Grown Ups Gap Year

Now the girls have finished University it is our turn for a gap year!

Vessel Name: Mirage
Vessel Make/Model: Moody 38CC - 1993
Hailing Port: Poole, Dorset, UK
Crew: Sally and Paul
Extra: After the girls had finished university we decided it is our turn for a gap year.
21 September 2019
18 September 2019
18 September 2019
15 September 2019
14 September 2019
09 September 2019
08 September 2019
07 September 2019 | Camarinas
05 September 2019 | Corme
04 September 2019
02 September 2019
02 September 2019 | A Coruna
30 August 2019 | A Coruna
27 August 2019 | I100nm West of Nantes, France
26 August 2019 | Biscay (just)
26 August 2019 | Ile d'Ouessant
24 August 2019 | Weymouth
Recent Blog Posts
21 September 2019

Travelling to Nazare

We decided to leave the fog and mist of Sao Jacinto departing just after high tide to help give us a push down the river and along the coast as, looking at the weather, there was due to be almost no wind.!

18 September 2019

Aveiro

Today even though the mist didn't clear we caught the ferry from Sao Jacinto to Forte da Barra and from here we cycled to Aveiro, only around 5 miles.

18 September 2019

Sao Jacinto

Just a very short post to say we are still at the anchorage in Sao Jacinto with fog and lack of wind slowing progress. We have been out for short walks in the afternoon when the fog partially lifts.

15 September 2019

On to Sao Jacinto

We left Porto in light southerly winds, so rather than the downwind sailing we have got used to it was on nearly on our nose. The light winds are predicted to last for at least a week so this will slow our progress down further south.

14 September 2019

Porto - The Second City of Portugal

We woke fairly early to yet another beautiful, bright sunny morning after a much needed good nights sleep.

14 September 2019

A night glide to Porto

A gentle start to the day and a morning doing chores as we readied Mirage for and early afternoon departure from Foz do Minho. We were waiting until high water and a slack tide to exit the river. We followed the track we had recorded on the way up the river to the anchorage and always had plenty of [...]

Travelling to Nazare

21 September 2019
Paul Kember
We decided to leave the fog and mist of Sao Jacinto departing just after high tide to help give us a push down the river and along the coast as, looking at the weather, there was due to be almost no wind.!

The weather forecast was unfortunately correct as we ended up motoring all day to an interim anchorage at Figueira da Foz. We anchored by the sea wall to get some protection from the swell. During the motor we did manage to get various chores done, but we would have much rather been sailing. The sea was like velvet where it was so smooth and you were able to see pods of dolphins from along way off, sun fish flapping on the surface and a large nunber of shoals of small fish making thr surface boil.
We also witnessed the frenzied attach by birds and dolphins on one shoal. Arriving at the anchorage early afternoon we had a late lunch whilst watching surfers desperately looking for what surf there was on an adjacent beach.

Early the following morning with a forecast of light southerly veering westerly winds we departed heading for Nazare. The wind we had was actually almost an easterly that eventually veered south westerly, so only 1 of out 10 to the weather forecasters this time!

The day was a mixture of sailing and yet more motoring finally arriving in the marina just after 5pm to be welcomed and helped in by the member of marina staff. We has our first rain whilst sailing since Biscay to help with the merriment of motoring! Whilst Sally went for a run I washed the boat, filled the water tanks and completed the log and usual along side checks.

The marina is owned and run by the local sailing club so is a bit more basic in the facilities but still has everything we need. The bonus is the petrol station just outside the marina allowing us to get a couple of 20l containers of fuel. Once showered we visited the club restaurant and had a wonderful meal and drinks to round off the day.

Dolphins at play on passage to Nazare

Aveiro

18 September 2019
Paul Kember
Today even though the mist didn't clear we caught the ferry from Sao Jacinto to Forte da Barra and from here we cycled to Aveiro, only around 5 miles.

As we approached the city we passed huge piles of salt that are produced in the various salt pans near the city, however many of the pans are now derelict but still the warehouses by the docks were still full to capacity.

Once we arrived in the historic part of the city we thought we had been transported to Venice as there were gondolas (photo) on the canals. However these gondolas were actually the old sailing craft with the masts removed that were used to collect seaweed when it was allowed to be used as a fertiliser for crops and are now used to transport tourists around the canals on a 45 minute excursion.

Aveiro is due to be the European City of Culture in 2027 and is having a large amount of renovations with the crane count quite high, however the historic centre of the city we visited at the moment is largely free of them. Starting by the canals we were intrigued by the Art Deco museum and cafe which, as the photos shows, was a fantastic place with amazing decor inside and out.

The good thing about having our bikes is that it allows us to cover greater distances which allowed us to visit the cathedral (photos) at one end of the city through to the city park at the other covering an area of 20 hectares that had a wonderful lake and grotto areas as well as exercise (photo) machines that needed to be tried!

The city streets were very reminiscent of parts of Porto as they were narrow and had stone road surfaces but they were not in the same state of repair and with the small wheels of our bikes this was very noticeable! As with Porto much of the historic city centre now appears to be cafes, bars and restaurants but there is still space for a proper fish market.

Today was also the first day the batteries on Mirage have not been fully recharged as the solar panel only partially replenished them, no wind for the wind generator and we were not sailing due to the mist and fog (and lack of wind) so the towed generator didn't work.

Sao Jacinto

18 September 2019
Paul Kember
Just a very short post to say we are still at the anchorage in Sao Jacinto with fog and lack of wind slowing progress. We have been out for short walks in the afternoon when the fog partially lifts.

Our first.day here, Monday, was a 'make do and mend' day where we spent the morning doing various chores and maintenance on Mirage. Nothing untoward just routine stuff though. In the afternoon we went ashore by dinghy for a walk around the village. This must be either a very seasonal place or just empty as it would be a great film set for a zombie film as there is almost nobody around.

We walked to the 'silver beach' and almost could see the sea through the fog but still walked along the beach collecting rubbish as we went. There is a huge amount of rubbish everywhere just left behind by people where ever they stop to fish or sunbathe. A great shame for a very pretty area with a large nature reserve.

On Tuesday, once the mist cleared, we headed along the coast towards the big lagoons that are further up the river. These are vast and extend for around 10 miles and have to be walked around if you want to get to Aveiro, unless you take the ferry *a total distance of 46 km). Again there was large amounts of rubbish everywhere generally spoiling the environment, and most of it fishing or BBQ related. We walked through an old shipbuilding yard which closed in the late 90's which must have been devastating for the local community and even with some Portuguese and European investment the area still shows the effects of this closure. Maybe in season this place is more lively but many of the cafes and restaurants are closed and look more than just closed for the winter.

Photos now added in the Aveiro Album

On to Sao Jacinto

15 September 2019
Paul Kember
We left Porto in light southerly winds, so rather than the downwind sailing we have got used to it was on nearly on our nose. The light winds are predicted to last for at least a week so this will slow our progress down further south.

With today's sail we had a complete mixture of effects from the early morning land breeze, the afternoon sea breeze and variable nothingness in between!

We did see yet more dolphins on the sail, only a small group, of one larger dolphins and a couple of much smaller one which may have been a family group.

The coast we sailed today was the start of the 'silver beach', a 50 mile long beach with our anchorage around a third of the way down its length.

The approach into Sao Jacinto needed to be timed so our arrival was just before high tide when the water was slack. We arrived, more planning than luck, around am hour before high tide and had the last of the incoming tide to help us up to the anchorage. Get the tide wrong and we could have faced a 8 knot tide against us as the harbour entrance feeds and empties a series of large seawater tidal lagoons, Even with our good arrival timing we still had 4 knots of tidal assist.

The anchorage is behind a large protective wall creating a well protected anchorage. Photos show the tide flow during our approach through the disturbance on the water surface.

We have been treated to yet another sundown and dusk and can you spot the paraglider in the dusk lighthouse photo?

Porto - The Second City of Portugal

14 September 2019
Paul Kember
We woke fairly early to yet another beautiful, bright sunny morning after a much needed good nights sleep.

Already we knew it was going to be a hot day and dressed accordingly for a day of sightseeing.

The Marina staff had recommended the Saturday market so we went to buy our fresh fruit and veg. I couldn't resist a little retail therapy and bought some light weight (probably fake) Adidas white trainers for the boat justifying the fact that although not a practical colour they did have white soles! We have found the cost of groceries expensive as the pound is so weak but here it was full of fresh home grown produce and was very reasonable.

An unexpected bonus was a fish market and the Sea Bass looked so fresh and appetising that to justify my non-essential purchase I offered to cook instead of eating out, thankfully the lady kindly gutted and prepared it to be collected on ice later.

On the way to the market we passed the municipal hand washing facilities and hanging lines. If only we had discovered this before hand washing our clothes on board!

Now for the historical facts about Porto to help you feel a little of the ambience of one of the oldest European cities dating back to 300 BC.

In Roman times it established itself as an important commercial port with the Atlantic Ocean flowing into the Douro River.

In 13th century the wine produced in the Douro valley was transported to Porto in flat sailing vessels and the first English trading post was established in 1717 and hence why its famous for its Port production.

During the Napoleonic invasion of the city in 1809 the Duke of Wellington and his Anglo-Portuguese Army crossed the Douro River in wine barges to outflank the French Army.

The Portuguese endured numerous civil wars and revolutions and Republicans revolting against the monarchy and became a republic in 1910. Despite a counter-revolution in 1919 when Porto became the the capital of the restored kingdom, it was short lived and within a month the monarchy was deposed a month later and has remained a Republic ever since.

In 1996 Porto was declared a World Heritage Site. It also forms part of the Portuguese Camino de Senriago as we discovered whilst touring around.

We walked along the River Douro from the Marina watching a sailing regatta racing from the marina as we walked up to the Dom Louis I bridge.

The Dom Louis I bridge has 2 levels, and stands 85m above the river. We chose to walk across to the Medieval borough located within the 14th Century Romanesque Wall, via the lower level. We then climbed up to the elevated position taking in all the tourist sites as we ambled through the historic parts of the city. These included the Cathedral and Bishops Palace, the Railway Station with its fabulous tiled murals adorned in its concourse, Livraria Lello Bookshop (where it is believed to be the inspiration for J K Rowlings library in Hogwarts), History Museum and gardens, many different churches and privileged to see two beautiful brides and obviously the intriguing passages, steps and architecture along the way.

We then returned via the upper level back across the the Dom Louis I bridge admiring the fabulous view on our back to Mirage for our sea bass supper!

A night glide to Porto

14 September 2019
Paul Kember
A gentle start to the day and a morning doing chores as we readied Mirage for and early afternoon departure from Foz do Minho. We were waiting until high water and a slack tide to exit the river. We followed the track we had recorded on the way up the river to the anchorage and always had plenty of water under the keel. The water was much flatter today as the photos show.

Our destination was Porto, however we were unable to get into the marina before 07:30 in the morning so we had plenty of time for the sail to Porto. Typically the sail should take us no longer than 10 hours but we had 17 to do it in!

We sailed slowly with the boat reefed to keep us balanced but the speed down. As we were doing a night sail we also headed off-shore further than we would have needed for a day time sail to reduce our chances of meeting any of the many lobster pot markers that are very prevalent along this coast.

We had a fantastic setting of the sun with a brilliant disc on the horizon for many minutes, however no green flash*

Sally keeps herself amused at night pulling funny face selfies to show to our daughters but resists putting comments whilst trolling on Facebook keeping abreast of her friends at home.

The change in characteristic of the coast line was very noticeable at night as there was almost a continuous line of man-made lights along the entire length of coast with many towns, villages and roads. The steep cliffs have been replaced with more of a rolling landscape. Taking changes in watch over night we gybed, not goose winging this time as it is a safe method of sailing when you only get a small amount of time to steer rapidly out of the way of lobster pot markers. With almost a full moon it was considerably easier to navigate at night.

As dawn was approaching so was Porto with the arrival at the harbour entrance almost timed to perfection with us arriving at the marina just before 8am. As requested we called the marina up and .......


.....no reply. So we prepared the ropes and fenders and went into a berth only to get moved on when the marina staff appeared. Glas we booked ahead!

The remainder of the day was spent doing housekeeping and enjoying the 35 degC temperatures waiting for it to cool down in the evening before venturing out and walking around the immediate areas around the marina, Giai.

Postscript

A green flash is when part of the sun appears to suddenly change colour for about 1 or 2 seconds. The brief flash of green light is more usually seen at sunset than dawn.

It is caused by the refraction of sunlight, which is particularly significant at sunset and sunrise, when the light travels through more of the Earth's atmosphere. The atmosphere bends the sunlight passing through it, separating the light into its spectrum, the same as rain bends and splits sunlight into rainbows.

The various colours of light bend different amounts based on their wavelengths; shorter wavelengths (blue, violet and green) refract more strongly than longer wavelengths (yellow, orange and red). As such, blue and violet light are scattered by the atmosphere while red, orange and yellow are absorbed, leaving the green light the most visible during the few seconds when the sun sets below or rises above the horizon.
Mirage's Photos - Main
33 Photos
Created 18 September 2019
14 Photos
Created 15 September 2019
70 Photos
Created 14 September 2019
12 Photos
Created 14 September 2019
From Corrubedo to Foz du Minho
11 Photos
Created 12 September 2019
15 Photos
Created 10 September 2019
Journey to Cabo Finisterre and the visit
11 Photos
Created 9 September 2019
Ria de Camarinas
11 Photos
Created 7 September 2019
3 Photos
Created 5 September 2019
16 Photos
Created 2 September 2019
General photos of the crossing
8 Photos
Created 31 August 2019
The final loading and setting up for the start of the true Adventure
2 Photos
Created 10 August 2019

About & Links

Photo Albums
18 September 2019
33 Photos
15 September 2019
14 Photos