We have arrived! We got in at 3.30 yesterday afternoon. 240 miles and 55 hours since leaving Baiona at 8.30 am on Tuesday.
We headed off shore from Baiona about 5 miles and headed 190 -200 degrees down. We had to motor at first as there wasn’t any wind at all, then it picked up and we had a great sail, down wind. The wind however was pretty on and off so we did have to keep motoring at times.
On Wednesday night at 10 pm ( we were still on Spanish time) as it was getting dark, we saw flashes of lightning, to the north of us some distance off. They were dramatic orange forks of light. We were sailing well with full sail up , the wind was strengthening, as time went on the lightning got more and more constant and it was coming further south, off our starboard bow. After a couple of days at sea, away from any land, we were now closing in on Ilha da Berlenga , an island off Peniche, Portugal. It was now dark and wind pretty strong and the sea had built up. There is an amazingly contoured seabed there, the depths go from 2000 m to 100 in a relatively short distance. We reefed down to a couple of panels in each sail and rigged up the self steering again. We were watching the lightning come closer. Dan unplugged the VHF from its arial, incase we were hit as it would surly fry the VHF its self if that happened. The rain started very quickly, pelting down on the deck and pretty suddenly the lightning was flashing right around us. It felt like it was literally a few meters from the boat. You could see sort of pools of light in the water as it hit. Self steering set, we went below and shut the hatch to watch the lighting through the port lights. Now the lightning was on us you could hear the similtanious thunder, before when it was more didtant we couldn’t hear the thunder over the sound of the sea. It lasted maybe 30 mins with us then receded off behind us again. We took 1 hour watches each from then, then resumed 2 hours. The lightning carried on , regularly flashing till 8 am or so.
We then had good sail on to Lisbon, very Hot! In the nights we had been dressed up with lots of layers, and there is a heavy dew most nights too. But but day , scorching.
We rounded Cabo Raso about 11 am and sailed into the mouth of the River Tejo. The wind died and we motored with the tide, speedily up the river, dodging a menacing turret of a speedy submarine, which I thought had been a tower of some sort till I saw its bow wave!
We came up the river passing Beautiful Lisbon to the Marina Parque das Nacoes a few miles up strem. We arrived and were shown to a berth by a rib, through the sluice gates. We tied up beside a very functional and purposeful looking French Aluminium boat called Leava with a really interesting couple aboard Alan and Bernadette Batbedat. They have been sailing this boat for 10 years and have been around the world, to Caribbean a couple of times and through the North West Passage. As we approached they took our lines. They inquired if we had a spare ensign aboard as the British courtacy flag one is the only one they don’t have , and they need it for their next trip – to South Georgia! And we did, I happily gave it to them but they insisted paying for it. They were delighted as they were finding it tricky getting one. They will leave here and head straight for Bonis Aries, and then the next hop to South Georgia, and then on to Antarctica!
We took the bus in to Lisbon, in the afternoon when we arrived. What a beautiful place ! Really enjoyed it , had a beer and back to Marina to have a shower, bliss, and to meet Tom , who arrived about 9 pm ish
Lightening, sounds like it was wonderfully frightening. Dad says you have a conductor; was it put to the test?
Great that your friend Tom has arrived. Say hello.
We will email over the weekend.
Well done, both of you for completing another leg of the journey.
Great sailing, nice article. Lightning seemed really exciting (exciting to read, I guess a bit frightening to live). Glad you’re OK, Have a nice trip nand enjoy your stay in Lisbon. We’re following you, we’ll sail south on monday, waiting in the Ria de VIgo (Cangas) for the strong winds announced to pass through the portuguese coast.
See you soon,