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Variante Espiritual Boat Ride

I’ve read several descriptions of the boat ride, including comments of water spray from the speed and the possibility of either a rubber dinghy or a ferry.

My question is a bit different. I suffer from motion sickness - I’m ok on a calm bay or lake, and speed is fine. But big swells, or even a gentle sustained bobbing up and down is not good. For those who’ve done it, what should I expect?
 
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Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Time of past OR future Camino
2019
We were on a larger boat (20 people) in October 2021. The water was very smooth and I had no seasickness issues even though I have suffered from it in the past on other boats. You launch into a fore bay and then spend most of the time headed upriver, so I can’t imagine there are ever a lot of “rolling” type waves.
 

woody66

This is my boy !
Time of past OR future Camino
2021
Agree with Vacajoe boat spends a lot of it's time heading up river; might be a bit of swell out where the mussel beds are but was like a millpond when i used it!
However i went on the largest boat in October carries 150 pilgrims and it was pretty much full no seats at all on lower deck!
Buen Camino
Woody
This is what it was like the day before i sailed and was the same on mine (don't panic when the skipper plays the theme from Titanic ;your quite safe!🤣)
 

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Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Portuguese Central 2022; Primitivo, Arles
We were in a small boat on a cool and overcast May morning. The two crew members were informative, helpful and entertaining. The ride was chilly and wet. We were in the back. The people in the front bore the brunt of the water and wind. Fortunately, we all put on our rain gear before starting the journey.
I’m guessing much of the experience is luck of the draw based on weather conditions. I don’t recall anyone on our skiff getting motion sickness, perhaps because we were too wet and cold :). The five of people in my group enjoyed the experience, particularly after we had a chance to warm up over a cafe con leche when we arrived.
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
CP coastal then central then spiritual June 22
I did this in June 2022 (a couple of weeks ago) in a real boat with over 100 people.

As it's the high season, I would expect this is the norm in June July and August, with smaller boats at other times of the year.

You're sailing (or motoring) up an estuary, so it's not at sea with waves etc.

In a dingy you might notice the movement of the water but in this boat it was like being on a lake.
 

twh

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances May/June, 2018
Porto-Muxia-Finisterre Oct (2019)
In October 2019 I was on a boat that probably seated 30 people in the enclosed cabin. Everyone was packed in like sardines. If you suffer from claustrophobia you would be very unhappy with this trip on THIS BOAT unless you sat in the back where you could leave the cabin and stand outside on a small platform at the back of the boat. I was in the front section and it would not have been possible to stand up and walk to the rear of the boat without making everyone you pass stand up and then lean back and still you would be wedging your way past each person and it would take forever to claw your way to the back and everyone you passed would be very unhappy with you.

I too experienced a cold, misty morning ride. The captain had a few interesting comments on what we were seeing and in the second half they served hot tea in paper cups. Essentially it was transportation from point A to point B and that's all I expected. They try to make a "tour" experience out of it which I understand but the success of that endeavor is questionable and highly dependent on the specific boat you are on, how many people on the boat and the weather.

It was nice because it was something completely different from my normal daily routine and we covered a lot of miles while sitting down which felt good but a little bit like cheating. In 2019, I got the feeling the fleet of boats they depended on were all independent contractors and they could not tell you in advance what type of boat you would be on. As some have said, there is everything from a dinghy that will be a wet and cold ride to a boat that carries 150 people. Maybe it's different now? Dealing with uncertainty is a frequent experience on the Camino and this was just one more of those lessons along the way.
 

kenwilltravel

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Portuguese Coastal (2018)
Portuguese Coastal, with Spiritual Variant (2019)
We rode in the larger boat (Bahia-Sub company) in 2019 and had no problems with the waves in the estuary or river. My wife is usually susceptible to motion sickness and did not experience it at all on this ride. Weather was more of an issue. It was rainy and cool that morning (we left the dock around 9 a.m.) and being on water intensified that effect. We were glad we had pulled our jackets out of our packs that morning.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Latest: Rota Vicentina '19; Portuguese '19.
I experienced a beautiful day in late May 2019 on a lovely large boat/ferry with an open air deck which I loved. We had fairly calm waters with little chop.
I had read quite a bit ahead of time about dingy's spraying cold water and was concerned. I assume they may be used in the colder, months when there are fewer people.
Screenshot_20220704-151740~2.png
 
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kenwilltravel

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Portuguese Coastal (2018)
Portuguese Coastal, with Spiritual Variant (2019)
I experienced a beautiful day in late May 2019 on a lovely large boat/ferry with an open air deck which I loved. We had fairly calm waters with little chop.
I had read quite a bit ahead of time about dingy's spraying cold water and was concerned. I assume dingys may be used in the colder, less busy months.
View attachment 129038
This is the exact same boat we used.
 

Eckart.S

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
several
What month/year were you there? Looks like a dingy to me...yikes!
Yes it was a little dingy, end of september 2013 or 2015. I think the captain chose the smallest boat available.
Compared to now very few pilgrims used the variante espiritual in these years and I met only couple in the two hiking days from Pontevedra to Vilanova de Arousa.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
CP coastal then central then spiritual June 22
I’ve read several descriptions of the boat ride, including comments of water spray from the speed and the possibility of either a rubber dinghy or a ferry.

My question is a bit different. I suffer from motion sickness - I’m ok on a calm bay or lake, and speed is fine. But big swells, or even a gentle sustained bobbing up and down is not good. For those who’ve done it, what should I expect?

Hi again.

Just looking back today and I can see you've had a lot of replies, from folks who have done this trip at different times, in different years, some of which are going back quite a bit.

It's important to point out that the size of the boat will depend on what season you are travelling in.

High season = lots of pilgrims = large boat and vice versa.

Also, the departure times are tide dependent and this will change with the seasons also

So when you know what month you are thinking of travelling, your best bet is to contact the boat company and ask them directly.


This will give you the information that is pertinent to your proposed schedule.

The variante is a lovely walk and I'd highly recommend it. I've some other posts sharing info on the route if you check under my name in the forum

All the best,

Phil

See pic below for our boat last month
1657036679630.png
 
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kenwilltravel

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Portuguese Coastal (2018)
Portuguese Coastal, with Spiritual Variant (2019)
Can you avoid the boat and walk? I am very strict about joining footsteps on these walks, so would always take the foot option.
Yes, you can. I haven't done the walk from Vilanova de Arousa to Pontecesures but I've seen several comments in some of these Forum threads from people who have. Maybe try the search function? My general recollection -- and don't hold me to this -- is that the path wasn't all that well marked.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Latest: Rota Vicentina '19; Portuguese '19.
Can you avoid the boat and walk? I am very strict about joining footsteps on these walks, so would always take the foot option.
Yes, you can avoid the boat ride. I found it beautiful on a sunny day, serene, relaxing, and a nice change of "pace"(slight pun).🙂
The boat ride still qualifies towards a compostela if you are interested in receiving one.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Latest: Rota Vicentina '19; Portuguese '19.
If I were to leave the forum, flawed as it is, I fear I would fall into despondency and depression...it is a scary thought as it is a big part of my day. Maybe I could read books again and be content, not sure.

Last night I read that Boris wants to stay on in the interim until a new premier is found...sounds fishy. Some people think he should go now. Do you have someone you would like to see take his place?
 

David Bedlow

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2019
I believe that passengers, especially in smaller boats, should be issued with, and wear, lifejackets during this boat trip.
 
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Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Time of past OR future Camino
2019
I believe that passengers, especially in smaller boats, should be issued with, and wear, lifejackets during this boat trip.
On our trip in October 2021 (medium boat) life jackets were available to all passengers, but actual use was an individual choice as it is on most commercially operated ferry transports.
 

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