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Rose & Brian 05 September 2009

Hi All
It seems a long time since we were in Leixoes and visited Porto, and I realised it
must be time for another episode of our ever southward and now eastward
wandering. We have moved on quickly as we got fed up with continuous big swell
from the west or north, making the boat sway around all over the place, and the very
variable winds and fog that seem to dog the Atlantic coast, and then finding the
Algarve a mass of holiday apartment blocks and expensive marinas.

We are back in Spain so all those Portuguese words (about 5 of them) that I learned
can now be put back in their box and Spanish resumed – complete with lisp now we
are in the south of Spain. We had a laugh when looking for a small funnel (to
replenish the oil in the anchor windlass) in one of Brian’s favourite shops
(ironmongers). We looked along all the shelves and counters and peered into the
back storage area but couldn’t see any. Three men were having a conversation at
the counter and finally I picked up courage to try to ask if they had them. With sign
language and showing a plastic mug, but gesturing that it should have a spout at the
bottom, and saying funnel, the shopkeeper finally caught on and laughed
uproariously. “Funil!” he said “Portuguese funil, Ingliss funnel” and they all laughed
again and so did we when he pointed above our heads to show a huge stack of them
hanging from the ceiling!

Leixoes marina is near the dockyards, so not particularly scenic although it has a
castle and a long beach, but we did manage to visit Porto.

We gave it a quick once over (lots of very large imposing buildings, and interesting
colourful terraced houses on the riverside) after waiting for an hour for the bus!
There were a lot of steps…….we got sore feet and Brian nearly got wet as a lady
threw out a bowl of water as we climbed past her window!

we often wander out to reconoitre the town and buy supplies if needed. where we can get a map and directions to supermarkets etc and any notable edifices close by. We were the wrong side of the river for port wine tastings. after registering and a congratulatory glass of something cold and fizzy. centre of town. with spray coating the boats with salt combined with black soot from the oil refinery to the north – lovely! We washed the boat twice in 3 days after that to get rid of most of the dirt. Lagos and Vilamoura (the last two in the Algarve proper) and finally an amazing 18 hour sail across the Bay of Cadiz to Cadiz itself with the wind finally giving us a complete voyage with no engine. then on to Sines. Our itinerary after that was a 36 hour motorsail to Cascais.e. The wind howled over the harbour wall that evening. Cadiz Castle From there we headed for Barbate where we will stay for a few days as we are now within smelling distance of the Med! When we arrive in a new port. Generally we have been able to find shops in normal places – i. but didn’t really have time anyway. . In France and Spain we have often found a tourist information office close to the port.

food and provision) shops hide themselves behind plain facades. In Sines we finally found a fantastic fish and fruit market in a very nondescript concrete block – again no sign outside at all. but not exactly kind on the flipflops! Cobble mender has gone to lunch Another difference is that there often seems to be no centre of town. However we have only had to dig into our . and no convenient tourist information office. while useful (i. Even supermarkets have minimal signage outside. Portugal does seem to like very small cobbles for its streets and pavements – often white with inset patterns in grey or black.The Portuguese towns are very similar to those in Spain with streets no bigger than alleyways. Bread shops are often disguised as cafes with the bread hidden at the back of the shop – some intensive sleuthing and investigation has to be undertaken.e. but with a few differences. We seem to spend a lot of time peering at bad tourist maps and at street signs in small alleys that aren’t on the map! As you can imagine just finding where to buy our food and wandering around on foot takes quite a lot of time (although I have to say we are not exactly dawn risers!). It was just luck that we walked by and looked in the door! Finding our way back from the shops to the marina is never difficult – it is always downhill! However some of the old towns are so labrynthine that you can get lost. The effect is very pretty.

If we are staying for more than one night. The harbours where the marina is close to town are often lined with stalls selling “ethnic” artifacts. There are always a few stalls selling waffles and weird tube shaped doughnut looking things with lurid centres – fluourescent red. . round the next corner to see what is there. laundry if needed and shopping for the next few days. jewellry and other accessories. Outdoor restaurants in Cascais (under the pointed tents) Our routine tends to be to rise around 8am. when I go for a shower in the washing and toilet block. If we are moving on straight away. clothes. the day is usually spent doing housecleaning. As it happened that evening. or just chilling out. no sooner had I prepared the food (tinned Tesco chicken curry and rice) than the wind picked up and we had to abandon dinner and deal with reefing sails but we had a fantastic sail after that so it was worth it.emergency rations once when we changed our minds mid day to sail further than we had originally planned so had no food in the fridge for dinner as we sailed. I haven’t had the courage to try one to see what they are made of yet! In Cascais there were a line of small restaurants set up in tents along the front. By the time I get back Brian has usually brewed tea which is then drunk in vast quantities over the next hour or so with some discussion about the plan for the day. This is one of the brilliant things about sailing in our own boat – we are totally self contained so it doesn’t matter how long we sail for. boat washing. green and brown. there isn’t much time to do anything unless the town is really close by. with tempting fish dishes which we fell for. or where we stop apart from having to top up with diesel and water every so often. We might even treat ourselves to a bit of sightseeing – a walk along the quays.

chicken legs etc. On the other hand. We take it in turns to cook dinner or prepare lunch. the supermarkets all have great fish counters (even the smaller ones) with labels. it has become a lot warmer. but very nice) and just wrap them up in foil and bake them in the oven with roast spuds. Portugal does not seem to have a great variety of cheeses and they are all quite expensive. and if you get a ticket to queue to buy a “whole fish” that doesn’t mean that you can have it cleaned! (Fortunately no-one was waiting for “prepared fish” so the shop assistant cleaned it anyway!). and ham of different types. sausage is very cheap and plentiful! We have had some lovely cured bacon. Sometimes we treat ourselves to lamb chops or steak. palm trees and Mediterranean scrub. However being on the coast almost every other meal is fish of some kind. apart from heavy mist which can get quite wet. cucumber. chorizo of course. The vegetation is slowly changing from the deciduous and pine forest on the north coast to holm oak. If there is no fishmarket. which makes life much easier! However rules are rules. The fishermens restaurants in Spain are fantastic value. Otherwise we will have our dinner on board anytime after about 7. Portugal was good for meatballs and belly pork. So that was what the different buttons meant . At the fish markets we have bought dorade and corvina (no idea what that was.30pm after an hour’s relaxation with a glass of white wine and soda from the day’s labours and shopping expeditions. Other times we get sardines or squid – really whatever takes our fancy. usually mid week when it is less busy.Palms and Castle at Sines We treat ourselves to a meal out once or twice a week. lettuce. Our diet is very varied in the evenings as we have a great gas cooker with two hobs. a grill and proper thermostically controlled oven. with not much argument! As we have moved south. olives.all part of the fun! Lunchtimes are not quite so interesting – always salad (tomatoes. We try to find somewhere interesting. It hasn’t rained for about a month. pepper) and bread with cheese and pate or sausage. .

. In Lagos we went for a walk along the promenade. ficus trees of various types and a huge ficus down on the north esplanade overhanging a very Moorish fountain and tiled seats. We have seen flocks of smaller waterbirds but haven’t identified them yet. so has the ambient temperature of both land and sea. and in Cadiz the full tropical suite was there in a park inside the castle wall. The sea has become more phosphorescent too – when we sail at night there are streamers of little sparkles leading out from the boat. and gulls and terns. then up past some very modern offices with a nice garden and Brian spied a hoopoe – the first we have ever seen. Our tans are becoming (almost) all over ones as we shed T-shirts and shorts and put on our swimming cozzies.Bougainvilleas started appearing around Cascais. Once we turned the corner of Cape St Vincent. A couple of times we have seen herons and egrets on the pontoons in the marinas trying to catch the fish. hibiscus. There were green parrots nesting in one of the trees in weaverbird type nest burrows but we don’t think they were indigenous. As we motored down the coast from Cadiz to Barbate it was hot even out at sea as there was little wind. palm trees. but it is becoming a more agreeable thought as we get hot and sweaty during the day. Phew its hot! The nights are also warmer.rubber plants. Flushing the loo at night is fun too where the harbour waters are clean – the waterpipe from the sea into the toilet is translucent. The wildlife consists mainly of shearwaters of different kinds – mostly Manx down here. so the duvet is becoming redundant and I will have to find somewhere to store it! We haven’t been swimming yet. There are enough small fishing boats and fisheries launches around to keep a modicum of clothing on though… The colour of the sea has also changed from a grey green to a deep green or blue although I guess if it were cloudy it would still be grey. As the vegetation has changed. so it lights up like a sparkler and the toilet itself is filled with little glitters. Since Cascais. the sea warmed up about 5°C and the daytime temperature is now around 30°C. we have heard little ticking noises of things nibbling the weed on the hull – again a very Mediterranean noise.

We do keep meeting up with the same yachts – a big one called Temerity with two couples on board was in both Bayona and then again in Lagos when we tied up at the reception pontoon. I don’t think the ones we saw were anything like that but we haven’t seen any more since we were in the north of Portugal. others none at all. although there are people with fishing rods on every harbour wall. No-one seems to want to catch them in the marinas (we wouldn’t either!). although we exchange pleasant hello’s with those tied up around us. At night when they arrive. I have managed a short video on the camera as well as one or two good stills. All the marinas have shoals of grey fish that we think are mullet – now the waters are clearer I have taken a picture. Because we have been purposefully moving on down the coast we haven’t managed to get acquainted with many people yet. Our friend Dave identified the strange fins we had seen as sunfish – that grow to around 1000kg. And then there are the dolphins! Around Cape St Vincent they came to play with us several times – different families I think each time. their wakes glow in the dark – Brian said they look like torpedoes aiming straight for the boat! Some days we see lots. However they were sent off to a .

and how he would have to spend all week fixing it and he was getting sod all money for it. However I wouldn’t have wished this on them – the yacht must be sitting on the bottom and was surrounded by divers attaching lifting gear! It must have been extraordinary to watch it going down! So here we are in Barbate – a small marina within sight of wooded hills which is a very pleasant change from townscapes. He was so bad tempered and mouthing off all the time. We were tied up next to them in Leixoes and it was embarrassing to listen to the English guy swearing and shouting at the other about what a crap boat it was. There was one boat that we were pleased not to meet more than twice. They tied up next to us at the reception berth in Cascais but fortunately were sent off somewhere else for their berth. Note the increasingly eclectic variety of sunshade on the boat (not rain shade any more!) .different area for a berth. so we didn’t manage to chat. one of them English who seemed to have been hired to assist the other to sail the boat for a week. Two men.

and we can email to our intended destination to expect mail for us. Almost all the marinas have someone who speaks English so language has not been a problem so far. We are now planning the next stage – possibly sailing to Tangier and Ceuta instead of staying on the Spanish side of the Straits of Gibraltar. but that will entail some organisation – I haven’t got a Morrocan flag for a start! Then we will probably stop for a couple of weeks somewhere on the south coast of Spain to gather our thoughts and get stocked up with new charts and passage plans and I will send out another update. We had planned this into our itinerary a couple of weeks before and asked Kate and Steve from the village if they could collect and send on our medications for the next 3 months to this address. All the best Rose & Brian A tall ship anchored off Cadiz . The package was waiting for us when we arrived – fantastic organisation! So we are now reasonably confident that we can get anything sent to us so long as we plan ahead or can stay in one place for a couple of weeks. The internet is great for finding out addresses.

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