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Another hiccup
09/04/2009, Portmao


Just as we were readying ourselves to depart and sail off into the blue yonder we have heard from home we need to return again and move my Mum into a downstairs flat, which will be much better for her. As this will take at least a fortnight, as we want to settle her in properly, we have decided to head westwards to Lagos, a safe place to leave the boat. Having changed our feelings about the place we have decided to probably over winter there or maybe Portmao.

So here we are in Portmao having a look at the marina. Not very impressed as the shops are a bike ride away and the showers are a trek for most boats. A couple on a nearby boat said that it gets quite windy in winter so there is a lot of chaffing on your ropes and you can get through a couple of lines a month. Don't think we'll be staying here.

Back on the boat
08/26/2009, Olhao

We arrived back from the UK the other day and are waiting for the mechanic to complete servicing the engine. Still extremely hot and looking forward to sailing again. Busy loading up with supplies from the Minipreco.

Enjoying some beautiful sunsets.

It's not as bad as it looks - honestly!
06/24/2009, Olhao

The view of the boatyard from the road looks dire but it was OK for a short stay, especially if you were not there all the time, leaving the boat to dry out etc. The cost was very attractive as I said before but prices went up if you stayed longer than 6 months (would you want to?). Root (that's how you pronounce her name but spelling wrong obviously) the girl in the office was lovely and very helpful and we got a mechanic to work on the engine fairly promptly compared to some places. On balance we'd go again.

Busy bees
06/21/2009, Olhao

Next to the boatyard is a public slipway used by pleasure craft at weekends and many fishermen and it is quite interesting watching them unload their catch. Unfortunately, people tie up all sorts of boats onto the blue floating pontoons used for mooring on to when you are lifted making it difficult to get in and avoid hitting them!

We have found a restaurant opposite the Fish Dock with a bar next to it on the corner. It looks unpromising but is nice and relatively inexpensive. On out travels we also found a Pingo Doce in the town near the front and an Intermarche signposted in the Fish Dock area.
Fishermen on the slipway.

Ria Formosa Boatyard
06/19/2009, Olhao

We will be relieved to be off home soon as we are melting now that we are out of the water and it's cooling effect. The boatyard is very dusty and it gets everywhere. The showers etc are new but no one cleans them and it is left up to the boat owners living in the yard but for 5e a day what do you expect! Sharing the shower with a small lizard again, not an experience you get at home. On the plus side the Minipreco is less than 500m away and the view from the cockpit across the bay is lovely.

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.

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