What a difference a day makes

This morning the bay is like a mill pond, 65 boats of all shapes, sizes and nationalities floating quietly and calmly on almost still waters. Still that is until the fisherman and water taxis start their day, then there’s the sound of a swarm of bees as they cross the bay either starting their own, or ferrying others to start their day.

Whilst the fisherman, mostly, are not too bad, the aim of the water taxis seems to be to go as fast as possible and as near as possible to the yachts in their path, with the aim of creating a wake that as it thunders against the side of the boat causing the boats to bounce up and down would wake the soundest of sleepers – still I suppose everyone needs to get their kicks somehow. Yesterday a taxi driver was kind enough to indicate to Craig with an up and down arm movement as he came towards the boat – well that was kind of him, shame he couldn’t have just gone slightly in a different course so it wasn’t an issue!

We’ve been anchored here for over a week now and during that time we’ve met with fog, a bit of rain and some high winds, and of course some glorious sunshine! For six hours during gusts of up to 40 knots (46 mph) we sat on tenterhooks, constantly checking our boats position against those around us but if is one thing that we seem to have done well it is anchor and we have not suffered as some boats have with the anchor dragging. That is to say that the anchor hasn’t dug in properly and with the first gust of wind the boat has propelled backwards through the water, with the skipper desperately trying to avoid other boats in his path, and the crew desperately trying to get the anchor back up as quickly as possible so they can try the whole process again. Yes we have seen boats collide and get tangled up with another, and we have seen boats going backwards passed us at a rate of knots as they plough through the water with their anchor just scooting along the bottom of the sea bed. It’s quite funny whenever the sound of an anchor winch starts, heads bob up out of cockpits and companionways, does that familiar sound as chain rolls around winch mean a new arrival or a departure. If it’s a new arrival will they come too close to us, will they secure their anchor the first time around, or will there be an in-depth analysis of why they didn’t hold and what they did wrong. As someone leaves you watch for the amount of weed and mud you know they’re going to pull up – believe me I’ve been there and yes the weed is surely helping on the sea bed but blimey it makes a mess as you’re lifting the anchor, tangled around the chain and clinging on as if it’s life depends on it, and as it entwines itself in the anchor roller you know there’s nothing else to be done than get your hands stuck in and try and yank the stuff off. Lesson one – wear gloves!

It could be easy to get very isolated at anchor, but there’s a bar on shore and quite a few people meet up for sundowners everyday, so a dinghy is essential. That in itself makes for an interesting ride as you scoot across the bay hoping that there aren’t any water taxis coming for fear of toppling over the side as you get caught by their wake. And there’s the delights, as we had this week, of not getting back to the boat before dark, having not taken a torch and not put your anchor light on before you left – yes we are certain there’s a yacht out there with our name on it – question is will we find it?

Fortunately this was before we started having dinghy issues of our own, so yes we did find the boat and make it back safely. But now we have a dinghy where not only the outboard keeps cutting out, one of the attachments that keeps the oar on the dinghy has come unstuck. It’s sort of called the rollocks , or is that the word we used when it detached itself! So when the engine cut out on the way back to the boat yesterday, if we hadn’t been towed back by Val and Cliff one of us would have been one side of the dinghy rowing and the other using the oar as a paddle – I was all for humming the Hawaii 5 0 tune but Craig didn’t look too impressed!

So the job for today is try and fix the outboard, having already taken the whole thing apart three times and glue the dinghy back together – never a dull moment.

We are leaving the anchorage on Thursday and yippee going to a marina for a night in Albufeira, so we’re getting one step nearer to Lagos for our lift out on Monday. Currently the plan is to then anchor in Portimao bay on Friday night and then spend two nights in Lagos marina Saturday and Sunday. So there you have it, that’s the plan which as we know is all subject to change – bit like the UK weather at the moment!

Whether you have rain or shine have a great day! x

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