2009 update

Rob and Jacky Black
Wed 21 Jan 2009 17:17

Lagos Marina D pontoon

Monday 19th January 2009

Greetings to everyone who is reading this and apologies for not getting around to writing the blog more frequently since our arrival here for the winter. Since my last posting we have been back to the UK and during that visit we managed to see loads of friends and family as well as spend yet more money on boat items to bring back to the Algarve, We decided to come back with the car in order to facilitate the transporting of numerous things we felt we needed as well as stuff for other ‘liveaboards’. While home Rob had an Arthroscopy operation on his right knee which went well and he is recovering remarkably quickly. We also managed to find a ‘lodger’ for the spare room in our house in Shoreham so company for our son as well as a bit of income to help with the running costs.

Our journey back to Bilbao from Portsmouth was uneventful and remarkably calm considering it was mid-December, until it was our turn to disembark from the ferry. That’s when the fun began!! Unfortunately the immobiliser on the car decided to throw a wobbly so we couldn’t start the dam thing! This has happened before but usually with constant turning over of the engine we get it going – but not this time! We were eventually pushed down the ramp and then towed off the ship to an area just passed the customs control. Various calls to the UK and our rescue service were put in and finally we established we would need towing to a Citroen garage. While waiting for the breakdown service to arrive we kept trying the engine and finally at 0930 (2 hours after our disembarkation) it worked. Some brief calls to the rescue centre to cancel their call out and we were off to the Algarve. The journey was very straight forward the roads were quiet and very good (motorway all the way bar about 2 miles just before the Portuguese border). We took turns to drive and only stopped for fuel, tolls and to change drivers. The journey took 9 ½ hours and fortunately it was dry and sunny all the way. (if we had travelled the following day it was windy and wet!) Friends helped us unload the car which was full to the roof and we collapsed into our bunks with the saloon stacked high ready to store away the following morning. It’s amazing where you can find space when you need to and by mid morning all was ship shape on board Arwen. The only thing still in evidence were the Christmas decorations which had  to wait until the rain stopped.

Over the next week we decorated the boat, attended a mid- winter party (including some Scottish dancing and sea-shanty singing), sorted out the menu for Christmas day, did last minute shopping etc. We drove to Faro to meet with friends who have their boat moored there and saw the superb Christmas lights; however Lagos council had really pushed the boat out and the lights here were magnificent too. ( I will try to post some pictures)

Christmas day saw us on the beach for a swim followed by mulled wine courtesy of Piper. About 20 people took the plunge including me it was not particularly cold but the sea was rough so it didn’t take long for me to be knocked over! After a warm shower we met with 5 other boats for pre lunch drinks on the pontoon beside Ann and Colin’s boat – Spirit of the North east where we were to dine. Everyone had made some part of the meal and the weather was so nice we managed to eat the first course sitting outside on the decks or standing on the pontoon. A full traditional turkey lunch was enjoyed by the 14 of us followed by 3 different steamed puddings with ice-cream, white sauce or custard – not bad for ‘boat catering!’

We also had a very good Hogmanay with free nibbles and happy Hour drinks at a local bar (Lazy Jacks for those who know Lagos) this was followed by a walk down the main drag – the Avenida which runs parallel to the river , to watch the fireworks at 0000. These were really spectacular and lasted for 25 minutes accompanied by various types of music.

Since all the festivities have ended we have started to get into a bit of a routine- we have joined the local municipal swimming pool and gym and try to use this at least 3 times a week. We meet up with friends for Happy Hour drinks fairly regularly; we have done 2 of the Lagos Navigator walks (every other week on a Wednesday), attended an illustrated talk from a lady who sailed in Antarctica, been out to various restaurants for meals and of course watched a few DVDs (there is a lending box here) plus read loads of books.

I have found a church in a nearby town Praia de Luz which holds an Anglican service at 1200 each week so have been every week this year. It is a simple service and the church is packed each week with other British people. The church is in fact a catholic one but they lend the building to the Anglican church each week!

We have a long ‘jobs list’ which we started today by servicing the Engine! Fortunately Steve on board piper was able to oversee me doing the work and he lent us a small electrical pump to get the old oil out. We need to get one for ourselves so that’s another thing to search for on the internet when we have time.

Tomorrow I am going to a Portuguese cookery lesson at Way Point restaurant – we then get to eat what was cooked so should be good fun – watch the next blog for details.

That’s all for now – I will try to update this every week from now on.

All the best to all who are reading this.

Jacky and Rob