Saturday, 23 June 2012
Any bit of land would have looked good after a month at sea (well, eight days since we last saw land) but we were especially fortunate to end up here on the beautiful Algarve coast. Lovely beaches, spectacular sandstone cliffs and caves, and, considering it's a major tourist destination, very reasonable living costs (by Australian standards. Actually everywhere is pretty reasonable compared to Australia - even Bermuda and the Azores which are miles from anywhere). I hadn't heard much about Portuguese food, but it's great - fresh cheap seafood, beautiful fruit (cherries, figs, apricots and peaches at the moment), the best tomatoes ever, olives, really good cheeses and bread - and the wine is excellent. Even the cheapo stuff (less than 2 euros a bottle!) is quite drinkable. I've just come back from the Saturday market where I spent less than 10 euros and came back with a huge basket of fresh produce.
For our first few days here, we enjoyed the company of Padraig's family - his lovely wife Clare and his parents Bridgeen and Mickey. It's easy to see where Pad's adventurous spirit and positive attitude to life come from. Mickey is a great storyteller and a veteran triathlete, and I'm sure Bridgeen must be one of those Selkies I've read about in Celtic fairytales. Only a seal-person could swim a couple of kilometres in the ocean every day! It was really sad to say goodbye to the Mallon family but I hope we will meet up again soon, when we get to Ireland (or any time before that - wherever Common Sense happens to be).
We also enjoyed the company of Diane from Outer Limits, the ARC yacht that was lost after a collision with a whale just out of Bermuda. It was very sobering to hear her story, but great that the four crew were rescued without injury. The final ARC parties were fun and a good opportunity to share experiences with all the others who had crossed the Atlantic with us - we didn't actually see any of them at sea, but we know they were all out there! We welcomed in Wild Goose and First Edition III, after the festivities were over. First Edition is a similar boat to ours, and it was great to see Dave arrive safely after undergoing some repairs in Horta.
We're going to be here in Marina de Lagos for a month, travelling by bus or train to some of the surrounding areas. Do get in touch if you're going to be anywhere close by - friends are aways welcome aboard!