Days in Sines

Tom Fenton and Faith Ressmeyer
Fri 7 Sep 2012 15:07
Tom and I haven´t been able to tear ourselves away from this place.  The wind (or lack of it) isn´t helping either.  By tomorrow mid-morning though we should be on our way south with a few knots of help.  We´ll probably do about 36 hours non-stop, rounding Cabo St Vicente, Portugal´s southernmost cape, before turning east along the Algarve.  Famous and beuatiful though that coast may be, and as much as we like Portugal and the Portugese, we feel we don´t need to stop and rub out from our minds the less toursity places we´ve found ourselves in these last 10 days or so, with the holiday-making and prices of that famous bit of coastline.
Sines is so good because: it´s hot and sunny enough to swim in the cold Atlantic; our berth at the marina looks up at the castle, also birthplace and home of Vasco da Gama and good little museum; the people (as all over Portugal so far) are friendly and helpful and so many speak some English and are really willing to; it has a fine, ultra-modern cultural centre with library, computer space (where I am now) and with a cafeteria on its top floor with a view over the town (13,000 only), a fresh breeze and a vegetarian menu!  It just opened and the woman who won the franchise decided to go for it  - only occasional fish even in this very nice fishy place.  Kind of amazing but it was delicious and full of people who I´m sure also ate meat.  The town also has a cafe/restautant that offered me tofu or soy main courses!  It may not seem like that big of a deal but after many many salads and french fries it has been a real treat for me.)
So one night stretched to two, stretched to three, with sightseeing and writing diary and catching up on things like this.  Tom´s been up the mast to frap some halyards or something and he´s sewn a tear in the jib.  We had the two best scrabble games of our lives (combined scores of 800 and 859 for those of you to whom it might mean something), he´s reading a great book about Portugal and shares extracts with me while I´m in the midst of Our Mutual Friend, his favourite Dickens, on my kindle.  We´re provisioning for our ´long haul' when I will do my first solo sailing (Tom within earshot of course), and really looking forward now to moving on, too.
Because of course we must, if we are to get to Spain for the ´winter´ and back to England so I can make my plane to NY the second week in October.  But really, it is such a different experience  - sailing rather than motoring, and of course quieter, cheaper and more environmentally friendly.  And we´ve done so much with the engine to get places we had to be that waiting for wind is now quite important and possible for us, so we´re doing a bit more of it.  Not that we´re expecting more than force 2s and 3s unfortunately, so having said all that we´ll fill with diesel before we leave...
We´re happy and send our love
Faith and Tom