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Oporto, the name is the clue…

The sail to Oporto was against the prevailing wind again – but this time very light – less than 2kts at times. So it was motor sailing again. I was careful to keep the engine revs low – fearful that the belt would break and then the fish would hit the fan. Within an hour I was ghosting along in thick fog. Visibility was about 50m, the sea was like glass, it was very eerie indeed (video here).  I had AIS and radar on and was surprised to see that some fishing boats had either not got AIS or more likely had switched it off so as not to alert competitors to their position – but in fog ?!…. I was grateful that not only could I locate other vessels, but that I was transmitting both AIS and an active radar signal so there should be no mistaking Enterprise on any properly equipped boat. The fog did mean that I could not spend any time if any at all down below, so there was a lot of bobbing up and down the companionway steps to check ahead if I went to make tea, or get anything, or visit the heads. It was most disconcerting to think I may be involved in a collision while in a compromising position.

By about midday the sun had burned off the fog and it was brilliant sunshine again. Happily I could just about maintain my line. direct for the River Douro and the passage up river to Oporto. Why is he not calling it Porto I hear you say. Well Oporto is the older name, meaninig “The Port” and Porto is the more modern term, on the banks of the Golden River – Rio Douro. There is a new marina there – built in 2012 – after my charts were published! So according to my chart plotter I find myself navigating up the river over a sand bar (now dredged) and into a salt marsh now with a channel that leads to the new marina. I must stop putting off getting my charts updated – added to todo list. Still, it did make me pay attention as I gingerly piloted up the river trying to ignore my chart plotter and keeping a beady eye on the depth sounder.

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Vis about 50m.. Enterprise safely moored up.
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Fishermens huts. Walking down river towards Oporto
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Oporto – south bank Porto – north bank
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Sandeman brand.. Which Port should I try first ?
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An old port barge..
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Restaurants line the banks…
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NB. Joe & David. Thank God I am not their Father !

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