Portimao to Porto Santo Island
We spent a week in Portimao preparing the boat for heading south. After 3 months of only doing coastal trips or at anchor, we had a lot of restowing to do. Brian joined us on Thursday which gave him time to find his feet on board. The following Monday afternoon, we slipped from Portimao Marina into a light onshore sea breeze.
Over the first 6 hours we sailed only 9 miles but the fickle wind gave us time to settle. Chris put out her line and within 20 minutes had caught enough mackerel for our first evening meal.
At dusk the wind gradually built from the north and by sunset we had a steady 15knts in flat seas. A perfect start for Brian's first night watch.
By morning we were well south of Cape St Vincent and bowling along in 15-20kts of wind with a building sea as we lost the protection of the mainland. Over the next 2 days the swell was significant but with the wind on the starboard quarter we stayed dry and made good speed. Apart from feeling a bit iffy on the first full day, Chris and Brian stopped crash dieting on day two and by day three Chris was baking bread - which smelt wonderful in the cabin.
Dolphins visited us several times, the most memorable being on the third evening when they accompanied us for 4 hours frequently doing stunning acrobatics several metres out of the water - beautiful and totally mesmerizing.
Chris and Brian did the 0400 to 0800 watch. When I awoke at 0730 on the fourth day to go on watch I was a little puzzled to be listening to a constant cackle of fast talk between Chris and Brian. Previously there was normally silence and 2 tired people looking forward to getting some sleep. Poking my head out of the hatch, I saw smiling faces and the reason for the buzz: Chris had sighted land. As the sun rose, the volcano tops of Porto Santo Island looked spectacular.
Four days and 3 hours after leaving Portimao we approached Porto Santo Harbour entrance. The marina was full but we were grateful to be squeezed into a berth more suitable for a 10 metre boat. As I sorted the mooring lines, Chris and Brian went to clear in with customs and the Marina office. In no time, we headed for the much longed for shower - pure bliss. The first beers went down well and with a cooled bottle of fizz, we toasted our arrival. Apart from using the engine for charging batteries, we had sailed the whole way.
Porto Santo is a real gem of an island. We are enjoying exploring and swimming in the warm, crystal clear water. Brian has run out of time and has taken the ferry to Funchal to catch a flight home. We hope you enjoyed the adventure Brian. Thanks for your company - Flopsy is missing you.
We are now waiting for a suitable weather window to head south to the Canary Islands.......... but as Porto Santo is such a relaxed place we are in no rush.