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Date: 06 Aug 2014 20:53:00
Title: Lagos, Algarve, Portugal

37:05:86N 008:39:68W

More Penny blog.

Motoring gently away from Sines, on a steely grey sea, with the sky just pinking for sunrise, at 6.00 am on Thursday was quite lovely. The main concern here was for lobster pots, which are randomly laid anywhere in the ocean, and marked by little inconspicuous flags, or, sometimes just lumps of polystyrene or plastic bottles! Clearly, we didn't want to get tangled up in them, so Peter and I kept lobster pot watch whilst Galley Girl Sheryl made cups of tea! Being below decks on a flat sea is not too bad, when it's rocky, being down there is the knell of doom and best avoided if humanly possible. 

The sunrise was spectacular, we hoisted the genoa ( smaller sail at the front if the boat affectionately known as Genny) and motor sailed for many hours. Steve even had a sleep! 

We were keeping a watch out for dolphins, ever hopeful, and literally just said "it's a shame we haven't seen any dolphins" when, right on cue, I saw one...then another! Three of them were right beside the boat, having a lovely time swimming under us and leaping in our bow wave. Then there were more and more of them! We lost count, must have been at least 20, it was ridiculously exciting. Sheryl and I were talking to them, and we know they understood! They were smiling and we could hear them chatting and tweeting to each other. We could almost touch them, and they stayed with us for about 15 minutes! Scar Nose was definitely the leader and liked us best! It was the most entrancing few moments and definitely the highlight of the holiday. (They were also a great source relief and joy for Steve, who had been feeling a bit sad that our yachting experience thus far had not quite been the best it could be.)

With the inevitable afternoon winds gusting to 40 knots, the entry to Lagos was quite bumpy and spray laden, but not terrifying like Monday had been, and, thankfully, Sheryl was fine. 

A huge marina, we moored up in Lagos in the Algarve, at around 7.00 pm, tired, hungry, ready for supper... But.....no power to the boat..!.if Sheryl and Peter had decided to jump ship at this point and enjoy the  luxury of the huge, inviting marina hotel, we would have quite understood, ( and I would happily have joined them....) but no, they wanted to stick it out! Their resilience and cheeriness persisted, and, thankfully the  power was sorted! We found a fabulous Italian restaurant in the marina, and whilst  not appearing to be quite the most glamorous customers, being decidedly windswept, in this more image-aware, swanky  Brits abroad location, we were well looked after and provided with warming blankets by the delightful waiter.

It was a long walk from our berth, 5 -10 minutes, to the shower and bathroom facilities, and unfortunately, the new toilet would not be delivered to the marina for installation before we left on Sunday. Our close relationship with the bucket would have to be sustained, along with moonlit forays to the wash rooms! In an attempt to avoid either unattractive scenario, I just didn't drink water, ( wine was fine, it doesn't work in the same way!)  but ended up with head aches! Never will I take simply getting out of bed and popping to the loo  in the night for granted again!

Lagos is hot! A bridge crosses from the marina to the palm lined streets of the town, across the estuary. Dozens of sight seeing punters try and entice you to visit the grottos ( caves) on their jam packed  grockle laden 'days of adventure' cruises. We smiled nicely and said no thank you, we have our own boat and have had enough days of adventure really. 

However, we did take the taxi down to a "sleepy little fishing village' called Alvores, on Saturday. The place came highly recommended to Sheryl, by some friends who often stay there for holidays; most particularly they enjoy the food served by Juan, from his little restaurant, which doesn't look like a restaurant, down one of the little side roads.....

George, a yacht neighbour in Sines, had said there was a good anchorage at Alvores. After a beer, and quick survey of the tat in the tat shops, at Alvores, which seemed quite remarkably large, we walked.....hotly.....a long way....towards what we thought might be the fishing harbour and anchorage......it was, in fact, a very big, steaming hot, very crowded, sandy beach. Not all  of our number do sandy beaches, and there was no free shade, so we dipped our roasting toes in the Atlantic, and hauled our towels and bottles of water back to the streets, actually then spotting the harbour and anchorage.

 We tried to find Juan's restaurant, we really did try, but 36° is hot to walk in and hunt for a small restaurant, which doesn't even look like a restaurant and has no known name, down a side road, of which there were  many, with no name, and we thought we might even have found it....but maybe not...so we collapsed in a functional, plastic tablecloth cafe for quick chips and a beer.....45 minutes later, food and drink arrived! Hey ho, no rush, we are on holiday.

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