It was Jo’s talk of autumn and the Algarve that led me to delve into my photograph albums and explore what we were up to last Autumn. And I discovered that just three days after our arrival last year we were catching a ferry to Farol, a small settlement and lighthouse located at the western end of Ilha da Culatra.
The island is one of the larger barrier islands that help create the Ria Formosa, and the 3miles of beaches on the Atlantic side are one of the main reasons that tourists come here. In season it is busy with sunbathers and swimmers, out of season it is perfect for those who enjoy long walks on the beach, birding, skywatching and beachcombing.
Beachcombing as a word seems to have first appeared in the mid 19th century when Europeans were observed on the South Pacific Islands ‘combing’ the beach for anything they could use or trade. Whilst there are still professional beachcombers known as Mudlarks, I suspect most of us these days simply do it for fun.
There are things in life that everybody wants….
She believes that in order to find the perfect shell
one has to comb a lot of beaches; walking for miles
barefoot in the foamy wash, with the sun by your side
and the past behind you for better or worse. She believes
perfection exists as with sand and water, sun and sky;
certain things like us are meant to grow old together,
once having discovered one another. For it is
in those moments, when the sun and sky close their eyes.
that the moon will ebb the tide and the water will depart
from the sandy shore leaving behind for our discovery
that perfect shell. The one everybody wants…..
Ted Sheridan – She Enjoys Long Walks on the Beach
It was not just the curiosities left behind on the beach that caught our eye though on this particular day, there was also the flora. One of the most wonderful things about the Algarve is that even in late autumn / early winter there is much to be found. I just wish I was better at identification.
Our advice if you are visiting out of season is to arrive at the western end of the island and then walk east along the beach until you get to Culatra. The reason being is that the cafe’s at Farol are not always open, but the ones in Culatra are as this is the larger and more permanent settlement. And whilst you are waiting for the ferry home there is nothing better than relaxing with an iced cold beer! If you decide to walk in our footsteps your adventures begin in Olhão where you will find regular ferries from the end of the pier. Out of season there are only about 4 ferries per day but at the height of summer there can be around 12. The ferry times can be found here, but do always double-check the return times when you purchase your tickets at the kiosk.