Hello from Portugal, where I’m told the American Embassy and the U.S. Navy are both looking for me!
Not that I’ve done anything wrong, itâ€™s just that one of our crew friends has close connections hereabouts, and they would like to properly welcome me to Portugal! Haven’t gotten over there yet, but hopefully will, before I depart. I have to say, from what Iâ€™ve seen so far, Portugal is a wonderful place! Such friendly (and pretty) people, and it seems the perfect time to be here – the summer crowds are gone, but the warm vibrancy of the old town of Cascais is still around.
I sailed in last Sunday. The trip down, which you know (if you read the earlier update) was quite the ride, all worked out well in the end. The part I hadn’t planned for though came right at the end, as I sailed in towards Lisbon. At that point, the lollygag of a sail I was expecting, turned into a 35 knot upwind haul. The gusts and spray were incessant, and I admit I was not properly prepared for that. I only had a â€śwaypointâ€ť on the GPS to head for, and I hadn’t studied the charts much, as the earlier forecast was for no wind and an easy sail into the harbor. So there I was, leaning into the cockpit cowlings, tracking the GPS and chart plotter, steering around waves and wind, all the while getting tossed about by churning currents. It all made for a pretty intense four hours, as I slowly plowed my way towards the port of Cascais.
At one point, I consideredÂ turning around and heading back out to sea… to the safety of open water. The only problem was that the next port, Madeira, was some distance away, and I would risk running low on food and water. So, I pressed on to at least take a look at the harbor, and to see if I might find some way to enter it and find dockage. As I came closer, I started to think it would be a bit sporting to give this a try. I figured if I stayed focused on the task at hand, I could do it. I set the boat up so that I could moor on either side, and after a time, I entered the harbor where I took the first available slip I could find. Fortunately, it was a slip suitable for a 150′ yacht, so I made a good (and spacious) landing. I’m embarrassed to say though, I needed all 150 feet to get the job done. But like they say about flying, anything you can walk away from is good!
With some help from the harbor master and crew (and after a good cleaning,) I am now situated in a nice slip, and Bodacious will remain here until I return around December 1st and make plans to sail to Charleston, S.C.. We’re all hoping this ferocious hurricane season will be over by then! Our hearts go out to all those souls lost or displaced by Sandy. News of the hurricane (as well as the storms on the Great Lakes) has kept the sailing community buzzing around the wi-fi hot spots in the harbor. On that score, I’ve been a bit hampered. Just as I got settled here, my computer crashed. In an early morning emergency call, my go-to guy, Jonathan, convinced me NOT to fling the damn thing overboard, but to bring it back home where he would dissect the problem and recover the data.â€¨â€¨In the meantime, I quickly purchased a mini-computer so I could keep up with emails and such. Frugality suggested I buy the least expensive one on the shelf, which seemed fine, except for one thing… it has a very small Portuguese keyboard.
So accounting for clumsy typing, and things not being where I am used to them being, my emails are looking as if I’ve been over-sampling this countryâ€™s fine port wines. Fortunately, with the great editing help of Mark Petrakis, you likely wonâ€™t notice this. Mark has been receiving my updates and emails in various “soaked” states, and drying them out into more readable forms – which should also help explain the mystery surrounding the sudden improvement in my writing, grammar and spelling skills. Thanks Mark!
And if things go right, we’ll soon have a whole bunch of photos AND videos from the summer,Â to hold you through the long winter.
Iâ€™ve got one more story to share. I found a great little Irish bar here in Cascais, where folks like to gather in the evening for a bit of conversation and music. I was finishing up a beer when a gentleman walked in, and as often happens, gave the stranger a friendly wink and a nod. He asked where I was from, thinking perhaps I was from Belgium or France. As we got to talking, he told me he wasÂ from a Portuguese fishing family… and he said… “we never really understood sailing.” As we talked, I told him of the trip in and of the porpoises and how they played and cavorted about the boat for hours late at night, and how I was sure they had something very important to impart to me. He smiled and said… “they are happy you have taken the time to come to their world, a place you aren’t supposed to be… and so they come to play and visit with you.” The twinkle in his eye told me so much. I thought this must have been something that his grandfather had told him as a young boy, and I imagined him at that age, leaning over the bow of their fishing boat, laughing and talking to the dolphins â€“ as all of us who have encountered those wondrous creatures, cannot help but do.
So, while Portugal is lovely, it is time to head back home. So come Saturday, when some of the boaters in the harbor will head south to Madeira, I’ll be heading to the airport for a flight home. I’ve not been back there since June, and itâ€™s time to catch up with family and friends and have a good old-fashioned Thanksgiving, one in which I will be thankful for so much and thinking of so many of you.
– Dave and Bodacious Dream