Contemplations in Porto

I’m sitting here, in the sun watching it slowly descend behind the horizon while I have some delicious water melon. That’s when it hits me. I see more and more people getting ready to get back to work in social media, their vacations are ending. I realize that the last few days here in Portugal is probably what some people was dreaming of this winter, what made them pull through and prevail. Most likely they didn’t get that vacation that they dreamed of this year. Possibly a short trip within the country at best, but most likely a worrisome time at home, trying to figure out the future.

But I’m not going back. This is not a vacation, it is my new normal. I am a full time liveaboard. My future is wide open, and I haven’t really started yet. I admit that I haven’t grasped the full consequence of that quite yet. Maybe I never will.

I’m watching the fishermen passing by in their fishing boats in the river, and they puzzle me. Some have old, wooden boats but most have what looks like rather new plastic boats, running their engine, using a single line, criss-crossing the river in their hunt for fish. I can’t say if it is for leisure, food or income, but they don’t seem to do it for the social experience anyway, since they usually are alone, this one had some friends with him though. I just can’t see an economy in it. They really puzzle me. Why are they fishing?

Today I had a small excursion, by the way. I don’t know why really. Maybe because I’m in this large city and I have to see some of it before I leave. Well, that idea kind of backfired, because all I actually managed to see was a mall. I needed a new charging cable for my iPad. Not that I don’t have one, but it would be bad if I ran out of them since I need it when navigating. I managed to destroy one cable yesterday, due to neglect. It was still connected in my charger in the cockpit and as I disconnected the iPad I just let it drop to the floor of the cockpit. Unfortunately there was a tiny puddle of saltwater where it landed, size no larger than a coin, and since it was still connected to the charger it immediately started an electrolysis, dissolving the two copper pads on the connector that normally charges the iPad. The cable was dead. I found it this morning in a turquoise little puddle and I realized what had happened. Oh, well… another lesson learned.

Before I went on my little mall excursion I managed to get to the marina where my sail-repair kit where waiting for me. I’m not entirely sure about how to go about repairing the sail, but I’m positive that it will involve some foul language. I tend to buy extra items when something needs to be repaired to keep as spares, this time I might have overdone it though. I needed two, but bought ten. My reasoning was that I might have to replace the others as well sooner or later, so why not have them with me and then some to spare? I still need the materials to attach them though, so I’m not entirely sure that I was smart this time. But, to my defense, it is easier to find some webbing and thread than the sail slides when out sailing. So maybe it was a good buy in the end anyway. Only time can tell.

It seems that the thermostat for my fridge is acting up. It is probably on its last lap as well, it seems to run 24/7. I managed to do a makeshift thermometer with an arduino and the fridge was at least -4 degrees Celsius, probably colder, in the center of the fridge. So it is pretty much a light-weight freezer at the moment. I wouldn’t mind really unless it wasn’t that it freezes all liquids and I want my juice in the morning, but not as slush or ice. I will have to address that as I get to Almerimar, which I have intended to do for some time now anyway. My plan is to make the arduino regulate the compressor instead of the thermostat. The upside doing it that way is that I can control it remotely and, even better, I can have a readout of the actual temperature. If I want to I can even add multiple sensors, but that seems a bit over the top at the moment. Integrating it with the rest I can even have it transmitted to the NMEA 2000 network if I want to! The possibilities are endless.

Tomorrow will hopefully be the last day here in Porto, as I manage to repair the sail. Then I can continue down the coast. I think it will take three days to get to Lisbon, maybe I stay there a few days as well, and then most likely four or five days to Almerimar. Going through the Gibraltar sound will be another experience, it is quite busy. Add to that that there has been multiple reports of orcas (yes, Free Willy orcas!) attacking vessels up to 45’. That is just surreal. I hope it won’t happen, I have had enough unplanned events this sail, thank you very much!

Have I mentioned the mosquitoes?? No, I haven’t! As I got to Spain I encountered mosquitos for the first time this year. For some reason they didn’t seem to exist in Ireland (I bet they do, I just didn’t see any) but as soon as I got to Fisterre I had several bites the first night, and also in Vigo and now here in Porto. They are tinier than the ones in Sweden and that makes them almost silent, those pesky little buggars. I can’t even feel when they bite, and they don’t bite once, nooo, they have to sample multiple times! The only thing is that I can hear them after they have sucked the blood out of me, probably because they are so much more heavy then. I’ve killed about ten of them, but they seem to find its way to my boat anyway. In Vigo it was more than hundred meters to shore, so I can’t understand how they found me. I presume I have a colony somewhere in the boat. And you know, the first week or so, before the body figures them out, the bites looks more like a wasp sting. And they itch like craaaazy! I never thought I would write this, but I prefer Swedish mosquitoes. They do bite your head off, but you can hear them in a silent room like a B-52 bomber, and they feel like a lunar landing when they land. I prefer that.

And as I’m done, the sun is finally behind the horizon.

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