Portimao - grilled sardines

Moxie - Beck Family Adventure
Mike, Denise, Asia and Aranya Beck
Fri 24 Sep 2010 21:29
 Portimao  14 - 24 Sept 2010 37.06.91N 008.31.38W
We came a couple of miles further south to Portimao to a large and very sheltered anchorage.  We would and should have come here instead of Lagos as it would have saved us a fortune but as it was Lagos had been a second choice and actually we had intended to anchor there.  When we arrived at Lagos at 9:30pm however there was not a single yacht at anchor and the anchorage area shown on the chart was quite choppy which is why we opted for the marina at the last minute.  Had we have known that Portimao was so close and such a good anchorage though we'd have carried right on through to here.  I'm pleased we did stop at Lagos though after all it is where I discovered 24cent beer. 
There are around 20 other cruising boats here including a New Zealand boat 'Duetto'.  We found our spot between him and the beach - although we ended up a bit closer than I would have liked we were a safe distance away.  Judging where to put the anchor is always a tough decision and when in the thick of it with boats all around there never seems to be quite enough room but everyone manages.    We have taken to using an anchor float to mark where the anchor is in relation to ourselves, the intention is that no one else will lay their anchor across ours and it doubles as a trip line if we ever snag on something.  Without a float you always 'know' that the anchor is 20 or so metres straight ahead of the bow - as are all the others' anchors too.  In calm conditions like we are having it happens that Moxie is held simply by the chain so we are often sitting right alongside and sometimes even in front of the anchor.   It's all a bit confusing - not knowing seemed better.  The other night a German boat anchored close alongside us which we were not too comfortable with but said nothing.  Later at about 11pm we heard voices outside and saw their boat laying at 90 degrees to us and perhaps 15 feet away, when I suggested that perhaps they would like to move I was greeted with 'Sprechen Sie Deutsch?'  They retrieved a little chain which straightened them up again and we retired.  12 hours later when it happened again Denise was far more effective in delivering the message and they up and moved away.
This is the view that greats us in the mornings, 23 degrees at 8:00, fresh coffee sitting in the sun in the cockpit - bliss.
 We'd not had a fun family day for ages so opted to take the kids to Slide and Splash - a huge water park nearby.  School is back in so Double As were the only kids in the whole place, it was wonderfully deserted and we did not have to queue for anything all day.  Having lived in Britain for over a decade the lack of an orderly queue is a bit unsettling - not.  We had a fantastic time, Denise had been very apprehensive about coming here but she loved it.
 Splash and Slide, this one works backwards.
 Splash and Slide - the fast one.
A tourist boat arriving back with sightseers, looks a bit like the Pinta - I doubt Columbus had dinghy davits let alone the huge diesel engine.
Opposite Portimao is the little fishing village of Ferragudo.  We had lunch of grilled sardines on the fishermans wharf.  The girls were not fond of all the bones so I ended up eating a huge pile of them the effects of which were audible for some hours afterwards.
Lunch being prepared on the fishermans' wharf at Ferragudo where fish are landed cooked and eaten. 
 On the fishermans warf at Ferragudo
At least one cruise liner visits Portimao each day.
Although the anchorage here is extremely sheltered we do suffer from wash from the fishing boats.  The fishermen charge in at all times of the day or night at such a speed that they leave behind them a breaking wave of wake 2 feet high.  This mini tidal wave then speeds into the anchorage and gives everyone a good shake up.  It's a bit like an earthquake especially when it gets you at night.  One minute all is dead calm and quiet then all of a sudden - whack the boat violently lurches around for 10 or 15 seconds and then it is all back to calm again.   During the day there is sometimes the warning of screaching gulls to announce an arrival.
 The screaming gulls forewarn of the wash that will shortly follow.
I love this photo that Denise took of this colourful fishing boat returning laden with her catch. 
We visited the Museu de Portimao, it is an old sardine canning factory.  It was really interesting to watch the film showing the process from sea to tin.  The film footage had been taken many years before at working canning factories in Portimao and although all the narration was in Portuguese we learnt a lot.  The museum itself consists of the old production line and all manner of machinery used in the process.  The cannery was a one stop shop, here they printed and manufactured the cans on one side and processed the fish on the other.  What a miserable job it must have been to work here, a couple of hundred men and women in the assembly line all handling wet fish all day long.  There was even a creche at the factory so whilst the mothers gutted, beheaded, trimmed, sorted, stacked (or whatever their specific wet smelly and monotonous job was) their babies were 'looked after' for them.  Looked after seems a bit loose as a creche in those days looked more like a 1920s orphanage - all the kids lined up in cots crying with nothing to play with - I guess going to the factory was as awful for them as for their parents.  I hadn't realised how labour intensive these jobs used to be, millions of sardines all hand gutted cleaned etc and finally packed individually by hand into tins.  All the workers wore a white uniform and the women white headscarves, when the knock off whistle went there was a mad dash by all to get out of the place, I'm not surprised.  On top of the tall chimney tower there was a massive nest of twigs and a stalk in residence - unfortunately we did not have the camera.