Monday, September 25, 2006

Industrial Sines

After eight great but very expensive days in Cascais (36 euros a night, by far the most we have paid anywhere) we finally plucked up courage yesterday to head out into the Atlantic again. The forecast was for the swell to reduce and for a decent sailing wind. Both were accurate but initially I found I'd lost my sea legs, and felt quite sick and very miserable for the first few hours. Then things improved, and we had a really good sail - hours and hours of a steady westerly 10-12 knot breeze, just on the beam. So it was worth the effort. But coming into Sines yesterday evening was really quite unpleasant - the swell always gets bigger as you reach the shore, and we were looking for a crucial red buoy which didn't seem to be there.

Sines is an industrial town and huge port, with smoking chimneys and flare stacks visible from 20 miles away. The Rough Guide barely gives it a mention, but from a sailing point of view it's very well placed, as the only easy-access port between Lisbon and the Algarve. The pilot book points out accurately that once you're in the marina you can't see the chimneys, or indeed the docks, and apart from the sound of the surf on the nearby beach it's very peaceful. Our plan was to head on around Cabo Sao Vicente today, but it's over 70 miles which is a very long day, and when we got in last night after a mere 57 miles we felt we needed a day's rest before pressing on. It's costing us 29 euros for two nights, and the showers, which are brand new, are possibly the best we've had. Also, it has free, fast, wi-fi internet access. Hence the blog update.

Our last few days in Cascais were excellent. We had another trip into Lisbon, this time to Belem to see the church of the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos, the huge maritime museum, and the amazing Torre de Belem. We also ate the famous pasteis de Belem (delicious little custard tarts).

Sadly I can't publish the pictures yet... our little camera was left in a carrier bag on the chart table in an unexpected downpour of rain one evening, and sadly it no longer works. The memory card is fine but I don't have a card reader on this laptop, so to get the pictures Ben will have to put them on his PC, transfer them to a memory stick and then I can upload them. Watch this space. Our big SLR is fine, but the little camera, a Canon Ixus 30, has proved hugely convenient for taking wherever we go and taking decent shots. It might still dry out [crossed fingers...]

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