Starlight in Sagres and dolphins, dolphins, dolphins...........

andromeda of plymouth
Susan and Andrew Wilson
Mon 14 Sep 2009 11:44
37.00.138N 08.56.411W
The trip from Sines round Cape St Vincent (Cabo de Sao Vicente) was really memorable for the sheer number of dolphins we saw, and who came to see and play around the boat - lots and lots of them. We had been wondering where they all were during our trip down the coast as we had seen so few, but here they were and fantastic they were too. We even managed to get one or two photo's - really tricky trying to photo them as they move so quick and never re-appear in the same place. However through sheer good luck, and probably because there were so many of them, we managed the odd shot of a dolphin rather than the sea, a wave or a splash where one had previously been. Part of the good luck was due to the really flat and calm sea for most of the trip until we neared the cape. This meant we could see them quite far off, even if they weren't coming our way - usually if the sea has any chop in it it's very very difficult to see them. We will post them later.
We left Sines at 7am (and the spear fishers didn't have a party - too pooped I expect so other than the waves lapping aginst Andromeda it was quietish), just as dawn was breaking so we could see the pot markers - it was very flat with no wind. It stayed this way until about 2 hours from the cape when the wind picked up and the sea began to run to the southeast, the direction we were heading. Having rounded the cape we chose to head for an anchorage rather than push on to a marina. We have some time before we need to be in Lagos so we will take our time over the next few weeks and potter about this part of the Algarve. We did celebrate the rounding of the cape - Europe's most western point - with a bottle of champagne, and very nice it was too. The anchorage is a bit rolly with swell rocking the boat overnight, but it is reasonably sheltered from the northerly winds. The trip from Sines took us about 10 hours. Overnight the sky was very clear and we managed to see quite a lot of stars even though there were lights on shore - its been quite a while since we'd seen so many, and so clearly.
You may be wondering why there is a position update during the trip south - this was due to accidentally turing off of the 12volt supply, which powers the instruments, Iridium phone and the autopilot control unit. When power was returned the phone will have sent a position update. Interestingly the autopilot control unit, when power was removed, decided to take us round in a very large circle, which was somewhat disturbing. Susan was on the SSB to Lucy Alice when this happened and I came below to see why the instruments had all failed. Going back on deck I could see we were about to complete a circle - must have been quite confusing for the boat behind us! Shortly after this we decided to slow down as there was a fishing boat heading towards us on a collision course and he was showing no intent on stopping nor changing course - we decided to play safe and not risk anything.
Enseada de Sagres (to give it its full name) is a small cover with a few restaurants, a couple of hotels and a beach for holiday makers. So far we haven't heard any disco music - not sure whether that's good luck or its simply waiting for the right moment. The cove is popular with fishermen in all sorts of sizes of boats - some fishing by rod and line, some using long lines and a number dropping pots for crabs and possibly lobsters. They seem to come round from the next bay/village called Baleeira, which is where Prince Henry the Navigator established his headquarters in the 15th century. History down here says it was Sir Francis Drake who flattened the place, though others say it was an earthquake in 1755. Probably enough history for now.
Not sure where next, but possibly Portimao to get some internet access to check on the car situation etc, for now its back to working (Yes really!!) in the sunshine, we do have chores to do you know and Susan really likes the ones that involve buckets of water, especially when it is hot and sunny :-)
More in due course.
Andrew & Susan
S/V Andromeda