Monday, 16 November 2015

Kindness of Strangers

One of the aspects of how different our experience of Portugal has been this time around is the friendliness of the local fishermen. Now, professional fishermen are generally a fairly hard bitten bunch and it seems to me that they have every right to be a bit disdainful of us amateurs swanning about getting in their way. However, in Spain and Portugal while we have had the odd instance of grumpiness, the reverse of this attitude is commonplace.

Such it was when we returned to our dinghy in Olhao on the Algarve, to find the gate down to the pontoon locked. Fortunately, well - fairly fortunately, a local fisherman was returning to his boat after a clearly protracted liquid lunch. He saw we had no key, and indicated in slightly slurred mime that he had one in his dinghy.....which was also behind the locked gate.

No problem. He climbed around and wobbled down to his dinghy, sat down in it and promptly rolled smoothly back into the water. I climbed around the gate as well but he managed to haul himself out and started stripping off his dripping clothes.

We headed out at the same time as him and he kindly offered to tow us. An offer which we thought it prudent to politely decline in the circumstances, but he was still sober enough to guide us through the shallow passage between the mudflats safely back to Sula.

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