Monday, January 23, 2023

The Lagoon of Ria Foromsa


The boat jetty at Faro

Portugal is blessed with an abundance of natural beauty beside historic monuments, great food and friendly people. I had given a glimpse of Faro, a small town in the Algarve region, in my previous post. Picking the thread from there I continue with the day one proceeding of the evening in Faro. After a quick walk around the Old Town, we headed for the boat jetty which was a short walk from the Old Town.  In fact, the entire lagoon of the Faro overlooks the town and is known as Ria Formosa.

The boats berthed in the lagoon

Ria Farmsoa in Faro is made up of a cluster of small islands and some are so small that they disappear when there is a high tide. The barrier islands are connected with the six inlets through the sea. Of these, the five inlets have mobility characteristics. The sixth inlet is an artificial one or manmade which was created as an engineering marvel in 1952. The lagoon has a triangular shape with the smallest distance being 100m and the farthest being 6 km.  In the year 2010, this lagoon was recognized among the seven natural wonders of Portugal. Ria Formosa gives economic impetus to the region as a number of people are engaged in fishing, seafood, chain of small restaurants around the area. Since this area is a protected one, no polluting boats are allowed to operate to preserve the frail ecosystem. It also serves as a stopping place for the migratory birds. Over 200 migratory birds can be spotted in the region.

A view of Faro town from the Ria Formosa lagoon

We had an English-speaking guide who heralded us into a small 75-ton boat of which the weight of rechargeable copper batteries was around 50 tons! It had a noiseless engine and a smooth cruising speed of about 6 knots. It was a bright sunny afternoon as the boat sailed through silent waters manoeuvring through the little islands. It was an incredible experience to see rare birds, flora, and fauna. We were lucky to spot the rare purple swamphen which is also the mascot of the national park. There are a number of salt pans in the area and has a long history of salt production from the Roman times. The barrier islands have an exciting topography ranging from marshes, mudflats, swamps, dunes and tidal channels. The trip lasted around 2 hours and we managed to get a glimpse of some unique things like a lighthouse, some small beaches, an old fort, and water-operated mills that work on the principle of difference in heights of water levels during low and high tides.

The Old Town as seen from the boat

The magical sunset over the Ria Formosa lagoon

The boat slowly brought us back to the pier from where we had left with some beautiful memories of rare sights and an amazing sunset happening right before us. I will write about more interesting places in Portugal in the next post.

PS- All pics are mine

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