Vilamoura - seriously it's jinxed!
Seriously considering that the seas near Vilamoura are jinxed!
Last March when we did our Shakedown Sail to Gibraltar in not so perfect conditions we ran out of fuel on one of the tanks near Vilamoura and when attempting to switch tank we learned we had fuel issues, which led us to find out we had a dead battery bank. But no worries, after all, this is a sailing boat and despite the lack of wind we managed to get to the Vilamoura Marina after quite a few hours trying to overcome those 3 nautical miles. And because bad things always come in groups of 3 we broke the bow thruster mechanical fuse (which we only found out this summer).
This time on our Maiden Sail the Vilamoura seas threw another curve ball at us. Yet again we had fuel problems...
After a bumpy ride from the Sines area up to the Sagres Cape and then being beaten up by the wind and waves when rounding the two capes around 21h30, we decided later that night to give up sailing and start the engine (2 hours after rounding the capes) to see if we could come further away from the northerly winds that helped us getting south and allow John to have a rest since it was Ella's first sailing experience and the trip hadn't been a calm one.
5 hours in to motoring and the engine started to lose RPM and even fail a couple of times, exhausted John that had been at the helm pretty much all time since lunch managed to get it going so we decided it was best to take a break and get closer to shore for better protection of the wind (we were 35 nautical miles offshore). We looked at the chart and my oh my we again near Vilamoura where we had problems before.
So we decided, rest was all we needed so again with difficulties we reached the marina where we ended up staying a couple of nights rest.
I hadn't been to Vilamoura since my teenage years but seems like not much as changed. Still feels we stepped out of Portugal and stepped into a British colony.
The languages most heard are English followed by other more Northern European ones and only sometimes a bit of Portuguese. On one of the occasions we ate out none of the staff in the restaurant spoke Portuguese, the menus lack local dishes offering the same usual you can find at any pub.
Of course, this is not the real picture of the Algarve that I know, full of enchanting little villages and beaches. This is the Algarve of the masses, the tourists.
It is probably due to this overwhelming number of tourists that the marina is so nice and efficient on their services, but this is not what we wanted to experience in the Algarve so after having our rest we rushed to get the available weather opportunity to sail to Cadiz in Spain where we would wait for a chance to make landfall in Gibraltar, our planned destination.
We will save the coast of Algarve for next year when we can explore its secrets with time.
***In the spirit of sharing our dreams and experiences we have shared this blog post in the NOFOREIGNLAND.COM website sailors community.