Nicely moored in Nazare

andromeda of plymouth
Susan and Andrew Wilson
Thu 3 Sep 2009 17:58
39.35.024N 09.04.509W
Here we are in a tiny marina, known as Mike's Marina, about a mile and half from the holiday town of Nazare. The place is known as Mike's marina as a somewhat eccentric ex sailor, who's over 80, basically runs the place as the harbour master and the man who knows how to get things done. He is extremely knowledgable about all things nautical, and his wife, Sally, very kindly took Susan and Glenda to no less than three - yes three!! - supermarkets in their car.
Mike and Sally live on a Joshua Slocum replica boat -(he sailed alone around the world in the 1800's), known as a Spray and  after arriving here some 19 years ago still hasn't left. Great characters and they make navigating around the town and countryside far less stressful than can sometimes be the case. Worth coming to Nazare to meet one of life's great characters.
We had to motor sail most of the way from Figueira da Foz, which with is not one of our favourite places, and arrived mid-afternoon. We passed only on other yacht, a Dutch boat heading south under cruising chute. Interestingly there were a whole array of pot markers in the entrance to the harbour, which is not that wide, which made our arrival a little nerve wracking. All along the coast there are pot markers - even 4 -5 miles off the coast and in water over 30 metres deep. We try and avoid going anywhere near them - certainly after our experience off Poole which does sometimes make for some unusual course changes. Some you can see some way off - some are simply sticks on a float that you can't see until you are almost upon them. No night sailing unless well offshore.
Glenda from Lucy Alice was here on her own as Ian was in Spain sorting out the supposed sale of a flat, so we had a good chat and catch up. We went into Nazare on the bus and found it was hugely different to Figueira with a real buzz and vibrancy about and people genuinely enjoying themselves and having a good time on holiday. There are quite a lot of elderly ladies in traditional dress adverising rooms for rent, and quite bizarrely a large number of them who seem to take great delight in popping the bubbles in bubble-rap as they walk about or sit on chairs with small billboards on their laps - beats me, but bubble-rap bubble bursting is clearly an international past-time!
The beach wasn't smooth sand, but it was hot, and a sea with crashing waves was the right side of freezing. There are racks on the beach for drying fish - mostly sardines or small Dorado - odd smell but very few flies.There are two parts to the town - the beach and the old town on top of the cliffs, linked by a funicular which was built in 1889. The old part of the town is quite pretty with brightly painted houses and narrow streets. The beach part, is as you would expect, a seaside town with cafe's, bars, shops and a market which is quite large. Certainly worth a short visit.
The marina is next to the fish dock and market and most of the day and evening there are fishing boats, large and small, arriving and offloading their catch. Fishing boats arrivals are announced by a siren going off - however it doesn't happen much after midnight! Lots of people visit and buy fish direcly off the boats - most of the rest goes to restaurants, for export or off to the fish processing plants. The place doesn't really smell of fish, unless you pass some of the old nets which most certainly do.
Last night we were invited for drinks on a large catarmeran by a very friendly New Zealand couple, Bruce and Leslie, who had brought the boat in coastal hops from La Rochelle where it had been built. They are off to Turkey for the winter and then on to New Zealand - they've already cruised the Pacific! They have a huge amount of space in the cockpit and saloon area and lots more in the hulls, including a full size double bed, water maker and washing machine. Turned into quite a long night as the glasses never seemed to empty, but they were up early and are now off to Cascais which is just outside Lisbon.
We spent several hours helping Ian out with a problem with his prop once he had returned from Spain - it turned out that some fishing net had caught in his rope cutter and had jammed itself inside causing friction on the prop. A few hours with the right tools and a hammer, we managed to sort things out and Ian and Glenda will be high tailing it down towards Gibralter as soon as they can. They have flights booked back to the UK before they join the Blue Water Rally so we shall say farewell for a second time.
We are planning on trying to get into Peniche before heading towards Lisbon - we've heard some slightly worrying things about the berthing arrangements in Peniche so plans may change when we actually get there. After that we are thinking of also heading for Caicais so we can visit Lisbon or Lisboa as its known locally, which we are really looking forward to.
Many thanks for the feedback - if anyone reading this would like to ask any questions about what we are doing etc. then please do drop us a note to the andromeda903799 mailasail account ( - not supposed to put the full address in due to spam but replace the % symbol with an @ and it should reach us)
P.S. We are a little perplexed as to why there are so many Dutch boats out here - is there something happening in Holland that we should know about? They certainly outnumber all the other nationalisties sailing out here at present. However as there aren't that many folks sailing perhaps they do know something we don't.
Andrew & Susan
S/V Andromeda