Monday, 18 October 2010

The Opposite Extreme

The morning of the 14th arrived with sunny skies and virtually no wind - the forecast predicted quiet conditions right through to the weekend, so we knew that we'd need to rely on the engine to get us at least part of the way to Lagos, our next destination  We decided that we'd depart sometime that afternoon.

After a walk into the town of Porto from the marina, and visting the local market (a genuine market selling fish straight off the fishing boats, fresh vegetables and even live chickens and rabbits!) and supermarket, we were stocked up for the estimated 2 day trip to Lagos.  Upon returning to the marina we stowed the groceries and cast off at around 15h00, glad to leave the very polluted waters of the working port behind.

An almost total lack of wind meant motoring for hours, which led into days, on end - making an average speed of around 4 knots.  In good sailing conditions we would normally make around 5-6 knots, so we were losing approximately 24 miles a day, which meant that our 2 day trip turned out to be a 3 day one.  Although the days were beautifully bright and warm, and the sea state calm, the endless drone of the engine seemed to slow time down, so we were looking for things to do to keep us occupied.  Dave our skipper taught us how to "whip" the end of frayed ropes (using waxed nylon twine to bind the end), and we got on with a few small maintenance jobs.  The night watches also seemed to last longer than usual, and if it weren't for cups of tea being regularly made, we'd nod off at the helm!  We also had the occasional visit from dolphins - something which is always welcome, although they seemed to mock our lack of speed by jumping out of the water.

You don't need a reason to play!
On we motored, and by the time we reached Cape St. Vincent, the south-western most point of Europe with it's impressive lighthouse, we were running very low on fuel, having already used up 2 reserve containers.  We were hoping that as we turned the corner and headed east, we'd pick up some much-needed wind.  As we rounded the cape, a welcome 15 knots of wind, blowing off the land in a southerly direction greeted us.  We unfurled  the genoa, killed the engine and cruised towards Lagos at around 6 knots, with broad smiles on our faces showing relief that we didn't have to resort to oars, to get us the remaining 20 odd miles into port!

Cape St. Vincent, Portugal
We entered the pretty (although touristy) port of Lagos at around 17h00 of the 17th, and after mooring up we found a local restaurant - the extended time that it had taken for us to get to Lagos had also meant low food reserves and a hungry (and thirsty) crew!

Arrived at last!
So far on this adventure we've had both extremes of weather thrown at us - the lesson being learning to accept and adapt to whatever we encounter - to "go with the flow"....

Next stop - the Canaries!
Until then....


  1. U r sooooo lucky to have seen dolphins so many times, I am well & truly jealous. Great blog entry, interesting reading:-)

  2. Happy to see you safe and warm! The dolphins are lovely, fair winds......

  3. Hey Bruv, I think I prefer the stories of no wind to the stories of gale force winds....will be nice to hear all the tales from the horses mouth when you get to speak. thinking of you guys and my prayers to the heavens for your safe keeping!
    Love your sis.

  4. Finally Canaries!!!!! Beautiful :-)