Monday here in Viana do Castelo. We have reached Portugal and spent a few days waiting for a weather window, but it’s no hardship as there’s plenty to do. We arrived on Friday afternoon in a 25 knot wind and were glad to reach the harbour. Once again we were faced with the strange phenomenon of fore and aft mooring (where the boat is secured bow-on to the pontoon as opposed to side-on) but we managed more smoothly than last time despite conflicting instructions from Nick and the marina man! In the end I did as the skipper wanted (not convinced it was the correct line of action to take but what’s a first mate to do?) I always seem to end up running round our deck and next-door’s boat deck in a blind panic of fending during these moorings! Watching others do it with casual confidence is very irritating! We moored next to a 70 ft motor boat which was being delivered to it’s new owner in the UK and, hallelujah, we were invited over for a beer and a big snoop. Don’t want to diss it too much as it was very luxurious but it was a bit like a brothel inside (so Nick assumes!), and to half fill the fuel tank cost 3,000 euros! That put me right off despite the presence of a real washer on board!
We had to move the boat on Saturday as they had a fishing competition close by and needed all the space in the marina. We moved to the fish docks which are very central and quite attractive, if a little smelly. The best thing about being here is the ladder! It’s a mixture of fraying ropes, rusty rivets and rotten wood, and as an added danger, it’s covered in slime. At low tide we can’t even reach the bottom rung. It’s the kind of thing I have nightmares about being stuck on! Made us laugh to think about how it would almost certainly be cordoned off in the UK for Health and Safety reasons.
Yesterday was spent in Porto which was an unexpected delight. Neither of us predicted that it would be so picturesque, if a little sad in all its decaying grandeur. We spent time wandering and getting a feel for the place, and then headed of to the port wine cellars to do some sampling. As true tourists, we bought a bottle back to Kika and shared it with our neighbours – would have been rude not to really.