In the footsteps of the great explorers

It is been long time (longer than usual) since our last update, we know, but we did quite a trip since our last post, we are now in Cascais, Portugal and our log writes 2385 nautical miles!!

On Saturday, 15th September we left our anchorage at Camarinas and headed towards Cabo Finistere, where we anchored at Praia Sardinero. Despite the water being cold (16 degrees!), we did a short swimming and we blew up our SUP and paddled to the beach. We had a relaxing day, laying on the beach, playing ball and some great home-cooked meals.

16th September is a very special day for us, as it is our anniversary. This fact, however, did not prevent us for spending almost all day sailing, from Cabo Finistere to Isla Ons, a natural heritage islet in the North Spain coast. We did have a great sailing day, 9 hours of spinnakering, auto-pilot on and sunbathing on the cockpit. We arrived on the afternoon and anchored at Praia Melide, but we did not go on shore. Instead, we celebrated our anniversary with a rose champagne, home-made paella and a great view from our boat. I guess it is the most fitting way for a sailing couple to spend their 6-year anniversary on board!

After a restless night due to the constant rocking of the boat, we picked up our anchor and motored a bit further, to Islas Cies. This island also belongs to the natural heritage islands group, for which you need permission to navigate and to anchor! You can apply online though, which is what we did and we were fully prepared for sailing around and exploring the islands. Very foggy in these islands, a fog so thick you can barely see more than half a mile away. We anchored in a beautiful beach, “Praia das Figueiras” and rested for the day. Once again, however, there was no wind and Libra was jut tossing and turning ALL DAY LONG, making it quite miserable to stay on board. Therefore, we stepped on our trusted dinghy and set off to the land, aiming to explore this exclusive islet.

The island is very green, with tall trees and high rocks and a LOT of seagulls. Due to the intense fog, the views were limited, but we still enjoyed stretching our legs after 4 days on the boat. We wished to sail to Vigo, but there was no wind and almost no visibility, so we decided to try our luck to the next beach of the island, the “Praia das Rodas”. Finally, we got lucky and this anchorage turned out better and we finally managed to get a good night’s sleep, which was desperately needed. Next day, 19th September, we decided we were entitled to a relax day, so we went once more onshore and spent the day in the beach. The fog was finally gone and we were able to appreciate the beauty of the island so much more! Worth a stop!

On Thursday, 20th September, the sky cleared up and we finally managed to reach Vigo. We spent a night in the marina and we had a full day of activities! We first discovered Vigo, a very lively city with lots of bars and restaurants and a castle in the middle of city, up a big hill, which was our next stop! Although the trip to the hill was really tiring, especially considering the 27 degrees, hot sun and hours of walking beforehand, it was really worth it! The castle and its surrounding gardens is an oasis of freshness and the views from above were stunning! We continued our day with some stops for coffee and tasting the local delicacies, grocery shopping and we even visited the local swimming pool for a quick dive, since it was included in the marina fees price! This great day finished with an equally great meal, BBQ on our boat with fresh fish acquired from the market. Mmmmm..

The next day we did some necessary boat chores and around 17:00 we left Vigo to sail towards Leixoes, a port next to Porto. It took us 21 hours to reach our destination, and although there was not a lot of wind and we had to engine few times, we had a wonderful sailing and we saw a lot of dolphins and amazing sunsets!

We arrived Saturday morning at Leixoes port and we anchored just outside the marina, where we relaxed for the day and enjoyed our BBQ once more. Thanks Mom and Dad! ( the BBQ was their gift).

On Sunday, 23th September we visited Porto. What a stunning city! Much bigger than we originally thought, a true beauty, filled with trees, tiled buildings, historic monuments and a massive boulevard across the river and impressive bridges. There are also tiny, colorful houses by the river and some steep hills spread across the city, so sneakers were the best choice ! We spoiled ourselves with lunch and dinner at restaurants, walked all over the town and crossed the famous Ponte Luiz bridge and strolled the other side of Douro river and hiked up the hill to take the metro back home. What an amazing day, filled with new sights, experiences and stomachs full of delicious specialties!

The next day, as 30 degrees were forecasted, we decided to skip the city and rather bike across the coast, visit a park and rest in a beach. We were also lucky enough to stumble upon a fish festival, which although it sounds smelly, it turned out quite fancy, with live music, lounge chairs & kiosks where you could try fish tapas and Douro wine. What a great ending of a day!

Although Porto was just magical, we had to continue our trip towards the South, so Tuesday, 25th September we set sail for Lisbon. There was less wind than predicted, so in many cases we did 2 or 2.5 knots of speed and there were also cases where we did 0 knots through water and only moved forward due to the current, reaching the extreme speed of 0.5 knots! Nonetheless, the 2-day sailing trip was one of the best so far, with smooth seas, sunny and warn days and beautiful nights! We had almost full moon both nights, which brighten the nights and made our night shifts so much easier and comfortable! The nights were also quite warm and there was no fog in the mornings, a nice change from Spain! The funniest part of the sailing trip was an unexpected guest, a tiny bird which apparently flew in Libra during night and slept in a corner next to our cabin. I saw it by accident, we gave it water and crumbs, but it did not touch anything. It just slept through the night and in the morning it flew away!

We arrived at Cascais on Thursday, 27th September at 10am where we anchored near the beach. We are staying here for the moment, relaxing and trying to get a spot in a marina in Lisbon, because it turns out they are fully booked!!! Nevertheless, the sun is shining, the sea is relatively warm and we are fully equipped with wines & spirits, fresh fish and meat and a BBQ, so we will make due 😊

We leave you with a short clip of street music we witnessed in Porto. Take care and stay tuned!!