Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Winter In Lagos, Portugal 2013/14

     We have enjoyed a wonderful 6 months over the winter of 2013/14 based in the Lagos Marina in Portugal. It has been a great experience during which time we have partied, completed maintenance programmes on Kisti Two, attacked the local gym and pool on tough fitness regimes, visited UK on a couple of occasions and hosted friends and relatives.  It is now time to continue on into the Med so this blog covers our winter sojourn in Lagos.

Louise & Ginny At The Grottoes.
      Having settled in our berth in Lagos Marina in late October and getting used to a routine of walks along the beach, shopping day to day in the varied supermarkets in the town, swimming at the Municipal Pool and joining in with Lagos Navigators events, we prepared to welcome my sister Louise for a weeks visit in November. We did the sight seeing trips around Lagos town and harbour and a walk out to the lighthouse on the Ponta de Piedade. We looked down on the spectacular beaches, stacks, arches and the boats visiting the grottoes. It was a glorious afternoon with evening drinks looking out over the sea to Alvor and Portimao but with a brisk wind and swell highlighting why we remained at our berth for the first day or so. 

Departing Lagos Marina For A Quick Winter Sail.
Ginny At The Helm With Louise Relaxing In Lagos Bay.
As Promised, Louise Enjoying The Dolphins.
Sunset In Portimao Anchorage.
        With an improvement in sailing conditions we set out for a sail. First we set off west towards Sagres with a view on to Cabo Sao Vincente the most South Westerly point of Europe. The weather was looking promising for Dolphin sighting and true to form they turned up and charmed Louise for 40 minutes or so diving below the bow and running along with us and weaving in and out of each other. We turned eastward and sailed back past Lagos and into the anchorage inside the harbour of Portimao. The sun set spectacularly as we prepared a barbecue and ate out in the cockpit. The following day was cloudy and cold. We set off up river towards Portimao and Ferragudo and then out to sea for an exploration of the coast eastward. Then we returned to Lagos and other activities.

No One Gets Away With A Quiet Birthday!!
The Group Celebrating Pats Birthday.
Ginny At Local Windmill
     The usual Lagos activities occupied the next few days. Beach walks, a birthday celebration on the pontoon and an evening meal in one of the town restaurants, a cycle ride, a trip to Portimao and a museum visit. 
Ginny & Louise On Sunset Beach Stroll
    After Louise's departure it was only a few days before we returned to England because of the very competitive prices on Easyjet from Faro to Bristol. We went back for a pre-Christmas visit to see our girls. Kate and Rob travelled down from Yorkshire to London and came over to meet up with Zoe,  Louise and ourselves in Reading. We had a superb lunch and swapped Christmas greetings and presents and had a wonderful time catching up together, the first time since our departure in May.
Wells Cathedral Visit With Cathy & Andy
Wells Cathedral. Quite Majestic.
The Stunning Wells Cathedral
     We travelled by train, bus and taxi with friends collecting us from stations and setting us on our way again. Many thanks everyone who hosted us. It made for a fun 'holiday' away from the boat. We were well wined and dined and enjoyed time with Mary and Andrew, Colin and Marion, Melanie and Nigel, Nick and Maxine, Joe and friends in Gosport. We also went to stay with Cathy and Andy in their lovely new home near Wells. A trip into Wells for a little Christmas shopping gave us the opportunity to visit the Cathedral which was breathtakingly beautiful and so calm and serene after the ornate and gilded churches and cathedrals of Spain and Portugal. We visited the Bishops Palace and gardens and watched as a photographer set up this picture of Wells Cathedral reflected in the lake. A copy of a calendar picture taken many years ago, so we had to take it too!

Guy & Ginny Celebrating Xmas On Kisti Two
     We flew back to Portugal to join in the round of Christmas events. We hoisted lights up the mast and decorated the boat inside and out to add to the competition in the marina. We also walked along the beach to take photos for our email Christmas 'card'. Ginny joined the 'Navigators`' choir and joined in with the carol singing around the pontoons. We were well rewarded with drinks and at one boat, mince pies. A great treat as imported ones were an awful price! We had hoped to barbecue on Christmas Day but the weather was not too good so our Christmas dinner was Roast Beef and all the trimmings cooked on board. We also received excellent news that Kate & Rob had got engaged (at last!).
A Relaxed Galley Slave After Producing An Excellent Xmas Dinner.
Captain Enjoying Xmas Dinner.
    New Years Eve was a Chinese Dinner followed by a Marina Pub crawl with a fireworks display at Midnight. New Years Day involved a large group of the sea gypsies heading to the beach for a swim. Well done Ginny for braving the cold waters! Guy took the pictures.

New Years Day Swimmers From Lagos Marina
     We both attacked the fitness regime with a vengeance in the New Year. Ginny would depart early each morning for the pool swimming 40 - 50 lengths each day followed by a rigorous session of Pilate's while Guy would disappear in the afternoon to the gym to attack the rowing machine and exercise bicycles followed by simple exercises. We kept this up until the end of March and Guy lost nearly 2 stone, how careless!! Mind you, there were some lovely sights in the gym which helped to take away the pain and boredom of it all. Our friends from Wales, Pam & Paul came out for a short visit at their wonderful Villa in Quinta de Lago so we managed a short mini break away from Kisti Two. We enjoyed exploring Faro, Villamora and the hinterland of the Algarve. 

Ginny, Guy & Pam

Pam & Paul's Wonderful Villa In Quinta De Lago
Storks Nesting In Faro
Orange Trees Of Faro. Help Yourself!
     We both enjoyed the winter warmth, light and way of life in Lagos. There was always something going on and it all seemed very cheap. The cost of living is half that of UK and our UK £'s enjoyed an improving exchange rate as the year progressed. Ginny is now officially a State Pensioner so more coppers to help with mooring charges in the Med. Guy thoroughly enjoyed watching all the Rugby Internationals in the Marina Bar, both the Autumn and 6 Nations.  Ginny attended Rope work lessons and we enjoyed several Lagos Mariners Meals for €12-15 each, 3 courses and as much wine as you wanted.  There was also a 'fire off of your out of date safety flares' on the beach assisted by the Marine Police. A very worthwhile exercise as Ginny learnt much about the dangers of these so called safety devices. We ended up buying gardening gloves should the need arise but also for pulling up filthy Med ropes in Marinas.  Flamingos were spotted in the Alvor area so the girls shot off for a spot of birdwatching.  We have also enjoyed watching Game Of Thrones, Rome and Sherlock on the quieter nights to rest our kidneys!!
Ginny Firing Off Out Of Date Safety Flares
The Lagos Mariners Letting Off Old Safety Flares.
A Worthwhile Experience.
The Girls Out Flamingo Watching.
     Chris & Lorraine kindly offered to take us out on a sightseeing day so we visited the old Moorish Castle at Silves which was fascinating and then we headed off to the Carnival at Loule. Not quite Brazil but still a great fun day out.

Out Visiting With Chris & Lorraine.
Silves Castle.
The Original Moorish Castle At Silves
Silves Castle
Guy & Ginny At Silves Castle
Lorraine & Ginny At Loule Carnival
Guy & Lorraine Enjoying Chocolate Waffles!
The Smart Girls Of Loule Carnival

One Of Many Political Floats At Loule Carnival
The Mardi Gras Float. Not Quite Brazil But Good Enough!
    Our Gosport sailing friends Joe and Julie came out for a short visit in March. More exploration followed with a visit to Sagres Fort where Henry The Navigator taught his pupils to navigate. After some boat preparation, Guy being hoisted up the mast to check the rigging and electrics, we set out for a sail. The first day was not pleasant with F5 winds and swell, but the last 2 were fine and gave Julie the opportunity to enjoy sailing, steering and living on board. We anchored in Portimao both nights out after going through all angles of sailing. It was good to be sailing again.
Henry The Navigators Teaching Compass, The Wind Rose
At Sagres Fort Which Sir Francis Drake Once Captured. 
Joe & Julie Looking Forward To A Bit Of F5!
Guy At Top Of Kisti Two Mast Checking Rigging And Electrics.
Flip Flops Not Recommended!
Julie Up The Mast.
Joe Enjoying Being At The Helm Again.
Guy In That 'Hat' At Portimao.
Joe (The Racer) Trimming The Cruising Chute
Ginny Enjoying Sailing Round Lagos Lighthouse
The Much Happier Team Of Ginny, Joe & Julie In F2

     We joined in for a Lagos Strollers walk to Alvor followed by an excellent lunch and too much wine overlooking the bay. We returned by tourist boat to Lagos Marina via the grottoes. An excellent day thoroughly well organised by Les and his dog Bob.
The Lagos Strollers Walk To Alvor Followed By Lunch!
Alvor Bay Anchorage From Restaurant.
Sardines For Lunch?
Boat Trip Back From Alvor Along Grottoes

      Kate phoned us up with excellent news that she and Rob had got a new job based on a 38m motor yacht called 'Arcadia' based in Charleston, USA. So we quickly returned to UK and all met up as a family in Kate & Robs new home in Pocklington near York. It was wonderful to see them all and meet up with Robs parents and Grandmother. Louise acted as chauffeur throughout and we managed to visit my sister Jane in Annan and then Mary in Dalbeattie. We also visited Zoe's Godmother in Kendal and enjoyed a refreshing walk in the hills before witnessing Chris's Monty Python dance routine in the kitchen!  We also visited Cathy & Andy again, stayed with Ron & Mary in Bere Regis while checking up on our house, visited Kemp Sails loft and then back to Gosport to see Joe & Julie. We also managed a couple of visits to Reading to have lunch with Zoe & Tom before returning shattered back to Lagos.

Back In UK Visiting Family At Pocklington.
Ginny, Chris & Louise Striding Out In The Lake District Near Kendal.
   The weather has improved and warmed up considerably.  Some of our winter friends have departed East towards the Med and others have headed off to the Canaries. We have spent the last week preparing for our departure. Kisti Two was lifted out at Sopramar Marina where her Coppercoat was power washed clean, the anodes changed and propeller all cleaned up. This took 2 1/2 hours and only cost £120 compared to a minimum £500 anti foul job. 
Kisti Two Lifted Out At Sopramar.
Coppercoat Worked Beautifully
Kisti Two Going Back In 2hrs Later After Pressure Wash.
Kisti Two returning To Lagos Marina
     After a week of hard work and preparation, we are now ready for the off. Ginny also managed to complete her rope work project making a very useful mat. Kisti Two is now all shipshape, polished, serviced and ready to go. We are off out for a few nights before returning to meet friends again then we are off East on 25 May hoping to reach Gibraltar in June. Do join us along the way by reading the blog which will be updated more often again or fly out and sail with us for a week or two. 
Ginny Making An Ocean Plait Mat
The Finished Product. What A Lovely Mat.
Skipper With New Hat! All Jobs Done And Ready To Go!
Big Smiles.