Ilha da Culatra

Zipadedoda of Dart
David H Kerr
Tue 18 Jul 2006 19:28

Ilha da Culatra


As mentioned in the previous missive, we decided to stay on in this magical anchorage in the Canal de Olhao, for an extra night. Well,  we were able to sit out in the cockpit just wearing shorts at 10 o’clock at night, and enjoying the warmth………..(see picture)


This gave us the opportunity to go ashore and explore the island.  What a treat this was. Something quite unique and special. The island has one village, no roads, just a concrete pavement about 1.2 metres wide. The only forms of transport we saw were ancient tractors and a Portuguese version of a Thai “Tok Tok”. These were used as a “meals on wheels” service for the elderly. Of which there seemed to be many. There were also a lot of childre3n as well, which given Portugal has the lowest birth rathe in Europe was good to see.


The only businesses on the island are fishing, and tourism. That said it was very undeveloped, and frankly the village and the main fore shore was pretty scruffy. However, a stroll out of the village, toward the ocean beaches, proved to be very rewarding. It is mostly sand dunes with meandering inlets, and various scrub plants. There are no established trees. I guess that is a bit of a clue as to what the weather is like in winter………. The authorities have built a “board walk” to make it easy to walk to the ocean beach about, 2 km away. Rather stupidly, I did not bring the camera along, as there were many fascinating sights. Top of these were wild orchids, the size of daffodils! They grew straight out of the sand, and were a beautiful creamy white colour with pale yellow markings on the throat of the flower. The other choice sight once we returned to the sheltered coves and lagoons on the north side of the island were Storks. Never seen them before, and I was surprised how large they were and also how quickly they could move when chasing seagull off their “patch”.


The other amazing thing was the number of bars and restaurants on the island, most of which seemed to be empty. There was also a well stocked mini market. The bar nearest to the pier even have Vinho Verde on draught!! Very refreshing it was too, after walking several kilometres on temperatures in the 40’s.


This morning we were awoken by thunder rain, that brought with it a heavy dousing of Saharan sand. The boat looked like it had been painted Ochre in the night……..never seen it looking so dirty. Then the wind got up to around 30 knots, so we had an exciting time getting out of the anchorage……………..bit of crew talk back and mutiny was definitely in the air………


Once through the surf and back out to sea, went to put up the Main sail. I messed it up big time. Quite a bit of damage to the luff tape. Sailed for a while on the Genoa, but the wind was all over the place. At one point it went from 15 knots from the East to 30 knots from the  West in less than 5 minutes. Very challenging. So we motored for most of the day. Seriously topping up our sun tans.


All parked up in Lagos once again. Managed to get a sail maker to come down to survey the damaged Main sail and it is being taken away tomorrow for repair. Then spent a good hour cleaning the boat whilst Jennie cooked inside, (that is she was really hot in the closed up boat), sorting out the food stocks etc.


Off to our favourite restaurant in Lagos tonight. Then a busy day re-provisioning and getting ready for what ever we get up to next………………………….

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