Having sorted our rigging issues and enjoyed the bustling resort of Sanxenxo/Portonovo we headed to the South West end of Ria Pontevedra and entered Ria de Aldan, a favourite spot from our time here in 2019. The 2019 report can be found HERE . The 8nm trip took 2 hours, and for just over half that we were actually sailing. It didn’t seem worthwhile for us lazy sailors to hoist the main for such a short trip, and initially we saw almost 6 kts under genoa only but that didn’t last long. We persevered until we were slopping around at 2.5 kts. We don’t seem to be doing much sailing here in the Rias, but that partly reflects the short distance between anchorages and marinas.
Before arriving in Galicia we had read that Aldan has some of the warmest water in the Rias, perhaps explained by the extent of beach that uncovers and is warmed by the sun at low tide (more than shown on this photo).
We had also read that whilst the Ria is open to the prevailing northerly winds, it does not get lumpy in a middling northerly wind and anchoring is fine other than with strong Northerlies. This is due to the dampening effect of the many mussel bateas in the Ria, as seen in this photograph.
We arrived and anchored at the blue dot along with many other boats.
We were not expecting the 30 odd boats in the anchorage on a Thursday, and knew that more would arrive over the weekend. Indeed at the weekend we counted over 50, including a billionaire’s superyacht Valoria B (home berth Sanxenxo, Google it!)
Most anchored in the South West corner of the Ria, where we are. Some also anchored in the South East corner, in and among laid moorings. More still anchored off the beaches running up the West side of the Ria, to the North of our position.
All of this activity gave the place something of a party atmosphere by day and night, with music from the odd party boat in the evenings actually quite enjoyable. Not loud enough for more dad dancing though, much to Val’s relief!
We were blessed with good weather whilst we were here, good for walking and swimming. However, every single restaurant in the place was fully booked for every meal over the weekend and we discovered that this was a bank holiday weekend.
We did manage to get two excellent take-away pizzas from the pizza van that sits semi-permanently at the back of the beach in the South Eastern corner – and discovered another benefit of the new 8hp engine: planing at 13.5 knts got us home in time to enjoy the excellent pizzas whilst still hot!
We also managed to have a very late lunch in the “Secret Garden” – a lunchtime only open air bar with really good bbq dishes and paella.
We christened it the Secret Garden back in 2019 when we stumbled across it by accident. It sits behind bushes at the back of the beach we were anchored off, Praia de Arnelas, with no signage at all, and not open to any road.
After Brian from Ireland swam across to say hello (from his yacht, not Ireland) we in turn swam across another day to say hello to him and wife Ann. Invited aboard for a drink and choosing water (on an Irish boat for goodness sake!) we discovered that Brian and Ann had their own apt name for the place – “Chicken In A Field”, which also gives you a good idea of what to expect!
It is very good chicken though, and in a very nice field.
We did a fair amount of walking around Aldan, not least when visiting every restaurant in the place.
Aldan is very pretty from nearly every angle.
On our fourth day we walked up the West side of the Ria for the first time.
We had lunch at one of the beach bars (much quieter now but all tables on the main terrace were reserved), and after lunch wandered up the hill through the always interesting residential areas. We love the great variety of house designs, these being interspersed with allotments, small vineyards and wild areas.
As we rounded one corner we spotted a house with a very English name. Val wondered whether the cars in the drive had English plates (they didn’t) and as that was debated around the corner came Paul and Maggie.
A lovely couple; we spent the next two hours with them, drinking tea and chatting about life in Spain and sailing among other things. Paul used to be a yacht delivery skipper out of Plymouth but has lived in Galicia for 30 years. They have a trailer sailor which they were due to trail up to Coruna in the next couple of days and then spend 3 weeks sailing back down to Aldan – after which they will hopefully visit us on Calypso.
We looked around their lovely house with superb views from high on the hill, but also a large and mostly level (but with lower terraced areas) garden. We could definitely live there!
We were made to feel particularly welcomed by Kino the water dog. Apparently he doesn’t like water, but he certainly likes salt – licking the salt from our legs and feet (we had waded ashore), not even stopping to pose for the photo! Paul and Maggie wanted him to stop but we were enjoying it too much!
On saying our goodbyes we were presented with a carrier bag full of delicious pears and plums from the envy inducing garden, a very nice addition to our breakfast muesli over the next week or more.
Aldan is a great place to chill, swim and walk, but next time we will pay more attention to booking a restaurant!
Distance Travelled Since Leaving Xufre – 45 nm