We had clung onto the cushions in the aft cabin and wedged ourselves with our feet to try and stop the incessant rocking. Nothing helped, we didn’t sleep a wink. We were at anchor in Cascais, the resort town outside of Lisbon and the boat had rocked all night. To make matters worse breakfast had consisted of omelette and chocolate bread (it looked like rye bread), Paul’s UHT milk had gone off, we had nearly run out of water and Paul had just been bitten by a small trigger fish. It was time to move to the marina.
It’s day 47 of our round the world adventure and we have already sailed 1100 miles since leaving Gosport.
A few stats from our trip so far ….
- we’ve spent 29 days sailing and 18 days static
- of the sailing days we’d clocked up 120 engine hours in total
- we’d spent 27 nights at anchor, 15 nights in a marina, four nights at sea and one night on a mooring buoy
- we’ve visited 16 different places ashore
The sail from Baiona, Spain to our last stop in Portugal has flown by. A combination of fog, suspected post tropical storm surge, temperamental wind and an urgency to get to Cascais meant we couldn’t stay for too long in one place. There were no sea swims, no diving or snorkelling and no hikes up mountains. We were on a mission.
Our passage from Baiona to Cascais
We left Spain on 17 September and hit cold, wet, pea soup fog as soon as we got out to sea. The pilot book said it was a ‘featureless coast line’, but this was ridiculous. All the way to Varzim, Portugal we had nothing but fog … for 52 foggy miles.
It was tiring motoring through fog looking out for fishing boats without AIS. They would suddenly loom up out of nowhere. As would the ‘surprise’ lobster pots. But we had our daily dose of happy dolphins and the chance to do a few boat jobs on deck.
Ten hours later we moored up in a marina in Varzim, tired and in need of a good nights sleep. But sods law – we had a ROUGH night.
Suspected surge left over from Tropical Storm Helene was causing the boat to swing violently into the skinny pontoon (which was too small for the boat and also swinging). In fact the whole marina was on the move. Our electric cable got pinched and damaged; Baggy bumped her bow; things fell off the walls and we thought the fenders were going to pop. We now have a repaired electric cable and a bow fender!
One night was quite enough. We had a run round town to pick up a few supermarket essentials, watched in awe at the HUGE Atlantic breakers on the beach and headed off back out to sea and down the coast to Leixoes.
The next morning we were privileged to see a rare fog bow, sometimes called a ‘white rainbow’ as we set off for our penultimate Portuguese destination – Nazare.
That day started in full foulies, three layers and boots (the Captain kept his shorts on) and ended up barefoot and in a bikini (not the Captain!) We poled out the genoa and covered 38 nautical miles. After a stroll round the town and seeing their very impressive Blue Flag beach we were off out to sea again to Peniche. But not before a VERY tight negotiation out of the marina which took a lot of planning, a lot of fendering and it was a small miracle that we (and the boats around us) escaped unscathed .. !
Eight Best Bits
1 Pastel de Natas – I just can’t eat any more. Don’t make me.
3 Book swops – finding our first book and DVD swop .. then both reading the book we had got in two days (it was ‘The Dinner’ by Herman Koch)
4 Beer beans – salted lupini beans (or tremoços). These were an exciting new discovery … sold in the markets and apparently made by old ladies at home! FACT: They apparently help lower your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels! You can’t eat them elegantly. The old ladies of the market reliably informed us you’re supposed to bite the edge of the bean in your mouth so the inner seed pops out and the waxy outer shell is ‘delicately’ discarded (spat out) .. ! Spit buckets were provided around the market.
7 Meeting Marta – the Portuguese rep on the Sail Training International youth council – we literally bumped into her while checking into Cascais marina. Small world.
8 Cascais Chicken Park – actually the gardens of Museu Condes Castro Guimaraes … but it was full of peacocks, ducks, chickens, cockerels and chicks doing funny things 😉
The predicted northerly winds look great for a possible four day ocean passage across to Madeira with the lovely company of Chris White and Annie O’Sullivan who are joining us as honorary Bagheteers for a week. We’ll have just a four day break there before being joined by our next Bagheteer Phil Luckins to help us sail across to the Canary Islands. We’re hoping for a fast and smooth passage.
PS. Remember I lost my favourite flip flops? Paul bought me some new one’s – they’re made out of cork and they float 😉
Follow us on Yellow Brick