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A Giselle sandwich

October 22nd, 2008 · No Comments

Leixoes and a couple of days on Giselle, getting ready for the next bit. Chatted to a couple of guys from France on their way to Cape Verde islands and to the African mainland, in a 26 foot boat! If you want to practise your French then look at which is their website. We left Leixoes with the right weather window, but not the right view. Thick thick thick fog, radar on (to see the fishing boats and other sailing boats), AIS on (that’s the great machine that tells you where all the big boats are, how fast they are going and how long before they hit you!) and fog horn on, one long blast every two minutes (yes we were motoring). We finally cleared, and eventually started to sail. Winds were great. The AIS great, as on the screen you see boats miles and miles away, their speed course etc but on the water most of them you never actually see and in the days before AIS what you didn’t see you could not worry about. So my Giselle sandwich, had a Giselle filling and two cargo ships as bread, all about 5 miles thick!

Now I am not going to say anything about the gybing in the middle of the night other than David has already declared himself guilty, what more do I need to add?

Cascais is just outside Lisbon which is where we put the anchor down. It was flat calm when we arrived but by the next day the wind had come around and was blowing quite hard. Most other boats up anchor and went into the marina, we had planned on going up to Lisbon. so off we go. We gently motor, tacking as we go to reduce the slamming and the amount of salt on board from spray, it is force 7 with higher gusts.

Under the bridge, which hums and you feel like your in a beehive! We tie up in the marina, after going though the swing bridge.

Now our first wander takes us to a Fado restaurant, where we are 03_Fado_singer.jpgentertained as we eat. Two guitar players and different singers, the owner, two professional ladies, or the cook take it in turn to sing. They encouraged everyone to sing along, which we all did, what a night!06_Fado_Cook.jpg

Lisbon, there are few cityscapes as startling and eccentric as that of Lisbon, so it says in the guide book! We found a walking guide who brought it all much more to life. 07_Lisbon_Walkers.jpg Now remember I asked about guides and their umbrellas and was it compulsory for them to carry one? I know the answer, if they don’t carry one it rains! When they buy one it stops!

We looked at the Gothic church09_Earthquake_damage.jpg with earthquake damage, the fire damaged church 10_Burnt_Church.jpg Found the hidden churches, talked about Marques de Pombal and his rebuilding after the earthquake. Sampled the Ginjunha and heard the story that goes with it travelled on the elevador, looked at the street art 12_Street_Art.jpg and the oldest house. Lots more, but the tour took two and a half hours so I can’t tell you all. The two guides (one was training) had excellent English, and a good sense of humour. We had a great tour and I would definitely recommend it.

Back down the river for us, wind pilot put into place, fresh food in the lockers, anchor up and we’re away. Porto Santo here we come, (island just north of Madeira) 500ish miles we don’t always sail as the crow flies! Dolphins about one hundred of them arrive, really lots and lots come from all directions to play, this time they are the striped dolphin, they love swimming across our bow just like the common dolphin, I don’t think I will ever tire of them.

We left Cascais Tuesday afternoon and arrived in Porto Santo early Saturday morning 3am, we crossed the paths of lots of shipping as seen on the AIS, ships bound for New York, Gibraltar, Lisbon, St Petersburg, Tenerife, Durban, Montreal, Rotterdam – a proper crossroads. I haven’t sailed before with thousands of metres under me quite a thought! The water has changed colour to a wonderful inky blue and for some reason become warmer. Weather was perfect and we sailed all the way, with spinnaker for some of it, just as we put anchor down it rained which was perfect as it washed the salt of the decks! This is not a problem we had sailing in Scotland, salt on the deck makes everything feel sticky, is this going to be a problem all the way round? Anyway it’s too much to think about now.

Tags: Atlantic Leg