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Date: 16 Sep 2014 22:07:44
Title: Porto to Lisboa part 2

Dear Family and Friends,

As promised here is part two!

Fishermen and yachtsmen are not natural allies. Leaving the narrow harbour of Nazare, we could not steer a straight course in any direction, such was the cluster of lobster pots around the entrance, more an aquatic assault course! Lobster pots can appear anywhere where the bottom is suitable, from close inshore, ( harbour approaches are favoured here), to a few miles out to sea. They are not confined by depth to a great degree so it is not unusual to see them in 50m of water. Off the rocky coasts and headlands you could be fairly certain of finding some, off the sand dunes we were free of them. Then you come to actually spotting them, now here’s the trick, some have tattered flags, these are the good ones. Some have no flags at all, some have flags so low in the water, and so small you would be embarrassed to put them on a sand castle, some are just floats, (great if brightly coloured but how are you supposed to see a flat disc about 10cm wide with no flag?), some so decrepit that the weed makes them the same colour as the sea, and some take the biscuit because they are on ropes too short for the conditions and bob along under the sea. If you add to this Atlantic swell and waves piled up by the wind, you have some idea of just how difficult it is to spot pots at all, let alone at sufficient notice to avoid them, as they disappear into the wave troughs. You have to be on constant alert and even then you can easily miss their presence as we did. We were motoring and whilst our revs remained constant our boat speed reduced to 2 knots, and more ominously we were being followed, by line floats and the pot rope. This is a serious problem if it fouls the propeller luckily for us as we stopped the line which we think had wrapped around the keel, fell away, but it could so nearly have been very different. We were on our way to Cascais, after a long passage from Nazare, 13 hours, so entering Cascais marina, in the dark and trying to avoid pots as well was not fun!

Whilst on the subject of fishermen, they also stop directly in front of you on your way into harbours, get very unset when you anchor in a designated anchorages because they want to fish there, its hard not to be cynical!

Cascais is about 10 miles from the mouth of the river Tejo and Lisbon, we had a lovely day to motor/sail down the river. The north bank is a continous urban development, towns merging with each other before Lisboa (Lisbon). The south bank is more industrial at the waters edge otherwise it seems more wooded in low valleys coming to the waters edge. We have now learned as we have moved to Seixal that just a short distance over the waterfront hills there is a huge sprawling counterpart to Lisbon proper.

After a lovely evening with Gavin and Georgie, also at anchor, we spent a day relaxing before the evening which was wild, winds of over 30 knots, driving rain and thunder and lightening. It was very rocky and we spent the night more awake than asleep keeping watch on our mooring and to ensure we didnt drag our mooring and then up aground. We had arranged for a boat lift out on Tuesday just down the river, but we were very concerned about the winds which would make this difficult. Luckily the wind abated, but getting into the narrow dock and into the straps for lifting quite tricky. Once again G and G volunteered to help us, what heroes!

We are currently out of the water, lifting out gave us a few anxious moments, having our antifouling prepared post the pot incident and to complete some earlier works, fitting the sacrificial anodes and checking out the gear box. I dont do boat engines, sadly, but have been kept busy by burnishing the prop to get rid of barnacles and calcium deposits, and cleaning the bilges. Oh joy! Although unlikely to eat my dinner off them as once invited to, they are at least a lot cleaner and that is next to saintly! You definitely dont want debris blocking the damage under the floor.

We are due back in the water on friday morning so I can look forward to more maintenance until then, I can hardly contain my excitement! Everywhere we meet lovely people keen to get to know you, often live aboard’s like us and often heading in the same direction, it is quite a community. We are looking forward to joining the rally, in Lisbon, on Friday.

All our best to you, love to hear your news too.

Lynne and Alan

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