We got weather forecasts from the office in Leixoes, Pipit and our SSB and decided it would be safe to leave to get further south on Wednesday. Initially we planned to go to Nazare following an overnight passage and our ETA was after dawn but we had to motor due to light winds, so were still off Nazare in the dark and in the end continued all the way to Cascais, some 175 miles in all. During just this one trip we covered more mileage south than in the previous 2 months but we really enjoyed the Rias and the luxury of plenty of time in July and August.
There were a couple of other harbours we could have entered if the weather deteriorated but Peniche has a reputation for fishing boats tearing past the visitor’s pontoon at high speed at 0300, so we declined the opportunity to fall out of our bunk cursing, as our friends on ‘Salila’ had warned us. It has been really useful to get information from boats ahead of us.
The wind didn’t get up above 10 knots throughout the 30 hours and there wasn’t very much swell, so we just kept motoring south as we needed to make some time up on the month we spent in Povoa. This was our first night passage alone without crew and so we had to stand our watches on our own. The most difficult part was staying awake as there was so little to do, nothing on radar to track, nothing much on AIS either! We did 2 hour watches and slept in the lee berth in the saloon when off watch but next time may try 3 hour watches if the conditions are OK, to avoid so much interrupted sleep.
We didn’t get the sails out at all which was a shame but we tried out the large reel, thicker fishing line and big fish lures, which Dave’s Tackle in Gosport made up for us, in the vain hope of catching some lunch. We did have tuna mayonnaise sandwiches, courtesy of the backup plan!
Another difficult aspect to the passage was dodging all the fish pots and to be sure we didn’t get trapped in any during the night, we headed well offshore 15-20 miles. We hardly saw any shipping but surprisingly we did still see some fish pots well out. Coming into Cascais we had a huge number to contend with, so again, glad we arrived in daylight.
The anchorage at Cascais is lovely but the busiest we have used since we left the UK. It is conveniently close to the marina but again we were warned off using it as it is very expensive with charges around 70 euros a night for us (based on our friends on Streetcar paying 75 for their 52 foot boat last month).
We have noticed a marked rise in temperature since getting this far south and no longer get the dew in the mornings, which had begun to form on deck whilst in Povoa. Sea temperature is 22 degrees now but the water doesn’t look too inviting unfortunately. The washing is drying very quickly though and we are keeping the hatch blinds drawn over to reduce the heat inside the cabins. The Duogen is back in wind generator mode and whizzing round to keep the fridge cold, whilst the freezer continues to impress with the lack of draw on the power.
We plan to stay anchored for 3 nights to wait out some high winds expected over the weekend, spend 1 or 2 nights in the marina (gulp!) to get the internet for the weather, emails and blog. It is also Rob’s birthday on Monday, so it would be safer to be moored to a solid pontoon rather than using a kayak after a night out celebrating! We want to take the train into Lisbon to see the tourist spots and visit the chandlery for a courtesy flag and current chart for Madeira. Then we need to stock up on water and fresh food, clean the dust off the boat, which we picked up in Leixoes and get ready for the trip to Porto Santo, which is nearly 500 miles.