Winter in Lagos
Sarah and I spent the winter of 2006/2007 in the very pleasant port of Lagos, PT berthed in the very hospitable Marina de Lagos.  My experience that winter allows me to recommend this port and marina without reservations for anyone wanting to spend a winter in a mild climate in good company.  The town of Lagos offers a number of very good and affordable restaurants, and an active agenda of social and cultural events.  The marina management go out of their way to provide a very accommodating facility and offer monthly activities for berth holders during the nine months of the fall, winter and spring.  These activities included chartering the Boa Esperanca Carvel replica for the berth holders, gifts at a pre-Christmas dinner, a tasting of Portuguese wines, and other activities.  There is also an active cruiser club in the Marina which organizes a VHF net, monthly session on particular aspects of cruising and sailing, and frequent social (Robert Burns night, whiskey tasting, quiz nights, bridge clubs, etc.) and educational (Portuguese language) sessions.  On the other hand if your preference is to become a hermit on your boat for the winter, Lagos is probably not the place for you.

Many of these activities are organized by the Lagos Navigators cruisers club.

The cruiser community in Lagos is very multi-national, but predominantly British.  Most of the pubs and restaurants in the Marina cater to the tastes of the Brits.  Consequently I have become addicted to the Full English Breakfast (the original meaning of the "Full Monty"), however I have managed to avoid becoming a fan of Cricket or European Football (aka soccer).  I did find Rugby watchable.
Ponta de Piedade
Click on picture to view at full resolutionThe entrance to the port of Lagos is protected by the Ponta de Piedade (Point of Pity).  This is one of the most photographic areas in the entire Algarve.  The sandstone cliffs have been carved by the wind and seas into beautiful gottos, beaches and rock formations.
Click on picture to view at full resolutionOn this day I joined a number of other cruisers on a hike out Piedade for lunch at a restaurant the specialized in seafood cooked in the Fogo (wood coal) oven.  In the picture on the right are Ian, Ian (finally a name more common than John), Steve, Karen, Vivian, Meg, Ginger and Dick.  To breakdown the national origins of this group:

Ian (leftmost) and Meg - Scots

Ian (rightmost) and Vivian - English

Steve & Karen, Dick & Ginger, myself, USA

Click on picture to view at full resolutionIn the picture on the left and below are a couple of the many grottos on the Ponta de Piedade.
Click on picture to view at full resolution
Click on picture to view at full resolutionThe reward at end of this hike was a delicious lunch of Sea Bream cooked in a Fogo oven.
Boa Esperança
Click on picture to view at full resolutionThe Boa Esperança is a replica of a Caravel.  The Caravel was developed by the Portuguese initially as a fast and sea worthy fishing vessel, then they became the vessel type chosen for the voyages of discovery. 
Boa Esperança is docked at the Marina de Lagos and is used to take guests on an excursion along the Algarve coast.  At the end of October, 2006 the Marina arranged for berth holders to have such an excursion.
Click on picture to view at full resolution
Click on picture to view at full resolution
Click on picture to view at full resolutionWe cleared the harbor at Lagos and motored along the famous grottos and caves.
Click on picture to view at full resolution
Click on picture to view at full resolutionEveryone had a chance to steer the vessel.  The Captain, or whomever he designated, stood on the deck above and gave directions in Portuguese to a person below, who then relayed it the helmsperson(s).

The tiller is the only mechanical advantage used to steer the Boa Esperança.  When going straight it to took a moderate amount of effort to keep the Boa Esperança on course.

Click on picture to view at full resolutionWhen the Captain called for a course change the effort required was somewhat greater.
Click on picture to view at full resolution That day we motored to the nearby port of Portimao.
Click on picture to view at full resolution Then turned around and headed back to Lagos.
Click on picture to view at full resolution On way back a little breeze came up.
Click on picture to view at full resolution It really wasn't sufficient to sail the Boa Esperança, but it was enough to set the sails and at least look like a real Caravel.
Click on picture to view at full resolution As we neared the harbor at Lagos, the sail was furled and we headed for the harbor entrance.
Click on picture to view at full resolution Then secured the Boa Esperança to her dock next to the marina.
Click on picture to view at full resolutionTavira is an old port city on the Algarve.  I visited Tavira on a Lagos Navigators outing to the Camera Obscura at Tavira and an evening at a small planetarium.


Click on picture to view at full resolutoinThe Camera Obscura was particularly interesting.  This is a 360 degree projection of the town onto a convex screen.  Although the images are not captured on film, the Camera Obscura is one of the original sources that lead to photography - hence the source of the camera name.  Unfortunately the Camera Obscura does not lend itself to even digital photographs, so you'll have to take my word for it that is was very interesting.  On the right is my attempt to capture the Camera Obscura in a photo.
Cabo Sao Vicente
When my brother Sandy and his family joined me in Lagos for Christmas we did a lot of touring of the Algarve, visiting several places that I had only seen from sea.
One of those places is the Cabo Sao Vicente, which I passed on my way from Sines to Lagos a year earlier.
Although the Algarve provides a very moderate winter, it was winter.  Sandy and Bobbi are not over-dressed for a slight chill.  These folks are from Grand Rapids, MI, they know a real winter.  It was chilly on Cabo Sao Vicente in late December.
One of the coves at the base of Sao Vicente.
Praia do Castelejo
One of the great secrets of Portugal are its fanatastic beaches along its Atlantic coast.  The is the Praia do Castelejo, just north of Cabo Sao Vicente.
My brother Sandy, Bobbi and their son Chris as we hiked along Castelejo.
More of Casteljo.
Monchique is a small town on the Serra de Monichique, which is the highest mountain in the Algarve.
The view from near the summit of the Serra de Monchique
Orange trees are common throughout the Algarve region.
Silves is a hill-top city in the center of the Algarve.  We stopped in Silves principally to visit the Castle of Silves.  The castle was built during the Moorish occupation of Portugal and is currently the site of an on-going archiological restoration.