We explored further up the river when we first got
here, going as far up the river as we could constrained by a 2m draft and
(roughly, ‘cos David can’t quite remember) 20 m air draft-sized boat, stopping
(you will all be relieved to hear) before we hit the old road bridge. So we tied
up alongside the public marina near the bridge in the old part of Portimão (we
would have liked to have stayed here rather than the big marina near the
anchorage), but as we could only stay for a maximum of 3 days, we went back down
the river to anchor. Still, every cloud has a large vodka and coke (plus ice and
lemon if you have a fridge), and if we’d stayed there, we wouldn’t have
‘The Velcro Anchorage’
‘The Velcro Anchorage’
I think the anchorage in Portimão should be
re-named ‘The Velcro Anchorage’, as it will be very hard for us to tear
ourselves away from it (oh, give me a break!). It is well protected from the
weather and has a stunning beach very close to hand. We spent a lot of time
lazing on the beach and swimming off it, while the children built sandcastles
and made friends with a little French girl, Aline (from RAPA NUI, a boat we
first saw in Baiona).
Magic mushrooms growing on the
When we weren’t lazing around topping up the tan,
we adults just read, took the occasional walk up and down the beach and
persuaded ourselves we needed a beer and ice-cream to keep cool.
We took Aline out with us for a day at the beach.
Later she came back aboard CAPE to play, soon
to be joined by her Dad (Nicholas) and Mum (Valerie) and her younger brother
(Mylar), who originally came for a drink but – as is often the case with boaty
people – then stayed for supper as well. We joined them the next evening on
board RAPA NUI, for sun-downers and supper. We
had a great night which didn’t look like ending until we remembered that
CAPE was now in the marina 500 m away across
the other side of the busy river.
We are now installed in the marina as I have to
work for a few days, and we need to top up on water and charge up the batteries
to full capacity. While the marina is efficient and friendly, the new town of
Praia de Rocha is very much Blackpool-on-the-Algarve, with Irish, English and
Welsh Pubs, English breakfasts, UK papers and lots of very strange,
English-speaking, blue- or boiled-lobster-coloured people.
Saturday was clean-the-boat day. Bethany, Bryn and
David cleaned the outside – which entailed removing the spinnaker poles, Jack
(safety) lines, and everything else on the deck. It’s amazing just how big the
deck is with the stuff taken off. While David and the kids washed 10 days’
worth of sand off the decks and the beach toys and sprayed each other, I
finished one set of work and sorted out the washing.
On Friday the boys sloped off to watch the
Tonga game. On Saturday, it was
Wales v. Fiji. David is still in shock at
Wales getting beaten by
Fiji and therefore getting knocked
out of the World Cup. He had to lie down in a darkened cabin for a while to
recover. Apart from the black armbands, you will be relieved to hear that life
on board is now carrying on as usual.
Loaves and fishes
On a more positive note, I must report some
success on the brick – sorry – bread-baking front. Mandie gave me a bread recipe
that relies on beer rather than yeast to make it rise, so it can be made in half
the time of traditional bread, and – despite anything I do to it – actually
rises. So far I have had four successful attempts (including banana bread and
cinnamon and sultana bread), even David hasn’t complained, so I don’t think it
is a fluke. No, you can't taste the beer. So the CAPE cookbook (you remember – '101 things to do with a
dead mullet') will have to have a section entitled ‘101 things to accompany your
dead mullet’. I have to say, however, that we haven’t eaten mullet since we left
the clean river berths we had in Wales and Ireland. In
Spain and Portugal, the
mullet have dreadful habits (hanging around sewer outlets for a
Warm, cinnamon-scented beer bread, studded with
plump raisins, spread with salty Welsh butter…(Jamie Oliver, eat your heart
For those of you are challenged in the
bread-making department, I have divulged the secret here…(I’m sure Yacht
Prospero would be delighted).
Beer Bread (courtesy of
3 cups self-raising flour (or 3
cups plain flour, 3 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt)
1 egg (optional, but better
1 33 cl can/bottle beer (any sort
as long as it has yeast in it, e.g. lager, Guinness)
Sift flour, stir in sugar and
Add beer, mixing well to
allow air into mix.
Turn into a greased 1 lb loaf
tin (with liner or greaseproof paper cut to fit).
Bake on middle shelf of oven
at medium heat for about 40 mins or until a toothpick comes out
Turn out of tin and allow to
cool for at least 15 mins before cutting with a serrated
Add 1 peeled, grated apple, a
little extra sugar, 2 teaspoons each nutmeg and cinnamon. Cook for 10 mins
Decrease white flour to 2 cups
and add ¾ cup of wholemeal flour and ½ cup bran flakes. You can just add ½ cup
bran to the original recipe without cutting down the white flour for a bran
Add 1 teaspoon caraway seeds, ½
teaspoon nutmeg and powdered sage to the original recipe. Other additions could
include curry powder, basil, oregano, depending what you want to eat the bread
Add ½ cup very finely copped
onion to original recipe.
Add 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon,
handful of sultanas/raisins and 3 dessertspoonfuls of extra sugar to the
original recipe. Cook for 10 mins longer.
Banana bread (Mick, this one’s for
Add 2 mashed, ripe bananas, 2
teaspoons mixed spice and 3 dessertspoonfuls of extra sugar to the original
recipe. Cook for 10 mins longer.
The CAPE market
research department would appreciate any feedback.
In the testing department, the lentil curry wasn’t
quite as well received. The children had read somewhere that if they held
their noses, they wouldn’t be able to taste whatever it was they were eating,
but this little trick didn't appear to work for lentil curry. Bryn decided
that even BBQ’d limpets were better than this!
Bryn and Bethany test driving the lentil curry – we
haven’t told them it’s sushi next week.
Final of the P1 Powerboat
Our week in the marina coincided with the P1
Powerboat Championship rounds 11 and 12 – this is the boating world’s equivalent
of the F1 Grand Prix – lots of highly polished, very fast boats with big, noisy
engines, a mini boat show, a helicopter display team, Thundercat displays, and
beach party/disco with top DJs (gosh, that’s a long sentence!).
Quote from Captain Lilo, “That is a stunningly
good-looking RHIB”. At this point you are supposed to say “How many horses does
that little beauty pack?” or “A fine pair of sponsons” or something equally
There are fast boats and there are F fast
The downside of all this water-bourne testosterone
was the fact that we were on a pontoon opposite the ‘wet pits’ and were,
therefore, subjected to the continuous revving of engines and the constant wash
of safety and support boats entering and leaving. The upside (there was an
upside?) was that Bryn and David had unlimited access to the ‘VIP and Restricted
Areas’ by just rowing over to take photos, wander around and peruse what was on
show (David, you were supposed to be looking at the boats!). The finale was a
really superb firework display.
Maths for boat kids: 7 boats at £250K per boat,
plus fuel (£1K per race) plus an estimate for support crew and
Still on the other racing front, we were delighted
to hear that the Aberystwyth Boat Club had – at last – got around to holding a
yacht race (we have noted that it was held 6 months after we left – cowards!!).
This, we are told, went ahead as scheduled (in spite of a dodgy forecast,
hangovers and some people not taking it at all seriously and some people taking
it too seriously) and actually produced a clear winner – well done to Jackie and
Stu' on MYMAX for taking first place!
Just for the record, it does rain in
Just for the record and to make you all feel
better at home, we would like you know that yesterday and today it rained. Not
just a light drizzle but full-blown driving rain and 20+ knots of wind that
Aberystwyth would have been proud of.
The rain in Portugal fell
mainly on the P1 Powerboat Championships.
Still at least the rain here is warm and we know
that when it stops it will all be dry as a bone in 30 minutes. The
2nd leg of the offshore powerboat race was actually cancelled due to
high winds and poor visibility.
When it is raining, there is a limit to how much
reading one little girl can do, and how much drawing one little boy can do,
before they get TOO bored.
So we (OK, I) decided that a very British
family walk along the beach in the rain and wind was in order.
Praia de Rocha in the rain (similar to Aberystwyth
in the rain).
We arrived home 2 balls (one a bit squishy) and 3
spades (one a bit mangled) better off. On the way back, we just happened to
‘stumble’ across Taffy’s Bar, which just happened – funnily enough – to be
showing Ireland v. Argentina! How do you spell
The ‘world-famous’ Taffy’s Bar…(note the
air-conditioning units for the removal of hot air). Just where do you go after