The Boatist

Sailboat Ownership, Translation Work and Tales of Minor Adventure

Retire early, be passionate, don't worry, die poor

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Dinghy on Wheels

I'm short on time so I'll just go ahead and ramble until I'm tired of it.
Sailing in the Tagus River
Snapped this shot from the bridge over the Tagus River (called Tejo in Portuguese). 
I had left Jakatar anchored in Culatra - for the second time - and drove home. Going home meant, translation work, moving guests in and out of the 4 units, cutting and irrigating the grass and a bunch of other useless hassles called PRODUCTIVE RESPONSIBLE LIFE.

I also bought a new dinghy, a 2-meter Honwave T20 with a slatted floor. Now I had to get this dinghy back down to Culatra by bus, which involved changing buses in Lisbon, walking more than a kilometer from the bus station to the ferry dock in Olhão and then lugging it to the water. 

It weighs 27 kg and comes in a backpack-like bag - no sweat, right? Wrong. It's a big clumsy backpack that's nearly impossible to lift off the ground onto your back. Solution: wheels. I bought a cheap aluminum hand cart.
hand cart on a bus
At Lisbon's Sete Rios bus station. The bus luggage limit is 20 kg, but the drivers didn't get a chance to pick it up.
It was hot in Culatra. I spent an hour and a half waiting for the ferry sitting on a bench under a palm tree eating cookies and drinking water. The last time I was here I kayaked to the boat; this time I didn't feel too confident about rowing a flat-bottom dinghy that far.

Bought the 1.80 € ticket and enjoyed the ride along the marked channel. 
Catamarans in Olha
If it weren't for the marina problem, I think I'd rather get a catamaran.
Got off the ferry and argued with myself on whether to head straight to the café for a cold beer and a bite to eat or to inflate the dinghy and row out to the boat. I made to wrong decision, of course.

Fishing in Culatra
I thought about inflating the dinghy on the patch of sand on the right. This is where I previously landed the kayak. Decided against it because of all the junk between the sand and the water. The café is in the background where I should have had a couple of cold ones first.
The fishing marina's pontoons are about as cluttered as what you see above but, after exploring a bit, I discovered a nice open space on the last pontoon. 
Culatra marina
The fishing fleet of Culatra.
The dinghy rowed quite well over the flat water of the calm lagoon. Before I knew it I was stepping aboard Jakatar happily floating just as I had left it. 

Immediately rowed back to shore, had a frosty cold beer, walked about a bit and then went grocery shopping. Yes, Culatra has not one, but two grocery stores.

Houses in Culatra
I never get tired of looking at these small but well kept houses. You won't find any lawns here.
I had planned on having an early dinner at my favorite café/bar/restaurant but the woman regretted to say that, although she'd gladly make me something, her husband and boys had run off for the afternoon and she was serving drinks all by herself. Typical.

I had to dismantle the old deflated dinghy lying on the deck, stow it in a sail locker, get the sail covers off, organize all the sheets and halyards (I have at least 17 lines running back to the cockpit), mount the chart plotter and generally get the boat ready to sail off early. All this before it got dark. 

With that in mind, I rowed to the boat, made a tomato, onion, pepper and egg concoction, drank a bottle of wine and had a good time lying in the cockpit drinking tea with my mind as still and unperturbed as the moonlight reflecting off the lagoon. Don't you love that, a bottle of wine will have even a sloth thinking he's poetic.


  1. And I was wondering where you were.
    Those Honwaves are awesome! (a bit pricey). And smart choice on the small one. The extra cm can be a royal pain. A friend has one (T27) with the air floor and the tubes barely touch the water. Great built. Cry once ($)!
    Nice pics, but you must have a couple of cold ones to inflate a dingy. Its the law!
    Looks like your heading back... Bon voyage!

    1. Actually, I just got back. Too much to write about in only one post.
      The Honwave is tough. Foolishly, I towed it all the way home and everything was going fine until I got caught in severe wind conditions. It flipped upside down and dug into the water and I couldn't unflip it and wasn't about to stop and get off the boat in those conditions...but even the bench seat didn't fall off. Getting ahead of myself here.
      Stay tuned for the next episode.