This is the story of the Hurricane

After arriving to Cascais on the 28th September, we decided to stay a bit in this beautiful bay and enjoy the summer days. The first day we did our famous “dinghy beach landing” and I picked up groceries in our new favorite supermarket, Jumbo, while Jelle was watching over our dingy. We did spent most of the day in our boat, soaking up on the sun and BBQ our new acquired fish. The second day we explored the city of Cascais. A busy, touristic little town, with a strong “St Tropes” vibe! Lots of events going on and people all over the place! We returned to our boat for some rest, but unfortunately our wish did not come true as we had to move from our anchorage the same afternoon, since the next day an “Iron Man” challenge would take place. The new anchorage, a beach further than Cascais marina proved not so comfortable, with long waves rolling in..Luckily we slept without problem thanks to a bottle of rioja 😊

The next day we went ashore to check out the event, but we were too late! The challenge was already over! We did however enjoy our dingy ride, going on full throttle and seeing other anchoring boats. The afternoon was relaxed, I did some work and Jelle tried out our SUP, which was hilarious, as he fell in the water multiple times.

1st October; New month, new city! We finally got a spot at Oeiras marina, a city very close to Lisbon. We motored our way to the new port and we had an interesting entrance, with 4 knots side current! We moored safely in a finger pontoon and without further delay, we walked to the train station to take the train to Lisbon.

However, due to bad luck, there was a public transport strike in the whole Lisbon and surrounding areas! This meant that after 2 hours, long waiting times, cancelled rides, 1 train ride, 1 tram ride and half hour walk we managed to reach Belem! We saw the “Torre de Belem”, de “Padrao dos Descobrimentos”, and the “Mosteiro dos Jeronimos”. Very impressive! Next, we took another tram and stopped at “Pacos do Concelho” for a drink and then we walked up via Alafama, the historic part of Lisbon, passed the “Castelo de Sao Jorge” and we finally reached our restaurant Chapito.

We had a great meal, delicious wine and an exquisite view over the whole city. What a lovely (albeit costly!) night! We returned to Libra well after midnight, exhausted but happy.

Following a big breakfast with fresh bread provided by our marina, we set course again to Lisbon this time without any strike! We first visited “Oceanaris”, Europe’s biggest indoor aquarium! Very interesting indeed, we saw all different types of sharks and fish and enjoyed the view over Vasco de Gama bridge. We then strolled around the Baxa neighbourhood and ended up in tram 28, a historic tiny funicular which speeds through the hilly roads of Alafama, barely fitting the narrow roads, but providing us with great views over Lisbon. Afterwards we returned to our trusted Libra, where we celebrated another great day with a homemade BBQ…

The next two days we were busy with chores, filling up water and diesel, charging our batteries, grocery shopping and on the 4th September afternoon we returned to Cascais anchorage, to wait for the perfect wind to sail southwards.

On the 6th September, we hoisted up our sails and set course to Sines! There was very little wind, so our speed was no higher than 3 knots, but the sun was shining bright, which is always amazing when on boat. A bit later, when the wind direction changed from upwind to halfwind we hoisted our spinnaker and our speed immediately raised to 5 knots! We were closely followed by a Lagoon 380, which also hoisted its spinnaker, but it was no match for Libra, as we quickly lost sight of them!

After 7 hours of spinnakering and close to Sines bay, we put our sails down and started our engine. A little after 5 in the afternoon, we were safely anchored within Sines bay.

Sines is the birthplace of Vasco de Gama, which becomes immediately apparent by looking at the statue on the top of the hill, outside the castle, overlooking the Vasco de Gama beach. We strolled a bit in the old town, did some groceries and met some fellow sailors, who surprisingly enough, were not Dutch but English! We had a lovely evening with them over a bottle of red wine and some sailing talks.

The next day we woke up at 6am and got ready for a long day of sailing. The wind was not in our favor, so we had to motor for a few hours. Around 1pm the wind finally picked up and we were able to sail again! We had a nice halfwind sailing all the way to Cabo Sao Vincente, although quite wavy. Although known as a rough rounding, we were lucky and had a smooth passing. We anchored at ‘Enseada de Sagres’ just after sunset. An impressive sunset at a beautiful anchorage, what is there more to ask?

We wanted to stay a bit longer, but the weather window was too short, so the next day, on the 9th October we decided to hoist sail once again and head towards Lagos. We did something new this time around though, we lifted up our anchor and left our anchorage without the use of the engine, only on our front sail! The trip to Lagos was very fun, we only had the front sail up but we even reached 4.7 knots of speed! We even anchored again without an engine!It was such an exciting experience to only manage your boat with the sails, I mean, this is how it should be on a SAILboat, right? The only thing that made this day even more memorable was the little tuna Jelle caught which we cooked the same day!

The day after we did some pretty cool cave exploring with the dingy, the well-known Ponte de Piedade and we even discovered our own private beach! We slalomed around the beautiful caves and through the waves and took some pretty nice photos during the trip! Later we spent the day at the beach, swimming, walking and resting. The night at the anchorage was not good, Libra was rocking back and forth and we barely got any sleep! The decision is easy..Tomorrow we go to Portimao!

The next day we visited the city of Lagos, had some nice pastries and a nice walk and early afternoon we set sail to Portimao. The sea was very wavy and we motorsailed all the way to Portimao marina, where we anchored inside the harbor, near the east breakwater. Once again, the south wind did not help our case and Libra was rolling all night long!

Tired with crappy anchorages, after a big breakfast, we set our motor on and entered the marina of Portimao. We decided to stay here for a while, to stretch our legs, fill up on groceries and enjoy the perks of land life. Little did we know that a hurricane was headed our way! We were reading the weather reports and forecasts multiple times a day as Leslie’s landfall was uncertain and the possible spots included Algarve too. So we prepared as best as we could, we closed hatches, we put double lines in Libra and we waited for the storm to come. Luckily for us, the eye of the cyclone was Figuera de Foz, a harbor city at the west coast of Portugal and we in Portimao had only a bit of rain and some strong winds, but nothing more than force 6. The next day, on the 14th October, it was sunshine again!

Stay tuned as the next blog will be posted pretty soon and we will introduce you to the newest crew member!