We are underneath! The nose wheel lights come on just over the mast on finals. Only Berlinair.com has been smart enough to paint their web address under the fuselage. We wanted to take the tender to the end of the runway but it’s now about 5 miles away following intervention by the pilot. 5 miles south of Faro airport is an island with just 3,000 residents. We are anchored in the canal outside the port. A fishing village that also taxis in tourists from Faro for the beaches. No roads so a few tractors do the shifting over sand. It is said that yachts have pulled into the local lagoon and stayed a decade. We had lunch in the town centre, actually in the community centre, next to the bank. Photos to follow when we get some bandwidth again.
Cruising east of Portimao we entered the Canal de Faro within the marshes south of Faro airport. The approach has a huge tuna net which although marked within a 1 mile square drifts beyond the marks by quarter of a mile. Rounding the net the shallows rapidly and the entrance has tides which run at 4 to 7 knots. The channels are shallow (drawing more than 2.5m we are forbidden from moving at night). Dropping anchor as per the chart and pilot we anchored in peaceful isolation. Looking at AIS and the charts we could see yachts anchored to the east in the other channel, Canal de Olhaao. Just in case being alone was an issue we plotted a track to the other anchorage whilst a ship waited outside for high water and the pilot. Then it happened…. A pilot was ambling down the canal sounding his horn repeatedly not so far ahead of an outward bound ship. We are on AIS and heard him earlier on VHF. No contact, just a meaningless horn. Was that for us? The ship was 16m wide and the canal which we edged about 100m wide. It was almost slack water but still on the flood. The pilot got slowly closer as the ship was catching up with him when he started to gesticulate that we should move ‘right now’. With 50m of chain out the gypsy slowly cranked away, 40m, 30m, air bellows deflated so wait for the switch to recover, pilot going mad but not making contact, 20m chain tangles, 10m here’s the ship, anchor up and we have not moved so time to spectate. And the ship glides by about 80m away against the port marks, no problem. So we did a full circle and dropped in behind moving to the other, shallower canal to find a pool to anchor in. Give me a Solent pilot any day! If there is an issue they communicate quickly and clearly accelerating ahead of the ship and for a 100m freighter wouldn’t get out of bed. We were not impressed with either the written pilot nor the guy on the boat with a P on it.
Leaving Cascais heading south with a N 15 knot forecast we set full sail in 9 knots wind and were making way nicely. Wind climbed to 15 then 23kn so we took a reef in the main but got a bit of an untidy roll in the boom. The main was then stuck as the wind climbed and we started hitting 8kn not knowing what was coming next. We took the easy option of tucking under a headland in smooth water and 5kn wind to sort things out before heading south again under gib only. It was slow going but at dawn we set full sail in 13kn but the sails just flogged with each rise and fall in the swell. We tried all points of sail other than a U-turn upwind and with apparent wind of only 8 kn nothing stopped the banging rig. So we motored 3 hours south to Cabo Vincente. Hitting 15kn we let out the genoa. Within a mile we had a scrap of sail hoisted and we were being flogged in 35kn under the cliffs. We passed a yacht heading north against the wind and could only feel sympathy. The fetch was only a few miles and although the sea built in that time it was a great shape, no swell, and we tanked along at 8kn in the roaring wind completely stable and set as if on rails. Passing Pointe Sagres made no difference and it was not until the Algarve that we saw a drop to 27kn into Lagos bay.
Down the 100 miles of coast sailed from Cascais to Cabo Vincente we had Monkey and Donkey, as they referred to themselves, doing a mad double act on VHF channel 16 almost non-stop. All in English these guys yabber away at each other, play music and American cartoons or similar. The transmissions started around 10pm almost non-stop until maybe 6am but soon resumed again. Of course freight traffic from the shipping lanes told them to ‘go to a clinic’ and the odd yacht suggested ‘a different channel as they were a hazard to navigation’. The latter was well put and silence followed for a short time. You would think that the British warship that was interrogating passing traffic all night and the authorities could pin point these guys but there were no interventions from officials.
After our first Craig David anchor eviction we had two nights sitting about 100m to the east of our first drop. Our anchor had been tested the first night with peak gusts of 39 knots and on the second with Force 7/8 at 4.30am.
We went downtown and returned to find the firework train had been anchored in daylight (must have been better organisation as on the previous night they tried to locate the small barges after dark and could not find their mooring buoys so were snaking in and out of moored boats – just!) alongside. Yep, we had to move again further east. We are now floating in isolation far to the east of the anchorage but it’s a better wifi zone so we are staying put.
The firework train which when unshackled stretches several hundred feet
Spent last night being entertained by Gerry and Wendy on ARC boat Duplicat along with Heike and Michael from s/v Fantasea.
It’s a busy anchorage of about 25 yachts with high turnover; Danish, Swedish, Morrocan, Brazilian, French, UK, Spanish and Portugese yachts to name a few.
The pilot states that the bay is foul. A hired speedboat dropped anchor alongside us today and as over 20 knots of wind hit they wanted to leave. Cascais had other ideas and no way could they reclaim their anchor. We had a go at dropping a tripping line down their rode but we are not carrying any large shackles that would sink down the 6mm line which was at about 30 degrees. So we called the rental boat company and the guy tried every trick he could to free the line but eventually gave up and cut the line.