Yacht Pipit


Lazy days in Lagos, 5th November 2011

Seems about right...

Well, not entirely lazy days, we have washed the salt from the boat, tackled a mountain of washing (that's the Royal We, i.e. Ann, obviously!) and various other daily chores, plus joined the Lagos Strollers for a wee 16km walk. We have also tried to have some lazy time, relaxing into our new home for the winter and enjoying the 'other side' of our cruising life, that of being able to stop for a while in one place.

Back-tracking a bit, on our overnight passage from Cascais, the autohelm suddenly disengaged early in the morning. Andy tried resetting it to no avail. Whilst he was trying to get it working again, the gas alarm suddenly went off. When I went below to check it (the gas had definitely been switched off at the tap) I found it was the fault alarm that was sounding. I silenced the alarm, but didn't notice that the low battery voltage light was on. Andy twigged as soon as he saw it - with the long hours of darkness, using the instruments, plotter, autohelm and nav lights, despite the wind generator producing a fair amount of power, the batteries had run down to about -87AH and < 10.8 volts, a threshold below which the autohelm and gas alarm don't operate correctly. By this time, the sun was up and we were closing on Cape St Vincent, so we ran the engine for a while before we reached it to charge the batteries. We didn't have this problem crossing Biscay, partly because it was dark for only about 6 hours and partly because we were motoring for part of both nights. At anchor we are normally self-sufficient in power for quite a number of days, depending on wind and sun conditions.

As we mentioned in our last update, through happy circumstance rather than planning (although we do quite a bit of that), despite being delayed in La Rochelle, then La Coruna and then again in Lisbon, we think we've played it well, having been able to enjoy Lisbon for some time before any bad weather came through. It should be noticeably milder and drier here than it would have been in Lisbon but it won't be sunshine all winter. We've had two SW blows come through already, and the last few days have been wet & windy. Still, a good excuse for getting the slow cooker going for a warming casserole. Andy is still in shorts & t-shirts though, and the forecast is much better again for the next week.

On the Wednesday before last we joined the Lagos Strollers for their weekly walk - this one from Lagos to Burgau, westward along the coast. Don't interpret the 'Strollers' name literally, they pace it out some, which is great and how we've always walked, although the occasional stop to take in the view and take a photo meant we lagged behind occasionally! The wind was blowing onshore thankfully, as it was up to F7 at times and gusting higher. At one point, I had to hang onto Andy to stop being blown off my feet! The views were fantastic - the coast here is reminiscent of that of East Devon, the Jurassic coast of Dorset and parts of Victoria in Australia near the 12 Apostles. The Strollers are a really nice bunch of people, some of whom are yachties from the Lagos Navigators, others are Brits who have holiday homes here or live here permanently. Chip's careful planning of the walk worked brilliantly until thwarted by the Portuguese factor when we arrived in Burgau in plenty of time for the bus back to Lagos. The timetable at the bus stop was different from the one Chip had checked online and elsewhere. After some waiting and hoping a bus would arrive, a few intrepid souls set off walking back to Lagos on the road and one of the other chaps popped back to the bar where the owner phoned a 7-seater taxi for us - €3 per head, bargain! The vagaries of Portuguese public transport notwithstanding, we're looking forward to more of these walks, although last Wednesday's was cancelled due to the strong winds and heavy rain.

The coast near Lagos.

The less favourable weather has fortunately coincided with some work for Andy. Whilst he's working, I've been writing this update, plus the update for the Nosh, Nibbles & Nightcaps page and putting together some words for an end of season review and thoughts on Spain and Portugal. We'll finish and upload those soon.

We've made great use of the Cobb here recently before the wet and windy weather arrived. As it gets dark so much earlier now that we're about eight hundred miles south of Falmouth and the sun sets much more quickly, in addition to the clocks having gone back, we've had our Cobb meals at lunchtime, making this our main meal of the day with just a light supper in the evening. We had a fantastic meal of griddled fresh tuna and asparagus one day and a roast pork joint with amazing crackling the next, complete with roast potatoes and sweet potatoes plus broccoli and carrots - the tuna (locally caught we think) fresh from the fabulous fish market that morning and all the veg fresh from the farmers' market on Saturday.

The produce markets here, as we mentioned in our first update from Lagos, are really fabulous. The farmers' market on a Saturday has fruit and veg that is all locally grown, and is un-refrigerated so keeps well in the 'pantry', unlike refrigerated veg bought from supermarkets, which we have to keep in the fridge, which then obviously reduces available space for Ann's beer and wine... There are some unfamiliar things to try, like the beautifully colourful Borlotti beans (red and white speckled beans - bought some last Saturday, but haven't tried them yet), the purple carrots (seriously - we hadn't eaten any funny mushrooms!) and the long carrot-shaped radishes (slightly sweeter than normal round radishes and deliciously crunchy). It's not surprising that many of the stalls are overflowing with oranges, tangerines, lemons, limes and pomegranates, as we've seen these falling un-harvested from trees in gardens in the area. There are also loads of fig trees, and although I think it's toward the end of their season, I hope I can still get some to try some fig and honey concoctions as many stalls at the farmers' market sell their own honey too!

The municipal market is simply stunning and it's no wonder that there are often tourists taking photos - including us, although the early photos below don't do it full justice. The ground floor is almost all fish and seafood stalls, with a few butchers at the back. There are some weird and wonderful fish we've never seen before, including the amazing looking scabbard fish, which you can probably just about make out in the photo below - they're the really long (about a metre!) silver ones. Having done some internet research, these scabbard fish sound really tasty, but although I saw the fishmonger chopping one into smaller pieces for a customer, I don't think we could eat a whole one, even over two days! The first floor of the municipal market is fruit and veg stalls, so we can get really fresh veg anytime if we've run out of anything from our Saturday shop at the farmers' market.

Last time we forgot to add a link to the website for Lagos Marina, so here it is: Marina de Lagos It's a good website, but you may well want to turn your sound off, it's somewhat irritating and I've no idea who Martha is...