The Night of the Dolphins

Mon 10 Sep 2007 21:06

Overnight passage from Porto to San Martinho de Porto, a small anchorage 5 miles south of Nazare. Left Liexios at around 14:00 and stopped at Nazare to refuel at around 11:00, then half an hour later (120 euros worth of diesel poorer), we headed on the extra hour to San Martinho de Porto where we are now anchored.

The passage down was almost calm, virtually no wind at all, even the best efforts of the cruising chute only produced 1.9 knots. 20 hours under engine across a calm Atlantic Ocean with only a very light ocean swell, and dolphins in pyjamas, to remind us that we were not motoring across from Burnham to Bradwell. The moon rose at 23:26, I know because Molly and I were there watching a large orange ball appear on the horizon, as it rose out of the sea it turned from orange to silvery white. As it's luminosity increased so did the amount of phosphorescence produced by the boat's bow wave as it powered through the ocean. It foamed like the froth from bottled Bass all along the waterline, rolling and tumbling in time with the rythm of the boat.

Mary and Kate did the watch from midnight to 3am. The squeals of delighted amazement from Kate were a delight as the sea burst magically to life with dolphins drawing spectacular pictures with their phosphorescent ink. The patterns that the swimming dolphins created, as the group of around a dozen dived and jumped around us, were astonishing. They seemed to take delight in their control of the element, and in their capacity to mesmerize anybody who was privileged enough to be there. As we stood and watched the dancing dolphins in full phosphoresce glowing magically it was easy to think that we were rather lucky to be witnessing such an event, not the sort of thing that you see in Leyton High Road, or even in Wanstead!!

Paul and Molly came on watch at 03:00 and were lucky enough to see the second house, the repeat performance was just as spectacular. Molly was particularly taken with the baby dolphins swimming and leaping alongside their parents, although she was concerned that the babies should be out so late. Normally a lengthy passage under power is something to be endured, this one was rather more memorable than most others.

Yep we are enjoying this!!.