Nazere, Cascais and on to Lagos

Thu 14 Sep 2006 04:26
We pressed on through the night making good speed we arrived at Nazare a couple of hours earlier than we had planned. This meant approaching the harbour in the dark hour before dawn.  We were met by a delightful, but almost unintelligible, bearded man who transpired to be an English naval captain who had put into Nazare with his wife during bad weather 8 years ago and never left!  He took us through the formalities and was very helpful but he was quickly christened Popeye by the crew.
We showered and had a rather desultry breakfast with Tim as he packed his bags and planned his departure.  When he left on the 0855 bus into the town to catch onward public transport to Lisbon there was a very low moment. It is always hard to break up a crew and after the 8 days that we had been through together we were all very sad to split up. We bought a Portugese courtesy flag at the chandelry (Popeye gave us a gentle ticking off for not flying one) and decided to move on.  The weather was still overcast and foggy as we left and we were all pretty tired after the previous night.  However, the sky cleared and we suddenly found that we had a favourable wind and a clear sky.  We hauled out the new genoa and spent a couple of hours working out how to set it. I was pleased to have the last of the sails out of the bag and we enjoyed a great afternoon - sunning ourselves, watching the coastline, testing out the new fishing line (still no success!) and finally being able to scan the horizon.  We decreed that Tim must have been Free Spirit's equivalent to the cursed seaman (Hornblower) and this rather harsh judgement was confirmed when Tim phoned us the next day to say that he had taken the rain and fog with him to Seville. However, such was his contribution to the enjoyment and good humour of our trip that I, for one, would have gladly stayed in the fog to have him still on board.
We made port in Cascais at sunset and were delighted to find ourselves in a magnificent marina - beautifully designed and well run with the best shower block of the voyage so far.  We moored up and went in search of supper to find a vibrant tourist town that strangely seemed to be catering for English tourists as well as the Portugese.  We concluded that this must be down to the golf and the proximity to Lisbon but it was odd to be accosted in the street by waiters speaking perfect English and inviting us to dine at the John Bull Inn!  We perservered and were amply rewarded with a very fine meal at a restaurant well away from the main square.  It was good to eat well knowing that we could sleep late the following morning.  We had decided to start the longish passage to Lagos after lunch the next day.
A slow start, breakfast on deck and a pleasing session getting the water maker going took up most of the morning.  Our jokes about Tim's weather turned on us a little when it started to rain heavily and as we shlepped into town to find lunch we got very wet indeed.  We decided to go anyway and swapped our comfortable mooring for a very wet and windy start to the next leg at 1600.  It took us until nightfall to get comfortable with the genoa under downwind conditions and we only really got happy with the rig as it became dark. As I write this it is 0400 and I am about to go on watch.....