17 August 2019
Portimao was a good break and although a touristy town we anchored off a lovely beach, opposite the resort, inside the wide harbour entrance and just off the waterside village of Ferragudo. Rob had his first go at paddle boarding, but with a sore tendon in his foot and found it pretty hard. It was good fun though. Bad news was that the outboard played up and the batteries seemed to keep discharging (.8 amp) even with everything off.
Tuesday 6th August we headed east and, bypassing Allbufeira, got into Vilamoura (claimed to be the largest holiday resort in Europe!!) marina late afternoon. A pretty gob smacking place. NEVER had we seen such a multitude of restaurants/ cafes/bars and the streets jammed with happy holidaymakers. Also the seasonal berthing cost was astronomical. However, this is where I will be leaving the boat in September as the yard has an excellent reputation for good and responsible management and care of boats. Wednesday saw Rob return home and I booked an electrician to look at the battery issue, also booked a crane for the 18th September and took the outboard for a check so checked in for a week. Ugh! Expensive, crowded, brash no views except hotels and the marina itself but had some lovely hospitality (reciprocated) from two Portugese boats (one a large Fairlone) and a German family. Outboard now working better, not perfectly, and battery issue came down to the live memory feed direct from the service batteries.
Tuesday 13th I went 18 miles down the coast and anchored off the Ilha da Culatra. An utter total contrast. It’s a giant sandbank with many small bungalows, no two of which are the same and built in a very haphazard manner. Plenty of eateries and a surprisingly well stocked minimarket. There is a large fishing community, all with small dayboats. Ferries bring the daily sun-worshipping visitors. I have now had 4 days here. Generally take the dingy ashore about 8 for a stroll before it gets too hot, an espresso and get the days shopping often calling at a Canadian boat on the way back that Rob and I met in Lagos. They similarly come and coffee-out on Ben More. The days have been utterly peaceful, many small jobs done on the boat, ferry trip to Olhao just to the North and otherwise reading a good book in the cockpit and watching the other boats at anchor and staying comfortable with a lovely breeze wafting through the boat.
So - tomorrow it’s east again for a 6 hour sail (good breeze forecast) to the Rio Guadiana river which is the border between Portugal and Spain. Looking forward to it.
The picture is one of the smarter little lanes in the village.
Don’t worry about me, I’m hanging in there
11 August 2019
Hi. We said goodbye to Sines at 0630 on the 1st August for the 75 mile run to Lagos. For most of the run to Cape St Vicente we motorsailed in calm seas and light winds. Early afternoon we saw dolphins and what followed was (bar one) the most extraordinary display I have ever seen. They streamed past from the NW to the SE for nearly 3/4 of an hour and were visible all around us at a great distance and for much of the time were too many to count. There must have been hundreds of them. Although none stayed and played around the boat, which is common, the closer ones came at us from the side, diving under the keel, staying alongside for a short while then continuing their journey. It kinda leaves you feeling quite privileged. If only they had been the circus variety doing leapy things all the time.
Rob, friend from Plymouth, (master filmmaker extraordinary!!) took a video on his phone and attempted to WhatsApp it to his wife and son in law. He had problems working out how to do it and, holding it in his lap, managed to send both of them a video of his crotch! (Sorry Rob)
Once round St Vicente the wind increased significantly to 20 - 28 knots but fortunately since it was coming from the north and we were now heading east and close to the Algarve shoreline the sea was very choppy, not rough but still with lots of spray flying around. It was very exhilarating. We then found ourselves inside a fish farm, having not seen what were very slim yellow corner markers. The fish 'buoys' were small horizontal black barrels connected with strong lines hundreds of metres long and only about 20 metres apart and barely visible in the chop. Seeing these immediately ahead I steered away and followed the narrow channel between the barrels (doing over 7 knots) hoping that other small round black buoys were not connected. We eventually popped out Into clear water with a huge sigh of relief. To have tangled would probably have meant calling for outside assistance and being in a lot of trouble!
We arrived safely in Lagos (very shallow entrance) where the full force of the Algarve in tourist mode hit us. We only stayed a short while and had a brief look round what is a lovely town before heading for Portimao.
I've rambled on for long enough so cheerio for now and Happy Birthday to EDWARD.
04 August 2019
Now in Portimao just east of Lagos. More about that later including details of a very narrow escape!!
For today it’s just a picture of the Lisbon bridge that I thought was rather unusual, fog being pretty rare down here. Hope you are all enjoying better and drier weather.
31 July 2019
Mon 22nd July was Mignon’s birthday. We took the 7am ferry to Lisbon to look round the city in the cooler part of the day then back to Seixal for her birthday meal out. A good evening although rather boozy! Ken and Sally left for home Tuesday and M and I returned to Oeiras Wednesday and had a terrific swim in a fairly rough sea. Did a good bit of bodysurfing. Thurs 25 was Mignon’s last day and we went to Lisbon before her flight. I took her up the 80metre pier of the huge suspension bridge so we could look down on the city through a glass floor. Wow? I know how to spoil a girl.
After a couple of exciting days doing the laundry (I’m easy to please), repairing the galley foot pump and watching two late evening films care of Seat Cars, Rob arrived from Plymouth and we set sail for the 50 n mile run South to Sines on Mon 29th.
Wow and wow again!! We had a strong northerly wind up to force 7 (28 knots) and a NW Atlantic swell of about 3 metres, all in glorious sunshine. We averaged 8.01 knots, which for non sailors is a truly amazing feat. This was with a 1 reefed main and working jib goose winged with the spinnaker boom. At times we were riding the larger waves at 10 knots plus. This is what the boat is built for, it tracked beautifully and felt very stable. At Sines harbour entrance we wore round instead of gybing to get into smoother water before getting the sails down. A lovely days sail.
We then hit pay-dirt at Sines. There was a week long music and food festival. Heaven!
Sines is a lovely harbour within a harbour with a pristine beach and crystal clear water. Two rest days brings us to 1900 31st July. Tomorrow we hope to sail 75 miles South to Lagos, changing the Atlantic for the Algarve.
Today’s picture was taken en-route to Sines.
21 July 2019
Now Sunday 21st. A good and varied week. With Ken and Sally we went down the coast and anchored at Cascais and had a brilliant afternoon using the paddleboard. Also a swim - the water marginally less freezing than up in Spain! The skipper cooked sardines for supper. Monday was a lovely 6 knot, Genoa only, sail the short distance back to Oeiras.
Tuesday was tourist day in Lisbon including the maritime museum and citadel. Returning we bought bus tickets from a really nice student manning a ticket kiosk who misunderstood where we actually wanted to go. So, we got on the wrong bus (the now famous no 794!!) went the wrong way and ended up near the airport. We were bussed out so took 3 trains to get back.
Wednesday 17th we took a slow sail (one reef main only) in a fresh breeze all round the edges of the Lisbon estuary - very interesting.
Mignon joined us on the 19th and the next day had a terrific and fast sail back up the estuary for a quieter couple of days in Seixal with more paddleboard practice in more challenging conditions.
Tomorrow is celebration meal out then a few days before heading south again for the Algarve.
Picture today is our berth on the rather ramshackle pontoon at Seixal.
Bye bye for now.
10 July 2019
I’ve just had 4 wonderful days in Seixal up a creek (with a paddle) some miles opposite Lisbon. This is a small village with plenty of bars and restaurants a small supermarket and a branch of the Portugese communist party! Not another English person here. It’s a lovely place.
I went to the renouned, in the sailing world, Tagus Yacht Center and enjoyed a long chat and coffee with the boss which was extraordinary because the yard is massive, scores of workers, extremely busy and is full with small ships as well as yachts etc. Tomorrow morning early I’m cycling 10k to another district to pick up my repaired stackpack from the sail loft then at noon sailing back to Oeiras to meet Ken and Sally who will arrive at about 1800. Sadly Melanie has cancelled her trip because of family issues but will be welcoming Mignon (of the 2nd Come Dine With Me rehearsal dinner party) in her place. It will be her birthday on the 22nd so, no doubt, the 4 of us will have a great evening out.
I have got to know the port personnel well with long chats with them and also the crew of a German yacht who has just come from the Azores. I will be quite sorry to leave, however, this is what it’s all about. A super few days.
Tonight’s picture is looking at the Seixal waterfront from the boat, pretty casual and ordinary looking but an attractive and welcoming village.
OK bye for now.
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