18. September 2012 · Comments Off on Portugal: Porto de Leixoes · Categories: Posts

Well it has been a day of highs and lows.  We all get those days sometimes.

First, a bad thing, I had to say goodbye to another girl friend.  This one was a fellow boat dog as well.  She is Portugese by birth but owned by a Dutch man.  Does that mean I get to tick off two countries with one bitch?


Any way I have been a little depressed all day as a result

We got out of the Marina ‘OK’.  Our lovely neighbour told us the secret was to let the front lines go, leave the engine in neutral, and use the side/stern line to pull yourself back wards until you are out from between the other boats.  This worked great, but then the boat would not turn and only wanted to back out of the Marina.  Welcome to old long keeled boats!  So we backed out of the Marina and as we did the rivers tide quickly caught us.  We let the tide turn the boat and we quickly powered out and against the tide to get turned around.  All unplanned, but it looked ‘oh so’ professional.


We had a great sail down the coast to Leixoes.  The wind and waves were behind us all the way.  Smooth south on the Portugese trade winds.



We were bouncing Porto or Leixoes back and forth.  Porto was in town, but the wrong side, expensive but on the river and probably a nice view.  Porto can only be accessed in fair weather on a rising tide over a sand bank.  Lexioes was in a big industrial port, cheaper, but a bus ride into the centre of Porto.  Lexieos is acessable in all weather and all tides.  When we were level with Leioxoes we flipped a coin.  Leeioxoes won.


As usual we tried to hail the Marina, no response.  We found the entrance very small and hard to see at the furthest southerly point of the Marina.  But as we entered we found a pair of Marina staff waiting for us pointing us to an empty slip.  We passed many empty slips, but they directed us to a tiny spot deep inside.  Wish us luck getting out of this one.


The Marina is ‘nothing special’.  In fact it appears a little run down.  There is a great beach next door, dogs allowed.  I had a lovely run on it with the wind and waves pounding in.  The town is a ‘working’ town.  Apartment blocks and new builds mixed with some cute simple older homes and buildings.  There are some fortifications.  We still had fun getting lost through the windy streets.


We are off to visit the town of Porto tomorrow.  We ran into Constantine, a neighbour from our first day in Viana do Costelo, and he says the town in lovely and he is staying a couple more days.  We saw some boats anchored just outside the Marina.  There is no place to land a dingy for the day, but as a night stop over you could do it, or use it to wait for the tide to get up the river to Porto.


The Marina does have WiFi.  So we can finally use our boaster and use the computers in the comfort of our boat and close to electrical hook ups.  The down side is the humans ‘killed’ one of the computers.  While topping up with water one of them decided to rinse the decks and one of the windows, right above the computer, was open.  Despite leaving it to dry for 24 hours it still will not work.  Unfortunately it contains all the pictures and video I took of the Ria’s and was hoping to add to the blog.


I will add what I have and see about finding a repair or hard drive transfer in Lisbon.  Enjoy the updates I do have.



16. September 2012 · Comments Off on Portugal: Still at Viana do Castelo, oops! · Categories: Posts

Yes, oops, is right. The silly humans. They got their high and low tides mixed up and should have left in the morning. The next high tide was not until the evening and you really do not want to be sailing down the coast at night. Fishing nets and pots are scattered everywhere. You don’t want to miss one of them at night and get it tangled around your prop.

They were smart and decided to leave tomorrow instead. Gave me a chance to stick a few more photos on the site and for them to get some prices for Marina’s further down the coast. Good thing they checked. Turned out Porto Marina was going to be 37 Euros a night. Leixois and the bus into town then. They neighbours have also let us in a little secret anchorage across the bay from Lisbon that will save us money there too.

I spent the day relaxing while the humans got some more jobs done on the boat. It never ends with those two. They had a lovely scaffolding board, thanks Uncle Steve, that we use for mooring against walls. They added some extra holes and ropes to the top of the board and cut out wedges in the surface every 10″. It is now a boarding ramp. They do fine balancing up and down it, but they are not going to get me using that thing! I will just get them to hoist me up and over the front push pit.

Just found out from the neighbours that this Marina has the best washing machine on the coast. A little late telling us now, but thought you would want to know if you plan coming here.

We are definitely leaving for Porto, actually Leixoes, tomorrow. We will get some Portuguese postcards off and Auntie Kim I am still searching for an English Birthday card, you may have to settle for Portuguese. end:

Well the day did start sedately. After a nice run in the park we all headed to the nearest cafe with some WiFi. The coffee is great in both Spain and Portugal but the batteries in the computers never seem to last long enough to get half the stuff we would like done. We did add a few more pictures and video. More to come.

The boat moored up ‘Med style’ in the Marina. Note the entrance and how close the bridge is if you ever plan on coming here.

We did try and fix up the broken antenna, and all seems to be working now, but we could not get the cafe we visited in the morning from the boat. We do really miss unlimited access to the internet. This quick SSB transition stuff is ok to keep you guys informed, but we never get much info back. We are off to a Marina in the heart of Porto tomorrow, and hopefully the Marina will have some WiFi that can allow us to get caught up with everyone from the comfort of our electrical plug!

Today the humans dragged me sight seeing. They really should have left me behind as they had set their sights on reaching the Baslique de Sainte Lucie on the very top of a hill over looking the city. There is a tram that runs up the ‘incredibly’ steep hill, but guess what, no dogs allowed. So I felt it was my responsibility to cheer them on as they climbed ‘hundreds and hundreds’ of stairs straight up the mountain in the afternoon heat. Thank you for the shade of the eucalyptus trees at times, or I think they would have perished.

The climb was worth it.

The view over the whole area was unending. There was even an elevator, just inside the side of the church, you could take to walk on the roof. One euro. How cool is that? Unfortunately an eerie sea mist had crept up the river obscuring some of the view. It added to the ambience.


The humans decided they deserved a treat for climbing so high into the clouds on a hot and steamy day. G and T’s were in order. They dragged me to one of the hill top cafes and ordered one vodka tonic, one gin and tonic. They were introduced to Portuguese measures. Large brandy sifters arrived with drinks so strong they were a struggle to finish. The two of them were so drunk when they finished I had to lead them slowly down the mountain.

 They are resting now on the boat, recuperating.

It is either an early or late start tomorrow as the Marina is shallow. We have ‘heard’ there is a new marina right in the city centre of Porto. This would be great for me to join them site seeing, but I may have to stay on the boat when they tour the Port Houses.

Here are a few more shots of town.

The train station

Decorations in the street

The humans thought this old motor bike was interesting

So did I

Welcome to Portugal!

We had a little ceremony at the boarder. My silly humans got out trumpeting instruments and noisily lowered the Spanish courtesy flag (a small flag of the country you are visiting hung on the starboard side below the first spreaders)and hoisted the Portuguese flag.

We tried hailing the Marina as we approached the river entrance. Channel 62, 06, 12 and 09 with no reply. We decided to head in anyway and see if we could find an empty berth. They could move us later if they wanted. Our 10 year old cruising guide seemed to indicate that the Marina was just before a large bridge crossing the river.

We got closer and closer to the bridge, but there did not appear to be any Marina. We could see three yachts on a floating pontoon just before the bridge, but there was no room for us. We did not really fancy rafting up with the dog. No one likes a dog crossing their boat a couple of times a day. Just then out popped Carlos. As if from no where, a lovely man in a little white boat came rushing towards us. ‘What is your draft?’ (depth in the water) in perfect English. We told him “2m. Is there a Marina?” He said ‘Yes. Do you mind touching the bottom? It is very soft’. We said “Sure. We were long keeled”. He said ‘Follow me’ and raced off into a tiny hole in the wall just before the bridge.

The were no pontoons left deep enough for us to moor up to, so he lead us to a Med style mooring at the entrance. He raced ahead and tied off the front lines we throw him. Then he jumped into his little boat and helped us pick up the stern line to tie to. He introduced himself and said he would come pick us up in half an hour to check in. ‘Please remember passports and ships papers’.

We made it to Portugal and survived our first Med style mooring without incident. Luck still holding. I got a lovely walk in the grassy park right beside the Marina while the other human returned from checking in with a gift bottle of wine. ‘Welcome to Portugal’. Time to go off exploring. It was already 6pm so it was going to be a quick peak.

Viana do Castelo old town is lovely. Wondering through the narrow streets of renaissance and baroque architecture you stumble upon churches and city squares. Many homes are decorated with ceramic tiles in geometric patterns or flowers. During the day the streets are filled with cafes and during the evening the restaurants spill out into the street with warm lights and hearty smells. We will have more time to explore tomorrow.



Well we decided to stay in Spain one more night. The winds eased and we sailed down the Ria onto the Islas Cies at the mouth of the next Ria, Ria de Vigo. We can see the big cities of Vigo and Bayona across the channel.

We are anchored at the main anchorage which is off a sand spit that really joins two separate islands, Isla del Norte and Isla del Faro. It is a beautiful, almost Caribbean like, spot. We can see our anchor 10m below through crystal clear turquoise waters sitting on perfectly white sand. The east side of the island is clean white beaches while the other side is rocky cliffs.

I was having a good old run about, when a warden caught me and told me to get back on the boat. Warning, it is a bird sanctuary, and dogs are not allowed. I got away with it for a while at least. We will stay the night, as the winds are meant to stay light, and head off in the morning for Portugal.



We have not seen a lot of Spain, but we though we would share with you what we liked best. Our favorite anchorage was Cedeira in the Ria de Cedeira. We met another English man that actually sailed back from La Coruna for another visit. It has excellent shelter in all weather with no surge. There was a free floating pontoon to tie to. The town had grocery stores, local shops, restaurants and cafes, but still had a small town feel. The beach was long and clean and they turned a ‘blind eye’ to dogs early in the morning and in the evening.

Our favorite Marina was Marina Coruna in La Coruna. It was the only marina we visited, but they could not go out of there way to help us. Each day they had a smile for us as we dominated their lobby trying to order parts on the internet. You are sure to run into other British boats and hear all kinds of Biscay horror stories. The city was great and the people were very warm and friendly. Great sites to see and great tapas.

Things we liked about Spain: (this is a long list) Tapas (just the right size to try something new, if you don’t like it, so what it was only a euro) Mahou beer Machanua cheese Chorzia Pimento (little green peppers that look like chillies, but no heat) Calamaries (finally cooked properly….could not get enough) Very good very cheap wine. The people (They are friendly, patient and always try to help you. You never feel threatened) The day starts late, then you have a siesta, then you stay out all night. The whole family together out in the town centres. You can anchor almost any where and no one asks you for money.

Things we did not like about Spain: (this is a short list) Medications are expensive. Stock up on basics especially antihistamine for bug bits. A lot of anchorages are being made into Marinas. I know Marinas are in demand on this coast, but it is a shame. Sometimes it is hard to find a place to land a dingy. This has a lot to do with the Marinas moving into traditional landing sites. The Spanish fixation with fishing. All the harbour walls are lined with fisherman into the wee hours of the night. Usually not a problem, but sometimes, if you are anchored close by, the old men ‘nattering’ can keep you up at night.

Hope this is helpful to the next adventurer. end: