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Sailing - never goes as planned!
06/15/2009, Olhao

Sailing - never goes as planned. We were lifted out of the water a couple of days ago and have found a free internet facility in the town where you can have 30mins or more like in Vila real unless someone else arrives wanting a computer.

What an adventure the trip from Mazagon was, we ended up at midnight outside the Faro entrance and I think we did a great job of negotiating the entrance channel in the dark, avoiding the many sandbanks. Our chart let did not show the marina entrance well so we decided to anchor outside the Marina Formosa boatyard. Steve decided to take off the new anchor as he did not want to risk trying it out for the first time in the dark and in an anchorage unknown to us. We had bought a New Zealand design Rocna anchor with a reputation of setting within a metre as it has a roll bar on it so it always moves into the correct position, the video clip were very impressive. While he set about changing anchors I steered us round in a circle and this attracted the attention of Claus, a Swedish guy living on a boat in the marina who had just returned form a party, it was about 01.30 by now. E radioed and asked if we would like to come into the marina and he came out in his dingy and lead us in to his friends empty berth in the marina. We were exhausted and so thankful, we laughingly offered him and his girlfriend a drink and they came aboard. We had a really interesting chat and he told us that we would probably have a visit from the marina staff early wanting us to move on. At about 1.30 we all turned in.

The next day the marina staff paid a visit and as they didn't speak English and our Portuguese was zero the conversation was tricky until Claus came to assist and persuaded them to let us stay for another night as we were definitely going to be lifted the next day at 12.30. We offered to pay but apparently he could not charge us - makes a change! At 11.30 the next day we were having a cuppa in the cockpit and looked across to the other side of the marina to see the taller, more hostile marina official waving madly at us and mouthing what we interpreted as "go away". Olhao has a reputation of being unfriendly to yachtsmen and no one gets to moor in the main marina except locals and also in the "pool" type one where we were. Claus had been living aboard his boat there for 5 years paying very little for no facilities. Rubbish was dumped in the bins near the market on the front and he used to go by dingy across the marina to fill up bottles from a tap. Lots of fishermen with small, open boats shared the marina.

Above - the anchorage outside the boatyard.

Oh dear!
06/10/2009, Magazon

Things are not going to plan and we are going to have to return to the UK for family reasons so Steve has booked us in to be lifted out at Olhao till the end of August, which is not all bad as we are melting in the heat. So we will set off from Mazagon tomorrow, then to Olhao.

Off again
06/05/2009, Ayamonte

05/06/09 Off again

We left Lagos feeling a little more positive towards it than before. The free Wifi access was intermittent but better than Ayamonte where you could pay, which Peter and Joyce did, but they had found that the signal was not brilliant unless they were in the cockpit but got better at night or 4am in the morning. We had gone to the Lotita bar run by an English couple. They had lovely big comfy settees and a big screen for the Six Nations Rugby and free internet if you bought a drink, which sadly was a little more expensive than most Spanish bars.

Lagos had been very lively and the noise from the various bars went on well into the early morning hours which did not bother us as we are night owls and were sometimes in one of the bars but not responsible for the noise. Most noise came from the South bar and Lazyjacks where they had "Live Music" every night in a bar which in warm weather was completely open so the sound travelled easily. One night a week they had an "open mike" session - no comment! We went to the Portuguese Amuras bar which had lovely d├ęcor and comfy seats with a band on Friday and Saturday nights but the noise was minimal outside as it could be enclosed. However I would not like to be on a pontoon so close if I over-wintered in the marina as it could get irritating.

We set off westwards again planning to drop in briefly to provision in Ayamonte

A trip on the train.
05/27/2009, Lagos

Jack and I decided to go on a ride on the "little train" that takes you through the town and up to the cliffs. You can catch the train outside the marina office and then there are 3 other stops. We decided to get out at Ponta da Piedade, the last one. You can stay all day at a stop or move on as the train returns every hour, the ride was very bumpy. As the train didn't stop at stop 2 we got confused and didn't get off at the last stop so as the train began its descent we realised our error. Of course looking at the route plan later on I remembered that no one had been waiting at stop 2 and as it was in the town the driver realised that no one would want such a short trip. We consoled ourselves with a toasty and an ice-cream sundae.

The train comes down this road and gives this view of the Fort and Meia Praia. (beach)

Storks galore
05/25/2009, Lagos

On one of my numerous walks up the hill to see Jack I snapped one of the many stork nests. They are very versatile and have seen them on top of allsorts including electricity pylons, sometimes 2 or 3 nests if they are big ones.

Out and about
05/17/2009, Lagos

We are enjoying the sun and company here but are a bit disappointed with sailing conditions which seem too reminiscent of our experience sailing through the Med when we took Kaivalya home to the UK - too much or too little wind. Sue warned us not to go out if we can hear the waves breaking on the beach in the marina as it can get very uncomfortable sailing in the bay as waves seem to funnel into the bay and reflect off the cliffs.

Shopping here easy as there is a Ecomarche over the bridge about 500m away and a Pingo Doce in the opposite direction a little further away. Elsewhere in the town there is Lidl and Intermarche. There is a covered market on the front and another smaller Saturday one, next to the Bus station opposite the bridge.

There are lots of twisting and often steep streets in the town filled with bars, restaurants and small shops selling all sorts of things. Steve visited the chandlery in the boatyard - expensive of course but there is another useful DIY/iron mongers up the hill from Lidl. Fortunately there is a book swap here in the Marina Laundrette so we can change some of our books.

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