41:11.08N 08:42.24W Leixoes and Porto

Wed 26 Aug 2015 09:59
After a 7.40am. start we had a perfect sail, goose-winged down to Leixoes Harbour and anchored in the corner between the marina harbour mole and the breakwater. The lady in the marina kindly gave us permission to leave the tender alongside a pontoon. We took the 500 bus along the sea and riversides into Porto. We could have taken the air conditioned metro for the same price and in half the time but wanted the views, over the heads of the people in a baking hot, full bus.
Despite it being late in the evening the tourist info office was still open and we booked an all day river trip for the Friday, the day after next. Back to the boat via the metro, cool bliss.
That evening I experimented with cooking two cross sections of conger eel. I rose above the damp pants smell of the raw eel and cooked it for a generous time, but even then it was nearly impossible to get it off the bone. It tasted ok. If there is a next time I will buy fillets.
20th August. Poor Rob awoke with a poorly tummy, now I know what you’re thinking but as I had eaten eel as well I don’t think it was that. On the way in to Porto we had to leave the metro for a few minutes while he was sick behind a friendly tree. The strain must have upset his old back complaint which then swelled up and trapped a nerve in his leg, so by the time we reached Porto he was in agony. We found a pharmacy and bought some Ibuprofen but as the pharmacist said he must only take it after a meal we hired a taxi back to the marina where I gave Rob a quick lunch and in minutes he was fast asleep with the Ibu doing its good work.
As I sat reading in the cockpit I wondered why so few yachts appear to use the anchorage, instead belting across the harbour into the marina as if there’s a gale up their tail. We had three quiet, calm nights there and there were always interesting ship movements going on for entertainment. Enjoyster came out of the marina that evening and joined us and as Rob awoke feeling like a new man we invited them across for drinks. They anchored a little behind us so I couldn’t see into their cockpit to gain their attention. Well I tried calling them on the radio and then across the water. Finally I knew what would get their attention, “Parp” on the canister foghorn, that worked. At last we were able to return their hospitality.
21st August. Porto Day. We arrived at the metro station at 7.37 in the fog. Strolled down to the magnificently decorated St Bento station at 8.10 and made contact with our guide, Daniel, who had the cushiest job ever, bought two mugs of delicious coffee to go and wandered around admiring the blue ceramic narrative celebrations of Portuguese life and history. At 9.10 our train started on its 2 hour upriver journey to Regua to meet our river boat of the Tomaz do Douro line.
Travelling along at 10 knots created a glorious breeze on what was turning out to be a fine, hot day. After a few minutes lunch was served in the cool interior dining room. Vegetable soup, rice, potato and cooked cabbage with roast pork and chocolate cake for dessert, washed down with local red wine and white port, surrounded by lots of thick, well rounded and varnished wood.
We sped on past terraced vineyards, mixed woodland, rocky shores and delightful little beaches where people relaxed and played. Two lock systems provided excellent entertainment. The first drops 33 metres, (the Panama lock into the Pacific from the Caribbean drops 80 metres) and the curved gate infront of us lifts up to let vessels through. Just before it breaks the surface, you can see lime green sunlight through the water, quite beautiful.
We strolled up the steep hill through old Porto to Trindade metro station and spent the evening chatting to family about our fine day.