NEAR LISBON, PORTUGAL, end October 2010, 38:38.00N, 9:06.70W
Restless of Auckland
Roland and Consie Lennox-King
Sat 30 Oct 2010 15:41
Our last email was sent from Port Joinville, the marina on L'Ile d'Yeu in the Bay of Biscay, and little did we know that we would be there for a fortnight, when we arrived there on 28.9 for a two day visit. By the time we left we felt as if we had walked most of the 11x5 km island and were starting to recognise some of the fishermen and shopkeepers when we saw them outside their own homes. The houses, as decreed by Mairie were all painted white with orange tiled roofs and blue shutters. Some of the fishermen had painted their shutters to match their boats, using leftover paint; the island has 5,000 inhabitants, which swells to 35,000 in the summer.
We were very lucky to be at L'Ile d'Yeu for the End of the Tuna Season Festival, which was a great local event with a thousand people eating together at 3 long rows of tables, BBQd tuna, fish, bread, potatoes and local tarts. There were 3 bands and after the BBQs and the serious business of eating, people were dancing in the streets, and later even on the tables. We were lucky to sit with a family who have owned a house on the island for 50 years, and we became friends when the word Rugby was mentioned, followed by Haka. They visited us aboard next day for coffee and cake, and invited us home for an 'aperitif' the following day, and when we were still there a few days later, they invited us back to their home for a sardine BBQ. They gave us fresh vegetables from their garden, and a pheasant and a fish they had caught. We in turn gave them some Dundee cake, some haggis and wine. Inevitably, we also made friends with other yachties stormbound with us, including a couple on a nearby Ovni, 'Musca', who are planning a trip to NZ, where we will see each other again.
12.10.10 at 0845 we set off from L'Ile d'Yeu with a good forecast of NE winds, into quite a big swell and winds of about 20kts from behind us, we goosewinged for the entire trip. The seas got larger and smaller and the winds increased and decreased, but were stronger at night. We had a lemon wedge of a moon for half of the nights, with big red sunsets and sunrises. We surfed down waves with dolphins and caught a nice tuna on the second day. We had no major problems, though we had winds of up to 36kts and 3meters high angry rollers at night. The worst of the weather was, as expected, as we passed Cape Finisterre, where the Bay of Biscay meets up with the Atlantic. The name says it all, as it was here that the Old World ended, and beyond Cape Finisterre was where the seamonsters lived and where ships fell off the end of the world.
We had planned to stop at La Coruna, but with favourable conditions, carried on to arrive at dawn into Ria de Muros, now we were in Spain! We tied up at Portosin marina for 2 nights, and ate the best squid meal ever at Club Nautico. We met another yachtie, on 'Dunkers', sailing to NZ, and we hope to meet up there in 2011. We took a bus into nearby Noia to see some of the countryside. From Ria de Muros we tootled south in perfect weather to anchor at Porto Novo for a night and next day sailed further up Ria de Pontevedra, to the brandnew marina at Combarro, a historic village famous for witches, pirates, and seafood. We had dinner in one of the tiny fish restaurants and stayed for market day before setting off back down the Ria to a quiet anchorage at Raxo before sailing on a now flat calm Atlantic south past the Ria de Vigo to Baiona, where we tied up alongside Monte Real de Yates with superyachts Andromeda and Tumberry nearby. Monte Real Club de Yates is inside the walls of a 9th century fortress, and Baiona is where Christopher Columbus and Pinzon returned to announce the finding of the New World, a replica of the Pinta is in the harbour, it looks small for such a daring adventure. We walked the 3 km round the outside of the fortress walls, and another day around the inside of the fortress walls, and past the sculpture of the New World. The Spanish Match-Racing was taking place, and it was fun to be in the Regatta atmosphere in this gorgeous Yacht Club.
23.10. We set off early from Baiona to sail 63n.miles, out of Spain and into Portuguese waters, arriving at Leixoes marina, not a patch on the previous night’s marina. Early on Sunday morning we walked past another fort to the nearby Metro and went to Porto for the day. Porto is where Port comes from, and we walked through the old streets and ancient churches to the waterfront cafes, and across the bridge to the Port Lodges, where we peeked in at Sandemans, and photographed the gondola-type barges that carry barrels of port down the river; before returning on the Metro to Restless. We were starting to feel anxious about the weather and the time it would take us to get to Lisbon, so the next morning we set off down the Portuguese coast. Goose-winging again, we sailed through the night and caught a nice albacore at dawn, we passed Cabo Roca, the most westerly point of mainland Europe, and did 165n.miles to arrive at Cascais Marina. There are not many safe harbours down this coast, and the developers did not forget to put in a superyacht-class marina when they turned Cascais from a sleepy fishing village into a tourist destination. We walked around the old town and past the fort, under renovation, and past a lighthouse that is regularly swamped by huge waves. We watched the fish auction in the town’s fish market, and filled up with E750 of diesel. Then on 28.10 we set off on our last trip for this year, the 16.5n.miles up the Tagus river to the Tagus Boatyard, where Restless will be staying for 5 months of winter. We have done about 3,500n.miles this year, from May to end October. We are currently at Tagus Yacht Centre, 6n.miles due south of Lisbon city, where we are doing all the end of season jobs. We will return to New Zealand for the southern summer, and our Scottish friend Keir will return to his children in Edinburgh, returning at the end of March.