Moonlight Adventure

The story of our travels on board Moonlight, our Vancouver 36.


Sunday 4th October 2009

Posted by yachtmoonlight on October 5, 2009 at 12:21 PM

We arrived back from London on Friday 25th September. It was nice to be back on the boat but we were both tired from a 4am start to catch our flight (we’d booked the earliest flight as it was so much cheaper than the later ones!). We did a little bit of shopping and spent the afternoon unpacking and doing the washing which we pegged all around the boat to dry and had an early night to catch up on some sleep!


We decided to move back out to the anchorage the next day as the marina is expensive and the anchorage is very nice, so we filled up with water in the marina and then stopped at the fuel berth to top up on diesel on the way out. The anchorage had filled up with boats and was extremely busy but we managed to find a good spot in between all the other boats, next to a large orange Portuguese catamaran. Unfortunately the people on the catamaran had lots of very loud annoying toys they were playing with, including a jet ski, which they raced around the anchorage making all the other boats wobble around and think of new and inventive ways to torture jet skiers.

There is a airstrip nearby and a couple of small planes were flying around the bay doing acrobatics, which is a lot of fun to watch until they dive straight down about your boat and you have to wonder at what point you will panic, jump overboard and swim for it.

We watched the large number of sailing dinghies racing in and out of the harbour, including some tiny boats with a tiny child in each one and went round to Ron’s boat for drinks in the evening, which is always a lot of fun.

Cascais is quite touristy and there seems to be a large ex-pat community here, so English newspapers are easy to come by and can be bought on the day they are printed. They are expensive though, so on Sunday we clubbed together with Ron to buy a couple and share them with him and he kindly offered to be the paperboy and took his dinghy ashore in the morning to fetch them and brought one round for us. After enjoying a lazy morning with the papers including all the crosswords and Sudoku puzzles (at 5 Euros a time you have to get the most out of them), we joined Ron and some Dutch friends of his for Sunday lunch (pie and chips) in an English bar on the seafront so the boys could watch the Grand Prix on the TV there, which was great fun. The Dutch lady warned me that she had seen jellyfish in the anchorage, so we kept a lookout for them on the way back to the boat but didn’t see any.

John took the dinghy around the boat in the afternoon, cleaning the waterline with a sponge (as it had got a bit mucky!) and managed to catch seven small fish from the dinghy with my fishing net.


(The catch of the day)


We put them in a bowl (with some water obviously) on the deck so we could look at them before setting them free again before settling down for a nice quiet evening and I started reading the 20 magazines my mum had collected for me and given me in London.


On Monday we went ashore and wandered up to the big supermarket to do some shopping, stopping at an internet café on the way to check the weather forecast and to catch up on banking. When we got back to the boat, a huge cruise ship had arrived and anchored out to sea and was ferrying passengers ashore in small boats.

John amused himself in the afternoon by making an anchor light, using the LED bulb which didn’t fit in the masthead light fitting. We had picked up a 12V adaptor and some cable in London and he attached these to the bulb and then sealed the bulb in a small plastic container he bought in the supermarket. Instead of putting on the masthead anchor light (which uses a lot of power), we can now hoist this one into the rigging at night and it will be a lot more efficient.

It was very hot in the afternoon, so I braved a swim around the boat, which was very cold and I was worried about bumping into jellyfish, but I managed to swim around the boat three times before I lost the felling in too many parts of my body.

In the evening, we tested the anchor light, which worked extremely well and was the brightest in the anchorage!


(The anchorage as Cascais)


We were enjoying a cup of tea in the cockpit on Tuesday morning when we head someone shouting hello. We looked over the side expecting to see a dinghy alongside, but instead there was a young Dutch chap in the sea who had swum over to the boat. He said he was trying to get to Suriname, had hitchhiked down to Cascais from Holland and was now trying to get a lift on a boat to the Canary Islands! We declined his offer of an additional crew member and he swam off to the next boat to try his luck there.

While John was making some sandwiches for lunch, he found a small green caterpillar in the lettuce which he named Katy. We put Katy in a jar with some lettuce and decided to keep her safe until we could take her to a park to set her free.

We contemplated a swim in the afternoon, but the high tide had washed a huge amount of rubbish into the bay, along with lots and lots of jellyfish. We spotted about five or six from the boat and dozens more when we took the dinghy ashore later in the afternoon. I decided then that swimming in the anchorage again was probably a bad move and thought it best to wait for somewhere warmer with less sea monsters before swimming again.

On our way ashore, we stopped by an English boat called ‘Dream or Two’ to say hello and were invited on boat for a cup of tea. We had a very pleasant chat with Chris and Barbara on board, before heading into town. John had a very expensive pint of Guinness in an Irish bar (there is at least one in most European towns it seems), and then we went for an extremely good meal at an Italian restaurant in a square near the seafront.


We awoke on Wednesday morning to find Katy had eaten most of the lettuce in her jar and doubled in size. We gave her some more lettuce and hoped this wouldn’t continue, otherwise within a week she would probably break out of the jar and eat the boat.


(Katy Caterpillar)


John spent the morning playing with sails with Ron (I have no idea what they were doing but it kept them amused) while I popped up to the supermarket as I had decided to bake some cakes and cook a nice dinner for John and needed some essential ingredients. This proved to be quite challenging as I don’t know the Portuguese words for self-raising flour or caster sugar and consulting my phrase book only helped my ask for directions to the nearest nightclub or tell passers by that I don’t have any sexually transmitted diseases, so I had to guess and hope for the best. I bought some random packets that looked about right and bought some very good (and very cheap) steak for dinner.

In the evening, we were invited round to a boat called ‘Wild Bird of Fowey’ for drinks by Carol the skipper who we met the day before on the dinghy pontoon. Carol had invited some other people around and there were 12 of us in total and we had a really fun night.


The weather forecast showed that from Thursday onwards, the wind was coming round to the South, which meant that the anchorage would get quite windy and rolly, so we decided to move back into the marina. The marina prices go down in October, so it was less than half the price we were paying previously and a lot more reasonable. When we had tied the boat up, Ron picked John up in his dinghy so John could help him bring his boat into the marina (as he is single-handing at the moment) and Ron tied up in a berth behind us.

I decided to spend the day baking and set about making some lemon and raspberry muffins with the random packets I had bought the day before, while John went up to the supermarket to get some squid which I was planning to cook that evening.

Thankfully, the random ingredients seemed to be right and other than a slight muffin mix explosion in the oven which resulted in all the muffins being joined together to create one mega muffin, they actually tasted quite nice.

There are several bars and restaurants in the marina complex, so in the evening we went to the nearest one with Ron, where I had a beer and the boys decided to have some very girly-looking cocktails.

After the drinks and spurred on by my muffin success, I set about preparing dinner. John had bought a whole squid (as I had requested) and having never prepared a squid from scratch before, we had to work out had to remove the head and innards (which proved to be quite simple – you just pull them out!) and I peeled off the skin and washed it before cutting it into rings. By this time, my quite large looking squid had reduced quite dramatically in size and soon became apparent that one squid may feed Katy Caterpillar but it certainly wasn’t going to feed two people. So, I made an enormous salad and we placed about six pieces of squid each on the top! The squid was delicious, I just need to make sure we buy a few more next time!


By Friday, Katy had eaten her way out of the jar, raided the biscuit cupboard and was starting on the cushions, so we took her to a nearby park and set her free.

The park was lovely with gardens, sculptures, ponds and a wild very dry arid area. There were lots of birds in the trees including parakeets, as well as chickens, geese and peacocks roaming around the gardens.


(One of the park residents)


We had a quick walk round but were a little short of time as John had offered to help Carol install a new windlass on her boat.


(John playing on one of the park sculptures!)


I took advantage of John being put from under my feet and gave the boat a much needed Spring (or should that be Autumn?) clean.

In the evening, we were both very tired from a hard working day and so rather than cook we went to one of the restaurants in the marina complex with Ron for dinner. We had a magnificent burger and chips (which they served like a steak with sauce over it) and it was just what we needed.


Yesterday morning, John went over to finish helping with the windlass installation while I did the washing and had a walk into town. The town was extremely busy, with a number of tourist buses from all around Europe dropping of tourists and a huge number of motorbikes (apparently some big bikey race thing was being held nearby). There was a display of American and German army vehicles in a square near the harbour and a lot of people were wandering around in some kind of traditional costume.


(Some of the army vehicles on display in the square in Cascais)


When I got back to the boat, John was really upset and explained that the long range wifi aerial (which we had bought from America, had to sent back to be replaced when it stopped working after two weeks and then picked up the replacement when we in England) had fallen off the boom where John had hung it and dropped in the sea. Not only was it £140, but it had been so much trouble to get it replaced and they are not easy to find, so he was gutted. But hey ho, we’ve made it this far without it, so I think we’ll be OK!

To cheer John up I make him some pasta for dinner, which was so bland I may as well have given him soggy cardboard, but a couple of beers seemed to do the trick.

Thankfully, the loud disco music we had to ensure when we were in the marina before had stopped, and all had been peaceful until last night when the fog horn on the lighthouse by the marina started sounding. It’s extremely loud and honked all night. Shutting all the hatches, using earplugs and sleeping with pillows on our heads did little to drown out the noise so we had very little sleep.


John wasn’t feeling too good this morning, possibly a combination of the beers and lack of sleep, so we decided to have a quiet lazy day and an early night.

Ron invited us round in the morning for breakfast and made some amazing bacon, mushroom and egg butties and then it was my turn to be the papergirl and fetch the Sunday papers.

The fog horn was still honking, so we decided to go for a walk in the park to get away from the racket.


(The pond in Cascais park)


We had a lovely long walk through the gardens, looking at the sculptures and watching turtles in a pond and stopped for a drink and a sticky bun at a small café in the middle of the park.


(A pond turtle)


This would have been extremely pleasant if we hadn’t been stared at continuously by a chap who was the spitting image of Cat from Red Dwarf a couple of tables away. It was quite unnerving.

We headed back to the boat and thankfully the honking stopped for a while in the afternoon, so we read the papers before it started up again later. Thankfully it stopped between 10pm and 2am so we managed to get a little more sleep.

Categories: October 2009, Portugal

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Reply Denise
1:43 PM on October 5, 2009 
Got a bit confused as to whether Katy caterpillar had eaten Johns foot which was why he was searching for a new one in the park!
Reply Mum
5:20 PM on October 5, 2009 
There is no end to John's talent re your light. The park looks absolutely fab... and love the turtles and peacock. What has happened to the pic of John 'playing on the sculptures' ?
Reply Mum
5:23 PM on October 5, 2009 
Pic of big foot scupture is there now! Wow! a foot even bigger than Tony's ha ha!
Reply Andy and Char
4:48 AM on October 7, 2009 
Hello you too, glad to see you are enjoying yourselfs, soory to hear about the tragic end to your long range WiFi aerial but it obviously wasn't ment to be. Spikey and casper say hello and are missing you both. The blogs are excellent, really enjoy reading them. Take care, love Andy,Char and the animals.