Farewelling Friends, Family and Portugal 

160901 18 Tthe Cathedral The Bell Tower Lee Andrew Cathy and Jim.jpg160824 5 Driving with Luis around Lisbon.jpg

Friends Jim and Cathy Blackwell arrived from Texas into Lisbon midday on Wednesday 24th. In an effort to prevent jet lag and to make the most of having arrived in the beautiful city of Lisbon we gave them no time to rest. Thanks to the services of Luis a local taxi driver who spoke excellent English, Cathy Jim and Lee, headed off to Lisbon for a personal three hour tour of Lisbon highlights through the eyes of a very proud local. To complete the day back onboard Jim was allowed a small siesta before rallying for dinner at the marina restaurant Entree Vinoes. We had dined at this restaurant twice during our stay at Marina De Oeiras and Brendon very proud chef and owner had offered to organise for us a degustation evening. Brendon and his staff did not disappoint once more. We dined on an amazing selection of tapas and wines until a halt had to be called to the dishes arriving as we simply could not enjoy any more despite the temptation. 

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Before leaving harbour we farewelled the Scottish bears Hamish and Bella who joined Bruce our Tomtar onboard in Stornaway - The Outer Hebrides Scotland - in August of last year. The bears are now on a journey with Poppy and Phoebe onboard their boat Emerald Bay. It seemed appropriate that the bears should move to a Scottish family from Oban who are heading off to the Caribbean on their own adventure. We wish them well in their journey and hope that the Bears remind the girls a little of Scotland. 

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Thursday 25th before heading out to Seisimbra we waited for final delivery of parts and our small A1 modified and last onboard in 2013. Seisimbra was a leisurely 25nm south. We decided to anchor here after having had so many locals recommend it as a traditional Portuguese town. Initial landing had us questioning the recommendation but once we began to wander the back streets we found the charm and were so pleased we had taken the advice.

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Next anchorage on route south, Sines, historically important as the town in which Vasco Da Gama was born. Vasco Da Gama was famous as a Portuguese explorer who was the first European to discover the sea route to India from Europe. The remains of the castle in which he was born provided a picturesque backdrop for our anchorage that night.

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Moving further south our final anchorage before the marina of Lagos was in the bay of Sagres where we had a surprise welcome by a group of enthusiastic beach goers who swam out to welcome us. Even more special was to receive a message from Andrew, Carolyn and James of Askari and to see them through the binoculars  on top of a nearby cliff doing the now official star jump welcome. The anchorage in Sagres truely put Cathy’s sea sickness patch to the test as we rolled unforgivably all night with the influence of the Atlantic swell. Nothing like having non slip mats on the table to ensure your dinner does not end up in your lap! 

Happy to be in Lagos marina in the company of Askari the following day we enjoyed another night out together at a local tapas restaurant set in the boat yard! The food and service certainly out did the surrounding scenery of boats under repair. 

Lagos is  a major tourist town in the Algarve with one of the highlights being the Ponta Da Peidade Headland. When we passed by this headland on entry to Lagos the previous day it was overflowing with kayaks, power boats and people. A successful early morning run in the dinghy from the harbour the following morning allowed us to enjoy the scenery of centuries weathered sandstone cliffs transformed into caves, rock pillars, overhanging cliffs and grottos with brilliant turquoise water  all to ourselves - hoards of tourist boats greeted us on our return as they headed out for the day. 

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Ponta De Piedade Lagos Portugal 

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From Lagos we moved to Portimao for an overnight anchorage with the intention of heading into the fishing village of Ferragudo and to collect a parcel for an Australian friend. Well the weather had other ideas. Not long after putting down the anchor the wind blew to 30 knots, the beach at Portimao became a sand storm, a day catamaran had to be rescued and a 30m sail boat behind us began drifting towards the breakwater. Several hours later after the storm had passed you were left wondering had it really happened. The following morning before leaving harbour we took the opportunity to go into the village of Ferragudo. The streets behind the harbour were narrow cobblestoned with ageing tiled buildings and quirky craft shops with some of the most unique and beautiful work we have seen along this coastline. It would have been lovely to spend a few hours exploring the back streets but probably not so good for the wallet.

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Blue Tiles portraying a plaza of Ferragudo

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Fishing onboard a sail boat can be somewhat challenging but we are pleased to report that whilst sailing from Ferragudo to Faro our final anchorage in Portugal Jim caught a mackerel. Not sure who was happier, Jim or the fish when we put him back.

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Faro the capital city of The Algarve lies near the lagoons of The Parque Natural da Ria Formosa where we put down our anchor. The initial attraction for coming to Faro was the opportunity to photograph storks. Well the storks weren’t home in their nests but the anchorage and historic town certainly made up for the lack of birdlife. We spent a day wondering the cobblestone streets, saw one of the most ornate Cathedrals to date including a museum of historical artefacts from the church dating back over 400 years and a chapel made of human bones. 

Leaving Faro to return along the estuary  to Katherine we had to carefully time our exit from the marina to ensure we could squeeze under the railway bridge. Squeeze we did!

One of the great things about cruising is the people you meet and we have been fortunate to have met and spent time with Australians Andrew and Carolyn of Askari and more recently their son James. 

It was very special to have two Australian boats on anchor in such a beautiful location and to share another bbq (be it gas or electric the debate still continues). Unfortunately as happens with cruisers this will be the last time for a while that we cross paths as Askari heads west for the Caribbean and Katherine east to the Mediterranean. 

Has been fun and we sure look forward to the next time somewhere, one day....

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Askari and Katherine on Anchor Parque Natural da Ria Formosa

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The final run for Cathy and Jim onboard Katherine was Cadiz. Here we parked the boat up at Puerto America which can be praised for its location, staff and security but not so much for its scenery. We drove inland to Selville and stayed in the Hotel Seville Hotel Las Casas de la Judea where getting to your room was an orientation test through an underground maze of corridors. Each room overlooked a beautifully terraced courtyard and the hotel location was perfect for walking to all the major sights including the cathedral and Alcazar The Royal Palace.

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All too soon it was time to farewell Cathy and Jim. Another great sailing experience where Cathy really has put those patches to the test. 

As Jim would say “Y’all are welcome back."

Till next time....

(Click for more photos) 

140128 7 Back to Tamworth to meet Ella Rose with Pop Julie and Lee - Version 2.jpg

On one last note the saddest farewell came with the passing of my Dad on the 25th of August in Australia. Times like these you know you are a long way from home. The brightest note from Dads passing was the gathering of family and friends for his farewell and an opportunity for the grandchildren now all adults in their own right being able to get together and share time. 

© SV Katherine 2018      Cover Photo: Katherine on Anchor Isle Tabarca Spain