The Portuguese job

They say it brings good fortune to the sailors who paint their logo on the inside of a breakwater. Ok, nothing simpler than that, we thought, and fun for the kids as well. To say it right away, it came quite differently, and sadly, it wasn’t kids friendly at all.

Before arriving in Porto Santo we haven’t seen harbor walls as richly decorated with paintings by hundreds of sailing crews from all around the world. That wall is very, very long and whenever we pass on the way to the beach, we spot a piece of which we didn’t take notice before. We find paintings of other sailors whose blogs we were following for long. And not very surprising, many other yachts under Swiss flag have stayed here before us.

Whoever once created their own tour logo would now paint it on the wall. Others just invent their logo as they paint, or leave a fantasy picture with a sunset and a dolphin, which is actually not a fantasy to sailors. Many paintings show one or two sails, some show a more or less pretty mermaid. Some show an anchor, others a lovely customized beer can. Many paintings are tiny, whereas other ones claim large patches of that wall. Almost all pictures have in common that they display the name of a yacht, the flag of the home country, the year of visit and perhaps the names of the crew. The oldest (still visible) painting we found has been on that wall for almost 20 years!

Quite obviously, our painting contribution should include the logo from our web site. It wasn’t too hard to find a free patch, and soon we knew why: our spot wasn’t the best one because the wall was terribly uneven there. It would be difficult to nicely apply the paint. Anyway, this was where we started and where we wanted to finish our job. So we printed our logo on a couple of papers and used the scissors to produce a template. Kids job? Possibly yes, but they just wanted to paint and so I was using the scissors by myself.

Soon after we taped the template to the wall and were ready for painting. Kids job? Unfortunately not! The paper template got wet from the paint and was destroyed within minutes only. I could just do a couple of blue dots which should give a fair idea of the outlines of our logo.

Now began an epic long time of crafting, surely with no kid arts involved. I was applying the color dot by dot across the mountains and valleys in that uneven wall. That seemed to become an endless job. I accepted to trust the fishermen who were racing their old cars up and down the lane just behind my back. Since I had no brush, I dotted the sticky paint to the wall with cable ties. Wasn’t Van Gogh using that method for his beautiful arts, with a proper brush at hand of course?

More than one hour later and being half through my job I started to feel the good vibes that concentrated painting can do to the body and soul. It was such a satisfying and mind clearing activity, standing at the wall, trying not to mess up my patch with dropping color, no longer caring for the racing cars behind my heels.

Some other sailors said that they like my arts, whereas that level of satisfaction of the rest of the family wasn’t really peaking up. I missed the rest of the afternoon, dinner, and a good part of the evening. At least the job was then finished. At some time the first and then the second one of my kids showed up, being sent on a search and rescue mission by mom. They surely wanted to know when they can start with their part of painting?

“Oops, there are some other free patches along the wall, more even ones, not that elevated, and yes, they could perhaps do something very artistic which requires neither a template nor cable ties”.

“It’s cool to paint with cable ties, I wanna do that as well!”

There is even more hope for the kids: we hear that more of such decorated walls are around, for example in Funchal (Madeira) or in Horta (Azores), all of them on Portuguese territories.