Monday 18 November 2013

Cascais To Portimao And Lagos. 16 Oct - 17 Nov 2013

Cascais To Lagos.     Kisti Two departed the lovely marina and town of Cascais at 0900 on a grey day with plenty of swell despite light winds. We were heading for Lagos, some 120nm away which would mean an overnight sail so we quickly adopted our watch routine of 2 hours on and off. The sun came out at mid-day as the swell reduced and it was not long before we were immersed in Dolphins up to their usual party tricks on the bows, under the hull and on our wake. We also had to keep a good lookout for the many fishing buoys that litter the coast and easily wrap themselves around the prop. It was a lovely day lazing in the cockpit and the wind picked up enough to raise the Genoa late afternoon. It was soon dark but a full moon rose which gave us just enough light to see the fishing buoys. Sailing at night is always a magical experience as all your senses are heightened.

Dolphins On Port Bow
Dolphins On Starboard Bow
Not More Dolphins!

 Round Cape St Vincent.   While Guy was on watch, we were attacked by a school of dolphins. He saw what looked like 5 torpedoes coming into his starboard side as the phosphorescence shone off their backs as they raced into towards Kisti Two. They then played around for 30 minutes in the shimmering moonlight putting on a most magical display as we sailed along silently. We approached the south western tip of Portugal as the sun rose up to give us a wonderful picture of Cape St Vincent and the lighthouse. We then at last headed East along the Southern Portuguese coast to anchor off Praia De Luz and have a well earned kip in the shelter of the bay away from the swell.

Rounding Cabo de Sao Vincente At Sunrise

Lagos Marina    We left our anchorage at 1300hrs and sailed round to Lagos to enter the marina at high water. We were tied up safely on E pontoon and soon were meeting all those live-aboards who were all staying for winter. Ginny wanted to look at Portimao before making a 6 month commitment but Lagos Marina is well known as the 'velcro' marina, once here you get stuck!

Skipper Refreshed After A Kip At Anchor
Rounding Ponta do Burgau Outside Lagos
Approaching  Lagos And The Bensafrim River Mouth

Lagos    The next three days were spent exploring Lagos and getting to know the area as a potential 6 month winter spot. We looked at the shops, market, restaurants, supermarkets, pubs, bus stations, railway station, banks etc, etc and liked what we saw but the Admiral wanted to look at Portimao before making a final decision, so we departed on 20 Oct to travel 8 miles east to the next marina.

Lagos Town Gate
Lagos Marina

The Black Route From Cascais To Lagos,
Yellow Arrow And Red Boats.

Portimao    We were to spend 6 interesting and enjoyable days at Portimao, but after an extensive recce again, decided to return to Lagos Marina. The marina was very pleasant and the local bar and restaurant staff were most helpful and generous, but it is very much a large tourist destination, the shops and bank were a bus trip away and the town centre lacked all the charm of Lagos. There were not many liveaboards which would make for a very dull 6 months. It will certainly be a lovely place to visit in winter for variety with its sheltered anchorage and excellent restaurants.

Portimao Marina
Ferragudo Town And Forte Sao Joao Opposite Portimao.
Portimao Marina, Restaurants And Holiday Flats With Anchorage In Distance.
Portimao Beach, Restaurants And Hotels.

Strong Winds     There was some very heavy rain and strong winds on one of our days in the marina. It was not a real problem until a sudden enormous gust of some 50 knots plus pushed through the marina and blew Kisti Two right over. She was in fact heeled over further than we have ever sailed her and caused several screams in the marina. We were later informed a mini whirlwind had blown through, thankfully not for long and everything soon settled down. Another reminder of the power of nature. There was no damage but we don't want to be doing that again! We are now getting 40 knot gusts in Lagos Marina as I write this log. Better check the ropes which now have large black rubber mamba springs to reduce the jerking.

Ginny Enjoying The Rain Until 50 Knot Gust!
Forte Santa Catarina Behind Portimao Marina

Lagos Marina For Winter     We left Portimao Marina on 26 October 2013 to return to Lagos. It was not a difficult choice and has already proved to be the correct decision. Guy had to return at short notice for a funeral of a dear old friend, Rex Ellis in UK, where he was able to meet his lovely god daughter Mary as well as test the transport system to UK and back. Although cold, it was lovely to be in UK although briefly. Ginny took the opportunity to join the Lagos Strollers on a walk around the Cape St Vincent area. They go on a group walk of about 12 km every week. it is very well organised and quite a fun way to visit the area and meet people, some of whom are liveaboards while others are local expats. We also enjoyed an evening with them all in a local restaurant with a full meal and as much beer and wine as you wanted all for 12 Euros each!

West Coast Surf Beach While On Lagos Strollers Walk
Lagos Slave Market Square With Galley Slave!
Guy At Fort Lagos Entrance

Lagos     There is plenty to do in Lagos. It is a lovely old Portuguese town with plenty of character and charm. The old part of town is very attractive surrounded by 3/4 of the original wall. There are lovely beaches, coves and grottoes to explore. The supermarkets and market are all very close ( within 400 metres of Kisti Two) and Barclays Bank is a short 5 minute bicycle ride away.  The train station is 200 metres away and Faro Airport about 2 hrs, 8 Euro train ride away. All the cheap Airlines visit Faro and we have managed to book flights and a bag return to UK for both of us for only £116, so if you want to escape the cold over winter, just get booking!! There is also a good boat yard close at hand, plenty of lively liveaboards staying here for winter and a lively programme of events. Oh dear, the livers will get no rest!

Lagos Beaches
Lagos Beach Coves
Lagos Grottoes

Maintenance   We have started our personnel and boat maintenance programmes. Ginny has been swimming every morning with a group of sea gypsies at the very good local pool and Guy has been seen running along the beach at sunset to shed those man boobs! A week of no alcohol was also undertaken. This was made much easier by watching 'Game Of Thrones' each night and we are now fans of this excellent programme. Need to get season 3 now. We have also started on the yacht maintenance programme which has been just as tiring. It took us 4 days to clean and restore the teak deck, let it dry out fully and then put on 3 coats of dressing. It is an exhausting and back breaking task but she now looks as good as new and the envy of all those who joked at our hard work. We have also polished up the sides, repaired canvas, changed filters, serviced the engine and sorted out the lockers and safety equipment. There is still much to do but the hard work is completed.

Ginny On Winter Maintenance Work
Kisti Two Deck After Cleaning
Guy Adding SEMCO Dressing To The Teak Decks
The Completed Decks And Polished Sides.

Party Life     We have made plenty of friends and life here is full of fun and parties. There are music evenings, games nights, cocktail sunsets, happy hour (3 - 7) in the bars, rugby on the screens, yoga, swimming and beach visits. The weather has been excellent with blue skies and light winds although the temperature has now dropped below 20C by day and is at 10C by night.

Sea Gypsies At Work. Another Hard Day In The Office.
Sunset Over Lagos Marina. Kisti Two Is In The Middle Somewhere!
Sea Gypsies Planning The Next Party.
Not Another Sunset From Lighthouse Bar Happy Hour.

6 Months     We have now been living on board for 6+ months. It has been a wonderful journey to date meeting so many lovely locals and happy yachties, visiting interesting places and discovering interesting new places. We have completed 2,326 nautical miles since leaving Weymouth on 16 May 2013 and are now well and truely hooked into this lifestyle. Ginny's sister Louise visits us for a week today and then we return to UK for 2 weeks to catch up with family and friends. We do hope you have enjoyed the blog which will not be updated so often as we winter here. We hope to start again in March or April next year by going into the Med. Do join us for some winter fun or let us know if you want a sail in the Med. Guy is now planning next years trip where we might be in the western Med until the high season silly prices (summer holiday) begin whereupon we will dash over to Greece and the eastern Med.

Our Route (Black Line) From Weymouth, Southern England To
 Lagos (Yellow Arrow) Portugal. 2326 NM.
Next Year The Med Awaits.

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