Cabo de Sao Vincent and Lagos
28 August 2007 | Lagos
Bonnie and Rick
We motored away from the Sines anchorage at 0630 on Saturday morning- we had read that the weather at Cabo de Sao Vincent can be unpredictable, and we hoped to get past the cape before the afternoon nortada came up. In the end, we didn't even have enough wind to fill the sails. The day was hot and sunny, and we were able to relax and enjoy the view as we motored quietly along in 3-4 knots of wind. We had a pod of dolphins join us for a while- and, more unusually, a flock of brightly-coloured dragonflies.
Cabo de Sao Vincent, the most westerly point in continental Europe, is a curious-looking formation- a long plateau with a top so flat it looks as though it was pushed out into the sea with a huge smoothing-iron. Some sections of the cliffs are red with horizontal striations; in other sections the rock is grey with vertical grooves that give the appearance of huge petrified tree- trunks. At the top of these cliffs are huge wind farms of propellors every few miles, supplementing the European power grid. At the base, there are many beaches where the surfing crowd take advantage of the long rollers that come in from the northwest. The tip of the cape is quite rugged, with rocky outcroppings below a lighthouse.
After turning the corner past Cabo de Sao Vincent, we made our way past Sagres (site of Prince Henry's navigation school) and into the Algarve, to begin a two week family vacation with Christopher and Katherine. As we approached Lagos, the views of the rocky cliffs and sandy beaches were spectacular. After sailing over 3000 miles (400 since our arrival in Baiona) we are ready for some lounging on the foredeck and beachfront cafes!
We arrived in Lagos (pronounced lah-goosh) at 1900, filled Aisling with fuel (323 Euros - more wind please!) checked in to the marina and were assigned a spot amongst the other 400 boats. Lagos seems a world away from the other Portuguese towns we have visited. Although its history dates back to ancient times, the old town was flattened by the 1755 earthquake. Today, it is a tourist resort favoured by the British- English is spoken almost everywhere and at times it is possible to forget that we are in a foreign country. The marina is large and luxurious (even a swimming pool!) but rather smelly, especially at low tide. We had originally intended to wait here until Christopher arrives on the 30th- now we think we may continue further east to seek some clean air.
Katherine finally arrived at 1900 on Sunday, after a trying journey that included a flight delay in Montreal, a missed connection in Newark, lost baggage, language challenges in Lisbon and a long bus journey to Lagos. It took 48 hours for her bag to reappear, but that wasn't a big problem. Fortunately, the streets of Lagos are well supplied with shops selling beach attire, and she was able to find all the essential items. (String bikinis can be had here for 10 euros, in case you were wondering).
Today was hot and sunny, and we headed off by dinghy to explore some of the cliffs, grottos and beautiful beaches that surround Lagos. Spectacular multi-coloured cliffs, dozens of little "Fairy Holes", crystal clear water and hot sand- it was perfect! Later, we had lunch on the marina dock and then explored the town until early evening.
Tomorrow we will sail to Albufeira, where Christopher's will join us and the family vacation will be truly up and running!