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Deep Blue
Living The Dream
Cascais & Lisbon
09/12/2007, Open top bus tour of Portugal's capital city, great marina at Cascais

Having spent longer than we anticipated in Nazare due to being fog bound, we were eager to arrive at Cascais, a suburb of Lisbon, some 15 miles west of the city. The marina is fabulous with great facilities, lots of restaurants with a backdrop of the town's fortified walls. However, this comes at a price as it is the most expensive place that we have stayed at since the UK.

Took a train for the 30 minute journey into Lisbon (15 miles and only Ģ2.25 return for both of us, why can't the UK sort out its trains like this and everybody would use them) and decided to do an open-top bus tour where you can hop on and off as you like. Mike and Elaine will remember a similar trip in Vancouver some time ago. It is a great way to see a city as big as Lisbon when time is short. We spent the afternoon discovering some of the highlights of the capital city, built upon seven hills and which, in medieval times, was once one of Europe's most important ports. It is hard to believe that it is only just over 30 years since the country became independent from a dictatorship. We finished off the day's visit, and ourselves, by climbing to Castelo de Sao Jorge, that was one of the most intact and impressive castle's that we have ever seen. Located on the highest hill in Lisbon, offering magnificent views across the city, the oldest remains date back to the 6th century. Check out the photos of our day in the Gallery.

To make you feel better, thought you'd like to know that we had a big thunderstorm last night with LOTS OF RAIN. The light show above us filled the whole of the sky. Thank goodness it is back to normal and it is sunny again today. So we enjoyed bacon rolls on deck for breakfast. We know how to live.

If you do get the chance to visit Lisbon, we would recommend that you consider staying in Cascais because it is beautiful, has its own beach, is full of character, a lot cheaper than the city and only half an hour away.

Fog on the coast....
09/04/2007, Nazare

Left Leixoes in full sunshine for an overnight passage to Nazare and enjoyed calm seas, light winds and dolphins until dark.

At about 1am, we started noticing that the navigation lights on our friends boat, with Dave & Elaine onboard, kept disappearing from view for a few minutes even though they were less than 1/2 mile away. Within an hour, we were in the thickest fog you can imagine which is apparently a known hazard in this area in the summer, although we had no warning of it in the forecast before we left. Had we known, we would have stayed put.

Anyway, thank goodness for radar and chart plotters (how the ancient mariners managed without our electronic stuff, we cannot imagine!). Visibility was down to under 50m all the way into Nazare where we arrived at about midday tired but relieved to be here safe and sound.

It's a beautiful day here today and it's been a real surprise to see where we are! Tall cliffs with lovely old buildings on the top and a big beach full of local tourists.

Have just tried out our fold-up bikes and will add a photo to the website shortly. Plan to be here for another 24hrs before heading for Cascais, a suburb of Lisbon where we also intend to spend a few days at.

Communication Update

Just an update for those of you who are trying to get hold of us on Skype. We have not been able to get a wi-fi connection in any marina yet, apart from one, and have been using either coin-operated computers in bars or in marina offices. These computers do not allow Skype communication. We hope this will change when we get into the Algarve and Mediterranean but there is nothing we can do about it right now. We are looking into getting a wi-fi phone that will work with Skype so that we can take it with us when we are out and about in the hope of connecting to a wi-fi connection more easily. Will let you know how we get on. In the meantime, our mobile is on 24 hours and it only costs the same as calling a UK mobile (BT 13p peak and 8p off peak when we last checked).

First visitors, Red Bull Air Race, Port Caves
09/04/2007, Porto

Arrived in Portugal at Leixoes (pronounced 'layshoinsh'), a suburb of Porto, to be met by Deb and Joe who arrived at the marina at the same time, loaded down with our shopping request of Tesco's Bombay Mix and Oatcakes, and who stayed with us for a few days.

We were expecting the language to be similar to Spanish however it is completely different with, what sounds like, an eastern European accent. Surprisingly, we reverted back to UK time although we had only dropped south, down the coast. There is a distinctive Englishness about the place with most people speaking the language, signs and transport info in English, red post boxes and similarities with UK architecture. We took the metro into Porto which was one of the best public transport systems we have ever used being very cheap and easy to navigate around. The city is very clean, the setting on the wide River Douro is beautiful with lots of old, terraced buildings. The port cellars are on the south bank and all offer free tours with a tasting at the end. Unfortuately, we were too late to visit the Taylor's cellar but our perseverance paid off at another cellar where we were lucky to have a private tour and tasting. During our stay, the Red Bull Air Race was taking place. 13 pilots and planes from all over the world were taking part in a slalom course down the main river in the centre of the city. The planes were about 60 feet above the water and we had waterfront seats along the river banks to watch from. It was very exciting and heats have taken place in London, Rio de Janiero, Istanbul, USA etc. The weather here is more like what we were expecting - hot, so we are now turning brown at last. If you have never visited Porto, or rather Oporto as it is known locally, we can thoroughly recommend it. You have to be fit though as most of the city is on a hill with lots of steep streets. Check out the photos of Porto in the 'Portgual' album in the Gallery.

Waved goodbye to Deb and Joe and then found a Lidl's store nearby where we did a re-stock for the next journey.

Off today (Sunday) for an overnight trip to Navare before the next destination of Lisbon where we should be able to give you a further update later in the week.


Hello from sunny Baiona where we have spent the last 3 days.

Managed to get the TV working on the laptop today so that Chris could watch the Grand Prix. We then visited a replica of īPintaī the boat that Christopher Columbus sailed on and were brought back to earth with a bump when seeing the conditions that the sailors had to endure.

Off to Lexioes tomorrow on the outskirts of Porto. Debra, my sister, and her boyfriend Joe are arriving tomorrow for a few days which we are really looking forward to.

Bookings are now being taken.

Santiago de Compostela
08/22/2007, 42 45.0'N:08 56.0'W

This was our first day trip since arriving in Spain. It took two buses to get to the cathedral at Santiago which was fun in itself as we do not speak Spanish but are quickly learning.

Santiago was only an hour away and is where the tomb of St. James was discovered at the beginning of the 9th Century. It has been the focus for thousands of pilgrims and is now the most important place after Jersualem and Rome for them.

The cathedral is magnificent and the town very olde worlde. The only down side for us that there were hundreds of people visiting and it didn't seem quite right they so many should be allowed in at the same time to trample around.

After a lovely day, it was back to the usual priorities of shopping, washing and finding wi-fi.

Hunter Gatherers in Camarinas
08/22/2007, 43 07'N:09 10'W

Arrived in the fishing town of Camarinas on Saturday night and squeezed Deep Blue into the sliver of space that they allocated to us.

On Sunday, we went onto the beach to look for some dinner! The pilot book said that it was a good place to find shellfish and they were right. Between we found enough mussels and cockles for a starter and a main course. Only Chris had done this before so we followed his instructions. It was really easy and with a little white wine, garlic, onions and cream the mussels slipped down a treat followed by Spaghetti a la Vongole.

It was a great sense of achievement finding your own food and much better than a trip to Sainsbury's anyday.


After a busy few days in La Coruna, we headed for the quiet anchorage of Corme. It was only a one street place but a good place to test out our new anchor, that held beautifully.

In a candlelit cave on the beach that night was a music show provided by local bands. It started at about 9pm, with pipes and drums and lots of local people came to watch and took photos. We went over with Dave & Elaine in the dinghy. By the time we got there, the music style had changed slightly to heavy metal and so it continued to 9am THE NEXT MORNING!

With slight headaches and lack of sleep, we then headed for Camarinas.....................

La Coruna

Thought youīd like to see where we are moored in La Coruna marina, just left of the ultra posh Yacht Club (where else!).

Itīs a buzzing place at the moment because there are lots of racing yachts coming and going as part of a race programme around France, Ireland and Spain.

Itīs a Bank Holiday here today and almost everything is closed (unlike Bank Holidayīs in the UK) and everybody seems to be chilling in cafes or walking small dogs along the promenade.

We are going to go and watch some flamenco dancing tonight in the main square which should be fun.

Thinking of leaving tomorrow for a short day trip south west of here so long as the weather is ok. Itīs currently sunny and bright but very windy, so we will need the wind to drop a bit. The next couple of stops are in small fishing villages that are unlikely to have much in the way of internet services so we will be in touch asap.

In the meantime, we are now using our new mobile number as per the card we sent to you. Donīt forget that it is a UK number and costs you no more than a UK call to a mobile phone number to call us.

Dolphins, Whales and Dramas
08/14/2007, 43 22.0'N:08 23.0'W

Hello from sunny Spain!

Well, the journey was as good as we could have wished for weather-wise. The sea was calm, the sun shone so that we arrived with a good colour on our faces. After 7 hrs, the yacht of David & Nancy broke down for the umpteenth time. The four of us turned around and went back to them. Dave, who is an diesel engineer, went onto their boat and spent time trying to get them sorted. Nothing worked. Anyway, 4 HOURS LATER, the decision was taken that the four of us would carry on. David called the coastguard to let them know but they were not really interested, afterall a sailing yacht has sails and is capable of moving without an engine. The only problem was that there was no wind! So, off we went feeling a bit strange about leaving them but there was nothing more we could do and to have stayed would have achieved nothing and could have put everyone else at risk.

Next couple of days were very tiring but a great experience. Dolphins accompanied us and we saw whales too, that was something else. On the third day, I got bad seasickness and was out of it for 24hrs, heaving every 15 minutes! Chris dug deep and spent the next 24hrs looking after me and getting us to La Coruna. How he did it, I do not know but he did a fantastic job and never complained once.

We arrived in La Coruna on Sunday with Dave & Elaine and have been hear since. It took us another day to catch up on sleep. We didnīt even wake up until 2pm the following day. But, that day, Elaine got a phone call from David to say that they had just arrived in La Coruna!!! They had DIYīd the boat the next morning and carried on.

Anyway, all is well here. It is a Bank Holiday tomorrow and we are looking forward to all the celebrations that will be happening. Relaxed and happy.

We should be leaving here on Thursday to go further down the coast and will keep you updated.

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Who: Chris & Sandra Mennem
Port: Shotley, UK
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