Thursday, 28 July 2016

Nazare, Berlengas, and a Predicament

The trip from Fig da Foz to Nazare was disappointing as the expected 12 knots of wind never materialized and we ended up motoring most of the day.  (Like a friend jokes: “everyone talks about apparent wind… I’ve been sailing for over 30 years and I’ve never seen it…”) 

The Club Naval of Nazare has a nice marina although the shore-side facilities are very basic.  A 15-minute walk into town brings you to a lively fishing port that has turned into a summer resort area.  Not only has Nazare not forgotten its traditional fishing past, it has integrated it into modern tourism.  (See photos… very surprising!)

Nazare Beach

Widow selling dried fish and octopus (to whom and for what remains a mystery...)

Yum !

The last traditional fishing boat to work the area.  Tall noses means big swell.

Nazare ladies knitting and renting out their apartments to tourists.

Fish drying in the sun on Nazare beach.

Just can't imagine what one does with dried octopus...

We stayed in Nazare just long enough to rest and resupply and then headed down to the Ilas Berlengas, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and a supposedly excellent mooring to avoid the dreaded Peniche marina further down the coast.

We put up the main and the genoa for the short sail to the islands and when the speed fell below 3 knots, we fired up the Yanmar.  A moment of inattention (adjusting the solar panels) led to disaster.  I was down below writing in the log and I heard a clunk against the hull.  A few seconds later, I heard a panicky “Merde !” from on deck. 

I jumped out onto the cockpit and saw a fishing pot being towed behind the boat.  We quickly put the motor into neutral and rolled up the genoa, then let loose the mainsail to stop the boat.  For the next 10 minutes, we tried everything we could to push the line off our port-side rudder, even breaking our beloved “moor fast” boat hook.  I was getting ready to dive into the water to pull it off manually (stupid, stupid idea…), when it dawned on us that we should just cut the bloody line.  I know it’s not nice for the fisherman, but I wasn’t going to take any unnecessary risks.  The line cut easily, but was under too much tension to hold and tie to the floater with the flag on it, so we just let it all go.  We noted our position with the GPS and emailed Nazare marina with the details.  In France, the fishermen sometimes request payment for such damages.  So far, no news.

We quickly forgot our worries as we realized the boat was fine and a pod of dolphins came out to play.  That just never gets old, no matter how many times you see it.

Dolphin escort to the Ilas Berlengas

Berlengas was beautiful but disappointing.  The nautical guide said we could drop the anchor in 7 meters of water.  When we arrived, we were greeted by a field of mooring buoys for local fishermen and tourist boats.  A traffic zone had been defined between this mooring field and the coast, and there was no possibility to anchor in less than 15 meters of water (safe mooring means putting out a length of chain equal to 3 or 4 times the depth).  We only have 40 meters of chain so we did what we could, knowing we would stay on the boat (and I would stay nervously in the cockpit most of the afternoon).  We realized we couldn’t stay the night like that, and I finally hailed a local tourist boat and asked if we could use one of the mooring buoys for the night.  He pointed out 3 buoys that were appropriate for larger boats like ours and said we could tie up from 6:30 p.m. to 9 a.m.  Other boats evidently knew this as well and by the time 6:30 rolled around there was only one mooring buoy left and it was rather exposed.  We spent a very lumpy, rolly night at anchor and left earlier than planned for the long hop down the coast to Cascais.

Panoramic shot of Berlengas ... click to expand.

Homework in paradise, planning tomorrow's sail...
And now we are in beautiful Cascais (one guide book calls it the St Tropez of Portugal!), and looking at the calendar to see how to organize our time in the Lisbon area.  If weather is no limitation, we should be in good shape for making it to the Algarve by the beginning of August, our self-imposed-for-no-real-reason schedule.


Unknown said...

Looks lovely again!
Lucky that the rope didn't do any more damage.