Sun, sea and sand in the Algave
So here we are already at the end of October and what a busy time we’ve been having.
Amid our preparations for the visit of Chris, Tanya, Alice and Isaac we were also working our way through the insurance process for the outboard…….fortunately, as there was no fault on our part, things got sorted fairly quickly and by the 3rd of October we were the proud possessors of a new Mercury 4 stroke engine and after another couple of days “Fo Fo” – a local sail maker, had made us a super carrying strop so we could lift the engine so we could store it on the pulpit, though hopefully not a magnet for another yacht!. Hey, we were back in business, and it left us just enough time to try it out and run in the engine before our visitors arrived – phew. We and Kenny and Lyn took a trip out to the Piedade in our dinghies which was a great way of running in the new engine. We also made the decision to remove the davits from the stern of Andromeda so that lifting the outboard would be easier too.
We were really pleased when Chris and the family arrived as it meant we couldn’t do anymore tidying, cleaning or sorting for a while……our waterline is so much higher now, a testament to how much we have moved off the boat and, more importantly, there was now space for everyone to sleep!
We had a fantastic week together and the weather was much better than the original forecast. Everyone settled in to marina life very quickly starting with a great breakfast at Oasis on Sunday morning……then by special request, it was off to the freezing cold swimming pool for a dip - even in the height of summer the big pool at the hotel doesn’t seem to get very warm – bracing is a much better description but then Alice and Isaac didn’t mind and Chris and Susan joined them in the water. Andrew also managed to take Chris, Alice and Isaac out in the dinghy to the caves and grottos around Point Piedade, where they could also swim, and drive the dinghy – we didn’t hit anything!
Monday morning and after the usual walk and the radio broadcast we slipped our lines and headed out for a little trip. What a lovely gentle sail we had across the bay, with Isaac and Alice taking turns at the wheel, and we anchored off Ferraguda in time for Alice and Isaac to enjoy a swim in the sea. After a tapas lunch aboard, Andrew, Chris, Alice and Isaac went inshore in the dinghy for a further swim and beach exploration – several hermit crabs were discovered along with a red ball. As the dinghy couldn’t take all of us at once Susan and Tanya enjoyed an hour or so relaxing in the afternoon sunshine. We just stayed out the one night playing games and enjoying the bobbing about, had a really nice Carbonara made by Chris, before early on Tuesday morning we motored back to our berth before the nortada kicked in later in the day. We also discovered that the anchor windlass wasn’t working, but Chris, being strong and strapping, managed to haul the anchor back on board! Hurrah! Tuesday also means dominoes and this was the first session of the season and we had 4 tables of folk enjoying themselves, with Isaac and Alice playing very well indeed.
Wednesday was a resting day as the weather wasn’t as brilliant and we all enjoyed the rest (after the Dawn Patrol!) and chance to play Ocean Trader and other card games and catch a couple of movies together. Andrew’s Bolognese went down very well that evening. Thursday saw us head off to the beach for the first time and fun was had building sandcastles, collecting shells and of course playing in the sea which proved to be warmer than the pool; this was followed by a great Chinese meal and an early night ready for the adventure the following day.
Alice elected to come out for the early morning walk, managing around 3 miles with the Dawn Patrol and then accompanied Susan when she went to buy the tickets for the day’s outing. After the radio broadcast and another delicious breakfast at Oasis we caught the train Estombar and walked up to Slip & Slide, the local water park. A water park full of slides of all descriptions, think Centre Parcs on a grander outdoors scale, including a very high slide involving a four person ring – wow, did the adrenalin flow. The weather was perfect for us, not too hot and definitely not too cold and everyone had fun on the various flumes and rides, especially the one we called “the drain” where you ride on an inflatable two at a time and get whizzed round and round; we were practically the last to leave when the park shut, very tired. Isaac is the proud owner of a photo showing him with a Boa Constrictor around his neck – he did survive! Back in the marina Alice and Isaac could only just stay awake to have something to eat before bed and a very, very long sleep.
And there we were at the end of their week. The last day, however, boy we really packed it in. Susan didn’t go walking but a had a duvet couple of hours watching a movie before she and Andrew took Alice and Isaac to the beach for a few hours so Chris and Tanya could sort things out and pack for the trip home. The water was even warmer this time and we swam and watching the fish in the shallows. After lunch there was a quick trip into town to look for a couple of presents and souvenirs before coming back to the marina and a final dip in the pool, and something to eat; and then finally off to be picked up for the airport (in a Mercedes Benz, don’t you know!!). What a lovely, wonderful, fun filled, busy week………boy, we needed a rest – we slept for hours!
Life then returned to a degree of normality; the weather stayed dry so all the washing could be done and then everything was returned to its usual space, but in a much more tidy fashion than before and we can (sort of) find things for the moment. Susan got back into her usual routine of Pilates, Zumba and Line Dancing, the Dawn Patrol continued with two new walkers, and there were more folk to introduce to Mexican Train Dominoes – Pauline and Giles’ grandchildren loved the game and it’s on their Xmas lists; it kept them amused during the rain. Pauline and Giles know Bill and Ally (indeed instructed Ally on her Day Skipper Course) and we met them in Ribadeira in Spain on our trip to the UK in the summer on Fallen Angel while they were on their way south (are you keeping up?), and have decided to overwinter here on their Bavaria, Quintessence.
We were very honoured to be invited to Ravin and Stephens new home where we were treated to a tour, nibbles and an amazing home cooked biryani! Absolutely fantastic. Ravin and Stephen run Oasis, where fine breakfasts, lunches and evening meals can be purchased, not to mention the best cup of tea in Lagos. The Dawn Patrol stops in Oasis for a cup of tea or coffee each morning after the walk, and indeed has for the past two years – bit of a ritual really….are we getting old? We plan to invite them both onboard so it will be interesting to gauge their reaction to a “live-aboard” meal”. We have known them both since they took over Oasis in 2014 and it’s really nice to see the place prosper. A most surprising and entertaining evening – we were there with Bev, Sue, Kenny, Lyn, Paul, Jackie (regulars and sometime members of the Dawn Patrol) and a couple who knew Ravin and Stephen, but whom we hadn’t met before. Sadly Alan wasn’t there as he was back in the UK but no doubt he will be invited very soon. The house is in stages of refurbishment, but what’s been done so far is really nice, so when the house is completed it will be stunning.
We also had a wonderful afternoon with David and Lyn in their new home, also near Lagos – a very nice villa indeed, though not in need of further refurbishment! A nice location, good sized piece of land and a very tasteful villa, though it does have a cold swimming pool! A leisurely afternoon with great food and great company including Bev, Sue, Vic and Lyn and a few bottles of wine – they have a very nice new home, though Scarlet, the yacht they arrived in, and indeed we have raced and cruised in, is now in Sopromar for winter. Villa, yacht, posh car – we sometimes move in exalted circles, but not that often.
Lots of comings and goings in the marina and more people settling in for the winter season. Interestingly for us, the gentleman (Peter) who ran the Blue Water Triangle Rally, the event we left the UK on way back in 2009, is here on his yacht, Pelagio – a small (ish) world it seems. And the sun kept on shining…… well until this week. We knew it would have to change sometime and so it did, we have had a few days of heavy, almost torrential rain, thunder and lightning, particularly at night, and overcast days but, fingers crossed, normal service should be returned very soon, just in time for our next visitor, Sue, who arrives on Monday.
But before that we will celebrate our 39th Wedding Anniversary on Saturday (29th) – wow can it really have been as long as that? Doesn’t time fly when you are having fun (working)!! Anyway, the waterline is two inches higher than when we arrived in 2014 – must be a result of working hard!
More in due course………….
Susan and Andrew
Andromeda of Plymouth