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blog on its way ... may have to do it in

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back in blighty
11/12/2012, Ipswich

we have arrived in the UK, and its freezing, not use to having to wear so many layers of clothes.
trip back started a 3am Sines, to catch the 5am bus, which arrived in Lisbon around 8am, followed by short bus journey to the Airport. Check in was 11am, so had a few hours to wait. Flight went at 1.30 arrive in Gatwick at 15.40, train from Gatwick to Victoria at 17.42. Underground to London Liverpool street till 2100 ariving at ipswich at 2200, Taxi from trainstation to house arriving 20.00..... boy were we knackered! We have decided national express all the way to gatwick on return journey !
So from 6th to 19th in Suffolk and 20th to 27th in Leicestershire, were trying to get all jobs done and see as many people as we can and if we haven't made to everyone were sorry advance.
The bus from Sines to lisbon takes 3hours and cost 14.30 euros each, not bad really. the bus from station to airport took 20mins and cost 8euros for both of us.
On the way back as we arrive at 17.10, we will miss the last bus to Sines, (next one is at 7.30am next morning) decided a night in a Pension will have to do as i do not wish to sleep at the bus depot!
Can't believe we've been here almost a week, time has flown by, been to see a few people at Fox's Marina and OYC. Rob's helping his dad on his boat and we've been to see Mongy.
Been in to Ipswich and we've only been a way a few months and are supprise how much has changed. Biggiest shock is paying for coffee lol as we are so use to paying 90 cent for a cup not nearly £2.00 !
Now getting things ready for return journey, trips to chandlery as cheaper over here and having to go shopping for the essentials ..... teabags, marmite, stuffing, birds trifle mix and sweets for Rob !

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The Turkish are coming !
11/02/2012, Sines

When we were at anchor we had to Chuckle, as we do not fly the British flag... And tenders would often, go by and you would hear an English voice say "I've know idea darling...... Its probably Eastern European "... the flag in question is the flag of Suffolk ! And we proudly fly it!

Many Blue ensign British flagged boats have come and gone, we generally steer clear of them, "all wind and up themselves" apart form one boat Carpe Diem, with the Flag of St Helena, Which is where the skipper James is from, Hannah his wife is from New Zealand and there adorable kiddie winks Stacey, Josh and Jake. Turns out that James worked for Oyster down South, he and Rob know the same people.. Spooky or what !

We had very bad night, rob was on anchor watch, at one point Carpe Diem was less than 6 foot from Raven. James was likewise on watch, decided he should deploy moor chain. The next day James and crew were heading off, so the poor sod had to haul in chain by hand and his two anchors... But as we was doing so, he was getting closer to us... It was then we found out that he had picked up our chain, it took both Rob and him to get it up, and Hannah and I to keep the boats apart... We exchanged email addresses and hope to keep in touch.

Just before all this happened we watched the lone sailor of a tiny Leisure 17, flying the Turkish flag be towed into the marina and taken away by the Maritime Police. Later we saw the boat out at anchor, the Turkish guy and two Police men on aboard... We watched as they went over the boat looking at the lights, testing the rigging, then suddenly the police left , as they went the waved at the Turkish guy. Rob being an inquisitive soul, (some would say nosey) went over to the Turkish boat... After about a couple of hours back he comes, "your never gonna believe this"...

He was met by the Maritime Police 8 miles out, a fishing boat had noticed his nav lights weren't on, so they had called the authorities, who went out, and towed in him....Get this they took him to shopping at Lidl, got him some food, took him to fuel pontoon and refuelled him, restocked him with fresh water and then set about re rigging his boat, mending his nav lights and anything else that needed doing!.... And what is more amazing this guy set out from Turkey 5 months ago on this tiny boat, he fitted it out with a 20hp motor (he installed it, with the aide of two photos he found on line) and put a ships wheel in the saloon so he could stand up and look out whilst he steered. He is on his way to London (Milwall of all places!) to meet some friends, but then has to fly back to Turkey for work... When Rob asked what he did for a living... "I design Game Apps for mobile phones"...

He said he could only do 2 ½ knots, Rob told him that he was not surprised as he needs to get rid of all the Goose barnacles from the bottom of his boat... No he couldn't do this as he uses them for bait to catch is food.. He begged for a cigarette of Rob, as he ran out about a month ago... When asked what is was smoking ... To start off it was Tea, when that ran out, he went on to Oregano!...

Wasn't making much headway as the wind was always against him, Rob said that yep it is this time of year and when asked what charts he was using...photocopied pages from.. A ROAD ATLAS!!!! Rob almost dropped his fag!, we have given him our Reeds Almanac.. He didn't know about tides! given him our email address, made him promise that when he reaches ANYWHERE he is to let us know he is still alive... With that off he went grinning away.

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a little shower
11/02/2012, Sines

Sines Portugal - 37°55'48″N 8°46'12″W

Sines is a quiet fishing town, a coastal municipality in the district of Setúbal, in the Alentejo Litoral region of the Portuguese Alentejo, famous as the birthplace of Vasco da Gama, who was a Portuguese explorer and the commander of the first ships to India; for a short time (in 1524) he was Governor of Portuguese India. He was born at the castle where his father Estêvão da Gama was the local alcalde, and following his return from India, was given feudal rights over Sines. The Castle is in the Centre of Sines was originally built in 1362 for protection from Pirates,. Now a museum , the Tourist information office can also be found there.

We have been around the museum, which is well worth a visit,(and free enter) takes up three floors. The lady in the tourist information office (which is the desk at the front door of museum) gave us maps and booklets on Sines, she was so funny as she said she as problem with some English words, Like Beaches as she pronounces it Bitches..... I have explained the difference... She now knows why she got funny looks when telling an English couple that "Sines has many beautiful golden bitches to look at "!

Not a lot happens during the winter months, but every summer, the town hosts the FMM Sines - Festival Músicas do Mundo, a world music festival that brings thousands of enthusiasts and musicians from all continents. They have a Religious procession on 14th and 15th of August to honour the fishermen's patroness, Nossa Senhora das Salas , its starts on the evening of the 14th making its was through the towns centre and on the 15th during the day the procession makes its way to the harbour and on to one of the decorated fishermen's trawlers. In July near the beach (or the bitch) ~Vasco da Gama a food festival "Tesquinhas Sines" is held

Next village along is Porto Covo, this is 15 km away and is meant to be the most beautiful in Portugal, but as we have found out during winter only one bus a day goes there... And knowing our luck we'd miss the last one.

Lisbon is 3 hours by bus and cost 14.50 we are going to try this out very soon as we are coming back to the UK, (I'm not so keen as have seen the temps back home... Must remember to pack thermals).. We need to get tickets from the main bus terminal... This is a small green hut...(I kid you not..).. Blink and you will miss it, its manned but were not so sure, as the opening times on the door do not correspond when anyone is there.... So were going to play Russian Bus Ticket Roulette next week... (I'm feeling lucky!)

Lagos is 2 ½ hours by bus (didn't get price for that) and if you want to go to Faro is about another hour by train from Lagos.

Shopping wise there is a big Lidl and Literal (Spar) about a good 20min walk, in the town we have found another 4 small Spar shops and a Municipal Market, this also sells fresh fish & Bread, we go there for fresh veg from a lady called Sandra all her stuff is really good, when you go in she one on the far side, and the lady in the Bread shop has usually wrapped our bread ready by the time we stepped through the door. There is also a little old lady who sell Olives on a stall, for a euro a bag, and they're rather good.

Lots of Talhos (butchers) dotted about, not got up enough nerve to go in, as knowing my luck I'll ask for ½ kilo of Frango (chicken) and end up with 5 kilos in stead.

More Cafes and hairdresser than you can shake a large stick at. Two cafes we like going to, first one has a very large counter , the length of the Cafe (which is big) filled with wonderful cakes and very small counter filled with savoury pastries... The Portuguese love cakes.. Rob does too.. We try a few, he has his eye on a large chocolate one.

A take away BBQ place called O' Castle (its right next to the castle) we went in because Rob had a craving for Chips.. We knew we were looking for Batatas... But other than that... and the man behind the counter spoke no English, a bit of waving of hands, nodding, grunts we ordered, he then picks up a half bag of frozen chips and points at it, we nod, he goes to fryer... (REALLY must learn more Portuguese, other than two cups of milky coffee, as we have just ordered the half bag of chips, this cost us 3.50, we keep on meaning to go back as we can get a whole BBQ Frango (chicken) for 7 Euros and Batatas Fritas 1.70

There are a few dress shops, but the taste in couture is well lets say leopard print and gaudy flowers prints rule... Although I did have my eye on a pearl blue organza number in one of the windows... Went back this week to show Rob and its gone!.. The Gok Dent Fashion Police needs to come to Sines pronto... Gaylord even you would have your work cut out!

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Now in Portugal
ooooooooooooo Hot
11/02/2012, Sines

We now have WiFi in the marina so here is the blog from Spain to Portugal

Leaving Baiona in rather lumpy seas, so the bucket had been readied for me.... (I made use of this right away and for quite a bit thereafter!.... )

We had enough wind to sail for the first day and night, the next day we had to motor, we had started of well being able to do 2 hour watches... But after having to hand steer this became tiring ... So went down to 1 hour watches.... so we wouldn't loose track of the time... We stuck an egg timer to the cockpit with blue tack... (And have found this works well.)

Managed to get shed loads of photographs of Dolphins... Pods of them stayed with us for hours... For our family and friends the photographs of dolphins and our travels have all been put onto a data stick... Hours of viewing fun!,

when we joked to about this to Robs dads it sort of backfired as he said "lovely I'll fire up the projector and get the sailing barge slide show ready for your return"... Rob has told me it may take a few days to get through them all.

So we are now in Sines.... Or as we have asked its pronounced Sinesh... Its a very small marina... We swear when we looked the photo the in the cruising book it looked bigger... (Have now decided they must have used very small boats in the photo ! )

Bengt and Co were there videoing our entrance...They have been following our blog, and were expecting us. As soon as we anchored and sorted ourselves out we went straight over to "Araine of Stockholm" to be told by kathe "sorry no homemade cake my oven has broken" no problem a cuppa tea and good company is all we wanted... Also stayed for dinner.

Went to the marina office, to see about clearing in, the following conversation took place...(Mental note must learn some Portuguese )
"hello, can we clear in here"
"your at anchor its free & no need to clear in"
"we would like to pay"
"no,.... you do not need to pay"
"yes please as we would like to use marinas' showers and laundry"
"ah yes you will need to pay you wish to clear in too"
Cut to me smiling insanely and Rob slowly banging head on the counter.

We have enjoyed a few weeks with Kathe, Bengt and Sten....(amusing ourselves much to Stens' expense... "not good for him") have enjoyed many 3 o'clock cuppa teas, which was extended to after shower cuppas in the evening. Accompanied by many biscuits and home made cakes (after the cooker was fixed)... Kathe and I have been off on shopping expeditions... And even found the Post Office. We have had brilliant time with them, but alas they are now (sniff ) in Lanzorate.

The Marina is very clean, the washing machines in the Laundry are industrial sized ones, get water and have a shower, all this for less than 8 euros night, out at anchor, we did ask out of interest how much it would be to winter here.....It was so good a price in fact we took them up on the offer, on the 1st of October we came into the marina... To our first mooring, when they moved an old wooden boat round to another marina, we moved to our present spot further in.

We're in between, the Maritime Survey Ship, a chap from London and his dog Lady and the GNR Boat. We get free electric, water and Wifi and we very happy with our little lot, now settled till April and for those that are interested we can receive post at the Marina.

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our rotton luck to date!
09/12/2012, Baiona


Well hello... Are we sitting comfortably ... Then I'll begin....

We have arrived in Baoina/Bayona... At anchor and starting to put right what this leg of journey has done to the boat... Poor Raven... When we did her up little did she know what we would put her through.
As we left A Coruna, we were seen off the marina by Bengt, Kathe and Sten (but to us he will always be Stan the electronics man..... Can he fix it yes Sten can !).. We are going to miss them... At around 3 each day tea and cake....
It was sea state was rather lumpy, the swells were about 4 to 5 metres, I was throwing up left, right and centre. We were having rough waves in between the swells, that were trying to flatten Raven... That's when I heard something no right from behind... I looked over my shoulder thought I'd better alert Rob... And yep.. We were hit by 3 very big waves and it ripped the self steering gear off, it was at wonk... At closer inspection, it had bent it like a banana... Rob managed to tie it back onto the boat.. But it was dragging through the water and must be slowing us down...
It wasn't working so well anyway and we were having to hand steer anyway... Were really not having much bloody luck... Bruce if your ready this.... We having one of those "lowest of lows".... I'm was on brink of tears again in between bouts of vomiting ... (Can honestly say my weight loss programme is starting to pay off... ! Most of my clothes are nice and loose lol ) and were back to one hour shifts that at the end were more like half hours because we were knackered.
The nicest thing of the trip 5 dolphins stayed with us, for hours, just as we thought they had gone they were back again... You could hear them coming
So we find ourselves in Bayona ... At anchor which is free and that's what we like... May be here till Monday lunch time as the weather will be with us.... I can hear Rob on deck, starting to tackle some of the jobs.
We have found a lovely little Cafe a shore, that has Wifi and will try to upload everything before we set off again. Also as we were in the Spar, looking for bread and bits... A lady said is there anything that you want.. She wasn't working there she was shopping and it took us a little while before we realised that she had spoken to us in English... We explained we'd like nice fresh bread... She took us to a little bread shop.. Her family are from Spain and she moved her 6 months ago and because Baoina is a small town we will no doubt meet again.
Its a very pretty and old town... When I saw the first street I didn't think too much of it till we went up the side streets... Very close together, and cool, which good as the weather... It's Pigging hot... Hotter than hot and stays like it till about 8 ish.
Only thing is as I noticed in A Coruna... Its a max of 3 knots on the water in the marinas... This is for visiting boats only as the locals... Go full pelt... So the boat rolls likes she's back on the river Orwell !... This may be a blessing for me as it might get ready for the next leg of the Journey!
We do miss everyone back in A Coruna... From the Marina Staff (who I can't praise highly enough...) I would recommend Marina Coruna to everyone... They are very friendly and helpful and after 6 weeks we go to know them very well... Supplied Salt & Vinegar and cheese & Onion crisps to two members of staff, who liked them!

Jose and Manuela have been sorting the gearbox out for us, Manuela said if rob could take it to bits and put it back in again this would save shed loads of money.... He had to come back again as the gearlever was going astern when we should be going ahead... He came by boat and all he needed was theme to old spice blaring as he was coming in!.... He runs on board... With Kieran for translations... Points waves his arms and leaves... Just change the lever over ... "Jobs a goodun" and it was!
Verner and Elke on Na Ja a lovely German couple, who have sent us emails of where they are, and we have been following their blog, we shall meet up with them hopefully soon, they were the ones who told us about Almariemar .(if we make it that far !)
To the crew on Ariane of Stockholm, kathe, Bengt and Sten... Bengt has spent designed and built his boat and it was beautiful, they like us live on theirs, and like I said earlier, around 3 o'clock it was time to have a cup of tea... Sten like a little tea with his milk ! And on day kathe had backed us a Swedish cake which was rather delish!... It was rather sad to say bye to them.
To Gary .. No 1 Gary, who had arrived at the marina 2 weeks before us, with a broken mast... Poor poor Winifreda or Winnie... She was from Greenisland In Ireland and was about 120 years old, Gary and his crew were on their way to Israel, when she was de-masted half way across Biscay. We have many a curry night and he has got us into sooooo much trouble ! First we get told off for climbing over a barrier, the next time was on his boat, as some Spanish friends were having a sing song ! Again the marina guard comes over and tells us to be quiet!...

The Italian Lady on the markets' family her Moroccan husband and her youngest (who speak good English) he loves soccer. She always smiles and says hello, we try to say what we want... She laughs and then takes our shopping list off of us ! We went to see her for the last time, got stocked up and gave her out bloq details and email.
Cain, April and the lovely Quinn from Spirit of Argo, we went out for Tapas... As we were to Wussy to go by our selves ... And we had a lovely night... They are on their way to the Canary Isles.
Little Otto on Smut... Who we saw everyday and had to just hug... He's a little Skipper dog... And so fluffy and his owners knew just to let him go when they saw us coming.

Michael on Meredith, he's gone back to the Cotswolds, he is in late 70's and still going strong... A mind of information.

Steve and Debs on Bijoux... They were a blast, we had a late night chewing the fat and earl grey tea... They should be going back to A Coruna in October and we may see them about the Med... We hope so as they were lovely.

We saw "BIG" Raven from Foxes Marina, she was in the Marina about 4 weeks ago... Looked like she was on her way to the med too...
Yesterday we had a visit from the Spanish Customs... They were very friendly... Not like the British ones at all. In fact the Dutch were friendly as well... Our boys in SAS Black could learn a thing or two... Being polite gets you better co operation... Turning up in dead of night comando style demanding ... Gets your back up!... Well anyway we found out one of the custom guys sister now lives in Ireland, and Sept not too bad to travel down this coast... And it was going to get hotter..
Will keep everyone abreast of what's going on... Although it all sounds bad... We're not injured just bruised and slightly battered... And I think the term to use is "it character building" we are learning each day, but just wish that just for once we could have a little bit of good luck.... (anyone wishes to donate anything hehehe)... We have a good workshop on boat and most things can be mended at least!
Have just spoken to a Dutch man who recognized our boat from A Coruna, he thought we were Swedish, as we flew no flag. Had nice chat, he then said he could get internet... We said we could but didn't have the code.... "oh its blah blah" he's been here just under a day... How the hell did he get that so fast... Now we no longer have to row the 20mins to shore each day.... God don't you just love the Dutch !
As we were sitting chatting in comes the Danish boat Inn-Star they were moored opposite to us in A Coruna... We will go and annoy them in a little while, as you do !
Have pinged a few emails to Ben, Kathe and Sten, they are in Sines and hopefully we will be able meet up in Sines, as i have told her to bake us one her Swedish cakes and get the tea ready
We had Spanish Customs aboard yesterday they were lovely the greeting went as follows "Hello we are the Spanish Customs... We will come on board....thats ok!" after about half an hour and much laughter they departed... Told us the weather report and how hot it will be and hoped we would have a lovely trip... Nothing like the bloody British lot... Who come in like the SAS all guns blazing and a chip on their shoulder... Have some manners and you may some where !
I say this as another lot have just arrived as i was typing.... I could hear a sort of "yoo hooo"... its a different lot...." if it is ok, can we come aboard"....
me "knock yourself out , but we did see you lot yesterday".....
them "nahhhh really, did they give you paperwork, please can we see"
We hand over the yellow form... A few words are said, nodding of heads ... And "thank you and sorry"...... now in Britain.... Storming on board trying to get below so they can have route about (as a sailor must be guilty... By the fact he's out on the water)... Stomping about with hobnail boats.... Ruining your decks ! And breath !
We have checked the weather and are going to set off thurs morning... Heading Sines way, if the Gods are with us .... Will ramble some more later '
Chow Chow as they say round these parts

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a bit of culture
very hot
08/18/2012, St Anton’s Caste

On sat afternoon a visit to St Anton's Caste which also Museo Arqueoloxico e Historico is in order, as we see this everyday from Raven (also its free to go in on Sat afternoons)
It was originally built at the end of the 16th century by king Felipe II on a rocky Island (now joins the mainland by a walk way) as a strong hold to defend the Port of A Coruna.
It was also used to hold people suffering from contagious diseases. A prison and since 1968 used as the headquarters of the Archaeology & History Museum for La Coruana.
It was packed full of stuff and we ended up a good few hours there... Taking photos and taking in the view.

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08/15/2012, santiago de Compostela

Went to Santiago de Compostela (or as its now been renamed by Rob Santiago de Compost), its about 54miles from A Coruna,. And pilgrims walk to there... We started off well we walked to the train station, that was at least a 45 to 50min walk!

After we were talked to "Dutch Uncle Rob"... he told us 3 hours max and you will want to come to get back, so with that in mind we got tickets to go a 11:55 and come back 3:25. We also thought we make a pack lunch as its a Religious touist trap... So food would be a tad expensive (and it was!)

The journey on the train wasn't as scenic as we were hoping, I have never been through sooooo many tunnels. As we arrived it started to rain! Also we had arrived after 12:30 so guess what!... Bloody siesta time so most of the shops were shut..... From 12:30 to after 5:00..... The places of interest were ... Well the lines were outside the door and then some... We went on a wed, lord knows what is like at the weekend !

We did get to see a Galician Bagpipe player, this made Robs' day

Wandered about for a bit, found a side street and took shelter for lunch.... Right next to a tramp. As we finished Rob offered him some coffee, he declined and asked if we were English... He said he already had a drink, he then gave us a history lesson, we said our goodbyes, he never asked for anything just wanted a nice conversation, was pleased that we like Spain and hoped we would have a lovely trip.

On the way back to the train station, i felt compelled to take a couple of photos of diesel Loco's for my brother, he may still be in his 40's but he will always be the geeky trainspotter !

Walking back into A Coruna City we meet Michael from the USA via Venice (long story... And anyone who knows us knows they always are !) he decided to come for a visit... We did our good deed for the day and gave him our spare map, as he needed to find the bus station and then his Hotel.

In the evening we thought we'd have a mooch to our local the Moroccan for a black coffee and mint tea chaser! (now we know these drinks very well, so thought lets try another type of tea) Rob struts in with Spanish phrase book in hand ...... 10 to 15mins go by I'm starting to look like my date hasn't arrived!... I see Rob talking to the guy who normally serves us, he shrugs, then Tinto (he sings to us alot and askes where Gary is .... Thats No. 1 Gary not No. 19) theres' alot of scratching of heads and waving of arms... Then a 3rd guys joins in... Another 10mins go by and Rob comes out grinning "I've ordered two teas"

Right what happened was... The first to guys couldn't think the of the name root spice used in the tea in English.... The third guy (Dutch, speaks English, runs a clothing shop, married to a Spanish lady, knows the first two guys as the Moroccan is his local - are you still with me!)... Says ah yes ginger

We thought that we would ask the nice Dutch Guy what it was called so we can ask for it again... He says something and very long name was given... The Dutch guys starts to laugh and i start to think we will stick to the black coffee and mint tea, because I'm never going to remember all that... When the Guy says No no not the ingredients the name!... Chia Indo... That i can remember!

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19 Garys'
its raining... but still warm
08/13/2012, Marina Coruna

Sunday night we had Gary round from "Winnie".... decided curry and dhal... and Gary bringing pudding, which he made with his own fair hands (which put my shop bought almond tart, to shame when we went round to his boat)

the 19 Garys' is in reference to a skype chat with me mam and stepboy.... who miss heard... "having a quiet night with gary and curry"... which they thought i said "we have 19 Garys' round for curry".... A) i don't 'think there is 19 men called Gary in the marina and B) i don't think we could
get 19 people on board, without the bilge pumps kicking in !

sorry Allan if you are reading this xx

i made everything in advance, just had to reheat...I'm not good with rice... burnt that, the dhal only needed a little water to loosen it up... lid came off kettle it looked like soup! all was eaten so it couldn't have been that bad.

we then sat and watch a Bio on Bob Marley.... woop what a life lead... and to finish off a lovely night.... at 12:00pm .... fireworks over the tall ships in the other marina, we had the best seats in house (or boat)... they were brilliant.

today we wandered to market to see our little Italian lady.... and we were armed with our Spanish phrase book.... i tried a few words out on her and her friend, who looked very confused... they ended up taking the shopping list and phrase book of us and giggling... we managed to get what we wanted and an extra pepper.... think she likes us, just for the entertainment...

we tried out another local empanada... which was sort of cheese, onion, leek and potato based

got some sausages from the meat market... which when i paid for them... only 1 euro 20cents... worried rob... as the smaller ones we had before were 2euro 50 cents... so what was in these... he decided just cook them till their black, they'll be ok.

just had them... and after eating them still know idea what they made of !

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