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Day 11: Boat Trip!

 Today  was the day that the boat charter said would be good to go. We wouldn't be able to .. sail.. boat.. move the boat into the caves, but we'll be able to see it from outside. We are disappointed, but I'm sure these salted, veteran sea farers with hundreds of years of water exploration know what they're doing. Me, I've been on a few car ferries. 

We head to the dock, it's a normal drive, until the last 200 metres or so that seem like it was developed for experimental tank training. Potholes and mud and gravel and I can see why most people are wary about buying rental cars; because I just gun that Skoda through the patch of road like shocks are for free and tires are optional.

We meet the guide.. the guides. The boat is a very very large zodiac, maybe with a seating capacity for 20 folks. But it takes something like 10 staff. Ten thirtyish to middle aged well-salted, tanned to mahogany sailors all with a grim expression like they've just lost 3 tourists on the last outing and that was a good trip. I mean, we are going to take this vessel along the coast and look at several extremely (to me) similar looking caves being dramatically pounded by the Atlantic Ocean while I try to keep the theme song to Pirates of the Caribbean out of my head (you can't, can you, and now you'll be humming it all day you're welcome).

I'm not sure if I should be concerned with this many able and experienced sailors, or maybe the tour company pays extremely well; and maybe, just maybe we all pay too much for a 1 hour boat ride. Or maybe this trip requires the sort of personal waiver form that might be mistaken for the Bible, large print edition. Again, my wife plans the trip, so I have now (voiced) opinion. We're probably going to be fine, fine.

The guide who does all the talking has several well worn and practiced jokes. And even though  he recites them as someone who's calling Shipping and requesting another pallet of 25 lb stock paper for this years tax returns, they are pretty funny. 

There were dramatic cliffs, dramatic caves, sometimes with what most caves are named in most parts of the world with an trade activity (Smuggler's Cove). 

This cave was famous for being featured on a Windows screensaver. The height of fame for a geological formation  is to somehow catch the eye of a Microsoft project manager while he takes a scattering of days vacation from his high pressure job and maybe he takes the only solid 2 hours of sleep straight he's had since he was 13 on the beach and now you are plastered across every accounting office, architectural firm and law office in the world. I'm sure the geological formation doesn't care either way.

Dramatic waves!

Pretty water!

A hole in a cave ceiling that I'm sure has a story but I've since forgotten over the roar of the engine and spray of sea salt and I wonder of Johnny Depp does his own stunts.

More ocean caves. The project manager never made it this far, he had to finish a report on quarterly KPIs and burn down metrics for Q3. 

We make our way back and the captain just opens up. It's pretty exhilarating. There are wave and swells and other sorts of ocean water formation things that would have made going into the caves really perilous, but going back, full throttle? I mean, we all signed those waivers.

Last pretty picture of the sky, ocean, and a cave, maybe this one is called Cutthroat Cave? Or maybe this is one of the less glamorous ones "Squid Gutting and Fish Descaling Alcove", I'm not one to judge.

We drive back.

On the way we see these enormous nests. They look so comically large and so clearly unplanned for I can only imagine the sort of government/conservancy intervention had to be put into place to keep these from being destroyed. I'm thinking radio campaigns and flyers and those uncomfortable discussions around family tables when the teenagers who have just discovered Pearl Jam and have their laptops plastered with Greenpeace stickers are having it out with their staid, unfussy parents who note 'that's no way to run a business, with a 100 kilo next right on top of your chimney while you try and produce widgets or what have you'. They are the nests of the white storks around these parts, who summer in Africa then return to the same nest. 

They are absolutely massive. I saw one gliding against the wind, the airspeed over his wings making him seem to hover. This is all well and good for seagulls and terns and other birds who probably can't swoop down and spirit your toddler away. It's something else to see them defy gravity, good common sense, and any sense of safety a parent might have for their small child.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, anytime they put up any sort of retaining/sound wall on the highway it gets graffitied like this is the 80's and everyone and their uncle has a breakdancing crew. It gets a little jarring watching the idyllic countryside and then seeing some art that, for all intents and purposes, might be Portugal's best Run DMC cover band. 

Pretty road. 

Driving in Portugal is not too bad. The one thing they have an abundance of is round abouts. If you are uncomfortable with the laws of a roundabaout, drive about 10 minutes, you'll have practice navigating about 20 of them. Yield to those coming in, never overtake someone in the roundabout, stay on your toes and also be quick about it.I didn't see many senior citizens driving, I assume after a certain age you just kind of make the wrong move and the fiery wreckage of you and your poor decision making skills gets pushed into the center of the roundabout, to serve as a warning for future motorists.

A highway careering perilously into a roundabout. Sometimes there's a crosswalk just as you exit one, so that's fun.

We haven't had enough coastline, so we go to see a bridge of some sort. There is another rainbow. Somebody is trying to be noticed by a few project managers.

We end our day with some peri peri chicken, because I need to have what every tourist asks for (besides McDonalds) in every country I visit.

And then we end with a nice walk about Lagos. Certainly not reminding me of the sort of quaint seaside town the Black Pearl would ransack.


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