SW Portugal to Algarve October 14, 2021
Leaving Cascais was hard as there was so much to see (and eat) however we needed to make our way to our winter home, Lagos. Lagos is a 121 Nautical Mile sail south of Cascais, so we needed to break it up into smaller day sails. Our first stop was a remote beach just before the town of Sesimbra. Praia do Ribeiro do Cavalo is surrounded by rock formations, sea caves and is teeming with sea life (none of which jumped on my hook). Access to this beach for the locals was a terrifying scramble along the edge of a cliff face, however many seemed up for the challenge.
Early the next morning we pointed the boat South (in the direction of the fog) and headed to the industrial town of Sines. Sines harbour is the site of a major petrochemical refinery and is not very attractive. However, tucked away in the corner is a smaller internal harbour that is situated just below the old town. Sines old town is pretty and interesting, though hardly rates a mention when compared to the rest of the Portuguese coast.
After an early morning false start (our anchor buoy got a little tangled) we headed South towards the South Western most point of Portugal. Cape St. Vincent is where the Atlantic coast of Portugal meets the Algarve coast and on a map it looks terrifying. At this point, swell from the Atlantic Ocean meets the opposing swell coming out of the Gibraltar strait. Fortunately for us, rounding the cape was no more than a little uncomfortable. It was on this passage that we caught our very first fish. We had been dragging lures since we left France without a single bite. Finally on this day an unsuspecting Atlantic Mackerel took the bait. Our final destination for the day was to be Praia do Baliche. Praia do Baliche (beach of Baliche) is a very remote (yet strangely busy) bay that is carved out of a 100 Meter sheer cliff face, that has a very "out of this world" feel about it. Without google maps or the help of our drone, we would have no idea what was at the top of those cliffs. A lot of nothing as it turns out. I imagine that anchoring in the Great Australian Bight would feel very similar.
We loved Praia do Baliche so much that we decided to stay an extra day. In fact we almost stayed a third day, however decided to sail to the beachside town of Burgau at the last minute. Anchoring at Burgau looked complicated due to submerged cables and there didn’t seem to be much protection from the wind. What a mistake that would have been to give this town a miss. Burgau is a quaint little holiday village that seems to be popular with the British. The heart of the town follows a winding cobblestone street that leads up from the beach and into the hill behind. We really liked Burgau and plan to go back very soon.