logo Lady Stardust Faro-Portugal to Barcelona - 2010
Date: 12 Aug 2009 22:30:00
Title: Camarinas

Monday 3rd August  - Camarinas


By 8 o clock last night the sea had got quite rough again which made cooking dinner more of a challenge.  The cooker is gimballed so that it stays steady and doesn’t spill things even in the roughest conditions but it does sway a bit when the boat is rocking from side to side so our 3 egg courgette frittata took quite a while to cook evenly and the boiled potatoes overcooked so had to be mashed instead – a bit of a scratched together meal to end our 6 day stint at sea but tasty enough.  The rocking got steadily worse and sleep was virtually impossible due to rolling from one side of the bunk to the other and the noise as it slammed into the sea.  Paul did a 1-6am watch and I could hear him above sorting out the sails to keep the boat tacking southwards.


The morning was grey and chilly when I took over but since we were so near land I was able to make a phone call from my mobile to say we’d made it safely across Biscay. Paul slept until 10 but although I was tired it was still too bumpy to sleep so I stayed below in the warm listening to Spanish radio and reading.  We arrived at the port of Camarinos at about 5: 30 and did our usual cruising around the marina to check for a suitable spot to berth. I was at the helm while Paul got the lines ready and had been keeping an eye on the depth of the water to check it didn’t go below 3 metres. There were lots of boats and dinghies around – teenagers who’d been racing, fishermen returning with their catch and a few other yachts on moorings.  Paul finished his jobs and took over the steering and within a minute there was an awful grinding sound, a jolt and we’d gone aground. It’s always been one of my worst fears to be stuck in the seabed, unable to move and then Paul informed me we’d have to wait until the tide came back in before we could get free.  Furthermore, we’d need to stow things away because the boat would tip over at quite an angle as the tide went out!  I was quite alarmed by this – not least because I’d been looking forward to getting ashore for a walk into town, showers, dinner etc. To make matters worse, people from the other boats were staring and pointing at us.  One of them, a fishing boat, sped towards us and the two men inside were gesticulating wildly and shouting things we couldn’t understand, yet I instinctively knew they would end up getting us off the mud.  Communicating through hand signals and a few familiar words, they got one of our ropes and attached it to their boat while Paul and I used our combined weight to try to force the hull out of the mud.  It was all quite dramatic and in time-honoured fashion a crowd had gathered on the nearby pontoons and boats to watch the proceedings.  The first attempt failed because the rope was too short so the fishermen beckoned another boat over with a longer rope. Paul was doubtful whether any of this would do any good because we were deep in the mud but I still believed they’d get us out and suddenly we were moving again as the bigger boat tugged us out.  With many shouts of “muchos gracias” we made our way slowly to our berth where another helpful fisherman took our lines.  I gave our gallant rescuers a bottle of cold beer each and once safely tied up we had a much-needed one ourselves.


Camarinos is a fairly small unpretentious town, surrounded by densely forested hills. On these hills are numerous groups of wind farms, the windmills furiously and silently rotating in an almost hypnotic manner which gives the place a quaint and eerie atmosphere, especially at dusk when it was very quiet and heavy clouds hung overhead.  It was the kind of place described within the pages of a Stephen King novel, and so many windmills created an impression that they were somehow controlling the town…perhaps I’ve been reading too many ghost stories.

After freshening up we headed into town to buy a few things before the supermarket shut.  The streets consisted of an interesting mix of old and new buildings: really ugly or deserted houses and shops flanked brand new, impressive shops or well-kept houses. It was nothing like any other town in Europe we’d been to but we decided we liked it. At 9 we had dinner in the marina restaurant – salad, home made fries and pimentos (calamari for Paul). This, with a bottle of wine came to 25 euros. We decided to stay here all day tomorrow and leave for Lisbon on Wednesday.


Tuesday 4th August

After a well-deserved lie-in we spent the late morning catching up on jobs and updating the blog.  Paul went out in search of a place to buy internet access while I read and listened to the radio.  Although it was warm the day remained overcast and grey.  This marina is quiet with none of the hustle bustle of Kinsale and there were fewer boats around today, so in this chilled-out atmosphere we relaxed on the boat sipping white wine, listening to music and planning the passage to Lisbon.  At 7 we took another walk into town and discovered pretty side streets further up the hill, still with the strange mix of old and new constructions side by side.  Later, we stopped at one of the pavement tapas bars for dinner – more of the deliciously prepared salty/oily green pimentos, potato and onion tortilla and patatas bravas (baby squid for Paul).  It was lovely sitting there among the Spanish holidaymakers, looking out across the bay and we lingered there for an hour or so before heading back to sit in the cockpit where we watched a group of teenagers having great fun fishing from the quay.


Wednesday 5th August

We set off at 8:30 this morning for our two day trip to Lisbon leaving Camarinos still cloaked in heavy cloud and its windmills relentlessly turning.  Within an hour we were approaching blue skies and the sun made a most welcome appearance.  The wind was in our favour so no engine needed and the sails were set to speed us along at 5-6 knots with Harriet steering.  The speakers in the cockpit blasted out Jesus Christ Superstar – ideal stirring stuff for sailing along to, although Paul thinks it sounds a bit corny these days.  During the afternoon the waves built up and the wind speed increased but it was still possible for us to lay out in the cockpit soaking up the sun.  The waves were rocking us from side to side this time instead of up and own – easier to deal with and they don’t cause nausea.  We were even able to have a cafetiere of coffee in the cockpit while listening to Leonard Cohen’s brilliant Live in London album.  After Paul had had his regular 6 o’clock chat with Neil we went to sit up at the bow to look for dolphins and enjoy the exhilaration of the boat’s movement through the waves.  For dinner we had spinach and ricotta lasagne and then Paul went to the bunk to attempt some sleep in the increasingly rocky waves.


Thursday 6th August

Sleep proved impossible for both of us for most of the night due to the waves increasing in height and tipping us right and left at huge angles.  We were chucked from side to side all night but it wasn’t too bad because I read and Paul managed to wedge himself into a space on the floor that allowed him to sleep.  He’d also spent a good deal of time during the night rearranging items in cupboards and lockers that were crashing, banging and knocking into each other.  I woke up to find plates neatly wrapped in tea towels and cups and glasses swathed in non slip rubber grip – but there was still the odd bang and knock he couldn’t find the source of much to his frustration and my amusement.  For my watches I wedged myself in the desk area by the quarter berth and read Haunted Wirral.  Apparently, ‘Death’, complete with trademark cowl and scythe has been spotted hitching a lift from passing cars in the district of Thingwall while in Frankby a phantom with only half a body and clad in a white blanket is said to terrorise cyclists on foggy nights…still no ghost ships here.  I was hoping to see the sun rise into a clear sky at dawn this morning but clouds prevented it.  Paul woke me at 10 to watch dolphins who put on a spectacular morning show for us and stayed for quite a while.  I cooked us a much needed brunch while Paul talked to Neil – no mean feat when you have to grip onto bars and rails to keep from falling onto the cooker.  I’ve become expert at gauging wave movements so that I can use two hands to delve in the fridge or transport fried eggs from the pan into the bowl. Not as sunny a day today but pleasant enough.  We are both looking forward to reaching our changed destination of Cascais tomorrow.


Friday 7th August





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