confirmed that he knew of it.

We went ashore and took John and Debbie on a guided tour – through the secret garden restaurant, around the back of the main beach (with the Coviran supermarket behind it) and towards the Lonxa.

We met these two characters sitting on a bench. They had been there a while. We thought we had seen her before – but apparently it wasn’t Maggie!

 

Passing the Lonxa we advised our friends to pay their respects to the cheesecake at the earliest opportunity and carried on up the hill beyond the Lonxa and across to a lovely bar overlooking the pretty and busy Praia Areacova. We hadn’t gone with the intention of weakening our resolve, but this was just too good an opportunity for a well-placed (if not well-earned) G&T to pass up on.

Paul never did find out if this is, indeed, the warmest water in Galicia, but Val had taken the opportunity to swim ashore from Calypso and reports that it was very comfortable – and yes, the warmest water so far.

On our final night in the anchorage we were joined nearby by the superyacht Valoria B, seen here as we left the anchorage on the grey day after its arrival.

Google tells us that it is the new toy of Spanish billionaire Amancio Ortega, major shareholder in the Zara fashion chain among several others – reportedly with a net worth of $70 billion (2018) and the sixth wealthiest person in the world. He has chosen to base Valoria B in Galicia – and we can’t fault his logic!

Distance travelled since leaving Xufre – 136 nm

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