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Who turned off the light?
07/09/2010, Culatra - Olhao

We are back anchored off Culatra waiting to be lifted out while we go home for a while and resting after an overnight sail back from Sines. By the time we approached Cape St Vincent conditions had developed into a lively 6, gusting to a 7 and to make things more interesting the lighthouse beam was not shinning. Steve was on watch while we went round the cape and although we have GPS, his chart calculations and radar it would have been reassuring to see the rocks lit up and know you are nowhere near them!

This is an ideal place to try out the new dingy and outboard and also to get me used to using it. We have been over to the island several times and tied up in the small fishing harbour which smells vile. The quays are heavily encrusted with shellfish, barnacles and weed and we have seen our first sea slugs in the wild. After looking on the Interent I am pretty certain it is Aplysia fasciata, a dark black-brown sea hare which moves as if jet-propelled.

The island is very long and thin (6 km x 0.9 km approx) with lovely, golden beaches on its southerly, seaward side. There are a number of fishermen's cottages, holiday homes and a hotel with a handy small shop and several cafes/restaurants. It lies on the flight path to Faro Airport but we did not find it especially noisy. It is served by a ferry from Olhao and lots of water taxis scurrying about. The inhabitants number about 1000. You have to be careful leaving a dinghy there, we have heard of a guy from Lagos who has had his dinghy stolen two years in a row!

07/01/2010, Sines

Sines is a friendly marina but it is a bit of a hike to the shops up the hill in the blistering heat, good job we have already bought a lot of provisions. We had one of the local specialities Secreto de porco at a nice restaurant near the castle ruins and on another day a very good value lunchtime dish of rabbit and chips.

Unfortunately family issues mean we will have to go home for 6 weeks or so and the desired trip to the Azores and then south to the Canaries will have to wait. We were late setting off from Lagos anyway waiting for completion of the survey and other boat maintenance which was delayed due to the wet winter so it is probably just as well as we wouldn't have wanted to rush the journey and not have enough time in the Azores. A shame though not to catch up with Andy and Lesley and see Sue and Andy before they go on the ARC. Next year............

Overnight to Sines
06/27/2010, Sines

We have arrived in Sines, after our first overnight sail of the season. After filling up with diesel at Vilamoura we set off. Steve spotted what looked like a hat floating in the water but it turned out to be a turtle sedately swimming along in no hurry to get anywhere. Later we saw a number of flying fish as well. While Steve was resting below I had 3 dolphin sightings and the wind increased so I called him and we put up the main and yankee, making 7 knots very comfortably for a while. As we neared Cape St Vincent conditions changed so we had to drop the yankee and put 2 reefs in the main. The motion got rather unpleasant despite Steve going further out to avoid it and I was sick - ugh! The dolphins returned again when I was on watch around 5am.

We have found a space in the marina at Sines and plan to stay for a week making final preparations before we head off to the Azores.


We stopped here to provision because the supermarkets are so close and it is great for stocking up on heavy goods. Also we have been able to catch up with folk we met when we over-wintered here. There have been a few changes, there is a new chandlery owned by an English couple and the WIFI signal is better now thanks to a big new aerial. Off to Sines tomorrow with a stop to refuel at Vilamoura on the way.

Leaving Culatra
06/20/2010, Faro/Olhao

We finally have a photo of us on the move courtesy of Bev who snapped us as we motored past on the way to Ayamonte. We await a photo of us under sail.

06/17/2010, Olhao/Faro

We left Lagos and set off eastwards, anchoring in Culatra. We tried out the new Rocna anchor which worked like a dream, setting first time. Culatra is an island opposite the salt marshes inside the inlet to Faro and Olhao. As it was mid June the anchorage was not too busy. As we sat in the cockpit admiring the sunset we realised that we were about 50 metres behind Bev and Alan from Lagos so I texted them to say we were there and the following morning after we had swung round on the anchor she replied "No we're behind you!"

The weather was hot and a lot of other sailors were going for a dip over the side to cool down but we noticed that around the same time each night in the dusk a slick of rather unhealthy-looking froth flowed past the boat - from a sewage outlet I suspect so we decided to stay on board!

While we were anchored we set about some re-painting. Steve had bought what he thought was a lemon coloured paint to match a strip near the waterline but it turned out a vivid, dazzling yellow. Alan asked if we had a dimmer switch fitted and Steve considered renaming the boat "Electric Banana". It will have to go.

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