When we left Saint Petersburg on the 4th of May we had no clear
instruction where to proceed, yet. During navigation out of the Baltic
Sea our broker was busy with fixing the ship for a new employment.
Finally, when we were already in the North Sea, near the Netherlands,
we received a telex with our new fixture:
"ORANGES IN CARTONS ON PALLETS LOADPORT AGADIR MOROCCO DISCHARGE S.
PETERSBURG. ARRIVE LOADPORT LATEST 13MAY/0500HRS, LOADING TO COMMENCE
That was quite a relief. We were already fearing the worst, like fish
to Nigeria or something horrible else.
On the way through the English Channel (La Manche) and the Bay of
Biscay (Baie de Gascogne / Golfo de Vizcaya) there are no remarkable
confluences to visit, but the Western Coast of Portugal around Cabo
Carvoeiro and Cabo da Roca, offers a point.
The closest port is Pôrto da Ericeira, which has a population of about
5,000. It is a small craft harbor qccomodating mainly local fishing
vessels. The harbor is subject to frequent silting and is untentable in
Several objects can be seen from the confluence:
The Farilhões are a group of steep, rocky
islets. The largest of which is Farilhão Grande.
Ilha da Berlenga, which is flat with a steep,
indented coastline fringed by rocks. In Western gales the sea breaks
violently on it. Ilha da Berlenga is nature reserve.
From Cabo Carvoeiro to Cabo da Roca the coastline consists of steep,
rocky cliffs, fringed by beaches and broken in places by ravines and
Portugal came into existence as a nation in 1139 when Alfonso
Henriques, a vassal of the King of León and Castilla, declared his
independence and assumed the title of King of Portugal. The country
South of Rio Douro was at that time still occupied by the Moors but
they were driven out during the course of the next 100 years, Lisbon
being captured with the aid of a crusading fleet on its way to
Palestine in 1147. In 1373 Portugal signed a treaty of alliance with
England, an alliance which has survived to the present day.
From the early part of the fifteenth century Portugal was in the
forefront of the tide of European exploration. In the wake of her
discoveries she acquired a vast empire but in so doing she overspent
her strength and was unable to defend her territories. Between 1521 and
1555 her population was halved due to emigration and famine.
In 1580 the succession to the throne was disputed and Portugal became
part of the dominions of the King of Spain after a brief civil war.
This state of affairs continued until 1640 when Portugal once again won
her independence under the Duke of Bragança, who became king.
Lisbon was destroyed by an earthquake in 1755.
Portugal was invaded by French armies in 1806 who went on to occupy
most of the country. The Portguese government appealed to Britain for
help and an army was sent to their aid under Sir Arthur Wellesley, the
future Duke of Welington. Wellington finally expelled the French from
the country in 1812.
A disputed succession to the throne in 1828 again led to civil war
which lasted until 1834.
In 1910 the King of Portugal abdicated and a Republic was proclaimed.
There followed a period of unstable government which, in 1928, had led
to a critical political and economic situation. In 1932 Dr Salazar, a
professor of economics, became head of the government. He remained in
power until he retired in 1968.
In the almost bloodless coup in 1974, the Armed Forces Movement seized
power. In 1982, and again in 1989, the consitution was revised in the
light of Portugal's continuing democratization.
Portugal was a founder member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
in 1949 and is a member of the European Union.
Portuguese is the only language in common use in the country. The
language derives fundamentally from Latin but contains many words of
Celtic, Greek, German and Arabic origin. The language is allied to
Spanish to the extent that the inhabitants of each country can usually
understand each other, when speaking in their own language.