A Day Sail

Clouds over the mountains behind Cascais      

Just for a change Temptress made a day sail from Cascais to Sines (Sin-esh) almost 60nm down the coast.  We’d come in search of a quieter anchorage and got it apart from the engineering work going on to stabilise the cliffs below the town, landscape gardening with a large digger! Looks like the 100m high earth and rock collapsed recently, now the banks below the town are being reinforced with concrete bulwarks and a new lift and staircase installed. 

The trip was fairly uneventful we’d been unable to get water whilst topping up the diesel tank in Cascais – the marina have insisted that the petrol station can’t provide water meaning you’d have to pay for the marina if you needed to top up! We weren’t too bothered despite having only a few litres left – we simply ran the watermaker for most of the trip. The wind was light and behind us so it was not so much sailing as motoring for six and a half hours.

We towed a lure all the way but caught no fish though we do have to confess to having to rescue a young gannet who somehow got caught in the line about half way between rod and lure. No idea how it managed it but we stopped the boat then reeled the bird in then cut the line either side of the wing it was caught on.  Unfortunately we couldn’t get close enough in the swell to actually cut the line at the wing so the young bird flapped off with a bit still snared around his longest wing feathers. We can only hope the last bit of line would shake free now the pressure was off. The bird was not at all grateful trying to peck and struggle away all the time.

Sines from the sea

Sines is the hometown of Vaco Da Gama who if you remember your history discovered the sea route to India and effectively established Portugal as a maritime trading power. Today it is flanked on either side by a large oil refinery and oil terminal and a container port but once in the old fishing harbour below the town with its curving sandy beach and a small marina the heavy industry is out of sight.

Lots of narrow cobbled streets of  little houses painted white and blue with washing hanging below the upper windows, some interesting little shops including a musical instrument maker and a clock repairer both of whom had intriguing workshops opening onto the street and many little bars. A pleasant town to while away a few hours. The old fort which dominates the harbour skyline has been restored since we were last here and we took a walk round its walls to get a good view of Temptress lying to her anchor.

After a quiet couple of nights the crew are now well fortified for the 250 or so nautical mile trip south east across some of the busiest shipping lanes (traffic to and from the Straits of Gibralter) to Rabat, the capital of Morocco. If there is any wind it’ll take around 42 hours. We need apparently to arrive at high water with little or no swell entering the river as it is a tricky entrance so we’re timing our departure accordingly. The weather forecast looks ok though we may encounter some easterlies blowing strongly through the Strait but hopefully our course is far enough out to the west to avoid the worst of them.

Both of us are looking forward to Morocco, a bit of Arabic culture and food together perhaps with some exploring inland. Oh and we have also sorted out the insurance whilst we’ve been here so Temptress is now insured as far as the Cape Verdes with a further installment to pay to add in the Atlantic and Brazil. We simply in the end had to bite the bullet and go with the only option we had, expensive but we hope worth it.