Atlantic Circuit,  Atlantic Europe & Africa,  Sailing

Long sailing legs along the Portuguese coast

October 30-November 3, 2020

After a couple of days in Porto we were finally able to leave, the entrance to the river opened and we were allowed to leave (if we would have left earlier we might have gotten a pretty big fine). We called on VHF to double check before we lifted the anchor and headed out on the sea.

We planned to sail overnight all the way to Cascais (outside Lisbon), stay there on anchor one night and then do another overnighter to Lagos. It was extremely calm, we managed to sail a bit before lunch but then we turned the engine on. The evening and night was very calm, very smooth sea so it was engine most of the way.

Beautiful sunset on the way south along Portugal with Svala in the background.
Picture of us caught by Svala, the moon in the background was really incredible that evening…
Followed by an amazing sunrise!

We arrived to Cascais a bit before the sun set and found ourselves a place to anchor. We ate dinner and had a calm night on the boat before we continued south.

This sail was also a very calm one and by morning when we approached Cabo de Sao Vicente (the cape at the southern part of Portugal) we finally got some wind and we could sail for a while, until…

…our genoa started flapping. We quickly realized that something in the genoa halyard might have snapped and we managed to furl it in before it came down completely. Luckily for us we had already planned to make a “morning/lunch stop” on anchor outside Sagres and when all this happened we where almost there.

So we dropped anchor outside Sagres and decided to climb up in the mast to see what went wrong. It was the shackle between the genoa and the halyard that had gotten loose, so it was a pretty easy fix. While we were up in the mast we also checked the stays and shrouds and other things to see that everything looked fine for our upcoming crossing to the Canary Islands.

Up in the mast to fix the genoa halyard and check everything else.

After we had fixed the genoa we had a nice, but cold swim in the ocean followed by a nice lunch before we set sail towards Lagos.

This summer and autumn it has been a lot of reports of “attacks” on sailboats made by orcas from Gibraltar to A Coruna. Usually there is almost no reports of that kind but this year a lot of sailboats have been in need of assistance due to mostly rudder damage made by these orcas. What we read is that the orcas might think the rudder is funny (as it moves, and they can move the boat with it) so the come and play with it. So it is not really an attack, but still you don’t want to be a part of their game.

Anyway, when we approached Lagos we saw a pod of orcas! At first we saw some fins some distance from the boat and first we thought it was dolphins (which we’ve seen ALOT, every day since France we have had dolphins around the boat, amazing!). But then we saw that they started hitting the surface with their tail fin (and since Petras sister is obsessed with orcas and knows a lot about them we know that this is something orcas do when hunting fish, they kind of paralyze the fish with the impact of their tail fin and then they can just pick them up) and we realized that it might be orcas. We took a closer look and saw that the fins were different compared to dolphins and their movement through the water was much slower than dolphins. And then we saw the white spot on one of them and we were absolutely certain that it was orcas. At first we got really nervous and we saw that the pod headed between us and another sailboat behind us after they were finished hunting fish. But that was it, they swam some distance behind us and headed in towards the shore and then they were gone. The scary moment was over and we were just really happy that we got to see these cool animals so close to us and we could continue to Lagos.

The first night we stayed on anchor outside the marina before we headed in, nice way to save some money. But the following day we headed in to the marina to start getting stuff done for the Canary crossing.



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