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Girolle - Days 22, 23, 24 - More soup (pea soup fog) and the final leg

I write today’s blog with a heavy heart as we are in the final hours of our last sail in what has been a month packed with adventure.
On Sunday we were awoken by the continual sound of a fog horn and popped our heads out of the cabin to see... not a lot! Our world was suddenly looking wet and very foggy. Rally control delayed our departure, meanwhile we waited, drank coffee and prayed for better weather. It has been a strange month for weather, certainly not the flaming June we expected.
Following a skippers’ meeting at midday, Dave decided that we would head for Sines. The forecast was due to improve and we would leave as a group for safety in numbers. The marina at Oieras had reservations to honour so we could not guarantee there would be space for us to stay and if we delayed departure further we would arrive at Sines after dark.
We set off at 1245, visibility was poor but there was something quite exciting about sailing in fog and putting the fog horn to use. Lyonie tucked in behind us, she does not have radar but we do. The forecast of better weather never materialised and visibility remained poor throughout the 8 hour journey, though did improve in places. When we arrived at Sines we had a reasonably close encounter in the fog with a large cargo ship leaving the port. Whilst we passed it safely, it demonstrated how quickly large vessels move and how difficult it is to see in a foggy twilight, such that large vessels can be on top of a small yacht in a matter of a few minutes. We scurried off quickly in search of food and found a small back street restaurant that satiated our hunger. By the time we left an hour later, somewhat unbelievably, the fog had completely disappeared.
On Monday we gathered at the castle late morning for prize giving and welcome speeches. We also had a tour of the town and as usual the guide imparted their impressive knowledge of the local area and its history. Afterwards we were treated to welcome drinks inside the castle, the rest of the day was taken up with preparation for the final sail.
The camaraderie that has developed during this trip comes to the fore at the marina, with crews helping one another with various boat jobs, sharing knowledge and experience. The crews from Girolle, Lyonie, Tohuwabohu and Fair Isle went out en masse for evening meal. Sadly Diablito was missing as Jonathon, who has become the go-to stalwart for all things boat tinkering, had fallen victim to the dreaded ARC Portugal lurgy that seems to have left a trail of poorly ARC people in its wake.
Today we were up early, ready to leave Sines at 5am for the final leg of our journey to Lagos. What once seemed such a long way off in all respects is now rapidly inching closer as we round the South Western tip of Portugal. Unfortunately we are motor sailing yet again as there’s only 3 knots of wind. On the plus side the ocean is practically a mill pond today so no rough swell for the final leg. Seems a far cry from the beginning of our journey when I was spilling soup everywhere and later having to make a mad dash for land at the northern tip of Spain to shelter from Storm Miguel.
Our journey continues, albeit no longer South.
Photo: South West tip of Portugal


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