My New York in Ribadeo...

Updated: Mar 4

Puerto de Ribadeo: My 79th Street Boat Basin

Anyone who "knows" New York, would attend Central Park concerts on their summer stage. Free summer concerts were the thrifty way to “BE” New York”, be a seed in the core of the Big Apple during the summer when everything seemed over priced while saving for a trip abroad when in university. Discovery of new bands, local groups singing covers and some cameo surprises of well-known musicians was gratifying free entertainment. The place to go was the 79th street boat basin, at the foot of Riverside Park on the Hudson River, immediately after. The rotunda was the meeting place to reunite with those lost in the crowd or bump into friends and acquaintances not found in the swarm of spectators. A pavilion overlooking the Hudson to cool off with a cold beer, a time to discuss the likes and dislikes of the venue and clarify what was misunderstood in conversations held during the performances. In Ribadeo I have El Puerto de Ribadeo, the gateway to La Ria, The River Eo from the Cantabric Sea at Porcillan, the original entrance to the once fortified villa.

Cafes, bars and restaurants are scattered in the area. The Nautical School and their Marina Sports Complex frequented by sports enthusiast and pros and there is a sunken treasure, recently discovered after four hundred years in 2011. In the stream bed of the river, just a little over four meters deep, a ship from the Spanish Armada, El Galleon San Giacomo di Galizia, the Galleon of St. James of Galicia. 


Back Story

Philip II, King of Spain, Portugal, Naples and Sicily, married to England´s Queen “bloody” Mary, was Duke of Milan and the Lord of the Seventeen Provinces of the Netherlands.

Son of Spain´s Holy Roman Emperor, (by the grace of god), Charles V.

Spain was an Empire, the Spanish Golden Age, ruler of territories on every continent conquered by their explorers, the Philippians was his namesake.

Being an empire there was conflict, with conflict a great army was banded and the Invincible Spanish Armada was created, expanded and ruled the waters ways around the world.

Built in Naples in 1590, The Galleon of St. James of Galicia was the Titanic of its time, it had a double lined hull and its cover was caulked, making it waterproof, to ensure the ship will float if hit near the waterline. Made entirely of oak from Vesuvius region in Italy, 34 meters long and over 1,200 tons it was a ship designed for war although dedicated to merchant trade.

In 1596 England invaded and looted Cadiz, Spain, under Queen Elizabeth I rule. With all intentions and royal duty of protecting Spain and the water way along the Mediterranean as well as an act of retribution, The Galleon of St. James of Galicia, conditioned for war, was one amongst thirty-two naval ships setting sail to attack England and defend the empire decreed by King Philip II.

When sailing up the English Channel to invade Falmouth in Cornwall, powerful northern storms had the Spanish Armada retreat. Some ships banged into each other and sunk while making their way down the English Channel towards the Bay of Biscay. Currents lead others to the rocky seaside cliffs and ships were destroyed on impact. Finding temporary refuge along the northern Spanish coast, The Galleon St. James of Galicia found its way to Ribadeo, battered and ultimately sunk in the river. Archivists of the time recorded the unfolding of the demise of the great "unsinkable" Galleon San Giacomo di Galizia and like most historical events, they became legends difficult to distinguish truth from winter allegory after all political, economic and Monarchal practices altered. It was somewhat forgotten. Many say the sinking of the Invincible Spanish Armada was the beginning of the decline of the Spanish Empire.


The Discovery

In 2011 when the River Eo was being dredged for possible expansion of the port and for marine traffic the galleon slowly emerged from the shallow water. The sediment of the river and conditions of currents perhaps conserved the only, till now, intact ship from the 16th century Spanish Armada. International archeologist and interest has grown to save a wreck- a long, expensive, arduous process, of Spain´s Maritime Heritage.



The site has has been undisturbed for over 400 years. Each archeological dive slowly unveils the artistry of a once thought unsinkable maritime weapon.

El Galleon San Giacomo di Galizia

We now wait for the next expedition for future discoveries and better understanding of the vessel.




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