Sunseeker Chapter 18
We had a late start and weighed anchor at about two in the afternoon to ghost along the shoreline past Estoril with jet skis and speed boats buzzing us. As Sunseeker rounded the castle-like structure of Santa Juliao and entered the river proper she caught the incoming tide but lost the wind. I rolled away the genoa as Rene started the engine once more and we motored upriver towards the gigantic suspension bridge spanning the river. As we approached the bridge we noticed a naval ship making her way downriver on the opposite side. We were horrified to see her alter course and head over to our side of the river. As she crossed in front of us she gave four long blasts on her horn before altering course to pass downriver on our port side. We don’t think we were in trouble because we saw many of the sailors waving and smiling at us. We waved back and saluted the Portuguese ensign flying proudly from her stern. It was just about this time that we noticed a loud buzzing sound, like the noise of millions of angry bees. As we looked up at the underside of the bridge we could see the vehicles crossing. The decking was made from a grid and the buzzing was the noise of the wheels on the grid.
We were looking for the fifth yacht harbour up the river, the Doca do Terreiro do Trigo. It was on the left immediately after the very busy ferry terminal. Away in the distance we could see dozens of ferry boats scurrying to and fro across the river and all converging upon the quays of the ferry terminal. Instead of trying to dodge in and out between these fast moving boats, I decided to maintain our course upriver and let them manoeuvre around us. It seemed to work and although we had to run the gauntlet of urgent hooters telling us, in Portuguese of course, to get out of the way, Sunseeker emerged unscathed on the other side. Now we had to look out, in earnest, for the entrance to the dock. There, just a bit further on, Rene spots the yacht masts which betray the location of marinas everywhere. The entrance is very narrow and the strong tide is pushing us past very quickly. As we are whisked past we see Breath and Catnap being manoeuvred into berths. Well, at least we know we have found the right dock, but now we must turn and fight this tide to gain the entrance. Sunseeker comes round obediently and the throttle is opened to stem the current. We must have plenty of speed or we will be pushed onto the upriver arm of the dock. I line up and, steering at forty five degrees to the entrance we shoot in and must now stop before we hit the boats already berthed. I run down the revs and throw the gears into reverse. Open up the revs again and Sunseeker responds instantly. Way is taken off her and in the swirling waters of the dock she comes to a standstill. Rene points to a berth and willing helpers appear, taking our lines to make us fast and safe. We heave a huge sigh of relief and greet our fellow cruisers.
End of Sunseeker Chapter 18