| ||Friday 02-09-2016 to Friday 30-09-2016|
From Burgau to Portimão is only 13 miles, which means about 2,5 hours on the engine. The weather is beautiful, but there is quite a stiff wind when we enter the harbour and wanted to berth at the so called “check-in-pier”. Just before us, a large motorboat is mooring, with 6 men/women and they get all the help needed from three men of the harbour staff. Pity that they only have eyes for the motorboat and we have to find out for ourselves how to get in. It is always a little difficult trying to berth with a strong wind blowing from off the jetty, but we’ll get there! We have had e-mail contact with the marina in advance to let them know when we would sail in. We are going to stay here for a week in order to receive some packages and because it is going to be Fred’s birthday. For the rest of the time we are at anchor in the bay with an average of 20 other boats. Because the price of the marinas is decreased by half beginning October 1st, we leave Friday 30 September, direction Lagos Harbour.
The harbour, the city and transportation
This is situated close to the modern “Praia de Rocha”, where there are many hotels, apartments and where the nightlife is. The harbour staff is, let’s say: ‘applicably friendly’, because they don’t walk any faster for you than necessary. It is a very expensive harbour and we are glad to only stay here for a week. The distance from our boat to the harbour office is quicker by dinghy than by walking the pier. The facilities are o.k., for instance, there are a lot of washing machines, but only one dryer is in operating mode and it seems that this has been the case for already a long time. The showers are o.k. too and since we know the code of the jetty and the facilities, we shower a few times when we lie at anchor. There is no large supermarket within walking distance, for that you have to go to Portimão. A few times we take the bus there and the taxi back. From our anchor place in the bay we take the dinghy to town. The old town lies on the broad mouth of the river Arade, that flows into the Atlantic Ocean, opposite the fishing village of Ferragudo, and provides access to the most beautiful sailing realms of Europe: always some wind, sheltered against ocean undulation, not too hot in summer and mild in winter….what more could you wish for! A number of times we go to the city and wander around a bit, do our shopping and go out to dinner. We also went to the big “Aqua-shopping-centre”; here I bought a new cell phone, because the sound of the old one suddenly was gone. Also we extend our 2 sim-cards once more at NOS, a special offer of € 20,00 for 30 days unlimited internet. When we berthed, our fresh food was all gone and we had, despite our aching backs, to go to the city with our dinghy. What a dis-as-ter!! You try climbing into a dinghy when you hardly can even stand or bend over! After a wobbly course over the waves, we lay the dinghy at the quay and take a taxi from there to the supermarket. We stock up quite a lot and therefore take another taxi, back to the quay. For the next days to come it is compulsory for us to take it easy!
Fred’s 60th birthday
Because we are not in Holland now, I did an appeal by e-mail to family, friends and acquaintances to surprise Fred on his birthday with ‘real’ birthday cards. It is after all a special birthday, 60, and I don’t want it to go unnoticed. Everything is assembled by Ingrid, Fred’s sister, and was shipped to us in one whole package.
On the day of his birthday I decorated the boat on the outside with a line of Dutch flags, A-4 papers with a picture of Fred and “60 years” on it and in the cockpit some festoons. I would not let him forget he reached 60!! In the cockpit the presents were laid, ready to be opened and I made an extensive breakfast with, amongst other things, chocolate vermicelli (a Dutch sandwich treat) from the Netherlands. The box from Holland was neatly on time and Fred was really happily surprised: nice cards, presents and some knick-knacks delicious things. A ‘thank you’ to everybody who joined in and especially to Ingrid for arranging everything!
I will make this a short chapter this time, because by now everybody seems to think that the only thing we do here is stuffing ourselves with food and drink! But I do want to tell something about the traditional “pastel (or pastéis) de nata”. These are wonderful little pastries, made of puff paste or normal paste, filled with custard and flambéed with cinnamon and cane sugar. Traditionally, the pastries, also called “pastéis de Belém”, are eaten when still warm. You can compare them to crème brûlée or crema Catalan. Delicious, we can’t resist this treat!
Warm weather for most of the days, with the exception of the day we went into town, then there was a drizzle and less warm. Sometimes a little cloud, a little more wind, but we are certainly not complaining about it!
What has to be repaired or replaced?
The autopilot; do we repair the old one or buy a new one?
Anchor chain; replace for a 100 metres Aqua 4 chain
Anchor itself; replace for a ROCNA anchor 33 kg
Block of the kick; replace
Aluminium plate weather vane is broken; replace
The chores we did
Two of the four wooden handgrips, we had made in Porto, adjusted to the deck. Made a sunscreen with the sowing machine. This is to be attached over the entrance in between the sprayhood and the bimini, against sun, wind and rain.
For the autopilot Joop Wilms (who has been living in Portugal for years) from http://www.aqua-electronics.nl came on board. In contrast with the dealer we talked to in Lisbon, who wanted to talk us into a completely new system at the cost of € 3.000, Joop thinks he can repair the old one. The repaired one, we than can use as a reserve. According to Joop, we only need one thing: a linear drive. This is certainly not going to cost us as much as when we were to replace everything.
Furthermore we have been looking for a new anchor and a new longer chain of 100 metres, instead of the old one, which is only 70 metres. At the water sports shop ‘Bluewater’ we gained information about ROCNA anchor, the chain and for an adjustment for the bow-protection. This all went very laboriously and moreover, they were very expensive, so we went looking for alternatives. Also, nobody could replace the aluminium part for our weather vane. Apparently, stainless steel and aluminium is hard to come by and expensive. We have one illusion less that spare parts are cheaper in Portugal, but the wages are half of what it would be in Holland.
In the end, it turned out to be cheaper to order the ROCNA anchor at ‘Saver Boats Holland’ and have it sent over. The anchor chain, that ROCNA advises, the AQUA 4, we ordered at ‘Quantus srl’ in Italia and this one was also much cheaper! Because we want to protect the bow a little more and we up till now haven’t found anyone who can fix a plate for this, we bought a so called ‘Fenderflex’ at the ‘Nauticashop’ in Holland. For the time being, the bow then will be protected well, until we find another solution. Furthermore we ordered some shackles, Racor diesel filters, stabilizers for outboard engine, double block for the kick and anchor chain hook (so called ‘Devil’s claw’). The aluminium strips for the weather vane we order at the site ‘aluminium tailor-made’ (aluminium op maat.nl), also in Holland. Everything will be delivered in the next port we go to, Lagos.
There appeared to be a number of forest-fires in the Algarve and we certainly witness a part of it. In the night, we see the hill behind the town of Portimão on fire and see it growing larger and larger. It certainly is a spectacular sight, but immensely sad when you find out how many animals have died and how many people have lost their houses. We also learn that these fires have been lit by someone who has done this many times before. The fires raged on for days and at one moment the sky looks as black as when a heavy rainstorm is going to come. The blackness is from the smoke and the ashes, which comes down on the boats in the marina for several days. Almost every day we have to rinse the grey, oily ashes off the boat. And it stays dark in the daytime for a few days. The tourist season is clearly almost over. Terraces are less crowded, there is no more music every single night and there are less and less boats in the bay. Every now and then a dinghy from customs comes by to check if there are any ‘strange creatures’ in the bay. They don’t come on board for a check….
Because we have a beautiful view of the pierheads, we can see all the incoming and outgoing traffic, and thus also the enormous cruise ships that come in and go out. This sight never fails to impress. We take the dinghy to a small beach where you only can go to by boat. Having a little swim to cool off. During one of our clandestine trips with the dinghy to the facility – showers, we pass a large DISCOVER catamaran on the way back, that sails around with tourists. The captain waves at us and beckons us to come alongside. He tells us he has had less tourists than expected today and has quite some sandwiches left over. Are we interested in some healthy (= with salad and such) sandwiches with fish? Well of course!! After a hearty thank you, we leave, with some of the sandwiches, in the direction of the bay. Thank you, captain of the DISCOVER!
Jantien and Marco, of the “Anne-Mare”, who have been laying on a mooring here for years and years, just before the village of Ferragudo. When we pass them with our dinghy, we have a little chat and in no time we are on board and at a glass of wine!
The “Windharp”, with Mark Schaart and step-up guest Robert Douglas, who sails along temporarily with Mark to make a documentary.
Our FRITZ got really excited, since Dil Kroko sails with Mark and FRITZ fell in love the moment he set eyes on the photo. They hit it off immediately, but unfortunately, FRITZ has a taken a bad turn after the “Windharp” and Dil Kroko have left. Love does strange and funny things with our mascot. Mark is a guy we already knew in Holland and we follow his goings on since he left the Netherlands.
“White pearl”, with Jeroen and Karin, whom we first met on a reunion and information day of homecoming leavers. We also read their blog and they follow ours. They come on board to have a cozy drink. We will probably see them again in November when we are in the neighbourhood of Faro.
For the rest we meet a nice young couple from Germany who sail around the world in a little boat from the year 1962, so brave!
In the bay, but also in the harbour, you see a lot of English, Swedish and Norwegian boats. Every now and then a Dutch or French boat. English ‘hibernate’ here often in winter, from the 1st of October, because by then the prices go down with 50%.
His nails are clipped regularly, so as to keep the upholstery of the saloon seats presentable. Also we brush his fur (or else everything will be covered in cat hairs) and then rinse him off with the outdoor shower. This is NOT what he had in mind! Besides that he makes his every-day rounds on deck, he likes to look at the fish that swim around the boat. Jumps in accessible shutters and runs around the whole boat every now and then. We call it the “madman’s hour”; getting rid of some superfluous energy! We have hardly any spiders or flies on board, so Kit does his best! He enjoys the last trays of SHEBA, with our thanks to Odette and Rob! You can hardly call Kit a watch-cat! He is extremely friendly to anyone who comes on board. And for the rest?
A lot of lounging about, sleeping and dreaming. In the night he lays in the saloon in his basket, in the net above the foot of our bed or just ON the bed, draped over our legs.