Sesimbra, Sines and around Cabo Sao Vincente to Lagos
21 April 2017 | Lagos
On 01/04/17 we said goodbye to all of the friends we had made over the past five months and wrenched ourselves from the wonderful city of Lisbon. We had become too comfortable here; the marina had everything we needed: clean, hot, powerful showers and a good washing machine, great transport links and nearby shops. We made our way to Oeiras, being a convenient stopping place before Sesimbra, and sailed back down the River Tejo past all of the fantastic landmarks of Lisbon; the sunshine was gleaming across Alfama, my favourite district, and its Pantheon; we then past Commercial square with its impressive Augusta Arch; we sailed under the extremely noisy 25 April bridge, which resembles the Golden Gate bridge; after that was Belem with its fairytale tower and Monument of Discoveries. I am sure that one day we will return to this awesome place.
We were a little early arriving at Oeiras and there was too much tide action, hence our approach was a little traumatic! The swell was horrendous, I was helming whilst Paul put the main sail down and got thrown around a lot, so in fear of falling in grabbed the harness ( or strap on, as I like to call it!) to secure me to Swallow- the clip had seized up over winter, classic faux pas, should've checked it before leaving. I feel we have become a little out of practice but know that we will soon get back into it! What should have been a simple sail was terrifying for me! Ridiculous!!!! (as Paul would say).
Four days later we sailed 30 miles down the West coast to Sesimbra; there was a 2m, beam on swell as we departed the river and we were on a beam reach, port tack. We looked back to Lisbon's skyline: beautiful diamonds were sparkling on the sea's surface and the sun was illuminating the coloured buildings. As we rounded Cabo Espichel the tide was dropping and the swell on our port quarter slewed us round; the waves were crashing into the caves in the sandy coloured cliffs. We moored up at the Clube Navale de Sesimbra which had excellent facilities.
Sesimbra has a busy fishing harbour, a beautiful beach and quaint town. We walked up to the medieval castle and enjoyed views as far back as Lisbon, stunning!
On 10/04/17 we made the 36 miles further down to Sines as the last stopping point before rounding Cabo St Vincent and heading for the Algarve. This was a motor sail for most of the way as there was not much wind at all; the rippling sea resembled corrugated cardboard. To our delight, after a couple of hours, six bottle nosed dolphins appeared and were playing on our bow wave. We only stayed one night in Sines, as we were keen to use the calm weather window to round Cabo Sao Vincente, so we didn't venture ashore. The town looked rather industrial but there is a nice beach and Locomotion, who were there a couple of weeks before us, told us that there is a great local restaurant. We met a Welsh man, Martin, who has been living aboard in this marina for eight years!
The next evening we had dinner and togged ourselves up with our warm, wet weather gear and set sail for Lagos. We departed at 22.40 with a full moon to guide us across a calm sea. We had a good run for 57 miles down to the point with 8 knots of wind and watched the welcome sunrise. The wind died as we came around the point at about 0900, but we didn't mind as this point has a reputation for being very nasty with wind and swell. At this time we had encouraging texts, which spurred us on, from Ula (Andy and Clare), who were further round in the Algarve and also from Drew (Madness), who is our Ground Control! Next we had four and a half hours of a hard slog into the wind blown current, we were so tired; Paul had stayed awake the entire journey and I had had two hours sleep ( testing out the lee cloth). As we approached Lagos we sailed past a fish farm and what I can only describe as a sea bass graveyard; there were loads of dead fish drifting by us, this is a probably due to overcrowding within the nets resulting with disease spreading among the fish and they are then discarded as useless; even the gannets weren't interested in them! We arrived in Lagos at 13.20, stopped at the reception pontoon to complete the necessary formalities and then they raised the lift bridge for us to proceed to our berth, which, to our delight was next to Lotta, our lovely Swiss friends, Shon and Liisa.
After a very long sleep we caught up with Shon and Liisa and celebrated with a few beers! We were