Albufeira Tuesday 4th September
We upped anchor from Portimao at 0820 and set off in an easterly F2 so motorsailing was the order of the day. At least that gave us plenty of time to admire the spectacular cliffs and stacks again. The entrance was very easy to find and we went into the outer fishing harbour before doing the warps and fenders as it was quite swelly round the corner.
Albufeira Marina is an old quarry, so the entrance is very narrow with high sides. We tied up on the holding pontoon without too much difficulty despite having the wind and tide behind us. At least the pontoon was flat. Later we saw it rolling and bucking when the swell was coming into the entrance and were glad we had not had to contend with that as well. Once inside it is completely sheltered, even from a lot of the wind. Some really hot days we wished it was a little less so!
As you go in you think you have arrived in Toytown. Two sides of the marina are overlooked by flats of an unusual design, almost cubist, painted in pastels - blue, green, pink, yellow, buttermilk, terracotta and ochre. Very strange, but they brighten up an otherwise very dry and barren landscape.
The next day we walked to town, about a mile, but of course up hill. It was very hot but a good view along the coast road. At the top we turned into Rua Sir Cliff Richard to walk down into town.
It was all very hilly, always up or down hill, a lot like the others we have visited, but with many more tourists, again mainly English. The central square was nicely shaded by huge palm trees with cafes all around.
We went to the small supermarket behind the cemetery on the way back. Well stocked but quite expensive. Then back to the boat to pack for our trip “home”.
The marina arranged a shuttle to the airport and back for us which made it really easy. It was great to see everyone and we collected all the spares we had ordered, and did quite a bit of shopping.
We had seen Easydivers on the quay, so arranged diving for Saturday 15th. We did two dives, the first 20m and the second 13m. The water was about 20 degrees at the bottom, so not too bad. Better then UK anyway! The viz was better too, about 15m on the first and then 10m, with lots of particles in the water. We saw lots of invertebrates – anenomes, sponges, sea cucumbers, nudibranchs, starfish, tubeworms, urchins and one tiny octopus the size of my hand.
On the first dive there were many conger eels, not very big, in holes all over the reef and large red spider crabs with seaweed all over, so if they sat still you would think they were part of the reef, lots of small fish and everywhere there were bits of old fishing net gradually becoming part of the reef.
The second dive was a small reef – a fish nursery, so many different fry and small fish. We saw several stonefish and a toadfish which posed nicely and then buried itself in the sandy bottom.
Sunday evening we listened to live jazz at a cafe on the quay sipping Mai-tais. Drums and bass from Brazil and keyboards and sax from UK. It felt like we were on holiday!
Monday we are departing for the lagoons at Faro.