Turning Points with Weather, Surf and Luck

Looking at the last post now seems like I had it coming. It was like I jinxed it. The weather and surfing have become really tough. And maybe because of the weather acting up, I got some car trouble too.

The fall rolling in big time

The weather changed with a bang. There was quite the storm last week and it’s been raining daily ever since. Little over a week ago after I got back to Baleal from a day trip to Cascais and I still went for a surf in the evening. The next day it started raining and the wind picked up quite a bit too. I decided that it might be nicer to be somewhere with electricity for the next bleak days so I decided to head up north to São Martinho do Porto. Park4Night showed two campsites there and it was only 40 minutes away. It turned out that the nicer campsite had already closed for the winter so I really didn’t have much choice in the end. The place where I spent the next three days was not pretty nor really cheap, but it was a safe place with the strong winds at least. No trees or much anything around that could fall and break the van.

São Martinho do Porto

The three nights there were rough. I woke up several times when the wind shaked Naranja. The days were really dark and mostly rainy too, so the electricity coming from the campsite is what enabled me to work. I managed to take a couple of small strolls around the quite pretty but vacated town. But mostly I just used my unlimited data and binged series that have been on my watch list for a while already.

Big fall swell too for the first time

With the weather change came also the change in the surf. Most of last week the swell was over three meters. Last Friday after work I drove to Nazaré to have a look at the waves there. The swell was about 6 meters then everywhere on the coast. Last time I went there over a year ago it was really flat. This time it was not. But because of the still strong wind there were no surfers. But the waves were absolutely horrifying.

Nazaré waves. The video makes no justice to seeing it live.

I almost was a week without surfing, but I was just barely able to rescue it. I went surfing on Sunday morning at Baleal again, but it wasn’t really easy. It was only possible right next to the island and in a very small patch. I wasn’t the only one interested in that so I got really crowded really quickly. Yesterday and today have been windy and rainy again so I haven’t gone now. And I have also had other stuff that’s kept me busy…

Car trouble

On my way from Nazaré to Baleal the battery light popped up on Naranja’s dashboard. That means that the battery isn’t charging. Since it was Friday evening, there was nothing much I could do about it then and there. I parked at Baleal and decided that I could manage not driving until Monday.

There’s a garage here that helped me last fall and has good reviews from others too, so I took Naranja there yesterday. The alternator is bust and needs to be replaced. Most likely it’s the age mainly, but the sideways rain last week might have had an influence too.

They ordered a new one yesterday and we’re hopeful that they could install it today already, but they gave me a call in the afternoon and said that the new alternator had just arrived and there would not be enough time today. The part costs are about 300 € which after some quick googling seems fair and they estimated that they need two hours for the change. Their hourly rate (30 €) seems almost like a joke comparing to Finnish prices so as far as I can tell it seems like a good deal.

Plans ahead

Right now it seems like the bad weather is here to stay at least for another week. I will have to see if I need more power and another stint at a campsite the next days. If it as bad as it was today, I may not have a choice. I really started feeling some serious cabin fever just being inside Naranja for the whole day. Now I’m writing this in a cafe, because I just could not take it any longer. The rain stopped for now but since the sun was already pretty much gone by then, the solar charging today was minimal. I think I will be ok working tomorrow still, but if there’s no more light tomorrow, I need to go somewhere with power. Hopefully the alternator swap works out tomorrow and then I can just hit the road. I might head to Caparica, but not sure yet.

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