Ribadesella to Llanes - Sunday, 20 July 2003, 15 miles

Set sail at lunchtime. NW2 and F2, so we set Mr Andrews. After an hour, the wind veered to SE F1-2, with DRIZZLE - we thought we'd done rain! Then the wind dropped, and we motored for an hour. Finally, Westerly F2, set Mr Andrews again, but still drizzling as we gybed round the Isolates Pala de Póo for Llanes.

In the murk, anchoring off did not seem too attractive, so we motored into the fishing harbour. This had the feel of a concrete box with very high sides, and just a tiny entrance taking about a third of one side. There was a large motor yacht moored alongside the ladder in the space recommended by the pilot book for yachts, so we tied alongside it.

The harbour at Llanes

Our impression was that the harbour was very secure, and it was free. On the other hand, it was dirty, with spilled diesel, claustrophobic, very noisy, as we discovered as fishing boats came and went in the small hours of the morning, and lit by lamps that would have been great for a football pitch. We had failed to take on any water since Ribadeo, and our supplies were almost exhausted. So we scoured the harbour really thoroughly. At last we found it, under a manhole cover. Only problem, it required a ship fitting around 50mm diameter to attach a hose!

The fishing boats coming in seemed to have plenty of fish - mainly bonito, which sell for a very high price in the shops. Of course, for all we knew, they used to catch twice, or 10 times as much a few years ago. But, to a casual visitor, it looked as if the seas still had fish in them

The town itself greeted us with maroons. Llanes was en fête, with rides and stalls, and a medieval market, spilling through the squares and lanes around the flower-covered church, with "home-made" goodies like local cider and honey. The typically very helpful tourist office directed us to a shop selling Camping Gaz, and at a fraction of the price in England or France. We treated ourselves to tapas at Casa del Mar.

Next day, we set out to find accessible water. First, we tried to find the capitania. Eventually, we discovered a maritime office which, if we understood them correctly, only dealt with offshore matters, and knew nothing about the harbour. Finally, we dinghied our 2 gallon containers to the wholesale fish market, and were given free access to their tap. Thereafter, wherever we went in Spain, we automatically dropped the containers into the dinghy. Sometimes we were unlucky, sometimes we found a conventional tap on a pontoon, and once we filled up from a beach shower!

For shopping, we ended up doing most in the supermarket. In principle, we prefer specialist shops. However, the butchers were particularly difficult in all the small towns, displaying their meat with neither labelling of what it was nor the price.

Gaily painted blocks in the harbour entrance

All in all we decided Llanes was beautiful town with a rather horrid harbour, to be visited again in fine weather when anchoring in the bay would be very pleasant.