October, 2003 - Greetings from Europe.

 

 

 

 

Cascais just outside of Lisbon. We made it to the other side.

Greetings from Europe. We made landfall in Lisbon on September 3.  Our passage from the Azores was not an easy one.  We worked for this one!

 


 Dolphins always provide company and entertainment on a passage

Although the wind wasn't as strong as earlier trips, the seas were irregular due to constant cold fronts and gales farther to the North.  The wind held on the starboard quarter and but the seas were always from a different direction and were extremely irregular and uncomfortable.

 

When under way, A lee cloth ensures a comfortable sleep.

 We began this passage  without the assistance of Herb as he was on vacation until we had completed one half of the passage. This presented no problem as we always had good weather info from weather maps downloaded via computer.

 

We always eat well at sea!

 Five days out of Sao Miguel we connected with Herb. The radio propagation was dreadful but we could communicate, just! All was  well aboard Entr'acte despite the uncomfortable motion.

 Everyone wonders "Why, if we have all of this weather intelligence via computer, is Herb so important?"  Well, Herb has an uncanny ability to look at the same information we all have in front of us and see "suggestions" of things that most everyone else would miss.  How he does this no one knows.  It's almost mystic! And now he is back on the air and we are only three days out of Lisbon and all is well with the world.

 So now it's broadcast time and again the propagation is unusually dreadful.  Ed is on watch and Ellen is at the radio, literally!  She is lying on the floor with her ear on top of the radio trying to separate Herb's voice from the sound of static and water rushing past the hull. Way down in the atmospheric noise was this faint voice trying to give some important information.  Suddenly, magically, blessedly the propagation improved dramatically for 30 seconds and he must have been screaming into his mike because his voice just about blew us both out of the boat.

"Entracte, Entracte!  Make your best possible speed immediately!  At midnight on Monday the wind will shift to the East at 35 knots and remain there for the next three days! Do whatever you have to do but you must, repeat, MUST arrive in Lisbon before midnight Monday! Start... your...... engine!  Do you copy?  Start... your... engine...!"  And then he was GONE!  Propagation dropped out and we lost all contact. We have not heard Herb since!  Now this was a dilemma.  We looked very closely at our most recent weather maps and saw absolutely nothing to suggest such a shift.  We were very happy and sailing along in a very relaxed way and making a nice strong course due East with the wind abeam.  35 knots out of the East would result in either a brutal beat to windward or having to heave to in the shipping lanes for 3 days.  Neither option a pleasant thought. So, what to do?  In the end we decided that Herb was Herb for a reason and off we went, full mainsail, full no 1 Genoa and full power on the engine. It was  three days of "pedal to the metal". We arrived at the Marina Cascais at 7PM on Monday, a beautiful sunny afternoon with a gentle breeze from the South West.  We were just 5 miles outside of Lisbon, a bit frazzled from the constant speed but we made it.

 We tied to the marina check in dock and met a great cruising couple Liz and David from England who were anxiously making their way to the Canaries to meet up with the ARC rally and begin their first major ocean passage to the Caribbean.  We spent many nights with them in the up coming weeks.

That night tied securely in our slip we were just nodding off and we heard what sounded like a train outside the boat.  We looked at the clock; five minutes past midnight!  And the wind blew strong out of the East for the next three days!

  

Cascais is a small city just a half hour train ride from Lisbon.  It had everything! Old world charm, culture and Music!  We heard more live music of all styles in Portugal than anywhere else we have been including the US.  The Casino that featured Big Band Jazz in the lounge while you were waiting for the theater to open for the Folk Music Fado Show that was just tremendous!

Lisbon has not changed since our last visit.  It is still one of the neatest cities in the world. The Maritime Museum and Planetarium are second to none! We saw "Minha Linda Senora" (My Fair Lady) with a live 25 piece orchestra for $12.00EU each. It was a terrific  production at and affordable rate. We questioned how they could have 8 shows per week with a full orchestra and make any money and they just laughed at us.  "This is art!  We are not supposed to make money.  The government subsidizes the show.  The artists are happy, the tourists are happy and the restaurants are happy.  Everyone wins!"  Sounds good to us! Dinner before the show  was $5.00 EU each for a complete,  you guessed it, Pork Chop Dinner.  We had an evening on the town for less than $20.00 EU.  Lisbon was definitely affordable.

 

Monument to Prince Henry the Navigator. World famous explorer who never went to sea.

The trip down the coast was rugged. The Portugese trades offer a big push down the coast of Portugal. We had the Portugese Trade Wind behind us and we sat on deck in wonder that we had actually made the passage Northward into such a wind and sea 20 years ago.  We rounded Cabo Sao Vincente with the usual gale force wind for that cape and it was like going through a doorway.  We were suddenly in the land of sunny beaches and calm wind.  The Algarve Coast! The site of Prince Henry The Navigator's School sat on top of the cliff at Sagres. What a spectacular place!  It was on this spot that Prince Henry  studied the art of navigation and freely made the knowledge available to all.

Along the Algarve coast we met up with old friends and shared walks of the beach and dinners on board.  The Algarve has changed a lot; development and marinas everywhere. Portimao is one of the only places left on the Algarve where you can still anchor and we really enjoy being on our own again away from marinas.

We really felt the need to get to Seville quickly even though Clube Nautico assured us we would be OK and had a reservation???  Since nothing was on paper and despite our best efforts, no money had changed hands, we were uneasy as the rest of the marinas were filling up for the winter and we did not want to get shut out. There was however still time for one more discovery.

We arrived at Chipiona on Saturday September 20.  This was a great town right on the sea complete with wonderful restaurants and good shopping.

 

There is no doubt you are in Spain when you see the bull.

The contrast between Portugal and Spain was immediately apparent.  We were surprised to find that prices were about half of what they were in Portugal.  We felt like we were returning home after a long trip. We enjoyed Chipiona a great deal and have the feeling that we will go back there soon. 

 

We took two days to travel up the river to Seville.  The Guadalquivir has a tremendous current!  When it turns against you it is time to stop.  At anchor the sounds of the water rushing by is quite exciting.  In the spring it is downright dangerous with fallen trees and dead animals washing down the river. 

 

Even at sea you have to share your highway.  Our evening was uneventful except for the sounds of the big ships heading to and from Sevilla all through the night.

 

The next afternoon we traversed the lock, at Sevilla, "The last hurdle, we are almost there." 

We passed through the drawbridge and tied up to the floating pontoon at El Club Nautico De Sevilla.

 

Seville's famous Torre del Oro(Tower of Gold)as arrive in Seville.

It was exactly the same as our first visit twenty years ago.  As usual there was a party in full swing complete with a live band on the Terrzza.

 

Entracte on the pontoon at El Clube Nautico de Sevilla. It felt like we were coming home after a long trip! We're going to like it here!

 

Catedral de Sevilla. The third largest Cathedral in the world.

More later

Ellen and Ed