Speedwell of Rhu Ship's Log

16 th to 19 th of April 2018 - A welcome return to Lisbon and more.

Crew : Andy and Helen
Destinations : Seixal.
Distance : 66 miles

Another 0600 alarm call saw us both awake and ready for breakfast. Two other yachts had come in over night and we watched them rolling around at anchor. The sun was more apparent this morning and we left as it made its appearance behind the big ships harbour. Another smaller boat departed at the same time, but we soon left it behind. 

There was no wind at all but plenty of long swell so, despite needing to motor, surfing down the waves increased our average speed. We expected to be fighting the tide as we headed up the river into Lisbon. However we made good time up the coast so the river was still in flood when we arrived and only just turned as we got to Seixal.

We had thought we might go to a marina near the entrance of the river and get the train to Lisbon or else anchor up the river. However, N'Tiana had arrived the day before us and found all the marinas full. After heading up river they discovered a space on the pontoon at Seixal. We decided to do the same since they confirmed that the dock master would be able to make room for us. There is a good ferry service to Lisbon and Seixal turned out to be delightful.

We arrived at about 1730. The dock master and his assistant were incredibly helpful and friendly. There was a strong tide running so they felt they needed to help with our lines. This reminded me why one should never give people ashore the midships. They initially looked at the midships, not sure what to do with it they then asked for the stern and bow lines. By which time we had drifted away from the pontoon by about 3 meters and I could not step ashore and we were at their mercy. It seems they knew about the problem tides but not how to manage a 13 ton boat. Anyway with a bit of sweat and heaving they got us close enough for me to go ashore and eventually after some persuasion trusted me and Andy to tie the boat up securely to the pontoon. As we were so tired we went ashore to find a cafe for food. Most places were closed as it was Monday. However, we found a nice little restaurant who served us a very cheap and tasty meal and we had our first glass of wine for nearly a week. 

The following day we spent the morning doing chores. Andy changed the engine oil and discovered that our fresh water pump has sprung a leak. He did a temporary fix, involving a plastic bag and gaffer tape which should hold until we find a replacement pump. In the afternoon we had the best steak sandwich and a giant glass of vinho verde for €1.50. Needless to say it was a wobbly cycle ride as we went on to explore around the bay.


The mud and garbage tended to collect between us and the pontoon on the flood tide leaving brown muck on the hull. However, the dock master very kindly hosed it down for us, so we wouldn't be too brown when we left. N'Tiana left on Wednesday morning with the aim of sailing non stop to Galicia to meet with our friends Maureen and Bob on another Modus Vivendi. Our plan is to sail at a slightly more leisurely pace maybe meet both boats later on. N'Tiana was replaced on the pontoon by two tradition Portuguese fishing boats. There was some sort of fiesta going on at the weekend so we assumed they are here for that. 


Since the weather looked to be favourable until the weekend we decided to spend a few more days here to visit Lisbon by ferry and wander around Seixal. The ferry ride took 15 minutes and cost us just €5.30 return. Once we arrived at Cais do Sodre, where the ferry dropped us off, we didn't travel far, just ambled along the water front and then up the hill to places we didn't see on our last visit. We returned to the food market near the ferry port for lunch before returning to Speedwell.


On our final day we explored the local area around the bay at low tide. This made it clear why there was little in the way of space to anchor. We watched people fishing for shell fish, up to their necks in the water for several hours just for a small bag of fish. We also came across Quinta da Fidelga, a lovely house and garden with a gallery at the end. We then stocked up on groceries in preparation for a long haul up the coast.


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