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Peniche - A traditional fishing town
23/07/2008, Peniche

Several people we have spoken with on route had mentioned Peniche as a stop, and how awful the marina was because of the fishing boats wakes in the evening and middle of the night. What about the town? '...Er, we didn't see much of the town...' . Tracey and I arrived here at about 6pm, cleared immigration/customs/police etc, headed into town, walked all around it, checked out the monastery, the old back streets, some local characters, took loads of photos of traditional lace making going on, walked through the various ornamental gardens, had a couple of quiet drinks in a trendy (ish!) bar before returning to the boat, cooking chilli con carne, enjoying a fine bottle of Portuguese red wine which cost almost 2 Euros (!), and finally...updating this blog. Last remaining job for the evening is tomorrow's passage plan towards Cascais, about 50 miles away. You really have to make the most of these places when you can. In our whistle stop tour of the town, we have been suitably impressed, saw a fantastic sunset, and look forward to returning again one day. As for the fishing boat swell overnight? Stop complaining about the hard working locals making their living and drink more red wine; that will help you sleep through it!!

Island Lunch Break
23/07/2008, Isla da Berlenga

Having finally got a break in the weather today, we set off for Peniche, about 30Nm south of Nazare. Nazare was an interesting town and we would return given the opportunity. The fog cleared overnight and we left with reasonable visibility. The wind started picking up to about 15 knots, and went away. A deathly silence in the air, no sound from the sails, and time for the engine if we were to reach our destination today. With a relatively short distance to travel, we decided to divert slightly to Isla da Berlenga, a popular spot for day visitors. The idea was to stop for lunch, see how the anchorage was in terms of holding, wave swell, etc and make a decision as to whether to stay overnight. Well, an excellent lunch stop, but a precarious overnight one; with nearly 70m of anchor chain out (that's about all of it) we were on the limits of a safe overnight stop due to the depth of the water where we were. A rugged island, very picturesque, and totally ruined by tourists! We departed at 4pm and headed back towards our original destination, Peniche, about 6 Nm to the east. The island? Well worth a visit.

Fog-bound in Nazare
21/07/2008, Nazare

The Pilot Guide for the Portuguse coast indicates that it can often be very foggy along the coast until about 3 pm when it clears with a brisk wind. We were beginning to think that this advice may have been exaggerated somewhat and the 'severe' fog referred to did not really exist. How wrong could be have been! Over the past couple of days, we had noticed that it was quite misty in the evenings and mornings, but fairly clear by about 10 am. We got up this morning ready to depart at about 8-30 am for Peniche went up on deck and I was no longer sure whether we were even in the same marina! Visibility was less than 50 metres and a quick trip up to the marina office to pay up was followed by some good advice from the Harbourmaster along the lines of ' are going where...?'. The local forecast for Martinho Do Porto f(about 5 miles down the coast) from Lisbon Radio was for visibility between 'zero and 50 metres'. This is a first for us, zero visibility. The Harbourmaster explained that what this means is that, in a small ship, you need your radar to tie up on the pontoon as you cannot see it! We stayed put for the day and walked into the town of Nazare where we explored fully all of the many winding back streets, headed up the local mountain in the Ascenceur (a type of funicular railway) which gave us a spectacular view of the beach and town in the 2 hours of reasonable visibility we had today. The town was buzzing with tourists and had more restaurants per square metre than I have ever seen in a town. A quick spot of lunch to sample the local sea food which was excellent, some more exploring, then a walk back to the boat for bangers and mash, again... Tomorrow's forecast looks much better and the plan is, again, to head towards Peniche, about 30 Nm south west of us. We'll see...hopefully!

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