SPAIN AND PORTUGAL
 

Portugal coast
  Pottering down the Portuguese coast brought little wind and mist until we reached the river leading up to Lisbon. This was about par for the course - we didn't see much of the English coast; we didn't see Cape Finisterre; and we didn't see the Spanish coast until we closed it late afternoon.
 

Porto
  From Leixos we took a trip to Porto, a really pretty town built on a river gorge. But who cares about the scenery when there is a port producer to visit.
 

Coimbra
  From Figuera de Foz we took a trip to Coimbra, a university town with a spectacular library. This is the central university plaza with Mike on the right and a statue on the left.
 

Toby
  A stowaway. Toby Hodges from Yachting Monthly came sailing with us for a day. With the wind gusting to 25 knots plus, we had the main, mizzen and twin poled-out headsails up, and the wind vane driving. We're not sure Toby could quite believe that we could all just sit there doing absolutely nothing while the boat got on with it.
 

Cape St Vincent
  The 'dreaded' Cape St Vincent on the south west corner of Portugal. There are a number of world-famous headlands renowned for extreme weather and/or overfalls and violent seas. We have passed four so far - Portland Bill (mist and calm), Start Point (calm), Cape Finisterre (thick fog and calm) and Cape St Vincent (5 knots of wind) - lucky or what.
 

Jacaranda tree
  We occasionally saw trees, in Lagos, Portugal, with pretty purple flowers. We eventually discovered they are Jacaranda trees originally from South America. Mike liked them so much he decided to grow one out of his head.
 

Fire
  Not another sunset picture, but that is the sun. The 'cloud' is smoke from a massive forest fire that dumped ash over the boat for three days. We were parked in the lagoons off Olhau (near Faro) when the temperature soared to 44.9 degrees C (112 degrees F and an Algarve all-time record). Humidity dropped to almost nothing and the wind coming off the land felt like a hairdryer. The fires started shortly afterwards - we felt very sorry for the Portuguese who seem to suffer them every year.
 

Fire
  We often saw boats carrying sand in the Olhau lagoons, many so overloaded that they looked in positive danger of sinking. Where they were going or why, we have no idea.
 

River Guadiana
  The border between Spain and Portugal is the river Guadiana and it is possible to take the boat twenty miles inland and park between the Portuguese village of Alcoutim and the Spanish village of Sanlucar de Guadiana (in the picture). Both villages are very pretty but the whole thing is surreal. Yachts flying either a Spanish or Portuguese courtesy flag, not 30 yards apart. A different language, different food and a one hour time difference when crossing the narrow river.

And yet for all the differences the villagers hold joint festivals. Mike reckons it shows how people are exploited by politicians - population equals power, borders equal taxes - and yet the people don't care.
 

Columbus, ships
  Christopher Columbus' replica ships in Huelva. They had a video of the ships being built and what surprised us most was that they sailed them before putting them on display.
 

Coto Donana
  Jane in the sand dunes at the southern end of the Coto Donana. The all-terrain buses are in the background. The ride along the beach and in the sand dunes was awesome with the bus travelling at speed and rocking and rolling at amazing angles of heel. It didn't help the nerves that the guide was also the driver and he didn't seem to be paying much attention to the route, because he was always looking out for unusual species.