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Helping a friend
06/01/2010, Lagos

Sailing is such a small world, we bumped into David from Tessa Bear who we met when we were berthed next to him in Cascais for a week in 2008. Steve helped him sail the boat back to the marina as his wife is not over keen on sailing and says she only likes the "après-sail". Luckily it was a calm day so Steve was not really needed but you never know what the weather or your boat will do when it is required to go into a travel hoist.

Kaivalya sometimes kicks to port when reversing but just to keep you on your toes not every time. The day we were lifted we arrived at the entrance to the harbour on time and the hoist was in position so we thought they were ready for us. Steve prefers to go in stern first so he lined her up and did a perfect reverse manoeuvre right across the harbour to the lift. Kaivalya behaved impeccably but as we drew nearer I pointed out that the driver was not in the lift at all so we had to abort and try again when he had climbed up into the cab. After that Kaivalya would not cooperate and after another few attempts we ended up with a guy in an inflatable bumping against her to get her in.

The Fish Dock

We are close to the Fish Dock and here is a picture of the fish being auctioned off. Whenever a boat comes in to sell the catch a hooter goes off to tell people and when it is early in the morning it also acts as an annoying alarm clock!

The boatyard pets

These ducks are fed and housed by the men working in the boatyard and live on the slipway.

On dry land

We are in Sopromar boatyard now to put on anti-foul and have some of our survey done, Bev and Alan are also out of the water here as well. The yard is very clean and tidy, unlike some I have seen. The yard is efficient and they are very professional but pricey - thank goodness we brought out the anti-foul by car over winter, it costs a bomb here. However we did need to buy 2 new brass screws for our grounding plate about 6 cm long at the magnificent price of £20 each. Steve was not impressed but they were the only source unfortunately.

A Rocha
02/28/2010, Near Lagos

Ju from Little Else is an enthusiastic bird watcher and has been involved at A Rocha assisting with species counts since arriving in the Algarve. A Rocha is an environmental centre studying local wildlife and open to schools for nature trails etc. On Thursday mornings they carry out bird ringing and the public can attend to watch, coffee and nice cakes are provided. Ju always takes a party from the marina each year but as I had missed it she kindly took me later.

It was a beautiful, sunny day we caught the train to Mexilohoeeira and walked up the hill to A Rocha in time for coffee. Ju showed me round the grounds where they set up the nets to trap the birds. After coffee we watched the ringing, three birds were caught, a robin, sparrow and greenfinch. The birds are measured, examined to see their general health and weighed. If necessary they are ringed or if already done then just noted.

After that we set off to the salt marsh to do a spot of bird watching and have a picnic. It was great being with someone who can identify birds from appearance and song, I know lots but can only name them if they are quite still! Ju was hoping we would see an osprey and owls which are often around. Apparently if you are around at the right time of year Bee eaters and flamingos are about. We saw egrets, grey herons, oyster catchers, crested skylarks, chiff chaffs, stonechats, stints, magpies, wagtails, kestrels and a kingfisher. The best bit was when I finally got my eye in and saw a group of about a dozen spoonbills. There were also butterflies about - red admirals and brimstones.

I took Ju for a pint in the Amuras as a thank you.

Bird-weighing - a clever idea
02/28/2010, A Rocha

Here is a novel use for a film canister, apparently the birds feel quite calm when put upside down in the canister to be weighed!

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