Sines Portugal by Lochlann

Sines, Portugal October 2014

After leaving Baiona we sailed south over the sea border into Portuguese waters. To celebrate the fact we had cake and orange juice and pringles as we raised our Portuguese courtesy flag. Soon after we were visited by a school of dolphins, the most acrobatic ones I have ever seen in real life.

Later, we cruised past a lightning storm and during the night mum and dad saw some more dolphins except that these were glowing with phosphorescence. Dad described them as green, bubbling shapes that cascaded off their skin as they broke the surface. Mum was getting very tired due to lack of sleep so after we had passed Lisbon two days later, we decided to change course and put in at Sines (pronounced Sin-esh).
Island Swift at anchor in Sines, Portugal
We arrived in the early evening and had a supper of fish and potatoes before going to bed.
The next day I went up on deck and looked over the side. The water was 4 fathoms deep (8 metres roughly). I could see the bottom clearly and there were fish and rocks and other interesting things. I ‘pressganged’ Fin to come in with me and we jumped in. When I was in the water the visibility was worse than it looked and the seabed was muddy and had rubbish floating a few inches above the bottom.
We went ashore and wandered around town. It used to be a tourist destination about 30 years ago, but when an oil refinery was built on one side of the town and a container port for cargo ships on the other, the tourist industry declined. This is a shame, because it is really quite a nice town. There is a 15th century castle that overlooks the bay and has a statue of Vasco da Gamma outside. Vasco was a navigator and was born in Sines, hence the statue. He was the first to discover the Maritime Way to India around (we assume) the Cape of Good Hope. The castle has a museum that we visited and has some very interesting photographs and exhibits of Sines before the oil refinery and the container port were built. Back then, the beach that we were anchored off was far bigger and had beach huts in rows all the way along.
I decided I wanted to map out the bay but unless I wanted to do all the difficult calcupations (calculations), it was going to be impossible. So instead I took out our fishing line and, sailing the dinghy, trawled back and forth across the bay. I didn’t catch anything but there were lots of fish swimming near me.
Swallows and Amazons in Sines, Portugal
Dad went for a run later on and when he came back he told us about this beach he had found on the other side of the town. He said it was huge with amazing rocks.
Coastal walk Sines Portugal
Later that day he dragged us on a walk to this beach and at first we were looking forward to it, but after we had walked past the container port and over sand dunes with the type of sand that was there just for us to hate walking on, we were starting to mutiny. As we walked mum suddenly stopped and said “those rock formations look like pillow lavas.” And they were! They were large knobbly-looking towers that rose up from their granite surroundings.
Pillow Lava, Sines Portugal
For the next half an hour, Dad kept saying that the beach was “just around the next dune” before we finally walked round the last mound of sand and saw a huge white strip of sand stretching as far as the horizon. When we walked down the steps, which were conveniently placed on the cliff, we realized that the entire beach was empty. I got my swim stuff on and ran into the surf. I have found that in Spain and Portugal the beaches seem to have a sudden dip in the sand under the water so that the waves, that are quite big, break close to the shore in a violent fashion. I rolled in the waves and duck dived underneath one. I looked up at it from underneath to see the white bubbles whirl themselves into a tube. Mum thought that it looked like pure joy and I agree. I got my flippers and snorkel and mask and went out further and looked at the rocks that were submerged by the tide. There was a huge rock formation that stuck up out of the water like an iceberg. I climbed on top and jumped off in between two submerged rocks. A natural jumping platform!!!
What a wonderful rock, Sines Portugal
While in Baiona I had made a foam bodied animation puppet based on Aardman’s the Pirate Captain. 

And as we sailed down to Sines I had made the heads of several more pirates but, as I was lacking any more sponges, I could not make the bodies. Later, in Sines, I found a shop that sold ordinary kitchen sponges and bought nine of them to make five pirates.
We left Sines soon after and headed further south!
But that is for the next blog.

Pure Joy! Sines Portugal

Sines Portugal

Sines Portugal

Sines Portugal

Written by Lochlann

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