The Waiting Game 37:55.98N 08:52.74W

Saro's Gyda
Derrick Thorrington
Thu 23 Sep 2010 14:57

We waited at anchor at Cascais from Sun 12th until Fri 17th Sept, diligently scanning all available weather internet sites and local information, looking for a suitable 4 – 5 day window to take us to Madiera. Meanwhile we made the most of our surroundings. The water was clear and lovely for swimming off the boat. With this in mind, the skipper sent the ship’s diver down to scrub the propeller as it had accumulated quite a bit of growth and was causing us to motor less efficiently.

We had decided to buy a Wifi enhancer to allow us to use the internet more often from the boat. This proved very difficult, and after several bus rides to out of town shopping centres and specialist shops, we eventually managed to track one down at the local chandlery! (After all that it wasn’t compatible with our computer and the skipper used his special nautical language to the full to express his frustration!)

We enjoyed looking around Cascais, very attractive but also one of the few touristy places that we had come across. We also took advantage of the excellent, cheap and frequent train service for another look around Lisbon. This time we enjoyed the actual city centre with it’s splendidly rebuilt grid system of grand streets and buildings following it’s disastrous earthquake in 1755. In contrast, the old area, high on a hill was topped by a magnificent castle and surrounded by tiny cobbled and winding streets.

We could have caught one of the old trams for a round trip, but as it was hot and the trams were crowded, satisfied ourselves by watching their noisy progress around the tiny streets.

We had decided to leave for Madeira, with an excellent forecast on the Fri morning. However, the previous evening brought us a thread of doubt. A fellow sailor, also intending to cross at the same time, brought across a copy of an e mail, sent to him, from a “weather guru” friend. The advice from this fellow was, “ I would strongly advise against making the crossing at this time”. He was predicting SW winds in the next 2 or 3 days. Another trip ashore to check all the info on the web showed no such thing. A look at the inboard “Navtex” again the flowing morning showed no evidence, so we decided to go.

We had a lovely sail until lunchtime, where, typically, just as we were tucking into lunch, the wind started to rise and we were forced to delay our repast in order to reef.

As the afternoon wore on the wind rose steadily, necessitating a further reef and bringing on a very uncomfortable beam sea complete with breaking waves and violent unpredictable motion. We both began tp feel very unwell and, what with this, the rising conditions and starting off without complete confidence in the forecast, decided to turn back and head towards Sines.

We arrived the following am and quickly recovered with some sleep. We are now in a little Marina next to a lovely beach with the clearest water yet. The old part of the town is pleasant with a large castle dominating,  the view towards to beach. This is the birthplace of Vasco de Gama so some interesting sights to explore.

Celia and Andrew on Alice arrived yesterday and were surprised to see us, so it has been good to catch up again. We came across Dave who is travelling on a small boat with a cat called Jimmy 2 and a guitar, so we joined him for a bit of a jam at the local bar last night. Good fun.

We think that there might be a window for Madeira over the weekend, but the fore cast keeps changing, so watch this space!