December 06, 2010
There is no doubt, Lagos is home to a velcro marina. It is very difficult to break loose. I think J-L is going to be resident until mid January at least.
November 18, 2010
OK, in Lagos after an early to bed and an early to rise night, but no wind again, so a long exercise for the motor. Lagos is really a social network compared to other marinas with lots of organised goings on between the more active liveaboards.
November 16, 2010
My stay in Cascais was made all the more enjoyable by meeting Alex and his son Luis of Giulietta, at last, after many years of exchanging forum messages. This was further improved by spending time in the company of Nige and Marta of Angel of Rio. However, flights booked from Faro for the weekend started to apply pressure to move on.
Having waited for a calmer day, I got a fairly windless day and motored J-L from Cascais down to Sines. I will stay until early Thursday to avoid Wednesday’s predicted bad weather and then head south again to Lagos.
November 11, 2010
I moved back to Cascais with the intention of starting early for Sines but fell in with the crew of Angel of Rio and friends. Now I’m thinking of delaying the trip to Sines until the next weather window predicted for next Tuesday. It saves getting up early. :)
November 07, 2010
Wind Guru was predicting a 10.8 m swell for Cascais last week, so I decided on Sunday morning to move J-L to the more protected Alcantara marina in Lisbon. This meant going up in price and down in service, but I hope the swell cannot get into Alcantara as it does into Cascais marina. The peak is expected on Tuesday. In the mean time, the Wind Guru site is predicting steadily less wind and swell from the approaching low pressure. Either way, it will be more comfortable in Alcantara.
November 03, 2010
I hid away from a storm in Nazare, which is well protected from the Atlantic. Only when the wind comes round to the north does the fetch in the harbour increase and J-L was pinned to the hammerhead pontoon in choppy water. I had all the fenders in place, some looked rather squashed but everything survived.
I planned to leave for an overnight passage down to Cascais and was afraid I might not be able to spring J-L off the pontoon. My luck was in, as 19:00 approached – my planned departure time, the wind died completely, so I had no difficulty leaving. I thought I would have to motor the whole twelve to fourteen hours in the remains of the waves and swell but again luck was on my side. The wind picked up again to fifteen to twenty knots and I had a broad reach to Peniche then a gybe and a broad reach to Capo Raso. An uneventful sail, if you ignore the constant danger of the invisible fishing buoys and a lumpy sea. Then there was a fishing boat incognito. It’s the second time I have seen this in Portuguese waters. Something on the radar but nothing to be seen in the dark, then suddenly on come a set of navigation lights and a boat storms off. The Nazare harbour master told me that there is a lot of illegal fishing, so maybe that was one of them.
Most of the way I was followed by sailing yacht Burnout. He was gaining on me slowly and continued his way south when I turned east towards Cascais. For a long time he was invisible to vision or radar, but he carried AIS, so I could watch his progress precisely as well as know his name. At about 1.5 miles, his navigation light started to appear intermittently over the swell.
After Capo Raso, the the wind died again, so I motored the remainder towards Cascais marina. Perverse again at last, the wind started up energetically on the nose this time, just to make the entry into Cascais difficult. I was early arriving, so waited until nine for the reception to open. Then moored in berth M23. I was surprised to see all the boats moving in their berths in response to the surge created by the swell outside. There are several knots of current in and out of the narrow entrance channel
Cascais is an attractive holiday town and its marina is large and well equipped. The marina charges have dropped to the winter rate, which makes it quite attractive place to stay. However, I shall be moving up river to Alcantara in Lisboa, as the Atlantic swell that I arrived with was bursting above the seawall when it was only 2 or 3 metres high. Next week the swell is predicted to reach 10.8 metres and will certainly come over the seawall.
Sorry, no pictures, Photobucket has locked up my Album, I guess because it exceeds their free entries limit of 500 MB and I still have not cracked the problem with Tripsailor.
October 28, 2010
J-L got underway again after almost a fortnight in Povoa. It was actually cheaper to buy a month’s berthing than 13 days, so full marks to the Povoa marina. Definitely a cost effective way of storing the boat over winter out of the water.
I left because a nasty looking storm is due into the region on Friday. By all accounts, Povoa is not the place to weather out storms when the boat is in the water. So I motored overnight to Nazaré. With no wind again, sailing was only possible for a short period in the evening when the NW wind picked up a little.
At 10 in the morning, I could raise no one on the refuelling pontoon, although two cleaning ladies came down and washed the bird poo off the pontoon while I waited. After waiting a bit longer, I gave up and pottered across to the visitors berths and moored on a hammer head. When I managed to find the marina captain (a small story of misleading notices and maps) it was okay to stay on the hammerhead. It does give J-L a bit more to hang on to when the anticipated blow arrives.
Nazaré has a fishing harbour with a yacht club in one corner and a visitors marina in another, the rest is for fishing boats of various sizes. This promises noisy and wake-full nights, but maybe the storm will hold them in port too and anyway drown their disturbing habits. The registering process in Nazaré involves a separate trip to the customs and excise, to provide them with the same data as the marina requires. It helps with unemployment, I suppose.
Nazaré is a bus ride away. I took the 90 cent ride to shop for food for the wet weekend to come. As the bus runs every two hours, I took a 3.50 euro taxi back the marina with my bulging bags. Nazaré is a holiday town, once fishing village. From the number of beach-side cafés it must be busy in season, but very quiet now. The funicular railway is not working any more, so it a strident walk or a bus ride to the upper town. First to see how the weather really developes.
October 14, 2010
Thursday 14th started well with sunshine and little wind in Viana do Castelo. I was delighted at checkout with the lower prices of the marina compared to those of Baiona.
It took 4 hours motoring south to reach Povoa de Varzim. A little wind started in the south and moved westwards. By 14:30 the sea fog rolled in and the siren on the harbour wall started wailing. At 17:30 it stopped, signalling the end of the fog and the return of the sunny day. That was my first experience with the rapid set-in of Atlantic fog.
The harbour seems to have been badly designed. The sea walls are not high enough, so I am told: a strong westerly throws waves over the wall into the marina and a strong southerly chases a swell into the harbour. Nevertheless, the yard is full of boats out of the water, it seems a good place to park them over winter or set them up for sale. The marina is much less expensive than elsewhere and the staff have a very friendly approach. While the weather is settled, I may stay a little longer than intended.
October 12, 2010
Another windless day. I only got 30 minutes of sailing in, the rest of the trip from Baiona to Viana do Castelo was on motor. The compensation was a hot sunny day and a calm sea. I was tempted to try the Rio Mino estuary, despite the dire warnings in the pilots. However, the entire absence of any local boats to follow put me off the idea.
So now J-L is in Portugal, where one is welcomed in English with phrases like: – “Welcome to Portugal, have a free hour!” – Time zone shift from Spain. “We don’t have siestas here, Portugal is a normal country”!
I moored initially, with some difficulty with the current, on the waiting pontoon with the friendly help of the crew of a catamaran called Seashell. After tracking down the harbour master and filling in the forms, J-L was ushered to a pontoon just inside the swing bridge. It used to be the refuelling pontoon, until 4 years ago, and still carries the pumps and hoses but is convenient.
Viana do Castelo has a lovely old town and is busy tidying up its water front. At the moment, the combined road and railway bridge is being refurbished with much work-time noise, but it’s peaceful during the night.
My first mission was to the telecoms shops, to get a Portuguese internet pen, as the ubiquitous Huawei dongle is called here. The telecoms here use the same per hour charging system for pre-pay internet as in France, so I was spoilt by the Spanish principle of “use all you can in a month” tariff.
October 11, 2010
After much taking apart of boat and addition of silicon sealant, I hope J-L is rain proof again. It will take another deluge to test and the weather has turned warm and sunny again. The wind was supposed to move back to the North and strengthen, so I shifted anchorages in Ensenada de Simon. To no avail, the wind stayed in the south and weakened. Ananda of Hamble, last seen in Portosin, arrived and anchored south of the Isla de Simon.
I moved down to Baiona on Monday to refuel, do some shopping and get a little closer to Portugal. No wind again until approaching Baiona. The Atlantic swell and ferries get in to the marinas here too. 34 euros per night is a little steep for the limited facilities and poor shelter, so I shall only stay one night. Baiona as a tourist town was in full swing with rows of coaches at the castle and queues for the recontructed Pinta. The original Pinta made landfall in Baiona on her return from the Americas on 1st March 1493.