Archive for Faro

The Waiting Game

Posted in Fun, Photographs, Wildlife with tags , , , , on July 31, 2010 by maidofmettle

I like the moon…night-time view at anchor

We are having fun in and around Faro and Culatra at the moment because there is some funny weather going on out at sea.
Not wishing to repeat some of our previous sailing ‘adventures’ we are holding out for those promised perfect conditions to cross to Madeira and Porto Santo (a little island just before Madeira)

I am writing this from an anchorage near the island of Culatra where we arrived the day before yesterday. Highlights so far include some really big dogs, one of whom looked a bit familiar 😉

What’s he doing here? A distant cousin perhaps?

Large dogs asside, Culatra is an interesting place not only because it is mostly a fishing village but also because it has no roads to speak of. In addition, both free water supplies and ATM money appeared to have run dry yesterday. Luckily we have a good bit of tank water left.

Fishermen at work

Culatra – roadless, waterless, ATMless town (at the moment at least)

Unfortunately the lack of ATM did land us in the embarrassing situation of going into a restaurant and not having enough money between us to pay for a meal from their menu! By the time I got back to the restaurant to tell the other two that the cashpoint was out of order they had already had the drinks and bits of bread and olives (that they seem to sneakily charge you for even if you didn’t ask for them) delivered to the table, leaving us a little short to actually order any kind of main meal. It turned out we had walked into quite a pricey restaurant. So it was left to Pete to try and explain that because the cash point was broken we could only afford to pay for drinks and the other bits and pieces they had brought out already. Embarrassing…I’m just glad we didn’t have to resort to offering to do the washing up.

The restaurant was actually very nice about it and offered to cook us some fish and salad for a small price, even bringing another drink out on the house! This was the second time we had eaten fish unexpectedly as only a few days before in Faro we had been enjoying a beach bbq when a Portugese family with a slightly insane German Shepherd puppy cooked us some on their bbq. It was probably the first time I ate fish that wasn’t tuna, cod or battered/breadcrummed and actually really liked it.

Unexpected bbq fish at Faro

Our efforts with tinned ‘lunch’. It makes good burgers

Our anchorage at Faro was quite a row away from the main town but looking round it was well worth it. The old town was especially impressive and downtown Faro was really good for photos.

Downtown Faro

Fountain near the edge of the old town in Faro

The area around Faro and Culatra is very good for kayaking. When the tide is low grassy banks appear with small pools to hide wildlife. These are good because out of the main channels the current is much weaker generally, though it is easy to see how you could get lost as the landscape changes with the tide.

View of Faro from kayak – grass previously covered by water

Rewards. Nice beach and food
(even if you did forget the tin opener and have to use a rock to open the tin!

Kayaking the faro channels

In the spirit of finding unusual animals on board we found another one the other day. Only trouble is we don’t know what it was. Charlie has since been re-homed on Culatra after a bit of a motor with us from Faro.

Big bug

On to Faro!

Posted in Fun, Photographs, Sailing, Wildlife with tags , , on July 23, 2010 by maidofmettle

So we actually left the river!  Some people there said it couldn’t be done.  A Dutch couple Pete met arrived intending only stay a while and they are still there 4 years later…

Anyway, we left the river and have done a couple of day sails.  The first took us to Tavira which is along the Portugese coast.  The sail was nice and flat and the coastline looked wonderful with its golden sandy beaches stretching for miles.

looking back

parasol- thanks to the Australians on "Gone Troppo"

We had an hour or so to practise man-overboard drills with a fender and a bucket.  Once again, I was surprised how difficult things can be in boats.  I’m sure with more practise we will get better at turning round and then sailing close to something as we all took a few attempts to get close enough to our target.  Still, it highlighted some important things about how we would deal with a man-overboard situation and showed us just how important it is not to fall in.  We are generally quite good at clipping on and intend to stay so.

Chris keeping an eye on our 'man overboard'

After a very quiet time in the river we have become unacustomed to busyness so it was a bit of a culture shock to find lots of motor boats and ferries full of people speeding about making big waves and getting angry with us for anchoring in their way despite what we thought were careful calculations to make sure we didn’t.

We tried some snorkelling there but there were no fish, it was murky and it was a bit too cold to try for long…

crazy little motor boats

We only stayed one night near Tavira before moving up the narrow channel at low water to Santa Luzia a couple of miles away.  It was much quieter there and the ferrymen didn’t seem bothered by us either so that was good.

Santa Luzia and some chairs

We lost a couple of things that day.  On the way up, my towel flew away from where it was hanging to dry.  It landed behind us whilst motoring up the channel.  After a swift turn-around we just saw it sinking before it disappeared completely.  Then, after anchoring, at some point whilst getting the portabote out to go ashore we realised we’d lost a bike lock wire and 2 padlocks overboard – well we assume that’s where they went.  We haven’t found them yet.  Pete and I tried to have a look underwater at low tide in about the area where we suspected but with no luck.  It was still a fairly long way down to the bottom.  We had to pull ourselves down a rope to get to the bottom which was quite muddy so you could barely see beyond about 30 cm.  Also by this time there wasn’t much time to look about because you were aware of the swim back up for air taking a while.

diving for locks

An added bonus to the quietness of Santa Luzia was that there was much more wildlife.  Pete was the first to spot flamingos


and there were loads of crabs on the beaches at low tide, though we needed to photograph them through binoculars.

waving crab

From our anchorage we were able to easily get to a beach for a bbq with a little bit of rowing and a short walk to a lovely sandy beach.

driftwood bbq

The next day sail took us to Faro.  This one was fairly smooth most of the time but involved sailing into the wind most of the time.  Still, our tacking has probably improved as a result but meant that we had to cover twice as many miles as we might have with the wind in a better direction.

Our zig zagging route to Faro

A combination of sailing into the wind and our time away from the sea meant that Chris and I weren’t too keen on the bumpy couple of hours experience at the end of that sail.  We managed a bit of time in the cabin with our trusty Biodramina but I think we noticed the effects of the sea a little more than we had before.  We’ll hopefully get a bit more used to it again though.

After one night spent a little way away from the main town of  Faro sleeping off the effects of Biodramina and our day of sailing, we have motored nearer now though there are a lot of boats and some interesting underwater sand spits to worry about on the way up.  We will just have to see whether this anchorage looks ok to stay in.  Despite it looking like a big expanse of water, there are lots of shallow patches so lots of boats in a small space.

That's us that is...the little red blob