To Sao Martinho do Porto – 26 to 30 August, 39, 15, 36, 68, 6 miles

Although there are some nice places on the Portuguese west coast, the sailing is a bit of an endurance test in my opinion – even more so coming north than heading south. So, we really wanted to reach the Algarve as quickly as possible. In theory, there is a trade wind in summer that blows from the north every day, and it certainly does if you’re heading north.

However, from A Guarda we had a nice beat in a southerly to just past Viana de Costelo, when the wind dropped. So we motored the 17 miles remaining to Povoa de Varzim on the grounds that the petrol would cost less than a night in Viana. From Povoa, we thought of making Aveiro, because we had a really nice wind, but the fog came up really thick, so we felt our way into Leixoes, whereupon the fog lifted.

Next day we had a brilliant sail to Aveiro, and anchored in Sao Jacinte bay. Then the wind took us nicely to just short of Figueira de Foz, notorious for its prices. However, it recovered until 2030, 17 miles short of Nazaré, when we had to motor to arrive at midnight and raft up in the crowded harbour.

Nazare1 (40K) Nazare2 (29K)
Nazare3 (29K) Nazare4 (29K)
Nazaré is a gorgeous town with a funny (peculiar) harbour. It seems to be the only place in Portugal where they still want you to fill in lots of papers. We were hassled as we tied up, but politely suggested to the security guard that next morning would do fine. We were then woken by the harbourmaster at 0730 worrying about the papers and the tightness of our warps on this windless, waveless morning.

SaoMartinho1 (26K) DinasaurFootprint (24K)
Sao Martinho Dinasaur footprint, maybe
Next morning there was hardly any wind again, so we drifted the 6 miles or so to Sao Martinho do Porto, a lagoon whose entrance is no more than a cleft in the cliff. Despite some high-rise development, the lagoon and small town by it are rather lovely, and we decided to stay for an extra day and walk along the cliffs to see the alleged dinasaur footprints.