Showing posts from June, 2018

Aleria is a sailboat again

The riggers were to start reassembling our rig first thing Monday morning. Sunday we were preparing all day, doing last minute chores – I cleaning the cockpit and aft deck, Alex wiring and wiring and wiring and fretting and fretting and fretting. So we thought we should prepare with a fine dinner out. We chose Marisco, the seafood restaurant upstairs in the marina which everyone had been saying was wonderful.

Beach hopping and exploring in Cascais

There was a light fog when we departed the marina on our bikes. We stopped briefly at the lighthouse near the marina first but as the visibility wasn’t great, we decided to keep going. We rode out along the southeasterly coastal route out of town. When we got to the end about twice the distance to Estoril, we turned around. Estoril and Cascais were once the haunts of royalty, world leaders and spies but today, Estoril is the site of a casino and the area between the two is a major tourist destination – an alternative to the Algarve – where the Atlantic sea breeze and cooler waters make the summer climate more bearable. There are still many stately homes, some of which are now hotels.

People coming and going

A couple of days ago, a boat came into the marina bearing the OCC Flying Fish burgee. Naturally we had to make contact. After all, I'm Rear Commodore of OCC and Alex is Rear Commodore for Ireland. We were the welcoming committee.

Climate Control in Belem

It’s been cool and breezy in the teen degrees centigrade until yesterday morning. We noticed the difference first thing on the way to the showers. We didn’t need a fleece. We had decided to visit Belem, a cultural suburb of Lisbon, and it was a Monday (fare €5 round trip just like to Lisboa). By the time we reached the train station in Cascais, it was 29C. By the time we reached Belem, the outside temperature reported by the train display was 36C. It was going to be a scorcher. Out of nowhere. No way to adjust. Just had to deal with it.

A few notes on the Marina Cascais

When we first arrived, the marinieros and the women in the office could not have been nicer. They have remained so throughout our stay. Even when we complained daily about no internet access, they remained nice. The IT guy kept telling them he could see us logged onto the internet so everything was fine, but he never left his office to come down to where we were to see that with six internet stations distributing signal, we could not even see one - not on our laptops or our smart phones from below or on the docks. I had to go to the office with my laptop to sit on the couch to get some banking and work done. That's not acceptable in a high end marina today.

Cascais' beaches

To work in Cascais, one must know at least four languages, and one must be able to guess the language of the person one is addressing. The receptionist at the marina tried three languages before she hit on me speaking English. It's fascinating to hear all the languages around us. Portuguese of course, but much English, French, Spanish, Italian, and German. It is a resort town and the beaches are crowded, even though it's just barely in season.

A visit to beautiful Sintra

We rented a car for the day and invited our friend Scott, a Californian who bought a catamaran in Connecticut and sailed it to Cascais via the Azores with a professional skipper, to join us for a day trip to Sintra. The forecast was for beautiful weather - moderate winds and a few high level clouds. It's only 30 minutes' drive to Sintra but taking a bus would have taken more than an hour. So we thought we'd make a day trip out of it. We weren't sure what to expect, but Noelia at MRCYB has recommended it as a must do in Portugal.

Work, work, work

Thursday 14th June

We’ve spent the past few days working like dogs. Alex pulling wires through masts and in the boat, replacing and repairing various mast components, and generally making a mess of our abode.

Day of rest

Sunday - 10th June
The day started out nice, with warm sun and French toast. Alex saw our neighbour Scott on the blue catamaran first thing and invited him to join us on an excursion to Sintra, which he accepted. So that’s our next port of call.

Surprise at every turn in Lisbon

Sat 9th of June
We decided to catch the train to Lisbon. We loved it the last time we were there in 2009. It couldn’t be easier to get there from Cascais: €5 each round trip for a 45 minute ride. Not bad, along the coast, viewing the beaches and coast walkway. There is a lot of graffiti and it appeared that some of the neighbourhoods along the route are a bit rough. A coastal clean-up is in order.

Bicycle ride to coastal delights

Friday – June 8th

Alex had bought a new mast light and new wiring and we needed a new windex. He was moving the AIS antenna to the mizzen mast because the signal it pings was interfering with our VHF radio. We kept getting a sound like a mic PTT being pushed incessantly. Very annoying. Plus, he would connect the spare VHF to that antenna; if we had trouble with the main VHF, we could have a second VHF via the antenna on the mizzen as backup.

Bad day in paradise

Thursday – 7th June

As we headed to bed the previous night, I heard, “Oh no”, shouted from the head. That’s always a bad sign. Our main toilet had jammed and would not flush. Lucky for us, we have a second head on board.

Settling in in Cascais marina

Today is Sunday and I can't believe it's been a week already since we arrived in Cascais. Where to begin? There has been no internet in the marina so writing blog posts has been a challenge. I've also been too busy to actually sit down and write.  

Passage to Cascais, Portugal

We departed from Leixoes at a leisurely pace having calculated that it would take us about 27 hours or more to get there. So if we left at 9 am, we'd be arriving at about noon the next day, a Sunday. Perfect. Nothing much gets going in Portugal before 10 am especially on a Sunday. We would be spending about two weeks there getting our standing rigging replaced, a big job. A really big job. We'd be assigned a berth near the yard.

Hopping down the coast - First stop Leixos

We had accomplished all we'd set out to do in Spain for this year. We said our good byes to the Lagos family and to Oscar Calero and Noelia at the MRCYB, leaving them a copy of the Spanish-English boater's dictionary by our friend Kathy Parsons.

Movie set

When we were in Vigo, we were treated to entertainment one day. The RCNV staged a fire aboard a boat at the fuel dock using pyrotechnics. The guys had to escape the fire as the fire brigade arrived to put it out, all while what appeared to be very amateur crew filmed the event. They had to stage several takes.

Dolphins in the marina

At the Monte Real Club de Yates in Bayona, the dolphins have learned that there are scores of mullet breeding and living in the marina waters. So the dolphins have been swimming into the marina and diving around the boats in their slips. We saw maybe five dolphins circling around. Smart little devils.

BTW, that's the new passarelle Alex is building for the Med. It consists of a ladder, a sheet of plywood, and non-skid decking squares. It comes apart so we can use the ladder as a ladder. A creative way around something that can cost thousands.