Morning starts and a tractor pulls the fishing boats on shore with their catch. The fishermen spend hours sorting through their nets and placing the good fish in plastic bins and the bad fish are thrown to the seagulls waiting eagerly nearby. The tourists slowly make their way to their side of the beach with their umbrellas. It is September so the beach is quiet; the summer holiday is over and there are few people left on the beach. The lifeguards sit in the background and visit: “This is the best time to visit the Algarve”. “The sea is warm and the wind stops blowing in September.” The lifeguards work a six month season in Portugal. “We are hired by the restaurant.” In Portugal, the government requires that “if you have a business on the beach you must employ lifeguards. So we watch the beach and sell the beach beds too. July and August is hot and we have to stand out front watching. Now the current is easy. We can relax a bit; Every August I wonder if I want to do this again, then September comes. It’s perfect.”
This is a relaxing town which is easier to get to by taxi than by a bus. It is where fishing and people coming to the beach are the top two industries. The fishermen stay on the east side of the beach and the tourists stay on the sand to the west. The beach is surrounded by layered white, gold and red cliffs. The sea is crystal clear aqua. All morning it is calm and the waves are smooth coming in to shore. Swim out one hundred meters and there is a sand bar on which you can stand. This bar keeps this beach from being to rocky as the waves roll in. In the morning it seems like the sea is a long way from the permanent umbrellas set up by the lifeguards. However, by three in the afternoon the waves roll further in on the shore. Tourists bringing their own umbrellas are surprised by the waves rolling on top of them. They scurry away from the encroaching sea. The lifeguards smile. “It’s the same every afternoon.” We tell them they are camping out to close to the water.
We absolutely loved Salema. After spending a couple extra days we realized that we needed to leave this little piece of heaven or we never would.