Sines - Dolphins

Moxie - Beck Family Adventure
Mike, Denise, Asia and Aranya Beck
Sun 12 Sep 2010 22:07
Sines 12 - 14 Sept 2010  37.57.16N 008.52.01W  
Sines is the birthplace of Vasco da Gamma, so now we've seen the beginning and the end.  Other than that there's not much to the place really although it does have a very modern and impressive public library that sits in stark contrast to the old buildings and castle surrounding it.  he Marina is one of the cheapest we have seen too with a tariff of only 24 euro for our boat, I say seen as we decided to anchor off (we were the only ones though and felt a bit cheap) - the next couple of days we were joined by others though and were many euro better off than we could have been.  We did splash out and spend 6 Euro to use the marina facilities and laundry though
da Gama - It started here in Sines.
We read Alice in Wonderland the other day, Alice thinks that she is falling so far into the rabbit hole that she'll end up in New Zealand.  Coincidentally Portugal is the exact opposite point on the planet to New Zealand and I told the girls that if they dug a hole directly through the centre of the earth they'd end up in The Land of the Long White Cloud.  Well the next day they gave it a darn fine go, by my calculations this hole would have come through in the Maui gas fields just off the coast of New Plymouth.
Leaving Sines was awful, we thought that we'd seen the last of the fog but it got us again.  The passage to Lagos is around 80 miles so we got up about an hour before daybreak, 6:00am, and upped the anchor.  Right on queue the fog rolled in thicker than we had seen for ages and in the dark it was quite unwelcome.  We decided to push on out of the harbour as the entrance is very easy but we did this all very cautiously indeed eyes glued to the radar and plotter - there was not much point looking anywhere else.  After an hour the fog had cleared day broke and we were in open sea on our way to Lagos.  Once again this was to be motoring all day, it was not until 4pm that the wind picked up enough to bother with the raggy bits.  Two rods out this time one trolling deep and the other on the surface and needlefish number three was landed (surface lure).
We had many dolphin encounters today, they really are so sleek, fast, playful and clean looking we never got bored with seeing them.  This time we did manage a few photos.
Another cape to our credits, we rounded Cabo de Sao Vicente the South Western corner of Europe , from here on it's East we go for a while.  Approaching the cape the winds and sea state increased steadily and we were at last able to hoist the sails and quiet the engine.  There was a strong Easterly blowing so Moxie was on her favourite point of sail, Denise was having the drive of her life with hoops of 9 knots, wow!  9.5... 10 we are doing 10 knots 10.5 - 11 - 11.2 ... maxing out at 11.4 knots! a new Moxie speed record.  Funny how my perspective has changed with boat ownership, back in the superbike days (not that long ago) 11 miles an hour was stalling speed.
Cabo de Sao Vicente, apparently there's a phallic shaped rock somewhere near here but we could not spot it. 
Our intention was to anchor just around the corner but in the howling easterly it was not at all tenable so we pressed on (engine on again) directly into the wind towards Lagos.  We hooked another fish but on the small rod that has no ratchet alarm so by the time it was noticed all the line had been taken and it promptly snapped off as soon as Denise got the rod out of the holder.
We arrived at the waiting pontoon at 9:50, just before the office closed at 10:00 - one wonders if 10 minutes later would have save us one night of the seemingly extortionate 75Euro per night fee, it only gets worse the further into the Med you go.  It had been a long day, luckily we were given a nice easy berth and soon had Moxie and crew to bed.  This was AAs first night sail, previously they had always been asleep or at least inside but tonight we all stayed in the cockpit, warm weather does wonders.