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Swimming in the Sea at Finisterre

2020 Camino Guides

Redhead Keith

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francé: 2005: 2016
Inglés: 2017
Salvador: 2018: 2019
Primitivo: 2018: 2019
When there this week, I asked a local man for the best way to the west beach. He reacted strongly by telling me not to swim there, that the currents are particularly dangerous and that a young man was recently drowned there, and the fishermen will tell you the same. The currents are dangerous on all sides of the town. They know their waters and sea better than anyone. So take heed and enjoy the view and a knee-deep paddle at the most. A young pilgrim told me they were going to go and swim there, so I passed on the warning. Please do the same. The beach is fantastic for sun bathing, the view and a picnic. Enjoy.
Buen Camino. Keith
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
2019 Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes
2018 Aragon/Frances/Finis
2018 Operation Sabre
2018 Marin Ramble
There’s also a fairly large sign there saying the same thing IN ENGLISH! Sadly, folks tend to not believe in it. The crescent beach on the protected eastern side of the cape is excellent for swimming, though.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Lourdes/Burgos/SdeC (by train) 77; Frances 12,15,17; Finisterre 17; Lourdes/Aragones 18; Meseta 19.
Sorry, sun-and-surf fans! I saw some darn nasty stuff dumped into the sea while living aboard US Navy warships in both the Atlantic and the Med back in the '70s, and having seen that I wouldn't recommend putting even your tiniest toe in the sea - anywhere. Wouldn't be prudent.

And be careful what seafood you eat, for that matter.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
There’s also a fairly large sign there saying the same thing IN ENGLISH! Sadly, folks tend to not believe in it. The crescent beach on the protected eastern side of the cape is excellent for swimming, though.
The eastern beach is lovely. My son swam there as I watched from the warm rocks in May, but the water was chilly.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
I remember speaking with a guardia civil on the del Norte who was a diver in a maritime search and rescue team or, as she said they often described themselves as search and recover.
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
Sorry, sun-and-surf fans! I saw some darn nasty stuff dumped into the sea while living aboard US Navy warships in both the Atlantic and the Med back in the '70s, and having seen that I wouldn't recommend putting even your tiniest toe in the sea - anywhere. Wouldn't be prudent.

And be careful what seafood you eat, for that matter.
When you know what prawns like to eat, it changes your outlook on seafood.

Happily old age and alcohol mean I forget these things after a few days, and I’m not dead yet.
 

natefaith

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria-Santiago (2009)
León-Ponferrada (2014)
Camino Inglés (2017)
When there this week, I asked a local man for the best way to the west beach. He reacted strongly by telling me not to swim there, that the currents are particularly dangerous and that a young man was recently drowned there, and the fishermen will tell you the same. The currents are dangerous on all sides of the town. They know their waters and sea better than anyone. So take heed and enjoy the view and a knee-deep paddle at the most. A young pilgrim told me they were going to go and swim there, so I passed on the warning. Please do the same. The beach is fantastic for sun bathing, the view and a picnic. Enjoy.
Buen Camino. Keith
Good to know!
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
Even in Biarritz I never go deeper than my knees. Rip tides are unpredictable and unless you have first had knowledge about the idiosyncrasies of the beach don't risk an accident.
 

Redhead Keith

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francé: 2005: 2016
Inglés: 2017
Salvador: 2018: 2019
Primitivo: 2018: 2019
The eastern beach is lovely. My son swam there as I watched from the warm rocks in May, but the water was chilly.
Hi Chrissy - the man I spoke to was quite clear and adamant that ALL beaches, east and west, are dangerous. They have rip tides that are fierce and give you little chance. I would recommend that people ask locals about this before swimming, they know their tides and sea better than anyone. I took one look at the west beach waves and current and could see immediately that it was steep and dangerous, classic rip-tide conditions.
The sea is unforgiving and remorseless, powerful and seductive. Ask and heed the locals at all times.
Best wishes. Keith
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I love looking out at both beautiful beaches, so lovely. I'm glad we have not been there in the heat of summer, compelled to swim.. We will be coming again in later May 2020...we will heed your warnings. Thank you.
 

martin1ws

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Somport to Finisterre Jul-Aug 2018
Hi Chrissy - the man I spoke to was quite clear and adamant that ALL beaches, east and west, are dangerous. They have rip tides that are fierce and give you little chance....
It depends on which eastern beaches ( and weather, time of the year, swimming skill,...)...
The eastern beaches near to the lighthouse are still dangerous, the sand beach in the 'north/east' of Fisterra is rather safe... at the beginning of September 2018 I saw many people who where swimming there...

(red: dangerous; green: ok)


finisterre_beaches.png
 
Last edited:

Redhead Keith

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francé: 2005: 2016
Inglés: 2017
Salvador: 2018: 2019
Primitivo: 2018: 2019
It depends on which eastern beaches ( and weather, swimming skill,...)...
The eastern beaches near to the lighthouse are still dangerous, the sand beach in the 'north/east' of Fisterra is rather safe... in Septembe 2018 I saw many people who where swimming there...

(red: dangerous; green: ok)


View attachment 65683
That's a great map of the zones. The man I spoke to made it clear that the green zone referred to was also dangerous. Perhaps it was the time of year - tides, weather, general conditions (early October). But he was clear about it and seemed to know his stuff. The green zone must have been safe in September - I'm sure they would have warned people if it had been dangerous. Always good to ask and check.
 

elleley

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (16); Leon-Sarria, Ourense-SdC (17), Burgos-Leon (17), Porto-SdC (18), SalvadorPrimitivo(19)
Please, everyone, take heed of this warning. It was a young Irish pilgrim who drowned there in the past couple of weeks while I was in Santiago. I have been drawn into a rip tide while just standing on a beach in California and I am a strong swimmer! I was saved by a miracle (in the form of a brave Canadian "senior" hockey goalie) so it was not my time, but I am very cautious now. Enjoy and stay safe!
 

Redhead Keith

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francé: 2005: 2016
Inglés: 2017
Salvador: 2018: 2019
Primitivo: 2018: 2019
Please, everyone, take heed of this warning. It was a young Irish pilgrim who drowned there in the past couple of weeks while I was in Santiago. I have been drawn into a rip tide while just standing on a beach in California and I am a strong swimmer! I was saved by a miracle (in the form of a brave Canadian "senior" hockey goalie) so it was not my time, but I am very cautious now. Enjoy and stay safe!
Hi elleley - yes, not only must it have been a terrifying experience for you, but a miracle that you were saved. Rip tides and undercurrents are as good as invisible to everyone but those who live and work by their sea. I read only yesterday of a young english couple who were tragically taken by undercurrents in Portugal. You have no chance, normally. The man who saved you must be extraordinarily brave and strong, and such people are not always there to help. So I hope our fellow pilgrims heed your advice and that of knowledgable local people, and further tragedies can be avoided.
Best wishes. Keith
PS aren't the Salvador and Primitivo fantastic!
 
Camino(s) past & future
2017 - Camino Frances
2019 - Camino Portugues
When there this week, I asked a local man for the best way to the west beach. He reacted strongly by telling me not to swim there, that the currents are particularly dangerous and that a young man was recently drowned there, and the fishermen will tell you the same. The currents are dangerous on all sides of the town. They know their waters and sea better than anyone. So take heed and enjoy the view and a knee-deep paddle at the most. A young pilgrim told me they were going to go and swim there, so I passed on the warning. Please do the same. The beach is fantastic for sun bathing, the view and a picnic. Enjoy.
Buen Camino. Keith
My wife and I were in Finisterre the night the Irish man was swept out. He too did not heed the warnings and paid the price with his life. I am dismayed how many people put their life at risk to take a better selfie or just think they are invincible.!i believe the Camino makes us better people ... but not necessarily smarter. Be safe and Buen Camino.
 

MariaSP

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Inglés (2019)
The area is called Costa da Morte (Coast of Death) for a reason. If the locals tell you not to swim, even is the "safe" beaches, the best thing you can do is follow their advice. They know better. There are certain times of the year when the tides are stronger than usual and even relatively calm and quiet beaches can get dangerous.
 

elleley

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (16); Leon-Sarria, Ourense-SdC (17), Burgos-Leon (17), Porto-SdC (18), SalvadorPrimitivo(19)
Hi elleley - yes, not only must it have been a terrifying experience for you, but a miracle that you were saved. Rip tides and undercurrents are as good as invisible to everyone but those who live and work by their sea. I read only yesterday of a young english couple who were tragically taken by undercurrents in Portugal. You have no chance, normally. The man who saved you must be extraordinarily brave and strong, and such people are not always there to help. So I hope our fellow pilgrims heed your advice and that of knowledgable local people, and further tragedies can be avoided.
Best wishes. Keith
PS aren't the Salvador and Primitivo fantastic!
Yes, Keith, I fell in love with Austurias!
 

Redhead Keith

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francé: 2005: 2016
Inglés: 2017
Salvador: 2018: 2019
Primitivo: 2018: 2019
The area is called Costa da Morte (Coast of Death) for a reason. If the locals tell you not to swim, even is the "safe" beaches, the best thing you can do is follow their advice. They know better. There are certain times of the year when the tides are stronger than usual and even relatively calm and quiet beaches can get dangerous.
Hola MariaSP - that seems to be quite appropriate, 'Coast of Death'. I'm sure it must also refer to the danger to boats and ships that rocky peninsular threatens. Sailors would certainly have to know the safe, deep channels through which to navigate, and where dangerous rocks are hidden too close to the surface. As you reiterate, local knowledge must never be ignored.
Gracias. Keith.
 
Camino(s) past & future
this will be my first. Norte September 2018.
It depends on which eastern beaches ( and weather, time of the year, swimming skill,...)...
The eastern beaches near to the lighthouse are still dangerous, the sand beach in the 'north/east' of Fisterra is rather safe... at the beginning of September 2018 I saw many people who where swimming there...

(red: dangerous; green: ok)


View attachment 65683
I only had the opportunity to sleep on that beach! Next time I will swim!
 

Josefus

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via Lemovicensis + Camino Frances; Via Podiensis + Camino del Norte; Via de la Plata and C. Sanabrés
I think the eastern beaches are quite safe. I´ve been swimming there several times without any problem. Have a look on the tidal calender (or ask a local) and avoid times when the tide goes out.
 

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