Sunday, 16 January 2011

Sagres, south west Portugal.

We are now at Sagres, home of Europes most south westerly port, Cabo Sao Vincente where the most powerful lighthouse in Europe is situated & where you will find the fort built by Henry the Navigator. This wild & windswept cape is dominated by huge cliffs, where local men fish, teetering on ledges high above the crashing waves.
We had a wonderful lunch of locally caught fish with Olga & John, who had driven over from Lagos,
overlooking the Praia de Mareta, the towns main beach, in a blissful 22*
As the weather has been fantastic, we have explored on foot & cycled in the countryside, where the air is full of the fragrance of wild Thyme & Rosemary & butterflies abound although its January, we have even seen our first Swallows.
The biggest surprise for us was to see one lone Great Bustard enjoying the place, also about 100 Golden Plovers & many Stone Curlews overwintering, sorry no photos, as they all escaped Mikes lens!
At the harbour we were lucky enough to see a local fishing boat unload its catch, after being at sea for a week, among its haul of many fish was a huge Wreck fish, aptly named, as it inhabits wrecks deep in the ocean. It has a mouth you could fit four fists into, weighing in at 60 kilos.

We were even able to photograph the motley crew coming ashore!!   On the quayside are piled high very interesting terracotta pots, which we discovered are still used to catch Octopus, although many have now been replaced by some nasty plastic Chinese imports.

Ok no apologies here, we just had to have a photograph of one of the juvenile gulls enjoying the scraps thrown overboard for them to feast on!!

Late one afternoon we cycled to Cabo Sao Vincente to capture the sunset, that the Romans considered sacred, "Promontorium Sacrum" as they believed that the sun sank hissing into the water each night, to be reborn the next day. Mike photographed this.

I was stationed some 2kms down the road at the Forte do Beliche, with its beautiful little domed church, to capture the moment. Whilst waiting I watch enthralled as hundreds of Crag Martins circled to roost for the night on the cliff face.

This is a wild and wonderful place, the smell of wild herbs, the tinkling bells of roaming herds of goats, crashing waves pounding towering cliffs, from here we will head northwards, following the coast, but we will not forget our time spent here in Sagres.

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