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2003-07-24

We sailed from Vila Real de Stº António to Tavira. There was a sharp wind from the north and I was at the wheel. As soon as we were out in the open, Bernd raised the sails and switched off the motors, and as the sails filled, we picked up speed. Five knots, then six knots – that's as fast as the engine would have taken us! The ship leaned to the left, 10°, then more – 20° – then 22°! We were going at seven knots, sometimes as fast as eight…

This is what I love about sailing: Practically no waves, as the wind from the north had no way to build up anything, coming over the land, blowing into the sails and driving the ship along.

We arrived at Tavira after 3½h – half an hour earlier than expected. We set anchor between one of the long sandy islands and the coast and took the dinghy up the river to Tavira. Whenever one of the fisher motor boats or the ferry came, we had to slow down and watch the waves… It was unnerving to see that practically none of them slowed down to minimize the waves, as the should have (or so Bern told us).

One time we slowed down so much and waited for so long, that the dinghy was blown into shallow waters and we were unable to use the motor to get back into deep waters again. I got out and immediately my feet disappeared into black mud. I shoved and joked about the slippery mud, and half a minute later I slipped and fell backwards. My lightning reflexes saved my butt – my right hand, fingers spread wide for increased surface area disappeared into the mud – luckily I was able to stop my fall (and my slow descent into the murky water) when my ellbow reached the water. Slowly I got up again. My feet and my right hand were caked in black/grey mud…

A little washing in the muddy water and off we were towards town, up the river!

We arrived about 20 minutes after leaving the ship and bound our dinghy to some other fisher boats and climbed up the 5m wall towards the city itself. At last, the "white city"!

(to be continued)

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We also took the time for some portraits after about 3½ weeks of holidays…

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