Islas de Cies

Sunday, 5th of June and a trip to another island was on the cards. This time one more “wild” and “isolated” and only accessible via boat or ferry. The Cies Islands (Islas de Cies) is only a forty five minute ferry ride from the port of Vigo. If you intend to visit it, tickets should be booked in advance, either via internet or directly at the harbour. The reason for this is that only a certain number of people/humans are allowed on the island at any given time, so it says wherever you read up or ask about it. The reality, in our eyes, is somewhat different. We did the right thing and asked our hotel receptionist to pre-book our return ticket. We felt sooooo lucky to have gotten two places on the ferry. When we arrived at the harbour, we were amazed at the crowds waiting to embark. People en masse, with prams, cooler boxes, umbrellas and bags, lots and lots of bags (looked like an entire household had been packed). Yes, we did not expect the whole city to migrate to the best beach in the area, and most of all we did not expect thousands to be on an island that was declared a natural reserve in 1980 due to “the deterioration it was suffering by human activity”.

The ferry was packed to the brim, so one of us (the scared of living water one) sort of cowered in the corner nearest to the life-belts, while the other put his arms around her as assurance. The ferry ride was smooth and loud. No, not the engines, but the animated conversations all around us. We could call it excitement, but no, it is normal as Spanish is a very fast (zoom-zoom) language and mostly spoken out loud, which is so amazing. After disembarking, we decided to walk up to the highest point of the island, and so did almost everyone. It looked like everyone wanted to first check out the “scenery” before settling down on the beaches. The later it got, the emptier the walkways, the fuller the beaches. The island is beautiful, but not as “wild” as we expected as the paths, though very stoney at some parts, are all pre-determined. It is also possible to camp on the island.

Oh how happy and relieved we are that we made it up the zig-zig path all the way to the very top of Alto Montefaro. Okay, so it was only a climb of 175 metres, but a climb it was, and it was very hot, despite all the clouds!

The views from the top were amazing! We also walked to other interesting points on the island, but unfortunately did not manage to see everything the island had to offer, even though we were there for seven whole hours.

The flora here was quite interesting too. We think that we “discovered” an unusual orchid (the red one) but not so sure as there is no information to be found anywhere.

Beautiful natural rock formations which seems to be a popular photo setting for many. There are warning signs everywhere forbidding anyone to climb on them, but gee, who notices or reads these signs, or who cares! Every single person that came to this rock (even children were pulled up) seemed to have one reason and one reason only, and that is to take a photo of themselves standing in or near the “hole”. We had to wait for ages to take these photos sans people.

The island also boasts a huge colony of seagulls and at the moment they are all in the middle of their breeding season. There were many chicks to be seen. It is not difficult to spot them, but when you hear a sudden shriek or bird “roar” near to you, then you just happened upon a mother sitting on her chicks. She is warning you to either stay away, or to be careful…See how one of the mother’s giving us the eye 😀

Apart from these two lovebirds in the first photo, it was the saddest drama that we’ve ever experienced. On our way to another viewing point, we passed these two lovely little chicks who were, on loud instructions from mama, cowering in the corner of the rock. When we returned about thirty minutes later, we noticed that the mother was making “distressing” noises. We also noticed that one chick was missing. Then we saw it in the brush below. The poor little mite must have slipped off the rock. The mother kept on encouraging it to climb back up, at the same time also making sure that her other chick stays put in the corner. As the chick seemed to have nearly reached the top, a sudden whoosh and another seagull grabbed the little one by the neck. OMG! The mother attacked back with all her fury and thankfully her other baby squeezed itself into the corner and was safe. We saw this sly seagull and thought it was the father sitting there and “doing nothing”. By the way, all photos were taken with a zoom lens, so we were not invading any seagull “space”.

Apart from seagulls there were also many lizards sunning themselves on the rocks. Most were tiny black ones, and these green ones were bigger and shyer.

All in all a very happy day, with sore feet and tired legs. Believe it or not, but we walked a total of 12,3 kilometres!

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