Master and Commander(in our dreams)

andromeda of plymouth
Susan and Andrew Wilson
Fri 16 Oct 2009 15:24

What can we say about the weather – it has been glorious – blue skies,
warm sun, gentle breeze, we can see why some folks never get any further
than this. It was just as nice for the barbeque last week. We pottered
along and had a very interesting wander around all the workshops in the
boat yard and then had a lovely Portuguese hog roast. It was accompanied
by a great bean and rice mixture along with a wide variety of sausages,
really delicious and washed down with copious amounts of free drink.
Yummy yummy (and we have just realised why there are funny numbers in our
blog – we were trying to put in some smiley faces – so you see we hadn’t
gone mad – well not yet).
Over the next few days we did a bit of exploring and found out where the
other supermarkets were located so we can have a bit of a change every now
and again. We only have two more to track down, the Chinese one and the
English one. We also went to the Farmers Market on Saturday which had
some great products including live rabbits and chickens and homemade piri
piri sauce, alongside various marmalades and herbs. The quality was pretty
good so that will be our weekly Saturday morning trip from now on.
We’ve been to the beach again(it’s a hard life – honest) and this time the
tide was out so we were able to walk out about 100 metres and the water
was still only waist deep, there were no waves to speak of and the water
was really warm – once you got in, and as it is at the end of the season
there was plenty of room for everyone. We also had another dip in the pool
after a particularly busy morning, that was no warmer but again we were
the only ones using it so it felt very luxurious.
Tuesday was a really exciting day, the Marina here had arranged a trip on
a Caravel – the Boa Esperanca. The boat is a replica of one sailed in the
16th century around the Cape of Good Hope to India and East Indies for the
spice trade and was extensively used during the discoveries. This
particular replica has been as far afield as Brazil, Spain, France, the UK
and the Baltic and has a very enthusiastic and dedicated volunteer crew.
They are a fantastic bunch of people and the skill with which they
manoeuvred the Esperanca was great to see. First of all they had to turn
us around and there is only just enough water to do so. Bearing in mind
that the crew manning the engine and the tiller cannot see where they are
going – this boat does not have a wheel on deck so everything is done by
voice command from the captain and relayed down the boat-very impressive
it was too and a great example of teamwork and boat handling. The
Esperanca weighs just over 100 tons so needs a lot of wind to get going
but it was a great feeling motoring majestically down the river and out
to the sea. We were able to explore the whole boat and had a tour round
the engine room, saw the bunks, galley and heads but our favourite place
was up on the poop deck. (In days of yore I most certainly would not have
been allowed up there). After a couple of hours motoring we turned round
and all helped to put the sail up. We had a go at manning the tiller, very
different to Andromeda, so heavy and big and quite a struggle to keep on
course. However we must have done a reasonable job as Andrew was requested
- by the captain no less- to do a second stint as we returned to Lagos.
Sailing back up the river there were so many people taking photographs
from the shore we felt a bit like celebrities, and again we observed the
skill of the crew in bringing her gently alongside the pontoon. Such a
great day and we will be posting some photos soon.
Other news this week, our friends on September Song have had their engine
fixed and have now gone on their way. They came to visit us last night and
I had a brilliant time making a boat with Matis their 4 year old son and
then had a cuddle with Alexia – ahhhh. They have gone off to anchor in
Portimao complete with some emerging basil plants that we gave them
(thanks Jen we have planted them at last and they are coming up lovely).
We are actually taking a photo everyday as they grow and may post them too
– you have been warned.
We are steadily getting on with our jobs too and reckon we have done about
1/6th of the list without adding very many more so only about another 75
to go.............. How do we go about balancing jobs/pool/beach.....well
that would be telling.
Wildlife report – didn’t think we would have any new things to tell but
when we went on our exploration we were looking up and saw some beautiful
storks sitting on their nests, way up high on very tall chimneys. The
nests were very large and they look a bit precarious but the storks don’t
seem to mind. Matis also told us that he has seen some lizards but we
haven’t caught them on film yet.
That’s all from sunny Portugal (though rain is forecast for a day next week).
More in due course.
Susan and Andrew
s/v Andromeda

Ps last week’s challenge was won by Makathea who emailed back almost
immediately to tell us that it was from Ballroom Blitz by the Sweet.
Hopefully they will come and collect their drink some time soon (sorry for
those of you not around in the 70’s-it’s an age thing).
You may have noticed the alliteration in the titles of our posts since
Figueira da Foz can you work out what we are doing next ?( I think the
youngsters have as much of a chance with this one)