And what do you do at anchor all day?

Well, that's what we sometimes wonder about people with a plastic boat. We of course, having an old wooden boat, never have to get bored . But anyway, besides the various boat jobs, lots of things just take lots more time than when in a harbour.

Finding a parking place
Finding a parking place

Shopping expeditions often get to be real expeditions. Culatra offers two small supermarkets with all the basics, but nothing special. Sometimes I took the ferry across to Olhão on the mainland, dinghying to Culatra at 7:30 to catch the first ferry at 7:45, together with plenty more people, the locals to be recognised by shopping trolleys, the foreigners by backpacks.
After filling up a backpack and two large shopping bags I would catch the ferry back, where the shoppers got lost in the holiday crowd with their coolboxes, sunshades, fishing nets etc. Then back to the boat by dinghy. After that of course stowing all the stuff, which sometimes means emptying out lockers to stow it neater to find the room for it all.

Filling the watertank is another job. In the fishing harbour of Culatra there is not a single waterpoint to be found and on the whole island there is not one public tap. We could take a couple of jerrycans to a café, and ask to fill them when taking a beer or coffee and there is also a waterboat where you can buy 100 litres of water for € 5. So after having organised a lot of empty 5 litre waterbottles, we took the dinghy across to Olhão to fill up and thus could transport 120 litres. BUT! This is a 20 minute trip to be done around high water so you can get across the sandbanks, and  high water should preferably be early in the morning to avoid the chop when the afternoon sea breeze starts. We left it too late a couple of times and on the way back the wind had got up and our heavily loaded dinghy didn't ride the waves anymore but slammed into them, soaking us plus our shopping and weighing the dinghy down even more. Imagine doing that in winter temperatures!

The fresh water was not to be used for luxurious showering of course. Anyway, it finally got warm enough to go swimming and near the beach was a shower for a fresh water rinse.

And of course 120 litres of water is enough for daily use for more than a week but not for doing the laundry. In Olhão is a laundrette (with free wifi – what a splendid idea) so the shopping expeditions often turned into a combination. A bit strenuous on the arm muscles, carrying a bag full of laundry as well.

Ah, the muscles needed some exercise anyway. Not being able to just step off the boat to go for a walk, our land trips were also for fitness. Rowing ashore, a walk through the loose sand and a swim. So wonderful to be able to go walking in the middle of the day without getting too hot.


We came across these monuments on one of our walks, but there was no sign telling us what they meant.
We came across these monuments on one of our walks, but there was no sign telling us what they meant.

Our electricity supply was causing a lot of annoyance. Having new domestic batteries plus a new energy-saving fridge we thought we'd have plenty of power, but the solar panels' regulator would still start blinking and bleeping quite often, after which we'd have to turn off the fridge. (Hence also the late blog updates, not being allowed by Cap'n to use to laptop very often.) And so we got very busy turning the solar panels with the sun to make sure we caught every ray. Eventually we figured it was the regulator just not doing its job, because the voltmeters showed sufficient power in the batteries. But then what do you do when the thing starts bleeping and blinking all the time? Let the panels charge without the regulator in between? Then we wouldn't notice if they were maybe not charging. And for sure, one day the charge light did go off: one of the sockets on the panel had corroded. Now a new regulator is on our shopping list. Or something like this which we saw here on the island:

And the boat jobs: We painted our decks, in various stages, so we could still walk around some parts, and not too energetically of course because it mustn't feel like work. In this pleasant weather it was also okay to do inside jobs and we took our bed apart to clean around it (cat hairs! still!) and to apply a coat of linseed oil on the inside of the hull. And then: Eureka!!! The big deck awning we hadn't been able to find for more than two years turned up! Under our bed are the 300 litre dieseltank and two large drawers and behind the drawers is another locker, which we hadn't opened for some time but in which now we found it. Also a much missed leg-warmer (not missed now, but last winter) turned up. Must do some more of these jobs, who knows what we might find.


Looking at the bird life is one of our favourite pastimes, and then trying to find them in our bird book. There must have been a lot of migrating going on since the book was printed; we spotted a sandpiper and a little white seagull who should – according to the book – only appear in Scandinavia, and also a little gull wearing - again according to the book - winter dress.

And this is a Hyles galli / Gallium Sphinx / Bedstro Hawk-moth / Walstropijlstaartvlinder (dank je wel Ruud!)




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