Vilamoura 37:04.1N 08:07.35W

SV Jenny
Alan Franklin/Lynne Gane
Thu 9 Oct 2014 21:49
Dear Family and Friends,

This is our third night here, awaiting repairs to our sails, nothing serious but best to get the wear sorted as the Transatlantic crossing is a great deal of wear on the sails, so you have to look after them. Vilamoura is typical of the Algarve tourism, the restaurants are attractive, more expensive, the shops stay open late, businesses pay people to drag you off the street into their establishment, its loud and brash. But on the bright side you are spoiled for choice of dining styles, as well as local, there’s Thai, Chinese and Indian, and I have to say it was lovely to have something other than grilled fish!

Following ‘the rat incident’ our first job when we got here was to check where it had been. Knowing that we had seen dirts in the tin locker in the bilges and in the cockpit locker, we started from there. Unfortunately in the next bilge compartment we found a ‘nest’ of old dishcloths with the gleanings from our main food locker. Apart from the wiring this is the next worst option, so we examined all the food, anything that had been attacked was thrown away, all the lockers have been cleaned out, all the packaging has been disinfected, all the under floor storage the same. The next casualties were the bedding and a large bag of old pencils and crayons we were taking to give to Pacific Island children. These were just a bag of wood shavings, most had been chewed completely, just the lead left.

The cockpit lockers are cavernous, and needless to say emptying these is a huge task, we had to check the dingy for holes, fortunately we don’t think this has been got at, but the many things stored in plastic bags fell out all over the place as the bags had been reduced to lace work. Alan charmingly asserted that as the rat had found the food it would go anywhere else, don’t think rats follow that logic, it had been in our wardrobe and we probably haven’t found all the places. The bilges are connected by limber holes so that any water in the bilges runs to the bilge pump, and are just a perfect size for the ease of getting around, if you are a rat. The heating system is also an ideal conduit. It just doesn’t bear thinking about to wonder what it got up to whilst we were asleep. Now Alan hates rats as much as I do!

Although we cant be sure, we think it may have entered via the engine air intake. We will be fitting grills over anything with rat potential. We might also have caused a run on rat traps in Lagos, as other boat owners get to hear of the problem!

Some thoughts on Portugal, as we near the end of our time here.

Why are the town council, church and many houses doors and often windows as well, painted dark green? They are everywhere.

Restaurants: they will bring you a selection of starters as soon as you sit down, they don’t explain that they will charge you for what you eat and sometimes what you don’t. This is hard to get your head around especially in you don’t like sardine paste in cans. We have now taken to checking the menu and not eating some or all of it, as it can be quite costly. We have had some good meals in Portugal but on the whole the food is plain and grilled or broiled. Potatoes come peeled and boiled, just as they are, it reminds me of my school dinners, (but happily not those of my last job), and often served with rice. Although I don’t tend to eat the puddings if home made they look a good prospect but I was bemused to see cold baked apple offered as a choice. Meat from the Azores is good, mostly beef and pork. Less chicken and lamb. If in doubt the fish is reliably good.

Supermercado’s. There are many reasonable middle sized ones, I have a map of Portugal with every Lidl on it, great but as a map its pretty useless as the logos over the roads! Even modest ones have a great fish counter, its a main stay of Portuguese diet and you always know when you are close to the dried Bacalhau counter (salt cod). Cream, spreadable butter, squash and English teabags can be hard to find, but we are having an interesting time trying all the local produce. The cheese and cured meat counters are big here too. There seems an infinite variety of salamis and sausages.

Portuguese tourist attractions close on Monday!

Marina toilet facilities, these are a very mixed bag but the essentials are hot water and clean. The best I have come across are back in the Uk, piped classical music, each private cubicle with its own shower, basin and toilet, brilliant! Clearly privacy is a cultural thing, but I really don’t go in for communal showers. I like a seat, plenty of hooks, a floor that is not washed by the shower water, no bugs, am I asking too much? They have almost got it right here, if the water didn’t come in 10 second bursts it would be perfect!

Hoping to move on tomorrow,

All our best wishes, do write if you have a moment, its great to hear from you! svjenny {CHANGE TO AT} mailasail {DOT} com

Lynne and Alan