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Datum: 2-09-2016    Sesimbra - Sines - Burgau
 Thursday, 25-08-2016 to Thursday, 01-09-2016
Our plan is to sail in daily trips to Portimão, where we want to spend some time. It is a sunny day when we leave the bay of Cascais in the direction of Sesimbra. It is about 27 miles and the largest part we can go on sails. In the course of the afternoon we arrive and sail in the direction of the harbour, where we first have to push our way through hundreds of seagulls, happily floating. At the harbour, they tell us they have no spot for us to berth (which is rather strange with all these empty spots…). We throw out anchor in the bay, which might even be better, what with all the boat-polluting seagulls around..
Sesimbra lies on a large sandy beach, with steep cliffs west of the town and a small fishing harbour in the east. The beach stretches alongside the front of the town and is divided into two parts by a small fortress, a big city with many white houses and blocks of flats.
The next day we go on to Sines, a distance of 35 miles. It is lightly clouded and at first we sail along nicely, but later on, the wind decreases and we put the engine on. At the end of the afternoon we near the big breaking piers of Sines, after this there is enough room to lower sail and prepare ourselves to enter the harbour. After a small stretch there is a narrow entrance to the bay and the marina. We have to pay attention, since there is a lot of current. Directly after you have entered the bay the marina is at your right hand side. There is not much room, but fortunately, again, there is an obliging harbour master on the pier to help us. Once berthed, we walk up to the harbour office where the harbourmaster greets us friendly
The reception is open 24/7 and since we always find the same man behind the desk, we ask ourselves if he might be sleeping on a stretcher in the back of the broom closet. According to the man himself that is exactly what his wife suspects! The facilities here are super-duper, not only do they take children into account (there is e genuine mini-toilet), but there are also toilets with a bidet and there are large shower rooms with enough space to dress. The harbour fee is really not high, here you get your money’s worth. Nothing beats enjoying a warm shower! We have a chat with an Englishman, who has been living here on his boat for 15 years. Completely established as he is, he tells us – in difficultly to understand English – the best way to walk to the city centre and where you can have a nice dinner. The marina is quite remote from the centre, you have to walk a very steep road or a great many steps. The first night we have the stamina to do this, but once uptown centre there is not much to do there. We wander around, looking for a restaurant, but they are scarce, the town seems abandoned. Eventually we find, near to the castle, the restaurant the Englishman was talking about. Imagine our surprise, when we see who is sitting there…? Yes, him. Turns out he has been eating out here for years every Friday night. It is very busy and people stand in line to eat here, but for us there is a table, next to that of the Englishman. The service leaves something to be desired; the owner doesn’t seem quite healthy as we are told, because he constantly forgets what we have told him. But the food is really very good and some moments later we have a big chunk of meat on our plates. Afterwards, the Englishman walks along with us, showing us where the supermarket is and where we can get a drink. Hill down after dinner plus wine comes a lot easier to us. The next day there is a thick fog over the bay and we can hardly see the boats that lay behind us. At times the fog lifts and the sun shines, this switch goes on all day long. Fred walks up (literally!) to the supermarket and to a small watersportsshop, to see if he can find a part for our handline, which has broken.
Unfortunately, the owner is not on hand and there is a note on the door with his phone number. Fred leaves a message after the beep and strolls back to the marina, where he just arrives as the man returns his call, asking if he can come to the shop in 30 minutes…. Again he has to climb up and down all those stairs, poor unlucky guy! And on top of that to no avail, since the spare part he wants is not available. I keep myself occupied with spinning a few washes. The rest of the day, we laze out a bit, make plans for tomorrow and Fred goes to work.

Sines lies on the Costa Azul, the southwest coast of Portugal. It is a picturesque harbour town with narrow streets. Above the bay you can see the ruins of the medieval castle Castelo de Sines, which has been restored in the 16th century. The castle has kept its medieval structure and the walls with beautiful battlements and also the donjon are still standing. The story goes that the famous explorer Vasco da Gama (1468-1524) was born here. He was the son of the nobleman Estevão da Gama, military governor of Sines. Vasco da Gama was de seafarer and leader of the expedition that found the seaway to India. In memory, they set up a big statue that watches over the sea.

After a day’s rest we go on, direction south. Today there is no fog, but in the morning not much wind. We have to cover about 72 miles, want to do this in one day and so we are obliged to sail on the engine for most of the day. Anyway, we can enjoy the weather, for the sun shines brightly. On the way we see a large group of little dolphins, always an exciting sight. Around noon the wind increases to 15 knots, against us, alas!
We will round the Cabo de Sao Vicente today, after which we will arrive on the south coast of Portugal. The idea was to anchor in the Enseada de Belixe-bay after the cape, but the wind comes from an entirely wrong direction, so that works out quite bad. We sail on to the little town of Sagres and here also the wind is too strong to anchor. Luckily we still have time to go on, we always want to be anchored or in a harbour before dark. We have enough ‘allowance’ to sail on. Just before the large town of Lagos we hit on a small bay with much less wind and much more shelter. Another sailing boat is about to leave and in passing by we ask if you can anchor well here. No problem, says the Portuguese! After that we have the bay all to ourselves! It lays close to the village of Burgau, which is a cute village to look at, a lot of little white houses, built against a hill. We stay here for some days eventually.
What do we do, when we lie at anchor......? Pretty much of nothing, you could say. We read a lot, I have my crochet projects, we swim a little and enjoy the peace and quiet. Although that last thing is regularly interrupted by some grazing motorboats with screaming youth on pneumatic tyres behind them. Every now and then, a sailing boat anchors for a while ( how dare they, in our bay!), but most of the time it is just us. In the early morning hours there sometimes passes a fishing boat.
We take the dinghy to the beach to nose around a bit and to swim. This beach consists mostly of beautifully round shaped pebble stones in different sizes. I can go wild here and I try to stack some of them (see pic)
We go to Burgau by dinghy a few times (in the next bay) to do some shopping there. This still is quite an undertaking, watertight backpack with dry clothes for me and our shoes, because you always get at least a little wet from the splashing waves. Fred never takes an extra set of clothing with him, since ‘those few splatters of water don’t mind’. We still have to get accustomed to the dinghy and have not yet experienced what it is to arrive at a beach through a heavy surf. Well, we don’t have to wait for that too long… Arriving in shallow waters, we raise the outboard motor and row the last stretch. Fred gets out of the dinghy just when a giant wave comes in the direction of the beach. I can’t hold the dinghy steady no more, Fred can’t keep his balance and lands in the water on his posterior.
I have a laughter attack, while Fred is ‘not amused’. But at the same moment I get out of the dinghy another wave hits us, whereby I fall over backwards and go under. Now I am completely in stitches, with tears running down my face, while sitting there, soaked to the skin. Fred can’t help but laugh too at the silly situation. We must have been quite a hilarious spectacle for the people on the beach. Not a dry thread on our bodies, we go back to the boat, rinsing off the salt water, dry off and put on dry clothes. We don’t give up, another attempt! This time everything goes a lot better and we keep it dry. We tow the dinghy all the way up to the beach and secure it on a stake. Wiping the sand from our feet, we put on clean t-shirts and go on the hunt for a nice restaurant, for we are quite hungry by now. At that moment we find out that this nice little village is not only bigger than we thought, it is also much more touristic. There are a lot of restaurants, but most of them crowded, unfortunately. At the restaurant “number 9” we have to wait for half an hour at the bar, before a table is free. We order a nice cold beer and devour all of the mixed nuts in the bowl, because we are soooo hungry. There is a nice atmosphere here, good music and the people who run the joint are nice too.
We have a view of the kitchen, which can be called minimalistic: 2 square metres, with 2 cooks, sweating themselves out of their clothes. The food is good, but the bill is somewhat higher than we expected, but hey, we really tucked in. Completely against our habit to not go somewhere for a 2nd time, we reserve a table a couple of days ahead, because the restaurant is so nice and cosy. When we arrive there for the second time, the place is almost empty and we are seated right away. The food is good, but the quantity is relatively small compared to the price. Pity, it falls short in the end.
Next time we are going back to searching smaller and cheaper eateries.

We leave Friday 2nd September for the harbour of Partimão, where we will be celebrating Fred’s 60th birthday!
5-10-2016, reactie van René Schwab
Hallo Caroline en Fred,
Even niks geschreven, want ik denk dat ik het heel erg druk heb. Jullie lijken het ook druk te hebben en ik begin er steeds meer van overtuigd te raken, dat het wel iets heeft; een drijvend kantoor dat je langs allerlei exotische bestemmingen leidt. Vandaag opgezocht waar jullie liggen. Had op een gegeven moment 2 kaartjes. Volgens het ene liggen jullie bij Lagos; op het andere kaartje kan ik jullie vinden. Waar moet ik jullie zoeken? Zo langzamerhand komen jullie op gelijke hoogte met de kust van Noord Afrika. Gaat alles nog steeds naar wens? Ook wat het werk betreft? Voor ons is (SSSF) is alles nog onveranderd; geen verdronken berichten.
Binnenkort vertrek ik naar Chiang Rai mèt fiets voor een tocht van een maand door het Noorden van Thailand en Midden Laos, Cira 1100km met hier en daar zeer pittige klimmen. Niks voor Anita. Ik ga met een vriend waar ik al 2 keer eerder mee in Zuid-Oost Azie heb gefietst. Ik heb het giop-adres uit de reislog gehaald. Berichten gaan naar
Het ga jullie goed!! Groet, René.
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