We arrived off of Leixōes in the early evening, and tenderly picked our way towards where the harbour breakwater should be. Listening to a container ship leaving thankfully blowing their fog horn. Neither the container ship - nor the break water were visible. Only once we were inside the harbour and about to tie up did we see where we had been. Thank goodness for digital charts and GPS - John's noon sight earlier in the day with a sextant wasn't that great. Who want's to do maths on holiday anyway?
The sail had been quite a relaxed affair, we even got the spinnaker out which was a a first for this trip! We had to get to Porto (or close to) to meet Ellie's Mum who was coming to say fair well, having been in the USA for the duration of our stay in the UK.
The first order of business in Leixōes was a visit to the chandlery. 💸💸💸. The upwind passages around the English coast, and the cheap broken solar panel we'd been using for the past 2 year had finally taken their toll on the cheap 5 year old car batteries that came with the boat- they were no longer holding a charge and on passage were draining at an alarming rate.
Leixōes is just north of Porto, home of Port wine. John wasn't feeling great so we went for a girls only trip to the big city to explore. I hadn't really done any research on Porto, but was really pleasantly surprised by the city. Built on the sides of a ravine there are beautiful terraced gardens and parks to explore and winding steep streets shaded from the sun. Some parts of the centre were massively over-crowed by tourist, but we managed to find some beautiful quiet corners and an idilic cafe for lunch.
The second day John mustered the strength to join us for a trip to one of the Port houses. We had a tour of the warehouse and learnt all about the various types of ports and ageing methods. And of course had a tasting- delicious! If we had to choose I think it's a Tawny for Ellie and A LBV for John, but really: any Port in a storm.
Soon it was time for Mum to fly home and for us to look for a window to sail to Madeira. Unfortunately the weather had deteriorated and Elena had caught John's cold so we couldn't go anywhere until that had cleared.
Looking at the weather, there was no opportunity to get to Madeira in the foreseeable future so we started looking at our options. All the places we could go were more than a day sail away, so it would have to be an overnight hop. Once Ellie was well, and now suffering a severe bout of port fever from too much time in one place, it was decided to sail to Nazaré and to wait for a window there.