Azores to Porto and Ria Muros

Wed 18 Jun 2008 06:31

We Arrived in San Miguel Azores one day before Niamhs Dad, This was both good and dad news, It was great that we had managed to get ourselves back on track with our dates after all the trials of the last 2000 odd miles. But the sad part was that

Once again we were short of time to spend on the Island, and as was usual we had our list of chores to get sorted before

Anything else. With 30 hrs of chasing around we managed to get most things sorted, Niamh went to meet her dad at the airport then brought him to the marina, This was my first meeting with a Member of Niamh`s family, And I was not sure that I would be

Considered Mr popular having lured their daughter into extending her 6 month break from Ireland into nearly 3years. But Morris

Colins was very polite and friendly and we all enjoyed a good evening with a couple of other Sailors having dinner at a local restaurant.   We also delayed our departure until the Friday to give us a chance to do a bit of sightseeing and for Niamh to get a Dive in. So by Friday midday with everything being made as good as we could achieve, even my computer having spent time with

The local techies and made to work almost as good as new, we were ready to depart for Porto. It seemed as if we were now destined to this new format, each passage taking us longer to achieve and as a  result having to rush around when we arrive at our destinations trying to do and see as much as we could. This period of activity to be followed by a long period of up wind sailing. But this following leg was going to be different, I had promised Niamh when we had been planning our route that the leg between Azores and Porto would have the wind on the beam and it would be the best sailing leg,  Which was the reason why Niamh had invited her Dad to sail with us. Well you know how the saying goes, Promises, Promises. I did manage to get one bit right, we had winds from the north and even from the west so finally a leg with no beating to windward. But I had once again painted a far to rosy a picture.  Penguin racing Jelly fish across the Azores high pressure system.  PP

 Morris had flown in from Ireland expecting to be sailing in lovely warm waters with beautiful sunny days, Another dream tarnished by reality. The crossing was sailed in strong winds with a rough sea and the sun shone only for very short periods, the big

Bonus was we made excellent time arriving in Porto on Thursday morning at 0900 o clock. During the crossing I had been encouraging both Niamh and her dad that once in Porto a couple of days could be spent visiting the bodegas and tasting the wines.

 This I thought was the reason we had made such good progress and had covered the 830miles in less than 6 days. But no Morris

Had other attractions and within 3 ½ hours of us arriving at the marina he was sat in a previously booked seat and flying back home to Ireland, Muttering something about “some of us have to work, followed by, family commitments pressing at home” Obviously  both concepts that Niamh and I where no longer able to grasp. So another victim to the Penguin sailing regime but

He was able to hold his head high as a survivor. We had one further victim or as I am sure they prefer to consider themselves

Willing adventurers coming out to meet up with us in Porto. Mr Eddy Hannifan, Eddy ticked all our requirement boxes for the perfect Penguin Victim. He was a Sailing Virgin being both young and having never previously been on a sailing Yacht.

 He would also have to take Morris`s place as our minder during our tours of the Wine bodegas. I also had the pleasure of remembering that I was a lad of 19 when I first sailed into Porto as a crew member on a delivery trip, and it was this experience that had given me my enduring fondness for Port and the Portuguese people. So having made such good time sailing into Porto

We found ourselves with a strange new set of circumstances. The time set bye to complete the last few legs was beginning to look

Generous we would have time enough to do some of the tourist bit, Do a little wine tasting and perhaps a little train journey up the

River Douro and see for ourselves the vines growing on the hillsides. So another fine destination if you like that sort of thing, we managed to convert young Eddy to the pleasure of port wine, Niamh being a long time devotee courtesy of one of her Grandparents. The train journey along the valley was relaxing and very enjoyable, the train station itself also being a superb visual delight.  What a great place to spend a few days, So far I have been into Porto 3 times and have only so far managed to visit 7 out of the 25 Port wine Houses. So it looks as if I am fated to keep dropping by each time I sail by that direction until they are all finally given a fair chance to sell their various flavours.  You never know one day I might even have the pleasure of introducing yet

Another generation to the City.    Porto Railway Station.

 Monday 2nd  june as bang on schedule Penguin departs Porto bound for Ria De Muros. As previously mentioned with a virgin sailor, what fate lay in store. We had first a small leg of around 100miles then it would be across the Bay of Biscay a stretch of water with a grim reputation. Eddy and his brother Oliver had spent a lot of time growing up with Jo and Nick all having spent their primary and junior school years at Sopley  school, he was almost family.This added the complication that his mum and dad Jane and Peter would be anxious that he was Ok and got safely to our final destination Cork without to much suffering.

  The last pear to put themselves through the experience of sailing offshore had been made to suffer 8 days of heavy sailing to windward into a rough sea, a far from pleasurable experience. The first 100 miles went smoothly enough even with the wind from

The north the sea had stayed calm and a good trip was had. The Ria Muros was Eddys chance to jump ship and fly the big bird home to UK, but no we had not scared him off he was their to see it through.

 We spent Wednesday visiting the cathedral pilgrimage city of Santiago de Compostela another good days touring and then on the

Thursday after one last lovely hot shower it was time to depart for Cork across the Bay.


   Picture taken from the Train, Splendour from the recent past.  

  So That’s as much as I can cope with for now, We are parked in Crosshaven at the Royal Cork Yacht Club, Jacky , Jo and Nick Fly in to Cork tomorrow lunchtime Jane and Peter arrive in the Evening, We are all gathering to celebrate Niamh`s birthday on Friday. Niamh`s Mum could not hold back her enthusiasm and has been down already, I think she has almost forgiven me. What a lucky man I am. The date is the 17 of June 11more days living the Dream!!!!