Monday, 1 February 2016

Dolphins, wind and waves

28-Jan: Sesimbra to Sines

Since it was a pouring rain in the morning, I just left Sesimbra after lunch. Soft winds push me Westwards for the first couple of hours. During this time I could relax and have a quick nap. Then, a group of bottlenose dolphins start swimming alongside Trovoada, jumping out of the water from time to time.

Dolphins just half-dozen miles South of Sesimbra
Finally the wind start to blow, I dressed up the weather gear and prepared for the rest of trip. Sailing downwind, Trovoada's speed rose to above five knots. The sailing conditions were fine and I chose to run before the wind, "popa rasada" in Portuguese, despite the danger of an accidental jibe.

Almost at sunset, around twenty miles Northwest of Sines, another group of dolphins sailed alongside Trovoada. This time they accompanied us for longer, but with jumping out of the water. Again, this was a magical experience and this time I got to capture them on video (which is not that simple when you are sailing solo and wearing weather gear).

Not much later, the sun disappeared on the horizon. For a while the wind calmed down and I could take a few minutes  down at the galley for an early dinner. As the darkness fell, the wind started blowing stronger and stronger. The swell grew to from four to five-meter waves.  We sailed the last ten miles before the Sines Cape under wind blowing above twenty knots in a moonless, pitch-black, night.

The last light of the sunset
While not scary, it was nerve-breaking to arrive at Sines harbor in the middle of the night with tugboats and cargo ships maneuvering to enter the port, while I was heading upwind to the marina against strong winds. Nevertheless, getting into the pontoon and tying the boat all alone was easier than I was expecting. After finishing the check-in, I was tired but happy with the fulfilled goal.