Day 35 Salema, near Lagos Portugal

We managed a reasonably early start, and Howard even completed his first run of the trip before breakfast. The showers, however, were a dribble, and I was back to my limbo dancing to avoid getting everything wet.
We set off a few miles westwards to the little town of Sagres, with it’s huge clifftop fort, then further west to Capo de Sao Vincente (Cape Vincent), the south westernmost point of Europe. Here the cliffs are stunning, with the waves crashing hundreds of feet below, some periodically billowing up as they rebound back out of a sea cave. Cape Vincent is renowned for it’s variety of birdlife, two hundred species reported around the cliffs and the gorse scrubland that abuts them. At the far end of the promontory is an attractive red and white lighthouse, and just along from here we spotted several deep sea anglers precariously balancing their rods over the steep cliffs, hoping for a catch of sea bream or sea bass. Rather a death-defying hobby, and certainly requiring plenty of balance.
We did manage to spot a very unusual looking bird in the binoculars, and when we looked it up on our return, we discovered it was a black redstart, a thrush sized bird with a black back, and red on it’s rump and tail. So the binoculars now pass the three month rule and gain a reprieve!
Next we headed on to Lagos, or at least to it’s outskirts. Driving in we hit a traffic jam, on an otherwise quiet road. We sat for at least ten minutes not moving. When we did eventually get going again, it turned out to be a solitary traffic policeman, who had chosen to stop all the traffic on our main road to allow a trickle of cars out of a side road. Complete nonsense!
As we approached Lagos (which looked ghastly, with rows of hotels and holiday apartments – apologies to anyone who likes Lagos), we veered off to Ponta da Piedade, a stunning spot on the coast, with wonderful red sandstone rock formations, forming arches, sea caves and strange shaped pinnacles. We walked down some steep steps to the sea, and were encouraged to take a boat trip out to explore these structures at close quarters. Frankly, we didn’t need any persuading, since we were needing our weekly fix of boating. When we had stood up on the clifftops earlier, we had observed some of these boats, most of them larger vessels, taking maybe twelve tourists at a time. When our boat arrived, it was tiny, maybe half the length of a coastal skiff, with a small outboard motor, and a jolly captain. We leapt onboard (and I do mean leapt – from the small stone jetty in the rocks into this bobbing vessel), and were thankfully then adorned in life jackets. By now there was quite a swell up, and we could hear the tourists on the other larger boats shrieking with delight as their boats ducked and dived around the rock formations, through arches into sea caves and out again. Our skipper proved to be the most dare-devil of them all. At one point as we swung towards a tiny arch into a sea cave, Howard reassured me that none of the other boats had attempted to enter this one. But literally as he spoke these words, our skipper jolted the tiller, and we rode a wave through the tiny entrance, necessitating us to duck as we went through! ‘OK’, said Howard, ‘He’s doing a Ralph!’. The skiffies amongst you reading this blog will understand our meaning, if not, then safe to say, it was a very tricky manoeuvre, skillfully executed by someone resembling a Master Mariner! By now, I was actually clinging onto Howard’s leg. It was clear, however, that this was just part of the show, and we continued to weave our way around the rocks for another half hour, before being submitted to the ‘leap ashore’ manoeuvre, a disembarkation not dissimilar to the initial acrobatics of jumping aboard.
We felt both exhilarated and relieved as we climbed the steps back up to Oscar. Strangely, another couple who had been waiting for a similar trip had vanished by the time we returned to the jetty.
We then wound our way back to the campsite, stopping off at Salema beach for a wander and a drink. Apparently, we read later, there are dinosaur tracks visible in the rocks at low tide that were left 125 million years ago, but the tide was up, and indeed a huge wave caught us out, and soaked both of our feet as we walked along the shoreline.
So we are now back at the campsite, drying out our trainers and drinking Prosecco. We chose not to return to our pitch from last night, instead picking a spot higher up the wooded site, well away from the snoring German!

4 thoughts on “Day 35 Salema, near Lagos Portugal

  1. Sounds v exciting, did you need your sea sick tablets…
    we love Portugal, but have never been as far south as you guys, so good to hear the plusses and minuses –
    Mifi being sent tomorrow , hopefully you’ll coincide…


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