37:00.05N 08:56.55W Sagres anchorage
Wed 16 Sep 2015 11:38
12th September. No wind, but the tedium of motoring was broken by dolphins in the mood to play around Zoonie’s bow and chocolate brown shearwaters, banking like spitfires, their wingtips not quite touching the water. We were approaching Cabo de Sao Vicente and, unlike last year when we had to return to England, this time it would be another significant point on our southward journey.
We anchored just around the corner from Sao Vicente, the south west tip of Europe under the protection of an ancient fort built on top of the Sagres peninsular. All around us mullet floated with their backs just above sea-level glinting in the sun. We secretly hoped none would take the bait on the end of our line and of course they didn’t as they are suction feeders.
Every year thousands of migratory birds travel from Northern Europe to the South Atlantic and find a diversity of food and a safe place to rest on this headland within the fenced boundary of the fort. We wandered slowly around watching the dedicated local fishermen perched on top of the steep cliffs, their bikes resting against the wooden fence designed to keep visitors safe from the edge. One fisherman had lowered himself halfway down on a rope. I only hope his catch made the risk worthwhile.
The tender issue of the tender was re-kindled when Rob discovered a pin prick hole in one of the floats. “Look, see the bubbles, the beast is unreliable”. I could see where this was going. “But its only letting air out of the float, not water into the bottom. With all the inflating and deflating we do anyway what does a bit more matter. It still has its integrity as far as floating is concerned.” He blinked his eyes tight shut, so I disappeared below to put the kettle on, and took my thinking a stage further.
Rob and I don’t argue because we both know that the very best argument lines come the next day when the flame of fury has extinguished itself. Instead, and I speak for myself, I fathom (appropriate verb eh) out what he is thinking, get over the fact I might have to agree with him, and seek the path that will be best for all, in this case the crucial subject of transfers to land from Zoonie or an additional craft to the life raft in the case of extreme survival. One of my worries was the new tender would be so very stealable in certain parts of the world like the Caribbean and Panama.
I had two cards yet to play. First one. “You see darling you have so skilfully mended the existing two splits in the seam, and from the other tender we saw in Seixal that is where the weakest points are, it seems such a waste to discard it now.”
There ensued an afternoon period of us being extremely polite to each-other. We motored the few miles left to Lagos. I wondered what ever happened to little Maddy McCann, taken from her family somewhere along this coast. We have recently swapped kindles so Rob can read about the late seventeenth century privateers and buccaneers Dampier and Woodes Rogers whose paths we will share later on and I am reading Paul Heiney’s account of his voyage of personal discovery in the wake of his son Nicholas, whom Paul said learned more from ocean travel in 5 years than Paul has in forty, before taking his own young life in what the coroner accurately said was “When the balance of his mind was disturbed.” I wondered what Rob would discover about himself on our voyage.
On arrival at our berth, having fuelled up, I was led gently by the hand to the chandlery at Sopramar Nautical Services, ostensibly to look at a new cockpit speaker for the VHF. Guess what. As I type this Rob is happily pumping up his new toy and yes I got to play my trump card, the old dinghy is washed, dried, deflated and bagged and stored safely up forward as a Plan B.