Faro and Albufeira
Thursday 18th September
On a mooring buoy at Faro
Motored all the way from Vila Real with next to no wind – less than 3 knots from the NW. We had a lovely interlude when we were visited by a huge school of Dolphins – the most we have ever seen at one time! We saw them ahead of us and it seemed that they would just pass across but they all turned and before we could blink they were surrounding the boat small babies jumping right out of the water and up to 10 or twelve adults all vying to get on the bow wave at one time. There must have been more than 50 of the creatures!!
We arrived at Faro entrance a couple of hours after low water and made our way cautiously up the channel towards Faro, following the copies we had made from our friend Graham’s Portuguese chart. Fortunately when we arrived at buoy 21 we were able to see some empty mooring buoys and we were soon all fast and secure. Another English boat was most helpful in informing us that the owners of the mooring had just been lifted out for the winter so we would be o.k. to stay. A bit later our friends who have their own mooring here arrived in their dinghy and we got the low-down on where to land the dinghy and where the shops etc. were. We ate on board and had a good quiet night apart from the odd aeroplane (the moorings are almost on the flight path for faro airport!).
Friday morning we went ashore and landed inside the small marina on the town quay steps it is rather bizarre that one has to go under the low railway bridge to access this marina hence only small motor boats can use it and at high tide you have to duck really flat to get through!! The steps were very muddy and slippy so next time we go ashore we must time it for a higher stage of tide or take an old towel to step onto ( as we saw some Germans doing). We had a good look round the old town which was most interesting especially the Se (cathedral) and the bell tower which we walked up( 65 steps!) to see the magnificent views out across the Ria de Formosa. ( see photograph.)The pedestrianized shopping area was full of different shops and of course plenty of cafes and restaurants too. We popped into an internet cafe and quickly read the latest emails as well as sending one to Albufeira Marina requesting a berth for when we go there to collect Robbie. Later we were picked up by Graham and Dany and we went ashore for dinner to a very good Chinese restaurant they have used before. We ended up back on our boat for coffee and Port before retiring well after midnight.
On Saturday we decided to take the bus to Olhao (the next town to the east) as we had read that the market there was very good. We caught the bus at 0900 and soon arrived in Olhao. We managed to find our way to the quay where the two large modern market halls are situated and had a good wander around before making our purchases. Apart from the covered area there were numerous stalls outside along the waterfront selling fresh fruit and vegetables. We were also able to check out the potential anchorage just off the market site – this had about 6 boats at anchor- but it did appear to be very restricted in swinging room and the landing ashore seemed rather difficult too. ‘Food for thought’.
We returned to the boat had a late lunch and a siesta before going ashore with Graham and Dany – this time to the famous ’Bruce’s yard’ where loads of Brits and Dutch have their boats lifted out for the winter. It certainly seems a good place for storage and work to be done and of course is almost next door to Faro airport too. We then walked to the large shopping mall ( about 10 minutes further west) and managed to get a good variety of supplies in the Jumbo hypermarket (part of the Auchan chain). We also visited the AKI DIY store and at last managed to get some suitable solar lights to use on board when we are at anchor. The free WIFI zone near McDonald’s provided us with a chance to get some more emails sent off and to check the weather for the next few days as ‘horror of horrors’ we had heard it was going to rain! A fast pace back to the dinghy was required as some very large ominous black clouds were speeding our way. The heavens opened as we got into the dinghy and we were pretty wet by the time we had motored the 15 minutes back to the boat. Fortunately we had a black sac for the computer bag.
Sunday morning saw blue skies restored and no wind again for our journey to Albufeira. We got the boat ready and left the mooring just after 0900, having said our farewells to the Franklands on Nutcracker. The journey to Albufeira was unremarkable apart from the numerous pots and the huge high-rise buildings on the shore – we presumed that these were Vilamoura! We duly arrived around 1330 and were allocated a berth next to Carrig Hannah and low and behold the wind got up just as we were berthing! Wendy and Bob arrived soon after and were kind enough to give us maps etc and some information about the town. We had an early (for me) and belated (for Wendy) birthday drink courtesy of a the latter who had generously brought a chilled bottle or bubbly to consume!
Monday 22nd September
It rained heavily in the night and so Monday morning was spent drying out things that had got wet where we had left one of the small fan lights open by mistake! We had to empty the microwave which had filled up and the fridge as water had run across the work top and down the side into the fridge! Most of the morning was taken up with this in between ducking under cover when another heavy shower arrived! It certainly was the most rain we have seen since our arrival in the Algarve. The rain set in for a couple of hours so while Rob had his customary siesta I made a cake and a large Lasagne ready for the arrival of Robbie and his friend Sean. Later in the afternoon the rain passed and I was able to go for an explore into the town.
The boys duly arrived on time and we had a good meal with lots of chat to catch up on all the news from home.
Jacky and Rob