Sultry Sines

andromeda of plymouth
Susan and Andrew Wilson
Sat 12 Sep 2009 12:33
37.57.047N 08.51.983W
After another night of disco music while at anchor off Cascais (not sure how we find these party spots given our poor history at it on dry land) we headed south at around 8am heading for Sines(pronounced cinch). There wasn't much wind at all for almost the entire trip so we made do with a preventer on the boom and the engine on at about 1700 rpm. We had cloud, sunshine and rain - indeed we almost got very wet, but it didn't last that long and soon the sunshine returned.
We were being chased by a tanker as we approached Sines and sanity rather than foolhardiness prevailed - unusual we know - so we altered course and didn't try and race the tanker into the harbour. He was, after all, full of what may have been oil, petrol or gas - being brightly painted in red was also a clue. The AIS was very useful here telling us how close he was going to be and at what time. Earlier after we left Cascais, we were due to be passed, within a 100 meteres, by a colossal cruise liner, just as we were crossing the channel into Lisboa on our way south, but he obviously thought, "oh dear here's trouble" and turned instead to enter the approach channel and not continue on a very close passing course - good man! Getting the AIS and the radar has proved to be a good investment.
Sines is an odd sort of town being a mixture of old town on the hill combined with an active fishing fleet and a large commercial dock operation. The town is famous as being the birthplace of Vasco da Gama and they have named the beach and almost every establishment in the town after him. His statue gazes out to sea from the castle on the hill, probably quite amazed at the changes in the world since his famous voyage(he idscovered the route to India round the Cape of Good Hope - part of what the Portuguese call The Discoveries). Not far from the castle on the hill is a very grand and modern marble ediface which is the towns art gallery and library, quite out of keeping from the rest of the narrow streets that surround it, but taken as a piece of architecture its rather good we thought.
We caught up with Lucy Alice on the SSB and they are well on their way to Gibralter after changing flight dates and being kept in Vilamoura for four days due to very strong easterly winds - the direction they wanted to go. We hope to stay in touch with them as they go on the world rally via the SSB and learn more about their adventures but also about some of the ports and stopovers they make, as this will be very useful information for us in the future.
We plan to head to Cape St Vincent and round the corner into the Algarve tomorrow, weather permitting. It is a long trip and there is only one possible place of refuge on the way, so we are keeping a good eye on the weather and plan to make a very early start. When we arrived in Sines the marina was quite full and several boats arrived after us squeezing into the few available berths. Today almost all the boats already here have gone, leaving the place quite empty. It will probably fill up later on. Those heading south left very early, those heading north, a little later. One or two left when it was dark which, given the number of pot markers there around, is quite brave - we would rather seem them than feel them.
They have put up a stage area in the marina complex which we think is for prize giving later.  As we were having breakfast this morning between 40 and 50 small ribs left the marina. Most seem to have someone on the wheel with the other person in a wet suit ready to go spear fishing, we shall keep an eye on when they return and let you know if they bring their catch back with them - we suspect there may well be a party later on too - well it is Saturday and we are here. Wonder if we will get an invite?
More sightings to add to the wildlife tally, today we saw a tiny lizard as we climbed up to the castle, couldn't get a photo, you know how fast they are.
We have posted a few photos from the trip so far on facebook, look for andromeda plymouth. We will need to confirm you as friends and as no internet at moment it will take a few days but if you are interested they are there.  Once we get settled we will sort out putting photos on this blog too, just need to get our heads together and sort ourselves out.
Now the soft sandy beach is calling, the water looks like it might be slightly warm even though you can see the Atlantic from the beach, Susan is hoping that because it is sheltered it will have warmed up a bit......don't think she should hold her breath unless it is to just jump right in......will keep you posted.
Getting a few provisions, doing the washing and tidying up Andromeda is the plan for the day. We have re-rigged the boom prevent lines to make them far easier to manage fromt the cockpit, essential for down wind sailing.
Andrew & Susan
S/V Andromeda