Aviles is in Asturias in Northern Spain. It is an industrial town and not very pretty to enter although it has a lovely old town, good provisions, excellent transport links and is a perfect place to securely leave the boat to return to the UK or as a staging post into Asturias and the Picos de Europa.
The marina is a set of pontoons secured by a coded gate and manged by a very friendly chap called Angel. The best way to contact him is via WhatsApp as channel 9 is no monitors and email responses are slow. Feel free to email us if you want his number. Fees for a month were approx £10 per day in 2018 and there are laundry and shower facilities but they are about 10 minutes walk from the pontoons.
The Town The town looks frankly awful from the pontoons but you’re only 5 minutes walk into the old town which is really excellent. The is a nice clean park and well kept colonial building with every provision you could need including an indoor market open daily selling fresh fruit, meat and vegetables.
Transport The bus station, trains and car hire are all next to one another and only 5 minutes walk from the pontoons. We found Enterprise to be more competitive. The bus to the Asturias Airport took about 15 minutes and cost about 4 Euros. There is a direct Gatwick flight about 2-3 times per week.
Ribadeo, in Northern Spain on the boarder of Asturias & Galicia, doesn’t get a particularly good write up as a top cruising destination but it does offer a safe entrance, a lovely anchorage and 3 separate villages to visit as well as nice coastal walks.
Most yachts who visit head for the marina which is on the starboard side as you pass under the bridge (20m). You can anchor in the bay outside (Ensenda de Arnao) where the holding is good but it can be a little rolly as the tide puts you beam on to any swell.
If you enter on a half rising tide however you can anchor in about 3m of water (LAT) opposite Ribadeo and just off the small pretty village of Castropol. The sand banks do shift slightly, but using both Navionics and the Satellite image from Google / Bing Maps, then you can easily slip between the two large sand banks. We draw 2m and anchored at 43°31.549’N / 7°2.222’W with a kedge in a bahamian moor setup just to ensure we didn’t swing around at slack tide. In hindsight I don’t think it is necessary and you should be fine to swing. You can see by the photos below from our drone there is a fairly wide channel.
The town of Castropol is small, quiet and pretty and Ribadeo is larger with plenty of facilities. There are nice coastal walks from the Marina and some clean bays to have a swim with a water quality of 3/3.
After sailing down the Brittany coast and then spending a few days enjoying La Rochelle, we departed in the evening with a good forecast for at least 3 days. The Bay of Biscay is notorious with sailors but being only 230 miles, how hard could it be! The first few hours we very rough but only because of a headland we had to clear, and once around, it was plain sailing.
We first saw the snow capped peaks of the Picos De Europa towering out of the sea on the horizon. Since the sea was calm we were able to enter the small Spanish village of Ribadesella, the nearest harbour to the Picos de Europa national park.
We then did the hard slog of 50km up, up, and up to the start of the national park and then spent another few days exploring and camping in the Mountains.