Sines

25 – 29 August 2016

Setubal N38° 30.53 W08° 54.97 to Sines N37° 57.04 W08° 52.11

39nm, 8 hours

After another night listening to the snapping shrimps we headed further south to join the Germans in Sines. It was another uneventful motor  down the coast, too little wind for Pintail’s sails until, typically, just as we arrived at the mouth of the harbour when it started blowing up to about 20 knots!

We found Faith anchored off the sandy beach and after a couple of attempts found a spot for Pintail and dropped her anchor. The Stormschnitzels were just nearby in the marina getting ready for their passage to Madeira. This time we were really to say goodbye to them. They were leaving the next afternoon and that called for mojitos! Having been there a couple of nights already the Germans had already reccied the local town and found the perfect place. We sat in the small garden on rattan sofas surrounded by yucca plants and blue walls, a strange little oasis. On the way home Stefan discovered the public bongo drums. There was also a xylophone but thankfully for those trying to sleep in town he didn’t give those a go!

Being our first full day on land for 3 days we needed to find a shop so, with the Faiths and with directions from the Stormschitzels, we headed out to find the local Lidl. It turned into a bit of an expedition when we found ourselves in a forest of maize far from civilisation. Stefan had to resort to googlemaps to navigate us there but we finally found it!

That afternoon we wished fair winds to the Stormschnitzels on their 4 or 5 day sail to Madiera. After just short hops down the coast it seemed like a very long way but didn’t seem to faze Jan and Jule. True to form, they had Stormschnitzel’s sails up before they left the inner harbour.

We had a great couple of nights at anchor off Sines, just off the beach which still buzzed with mostly local holiday makers and next to a big orange lichen tinged rock. We climbed up the rock for a view down to the beach. The cactus we found here and the half lived in look of the streets in town gave more than a wild west feel to the place.

We spend some time wandering around the town which was the birthplace of Vasco de Gama.

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We arrived in time for their sardine fesitval but, unlike the others we had encountered, this was a much more sedate affair. There was live music of a much more local flavour than Ritchie Campbell and even that stopped at about 8pm. The grounds of the castle were set up much like a very British summer fete with a few craft and bric-a-brac stalls and rows of tables and chairs for sardine eating. Stefan passed on the sardines – still full from Peniche!

We found lots of pretty tiles in the town

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and a brilliant and very unassuming art gallery (we thought it was a community hall) with a beautiful exhibition of photographs and some wire sculpture that looked down on Pintail in the marina.

Having taken Pintail into the marina to fill up with water and charge her batteries, we were able to get the bikes out for the first time in ages for a cycle down the coast to Porto Covo.

We encountered some very surprising inhabitants at one of the farms along the route

and some more traditional ones – cows and egrets living in happy partnership in the field.

Porto Covo was a small fishing village which had become a bit of a tourist stop, markets selling beach paraphernalia and restaurants, but we found the quieter fishing harbour and perhaps a former fisherman looking out to sea.

We cycled back passed sand dunes and chimneys.

On our last day in Sines we stumbled unexpectedly not only across the market but a swimming festival. We followed the sound of the band down to the beach where we found a whole load of older women dressed in bathing suits running into and jumping around in the sea.

We were not at all sure what it was all about but it certainly seemed like they were celebrating the freedom

and their friendships.

Back at the boat we started to think about our passage to Portimao.  After short coastal hops all the way from Viana suddenly 90 miles and 18 hours seemed like a long sail. We headed out to anchor for our final night and a quick getaway at 2am….

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The view from our anchorage overlooking the orange rock.

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