Tavira to Villamoura

The red cliffs of Southern Portugal

With northeasterly winds at force 5, I made a reluctant and somewhat tardy start (12:15) to the day. Laving Tavira on a slack tide, with the intention of overnighting at another anchorage just inside the Faro / Olhao entrance, it was a rapid and pleasant sail in fine weather.

I enjoyed it so much that as I approached the light house and breakwater (after approximately 20NM), I altered course and decided to carry on to Villamoura (another 10NM to the northwest).

The southern coast of Portugal is quite dramatic. Long white sandy beaches east of Faro give way to red and yellow cliffs interspersed with forests to the west. In places I was reminded of the sandstone cliffs off Sydney. This is a spectacular coastline and contrasts greatly with the arid scrubby look of southern Spain.

Villamoura marina

My first marina stop in Portugal also left quite an impression. Arriving on the last day of the Villamoura boat show, the extensive and modern marina was a hive of activity. Pontoons were filled with a plethora of motorized “gin palaces”, (or if you prefer, “plastic fantastics”), and the bars overflowed with patrons.

It struck me as a little odd however, that sailing vessels were clearly underrepresented at this exhibition of extravagance. How can anybody prefer a boat without sails?