Last September I had a great experience sea-kayaking in the northwestern part of Spain called Galicia. Some people would know it for hillwalking. Particularly as the ‘Camino do Santiago’ passes through it and finishes in either Santiago proper or on the coast at Finistere. For anyone who wishes to escape the usual high-rise apartment holiday this is the place to go.
I booked a small house on the coast across the bay from the city of Vigo. This area is called Nerga and is close to a town called Cangas. I had made contact with a guy called Jaime at NordES Kayaks over the internet and booked a kayak with him for the trip. At this point I should say that while my French is good my Spanish is a work in progress! I would advise learning some Spanish for this part of the country, as English is not spoken here.
The Ria de Vigo is sheltered from the big Atlantic storms by the Islas Cies. These are 3 islands with the most spectacular scenery ! To paddle out here is about a mile and a half at the shortest point but the sound between the islands and headland can have a fair bit of swell ! There are plenty of beaches and hidden coves to visit if one heads west. If rock-hopping is your thing then turn to port from the beach at Nerga and there are lots of opportunities along the coast to Cangas.
I was paddling alone but met a few people each day on the ocean. I would bring a vhf if possible as I believe the laws of paddling offshore are not as generous as Ireland. Jaime warned me that the Spanish Coastguard are not that keen on paddlers from outside of Spain without all their paperwork. I did not meet any of these guys on my travels but maybe I was lucky. I could go on but will let the pictures tell the story. Brevity shall be my m.o. for this first instalment.
How to get there : Flights Dublin to Santiago do Compostella (2.5hrs)and train to Vigo (1hr). Ferry to Cangas (0.5hr)
Or this year Ryanair have started flights from Dublin to Vigo.
Rental of a P&H Capella sea-kayak was €100 for 10 days. This included a nice Gola carbon split paddle.
I brought my own spraydeck and buoyancy aid.
Water temperature was warm in September so I just brought shorts or neoprene ¾ leggings. I’ve been further up the coast in June and it has been positively Baltic. So the trick is to let the water warm up over the summer and head over in September.
So to sum up if I had the opportunity to go here again this year I would be there in a heartbeat !
Next year hopefully,