Hills & Heat in Porto
Wednesday 5th October 2011
On Monday, as planned, we took a look at
Not really sure about
Portuguese Metroland Cheek by Jowl – Washing and Sat Dishes
Colonial Era Baroque?
Anyway, been there now; done that. Back to Leixoes for a swim and a fairly early night in preparation for a 0600 reveille on Tuesday morning. Again, little wind was promised and we had 70 NM to go to get to Figueira da Foz that evening. We did manage to hoist the mainsail around 1400 but it did little for us. Obviously, as we got to the last half hour or so of the trip – at about 1600 – the wind picked up to a really quite useful Force 5. But, by this time, we were piloting our way into the Rio Mondego and trying to make sense of what we saw compared with what was charted. They’ve been playing around with the layout of the entrance in a fairly significant way and that information hasn’t quite made its way to the Navionics digital chart. And, the paper chart we have is too small a scale to be of any help here. Thankfully, the pilot book is.
As a marina, Fig da Foz works but it’s all rather thrown together. The reception berth is manned by the customs chap who does all the necessary paperwork and allocates the berth. He’s helpful, if a bit big on instruction and gesticulation, but presumably hasn’t done the necessary government-run course to allow him to risk doing anything useful like handle a line. The visitors’ berths are just off the reception berth – though not connected to it. The marina office is at the other end of the marina – 400 yards away. So, again, no help to anyone trying to get a 47 foot boat alongside a 30 foot finger pontoon in a cross wind. Carol broke the first absolute rule of the marina by going swimming as she bridged the gap between boat and short, wobbly pontoon (What gap? A couple of inches, maybe – Ed). The boat was left to its own devices for a minute or so as she was fished out – still, it must be said, holding the mooring line in one hand whilst the other held a shoe (Shows a proper sense of priorities – Ed). Given the number of grey mullet in the harbour, surviving on God knows what, an early hot shower seemed appropriate!
The reception arrangements appear to leave the marina
office man with not much to do in the office. Which means that ‘office hours’ and the
hours during which the office is actually manned do seem, at first encounter, to
be a bit at variance. The usual
facilities are functional and clean, if a bit basic. There is an excellent enclosed market
nearby and we’ll stock up there for the 100+NM trip tomorrow to Oeiras, just