Raindrops keep falling on our heads

andromeda of plymouth
Susan and Andrew Wilson
Thu 25 Mar 2010 13:08
Sorry for the delay in the post below.......life is hectic...
February has flown past and suddenly we are packing for the trip back to
the UK for a few weeks - time flies astonishingly quickly these days.
The canopy came back sans 83 species of mould and is looking much, much
better - a few extra dabs of waterproofing and we seem to back to
business as usual. Mike and his team have done a great job. We also had a
galvanic isolator fitted as there are worries in some marinas about stray
electrical currents which find their way into the water and then start
attacking the anodes and other bare metal - very worrying so we took the
plunge and now there are no stray currents from us.

We had a great afternoon sail on Colin and Anne's Gib'Sea, Spirit de Nord
Est, only the second time we have managed to get out on the water this
year - lovely day and a lovely sail with the wind obligingly coming from
the right direction for a change.

Susan learnt a great deal about Portuguese cemeteries while at a craft
session with Barbara and Sue from Silver Cloud. Barbara and Terry (who
runs the Navigators Net here in the marina) have an apartment overlooking
Lagos cemetery and are now very knowledgeable about local customs, some of
which would cause an outcry amongst the readers of the Daily Mail in the

Susan and Sue staggered back late in the evening having consumed several
bottles of wine(it was only two or three glasses honest)at Terry's behest
and were wobbling around the pontoons in a somewhat
alarming manner, but neither fell in. So much for craft afternoons!

Sue and Paull came for a short holiday from the UK but sadly the weather
played its hand and we were unable to get out for a sail. We did however
have a really great time starting with a super day out in Sagres – known
as where Henry the Navigator started off the Portuguese Discoveries. We
went down onto the beach and viewed the place where we had anchored, way
back in September, after we had come round the Cape of Cabo St Vincente
and on to the Southern Coast of Portugal. That seems so long ago. Sagres
was certainly a lot bigger than we had summised from our anchorage. We
visited Henry’s Fort and had a very warm sunny lunch in a quiet corner
away from the brisk westerly wind.

We attended a concert in support of the Bombeiros (Fire Brigade) by
Quintessence, a band that go way, way back and had a really great evening.
We decided on the spur of the moment to hire car for 3 days and visit
Monchique. Monchique is the highest hill/mountain in southwest Portugal
and has fantastic views of both the west and south coastlines. It was
freezing up there in the wind and around 3000 feet. We took off to the
remote west coast just north of Cabo St Vincent near Aljezur to see lots
and lots of motor homes parked all over the coast roads – strange. We
stopped for a walk along the boardwalks watching the spray being blown off
the rolling waves coming into to shore. A few hardy souls were down on
the beach enjoying the surf.

Later that evening after a few glasses of wine we decided on a trip to
Seville to avoid the predicted rain and Susan found a great last minute
deal in a hotel in the old town. Seville is only about two and a half
hours away, and also in Spain and we made the journey on near empty roads
following our googled directions, then we came to the centre of Seville
and its one way system, it’s a nightmare to understand and it took us
quite a while and some instinctive decisions by everyone in the car to
finally stumble on the hotel. However the hotel had a car park, very rare,
and it was in the basement, so we went down in a car lift - very cool and
very impressive and definitely a first.
As we arrived on Sunday, Seville was closed - however the weather was
perfect to stroll around the old town and see the famous cathedral (3rd
largest after the Basilica and St Pauls) and the tomb of Columbus. The
architecture was great and there was a lovely atmosphere. After returning
to the hotel and going out for dinner Susan and Sue went for a walk round
the floodlit buildings.

Monday the shops were open...........both Sue's spent much time in fabric
shops, of which there are a few. They were both taken with all the
different colours and designs of fabric on offer for making the
traditional Spanish flamenco dresses, and as for the shoes, just check out
the photos to see what we mean. Anyway if you get the chance to visit
Seville do take it, we certainly recommend it.

We returned to Lagos via Ayamonte (to visit yet another fabric outlet) and
had a really excellent lunch. Ayamonte is at the mouth of the Guardiana
river which is navigable for about 50 miles, something we would like to do
at some stage before we head off to the Canaries.

With another reasonable day forecast we also visited the salt marshes near
Alvor as Sue wanted to see if any flamingo's were around - they weren't
but it was a really nice walk in the warm spring sunshine.
Susan and Sue also attended a makeover lunch - 'nuff said. Sadly it was
all too soon time to say goodbye to Sue and Paull as they returned to the
UK but we will catch up with them again soon.

Last weekend we had the huge winds that battered France and caused so much
damage - the low was at 980mb, but was just far enough off-shore for us to
experience only about 30 knots of wind - quite enough but not the possible
50 knots talked about. Lots of folks were regularly walking up and down
the pontoons to check lines on their own boats and any others without
anyone on board. It took about 6 of us to sort out the large Island Packet
berthed beside Andromeda, which was being blown onto us and back towards
the pontoon, but after a concerted effort all was made secure and we all
seem to have through ok, although we were bouncing around for quite some
time with lots of creaking and groaning from the shore lines.

I finally managed to get my hands on a Walker Log - looking forward to
playing with this in due course.

We have been having some fun at the Wednesday evening quiz nights(we are
missing our former team members Sue and Paull) and a couple of music quiz
sessions with mixed results - haven't picked up the wooden spoon so

After we return from the UK we will be having Andromeda hauled out for a
few days to clean the hull, check the anodes etc. and, we hope, sort out
the leaking water tank. It looks like we will have to take it out of the
boat to get it repaired so a big job and it involves removing a fair bit
of woodwork - Ron, from Silver Cloud, is giving me much needed advice and
help and we will report next time on how things went. If the repair costs
are too high we will leave the tank out and consider some alternative

We have been asked to be Net controllers for a week (covering for Terry
who has gone to Morocco) so will let you know how that goes as well. Fun,
fun, fun in the showers!!

Looking forward to seeing a few folks while we are back in the UK and we
will update in due course.
Fair winds,
Susan & Andrew