Every year our sailing season gets shorter and shorter. This year is going to be the tops – or bottoms would be more appropriate.
Having planned that both of us would go together to the Netherlands for my sister's birthday party at the end of September, we'd been debating about where to leave Eos all by herself during that week. Several possibilities and all with their pros and cons. Just leave the boat at anchor on the Guadiana like many other people do? That might be okay when you also have a house, but not for us for whom the boat and everything on it is all we have. Most marinas are really expensive in September, with the exception of Vila Real de Santo António, which is still not cheap but affordable. Renting a mooring could be a possibility, or trying to find a place on the Alcoutim pontoon, but then we'd have to organize a lift to the airport. Besides that, Eos had started to leak a bit more than the usual one litre per day and an underwater snorkelling inspection revealed some damage to a seam; from what it looked like, possibly caused by floating debris during the flooding on the Guadiana. The plan had been to have the boat out of the water for antifouling in Olhão by the end of October and even though it would still be quite warm and dry for a wooden boat on land in September, we decided to have Eos hauled out one month earlier. At least then she could not sink! (She could fall over, yes, and we were glad that we didn't know until much later that some months ago a big steel yacht on the yard had fallen over in a gale!)
After having made this decision we couldn't be bothered to do any more sailing trips and just enjoyed life at anchor off Culatra.
As usual, we did some boat jobs everyday. For a few days in a row, when I was cleaning the waterline from the dinghy (not too many hours per day, it's not supposed to look like work) there was a curious fish who didn't want to get chased away and was biting my sponge, so I had quite a job trying to do the cleaning without my hands being gnawed at! I couldn't find a picture of the fish in our fish book though (and a drawing of mine wouldn't help much in identifying it!). Peter seemed to have made a hobby of doing maintenance on the Taylor cooker; I keep admiring his patience with the thing. The smell of baking bread makes you forget the stink of a yellow paraffin flame.
And as usual, it was nice meeting up with several boats we'd seen somewhere before. We also met up with the people of our previous neighbour boat in Enkhuizen, who were in the area caravanning. Last year we had been presented a bottle of real old wine by a very nice Portuguese man and now we met the boat again, this time with other people of the family, also very nice, and with whom we enjoyed a glass at a cafe.
For a bit of exercise we walked the beach, did some swimming and rowed the dinghy instead of using the outboard if there wasn't too much wind. One day I was making a real effort while rowing, when “crack”, one of the oars broke. No panic, we had a set of spare ones. However, we'd never had a look at the size of the spares before and they turned out to be much shorter. Rowing with them felt and looked really silly, so that was the end of that kind of exercise.
Mid September the tourist season was finished all of a sudden. The sunbeds on the beach were put away and the worst was that they turned off the beach shower!
I have discovered the panorama setting on my camera. Here is another one, taken on the north side of Culatra, looking northwards across the fishing boat harbour and the anchorage towards Olhão:
This is not a giant seagull, just a very tiny dinghy: