Surprise, Surprise, We're on the Algarve..!
03 October 2010 | Lagos
What a difference a few degrees south makes.......well we left Bayona on Monday with intentions of short hopping every 60 - 80 miles along the coast to get down to the Algarve and although there was very little wind forecast we knew we had a 'safe weather window' of three days in which to sail - so that's just what we did. We kept going and arrived in Lagos on the Algarve(360 miles !! ) at about 8pm on Wednesday. One of the biggest problems was avoiding the pots that are set by the fisherman - even at 20 miles off the coast we had to dodge them. At night of course we couldn't see them so we tried to sail either inside or outside a contour line which is how they seem to lay their long trots of pots and nets. Even so we still managed to hit one on one of my night watches, fortunately doing us no harm (I know - bloody woman drivers!). On this same watch the water started to boil and splash all around me so I got out the big flashlight and was astonished to see the water all around me alive with mackerel jumping out of the sea in a mad frenzy. This was shortly followed by dolphins coming in to feed on the easy pickings. The last 20 miles was breathtaking, as we rounded Cape St Vincent the huge cliff faces with their impressive caves, arches and sheltered anchorages passed along our port side. There is a local land breeze that gets up in the afternoon here along this coast so we had a healthy 25-30 knot wind whizzing us along the home stretch but without the enormous swell of the Atlantic which was a very welcome change. Dolphins as always seemed to guide us into the sheltered harbour of Lagos. The town itself is really charming. We first visited this town 16 years ago when helping deliver a yacht for a friend back to the UK. The marina was then being dredged and built so we were looking forward to seeing how the town had changed in that time. We spent our first night moored on the visitor's reception pontoon before the lifting bridge which allows access to the marina berths. It was great to tie up onto terra firma. We were knackered and for now realise we prefer day sailing to passage making which can be stressful and we always feel like we are having to push on to beat the weather to get a decent distance further to our final destination - that has been our biggest problem with leaving the UK so late in the season. We would love to have spent a summer just exploring the rias of northern Spain which is somewhere anyone passing in the future must try to do.
Anyway back to Lagos. In the morning after our night on the reception pontoon Aid and Phil went into the marina office to sort out booking in and to complete the boring customs paperwork shuffle that is expected of you when you at every port of call - even if you are anchoring ! We were allocated a berth that is really too small for us but generally we don't have to quote our length that includes the bowsprit(sticky-out pointy bit at the front) or our davits(sticky-out bits that hold the dingy at the back). All they are interested in is our registered length that is on our Brtitsh registry document. Consequently, although safely moored up our bowsprit beheads all passer bys making our pontoon fairly quiet. The marina has everything you could wish for after a few days at sea - swanky bars and restaurants around the new marina with lots of beautiful trendy suntanned people. The town itself although touristy still retains its fishing roots and the local restaurants provide good value food. We went to the supermarket and bought 16 large sardines for 2 Euros which Aid cooked for supper. The beaches are glorious, clean and empty apart from a handful of tourists so we have been swimming every evening. The temperature during the day is about 25 degrees although nights are cool enough to need your cardie !
Anyway we've decided to spend October taking our time to reach La Linea which is on the Spanish side opposite Gibraltar. We'll be spending the winter there with our good friends Michelle, Michael and their two babies. They've lived aboard their yacht there for three years. Hopefully many of you will be able to come out and visit us for a holiday. (If you come please bring teabags - I like the posh ones Aldi make!). We're looking forward to being able to sail now at a leisurely pace and explore the anchorages along the way. Mum and dad should be coming out soon - so bloody well hurry up and book your flight - we are missing you loads!!