Emerald Tales

Currently in Portugal after 7 years in the Mediterranean

13 October 2023 | Porto Santo
15 September 2023 | Porto Santo
09 August 2023 | Porto Santo, Madeira
28 July 2023 | Porto Santo, Madeira
23 June 2023 | Porto Santo
15 January 2023 | Porto Santo
15 September 2022 | Porto Santo
19 August 2022 | Porto Santo
29 July 2022 | Porto Santo, Madeira
02 October 2021 | Faro, Portugal
06 June 2021 | Alcoutim
28 May 2021 | Alcoutim
16 April 2021 | Rio Guadiana
31 March 2021 | The Balearic Isles

Leaving Las Lagos

03 April 2014 | Lagos, Portugal
Nichola / a bit mixed but improving
Some photos of Lagos

So tomorrow, all being well, touch wood, etc. (trying not to jinx anything) we'll be heading out of the marina for a quick hop to Portimao to anchor for the night before heading on to Culatra the next day.

It's been a fantastic winter here in Lagos which surpassed my expectations. Much of this has been down to the people in the marina and we've made some great new friends, many of whom we'll be seeing again as we head into the Med. The morning Walkie-Talkies and Yoga Babes helped keep me fit and everyone has been very generous in providing advice and assistance when we've needed it.

cat hotel
The cat hotel provided by an animal charity and some of its residents

The Navigators group at the marina do a great job of organizing activities and a huge thank you to them especially for all the walks, suppers, help and information they have provided.

The marina is well located for shopping with a Pingo supermarket only 5 minutes away plus a Lidl, Aldi, Continente and Intermarche only a little further. There are many service providers close by for repairs and materials including sailmaker, foam and upholstery and numerous bits and bobs shops. Then there is the farmers market on Saturdays which was a great adventure discovering new fruit and veg and trying out our Portuguese.

Travel connections are good with the train station right behind the marina and buses to surrounding towns and villages. There might not be so many services a day as we'd have liked at times but it just needed a bit of preplanning and we got around fine.

the big swinging ball
They like to decorate the roundabouts here. This is our favourite - the swinging ball!

Plus the town is pleasant with beautiful beaches, plenty of bars and restaurants; ok it can be a bit British at times but there are plenty of Portuguese people especially with us having been here outside of the main tourist season. I'm not sure it would be so nice when it is rammed with visitors in the summer.

I can see why so many people return here each year, the only negative for us has been the marina fees, a bit eyewatering but it's been well worth it.

We're a little sad to leave (which is party why we have lingered longer than planned) but we have new adventures to experience and we will see many of our new friends again - lots of them will be wintering with us in Ragusa.

So farewell Lagos, it's been brilliannnnnnnnnnnnnnt!

We're stuck inside so here are some stork pictures

01 April 2014 | Lagos, Portugal
Nichola / torrential rain, thunder, lightning, windy
Well we're still here so here are some pictures of storks in their nests. It seems they like to built their nests up high. Disused chimneys, old palm tree stumps, electric pylons, castle walls and the join between walls are some of the places we've spotted these birds. Once the nest is built the chimeys can't be knocked down as the birds are a protected species and it's against the law to destroy their nests; hence lots of chimney stacks randomly dotted around with the building they were once attached to knocked down. In places the new builds have incorporated the chimney into their design, such as a new block of offices and apartments in Portimao which features a chimney complete with nesting birds in the middle of it.

at the top of a pizza restaurant
On top of a pizza restaurant's oven chimney
stork castle
on the corner of castle walls
tree stump
On top of an old tree stump
stork house
On the join of a house wall

Their like to build their nests near to marshy areas so they can feed, hence there are quite a few nests in the area just to the north of Lagos marina and on a trip to Pingo you might see them digging around for frogs and fish in the salt marshes that run along the side of the supermarket. The storks used to migrate away for the winter but many now stay year round - a sign of global warming maybe?

The storks mate for life, hopefully we'll get to see some fluffly chicks in the nests soon.

Test position report, via wifi/telnet

26 March 2014 | Trying to get winlink up and running again
All well on board, weatherbound at Lagos waiting to head east. Not looking good for the next week.

slainte c

The velcro effect

25 March 2014 | Lagos, Portugal
Nichola / blue skies, chilly wind
So, we're still here, in Lagos that is. We did have a plan to leave last week but we weren't ready and anyway the wind looked like it was going to pick up at the weekend. So we delayed. It's the Lagos velcro effect as we're having too much fun and it's proving quite hard to tear ourselves away.

After a last fling of socialness and a bit of windyness today and tomorrow to let pass we'll try again later this week to head off. Of course that is still subject to change....

As far as sailing plans go (and having had last year's plans mucked around by the failed liferaft we have decided to keep plans fairly loose) we aim to head east into the Med and visit the Balearics, Corsica and Sardinia this summer, ending up in Sicily. The only firm plan we have made is to book in to a marina in Sicily for next winter. This seems a little advanced but the marina is reasonably flexible should events conspire for us to not make it there.

So now we have to hope for sunshine and good sailing breezes to ease us back into the cruising life after 5 mounths in the comforts of a marina. Some calm seas whilst I refind my sea legs would be gratefully received too!

Gangways and the pleasures of Med mooring

14 March 2014 | Lagos, Portugal
Nichola / warm and sunny 23c
For us, mooring in marinas is a fairly anxious experience. When we get into the Med we have a new form of torture to look forward to - Med Mooring. This involves lining Emerald up stern to a quay or pontoon and picking up a lazyline or dropping an anchor off the bow. Having done that we then have to reverse towards the quay until we're a suitable distance off to be able to get ashore. The problem for us is that Emerald doesn't like going backwards in a straight line due to her keel shape, so I'm sure it's going to be fraught. A good reason to avoid marinas as much as possible aside from the ridiculous costs in many Med harbours in the summer.

However, the marina we have chosen for next winter is Ragusa in Sicily which has lazyline mooring rather than finger pontoons. Once we're in we'll need a way of getting from the stern of the boat onto the pontoon and for which we'll need a gangway or passarelle.

Rather than spending a couple of £100 we decided to make our own. Two planks of Portuguese pine (€14), some wheels from the Chinese shop (€4), some paint (€20) and a bit of donated rope and here we have Colin's excellent creation.

It stores along the the guard rails along the back side of Emerald and will probably need two of us to get it in place but will hopefully last us at least a winter and all for less than €50.

Vessel Name: Emerald
Vessel Make/Model: Kelly Peterson 44
Hailing Port: No fixed abode
Crew: Colin 'Skip' Wright, Nichola Wright
About: One from Northern Ireland, one from Yorkshire, UK
Extra: Emerald has been our home since 2004. We've sailed around the UK, the western Baltic and have spent 7 years in the Med. We're currently in Portugal, planning a refit. Lot's more information about us and the boat can be found at www.yachtemerald.com
Home Page: https://www.yachtemerald.com/