We are now back in Portimao Marina for a few days after a very pleasant time in Alvor Lagoon where we stayed for 3 months enjoying the kitsurfing, the boat social life and the town itself.
We should start to keep a log of the various boats we have been on, whether it be for a quick coffee, one drink, more than one drink or full blown meals and parties. As is always the case, drinks on 'White Cat' seem to be well remembered for one reason or another.
'White Cat' - The colours...
'White Cat' - The legs...
'White Cat' - The girls...
On light wind days when there was no chance of kitesurfing, we made full use of the kayaks, exploring the 2 rivers that feed into the lagoon. In comparison to the lagoon, the rivers were fairly uninteresting but the wildlife made the effort worthwhile.
Alvor town is very much a touristy sort of place, catering mainly for Brits and Irish - sports and Irish pubs abound. But that aside, Alvor manages to maintain much of its original fishing village feel that is very relaxing and pleasant.
A downside of being at anchor in a lagoon for any length of time is that the bottom of the boat becomes quickly fouled. Crustaceans and the like thrive in the warm flowing water; in a matter of weeks the hull is covered in vegetation and little barnacles. After 3 months, Toots's hull had become a real 'des res' for the river locals. Although we were happy to give them a home whilst in the lagoon, we didn't want to take them with us - time for eviction.
One big advantage of our boat is that we can intentionally take the ground. Unlike most boats of our size, we have a centreboard, as opposed to a keel, which we can lift up like a dinghy so that the boat will sit flat on her bottom quite happily, as long as it's sand or mud. After doing a recce for a suitable spot to dry-out, we gently put Toots on to a sand bar at half-tide. Nearby, a couple were sunbathing. The chap looked astonished as we put Toots aground. His wife, beyond giving us a quizzical look, didn't seem in the least bit concerned; her book was obviously far more interesting than some crazy Brits driving their boat aground.
After 3 hours scrubbing her bottom, Toots was looking clean once again.
As much as we could easily spend more time in the Algarve, our favourite spots being the Ria Guadiana and Alvor, it's time to move on.
Over the past few days, we have been preparing the boat for the passage to the Canary Islands. We have invited Brian, a long-time parachuting friend, to join us for the trip. We have our fingers crossed that Brian, whose main pastime is flying light aircraft, will adjust to life at 5 knots as opposed to 150 knots; if not , he may be mightily disappointed when we haven't sighted the Canaries after 4 hours.
We hope to depart at the first weather window after this weekend.