Monday, 19 October 2009
Image 1: Sunset on wet sands at Praia Cordama
After a relatively lazy morning, my companions and I jumped in the hire car and headed off for the South West tip of the Algarve, effectively the Land's End of Portugal where the land meets the full force of the Atlantic ocean. For those who have surfed North Cornwall, it has it's similarities, huge sandy beaches, set after set of long waves and car parks full of VW campers but what are the differences ? Well not much apart from flocks of heavily sun tanned, ripped and chiselled surfers; a far more relaxed atmosphere out on the clear warm water, teaming with fish; naturists on the same amazing beaches, thankfully; hardly any litter and mountainous spectacular cliffs behind, from which paragliders aerial the thermals like graceful Kites. First stop was Sagres and it's 15th C. cliff top Fort Aleza, teetering above 200' high cliffs made of Weetabix. From this elevated stance, local fishermen stand almost motionless, like sentries at their own posts, just the occasional flick of the rod to catch your attention. If you actually look at where they stand, the Weetabix is actually decomposing and undercutting below their feet, and bearing in mind this stuff breaks like crumbly cheese, I can't believe more of these guys don't get grated!
Next to us was what appeared to be an aerial, not sure what for, but I was captivated as if it were a piece of sculpture. On this rugged, red cliff top, the complexity and intricate balance of this incredibly delicate structure seemed incongruous, but beautiful! It seemed relevant to the morning's 'reach to the sky' notions, so I created this image, with a comet like ball of sun arcing it's way across the skies above.
Image 2; The receiver at Sagres
A long winding lane later and we reached Praia de Cordama, and my jaw dropped, as over a sunlit sea lovely dark lines of watery faces rolled in from the Atlantic, wave after wave of perfection, I couldn't believe our luck! We sat in the refreshing shade of a timbered café, powered solely by a large generator sitting out the back - hardly surprising when you consider how far were we were from any conurbation. A quality pre-surf snack of essential rapid release carbohydrates, hamburger and chips :-) and we were on the beach, stripped down and ready to go! Well actually I know this is Portugal but I did don my shorty for the surfing, nothing worse than SexWax in your belly hairs :-)) What I hadn't realised, even after my Carneddau day, was seriously how unfit I have become, I may not look like a fatty, but after one paddle out to the back I was gasping like the shoals of mullet at the water surface around me. That said, within half an hour I was finding my rhythm and getting my breath stabilised. I probably spent two hours thoroughly, thoroughly invigorated and happy, like the good old days when my brother Simon and I would be out every weekend hunting for surf. It's sad that these times are no more, I miss his company badly and I miss the shared excitement of hitting good surf, even the occasional terror of big days at Woolacoombe!
Pic 3. Praia Cordoma
Back to the shore, stripped off completely thanks to the relaxed atmosphere on this beach, and enjoyed the intense heat of the sun on my body, not a hint of a shiver even in the breeze, even after being in the water for that time. For me however, there is only a certain amount of sunbathing I can do before I get bored, so I left my companions reading and headed off for the rocky islets at the far South end of the beach. It was now 6.00 and the light was lowering and warming, I could just feel some shots coming on. Amazingly, though streams of promenaders had been walking the beach for hours, the outgoing tide had turned the sands virginal once more and I was able to shoot almost wherever I wished. The sun went down rapidly and left simply one of the most amazing sunsets I've seen in years, that period just after sundown where the landscape changes colour. I felt sorry for my companions who had waited almost and hour and half for me, and who by now had been forced to drink beer in the bar, but I know they will be happy when they see the pictures LOL!
Pic 4; The southern tip of Praia Cordoma
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