Cascais. Take 3
Cascais - Take 3 (sorry, I got the pictures in the wrong place)
Saturday 29 October.
Those of you tracking our AIS will know that we are still in Cascais but that’s because the winds are still predominantly blowing from the direction we want to go.
The days seem to be busy though; last week we were in the marina and received another call from Dennis and Martha on Fishcake to say that they had fouled their anchor in deteriorating weather in the bay and the pitching motion had wrecked their bow roller and they had to buoy off the chain with a fender and move into the marina.
We decided to try to help because they are sailing on a shoestring budget and they are very nice people. Brian is an experienced SCUBA diver and he had his diving gear on board primarily in case we had a similar problem. Brian dived in about 7 metres last Saturday but the visibility was zilch because the swell had disturbed a lot of sediment. However, he was able to feel an anchor attached to a large, abandoned ship anchor and buoyed it off which was good because, by this time, the original fender and the inboard end of the chain had been lost.
So, the only sailing poor Alison got was a trip out of the marina to a rolling anchorage in the bay as a diving support vessel. On a positive note, our Saturday evening pizza ashore turned into a table of six instead of three and became a bit of a party as Dennis, Martha and Ed, another skipper with diving gear, joined us to celebrate getting a rope on what they thought was Dennis’s Rocna anchor (probably £500 worth) but later turned out not to be.
It transpired that there was a lot of old ground tackle snagged on this underwater hazard. After a number of dives and a systematic search on subsequent days, Brian found the Rocna and they were able to disconnect it but the chain is still fouled. They may have another go over low water on Sunday (tomorrow) to retrieve the chain or some of it. On these diving days Scathach becomes a mother ship providing hot tea and a base on which the divers, mostly working by feel on the sea bed, can compare notes and make plans between dives.
The battery charger story didn’t unfold as smoothly as I had hoped – the new unit arrived from Spain last Monday pm, as promised, at the electronics shop in the marina, but my payment had still not arrived in their account, so I phoned my bank and was told the payment had been suspended because ‘it looked fraudulent’. It had been stopped on the day I made the transfer which was four days previously but nobody told me.
I spent the following morning trying to resolve this with the bank on endless hold calls and eventually Brian said, ‘write to the CEO’; so I did while I was still on hold. The email letter to the CEO worked like a dream and I’m going to use this approach every time I get frustrated by incompetence from now on. By mid pm I had a call apologising and promising to rectify the situation immediately and by the evening I had another call confirming the money had been returned to my account. I didn’t want the payment to go ahead anymore because it could still have taken several days and by that time my daughter Nicole, who lives in Holland, had very kindly made the euro payment for me; I was able to collect and fit the new unit the same evening. Four apologetic calls from the bank in total and they paid for the six days in the marina as compensation -result!
Alison left for her flight home while I was on hold to the bank, she didn’t get to sail to Madeira but we did some sight-seeing by land and made the best of the weather. She also raised the catering standard on board considerably and showed me how to make pastry as well as winning consistently at nomination whist - Plymouth rules, not the Worcester variant.
The following day Brian and I did some laundry and moved back out of the marina to the anchorage. On Thursday Dennis and Martha did dinner for us all on Fishcake as a thank you for getting the Rocna back. Brian and I put the folding bikes in the dinghy on Friday (28th) afternoon and cycled uphill for what seemed like five miles to a Decathlon store to buy some walking shoes. It was great cycling back.
Today, Saturday, coincident with torrential rain accompanied by thunder and lightning (bad timing), we dinghied ashore and walked to a local produce market crossing streets running like rivers with inconsiderate drivers speeding past sending waves of water over pedestrians on either side. We were with the Fishcake pair and some other yacht crews – mostly all half our age or younger. How do these young people afford the time and money to go serious cruising?
After the thunder this morning the weather brightened up and the prospects are good for a while and we propose to set off for Madeira on Tuesday with northerly winds at last -hooray!. We had considered going via Morocco for a while but had no pilot book and the online information was fairly discouraging.
We’ll return to the marina on Monday for water, fuel and to restock on supplies to get us to Madeira and then Gran Canaria where we intend to anchor at Las Palmas and where Dave Tremain and Morag Findlay fly out to meet us. We should do it comfortably by the 12th. We have had to register our yacht online with Canary Is. Ports, and apply for permission to anchor there; we have not had a reply yet and Las Palmas will be packed with participants on the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) so watch this space.
All best, Brian and Tony
Post script: Sunday 30 Oct.
Edward dived at low water and was able to untangle Dennis and Martha's anchor chain which is a great result considering they were considering cutting off the free ends at one stage. The Fishcake two now have their anchor and chain plus another small anchor that was part of the tangle and that came with a very nice stainless swivel. After lunch on board, Brian dived to retrieve the rope attached to the obstruction, another enormous anchor, which had been tied off with a float to mark the dive site.