“You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore”

Nr 80. Cascais and National Parque Sintra

From the Berlenga islands, we sailed southeast to the coastline of Portugal, towards the direction of Lissabon. But before we visited Lissabon, we passed by Cascais. A charming village at a beautiful bay. We wanted to see that first and also visit the famous National Park of Sintra.

The Bay of Cascais

A place for your catamaran in the harbor of Cascais is quite expensive and the bay in front of Cascais was mentioned as being beautiful with good anchoring, because of the sandy bottom. And it did not disappoint us: a lovely half moon shaped bay, very sheltered and with many beaches to look at and watersporters that pass by your boat. When we entered the bay, it was quite full of boats and we also saw a lot of Dutch boats that we had been seeing since Porto. When you sail a certain route, you sometimes end up in the same rhythm of leaving a place and visiting a new place as other boats. Among them, the wellknown boat Satisfaction of the 3 Frysian guys! We came into the bay around 18.00h and sailed close to one of the beaches in front.

We made a meal after a long day of sailing (our favorite: curry!) and then we sat on the back of our deck, enjoying the nice view on all the boats with their anchor lights on at the top of their mast. It turned 21.00h and it got dark and quiet in the bay.

Dutch Friday Afternoon Drink

The next day, the Frysian boys sent us a Whatsapp and invited us for a ‘Vrij-mi-bo’ (This is Dutch, short for ‘Friday Afternoon Drink’) from 17.00h. They invited all 8 Dutch boats in the bay and…… they all came! So with 16 people on Satisfaction, with everyone bringing drinks and snacks: it soon became a very sociable setting! We got to know Charlotte and David from Quelinda, Claudia and Rene from Stray Cat, Addy and Astrid from Waveguide, Gerrie and Rene from Sparkling Too. All very different people. Some are sailing for 1 year or 3 years, some keep on working, some people are 30 years old and some are 60. But we all have the same passion for sailing and the same view on life: freedom, adventure and independent travelling make us alike!

Visiting Cascais

The next morning, we took our E-bike, loaded them in our dinghy and went ashore to go sightseeing in Cascais. We were told that the fishermen living and working in this area had enough of these boatpeople leaving their dinghy at the jetties intended for local fishermen! So they steal the pedals from your dinghy, just to teach you a lesson….. We were warned for that by the Dutch fellow sailors and you could also read this on the anchoring app Navily, so we left our dinghy at the fuel jetty around the corner, which was further away, but more safe.

Cascais was very picturesque, small, lots of green. Nice small streets and the white and black pavers gave it a cosy look and feel.

We also did some big time grocery shopping in Cascais. We have 3 backpacks on our boat and once in a while we fill them up with fresh vegetables, fruit, fish, meat, drinks, all kinds of food for breakfast and lunch. So we have enough for 1 week and take it all on our backs on the e-bikes, to the dinghy and into the catamaran.

Sintra

The Sintra-Cascais Natural Park is approximately 145 km2. The park includes the Serra de Sintra Mountain Range which extends all the way to the coast. It’s beautiful, with many green steep hills, colorful old palaces and villa’s which date a long way back, like the Moorish castle from the 10th century.

We wanted to visit this parc of 2.000 years old, but being at anchor in a bay and not in a harbor, we always hesitate a little bit to go away so far (1 hour of cycling) and for the whole day. Because if something happens to your boat or the anchor no longer holds due to high winds, you are not there and it can cause of a lot of damage to your boat and other boats. So we told Claudia and Rene, who were laying next to us in the bay, that we would go away for the day. They had our mobile numbers, so that gave a bit of comfort. And Gilles always set an anchor alarm: once the boat drifts outside the circle it can go maximum because of the anchor chain that we use (for instance 25 meters), the anchor alarm on the boat will go of and will transfer an alarm to our mobile phones. So we check the anchor alarm several times when we are far away, so we can see the position of our boat and it’s movements around the anchor in the bay. The boat was lying there steady as a rock attached to the anchor!

Sintra was beautiful with Moorish style palaces and green gardens and parcs. But we were mostly impressed by the largeness of the area, with hills as far as you could see:

Iron man

Our last day in the bay of Cascais started early: around 7.00h bombastic music blared from the speakers: Iron Man Portugal 2022 had started! About 1500 athletes from all over the world spent that day doing a triathlon. This meant 3.8 km of swimming in the bay, in groups of 100 they ran into the water. Followed by 180 km of cycling through the hilly environment of Cascais and ending with running a marathon (yes, 42 km!).

It was really special to first see all the swimmers in one long string for 3 hours passing by all the boats in the bay. And then see them coming ashore, running to grab their road bikes to start cycling!