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Sailmithril - ocean cruising adventures

European Coast


Port and partying in Portugal. 

Porto, Portugal
off for a free tasting.

For the first time since leaving Ireland I seem to have enough time to actually write and let youse know that we have arrived safely in the warmer climes. We're having a good time so far and the crew have been great. For the first few days we ambled down the Irish coast with Brian admiring the hilly scenery - so different from Holland where he had come from. We stopped in Dunlaoghaire marina and coughed up the ludicrous price of 45 euro; whereas Arklow wanted 10 euro for a year in the fish dock. Our crossing of Biscay was a great experience for the boys with all weathers from flat calm to hove to in a gale. They were a little queasy at first but only one was sick and then only once. They kept popping the stugeron for the first couple of days. After 5 days we reached the 26 degrees of warm Spanish air. Spanish prices have risen a little since our previous visit in 1994 but there was still nice wine to be had at about 1.5 euro a bottle. We've never been to the Spanish rias at the north west end of the country before so we spent a few days easy sailing about there. Very attractive scenery and old villages. We anchored off a group of islands near Bayona for walks ashore and sandy beach swimming. There were a lot of gum trees ashore and in the heat we had only to close our eyes to be back in aussie - no koalas or parrots in the trees though. After an overnight passage from Bayona we arrived in Portugal near Porto. One of the crew did skipper on that as a qualifying passage for his yachtmaster and what an experience it was for him with thick fog from early morning. We came into the harbour on radar and waited for the fog to clear before tying up at the marina. Then we had a nice surprise of a free miniature of port each plus a complimentary ticket to the sandeman cellar in Porto. We went there and had a free port tasting and a cellar tour. Porto is a lovely city - very busy and European but also a bit olde worlde. One of the crew left from Porto - back to the real world of work and wages. After a day or 2 in Porto we did a 2 day passage to Lagos on the Algarve where we paid even more than in Dunlaoghaire for a marina berth. From there we did a few day sails along a very attractive coastline until we got to Faro. We are now in Olhao in a marina which is unfinished and is therefore free. Unfortunately we can only stay here a couple of days as the schedule demands that we keep going east to the Mediterranean. Peter and I are then taking October off to do more work to the boat before heading on to the Canaries and our next crew for the ocean passage. We will probably return to this marina for most of the month. As usual we weren't ready to leave Ireland by the first of September but having people arriving meant that we did the minumum and it was good having that deadline otherwise we would have put off departure as in other years and would have missed out on the fine sailing and ambience of the Atlantic coast. Our new 50 kilo anchor is wonderful and we feel nice and snug at anchor. The new engine is superb giving us 6.5 knots at 1150 revs and using about 1.5 gallons an hour. For the first time ever we overtook another motoring yacht between Dublin and Arklow. A little wind came up on the bow and they started to slow down whereas we opened up another 100 rpm and kept our speed - oh the joy of 5 knots into a head wind and sea!! The only thing we're not happy about is our deck paint which is very susceptible to footprints and needs scrubbing in every harbour - but then there are plenty of hands to man the brushes.

copyright Geraldine Foley.