Surf roadtrip to Peniche?
13 of us spent a weekend in the famous surf town of Peniche, located north of Lisbon on a peninsula that juts out on the west coast of Portugal. As far as I could tell, one side has a mile of 200′ cliffs neighboring a long cement pier, docks and fishing boats, and the other 2 sides have sand dunes and beaches. Aside from the arid terrain and occasional open field, the peninsula is covered in… a lot of cement: Surf camps, restaurants, an in-the-making headquarters for Rip Curl Europe, apartments and markets. The water is crystal clear, but cold and turbulent. One wave spot is called ‘SuperTubes’, breaks on a U shaped shoreline, and has considerably larger, more tube-like waves than the other beach. We rented boards for an afternoon (I had a lesson) and took over an Air BnB guesthouse where we made friends who would later visit us in Lisbon. We learned how to cook Paella from Valencia, and make a real Spanish Omelette (trick: they use A LOT of oil while cooking the potatoes).
Our rough Sunday morning (most people had gotten about 2 hours of sleep due to a drinking game called 1-99… quick overview: everyone donates a portion of their drink to the center cup and an unfortunate soul who guesses the chosen number between 1-99 has to down it) was cut short by an impromptu decision to hop a pontoon boat to Berlengas Island, one of an archipelago of islands off the coast of Peniche. 10′ swells limited the number of boats that would go out that morning- it was a 30 minute ride each way: drop off at 11 and pick up at 4. We suited up in life vests and XL monsoon rain jackets and straddled the boat’s benches as we braced our way into the foggy and turbulent abyss. This was going to be an island beach day? It looked like a scene from The Perfect Storm. Unfortunately, I can’t prove this to you since we missed out on any camera opps on the ride to the island while we white-knuckled it, but it was definitely a rollercoaster; those in the back of the boat (and on the left side- sorry, Mike) got hit the worst by the waves. Once we arrived at the island, the sea calmed down completely and the sun came out. It was like we walked through the set of the Truman show and ripped through the blue sky. Here are some photos from the weekend… (history facts: Berlengas Grande is the only island of an archipelago that has been inhabited since before the middle ages. The fort on the island was a monastery in the 15 and 1600’s, then became a fort to protect the island from pirates.)