I got so carried away with my tales of glory yesterday while reminiscing about the EPIC time we had in Portugal back in October 2018 that I only told you all about the first half of the day! A Portuguese friend of ours commented to us that “we still have beers missing” on the facebook post, and that reminded me of the how that perfect day ended (yes, it included beers).
So, if you’re bored and stuck at home in isolation like we are, let me tell you how the rest of that near-perfect day went down.
There we were, round two at a super fun beach somewhere on the Portuguese Algarve coast with a fun wedging wave. The weather had completely turned from grey and stormy, to sunny and warm conditions by mid day. After a solid few hours in the water I realised it was time to head in to shore and get out of the strong sun. 
After a coffee together at the beachside cafe, we jumped back into our little Citroen Berlingo and headed back to town and picked up some lunch on the way. Interestingly, despite having a very meat heavy diet, Portugal also has a large array of fresh and inexpensive plant based produce to select from at local farmers markets and grocery stores. We picked up a basket of fresh fruit, vegetables, olives, bread and a pack of local beer.
After we had our food supply sorted, we went back to our little shack which was right on the shore of the beach in a small south facing bay right near a busy tourist town in the region. 
However, by the time we had come back in the early afternoon the swell was now filling into the bay a little more, resulting in small but fun looking waves breaking literally metres from our beach shack’s front veranda. 
By this time I’d already surfed twice that day in fairly large conditions. I was feeling pretty exhausted. The waves were fairly small and straight, and it seemed that every gringo tourist was down at this learner friendly beach. They were all trying to take advantage of these novelty waves breaking in a normally flat and calm sheltered bay.

We decided to relax, make lunch, have a few sem álcool (alcohol free) Sagres beers and enjoy the amazing scenery from our beach side shack.

I’m sure that any other surfer will relate to this; after sitting down for an hour eating lunch and watching these clean small waves breaking into the bay and watching learners constantly fall off or miss waves, it was all too much to continue to just watch. Especially with the extra boost of energy after a meal and some rest. 

Considering the waves were pretty average and the sun was out on this warm early afternoon I didn’t bother with the effort of trying to put back on my soggy wetsuit that I’d been wearing all morning. The water had been fairly warm that morning in the other bay, so instead I threw on a old t-shirt and my boardshorts and grabbed my board and new swim fins, ran straight out in front of the shack, and paddled out.
After about 20 minutes the novelty of surfing close out waves in front of the shack was wearing thin, especially as the water in this bay was quite a bit cooler than where I’d been earlier in the morning, and there was a fresh and cool offshore wind. 
I caught the next wave in to the shore, and stood there watching everyone else just thinking of how awesome this day had been and how thankful I was for being able to travel around and do these things. Or maybe that’s just a false memory influenced by my current isolation and yearning for being back out in the world. Who knows? 
What I do know for sure is that, not for the first time, I decided that actually I wasn’t done with surfing for the day. So I paddled back out, but to keep warm I decided to paddle south down the bay to see if the waves were breaking with any more shape. I was also keen to escape the relentless crowds gathered in front of the main beach car park next door to our shack. 
As I paddled down the beach the crowds thinned out and I could see that there was a fun looking, possibly make-able left wedge coming in at the far eastern corner of the bay another 200m away. I finally got to it and it turned out to be a very, very fun and surfable wave.

In the morning, when we first woke at dawn, the swell was pulsing through into the deserted sheltered bay, but it wasn’t quite surfable due to the swell direction and tide. You can see the north-east corner and cliffs in the background.

The west direction swell was bouncing and wrapping into the eastern cliffs of the bay and would refract swell into the north-eastern corner. The swell was also much larger in this corner, with sets coming in at a solid head high and wrapping along into part of the bay for 50-60m until finally breaking onto shallow rocks in shore. 
I sat there on that wave, surfing it all to myself and loving every minute. It was hilarious because a few hundred metres back up the beach it was packed with people all fighting over small closeout waves. Here I was surfing this incredible wave with towering cliffs and Algarve desert scenery around me.
I spent a solid hour surfing this wave until the fresh, cold wind started to feel like it was cutting through me, and my wet cotton t-shirt instead of a wetsuit was feeling like a hasty mistake. The tide was also dropping and the wave was breaking less frequently.
Reluctantly, I eventually decided to make the 10 minute paddle back north up to the beach area and head back to the beach shack.
Jahla was supposed to join me in the water that day, but was enjoying herself sitting on the front veranda chatting with me mum and watching the waves. So much so that she didn’t take any photos of that amazing novelty wave that I had all to myself for that magical hour.  You’ll just have to take my word for it.
I stripped down, took a quick hot shower to warm up, and then went out to the veranda to sit in the warm sun, and drink a few more surprisingly tasty alcohol free beers and nibble on salted olives and potato chips that we’d bought earlier from the local super market.

Enjoying a cool beer and the warm afternoon sun after big day of adventure and waves

We sat there for the rest of the afternoon and watched the swell die down and the sun set over the cliffs to the west end of the bay. It was a perfect way to end what turned out to be a perfect day.

Portugal was a very special place to visit and surf. However I really want to stress that many popular regions have been struggling with the high numbers of tourists, right up until the recent travel restrictions came into effect.
If you visit Portugal in the future please remember the golden rule to respect the region, respect the locals, and leave no trace.