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Pressing on to Portugal

by SV Taipan 16 Sep 2018 19:10 UTC
Pressing on to Portugal © SV Taipan

Sunny days anchored off white sandy beaches thronging each afternoon with seaside revellers. Sailboards and kayaks gliding past on the soft breeze as the light turns pastel signalling the end of another glorious day on the Spanish Galician seaside. Drinks and dinners on one or other of the yachts in the fleet. Lazy days passing far to swiftly.

Reality bites. Red Roo makes a run for it to meet a deadline in Porto. Sentijn and Taipan tarry, waiting for a little less weather!. Saturday dawns with a gentle offshore breeze as promised and Taipan sleuths out of the anchorage while all the Sentains sleep. They have to grab it while the can because Dean is keeping odd hours at only one and half years old.

The forecast was a little lighter than we would have liked but we need to make water so the motor will have to run for about 5 hours anyway. Heading south to Lexios 71nm away and it's looking good. However, the wind did die and became very fickle. Every sail change was thwarted by a wind shift. Portuguese fisherman, like all fishermen, have littered the ocean with pots and trailing lines. Booby traps for the unwatchful. Nice to sail but not nice motoring through these fields of floats and ropes.

Portugal. Arrived in Lexios around 7pm after a good days motor-sailing. There's a great anchorage inside the breakwater. Marina is a bit run down but we lucked out with the weekend staffer. The girl in charge was young enthusiastic very helpful and spoke excellent English. We tried to check in but were told it was not necessary.

The following day we were invited to join the Red Roo team on a family outing up the river to Porto. It was sensational weather and the crew were young, fun and enthusiastic. An altogether perfect way to see Porto. The boat is so full of wine we couldn't fit any Port on. After two nights in the anchorage and with lovely weather, we said farewell to Phil and Marie and headed on south. 33 nm to Aveiro.

Hoisted sail around 11.30 pleasant 13 knots at 40deg. Nice sailing. Arrived in Foz in very calm weather. Fueled up on the fuel dock and were allocated a pen. Crosscurrent in the pen forced some rapid fending and fortunately, a couple of local boaters jumped to assist. We made our way into town for dinner of traditional bread stew with seafood. Not one to repeat.

A solid sea mist had settled on the marina shortly after we arrived and it persisted through the following morning. We motor sailed most of the day to the marina in Nazere where we had a nice evening aboard Paradise Divide USA with Grayson and Pat and the crew from Jan USA. Giorgio and Jan.

Motor sailed again to Peniche. Anchored inside the south breakwater. There was a big diesel slick and smelly fish factories around the harbour. Lots of speeding fishing boats in and out of the harbour creating big wakes was but sleep was ok.

Early departure, to cover the 46nm to Cascais misty again not great visibility. This coast is famous for its big surf. Dotted with small towns and villages wedged into cracks in the cliffs and many intrepid beachgoers who made the long descent to the water. It was not big swell but there were still a few surfers out on boards.

As the day wore on, swell increased and wind on the headland blew up to 30kn. We broke a sheve in the preventer block and the lazy jack quit as we were reefing the main. Otherwise pretty uneventful in such rolly windy conditions.

The headland at Cabo Raso and lighthouse are spectacular and we were lucky the mist was at a minimum.

Overnighted on anchor in the bay at Cascais before making our way upriver to Alcantara Marina nearer Lisborn. Here we had an unexpected family rendezvous which was great fun. Explored some of the sights of Lisbon and left the following morning for Cascais again.

Sesimbra. was the next anchorage. There is a13C restored castle on the hill which we didn't visit, being on a mission to get some miles under the keel.

Next stop was Sines, again an anchorage. A little rolly but ok. An early departure the following morning to Cabo Sao Vicente 63nm to the south. Seas were building throughout the day but it remained clear. Stunning rock formations all along the coast. We spent the night in Baleeira. I think it rocky bottom because the anchor chain was growling overnight.

Water 23 deg. lovely wind offshore for sailing 53 nm along the coast to Ice de Culatra. Rondevous with Mark on Grace Richards anchored in this very sheltered waterway. the island itself is just a big sand island with a lot of huts and some tourist shops.

We spent two nights before heading 55nm east to Huelva and back into Spain. We were harassed by the Harbourmaster who also moonlights as the marina manager. The marina has had some bad press and so it's almost empty. We were told to go to the marina or go back out to sea. We chose to stay at anchor just outside the marina with a couple of other boats and were not harassed further. Unpleasant though. You can read more on Noonsite about Marina Mazagon.

It was just 45nm to Cadiz from here and we sailed again in light wind and pleasant sunshine arriving at Puerto America in the late afternoon. Cadiz is a wonderful old city with lots to see. It is the oldest city in Europe Western and archaeological remains dating to 3100 years have been recovered. Columbus left on his famous expedition of discovery to the Americas from Cadiz.

It is not sprawling because its set on an island, connected to the mainland by a bridge. It has nowhere to sprawl to so its packed with interesting old buildings, cathedrals plazas, modern shopping, restaurants and bars.

The History Museum, set in one of the many squares has a great archaeological display, Sadly it was all in Spanish with no English translations available. It has been an important strategic and commercial centre since its founding by the Tyrian, eighty years after the Trojan War (1104 BC.)

Our trusty swabby Patrick Nolan from Sydney joined the good ship Taipan whilst we were in Cadiz. We spent five days exploring, shopping and provisioning for the next leg to Morocco.

For the Moroccan experience join us again soon.

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