Lagos, Portugal

Eleanor Lawson meets up with Valiant 40 Apogee in Portugal to begin a sailing adventure.

Marina de Lagos

Marina de LagosEleanor Lawson

Lagos is a little less than a 2 hr shuttle ride from the Airport in Faro, Portugal. The Shuttle Direct service was slick, easy, and dropped me off right at the Marina de Lagos, all for only 15 Euros. The countryside on the southern coast of Portugal looks very Mediterranean with Cyprus trees and houses with tiled roofs nestled into the hillsides, and the occasional colonial-style fort. In some places along the water, there are huge salt fields that looked from the air like a patchwork quilt. The touristy surf/beach town is dominated by the marina and all the masts are the first thing you see when arriving by car from the east.

I met the boat and the boys at the marina just before sunset on Thursday night. It was gorgeous out - crisp dry air, a gentle breeze, and just cool enough for a light sweater after the sun went down. Nate and Ben had arrived with the boat the day before from Lisbon with Ben's dad Bob Morris. Nate, Ben and I walked into the winding streets of downtown Lisbon through a strange assortment of European tourists and street performers to find dinner at an outdoor bistro. The people-watching at night is top notch!

Bob handed Apogee over in great shape - he sailed over from the States via the Azores and did all the necessary "shaking down" along the way. He gave us a full briefing on Apogee's systems, safety gear, and what to watch out for along the way (an overheating engine).

The Marina de Lagos had everything we were looking for: palatial marble bathrooms with showers, potable water, and shore power. There were locked gates on each finger of slips, and wifi up by the office. If you don't want to stay aboard, the Lagos Marina Club Resort has rooms and a large courtyard with a pool.

After clearing customs and topping off the fuel tanks we said goodbye to Bob and headed out through the drawbridge at 1:45pm Friday. Turning west out of the harbor I saw what really makes Lagos special: the cliffs. Striated cliffs of yellows and oranges tower over little pockets of beaches and provide shelter from the northerly winds. Nate and Ben said they had climbed down to the beach before I arrived and it was a little crowded but amazing to see up close.

I was in Portugal for less than 24 hours and would definitely like to return to better see the country. Alas, we're off to Africa!