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.



1 Comment

  1. Following your journey, looks like you have been blessed with great weather and sailing conditions. I am enjoying your trip as much as the 3 of you as I read your stories and look at the great pictures that you attach.
    Love your Uncle Stan