Captains Blog 49 – Wavey, Ravey Ice Cream Flavey

The anchorage just inside the mouth of the river Douro is small and looks quite hectic, but is, deceptively peaceful considering. Not long after dropping the hook we were visited by PJ and Roxanne who delivered some delicious Natas for us on their way back to Annette. That puts them top of the rankings for couples we’ve meet since we started this nonsense. C’mon the rest of you, pull your fingers out. Excluding those who know that they’re above such piffle! You know who you are!!

The next morning, we headed into Douro Marina to clean down Elice and sort some provisioning. We also wanted to spoil ourselves and give Porto the time it deserves. That’s not just over indulging on port sampling. Although we had to do this of course, as it’s a legal requirement in Portugal.

We spent a week either in the marina or at anchor and really enjoyed our time there. It’s a fantastic, buzzing city that’s well worth a visit.

Now, the evening before we were due to leave a UK flagged Moody came into the Douro and anchored a little further down river, in front of us. As we prepared to leave, so did they. We were first off, the blocks and once we were clear of the harbour entrance, we turned off our engine and settled into the sail South. They motored past us and we exchanged a polite nod and half-hearted wave, then their sails went up. This set the scene for the next 6 hours or so as we were made ground
to catch them, very slowly.
Eventually the wind dropped and engines were deployed. At this point they left us for dead, not because we wouldn’t be able to match them, but simply because I was too tight to burn shockingly expensive fuel in an attempt to keep up.

We entered the bay at Aveiro and there they were, anchored securely in the last decent spot. There’s not much room under the keel so you have to be careful about where you go. I found a spot and dropped the hook, confidentish, that we were safe.

The next morning, they left, so I repositioned Elice as we planned to stay for a few days. We explored the coast the next day. There is a huge beach that went on for miles, which is fairly typical of the Portuguese Atlantic coast.

A five-mile dinghy ride to the town of Aveiro was our next excursion and it’s always nice to visit somewhere different. It didn’t disappoint and made for great day out. Well, sort of!

On our return, I noticed a couple of masts at an odd angle to the water, in the bay. “Look at that” I said to the first mate, “I think someone’s cocked up and anchored where it’s too shallow. It looks like they’ve grounded.” As we got closer, I realised they weren’t separate masts, it was one boat with 2 masts, a ketch, just like Elice. Couldn’t be her, she’s in exactly the same spot as the previous night, which passed without incident.

Oops, as we got closer and it became clear that there wasn’t another Ketch at anchor. We’d grounded and we were tilted over. Quite a lot. So much so, that an empty (thank God) red wine bottle perched next to the companionway had broken on the cockpit floor. “Don’t look” I said. “I’ll
quickly jump aboard and check everything is okay, then we’ll carry on past, get a coffee ashore and pretend that this embarrassing eyesore is not of our making and has nothing to do with us.”
We returned to Elice and hour or so later, when she’d almost righted herself. I took the scenic route back in order to mitigate the chance of anyone seeing us get back on board. It didn’t work, we got some knowing smiles, Gallic shrugs and some head shaking from the fully crewed French vessel next door. I just tutted, shrugged, while saying “Je suis un Muppet” and shook my head with a slight daft lad expression. I think it did the trick.

First thing the next day we were off. This time to Figuara da Foz and into the tightest parking spot to date, warranting a couple of appreciative nods and comments. We’d not long finished putting Elice to bed, when a young couple walked past and commented on how good she looked. I realised that
this was the couple from the Moody in the river Douro and before we knew it, they were happily relaxed onboard Elice with a beer and some fine nosh rustled up by the first mate. It must’ve been a good evening because it was 1 in the morning before they left and time had just flown by.

After a couple of days there and a fantastic day trip to Coimbra, we were heading out again, this time to Nazare, home of the world’s biggest waves! A lofty claim indeed and on this occasion completely unjustified. There were no whopper waves, just a few ripples most likely the result of a fairy’s fart some 2,000 miles away. Despite the mini wavelets, I enjoyed Nazare very much. Yes, it played on its reputation and bye eck, if you’ve ever checked out the surfing there on You Tube, you’ll see that it’s claim is well founded. But I liked the slight cheesiness of it and the general buzz and throng of the place. I also loved the huge ice cream and fruit crepe and waffle the first mate and I
demolished. It was massive and tasty and indulgent and dirty. Mmmmmmm.

A couple of days there saw us right, then it was a mini stopover in Peniche before the push to Lisbon and a few days exploring the capital.

The sail to Lisbon was a joy, once you’d accepted that you needed to maintain a constant vigil for fishing pots. I genuinely think the Portuguese coast can’t have much aquatic life left along its Western shore. We passed Cascais at break neck speed before turning in towards Portugal’s equivalent of the San Francisco bridge and were hooning along at 7 – 9 knots, the current being with
us. We arrived at the marina, which sits a mile past the bridge and had already been allocated ourplace so could head straight in and tie up.

The first thing you notice is the hum from the bridge. It’s a rail bridge as well as a road bridge, but the constant drone is a result of the road traffic. In fairness, it was only accentuated due to the wind direction and, believe me, there was worse to come.

All settled and secure, Sarah headed off to square up with the marina staff. It was while she was away, that the music started. No problem, it was 4 in the afternoon so would likely finish by 8 or 9. I nipped out an hour or so later and discovered that the music was coming from an open-air night
club. It must be a kids club or something. A nightclub would never start at 4 in the afternoon.

Yes, oh yes it would and it continued right through until 8. No no, not 8PM, 8AM, the next morning.

It doesn’t matter how many earplugs you cram into your lug holes, or how many pillows you sandwich your noggin between, you’re still going to hear the constant boom of an open-air nightclub that’s within 200 metres of the marina.

Despite being slightly frazzled by the lack of sleep we set out to explore in a bit more detail than the last time we’d visited. It was busy and lively, just as you’d expect. There was plenty to see and do and we made the most of Lisbon and even escaped the nightclub torture by booking into a hotel for
a night. Enough said, for now anyway.

Toodle Pip till next time

Captain Mac

3 Replies to “Captains Blog 49 – Wavey, Ravey Ice Cream Flavey”

  1. Just read this blog which somehow we had missed reading and of course as always made us chuckle – you have such a great way with words making it so easy to visualize your antics😊
    We’re having a great winter with lots of biking, tennis and hangin’ out with our winter buds escaping cold snowy Canada.
    We have following your tracker and your trip across the big pond with Simon – WOW what an adventure – hope you are enjoying Martinique – awaiting your next move.
    BIG HUGS💖💖


    1. Hi Both, we didn’t know whether you’d tracked us across the pond so I’m chuffed to know you did.
      I’m guessing you’re down Florida way currently and it’s great to hear that you’re enjoying yourselves and keeping well and active.
      Our plans are to head over to the US East coast and make our way North in time to avoid the hurrican season. Sarah has a cousin in Maine so we’ll see if we can head up the for June/July ish! You know how plans can change on a boat though🤔
      Anyway enjoy the sunshine and keep in touch. 😁👍🏻


      1. Nice to hear from you – yes, we are in Florida for the winter and Solstraale is on her cradle enjoying a freezing cold Canadian winter – yuck Should you head south for next winter would be great fun to connect with each other – better still if Elise ever ends up in beautiful Georgian Bay for a summer we’ll be so happy to see her – May You Winds be favorable and your anchorages calm


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