27th August ~ A Coruña to Corme
After just over two weeks in A Coruña and having thoroughly enjoyed the city, the time was right to set off for Cape Finisterre!
Typically, having enjoyed cloudless blue skies for the past two weeks, the day dawned rather grey and murky?! Here we are just motoring out of the harbour with the Port Control tower at Marina Coruña standing guard majestically!
We had planned to round Cape Finisterre, one of the most famous Capes in the world, firstly via Corme a tiny little harbour offering shelter to sailors from the Atlantic “Costa da Morte”. As I have alluded to previously, this is not a coast line to be trifled with!!
We arrived in Corme after a passage of 36 nautical miles and in time for a cup of tea!! The anchorage was fine and we spent a pleasant night here. It was only a very brief visit as we were on a mission to head on South! We stayed on board and in the morning we set off again for Muxia ~ pronounced Mushia!
28th August ~ Muxia!
Up went Musetta’s sails as soon as we could and off we went towards Muxia.
We were doing well until a “sea fret” descended! This was quite weird as, unlike a land based fog, a sea fret has wind in it and so we were sailing quite nicely. That is until we thought we had better put the radar overlay on the chart plotter – nothing happened?! Eek!! We knew where we were and where were heading but unfortunately not all yachts and more especially, local fishing boats do not have AIS ( Automatic Identification System) and so unless we could use radar we were sailing, fairly speedily but blindly too!! After several attempts to get the radar overlay to appear we opted to switch everything off for a few minutes and then switch it on again! Luckily this solved the problem and with much relief we continued the short hop to Muxia and the “fret” lifted as quickly as it descended!
We were greeted by very friendly marina staff who took our lines and couldn’t have been more helpful.The marina only had a few visiting yachts, it was weird to see the empty pontoons? At one point, Musetta was the only yacht on our side! Some more boats did arrive but not enough to fill the marina?!
I said the marina staff were helpful and none more so than the chap who would come to refuel Musetta!! Because the marina is very shallow by the fuel station we weren’t able to motor to the pumps. Not a problem for the marinero who arrived by quad bike, towing the fuel bowser!! This could only be done at high water so that the bowser didn’t overtake him on the way down to the pontoons!! There was quite a rise and fall of the tide which made his trip precarious even without the fuel bowser!! He had to make two trips, but as I said, he was so friendly and helpful and nothing was too much trouble. He spoke English too, always a good thing for us!!
29th ~ 31st August – With a little time to spare….
Having filled up with fuel, there were a few more domestic chores to be done, as always but we were able to find out a little more about Muxia as we walked around the town and harbour. The streets were all rather higgledy, piggledy but charming in their own way. and displayed all the vernacular architectural traits which had become familiar to us by now.
Stone buildings with shields, balconies and oriel windows
We were informed by our tour guide in Santiago de Compostela that these glassed in oriel windows were designed to allow the residents to regulate the temperature in their homes. The coats of arms which decorate the shields denote the relative importance of householder! If you had a balcony, that said you were superior as you could look down on people?!
The town was preparing for the festival which takes place annually every first Sunday after the 8th September. The streets were showing signs of preparing for the decorations which would be put up and street stalls too. We came across one stall which was all about the ancient tradition of lace-making in Muxia and neighbouring Caramiñas. According to the young lady in the tourist office, it is a traditional skill which is still taught in schools today! She learnt to make lace herself a a chool girl but didn’t claim to be able to do it now! A dying art perhaps?
The ladies inside this stall were demonstrating the craft and for me it was amazing in it’s intricacy and the results of the clicking of the bobbins as they were moved deftly and at great speed to form beautiful patterns. It was quite incredible!
At the end of the headland which we had passed as we sailed into Muxia is the famous shrine, Virxe da Barca ~ our lady of the Boat!
Virxe da Barca, Outside and Inside!
25th December 2013 ~ Christmas Day!
The beautiful shrine as you see in the pictures above was completely destroyed by fire caused by a lightening strike on a nearby electrical transformer during a terrible storm. The fire services managed to rescue many of the most valuable pieces but much of the fabric of the building was in ruins and in danger of collapse! However, within a year it was rebuilt and restored – Unbelievable?!
According to ancient legends, Muxia was where the stone boat landed carrying the Virgin Mary when she arrived in Galicia to help Saint James convert the locals to Christianity. Apparently not an easy task as these people were steeped in Pagan rituals! The granite stones on the ground immediately in front of the church are said to be the remains of that stone boat.
Muxia’s history is also bound up with pilgrims who come to ‘glorify’ Saint James at the Virxe da Barca! Having completed the Camino de Santiago they go on to do the very last section which passes from Santiago de Compostela to Finisterre via Muxia! The pilgrims who complete this section may receive a certificate called a Muxiana!
Muxia was a fascinating place, we had very much enjoyed this lovely little stopover but we needed to move on now. Now for the famous Finisterre….!
1st September ~ Finisterre!
We headed out of Muxia, put up the sails and set our course for the infamous Cape Finisterre, from the Latin derivation “Finis Terre” – end of the earth!!
We had a very nice sail down and around the Cape to anchor off the beach, Ensenada de Langosteira at Finisterre! The wind was perfect and our average speed for the 23 nautical miles was 6 knots with a maximum of 10.1 knots – exhilarating stuff! We had survived and discovered that Finisterre wasn’t actually the End of the Earth!!
Musetta anchored off the beach at Finisterre, Ensenada de Langosteira!
We launched the dinghy and set off into the harbour! It is mainly for the fishing fleet but there is one pontoon where yachtsmen can seek shelter if necessary. We didn’t need to as the photos show, we had beautiful weather!
We had already discovered that the route to the lighthouse at Finisterre was approximately 2 miles from the port and so we decided to leave that for the next day and just enjoyed a walk ashore to stretch our legs after sailing for the day, plus the obligatory stop in a harbour side cafe!!
The harbour front was prettiest part of the town!
Walking to the Lighthouse at Cape Finisterre!
It was uphill all the way! The final penance for the pilgrims perhaps?
This walk is the final part of the Camino de Santiago! Pilgrims, cyclists and hikers alike make the trek and pay homage at this famous spot! It is traditional for the pilgrims to burn items of clothing and boots and to meditate at their ultimate destination in order to be cleansed of all sin? I don’t know the story behind the boots on the stone above, perhaps there isn’t one, just a bit random I thought?
This concrete boot is symbolic! ~ Alan having a Cinderella moment! ~ Meditating Pilgrims in the background
After a bite to eat in a restaurant at the end of our journey to the lighthouse we walked the 2 miles back to the harbour, downhill now thankfully, and took some photos of the views from the road. Having taken a photo by this statue of a pilgrim for a couple who were walking up to the lighthouse, they reciprocated by taking one of us as well as we walked back down!
Photos on our walk!
We had a lovely day. Now it was time to get back to Musetta and think about tomorrow’s journey as we venture into the famous Spanish Rias!
Leaving the harbour at Finisterre!
A snippet of information…..!
Many of us who listen to the shipping forecast will know that the sea area Finisterre is known more usually now as the sea area Fitzroy, an area of 90,000 square miles of the Atlantic Ocean off the North West Coast of Spain. Finisterre had been part of the UK shipping forecast since 1949 but on 4th February 2002 at around midday, and amid some controversy the sea area Finisterre was replaced with the sea area Fitzroy! It was so named in memory of the founding father of the shipping forecast, Admiral Robert Fitzroy who died in 1865.
Off to the Rias now!