1 October 1992 Lage to Bayona (Day 3)
The fog finally cleared at four a.m. and the wind picked up so we “ripped” along at 3 knots. I decided that we should just keep going straight into Bayona while we had some wind. But at about half past five we were becalmed again in the approaches just near a South Cardinal mark by some serious looking rocks.
We were now at the mercy of the tidal current, which was of course sending us back out to sea. I inflated the dinghy, tied it up alongside and tried to tow the boat in. Very dodgy and spectacularly unsuccessful with only a 3.5hp engine – I gave up after 20 minutes. We had a light wind by this time, so we slowly tacked up the approach channel. For at least an hour we made no headway at all. Every time we tacked, we headed for the same building on the shore. Very depressing, but at least we were holding our ground.
By nine o’clock, we only had 200 metres to go and were totally becalmed again. I jumped into the dinghy and pushed us into the marina, where Glenys skilfully steered us onto a pontoon. It was a hell of a journey.
Ceris had arrived half an hour earlier and, when she couldn’t find us, decided to go into town to make sure that there was somewhere that she could stay for the night if we didn’t turn up.
We eventually met up with her at midday and went out for a slap-up meal.
2 October 1992 Bayona, Spain
I dived down to the propeller and removed the sacrificial anode which was very loose – one quick tug and it came off in my hand. The propeller looked OK otherwise. I checked the stern gland which also looked OK.
Two Spanish engineers arrived, looked at the problem and then disappeared to find replacement bolts. Three of the bolts had sheared off in the gearbox flange and one bolt looked like it had pulled out and stripped the threads. We spent the rest of the day cleaning the boat and generally lurking about.
3 October 1992 Bayona, Spain
The engineers repaired the coupling. We motored over to the fuel dock and filled up. We walked into town to stock up on food. We spent about £50 in one shop and the shopkeeper graciously gave Glenys a chocolate bar and presented me with a free bottle of wine – that doesn’t happen in the UK!
4 October 1992 Bayona to Islas Cies
We left at ten o’clock and after three hours of beating upwind, we arrived at the Playa Area des Rodas on the Islas Cies. The Islas Cies are a designated national park and rightly so, being a fantastic set of islands with white sand and crystal clear water. We had a good day on the beach and stayed for the night.
5 October 1992 Islas Cies to Bayona
It’s a lovely anchorage, with no swell, but I still woke up four times during the night. The domestic batteries were totally flat this morning. I checked the current consumption and decided that there wasn’t a major problem apart from the fact that we aren’t charging the batteries enough and have been using the autopilot which uses 1.5 to 5 Amp Hours. We need to get shore power to get the batteries fully charged to test them properly.
Another joy, the toilet pump broke and I had to strip it down, muttering that it’s all John Day’s fault because he worked on it last time...
We left at three o’clock in the afternoon. When pulling up the anchor, the damn windlass jammed again and, as I was battling with it, we drifted onto the only rock near the beach. We gave it two big thumps with the keel before we backed off. I dived down again to check the keel and rudder. No major damage just a few scrapes in the antifouling on the keel. We always seem to be hitting things or going aground when Ceris is with us. The water is cold – I must buy a weight belt so that I can use my wet suit.
We motored back to Bayona marina to charge the batteries up arriving back late afternoon. We went into a berth with shore power.
6 October 1992 Bayona, Spain
I worked on the batteries in the morning and in the afternoon we went to the Parador and had a £75 meal. It’s a very nice place with suits of armour, but mediocre food. In the evening, we walked up to La Virgin de la Roca. Brett wanted to climb the rocks, but got scared part way up – so did I when I had to get him down...
7 October 1992 Bayona to Vigo
I checked the batteries after 36 hours charging and they looked OK. We left Bayona at eleven o’clock and sailed to Vigo to get Ceris to the airport tomorrow. The marina has fore and aft mooring on a pontoon, but I had no problem in mooring. It is a very expensive marina and the showers are miles away. The city of Vigo is noisy, fast and there is not a great deal to commend it.
8 October 1992 Vigo to Bayona
We waved Ceris off on a bus to the Aeropuerto in Vigo and motored back round to Bayona in the afternoon. We filled up with fuel and water.
9 October 1992 Bayona, Spain to Viana do Castello, Portugal
We motored all the way to Viana do Castello in Portugal. When we entered the river, we went towards the dock that the pilot described, but were shooed away by two blokes on the quayside. We finally deciphered that they wanted us to go back and then along the river. We were just starting to worry, when a marina appeared behind a big building. It was very new having opened only three months ago. There were no problems with documentation, everyone (customs, marina and capitania) were very helpful.
10 October 1992 Viana do Castello
The town looked so nice that we decided to stay another day. We went on a funicular railway up to the top of the hill over-looking the town. We visited the Santa Luzia church then just walked around the town. We were moored next to Tim & Viv on Jalanath. We want to spend the winter in Portugal, so I’m checking out the cost of staying in each marina - it would cost £150/month to stay here.
11 October 1992 Viana do Castello to Porto
The wind was with us today thank goodness – 20-25 knots straight behind us. However, it was a cold sail because of the constant wind behind us. The entrance into Porto is a bit tight and was made more interesting by the swell on the beam. We berthed alongside a quay behind a replica ship.
12 October 1992 Porto
We visited Taylor’s port factory in Vila Nova de Gaia, which is across the river from the main town of Porto. In the afternoon we wandered the streets of Porto. What a dirty run-down place it is. The streets are very narrow and no one seems to spend any money on their properties. The people appear to be in a daze – perhaps the effect of large quantities of cheap alcohol.
The river is basically a sewer - we watched thousands of grey mullet swimming directly into raw sewage coming out of a huge pipe into the river. I don’t think that I’ll ever eat grey mullet again. We’re going to have to wash our mooring lines when we leave here.
I think that the place is interesting; Glenys thinks that it is a pigsty. Glenys was given the Spanish/Portuguese inquisition about when we had bought the boat and who was the previous owner. Glencora is apparently on some sort of wanted list.
13 October 1992 Porto to Nazare
It was very foggy in the morning so we worked out our finances. By midday it had cleared, but it was too late to set off for Averio. We decided to sail overnight to Figuera de Foz. In the afternoon we visited the gardens of the sports pavilion. We left Porto at 5 o’clock into a very calm sea.
14 October 1992 Porto to Nazare
We motor-sailed all night so it was a pretty boring trip. We started to head towards Figuero de Foz, but would have arrived at 5 o’clock in the morning so we pushed on to Nazare, arriving at a more respectable half past ten. We went into the fishing port and pulled up alongside a huge wall and refuelled.
While we were still alongside a guy asked us in English what we were doing in Nazare. I replied that my father had a boat moored in the marina here. He seemed surprised and asked the name of my father. When I told him he got all excited saying “You’re the son of Carlosh Howarth?” It turned out that he was called “George”, worked for the port authority, knew my dad very well and was even holding the keys for my dad’s boat. We were then treated like royalty and given a berth next to some fishing boats.
We were visited by the Guardia Fiscal who told us that they wanted to search the boat. George came over and helped translate. It turned out that the boat was on a suspect list for drug smuggling – I don’t know what the previous owner (John Holms) did, but I do know that he left Vilamoura in May 1991 – perhaps he didn’t clear out properly. With George’s assistance, the Guardia Fiscal did a cursory 20 second search of the boat, filled in a form which I signed and then shook hands, smiled and left. Phew. Hopefully the boat is now off the suspect list.
15 October 1992 Nazare
I got a quote of £50/month to stay in the small private marina in Nazare compared to £240/month to stay in Vilamoura. We decided to stay in here for the winter, not just because of the lower cost - Nazare is only 2 hours drive from my dad’s house, enabling us to live there while I work on the boat. The Commodore of the yacht club is Snr Campos Ribeiro. He will visit us Friday night or Saturday afternoon.
16 October 1992 Nazare
It absolutely threw it down and blew a gale. Glenys went to the market while the boys and I stayed in.
17 October 1992 Nazare
Snr Campos came visiting and we finalised the arrangements for leaving the boat in the marina. We went to the beach and met Neville & Margaret from Bonnie Day. They arrived yesterday during the gale – “No shit there I was ...” We jumped down the sand dunes and had a nice time.
Glenys managed to drop her purse in the water while getting back onto the boat. I had to go swimming and dived down to get it – brrrr... In the evening, I went down to the Club da Naval de Nazare and spent two hours chatting with Snr Campos and his son Zito, drinking copious amounts of port. I paid £50 for the November berthing.
18 October 1992 Nazare
It rained most of the day, so we walked into town for lunch. On the way back, I picked up some mussels from the beach for dinner. They were delicious, but Glenys wasn’t too keen because they hadn’t been bought from a shop.
19 October 1992 Nazare
First thing in the morning, a fisherman asked if he could come aboard to get to his small fishing boat which was moored close to us. He couldn’t start his engine because the battery was flat so I disconnected one of my batteries and used it to help him to start his engine. He went off fishing and we went shopping in town. We ran out of water in the afternoon – used 120 gallons in 8 days! The fisherman came back in the evening and kindly gave us two big sole for helping him start his engine.
20 October 1992 Nazare
It was raining in the morning, looks like showery weather so we decided to stay at Nazare. Glenys went into town with Brett and visited the Fort. Craig and I went to the sand dunes then chilled out on the boat. Eric of Baccus (a Swede) arrived – we had met him in Viana do Castelo. It’s funny how quickly we set up relationships with people we meet, we talk to them in one port and then might meet them 2 weeks later whereupon we greet each other like we’ve been friends for years. And if we see them a third time, well ......! Generally, the people we meet are doing the same sort of thing that we are doing. We hope it’s like this all the time.
21 October 1992 Nazare to Figuera de Foz
We decided to go around to Figuera de Foz for a few days. There wasn’t any wind so we motored all the way. It was very cold and we both had hangovers from our evening with Baccus. I spectacularly threw up after an hour at sea, Glenys just looked very rough.
22 October 1992 Figuera de Foz
We looked around Figuera de Foz – nice town. A Dutch boat arrived and moored next to us with Albert and Helen – had a few drinks with them.
23 October 1992 Figuera de Foz
We had another day looking around Figuera de Foz and went out for an evening meal.
The weather is very variable, one day it’s raining and the next it’s blue skies. The temperature is 5 - 15 degrees depending on whether the sun is out. What is depressing is that we may get 3 days of rain which gradually makes everything in the boat damp. We have got a heater in the boat but it doesn’t work - another thing to add to my 100 item job list! A spin-off of this inclement weather is that the washing doesn’t get a chance to dry. Glenys has seized on this opportunity to take the washing to local laundries when we stop somewhere.
24 October 1992 Figuera de Foz
It was a nice sunny day so we just slobbed about. A fisherman pulled up alongside and gave us a huge bowl of sardines, what a lovely gesture...
25 October 1992 Figuera de Foz to Nazare
It was foggy first thing in the morning. We motor-sailed all the way back to Nazare in convoy with Albert & Helen. I decided that I don’t like travelling in company – I feel restricted.
We refuelled and then moored on the outside pontoon of the marina, ending the first part of our journey.
A few statistics:
- 1937 miles since we left Ipswich.
- 35 days sailing out of 83 days on board
- 352 hours sailing at an average of 5.5 knots
- 82 hours night sailing
- 160 hours under power.
I’ve put on about 8 pounds mostly due to cheap wine and the lack of self control that brings. Glenys is looking tanned and surprisingly mellow.
Brett and Craig seem to like the life and are getting to see a wide range of life styles. Brett seems to be keeping up his inquisitive nature and asks 20 questions per hour. I must admit that it is sometimes difficult to get Brett to sit down to do “school work” but his reading and writing skills are improving daily.
Their greatest pleasure (when we are ignoring them) is to play with Lego. They have requisitioned our bed during the day since it is the largest flat area in the boat and play for hours building all sorts of aircraft, pirate dens, boats, mazes, etc. The main disadvantage of this incredibly creative activity is that I keep waking up in the middle of the night with a piece of Lego stuck in some part of my body - do you know how sharp Lego is?
They have met a few children on our travels and have very quickly set up friendships. I feel that next year we must try to meet up with more boats that have children because I think that Brett & Craig miss other children’s company.