Whilst I write this, it’s 11am, the sun is out and it’s 22 degrees in the boat which is perfectly bearable. Trina had a rough night sleeping and requested a lie in. The mossy that kept her awake last night is still in there somewhere, probably asleep, burping and rubbing his tummy on last nights feast.
We have nets on the hatch and over the entrance to the bed, but they still get in. Before bedtime Trina caught two of the blighters. The blood splatters were amazing. We also have a battery powered mossy killer which we hang up in the forepeak, though it’s utterly useless.
Spain to Portugal
We’re always keeping an eye on the weather on this trip, as wanting to leave on a certain day and having the right weather to do so is another matter. Generally speaking if the winds are not in our favour then it takes 3-4 days for the winds to reestablish themselves it seems.
After 3 weeks in Spain it was time to head to Portugal. There was a big blow out in the Atlantic which would miss us, but appeared to disrupt the Portuguese Northerlies later on in the week. We chose the best forecast of the week, which offered up very little wind and the least amount of fog. The fog around these parts is incredibly thick and overwhelming. The marina has been shrouded with thick thick fog for most of our stay, so when we saw it would clear up in the afternoon and return the next morning we decided to do a nighttime passage.
We motored down the coast into Portuguese waters to more BBC podcasts. I really liked ‘It’s a fair cop’
Police officer and comedian Alfie Moore returns with a new series of the show in which the audience make the policing decisions in a real-life cases
The fish count remains at zero since we left Falmouth (not counting the one Trina let go), so this time we threw out a small bright pink squid. We managed to catch a stupid seagull and a plastic bag. The seagull managed to free itself, and the plastic bag was disposed of responsibly.
We had a dusty pink and red sunset, a bit of Master and Commander on the go, a nasty tin of fabada and finished off with a couple of glasses of wine.
Glow in the dark dolphins
After 30 minutes of light sleep Trina started shouting to get up to the cockpit to see the dolphins.
“Yeh yeh, great, dolphins….Zzzzz”
It’s probably a sad day when dolphins are no longer the magical treat they used to be.
Trina’s persistence finally got my sleepy ass up to the cockpit.
At first I wasn’t that impressed to see dolphins darting around the boat as Trina lept up and down with excitement. But these dolphins had upped their game, and were luminescent glow in the dark dolphins, whizzing through phosphorescence leaving a trail of glowing water behind them.
Dolphins swimming through phosphorescence looks a bit eery, your eyes can’t quite comprehend that what you’re seeing is completely natural, and not some Disney production.
Not one of our videos but below is a pretty good depiction of what we saw.
We watched them from the bow, like glowing torpedo’s of the night. We realised after a while that they weren’t just playing with us but actually hunting for their dinner. Small glow in the dark fish sporadically appeared in front of the boat, the dolphins would sometimes catch one, and others zipped away at breakneck speed into the darkness.
I could probably watch phosphorescent dolphins a few more times before getting bored.
It’s 11:30am now, Lady O’Leary is still asleep.
We arrived in Leixoes around 3:30am in clear visibility before a bank of thick fog rolled in the next morning.
Nothing to say about foggy Leixoes. It’s like Queenborough but not as nice, though it is free to anchor.
We liked Porto. We stayed for just over a week. I found a small statue of a woman holding a towel with a picture of my face on it.
The government here wanted to put some money into the area around the marina. They offered the locals money for a launderette, as the local women hand scrub their washing. However they explained that hand washing their clothes was not just a practical thing, but a social thing where the women could chat and talk. So near the marina is a small building where the local women take their baskets of washing to from a small village across the road.
Ollie and Kat came to see us over the weekend. Much drink was drunk, we explored, many good times were had. Selfishly I wish we could do this trip with all our friends in tow.
On our last night we sampled the local dish, fried bread with ham, chicken and sausage covered in cheese in a gravy sauce.
We waved goodbye to Ollie and Kat, and after a few days recovering/detoxing, we had a god awful sail to Nazare. The boat rocked from side to side all night long. Trina fed the fish on 3 occasions, and I spent half the night shivering up in the cockpit, feeling too sick to go below, then the other half spent in the fetal position down below trying unsuccessfully to get some sleep as an orchestra of every bloody item in every bloody cupboard smacked back and forth all night long, making one hell of a noise.
The wind slowly decreased, and our top score of 7.4 knots reduced to 3 knots half way through the night so on went the engine. The electronic compass was playing up again, which renders the electric autopilot useless, so we had to take turns hand steering.
Come the morning I was hand steering and closing my eyes for 10 seconds at a time, doing that head bobbing motion as you nod off and wake up with a fright.
We rolled in at 10am, 20 hours after we left Porto.
The book describes Nazare as a bleak marina. I could add a few more adjectives to the list such as desolate, decrepit and barren. The pontoon we pulled up to was at a 45 degree angle and was on it’s last legs. Fishermen unload their cargo next door and do a wash down which creates a seagull frenzy of epic proportions. But barren as this place may be it’s a working port, functional and honest. The cafe is frequented by locals who Trina found pissed up on a Tuesday lunchtime. They show football and Charlie Chaplin side by side, and they make a wicked ham and cheese sandwich. I just wish I hadn’t clocked a guy emptying a long droopy snot from his nose sat out front.
We’re having some welding done as our supports for the wind gen snapped on the way by a British chap who arrived 30 years ago and never left. We’re a bit worried we might have a similar fate. We’ve been getting on with other jobs whilst waiting for the welding to be done. We’ve painted more cockpit lockers, varnishing, fitting water tank gauges, fixing outboards etc etc.
The mossy’s are pretty nasty in Nazare, so I’ve pulled out a jungle mossy net and clothe pegged it in the forepeak. We’re fully enclosed in bed, apart from my feet which stick out the end, so I wear socks at night.
Our daily budget is about £50 a day for 12 months. We’ve gone over this by about £200 in September, which considering we’ve spent a fair bit of time in marinas and eaten out a bit isn’t too bad. A week at anchor does wonders for our finances, and once we’re in the Caribbean we won’t be touching marinas very often at all, plus 25 days at sea will do wonders for our finances.