Time for some more blog entries … well overdue…. got to stop being so busy exploring to actually sit down and write about it….
Cascais looked like a great place to send some time and we were a little disappointed to leave the next day on the incoming tide to head down the river towards Lisbon, where we would catch up with Seaway, the Lagoon agents and finally get our mast fixed.
The motor down the river is quite spectacular. It was a Sunday so half of Lisbon was out racing their yachts. Reminded me a bit of Sydney Harbour. We sailed past the Monument to the Discoveries and under the 25th April Bridge, which was designed by the same bridge guy that did San Francisco’s Golden Gate bridge and it shows. Another first for me – sailing into a nation’s capital city.
We pulled into the Doca de Alcantara, and were immediately unimpressed. The marina sits behind a commercial dockyard; and between that and the noise from the April 25th bridge, it was noisy, dusty and very unappealing. Add to that the marina staff who really couldn’t be bothered and we felt like getting out of there quickly.
We wandered around Lisbon for the afternoon and then caught up with the Seaway guys the net morning, only to be told that Lagoon had only just shipped the parts and they would be there in two days time. Despite being the bearer of bad news, the Seaway guys were very good and very professional and I would recommend them to anyone with a Lagoon that wants anything done. I think they are fairly used to doing a lot of warranty work there as a lot of Lagoons travel past.
And they did have some good news in that Jorge, the shipwright lives in Cascais, so we were able to leave our horrible surroundings and go back to Cascais, where we anchored in the beautiful bay just around from the marina.
This is one of the best anchorages we’ve encountered, great protection from the north and right opposite some lovely swimming beaches. Lots of colour and movement to watch on a nice sunny day. On the days that it was not sunny (and very windy) it was also a great anchorage.
Wednesday came and so did the parts, but by this stage Jorge was busy on another boat and we had to wait to Saturday morning for Jorge to turn up, only to be told that the wrong mast track had been ordered for the top of the mast. It’s evidently different from the one lower down. Jorge also found a problem for the way Lagoon have attached the square top rig – the way they attached the line was highly suspect and Jorge went away to make us one that would last more than a couple of months. Something for all you square top rig owners to check. Jorge turned out to be a real find. He’d spent 14 years working for Beneteau and one of his jobs was setting up the mast and sails, so of all the places we could have picked to get this problem fixed, this turned out to be the best. And he lives in Cascais, which is a much better place to park a yacht than Lisbon itself (and with the train there is no need to sail down to Lisbon).
So with promises of parts being here early next week, we decided we would go off and check out Portinho de Arrabidda, which our sailing guide described as one of the most scenic anchorages in the whole of Portugal. We motored across the bay in little wind and managed to put up our geneker for some of the way before the wind changed on us.
Arrabidda is a national park and the way in is across some shallow sandbars. But its worth it as you come to this beautiful bay off a pretty amazing beach. The town isn’t much, just a couple of restaurants over the water, which made for a pleasant setting.
Although the cruising guide said anchorage, we found out we couldn’t and had to use one of the pink mooring balls, which are evidently supplied by the National Parks for visitors. They were day use only so we had to go round the corner and anchor up next to the cliffs, which to be honest wasn’t a bad option given their spectacularness.
After a couple of nights there we headed back towards Lisbon some 9nm and anchored off Sesimbra. The holding here wasn’t that good and we took a couple of goes to set the anchor. And even then, we 70m of chain out, it still didn’t set well as we found out when we got back after a day on shore and found we were a couple of hundred metres down wind of where we were when we left.
Sesimbra is a very pleasant holiday and fishing town with a very old castle perched high on a hill behind the town. And whenever there’s a castle high on a hill behind a town, Stan and Judy don their hiking shoes and head towards it. And it turned out to be a very interesting and scenic castle too – well worth the walk.
That night the wind picked up, but our reset anchor held firm. I bought a handheld GPS with an anchor alarm (not that easy to get) so now I don’t have to leave the instruments on draining the boat batteries – I just take my portable unit to bed.
Next morning started to head back to Cascais. We thought by following our 2pm rule, we would be okay, given all the weather forecasts said max of 25kts. It quickly picked up to 55kts and we had made the mistake of leaving the geneker up (furled but not put away in its locker). We had some fun as the top started to unfurl and we needed to get it down on the deck and away in very strong winds. Stan did a great job I have to say.
Not only were the winds strong, but they were coming directly from where we wanted to go. We had one of our 75hp motors going full pelt and a little bit of jib out doing 6kts through up and down seas. Unfortunately the fish traps were still there and the spray was horizontal, so out came the dive mask so I could pick up and dodge the fish nets.
Boy this is a strong boat.
Safely tucked up in Cascais, we worked out we would need to be there until Sunday, two weeks to the day since we hit Lisbon. Never mind, there are worse places to be holed up. Jorge told us the name of an excellent restaurant – Mar de Inferno – which served the best seafood in Cascais, and a beautiful cliff top location to boot. We also caught the train into Lisbon a coupe of times. We had a great night at a jazz bar followed by a restaurant with Fado singers and portuguese guitar, getting the second last train back to Cascais and falling into bed at 2am.
We also visited the Maritime Museum and saw some great street performers on a busy Sunday afternoon. To top off all the beautiful architecture, there are these cute little trams that zip up and down the narrow, hilly streets of Lisbon. Lisbon turned out to be a great city to hang out in.
Finally, with our mast fixed (thanks to Jorge), and the weather fining up, we pointed La Mischief south and set sail.
I’ve had some troubles synching Facbook with wordpress so I’ve decided on a new strategy. I will just put the one set of pictures on Facebook and provide a link (see below) for all you non-Facebook users to see the photos (even though they are stored in Facebook you can still follow the link and view them).
For Arrabidda photos see https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.4612461722471.1073741843.1620379103&type=1&l=61de40b020