May 2012 - Spain, Portugal, and Gibraltar


Atlantic Spain | Atlantic Islands National Park | Cies Islands |Playa Arena das Rodas

May 31, 2012

Hi everyone, We had a great week at anchor. We anchored off Isla Tambo for 3 nights all alone. The Immigration boat shined a light on us at 4AM and then came back later that night to check our papers. We visited Combarro but didn't feel comfortable with the seagrass anchorage to leave the boat to visit Pontevedre. So we'll do that from Vigo. Cambarro is a cute village with a Medieval old town. Crooked lanes and rock houses with many horroes along the waterfront. Horroes are found through out rural Galicia. They are storage places for grain and other agricultural produce keeping them same from rodents and birds. The basic structure sits upon a series of pillars that end in round or square platforms designed to make it impossible for small animals to climb up to the top. Most are made of stone and often crowned with a cross or some other stone decoration.

Then Monday afternoon we motor/sailed over to Cies Islands which are part of the Atlantic Islands National Park. We anchored off of Playa Arena das Rodas which reminded us a lot of Julian Bay in the Apostle Islands on Lake Superior our old cruising grounds. First this mile long sandy beach and lagoon join Isla Faro and Isla del Norte much like Presque Isle and Stockton Islands are joined. Secondly we were always told the singing sands of Julian Bay were unique to that beach. Wrong...the sands of Playa Arena das Rodas also sing when you walk through the dry sand! We had the anchorage to ourselves Monday and Tuesday. Then 5 other boats arrived on Wednesday.

Spain | Ceis Islands | Isla Faro | great views hiking on the island

Tuesday we hiked for 4 hours doing all the trails on Isla Faro. We were constantly on the lookout for nesting seagulls as they were everywhere even on the trails. Mama didn't care for visitors and she'd squawk and others would dive bomb our heads. Had a nice picnic lunch at Monte Faro and then hiked to the light house overlooking the western side of the island. We walked back on a trail from the small light house along the beach. Wed. we did some boat chores. I cleaned the stainless and Al rebuilt the "head". Neither job was pleasant but I preferred mine:-)

Thursday morning we hiked the trails on Isla del Norte for three hours and had a picnic lunch. We liked getting an early start before the ferryboats arrived with the school groups. Today we decided to go to Real Club Nautica dos Vigo Marina where we'll be leaving Artemis while we come home. Its a nice marina right downtown Vigo, Spain so things are very accessible. The management is very helpful and the price is right. Only 350 Euro to be here for 5 weeks and they have a van to take us to the airport (included) Also swimming pool, sauna, turkish bath, gym, wifi with no extra charges. This is definitely NOT the Med. After lunch Al and I went exploring Vigo for 4 hours and especially enjoyed the views from the lovely gardens of the castle overlooking the bay and city. There is a huge fishing fleet in Vigo Bay some are 200ft long and here are many huge seafood storage facilities. We look forward to seeing more of Vigo and the surrounding area before we fly home on Wednesday. Happy Weekend. Love and God Bless Sally and Al

Portugal | Figureira Do Foz | Artemis in marina on river Figueira Do Foz

May 25, 2012

Hi everyone, Happy Memorial Day Weekend! We left Figureira Do Foz, Portugal on Monday. We had already paid for 3 days at 21.50 E daily rate but the new man on duty said it was a mistake and would we pay for Sunday at the correct High Season Rate of 37.50 Euro. We decided to go 77nm to Povoa Varzim, Portugal. Glad we did. Puff our Dutch friends were there and here we thought we had said Good-bye last Friday. So we went out for a nice fish dinner. Al had sole and I had Turbot. Excellent meal and wonderful company. Complimentary rabinadas (dessert) and Tawny Port. Tuesday we said good-by to Yvonne and Dico again and then walked about to reacquaint ourselves with Povoa Varzim (6 days in 2006). We decided to go back to the same restaurant for fish again. This time we ordered a rock bass and turbot. Another great meal. Wednesday we motor-sailed to another port we visited in 2006 Viana Castelo, Portugal. cute town and fun to walk about but no Jazz Festival this time.

Yesterday we went about 52 nm to the port we landed in after crossing the Bay of Biscay in 2006, Baiona (Bayona), Spain. Yes we are back in Spain and good internet! We anchored out but didn't go ashore. This morning we decided to sail by Ria Vigo and visit Ria Pontevedra the next ria. We are anchored all alone off Isla Tambo near Combarro, Spain. We've inflated our dingy for the first time this season. We'll move half mile closer to the town tomorrow for a visit and take a bus trip to Pontevedra. We have a National Park permit to visit the Ceis Islands off of Ria Vigo Mon-Fri. Then we'll have to move into Vigo marina on the weekend to prepare for out flight home. Happy 3rd birthday Maddie and Happy Baptism Day Sara! Safe travels over the holiday. Love and God Bless Sally and Al

Portugal | Fatima

May 20, 2012

Hi Everyone, We had good winds for a longer passage on Thursday so we skipped Nazare (visited 2006) and went 52nm to Figureira da Foz a marina in the mouth of the Mondego River. So glad we did as our Dutch friends Yvonne and Dico on Puff the Magic Dragon were there. It was fun catching up since Barcelona. They are on passage to Holland to prepare their boat for Atlantic crossing to the Caribbean this winter. We also met an American couple Marty and Paul Rogers on s/y "Canty" from Camden Maine. They're heading south after many years Summer cruising Norway, Finland, Baltic, Scotland, Ireland.... It was fun looking at some pictures and hearing about some of our future anchorages and ports.

Portugal | Coimbra | Monastery of Holy Cross

Friday we took a train to Coimbra one of the oldest university towns in Europe and once capital of Portugal back in 12 and 13th centuries. Fun, fun excursion. Coimbra is located on a steep hill above the Mondego River. We visited the Velha Universidade, Se Velha, Se Nova, but most fun was Monastery of Holy Cross. We enjoyed wandering the narrow pedestrian only streets, people watching and taking pictures of the ornate buildings and churches.

Atlantic Coast |Portugal |Batalha| Batalha Monastery Abbey

Saturday we rented a car and explored the Leira Fatima area. We drove smaller highways so we could experience the small towns of Portugal and the countryside. We had no idea Portugal had such impressive sights to visit. We found the people to be friendly, helpful, and many speak some English and are willing to use it. We visited four cities, Batalha, Alcobaca, Tomar, and Fatima. It was a busy but wonderful day visiting Batalha Abbey, Real Abadia de Santa Maria de Alcobaca, Convento de Cristo in Tomar, and then the Santuario de Fatima (millions visit on pilgrimage each year). We arrived during mass at the Basilica so stayed and visited afterward. We also had a nice informative visit with a Canadian who was volunteering for Tourist Information. He told us much about the sight and answered our many questions. We took freeways back to Figureira da Foz to get the car back in time. We tried unsuccessfully to get internet at the bar/cafe at the marina but we did have a lovely sea bass meal. (Oh and Nicci and Pat...the french fries were crispy and hot:-)

We had planned to leave this morning but it was raining and big NW winds so we decided to stay another day. The marina fees are only 21 Euro a day so...We are only 135nm from Vigo. So we have time to explore new areas before we fly home June 6. Plan to leave tomorrow with southerly and westerly winds for the next three days. Happy weekend. Love and God Bless Sally and Al

May 16, 2012

Hi Everyone,Happy Mother's Day tomorrow to all my mother friends:-) Friday Al was feeling lots better so we went looking for the sailmaker. Great find. He told us to bring the sail at 2 and he'd fix it. We walked about Old Town Lagos, Portugal while the repairs were made. Not a lot to see but cutsy and clean. The marina is very nice and the live aboard community seems very active as I saw the Monthly Activity Sheet in the office. We picked up the sail and for once we were charged what the job was worth. He told us 35 Euro an hour plus VAT and he charged us 30 Euro. We moved Artemis out of the marina through the lift bridge about 6 as the bridge would close at 7 until the next day at 9. We stayed at the reception pontoon for the night. After dinner we walked back into Old Town for an ice cream cone.

We left Lagos at 5:30 this morning heading around Cabo Sao Vicente and then on to Sines, Portugal. We had a nice 15 nm sail around Sao Vicente easterly 25kts gusting 36. We were cruising with a beam wind and then the winds died so we put the sails away. The mainsail tore when Al was flaking it. I guess it's time for a new set of sails. These are 9 years old. Winds that were predicted from the east all day switched NW and then N around 1:00. So that meant motoring into the winds (10-15kts) and seas. So we didn't finish our 78 nm passage until 1915. We went into the marina for the night. Tomorrow we'll enjoy Sunday and Mother's Day. Maybe we'll find some internet. I'm using the SSB tonight. Love and God Bless Sally and Al

Portugal | Atlantic Ocean | Sines | lighthouse

May 12, 2012

Hi Everyone, Happy Mother's Day tomorrow to all my mother friends:-) Friday Al was feeling lots better so we went looking for the sailmaker. Great find. He told us to bring the sail at 2 and he'd fix it. We walked about Old Town Lagos while the repairs were made. Not a lot to see but cutsy and clean. The marina is very nice and the live aboard community seems very active as I saw the Monthly Activity Sheet in the office. We picked up the sail and for once we were charged what the job was worth. He told us 35 Euro an hour plus VAT and he charged us 30 Euro.

We moved Artemis out of the marina through the lift bridge about 6 as the bridge would close at 7 until the next day at 9. We stayed at the reception pontoon for the night. After dinner we walked back into Old Town for an ice cream cone. We left Lagos at 5:30 this morning heading around Cabo Sao Vicente and then on to Sines, Portugal. We had a nice 15nm sail around Sao Vicente easterly 25kts gusting 36. We were cruising with a beam wind and then the winds died so we put the sails away. The mainsail tore when Al was flaking it. I guess it's time for a new set of sails. These are 9 years old. Winds that were predicted from the east all day switched NW and then N around 1:00. So that meant motoring into the winds (10-15kts) and seas. So we didn't finish our 78nm passage until 1915. We went into the marina for the night. Tomorrow we'll enjoy Sunday and Mother's Day. Maybe we'll find some internet. I'm using the SSB tonight. Love and God Bless Sally and Al

Spain | La Linea | Marina Puerto Alcaidesa and Rock of Gibraltar

May 10, 2012

Hi everyone, Another busy week aboard the Artemis. We stayed in La Linea Marina Puerto Alcaidesa, Spain until Monday. They only charged us 19E a day. The town is pleasant and shopping is very good with an excellent Commercial Market (fruits, veg, meats, cheese...) Also good size supermarket not too far away. We tried mending the jib and decided we should order a new one and bring it back in June. In the meantime we have a 110 on the furler. The genset was a plugged fuel line. Al had cleaned the starboard tank and some gunk got pushed into the line. Glad it was the genset and not the main engine that stopped. Al blew out the line and all is well.

We went to mass at Immaculata Conception on Sunday. That was quite an experience. It was First Communion. The girls in their long white dresses and the boys in white sailor suits. The congregation talked non stop throughout the services. Sitting when they should stand and not even paying any attention to the priest.

Monday we visited Gibraltar on foot. Once again we decided it's very expensive and not worth the trouble to shop there. Morrison's the big supermarket also had big prices. The pound against the dollar is up... We moved our boat back out to the anchorage Monday afternoon in preparation for leaving early Tuesday 0615 to arrive at departure point for going through Gibraltar Straits High tide +2hours. (0730). Almost got run over by a freighter, no leading lights on and no AIS amongst 20 anchored ships, ship color same as the sea but his HORN worked after we had already taken defensive maneuvers. After that all went well. The sun came up and we made an uneventful passage making good progress with the tide. We arrived in Cadiz, Spain about 55nm away around 1900. Puerto America 21.23 Euro a night.

Spain | Cadiz | Artemis night crossing to the Algarve Portugal landfall Lagos

We left Cadiz about 1000 for Lagos, Portugal about 120kn an overnight. Forecast showed favorable east winds to sail. Unfortunately winds only 0-5 kts instead of 10-15 but Fortunately light winds made for a quiet passage for me as Al had stomach cramps and wasn't feeling well so he slept most of the trip. The seas were calm, beautiful night and the moon came out around midnight. Saw a few fish pots and fishing boats but nothing to bad.

Portugal | Lagos | Artemis on Lagos reception dock

We arrived at 0630 Spanish time but now 0530 Portuguese time. (UTC+1) We entered the river and traveled .7nm to the reception dock and tied off. We slept until 0945 and then checked into the marina. It is still low season so it's 38.13 Euro a night. We'll stay a couple of days. Hopefully Al will feel better soon. It's not fun with captain sick. Love and God Bless Sally and Al

#2012 #Spain #Portugal #Gibraltar

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