It was still dark when we left the anchorage at Peniche at 0600 o’clock. Our anchorage was on the north side of the peninsula Peniche. Just a few miles west of the peninsula is a group of small islands called Reserva Natural das Berlengas. It turned out that the area between the peninsula and the islands was a very popular fishing area and every fishing boat in the area was out this early morning. So for the first hour we had to navigate – in the dark – between a fleet of small fishing boats, which were sailing in an unpredictable pattern, hundreds of fishing flags, nets and pots, and a very confusing mixture of lights from the lighthouses on the coast and on the islands. Let’s just say that we were very relieved when the first sunlight appeared.
“Sorry, we are all booked” –
Our goal for the day was to reach Lisbon. We wanted a berth in the city marina, where some of the other Danish boats also were heading. We also had some bad weather coming our way, so we didn’t want to anchor. I called the marina to ask for a berth for Cherie and us, but the marina was full. So I called another marina, Oeiras, just outside Lisbon, and luckily they had room for us the next day.
After a long day and lots of rolling waves, we dropped the anchor outside Cascais. It was a lovely spot, and we could easily have stayed here for a couple of days, but strong winds were forecasted for the next days. In the afternoon we took the dinghy to shore and went for a walk around Cascais and did some needed food shopping. We bought fresh fish which we put on the grill for dinner. The next day we sailed with the tide into Oeiras Marina.
The next couple of days we spent exploring the wonderful city of Lisbon. It was easy and cheap to take the train from Oeiras to downtown Lisbon. We hired an electrical Tuc Tuc with a very chatty guide/chauffeur for a couple hours. He took us all around the city showing us the sights. Lisbon, being one of the oldest cities in Europe, is a very charismatic and historical city. Lots of beautiful, old and colourful buildings and narrow streets. But also lots of new and modern architecture. Lisbon is also called “The city of the 7 hills” and literally means that the city is built on 7 hills. It makes for fantastic views around the city but it’s quite the workout walking around the city.
After 3 days in Lisbon we sailed to Sines, 52 nm further south. It was a bumpy ride sailing out from Oeiras due to lots of current and old swell. The wind was gone and we had to motor most of the way to Sines. But once again we had the pleasure of lots of dolphins on the way. At one point we sailed across some very deep water and there were hundreds of dolphins around us hunting fish. It was a spectacular sight.
We anchored in the bay of Sines and tied up with Cherie. We took the dinghy to shore and went for a walk and had dinner at a local brewery, where we had burgers and local beer and enjoying the view of the bay. We were really surprised to find out that Sines is the hometown of Vasco Da Gama.
On a tight schedule to reach Gibraltar
We started preparing for our arrival in Gibraltar. It was now the 20th of September and our deadline was still the 1st of October. We contacted the marinas, both on the Spanish side and in Gibraltar. The cheapest one was Alcaidesa Marina in La Linea on the Spanish side. From here it would only be a short walk to Gibraltar. We booked 3 days for the both of us – with arrival on the 28th. So now we had 8 days to sail little over 300 nm. Luckily the weather forecast for the next week looked good. But we had some long days ahead to make our deadline.