The Algarve, the end of phase 1

The 45 mile passage from Lagos to Faro passes without much drama - temperature in the high twenties, low thirties and a lot of sun. Faro is a natural inland sea, through a narrow gap with the flood tide with me - travelling at 10 knots may seem fast, but not as fast as entering Strangford at the right time. I swing a right and anchor in 4m of  heavy solid gloopy mud off the island of Culatra, there are over a hundred boats at anchor, the holding is superb, I sleep well.

The weather is superb for the next couple of days - I struggle to get jobs done as it is really hot - I run the fans below decks and drink 3L of cool water every day. On the third day Simon arrives on Sylvana and we have a beer ashore and then a bb'q onboard Sylvana - thanks Simon! I row the inflatable back to Shadowmere after dark thankful that I have good night vision - I had forgotten to set the anchor light before going ashore (in daylight) Darkness falls quickly here, as it will in the Carribean.

Not much win…

Lisbon to the Algarve

After 4 days at anchor in CasCais - with winds hitting F8 at times I decide to move to Lisbon  - handier for Pearse to get to the boat. I also want to update my flares as I have been told that the Police Maritime can inspect foreign flagged yachts and hand out fines if you do not have in date flares - I had put off renewing mine because the longer you leave it the longer they last and it is a real pain spending money on flares and not needing them before they go out of date (well, I suppose it is actually better than the alternative, but even so it is a lot of money...)
I had thought of renewing several times on the journey so far, to discover in Spain that you order from chandleries and it can take 1-3 days for them to arrive, I usually think of it on a Friday or Thursday, hence the delays.
I arrive in Lisbon on a Monday, a simple 2 hour trip up the river. I go to the chandlery by bike and am told, they can't sell flares in Portugal, I have to go to a specialist place that servi…

Porto to Lisbon

You try and take photographs of Porpoises and Dolphins by the score and often just get a splash of water. Here is my best yet. A short beaked common Dolphin. Clear enough to be identified using the Collins nature guide "Whales & Dolphins" that Peter Kirby-Smith bought for Shadowmere on her return from Norway to the Belfast - we were spotting Minkie whales on that trip.  The shot above was taken a few miles South of Varzim. I am visited a dozen times on that trip. Maybe they know I an on my own.

 Just a few shots of Varzim - a wonderfully cheap marina  (only 23 Euro a night or245 Euro a month!)  with a nice core of longterm liveaboards - barbecues on Friday night, book swop area - sort of clubhouse feel to it. The town is very much a holiday town, well, it has a holiday beach, the rest of the town is unassuming, shore front it full of restaurants and cafes, back one street and it is an ageless old Portuguese town.
 This little huts go on and on

 On the right are stalls p…