Porto aka Oporto

Dauntless on the River Douro in Porto
Dauntless on the River Douro in Porto

As I have discovered talking to Alvaro and Ana at the Marina do Freixo, Porto, aka Oporto, it is actually Porto.  It seems the English, or most likely one Englishman, upon hearing the Portuguese say “do Porto” as in I am of Porto, the English combined the article with the noun, thus “Oporto” was born.

In any case, it’s Porto.

Porto, Portugal, as we know, if only for the strong wine that originates in this region.

A rare picture of yours truly
A rare picture of yours truly taken by a Korean I met

First, let me say that in the first day, I discovered a cornucopia of “port” wines that were both red and white in a spectrum of sweetness.

Which just goes to show you, even when you think you have seen everything, like most New Yorkers, you only know the sliver the marketers, want you to see.

I had a wonderful lunch, for me dinner, at the Jimao, 11 Praça da Ribeira.  The four small plates I had were as good as I have had in Europe: sardines on toast, morcella and apples, pig cheeks and I ended with panna cotta and a glass of “port” that was not so sweet and more like a rose.  These were washed down with a vinho verde, a tinto (red from the region) and a “port” that was almost a rose.  All perfect accompaniments.

Panna Cotta
Panna Cotta

As I meandered back to Dauntless, about 1 mile up river from downtown, I thought about how fortunate I am.

No matter what travails I have had in the past months, the reality is, I am sitting in my own boat on the River Douro in Porto listening to a classical radio station and writing this blog.

I eat well; drink better and if I had a lament, it’s nice to share great times, adventures, eating and drinking with someone who appreciates the same.

River traffic
River traffic

But am I suffering?  Please.

As I took the bus back to Dauntless, a picturesque ride along the river, I noticed the dozens of fisherman along the river bank.

Bridges over the Rio Douro
Bridges over the Rio Douro

Like my father, who would go surf casting on Long Island, these fishermen (and some women) certainly enjoy fishing, but like most before them for the last eon, they also appreciated that what they caught was “meat” on the table and it was free. These aren’t sport fisherman with million dollar boats spending more on fuel and beer than their catch would ever pay for.  No, these are real people, doing what humans have done for  hundreds of thousands of years.

And now they have the luxury of being able to pass their time in a way both fruitful and enjoyable.

And like most Americans, just trying to get by as best they can.wp-1471113070188.jpg

In every port we have stopped, not a day goes by without someone mentioning our upcoming presidential election.  Not a day.  My nephews have remarked on this; coming from places in the U.S. where evidently no one they talk with talks about such things.  Instead in Europe, Europeans always talk about politics, be it the government of the month or the world as they see it.

More river traffic
More river traffic

Trump is mentioned is the same way one talks about the latest disaster, with a certain gleam in their eye, knowing just the name will bring a reaction:  “Did you see that train wreak last week, how could the Italians have two trains on the same track?  What about that tsunami, a quarter million washed out to sea!”

What does one respond?  “Yes, it will certainly be a speculator train wreak. I have tickets for the first row. I’d be glad to trade them for a few rows further back”.  “Oh, I understand.  You have to give your cat a bath that day.”

My glass of "Port"
My glass of “Port”

Just like in America, Trump certainly has his admirers, especially in Ireland.  Oh those rebels. Europeans are fed up with politicians just like most Americans, but Europeans also have a better view of reality.  They see Trump for what he is.

So their conversation really revolves around the theme of “how is it possible you have such poor choices?”  The non-politician who pays no taxes versus the professional politician who only pays taxes on those monies given to her for her political favors.

But Europeans respect the USA in ways that can not be appreciated unless ones spends time outside the USA.  Those same people who lament our choices, also know that we are strong, don’t put up with BS very long, so will vote the bum out in four years.

Most Americans are just like the fisherman along the river.  They are just trying to get by and do what’s best for their families.

Our problem is that our elected leaders don’t have the same priorities.

 

 

 

 

The View From NATO’s Russian Front

I have removed this morning’s post, Sudetenland and Eastern Ukraine for two reasons:

  1. Today’s, 7 February 2015, Wall Street Journal just happens to have a wonderful, candid interview with our Commander of USA Europe, General   Frederick B. Hodges, who is far closer to the front and also is far more articulate than i could ever be. and
  2. I will strive to keep Dauntless at Sea related to our travels and adventures and boating, and Kadey Krogens

So, if interested, please go to RichardBost.Wordpress.com where I will post those things of interest, not related to Dauntless and where I have posted today’s interview: The View From NATO’s Russian Front

 The Army commander in Europe on Putin’s new way of war, Russia’s growing arsenal, and coping with U.S. military budget cuts. Frederick B. Hodges

A Confession

I was escorted out of Georgia by a pair of dolphins.

Dolphins Lead the Way
Dolphins Lead the Way

A great omen to start any trip and as the day has progressed, it has only gotten better.  Having put out the paravane polls even before entering the sound, I left the birds on deck, waiting until he water was deeper (I like at least 25 to 30 feet).  As the morning progressed however, I didn’t need them.  The little wind there had been has produced these little half foot waves from the southwest.  As my course in to the northeast, I have a little following sea, which the Kadey Krogen does particularity well with.

Now almost 10 hours later, not much has changed.  The waves have grown to one foot and there is a long period swell from the east, so occasionally I get a bigger roll, maybe 5° to each side, with a small constant roll of a few degrees.  I still have not deployed the paravanes and at this point, maybe another 1.5 hours to anchor, I probably won’t. But I been reminded how much I love the ocean and I realize that I have not had conditions so benign since late summer.

As I planned my route north these last months, I would look at the ant trail of my previous trip south and an unpleasant feeling would settle in my stomach.  The realization that even though I love being on the ocean and have always tried to maximize my ocean time, for I love the air, the color of the sea, the expanse of sky, I had also had a hard winter of it.

Oh, no, not like, virtually everyone reading this.  I had no days, weeks and months of frigid winds, mind numbing cold and countless shovel fulls of snow, ice and then coaxing the car to start.

No, it hasn’t been like that, but as I looked at my previous  journey, down the coast from Rhode Island, across the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas and back, during the last 6 months, I realized that I had let myself press on ever worsen conditions on a day to day or week to week basis.

In other words, I would tell myself that it’s not so bad, only a little worse than the week before.

Now, of course, I do have the paravanes, which are a great equalizer, but I had forgotten how pleasant the ocean can be and normally is!

I have also let the schedule push me, not in any unsafe manner, but certainly I have put up with a lot of discomfort.

So today, has been Mother Nature’s way of resetting by expectations.

This summer planning the trip across the North Atlantic, I fully expect conditions to be similar to today.  And if they are not, I will wait until they are.  But I also know, that Dauntless ready and able to dance on those waves when she has to.

Update

I ended up deploying the paravanes, as the last hour the winds had picked up and that built 3 foot waves off my stern quarter.  We were rolling, not much, the usual, 15 degrees in each direction.  I made hasty decision to thrown in the birds that had been resting on deck all day.

In they went, and the ride settled down, but then I stressed about getting them back. Why, you ask?

Because about the same time, my auto pilot went TU. If you don’t know what that means, ask one of your friends who has been in the military, and if you don’t have a friend like that. Umm, I suppose there is such a thing as a free lunch.

So, with no autopilot, I could not do my usual of setting it and retrieving the birds. I had to use the never before contingency plan 4102, anchor in the channel, retrieve paravanes, haul anchor and haul ass.

Worked like a charm.  I took less than ten minutes and it was nice to do that without worrying where in hell the boat was going.

Another hour later, I am happily anchored at big Bay Cheek.  Turns out the peninsula that is on the other side of the creek, is full of houses.  New houses by the looks of it, or better said, house built since the last hurricane wiped them out.

Nuff Said
Nuff Said

Don’t you love a political system where you can pretend to be anti-governemt, tea oarty, right winger, etc,  but then every ten years get a new house, since you have subsidized house insurance because you were so smart you built in a clear flood plain. And before you think I am a Democrat, the Democrats allow all the crap to happen.  We have truly reached a point of total me, me, me in this country.  And our politicians are leading the parade.

Sorry, I got carried away.

OK, for all of you that I haven’t offended and are still reading, I hoping I found the fault with the autopilot.

Tomorrow, we shall see what we shall see.

Thanks for Reading

P.S.  I think Microsoft Word has the solution to the Washington mess.  When the spell check got to politicians, it suggested pelicans.  Not a bad idea at all. Replace everyone in Washington with pelicans. Can be any worse.  At least we’ll get realistic fish quotas.

On an Obama can even be an eagle, or is that his wife?

Good Day

Sunset in Big Bay Creek
Sunset in Big Bay Creek