Creating a Sailing Bubble
A speculative flight booking at the height of UK Lockdown in April turned out well. BA had been flying four times a week to Gibraltar all through the health crisis and our flight on 6th July coincided with easing of foreign travel restrictions. After passing through a deserted Heathrow Airport with masks and hand gel, we were in the air and Moana bound. After months without attention we spend a week on boat jobs, maintenance, food and drink stocking and trying to enjoy the baking heat. As a result of strict early action by the authorities in Gib, cases had been kept to a minimum with only 3 current cases in self isolation at home. some cases had been hospitalised but the ICU at St Bernards Hospital hasn’t yet been used for a Covid case. The atmosphere is relaxed but careful and feels a million miles away from what we had left behind in mainland UK. On 14 July we slipped our lines on the berth to catch the tidal gate and favourable easterlies through the Strait and passing Tarifa at around 2.45pm local time.
Our passage plan took us overnight directly across to Portimao on the Algave. Initially the weather and sailing conditions were fabulous. Strong easterlies behind us and a slightly favourable tide sped us at 8 knots for 9hrs. The sunset and sunrise were gorgeous and a reminder of what open water sailing is all about. The next day bought more scorching weather, dolphins galore and huge surface feeding bluefin tuna as we approached the fish rich Algave coast.
When wind began to drop on our stern we motor sailed and finally motored into the Portimao Anchorage at around 2.30pm Portuguese time. After some battery phaff with the RIB a friendly masked policeman at the marina office checked us into Portugal. We‘re loving it back on our home from home and on our way again 😎