I wrote my last post as if we had left Porto. We expected to leave yesterday, then today, and now it will most likely be pushed back until tomorrow. Weather is still strong out there and they have not opened the river bar.
In expectation to our departure, we celebrated Halloween a day early. Although celebrate is a relative term. Halloween is not a big deal here, so the kids were bummed about no trick or treating. Last year we trick or treated the other Haha boats in Turtle Bay and that was a huge hit. This year they settled for a scavenger hunt around the boat for treats. For their 5 minute costume prep we came up with Little Red Riding Hood, a serial killer and a bandit (not to be confused with a Mexican fisherman that often look like bandits when you see them at sea as they are avoiding the sun).
The following pages chronicle the journey of the sailing vessel Pelagic and her crew. We are a family of 5; Michael, Amy, Zander, Porter and Anakena, taking our 42' Hallberg Rassy as far as we can comfortably go in three years. We left Oregon in September 2014, participated in the 2014 Baja Haha, continued on through the Panama Canal, into the Caribbean, up the coast of the US to Maritime Canada and from there crossed the Atlantic. After an arrival in Ireland we toured Scotland, then sailed down to France, Portugal and on to Morocco. In January of 2016 we slowed down considerably and enrolled the kids in a local Spanish school in Sanlucar de Guadiana for a few months. In the spring of 2016 we crossed the Atlantic towards the Caribbean. We are now in the Pacific, officially on our way home, albeit via a very circuitous path. We are currently in French Polynesia and looking at weather windows to Hawaii before finally making landfall back in the Pacific Northwest.
Currently our exact location is not available. Our spot coverage will pick us back up in Hawaii towards the end of May, 2017.
Our favorite sailing quote:
"If anythings gonna happen, it's gonna happen out there boss!" Captain Ron
Saturday, October 31, 2015
|the bookstore in Porto that was the inspiration for the Harry Potter library|
|Michael and Jens in Germany|
We spent 4 days in Galicia, on the NW corner of Spain, after crossing the Bay of Biscay. It was a relief to be back in a Spanish speaking country. Mike has some French and German skills, limited ones mind you, but I have zero such skills, and it is frustrating to be in a country and not speak any of the language. You miss so much. Sure, more and more people speak English, but it seems so presumptuous to expect the locals to have to speak to you in a second language for them, in their own country. Anyway, we missed the small conversations that are much easier in an English or Spanish speaking country. Granted, my Spanish is not great, but I can get anything I want, get my point across in Spanish. Of course when I fail, Mike and his perfect Spanish usually save the situation, so for obvious reasons we love being back in Spain.
In Galicia the local specialty is boiled octopus, served in olive oil and paprika. Mike and I loved it, Zander tolerated it and Porter and Kena enjoyed taking the suckers off and sticking them to their faces! The boys bought an octopus trap, so even though they don’t like eating it, they really want to catch one. Octopus are very abundant here and they even have aquaculture farms to raise them. Considering the octopus is the smartest invertebrate and arguably smarter than many mammals, I warned the boys to watch their backs if they ever do catch one. I can just imagine an octopus wrestling a knife away from one of them!
From Galicia we spent a week in Portugal before heading back into Southern Spain. We spent most of that week in Porto. It was a lovely place to stop, but the weather was so nasty, we didn’t really have much choice in the matter. We crossed the river bar in Porto and tied up in a marina to rest and explore after our 24 overnight crossing. The weather deteriorated shortly after crossing and the port captain later closed the entrance to all boats due to the dangerous conditions. There are worse places to get “stuck”, but unfortunately it rained most of the week we were there and we had to time our excursions to take advantage of the drizzle and avoid the torrential downpours. Even it what the locals call the “sad” conditions, Porto is an interesting city to explore.
Porto is the second most important city in Portugal. The wine trade flourished here in the 18th century after English merchants began to lace the best of the local (Douro) wines with brandy. Today you can still visit the warehouses where the Port is stored and wine tasting is a favorite activity. We are, by no means, big drinkers, but you’d think from our visits we are alcoholics; The Guinness breweries in Ireland, Whiskey distilleries in Scotland, Calvados from Normandy, French reds and now Port from Porto. Our bilges are being packed with “souvenirs” from our visits. Five years from now we will still be nursing the Port we bought after touring the warehouses of Porto. And, the distilleries provide good science lesson for the kids in filtration, condensation, fermentation....any sacrifice to educate them! Making moonshine is still a job skill in some places in the US isn’t it! Anyway, Porto was fun to walk around, we wandered through the little alleyways and up through colorful markets. Portugal is still a developing country, so it is still a little gritty, but very charming.