8 July at Ria de Camarinas


July 8th, 2017


North Atlantic 2017 – 2019, Spain

Written by

Richard Farrington

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By Richard. Posted on July 8th, 2017 in North Atlantic 2017 – 2019, Spain.

43:08.1N  009:10.5W

We spent Thursday at anchor in Corme, doing some essential admin, changing a filter on the watermaker and ‘just relaxing’.  We ate the infamous Percebes as a starter for lunch – tiny little morsels of pure seafood, but on balance rather expensive for what you get.  They only take about a minute to cook and ‘preparation’ is minimal.   I think I’d rather spend an hour extracting the flesh from a decent sized crab – it would cost about the same as a dozen of these little chaps.  But the experiment showed a couple of things: firstly, if I ever get cast away on Kirsty Young’s Desert Island, I’d be confident of surviving on what I could forage from the seashore.  Secondly, the people who harvest these things are hardy souls who take significant risk, so I’m not averse to paying the going rate for the morsels that result.  I just think that Percebes are possibly overrated as a delicacy…

The ‘head’ is the bony looking bit (here complete with some seaweed for added flavour).  The black/pink bit is a rubbery tube hiding the meat.  You twist it off the head and then suck the delicacy out.  Obvious, really…

They are much nicer than they look.  Not sure we bought the best ones though – some are much longer.  These critters were quite meaty, though.

Friday is market day in Corme and we enjoyed some retail foraging for some fresh fruit and vegetables – as well as purchasing some paper for the printer, which is working at last following Anna’s recent visit with the new power supply cables.  The outboard is also leak-free, so apart from passing on the knack of starting it to the Mate, it’s off my Blacklist.  Its place has already been taken by the cockpit chartplotter, which has a frustrating habit of disconnecting itself from the ‘network’ when we’re particularly interested in pilotage.  Not a new defect, and my good friend Steve at Marine Tech spent several hours onboard earlier in the year tracking down the gremlin.  We thought he’d fixed it, but it returned in the Golfe de Morbihan in the storm and pops up to irritate me every now and again.  It’s somewhere in the cabling, I’m certain and is probably moisture/corrosion related.  May have to dismantle the bulkhead to chase it down…

Corme is a perfectly decent place, but not really on our bucket list to return to.  We left on Friday afternoon and motored round to the Ria de Camarinas under overcast skies with not a breath of wind until the last mile.  A year ago we were in the Western Isles cursing the rain whilst everyone else sweltered in glorious sunshine.  We took some comfort from the knowledge that in a year’s time we too would be sweltering in Spain.  But Henry Higgins was WRONG: the rain in Spain is mainly in b***** Galicia!  To be fair, we’ve only had a couple of teaspoons of the stuff, but the skies have been mainly overcast recently and the wind distinctly absent.  We anchored just north of the town in a peaceful spot with lovely views through the mist towards tree-lined shores, white sand beaches and the town below us.

Friday night we attempted to watch the TV for the first time since moving out of our house.  The excuse: Wimbledon.  I suspect it’s only available via satellite here though, so instead of Julie drooling over Rafa Nadal’s pectorals, the only thing we could pick up was a fantastic advertisement for some stick-on denture ‘veneers’ to give you the Perfect Smile.  It lasted about five minutes and provided some of the oddest viewing since Clive James used to do those programmes about Japanese ‘culture’.  Aghast, we switched it off and broke out the DVD of ‘Master and Commander’ instead.  What a fantastic movie – it gets Jack’s humour just right and the heavy weather scenes are wonderful.

Camarinas is billed in the Pilot book as a picturesque fishing village with an active tourist element.  The beaches look lovely and the background scenery is ‘Cornwall plus’, I suggest. The town itself is fairly typical of the Spanish fishing communities we have visited so far.  Clear signs of investment in the fishing – here they have a fine new harbour wall, splendid lay apart stores, refrigerated buildings and a Government owned ‘farm’ producing the babies/eggs for the fish farms all along the coast.  The cafes are buzzing; the supermarket is adequate; the market today was a bigger version of the one yesterday in Corme and seems to focus on cheap clothes and quite good quality fruit and veg.  But the building strategy is quite different to UK.  In England, older, ‘traditional’ houses tend to attract redevelopment in locations like this; here they are left to fall down or are simply removed to make way for rather nondescript apartment buildings with none of the charm of the older stuff.  No doubt these new buildings are easier to live in, but I wonder if in twenty years’ time the Town Planners and residents will lament the consequent loss of ‘character’?

It’s not all progress, either.  Most significantly for us, the town’s launderette has closed down due to lack of demand.  So our first day ashore here was dominated by ‘doing the laundry’.  It forced us into a very pleasant lunch in the Club Nautico but the machinery couldn’t really cope so we were mightily relieved when the sun came out earlier this evening and we could dry my pants on the guardrail!  Two factors may have contributed to the demise of the Lavanderia, I suggest: most people can afford a washing machine these days; and the number of cruising yachtsmen was probably hit by the 2008 economic crisis and hasn’t really recovered.

Although this evening, there are twelve yachts in our anchorage from six European countries.  In the marina, there are another twenty or so foreign yachts.  It will be interesting to see how many of them crop up again as we head south in the coming months…