We had our good friends James and Claire join us for a weeks holiday this week - precious time from their annual leave.
They joined us in Portimao which we spent a few days lazing around on the beaches and cafe's eating Gelato's (which has come to be a daily occurance if we are ashore). We also had a meal at what we thought was going to be a local and inexpesive, but well known fish restaurant. It turned out to be fantastic food - but of course everything good comes at a price. Be warned, if you are in the Portimao / Ferragudo area, Sueste Restuarant has excellent food and service - but you do pay for it!
We then sailed across from Portimao to Albufeira stopping on the way to have lunch just outside some caves and the boys went exploring in the dinghy, after we had all had a swim off the back of the boat - Water temp was about 24degrees, so quite nice.
They came back to get Claire and I, and we captured on video one place that was really special. The landing was a little unexpected, as James forgot his role in jumping out of the boat to help us ashore, so we nearly rolled it on an incoming wave, but we were all laughing too hard to get out and do anything about it!
Once in Albuferia, we had a day inland exploring a town called Loule, exploring the streets and having some lunch, then we also went on to Vilamoura beach and had a swim to wash off the heat of the day, which was fantastic.
We left Albufeira the next morning, and managed to get the spinnaker out for a while in the light winds and the boys jumped off the back to have a swim since we were doing a total of 1.5knots! Once they were in and dragging off some ropes we had tied on, the speed pretty much dropped to nothing but fun was had all round.
A week passed very quickly, and we dropped James and Claire back off in Portimao to fly back to London and the rain.. while we left the next day to go to Isla de Culatra.
For more pictures, visit the Photo gallery!
A bit of colour to help you through your day
Author: Hamish 27/08/2010, Portimao, Portugal
After a couple of days at anchor in Portimao, we had a quick trip up to Lagos yesterday. The weather was the same as the day before and the day before that, hot, hot, hot, and not much wind, so we put up the sails and speed along at a massive 2.8knots! Time to jump of the back and cool down.
Thought it would be nice to break up the blue sky and blue water with a bit of colour, so put the spinnaker up. Sally and P jumped in the dinghy and took this cool vid, hope you enjoy.
We could get used to this...
Author: Hamish 23/08/2010, Portimao, Portugal
Yesterday we left the excessiveness that is Vilamoura and sailed 20 miles west along the coast to possibly the only overnight anchorage on the Algarve, Portimao.
Greenhorn deckboy, PFS, is quickly learning how close to the wind he can't sail! As the heat and cost of staying in Vilamoura was excessive, we left around 2pm after using as much water and electricity as possible with a rough plan of heading back to Albufeira. The wind was on the nose but we were making great progress tacking our way up the coast under full headsail. Making good progress we changed plans and kept going to Portimao. Portimao has a good sized bay protected by two large breakwaters. A popular spot with about 30 boats at anchor. After a sensible discussion, which I lost, about how close to anchor to other boats, we had 3 attempts before settling in for the night with dance music wafting across the bay. We awoke this morning around 9.30 to another glorious sunny day with the water temp of 24 degrees. Patrick had been in for 5 swims before 10am! We then headed over to the beach cafe and are currently working our way through the menu. As the sun is going down Sally has just announced that its Monday night, moovee night!
Bayona / Peniche / Cascais
Author: Sally 12/08/2010, Cascais, Portugal
We left Bayona the following afternoon in what was very thick seafog - apparently a local phenomena when the wind blows in from the West bringing the cold sea air in contact with the warm air over land. At first we thought it was smoke from a fire as we were sitting in a restuarant having a drink, but then soon realised what it really was!
We were down to 100m visibility which was strange considering the afternoon before was lovely and bright. It was the start of another overnight passage to Peniche, as the only place to stop between Bayona and Cascais as our next destination.
Soon into the sail we had left Spanish waters and entered Portugese, so a change in courtesy flag was necessary.
After almost 24 hours of sailing in the fog and one close call with a container ship - it was going to miss us by 0.4 of a NM with a length of 400ft, so after numerous calls on the VHF and no response, we altered course, and then heard the rumbling of his engines not too far off - a bit of a close call when they are that big!
Peniche was just an overnight stop so we left mid morning sailing onto Cascais, arriving in at about 1730. Winds were up to 30 - 35 knots on the stern and we hit a top speed of just over 14knots coming down one of the waves which made for some exciting moments. On average though it was more comfortable at about 10 knots!
Cascais is a great little town and the marina has good facilites ( although the laundry is a bit expensive at 5 Euros a wash, on top of the visitor fee of 71 Euros per night for our length) with free wifi near the restaurants. The town centre is only about 15 min walk away and has several small beaches right in the bay. After 2 nights in the marina, and saying goodbye to Sarah and Fern, we haved moved off onto anchor in the bay just outside the marina while waiting for our next crew member to arrive - Hamish's brother in law - Patrick.
Camarinas to Bayona
Author: Sally 10/08/2010, Camarinas, Spain
From Camarinas we sailed to a Spanish town called Sanxenxo near Ria de Pontevedra.
We had an early start to make the most of the day and managed to sail around Cape Finisterre on a beam reach with the genoa to starboard. Finisterre is reknown for strong winds but we were lucky to have a NE blowing which made for a nice semi-downwind run, with just a bit of swell rolling the boat. By early afternoon we had to start the motor as there was not enough wind, and ended up motoring all the way to Sanxenxo.
As we were coming into the Real Club Nautico de Sanxenxo marina (new marina with good facilites and wifi), there was a load of little kids in tiny yachts being towed by an instructor in a rubber dinghy and they were all shouting out to us 'Hola!' So cute - just like a little mother duck and her ducklings.
We moored in the marina and went ashore for some well earned showers and meals. Paella all round with some potatos bravas and calamrie for good measure!A great meal, but in true Spanish style we didn't end up eating until about midnight! There was a small supermarket just 10 mins walk into town and plenty of restaurants and bars to choose from. The ones along the boardwalk of the marina looked to be very flash, but a little further into town and the prices were a little better for the budget.
After a lazy morning and a breakfast of bacon and eggs we departed the marina for a close by island called Isle de Faro for a lunch stop. Which seemed like a total luxury as we have been eating ' on the hoof' since we departed Lymington. After anchoring for about an hour, and Hamish being the only one brave enough to go for a swim ( water temp 16 degrees), we sailed around the corner to Bayona and anchored safely off the new marina after being promptly told we could not use one of the moorings we had initally secured to by the staff of the Monte Real Club de Yates. It was a great excuse for Hamish to put the dinghy in again anyway and ferry us across to the town for a walk around.
A little bit of history for you, Bayona was Columbus' first mainland landfall in 1493 after returning from the New World, and is commemorated by a replica of the Pinta, permanently berthed in the harbour.
On the way into harbour we had a good look at the Parador Conde do Gondomar, which is an old castle turned into a state run hotel, I would say one of the ones with a better view!
Bayona is a busy little town - full of local tourists and a nice place to stop, although we found it difficult to locate a supermarket close the anchorage and ended up just buying what we needed from a mini mart type place.
First Port of Call
Author: Sally 08/08/2010, Camarinas, Spain
After a few false starts from Lymington / Portsmouth / Yarmouth / then Falmouth ( 4th time lucky) we decided it was finally time to leave the UK.
After the chartplotter was fixed and reinstalled we left Portsmouth and had a leisurely sail up the Solent and picked up a buoy in readiness for a 4am start. The original plan was to cross to Cameret in France and after passing across the second shipping lane decided to head for Falmouth instead. So back through the shipping traffic. Thank god for AIS which is a fantastic bit of kit and has paid for itself several times over already. Re-routing to Falmouth was a much better idea given the prevailing winds and only added about 30 miles extra. Stopping in Falmouth also allowed us to catch up with the previous owner and ask a couple more questions about how he did things. So after leaving Falmouth early on Thursday morning the 5th August, we arrived into Camarinas in the Spanish Ria's at 6.30am today.
With the boat on a constant heel we were against the wind for the first 2 days, making life aboard a little difficult and things like brushing your teeth became huge tasks in themselves. By the third day we had 25-30knots behind us, so made for some interesting surfing down waves all last night and no-one really slept all that well with the motion of the boat changing every 2 seconds. All in all approx 400 nmiles under our belt in the first hop!
We have spent the day in port just catching up on sleep and Hamish and I have put the dinghy in the water to come ashore for some minor provisions before we leave tomorrow morning for our next destination, Sanxenxo another Ria that is meant to be quite good, approx 60 miles away.