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Leg 14 - The world famous Nazaré

Nazaré [naz-ar-ee], Portugal - April 7-10/22

We spent a few days exploring the popular seaside town. Nazaré used to be a beach resort that emptied in the winter but now it’s the epicentre of big wave surfing (November-February) due to the skyscraper waves generated by Europe’s largest underwater canyon. Brazilian surfer Lucas “Chumbo” Chianca has the new unofficial record for the largest waves surfed (97.3ft -January 2022 - Praia do Norte, Nazaré Portugal). To say we were a little apprehensive to sail past this area due to the potential massive waves would be an understatement!


Nazaré (Portuguese for Nazareth) is arguably Portugal’s most picturesque fishing village, although its days as a traditional place are long gone. It has become internationally famous for having the world’s biggest waves, and as a result it is now better known as a surfing mecca.


It hasn’t lost its laid-back ambience, but local traditions are only preserved for visitors to get a taste of the old days. Fish is still put out to dry in the sun, colorful fishing boats remain on the beach, and some older locals hold on to the traditional dress -- berets for men, and shawls and seven skirts or petticoats for women.


Nazaré is a town and municipality located in the District of Leiria in Central Portugal. The municipality has a population of 14,889 in an area of 82.43 km², while the town itself has around 10,000 inhabitants.


Update on our Schengen visa. We were finally able to reach the Portuguese Immigration & Borders Service (SEF) to find out that due to the COVID pandemic their government has enacted legislation to extend travelers to stay in the country until June 30th. This news is a huge relief as the day before we were looking at having to park 45North at a marina and fly back to Canada for three months which would have cost us thousands of dollars and disrupted our travel plans. We have now applied for an additional travel visa extension until Aug 31st and have meetings with SEF in Faro on June 30th. Fingers crossed we get extended otherwize we are on-route to Gibraltar and then Tangier North Africa. Neither place is where we really want to store 45North for the winter.

Veado - made of Marble and Steel standing 6.3 meters tall. The city of Nazaré was once populated by deer. The famous legend of Nazaré reports that Dom Fuas Roupinho was hunting on a foggy 12th century morning when he became separated from his companions and was chasing a deer and fell off the cliff. On the verge of the fall the knight cried out for the help of Our Lady of Nazaré. The legend horse stuck its real legs at the top of the cliff immediately saving Dom Fuas Roupinho's life. In recent years Nazaré has become popular for its record breaking surf waves, hence the combination of man and deer in the statue.



Arriving at 4:00pm after another enjoyable 35nm sail in flat seas and fair winds.






And then there was this crazy doggy laying in the middle of the road. As cars passed, slowly thank goodness, he would roll around on his back on the center line.

Cement clothes --

Nazare in the foreground and

Traditional fishing boats - donated for display on the beach.

The men were drying the fish on rods right on the beach. The women were selling it on the board walk wearing their traditional clothing.

One of the local artists working away in his shop making small decorative boats. Check out all the pieces in the background that we didn't notice when we drove by.

Beera - herea

Houses perched on the outcrop of rock.

We took the "funcular" up to the top of the hillside.


The Fort of São Miguel Arcanjo , also referred to as Forte do Morro da Nazaré or simply Forte da Nazaré , is located in the village, parish and municipality of Nazaré , in Portugal. It stands in a dominant position over the beach of Nazaré , famous and traditional fishing spot , sanctuary and spa on the Portuguese coast.

Open to the public since 2014, it has one of the most enigmatic views over Vila da Nazaré and is a favorite spot for big wave enthusiasts.

Check out the buildings that are hanging over the edge on the rocks.

The surf museum inside the fort was interesting and informative. They have a display showing the main reason for the massive waves.

On our way here the chart shows a massive underwater canyon that offshore is over 5 kilometers deep and steeply rizes into Nazare which causes a significant funnel effect on the water especially if there is any swell on the ocean. A 30 meter wave in the winter months is common. This is reported to be the biggest surfed wave in the world.




















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