Oops ! no video
We cast off the lines early at Peniche and set off down the coast. It was a good feeling to be on the move again, and leaving the busy little marina was a relief. We would not miss the wake of the fishing boats every morning and afternoon. I would still recommend a stop there for the proximity to the great little restaurants and the trip out to Obidos was well worth it.
Our Journey- part one to The River Tejo
The features of the journey.
Just before we left, there was a stream of fishing boats racing out early to fish for sardines. The waters at the marina were very turbulent with the ensuing wake. We waited for it to settle before we left.
Although we had the genoa out a few times, the wind was barely a breeze and what little it was, was inconsistent, so we didn’t bother with it. However, we were joined by some dolphins in the late morning, and as always they lift our spirits and make us smile.
Where to stop ?
My job was to decide where could we stop and still be safe from the forecast southern winds? The anchoring options at Cascais were reported to be very dubious. Three reviews on Navily complained that fishing debris on the sandy seabed could snare the anchor. We didnt want to risk another stuck anchor. Another review advised to not go behind the breakwater because of disco noise? Ultimately the decision was based on the protection from the wind direction. At Cascais Bay protection was limited to Nothern winds ( NW, N, and NE) only.
My back up plan had been the marina at Oeiras. We rang to secure a berth. It was a small marina at the confluence of the channels comprising the Tejo River, The North Channel and the South Channel. Hence the currents were very swift. Tidal streams reached 5 knots while the ebb sets away from where we wanted to go, ( towards Forte Bugio). Cross-currents occur at the entrance to the marina. We arrived at 3.30 pm in the afternoon, so had plenty of light.
A tricky entry!
As soon as Jill entered the marina, she had to turn to the right in a short distance, to then turn the boat back towards the fuel dock/office. Oh, and did I mention the current? It was really strong. After formalities, the only way to reach our allocated space was to do a 360 degree “turning on a sixpence” maneuver. At least that is something that the catamaran is good at !!! Jill co-ordinated the two engines beautifully. We tied up again without assistance nor mishap.
Jill’s take on this: I was heading into a raging current, I felt like the walls were closing in, I really didn’t think this was a good idea but we were past the point of no return. I reminded myself of the inspirational words of our instructor, the indomitable Veronique, ‘always take it slowly’. Wish we’d bought a smaller boat!
The Oeiras Marina
This marina is set close to many amenities. We didn’t try the swimming pool although we were entertained by its loud music and the antics off the high diving board. Each morning fresh sourdough rolls were delivered to our transom. It was a short stroll up to the main cafe area where there were many bars, coffee shops, cafes, and restaurants. There was even an RYA sailing school with chandlery items that had some things we wanted. It was significantly more expensive than the Peniche Marina (€27 vs €44), but it was so nice to enjoy a little cafe culture so close to the boat.
Trip to Sintra
“Sintra is a resort town in the foothills of Portugal’s Sintra Mountains, near the capital, Lisbon. A longtime royal sanctuary, its forested terrain is studded with pastel-colored villas and palaces. The Moorish- and Manueline-style Sintra National Palace is distinguished by dramatic twin chimneys and elaborate tilework. The hilltop 19th-century Pena National Palace is known for a whimsical design and sweeping views”.
The price for guided tours was exorbitant and required us to go into Lisbon proper to start the tour. We thought we’d save time and money to go by public transport. It took a few changes of buses, then trains and buses again to reach the historic part of Sintra. At one point, a swiss couple took our lead and tried to follow us. We didn’t exactly know what we were doing and after a short while, finally gave up the exploration and took time out for lunch, before resuming the winding minibus route around the mountain.
We followed a tourist map with recommended stops. However as we drew up to each chosen place, the queues were so long that we decided to try for the next stop. And so it went on. At each stop, the queues just seemed to remain too long. A beautiful summer weekend attracted the crowds as well as us. This can have its downfalls. We stayed on the bus instead and satisfied ourselves enjoying the scenery and taking pictures.
Our Journey Part 2 – Oeiras to Sines
After three nights, we left for Sines. It was another early start- 6.15 am. The current was so fast at the river mouth that it was too turbulent to even remove the fenders. The boat was lurching so much the captain thought it too dangerous to be on the deck, even with life vests on. The 7 knots was worse than usual because of the turbulence.
Our first part of the journey was to Cape Espichel, after which we headed across the Bay of Setubal, bypassing Sesimbra and Setubul. We wanted to get to Sines as we were looking forward to meeting up with old friends who were going to join us there. We didn’t want to journey up the Rio Sabo in case we got stuck with the changeable weather.
Out through the river entrance, the cliff faces were spectacular. Beautiful striated Jurassic rocks formed sheer walls that cascaded to the sea. The current persisted and now, fortunately, it was flowing in the direction of travel, so the sea state settled somewhat. Again we were accompanied by dolphins in the early morning.
There’s been a lighthouse here to warn ships of the treacherous waters around Cape Espichel since 1430. Originally built in 1730, the fully automated structure rises 32 metres above the tall cliffs of the cape. It is visible for almost 40 kilometres out to sea and emits a loud siren when conditions are foggy.
The oldest part of the lighthouse is the white, hexagonal tower, the buildings surrounding it are much later additions.
Further around the cape are the Grottos, formed by the erosion of the sea. There are many boat tours offered for tourists from Lisbon, but finding out the history of this area is not so easy. We satisfied ourselves with admiring the rock formations and I imagined them as smugglers caves in years gone by. Jill just kept on driving towards Sines.
New type of dolphin
Early afternoon, we were accompanied by an all grey almost lethargic type of dolphin. Rather than jumping out of the water forming nice arches, they seemed to belly flop the end of their dive, turning their heads back towards their tail before flopping on top of the water. Most unusual! Despite seeming quite slow-moving, I was not able to take a photo of them. I think they were the common bottle-nosed dolphin.
By 4 pm we had traveled the planned 52 miles and made our way into the Marina entrance at Sines.