Calypso Capers

Bare Arse Bay

aka Ensenada de Barra

Adam and Lynne had a short weather window to head North from Lisbon and they went for it. Through the summer the prevailing winds down the West coast of the Iberian peninsular are solidly consistent Northerlies, known as the “Portuguese Trade Winds”. The time to move North is in the early part of the season, and just a few days of South and South-West winds were forecast so they would have to move quickly. Having moved from the East side of Lisbon (the Parque das Nacoes marina) to Cascais anchorage, the Bisphams had a day sail to the Islas Berlengas (where they had an uncomfortably rolly night on a borrowed mooring ball) and then an overnighter to Viana de Castelo in Northern Portugal, just 30nm South of Ria de Vigo.

We had arranged our reunion in Ensenada de Barra at the Northern entrance to Ria de Vigo. This was 2 Rias South of Arousa, but still only 28nm from A Pobra Do Caraminal.

We arose early (for us) on the day of our rendez-vous. Having “bent on” the genoa in a calm period the night before we still had to bend on the main sail. This we did, but we didn’t have time to fiddle about with all the reefing lines, which wasn’t so bad as we weren’t expecting to have to reef, given the forecast.

However we weren’t aware of the wind acceleration zone as we would approach the Northern Entrance to Ria de Vigo!

We ran down Ria Arousa under engine with the genoa providing very slight assistance – enjoying 6 knots courtesy of the new propeller!

Turning South we passed across the mouth of Ria de Pontevedra goosewinging at around 4.5 to 5.0kts in a 10 knot Northerly wind. 

However as we approached Islas Cies, off Ria de Vigo (pictured above), the Northerly wind backed to a North Westerly and was squeezed and increased to around 20 kts. At this point we were making around 7.5 to 8 kts and thinking that perhaps we should be reefing before turning into the Ria. 

Well of course we had no reefing lines in the main and had perhaps put too many turns on the furling drum when bending on the genoa (leading to difficulty furling it), so we rounded Punta Subrido with rather more canvas out than we might have liked!

Heading North, up into Ensenada de Barra immediately after Subrido we managed to tame the unreefed sails and put them away. After our clockwork docking in A Pobra Do Caraminal we knew we had learned another lesson here – or two.

Ensenada de Barra is over a mile long, and for most of that has a backdrop of dunes and pine woodland with very few houses. There is a settlement at the Eastern end of the bay.

Having arrived a few hours before the Bisphams, after setting the anchor Paul settled down with the binoculars, enjoying the fine warm weather (!), whilst Val put on the kettle.

We had read that this is a naturist beach, but were surpised that of the 150 or so sun-worshippers along the stretch, a good 90% bared all. Many seemed to enjoy promenading up and down the beach – it seems that naturism is a pastime for exhibitionists?

Paul enjoyed the exhibition for maybe 10 minutes and then got bored.

As the afternoon wore on a few of the boats in the anchorage up-anchored and moved on back home. Charisma eventually arrived and anchored nearby (pictured), and eventually there were around 10 boats that spent the night at anchor here – this being a Saturday night.

After dinner Adam and Lynne came across in their dinghy for a reunion bottle of wine, a catch-up and a game of Wizard. It was great to see them again. They will be heading back to the UK at the end of this season, wanting to do a circumnavigation of the UK next year, so we will have to make the most of the time that we will have with them this year. They have been great company as we have met up from time to time over the last 2 years.

Ensenada de Barra is well sheltered from any wind with North in it.

The overnight forecast was for the wind to fluctuate between North-West and North-East, breezy but not too strong to be of concern.

The holding here, in sand, is said to be good, and with that knowledge, plus the comfort of our Anchor Watch app. we slept well.

The app. is shown here where the anchor is around 34m from the boat at a bearing of 9 degrees. We had laid out a little over 45m of chain and the app. was set to wake us up if we moved more than 58m from the anchor.

The iPad battery lost only 20% of its capacity overnight and the app. cost nothing to download.

Sharing the 20% iPad battery useage was the Navionics app.. We had forgotten to turn this off, but in the morning it gave an interesting view of our movements overnight as the wind and tide swung around. The distance markers are 69m apart.

The circles to the North and South of our anchored position show Val circling around the anchorage looking for a suitable location as Paul gets the anchor ready to drop.

The next morning we had breakfast and sunbathed in the cockpit – when dolphins were spotted further along the beach. They were clearly hunting as there were many breaches. we have a photo of one dolphin entirely out of the water, however it is out of focus so this will have to do.

We had a reservation at the marina of the Real Club Nautico de Vigo. As this was a Sunday we felt that the marineros might finish work by 2pm, and as it was 7nm away we didn’t have time to go ashore and join in the promenading on the beach – this time. But we will be back!

Distance travelled since leaving Xufre – 32 nm

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