Ria Formosa is a huge National Park, 170 square kilometers and today we explored the little part of it consisting of Ilha Culatra. Just the northern part of this island took us a good 5 hours.
Long beaches, the little bay with all the long-term live-aboards, sand dunes and nothing much more.... well, one thing is not very nice about it.... it's garbage everywhere, plastic crap and beached floatsam piling up at some spots. Unfortunately this impression ruins a bit of the experience.
just click on the 'Photo Gallery' link upper right to se the pictures
Finally, the wind calmed down and we rowed ashore in the afternoon to have a closer look at this place.
I will not write lenghty, but simply say it is wonderful! Like most islands, without proper roads or any cars at all, I just loved it at first sight.
Uploaded a few pics at the Photo Gallery so you can judge for yourself.
Quite windy today, mostly in the 25 knot range, so we stayed on board again. On e advantage with that is that when on board it's very difficult to spend money....another advantage is that we got to do some small jobs again that really has to be done at some point.
So, today I went through the cockpit lockers and took inventory teh old fashion way with a pen and a list. When I had completed this, we actually have got lists oof the contents in every storage locker on board. This may sound overly tedious or prudent to some, but the true reason is hard- earned experience.
It's certainly not the first time we are going through the lockers, checking all what's stowed away in them and cleaning and so on. I must confess that every single tume I did so in the past, I thought I would remember what was stored where.... but unfortunately that's nit the way my brain works. Just a week or two later I've been completely lost and it's NO fun to dig through 3-4 lockers before one finds what one is looking for, so learned this lesson the hard way. Several times before the truth penetrated my thick forehead.
To end this ranting, I do feel very good to have it done. Period.
Some other smaller jobs was finished too, in the process, so despite not having much fun, we both felt good at the end of the day.
Hoping for less windy conditions tomorrow so we can explore the Isla Culatra as starters.
didn't take any photo's today so another one on the cockpit table will have to do.
Or... boat work.
Some wise person has said that 'crusing is doing boat maintenance in exotic places' and there is certainly a lot of truth in it.
Our 'to do' -list is an everlasting reality in our lifes. For every thing we tick off, there is two others popping up.
So, this sunny and wonderful day was entirely dedicated to small projects on board. (It was quite windy and over a mile to shore too so a bit hard to row.)
First, I took our old 'state of the art' Taylor kerosene/paraffin stove apart for a major over-haul. It is a beutiful piece in solid brass, stainless steel and cast iron with two burners and an oven. One of the stove-top burners has been 'non-working' quite a while now after some 'gooey' in the old fuel accidentally (due to a somewhat clumsy captain) clogged the fine copper pipe leading the pressurised kerosene to the burner. Then, the last few days, the other stove top burner started to act up a bit. This made a virtual firework when we where preparing tea a couple of days ago when Ludo was having dinner with us. The black smoke associated with badly combusted kerosene probably vaccinated him from kerosene stoves for the rest of his life...
Personally I have always had Primus /Optimus stoves on my previous boats, and when I bought 'Röde Orm' I was more than happy to find that she was equipped with a beautiful (and expensive!) Taylor stove. Kerosene needs preheating a minute or so before one can start cooking. This is no problem since one does it while preparing the food. Then it burns with a VERY hot blue flame, approximately twice as effective as a propane/butane stove. As an added benefit, kerosene stowes well in jerry cans. 5 Liter of kerosene is enough for our cooing and three oil lamps in the cabin for around a month, thus making it easy to store 4-6 months supply on board.
That said, Isabelle is less happy with the stove, and admittingly it needs a sensitive attentative hand to function well..
After taking it apart, doing some cleaning and tuning it was ready for another year (?) of problem-free cooking. Incidentally, we kept driving around Alvor a couple of days ago, when a Canadian crew wanted to fill there Amercan standard propane bottles. We didn't have much success, and I guess they had to buy a Portugeuse bottle for Euro 50 to get by.
Otherwise, propane is available everywhere here at very affordable price compared to northern Europe, mostluy due to the fact that many Potuguese use it for cooking in there houses and appartments.
Next project on the list was the Wind vane, A K A 'Helmer' our Aries self steering gear. I discovered yesteday that the ratchet one adjusts accordig to the wind direction had seized. This turned out to because the grease I had (wrongly) used for lubrication last year, had mixed with dust during the blows last winter and hardened the grease. A thourough cleansing with kerosene (what else?, try popane ;./) and then lubricating it with oil made it work like a wonder again.
After that the 'old' dinghy had a long expected service. One of the valves for inflatiing it, needed to be ressealed. I did this last time a year ago in Sweden, and lately we had to give it a couple of pump strokes daily to keep it from deflating. Regular Sikaflex works fine for this, so I expect it to keep the air for another year from now on.
After all this 'hard' work we celebrated with having dinner in the cockpit, on the nice little cockpit table Isabelle made for us.
see the picture...
tomorrow we will start exploring this place
Anchored safely just north of Culatra at 19.00 today.
A wonderful day at sea...not too much wind to start with, so motored a couple of hours to arrive before sunset. The wind picked up from SSW after a while and with 10-12 knots of wind we made >7 knots on a broad reach without even bothering to hoist the spinnaker. :-D
The sea was flat, and I guess those 44 miles cleaned the slime off the bottom too.
The anchorage is a lot wider than we expected, so quite choppy with 20-25 knots of wind against the tide. Once in a while the planes landing and taking off the airport shows over us, but otherwise a peaceful and beautiful place.
Picture from svsolstice.com