Fresh sardines in Nazare

Phil & Nikki Hoskins
Thu 9 Oct 2008 18:56
39:35.01N 9:04.49W
Having left Figuera da Foz after waiting for a blow to pass through which had huge quantities of rain with it - the first rain we have experienced since leaving the UK so no real complaints, except we had spent the best part of the previous day washing the boat down. At least it received a good rinse off.
The trip down to Nazare was another motor all the way accompanied by a large swell. We saw plenty of dolphins although only a few stopped to play in the bow waves - they seemed too busy feeding, and occasionally we would see the surface of the water alive with fish being rounded up by the dolphins. Our fishing lure would sail through the whole lot and remain undesireable to whatever happened to be down there at the same time.
After the modern(ish) marina at Figuera, Nazare is a very different kettle of fish which is apt as it is a thriving sardine fishing port which accomadates a small marina. The port is rarely quiet as fishing boats go out in the evening with engines roaring, fishermen shouting as the mother boat morors at full steam out of harbour towing it's small work boat behind. On their return each boat (accompanied by flocks of screaming seagulls) heads strait for the quay where the sardines are immediately auctioned off.
It's easy to pre-judge fishing ports as rather undesireable for yachts to be in but in Nazare it seems to work, and it does give yachties a close glimpse of how these people work and earn their living as for the most part we more often curse them when at sea on a pitch black night when they change course every few minutes making night watches very frustrating.
Once away from the port area Nazare shows it's other face, that of a busy seaside resort having not only a small part of the town next to the beach but the older Nazare nestling high above on the clifftops overlooking the bay. Connecting the two is a funicular cable operated railway. For 90 cents you can take the trip to the top and enjoy the spectacular views over the bay and fishing harbour. We visited the beautiful church and walked though small back streets. As a treat, having walked back down to sea level again we sought out a local restaurant where we enjoyed our first fresh sardines of the trip, 5 each, with boiled potatoes and salad, sitting outside in the hot (yes hot) sunshinel. They were delicious!!!! Tomorrow its back to sea again with a 65 mile leg down to Cascais close to Lisbon.