It could be the title of a book, don’t you think? After the less-than-enjoyable motoring to get to Lisbon I was more than ready to hang out in a marina for a few days.
But first, docking. It becomes so much more apparent how sizable Away is when you get closer to other things, especially when you want to get really close to them, like a dock, but not too close. Another thing you find out is how much the wind is actually pushing the boat… The spot where I was ordered to dock was quite simple, really. Alongside the dock, at the end. It was a bit tight, but it shouldn’t be too hard. First attempt failed though, due to the wind. It turned the bow too close to the dock too soon so I couldn’t get a rope around a cleat. So I had to back out, let the bow turn and try again. I really understand the luxury of a bowthruster. A luxury I don’t have. Maybe one day I will retrofit Away with one, we’ll see. Or I just learn how to handle her in tight quarters with the wind pushing me around? I took an extra lap in the marina basin next to the one I was to dock in, just to refocus and relax a little so I could give it another go. I also added a fender in the bow just in case I managed to bump the dock. As I was doing my lap, a french guy called out from a catamaran and asked if I could use some help. Great guy! So now I had two dock hands and the second approach was much, much better. I really didn’t need the help, but it is always nice to have someone to cleat off the dock lines for you so that I could focus on stopping and positioning the boat.
As a french, he asked if I was sailing alone. I said “yes” and he said “No girfriend?”. Not yet, I replied. He said it was no good, I should sail with someone. “Go to Ibiza, you will find a woman there” was the advice he left me with. Ah yes, the french. Maybe I should go there.
As soon as I got all the lines sorted and I was happy with the docking, I went to the office to register. There are four things that they normally want: A paper saying that I own the boat, insurance, the passport and the registration. You all know about the registration by now, that it isn’t required to register a boat under 15 meters in Sweden, and it seems to always start some confusion. This time there was no issue. I don’t have the insurance on paper, only in an email, and it does some times make things complicated. This time he just had a look at it and it was okay. I was registered and could come and go as I wished.
So, what to do in the capital of Portugal for three nights? I even asked the guy in the office what I should check out and he handed me a tourist map with everything neatly marked and recommended the old town, of course. I was actually intending to do some sightseeing, since I haven’t done that at all since I left Sweden in April. But as always, before doing anything I had to go back to the boat for food and a siesta. I was nackered. Quick dinner and then some shut eye before anything else. Totally of a sudden it was 8 o’clock in the evening and I was nowhere near ready to do some sightseeing. I decided to do some housekeeping on the boat and go to bed early.
The next morning I had the last of my bread and opened my last liter of milk. I had to replenish my food storage. It was warm this day, really warm, and I enjoyed the walk on land. The store wasn’t that far away really but it was confusing having to cross a four lane road and a railway track to get there. Eventually I found a pedestrian crossing and a train station that allowed me to cross the tracks. As I entered the store I had to put on a face mask as usual, there seems to always be a guard at the entrance helping you to remember it. The store was rather well stocked, at least for my taste. Best of all, they had Pepsi Max. I ran out of that days ago and that is no good. I did not find any müsli though that wasn’t “crunchy”, chocolate or in one way or another filled with sugar, so it had to be skipped. I had enough on the boat anyway, so I wasn’t that concerned really. I had a backpack on me, and of course I forgot the cloth bag that I got in Ireland so I had to buy a plastic bag. At least they were like the ones in Sweden, in Ireland they have these other bags that are made of thicker plastic and with welded on handles, a bit excessive if you ask me. The walk back to the boat was not as pleasant as the walk to the store, lugging a heavy bag of groceries as well as a heavy backpack on my back. I was sweating. But it was pleasant anyway.
As I got back and unpacked the groceries, the day seemed to have passed already. My thoughts was slow as well as my movements. I was still tired and as always it takes a day before I can really be myself again. So I stayed in the boat, watching some YouTube and writing on the blog post of the trip to Lisbon. It wasn’t pleasant, I must admit that, but it was done and I had conquered another part of my journey. It wasn’t an easy post to write, really.
As I woke up the next day and had my breakfast I realized that I was in a town where there must be an IKEA. IKEA? Yeah, I’m on a special mission! The thing is, I do need some more containers to put things in, so that was my excuse, but I also had to get lingonberry jam! Oohhh, yes! The reasoning is simple. Mashed potatoes just have to have lingonberry jam to be complete. It just isn’t a total satisfaction without it. Yes, I really like mashed potatoes. With butter, milk and white pepper. But before any expeditions into IKEA-land I had to have a shower, shave and cut my hair. It was all long over due, and how lovely the simplest things can be.
So, I had to get on a bus to IKEA. 714 I think it was. It would take me forty-five minutes to get there, but it was all worth it. Missed the first one of course, since I was withdrawing some cash from my account as I want to have as much cash as possible right now. As I was sitting there on the bus I realized that this was possibly the only sightseeing that I would get of Lisbon, and I was right. Lisbon is, from my limited knowledge, a rather sweet town. Not that many tall buildings and the houses huddle up along the streets as a never-ending house, with many vibrant colors. Often shops or restaurants on ground floor and probably apartments on top. Like many other cities. But still unique. Lisbon is like I felt – worn. But at the same time there are efforts to rebuild, refurbish and repair. It just doesn’t seem to be enough of it, it’s a never ending battle. But it adds character, so I don’t mind.
Finally at IKEA I was walking the full walk, no short-cuts. I wanted to see if I could find anything that could be useful and you never know where you will find it. I did, however, find my storage containers. It was in a big set though, but it was just €5 so I wasn’t that concerned. And, in the end, it was some of the ones that I didn’t know what to use for that I used first when I got back to the boat. I also got some deep plates in plastic as well. They were deeper than the ones that I have and also without the rim, so they were at the same time smaller which made them easier to handle with one hand, eating in the cockpit while under way. I also finally found extension cords, so I bought two, yay! I didn’t know where to find the lingonberry jam, I thought I would find it at the restaurant but without any luck. As I approached the check out I found them, though. So I took one jar. And gave it a thought. And took one more. And then another two. Then I saw that they had Swedish meatballs too! Got a bag of those! Now I could have the perfect Swedish meal: Meatballs with mashed potatoes and lingonberry jam, awesome! I also had bought green peas in the shop earlier, they go great with it as well. Missed the bus back to the marina as well of course, but ten minutes later the next one arrived, so no harm done.
On my way back to the boat I took another lap in the grocery store. The plan was to get the last bits to be ready to go in the morning. I had forgotten butter and needed more milk as well. The milk is UHT, which means it will last much longer than regular milk and it can be stored in room temperature. So I got a six-pack, yeah! I also got some more Pepsi Max. Just to make sure I got enough. The IKEA-bag was quite heavy as I walked home, and as I got back I unpacked everything and prepared for tomorrows departure.
To get to, and obviously away from, the marina you had to wait for a bridge to open. It opens every thirty minutes and as I arrived to the marina I timed it so well that it was open. My plan was to get to the bridge at ten, but as most plans, it failed to survive the brutal crash with reality. I was ten minutes late and it had already closed. Or, if you like, I was twenty minutes early to the next opening. So I tied up to a floating dock near the bridge, and at 10:30 I was allowed out on the river once more.
There was some wind, and I was once again eager to get sailing, so I hoisted the sails and tacked my way out to the sea. As I was contemplating where I wanted to anchor next, I let Navionics plot a route for me. It was obviously drunk, since it followed the shipping lanes out to the sea and then did a turn south. Why? Silly, I plotted a new route, going south as soon as possible, not following any silly shipping lanes. I happily saw the ocean open up in front of me and I turned to port and south, and while doing so I started to pay more attention to the depths of the area I was just about to cross. Many of them started with 0… O, fuuu…! A quick ninety degrees turn to starboard and then the depth alarm started to beep. I had less than two meters under the keel. Okay, I quickly checked on the chart what I had in front of me, what the depth sounder saw saying and if I was trapped in a shallow area or if I could continue. I saw a way out, I just had to continue due west for a few more minutes and it would be deep enough for me to cross this gigantic sand bar that I had missed by only a hair. The depth alarm was beeping ferociously for a few moments, but eventually I was free from the sand bar. The weird thing is that Navionics knows Aways draft, how deep she points in the water, but it didn’t give me any warning. But as I plotted the way to the marina it warned me about the height of the bridge that I was to pass under, which obviously shows that it can warn me about items that might interfere with the boat as I pass. Why not the bottom? Hmm.. And with that thought I was on my way to my next destination, Sines.