Light and Life on the Ría de Aldán

Under the waters, in the skies, how many shades of blue can be seen in the Ría de Aldán? On the ridges and in the shallows, how many greens?


The fluorescent fireflies, the phosphorescent ardora plankton that light up the water at night, the glittered, speckled lizards, the mirror-clad fish, the sparkling dolphin hides, the burning sunsets over the Atlantic: these are some of the daily spectacles of light on the Ría de Aldán, the smallest of the three harbours that form the Peninsula of O Morrazo.

Formed when the ocean rose into the granite hills of the mainland, the waters of the Ría de Aldán bubble with life – muscles colonise the rocks, dolphins dive and jump in pursuit of sustenance or mate, sardines flock in the deep mouth of the harbour, cephalopods stalk their pray from the cover of submerged rocks…

So beautiful is this inlet that daily thousands flee their urban lives to breath in, swim in, and take in the raw life of the Ría. Daily the beaches are filled with growing families, old folks reclining, young ones strutting, and daily someone wonders aloud whether the Ría can sustain so many people loving its shores, somebody fears that the life of the Ría will be endangered by our beauty lust. People who have been around for a while repeat shared memories of fields and empty beaches, bad roads and no summer housing – images of an era before tourism came here over the new bridge and down the new highway.


But find yourself your spot, an isolated cove or rocky outcrop, and remember that the Ría is too small to ever be made mega, and its people too stubborn to sell out. They’ve proved it in the past; that time, they all remember, when they sunk the millionaires’ dream of a luxury marina, and in the future, with their own dreaming, they could make of the Ría a miniaturised biosphere reserve; join all the walking tracks of the peninsula in a circumnavigate-able trail, restore the old Atlantic oak and chestnut forests, prevent private properties from closing off public access to the shore, ban the harvest of Eucalyptus and Acacia…

For the time being, Aldán hibernates, healing before another summer of life and light on the Ría.

Lives and Times…

Submerge yourself under the surface with Lives and Times…

The Seduction of the Sea

Our Lady of the Sunken Souls

The Sensations of the Sea: The Blind Sailors of the Rías Baixas

…Writing on the World Around Us

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