Not a "blue sky" day at sea

Phil & Nikki Hoskins
Mon 13 Oct 2008 10:58
In Cascais         38:41.43N 9:25.09W
Having visited 3 fishing ports in succession the boat was looking extremely shabby on deck, not helped by going ashore on damp mornings onto dirty quaysides when there is dew on deck. The result is black footprints all over, which Nikki commented on needed a damm good wash off at the next port. Well someone up above must have overheard the conversation, as we motored out of Peniche towards a darkening sky.
There was no strong wind forecast, although a low pressure area emerging out of the straits of Gibraltar was gradually filling in the next day or so. After an hour we were under the darkening sky and shortly after that the first streak of lightening, followed by a clap of thunder indicated that our day was about to get a whole lot worse. Then, the rain arrived, gallons of it, hours of it in fact, as we motored along dripping wet keeping a look out for the never ending succession of lobster pots. Down below domestic matters took a major turn for the worse as the only fly swat we have on board broke - to the probable delight of the Peniche fly troup that had hitched a ride to see their Cascais cousins. We were reduced to swatting with a piece of carboard we had left from the fitout which did account for a few more casualties. Meanwhile the rain fell relentlessly and switching on the radar only gave the impression that we were being followed by our own private thunderstorm.
Eventually it cleared through, leaving an unhappy looking sky, but at least it dried up and out came the fishing line once more in a desperate attempt to be self sufficient. It almost worked, as with 5 miles to go, off Cabo da Roca (incidently the most westerly point of the European mainland) the fishing reel whizzed noisily indicating that dinner may have just arrived. Unfortunately "dinner" had other ideas and thrashed itself successfully off the hook, so we arrived in Cascais, cleaner on deck but fish-less. The most frustrating aspect was not knowing what we had almost caught. So we went out to eat as a consulation prize, trying the local version of bacalhau (a dish made from dried,salted cod).