Thursday, 20 July 2017

Heading south

Heading south the plan was to do the 150 miles to Lisbon somDavy could get his flight home in a weeks time. We hoped for some good sailing as we were in the Portuguese trade wind zone which should give winds from a northerly direction. We aimed to take a good bite out the journey doing a 65 mile sail to Figuera de Foz. After a long day we arrived late in the evening and anchored just inside the breakwater. The town seemed a bit industrial so we didn't miss much by not going ashore. We tackled the Chile and managed half of it!

Next day we headed off for Nazare which is reputed to be an all wether harbour due to the fact the Atlantic has a narrow but 125m deep channel running almost to the harbour entrance. It's also famous for it surfing and even on a good day we heard the breakers pounding on the shore as we approached. Waves attain over 100ft in big storms.

Glad I didn't take this pic from the boat

We stayed in the very pleasant Marina assisted by a very helpful Marina manager. The second half of the chile was demolished and a walk ashore to stretch the legs was welcome. The town was a wee bit disappointing and reminded me of a Rothesay, maybe it was just too early in the year.

A breezy morning but with only a 25 mile sail to Peniche meant we had a blast with 25 knots on the starboard quarter. Quite a lumpy sea made for some busy work on the helm but great fun in lovely sunshine. The forecast was for stiff winds all next day so a day off was in order. Peniche was a nice town with friendly bars and restaurants. Obviously popular with the Portuguese people for holidays and day trips to the coast. We had a healthy walk to the lighthouse on the point where Colin lost another hat!

Davy after the walk to the point.

No winds next morning saw us heading away for a 60 mile trip to Lisbon. We had no wind until the last 15 miles up into Lisbon but had a good sail unfortunately with a foul tide of 2 knots.

We sailed under the awesome 25 de April bridge which not unlike the Golden Gate Bridge spans the river Tagus. We tied up in a huge central Marina at reasonable cost and Davy prepared for his flight in the morning.

When Davy left Colin and I had a day in Lisbon doing the tour bus and enjoying most of the sights the city had to offer. Whilst it was interesting in my opinion did not compare favourably with Porto. We left next day going around Cabo Espichel and into a very nice anchorage with a really shallow approach over sandbanks called Arribida. We loitered around a big purse net fishing boat who shot away in front of us and quite near the shore. It was interesting to see how they managed the huge net. The wind blew strongly off the shore in the evening and it was roasting. I've never seen the humidity gauge so low. The sails were quite crisp with lack of moisture.

An easy 35 miles next day with no wind and masses of dolphins down to Sines with 3 customs officials coming aboard to check all papers passports etc. All done in a very friendly manner though. A good walk and meal ashore meant we were fit for the long haul to Cabo de Sao Vicente. It was a long day with little wind until the last few hours but we turned the bottom corner of the Iberian peninsula and were officially in the Algarve. We anchored up in a remote bay for the night. Headed no along the coast it was now apparent we were n the holiday zone. It's an interesting rocky coastline around Lagos with tour boats buzzing in and around all the caves. Into Alvor to a very pretty anchorage and a dingy ride into town found us well into the land of the all day breakfast. It was a nice town though and good to be ashore but n the sun. Not Vilamoura next day and the €56 a night Marina! The sea was great for a swim though. Faro was next as Colin had to fly home as his two weeks were up. Faro is in the Rio Formosa a large area of wetland with varied birdlife beautiful beaches and strong tides. We headed in through the narrow entrance and went quickly with the flood tide up the marked channel. It narrows a lot near the city but like most things after a few times you get to know it well. We had to anchor about a mile from the nearest landing area which involved winding through channels. Colin's flight involved a trip in the dark but we managed fine and Colin left for home. Both him and Davy were good fun and good tolerant crew.

I had time to service the engine and do some chores before Jim arrived in two days time.

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