Busy in Portimåo

Tue 18 Sep 2012 17:33
Portimao is such a still anchorage that it felt like we were sleeping back on dry land, it was only the occasional wash from a motor boat going down the river that reminded us that we were afloat. Not at all like Cascais which, when Matthew was with us, had quite a swell coming in, with some boats' masts looking like pendulums!

On the West side of the river it is all apartment blocks and wide beaches. The boulevard above the beach consists of a boutique, followed by a beach goods shop, followed by a boutique, followed by a beach goods shop, followed by a boutique, followed by... ad infinitum. Ok, admittedly there's the occasional cafe or restaurant in between.

Where as on the East side of the river, next to where we are anchored, it looks like this:

this is the old fort next to a lovely little fishing village, Ferragudo, with those little cobbled streets, too narrow for cars, climbing their way up the hillside to the church. So this anchorage seems to have everything: busy holiday shopping, wide trendy beaches, hidden coves and sandy bays between outcrops of rocks, beach cafes, little villages to explore. There's also a big chandlers next to the fishing harbour, who turn out to be dealers for the folk who make our steering. The bearings are getting worn, so whilst we are waiting on weather here again (the remains of hurricane Nadine) we are taking the opportunity to get some spares ordered in.

The evening that we arrived we were pleased and surprised to see our friends Franz and Norma sail in. The last we had heard they were at Faro, moving on to Olhao, but they had found the holding in the anchorage poor, with a strong current, and, having had to re-anchor three times the previous night, they'd decided to come back to Portimao. We spent the evening together, taking the dinghy to the beach and going dancing, drawn by the sound of a live band playing. Coming back in the dinghy either side of the prow a line of glowing foam spread away from us, looking back the propeller created a vortex of bright swirling light, dimming as it streamed out behind us. The phosphorescence was doing it's thing again. When we stopped alongside Lochmarin her shadow was filled with coin sized glowing dots, fascinating to sit and watch as they danced about and winked in and out of being.

Next day we had jobs to do. Franz had had a window break on his companionway dodger and Jemma had been good enough to bring some PVC with her from England to fix it with. This was the first time we'd caught up with them since Jemma's visit so I had some sewing to do.  We upped anchor and went out a mile or two off shore for the afternoon, we needed to run the generator to be able to run the sewing machine and figured we would make water whilst we did so. The river water was quite sandy, but out there it was really clear. We had a lovely swim off the boat: jumping into the cool crystal water; feeling it flowing all around you as the bubbles rise and you bob back up to the surface; swimming hard against the current to the anchor chain; holding on as the smooth salty water flows past you then letting the sea float you back down the side of the boat to the rope ladder before climbing up to the hot sunshine  and jumping off again to repeat the process. 

I didn't tell Franz that it was the first time I'd sewn a window in but all went well, it fitted fine when we brought it back:

We are waiting on weather again; hurricane Nadine is sitting by the Azores and hasn't decided if she's going to fizzle out or swing over. Until she does we won't attempt the four day passage to Madeira or the Canaries. There are worst places to be waiting in...