Nazare and my first fish

Lesley & Derek Mercer
Sat 6 Aug 2011 17:46
39:35.0 N 009:04.5 W
Arrived in Nazare.  Got in late yesterday afternoon, after a 30hr trip from Baiona.  Weather was miserable:  almost no wind, grey skies, fog, drizzle but really calm seas making it an easy passage for IOLA.  Not for her crew.  Trying to wend your way in zero visibility is frankly tyring and fraught.  At one point, Lesley was on watch and we found ourselves in one of those daft situations which arise every now and again.  Ourselves, a nearly invisible fishing boat (just about showed up on radar at 1 mile), a container ship and some sort of cruise ship all seemed to be converging on the same spot in this empty Ocean at 3 a.m.!    One of the troubles with all this equipment I have on board is that you know what is happening.  In the old days, we would have probably sailed along ignorant of the dangers, and survived happily.  Now, we can see what is going on, but were able to take avoiding action – a 20 degree course correction and a bit of slowing down did the trick.  Why everyone wants to be in the same empty spot at the same time remains a mystery, but such is sailing. 
Once in Nazare, of course the sun came out and we had a glorious hot evening.  I had not realised that the America Cup is taking place in Lisbon this week, so every marina in a 50 mile radius is full.  We are just outside the area here, so will probably use that as an excuse to go to Lisbon by coach tomorrow, rather than try and get closer.  We might even stay the night there, as the weather forecast for Monday is bad.  We have now ‘caught up’ with some of the delays, so the time pressure is less, but we cannot yet afford to let too much time go by.
I have now caught my first fish!
As most of you know, I am the world’s worst fisherman, and I have to admit a little help from my friends.
This is the clue:
I have noticed that at night, our starboard (right side) light, which is green, seems to attract fish.  I have upgraded our lights to LED (they use less electricity), and took the opportunity to make them slightly more powerful.  I think the particular colour of green attracts fish, and of course their predators.  In this case we had a pod of dolphins, at night, making the most of the little fish attracted to our light.  They were jumping out of the water to escape their predators, and a couple landed on our “sugar scoop”.  Hence my ‘success’ at fishing!
It’s a small world.  We returned from the centre of Nazare today, to find a new monohull parked up behind us.  It turned out to be friends of the Enskats that we had met at dinner with them a year ago.  They were about to fly home for a couple of weeks, and I had to stop Lesley climbing into the taxi with them.  Gronya explained that as Captain of her golf club she had to return for relevant duties- Lesley seems to have suddenly developed an overwhelming interest in golf???
A few more photos of Nazare, and more in a couple of days time.