Yacht Pipit


Christmas & New Year, 3rd January 2012

Bom Ano Novo!

So there it was, another Christmas & New Year - we hope you had as wonderful a time as us and, although you may have had more 'seasonal' weather, we were quite happy to be on the beach in shorts & t-shirts on Christmas Day!

Our busy social calendar started with the Marina Christmas Dinner on the 15th and was an enjoyable night out, and not just because we all went home with a gift of a bottle of port!

It's a miracle! When I opened my eyes, my glass was full again...

Our pre-Christmas walk was another sociable event, which was shorter than usual and involved an al fresco lunch at the very traditional Portuguese restaurant, Casa Chico Zé:

The Pontoon Carol Singing took place on the Friday before Christmas, and raised over €200 for a local charity.

And so to The Big Day. We started Christmas morning in the traditional fashion, i.e. smoked salmon, scrambled eggs & Champagne, followed by the unwrapping of our presents from under our enormous Christmas tree. Andy had asked Father Christmas for a remote-controlled Range Rover from Pingo Doce, but had to be content with a packet of Nairn's Oat Cakes instead!

Christmas breakfast fizz...

After making a few phone calls, we joined a flotilla of dinghies heading for the beach just west of the harbour entrance. We departed from the marina under a glorious cloudless blue sky but found there was a surprising bit of swell outside the harbour and waves breaking onto the beach. We watched Chris and Sue of Nimrod get a drenching when they landed on the beach and were swamped by a subsequent wave. Fred and Gail of Dream On also landed rather damper than intended. Three other dinghy loads opted for a landing on the beach just inside the entrance, but waves were also breaking in there, so we decided discretion was the better part of a soggy gusset, took Nessie back to the marina, tied her up alongside Pipit and walked back down to the beach.

Why we turned round, returned our dinghy to Pipit and walked back to the beach - note the clothes drying on the dinghies! Unusual swell from the south.

The rest of the flotilla set up for their barbeques, but as we had a full feast planned aboard Pipit, we just popped open another bottle of fizz and lapped up the brilliant warm sunshine and convivial atmosphere - there is a great crowd of liveaboards here in Lagos. Some time later we headed back to Pipit to prepare our Christmas feast:

Prawn, avocado, orange, fennel and rocket cocktail, with a dressing of olive oil, orange and lemon juice and topped with a few pomegranate seeds for a final Christmas-y flourish.

Turkey breast rolled and stuffed with pancetta, pine nuts, lemon zest, sage and breadcrumbs, wrapped in pancetta and roasted to perfection on the Cobb.
Brussels sprouts with juniper berries, shallots & garlic.
Crispy Cobb roasted potatoes.
Carrots & parsnips glazed with maple syrup and nutmeg and roasted in the oven.

Pears poached in red wine spiced with cinnamon, clove and star anise.

Cheese and port.


Nice pear...

Despite us both suffering from colds, as were many other liveaboards in the marina, we spent the next few days relaxing and enjoying the fantastic weather. We had turned Pipit around a few days before Christmas, so we now get the sun in the cockpit most of the day. We originally 'parked' the other way round as we assumed any bad weather would come from the south, which it does, but the prevailing light winds are from the north, so they now don't blow straight down the companionway.

On Wednesday we went on the regular Strollers' walk, this time from Salema back along the coast to Lagos - all 23km and over 400m height change of it! 49 Strollers started out, only 14 stayed the distance - this walk has now been christened 'The Big Un'! This went some way to working off the Christmas Day feasting!

A welcome lunch stop.

It's how far?!

It's steeper than it looks!

We spent a quiet New Year's Eve aboard Pipit and cooked another lovely meal involving chicken, orange, port & oregano. We watched the spectacular midnight fireworks from the cockpit and then retired to bed soon after, as we were still both suffering somewhat from our colds.

We started New Year's Day in traditional fashion again, i.e. smoked salmon, scrambled eggs & fizz. Although there was another beach barbeque planned, we decided to have a leisurely stroll east along the beach towards Alvor, yet again under blue skies and sunshine. We enjoyed a late lunch at Bar Linda, a wooden beachside restaurant on Meia Praia beach - Andy had clam chowder followed by bacalhau à brás (salt cod, shredded fried potatoes & scrambled egg) - you can't get much more Portuguese than that!

Cheer up! Your cold's nearly gone...

Last night we were invited to the apartment where we stayed when Andy's mother was visiting. We have a lot in common with owners Ken & Marie - they are Canadians now living in California, both have careers in IT (although Marie walked away when at the top to enjoy life and concentrate on managing their apartments) and we all like a glass or two of fine "Portuguese Alentejo Red Wine"! So a very pleasant evening was spent chatting away, and we can't recommend Ken & Marie's apartments, their hugely informative website SimplyLagos.com and attention to detail highly enough - if you are planning a self-catering holiday on the Algarve, you should definitely look at SimplyLagos.com.

So now our thoughts are turning to tackling the ever-growing To Do list - mainly a long list of short jobs, with a few longer and/or more involved ones, but this is quite a pleasant way to spend our days under cloudless blue skies and sunshine! We are planning to lift-out towards the end of February, to attend to Pipit's annual bottom maintenance, after which we hope to start moving east, as weather permits...