Dear reader, apologies for the lack of blogs for several days, attempting to resume normal service before I end up being sent up the mast as punishment.
Believe it or not the Girolle crew were in bed by 10pm Saturday. We had left Povoa just after 6am and were pretty tired after the 12 hour sail. Sunday was spent relaxing. We missed an interesting tour of Coimbra, it’s university and impressive baroque library. We might have been tempted if it were not for the early start (pre 8am) and another long day. Instead, I went to the local market, bought fresh fruit and vegetables. On Rita & Miguel’s (Casik III) recommendation, I also bought some fresh spatchcock chicken. The ‘cooked chicken shop’ is so small I initially walked straight past. The only indication of its presence is the amazing smell wafting in the air as you get close by. Inside the shop, a giant tank containing hot coals, upon which various spatchcock chickens in metal wracks are constantly turning until the chicken is cooked. The person running the shop must work in a near constant sauna environment. No wonder his skin looked healthy!
Meanwhile, Dave & Andy went on a cultural tour to find... MacDonalds! I have been asked to point out that Dave also managed to get his haircut on a Sunday in Portugal, by a Brazilian lady. We are now on music stereo no 3. The one purchased in Bayona was not able to withstand Dave’s singing and packed up in protest. It was of great delight that as well as the haircut, Dave managed to find a replacement stereo. Let’s hope this one lasts. Surely this must be third time lucky?
Late afternoon we were joined by Andrea & Jonathon from Diablito. Thanks to the (very tasty) spatchcock chicken and some other bits and pieces, I rustled up an impromptu dinner for five that even Delia or Nigella would be proud of. Sometimes impromptu dining is the most fun.
In the evening the boat crews gathered at a trendy rustic bar that is based around an old lighthouse and were treated to complimentary drinks. We were entertained by a DJ who was probably one of the most enthusiastic and passionate about his music that I’ve ever come across, even ‘getting down’ with his own little dance; a really fun night. Sadly, the DJ packed up at 10pm so we sloped off back to Girolle. Suddenly we were joined by both Zafiro and Diablito crews and Girolle came alive once more!
Monday started with Dave cooking as full English cooked breakfast as can be produced on a boat in Portugal with just a small gas cooker, having managed to find eggs and bacon during the Sunday MacDonalds/ haircut/ stereo run. Andy’s turn to do the laundry... it was in safe hands, dried to perfection, no need for another cabin full of wet laundry.
Monday evening we were treated to drinks at the Mayor’s house. We are very grateful to the Mayor for his generous hospitality, we were treated like VIPs and were made to feel really welcome. Afterwards we moved on to the Casino for an ARC Portugal 25th anniversary dinner. The Yacht Club officials presented us with a beautiful keepsake (see photo), such a lovely gesture. This reinforced what has been evident at every stop on our journey in both Spain and Portugal; the hugely warm welcome and generous hospitality we have received from the Yacht Clubs who have hosted us.
Today we were meant to sail South to Peniche. Unfortunately we have been beaten back by the weather again with forecasted South Westerly winds gusting 25 knots. This would mean sailing into a headwind for a 60NM day sail. We are also told that Peniche is a fishing port that can be particularly tricky to negotiate in strong winds. We have been advised by ARC to stay put in Figueira and postpone our departure until tomorrow. We are currently sitting under grey skies with the wind howling outside... rather reminiscent of U.K. weather, not what we were expecting in Portugal in the middle of June! The boat also has an enemy within; Dave and I have both been bitten by (presumably) a rogue (and now happy) mosquito during the night. We have been watching Fair Isle’s documentaries that they have made about their ARC trip thus far. Being professional journalists, Steve & Judy from Fair Isle are frequently ‘busy editing’. Now the fruits of their labour are available on ‘Sailing Fair Isle’ on YouTube; an excellent documentary of this journey that includes stunning footage of dolphins, their beautiful boat and the excitement of Storm Miguel.
Fingers crossed, tomorrow we will be off on our next leg. Until next time.
Photo: Presentation medal, Figueira da Fozimage1.