Tail of the First Fish: From the Algarve to Gibraltar
We had trawled a line behind the boat for days without catching a fish. Flo our skipper predicted we would get a bite after we rounded the Cape (southwesternmost point of mainland Europe). Sure enough, once we passed the Cabo de São Vicente, the line started humming. It was a bonito. "Small" by Flo's standards, but it was huge for me.
After showing us how to fillet it, Flo prepared it two ways. It was the freshest fish I have ever eaten. We ate it while still in sight of where we caught it.
Sailing around the Algarve was special because I visited it as a kid on a trip with my family. I remember looking down at the ocean from the cliffs. I would never have guessed that years later, I would sail by the same spot and catch my first fish. And we caught 2 more right after!
The Algarve, the southern coast of Portugal, is a spectacularly beautiful place for which Google will have way better photos than us. We visited these ports in the first week of May, all very different and charming in their own ways.
The first stop after Cascais (Lisboa) was a quiet port called Sines. We just spent the night there in their tiny marina and went to shore for provisions and dinner.
The scenery around Lagos was unexpectedly beautiful with it’s large rock formations.
From Lagos to Ria Formosa it’s a short day sail. We anchored in a nature reserve overnight. It was a serene and pretty place that is normally filled with hundreds of boats in the summer.
We decided to do one last stretch from Faro to Gibraltar, a journey of 24 hours. By this time, we felt confident about it and were refreshed by the time in Culatra.
On the day we sailed out, the weather was just perfect. A steady 15 knots wind was pushing us forward and with the gennaker out for the first time we made good progress with up to 8 knots of speed (very fast for our boat).
We heard from another sailor that the tuna were hanging out around the gulf of Cadiz, near Gibraltar. As expected, when we got near the gulf in the early morning hours, I had my fishing line in the water for less than 15 minutes when I got a bite. The reel started humming and spun so fast I couldn’t hold it and within seconds the line ran out and completely snapped! The tuna that bit was so big that I had no chance keeping it.