Beach Bums

After leaving Estarreja (see last post), we  drove down the Portugese coast to Praia de Mira, we found a nice spot alongside the beach. The trouble is, Colonel K attracts a lot of interest in these parts. There were people stopping and taking photos, wanting to chat etc.


On the beach were a pair of traditional high brow, narrow fishing boats, and loads of fishing nets strewn along the beach, I couldn’t quite work out what was going on.


The next morning all became apparent. It’s TRACTOR FISHING of course!!!

The two boats are launched about 500 metres apart each with one end of a very long net attached to it, the net is then dropped off shore about 2 km out from the beach, and a rope from each end is then brought ashore on the boat, it is left overnight, then in the morning about 20 men from the town proceed to attach a huge tractor winch on each rope and haul the net in.


The number of people that get involved in the operation is incredible, and it is all overseen by a small woman, that suddenly appeared and started barking instructions to the men. it took about 90 mins of winching before the net started to appear on the beach, the tractors started moving together to close the trap. With this amount of people involved we were anticipating a huge haul!

After all that effort and god know how much damage is done to the sea bed, there were about 50-70kg of crabs in the nets, very small crabs, and a few very small fish.


After leaving Mira, we again headed South, and stopped at another free camp in a place called Foz do Areihe, right outside a bar! Again lots of people stopping and asking about the Daf, and the Blog, same questions ha.

This had some amazing surf (as does much of this stretch of coast), and the quality of the surfers was pretty high.


At Foz do Areihe, there is a huge lagoon just behind the sandy beach with a channel that feeds it every high tide, the lagoon is a big place for kit surfers, and the tricks that these guys were pulling was amazing.

We left the town the next morning, heading towards Lisbon via the walled city of Obidos. After setting off, it was apparent after about 10km that something was not right with Colonel K. At about 2k rpm (the engine red lines at 2.5krpm), there was a terrific vibration coming from the engine (sited right under us), when the revs dropped it seemed smooth, but the vibes returned again as we hit 2k rpm.

We slowly (even slower than normal), arrived at Obidos, and thought while it was cooling down, we would have a quick walk around the town.

Its a beautiful city, with battlements and lots of very narrow streets filled with cafes and shops.


Theres no health or safety here! The walk along the battlements with no guard rails is quite unnerving.


Back to the truck, we tilted the cab and under closer inspection it was obvious that the Viscous Coupling on the fan was shot to pieces, there was a lot of play on the fan blades. A quick call to my big brother back in the UK confirmed that this was almost certainly the cause of the vibrations (and probably the slight over heating a couple of times).

Our first idea was to use the Garmin to find us a garage that might fix it, it was showing one in 4km, perfect. Except the sat nav took us to a place in the middle of no where with no buildings, let alone a garage!

A different tact was needed, we drove to a New Holland tractor dealer who pointed us in the direction of a garage up the road. It was closed. The owner apeared along with a taxi driver, neither could speak any english, and we don’t speak Portuguese (does anyone?). After about 10 mins, he understood what was wrong, and they discussed a suitable garage that might be open, “Pipicar”!

Eventually we set off with no address but a village name about 10km away. We found it, unbelievably and the Daf hadn’t shed its fan into the radiator!

IMG 2377

I’d already found out prior to getting to the garage that the usual supplier of ex military truck spare don’t have any in stock, so I was starting to worry about how long we were going to be stuck here for. The mechanic jumped straight on to stripping the fan out, while the boss was phoning around trying to locate a replacement. No luck. The Daf dealer in Portugal will try to get one from the UK. Another 10 minutes went by, then as I suspected, Daf don’t stock them either in UK or Holland. Bugger.

Then the Top Man appeared carrying a new Viscous Coupling without the fan, It turns out that he got one in for a guy with a Daf 45 truck a couple of years ago, and the bloke decided to scrap the truck. It was a perfect fit, just needed the fan swapped over.

We were in there less than 2.5 hours! It cost us £300.00 and a bottle of Jack Daniels. Result !

As time was getting on, we decided to head for one of our friends Russell and Kirsty’s wild camps, at Praia de Sao Lourenco. What a spot! We we the only ones there, parked right on the beach. It got busier at the weekend, with other camper vans & a few strange characters !


Its another surfing hot spot (which pleased Jac!), and an amazing place to catch the sunset


We ended up staying on the beach for 4 nights, it really is a cracking spot. While here we had a couple of long walks, and a cycle ride which was mostly along an old very bumpy dirt track, heading inland towards the hills. It is a very green place with loads of wild flowers, bamboo along rivers and lots of forested areas.


The Colonel was parked under the cliffs, and right above us were 2 pairs of Falcons nesting in the many natural holes, it was amazing watching them dive into the grasses, and coming in and out of their nests with food. 




Eventually, (after a fantastic pizza) we had to carry on heading South, so we are once again wild camping on the coast but this time we are south of Lisbon, just below the busy Port of Sines on a beach called Praia de Sao Torpes, another surfing beach. 

We have wild camped for 8 nights now, since we filled up with water, and we can comfortably do another 3 or 4 before we need to top up the water tank. The dirty washing basket is also getting bigger so we might look for a campsite with washing facilities soon.

Jac is starting to worry me a little, she is starting to befriend lots of stray dogs.



Even if they are cute, there are no places on this trip for hangers on!

Total Miles done to date, 2034 miles


5 Comments on “Beach Bums

  1. You learn something new everyday….high brow fishing boats…what do the plebs use one wonders?.


  2. Well done , The mind always gives up before the body, look forward to the next blog Rod Ps Great photos Especially the dog.


  3. Hi guys,
    Following with interest, how is the diesel hob performing ? I am going to use the same one and would love to hear some real world experience.

    Happy and safe travels.


    • Hi, the diesel hob works great, once you accept that it’s not instant heat. Once up to temperature it boils water very quickly, and you adjust the heat either with the control or by moving the pan along, it’s cooler at one end. There is plenty of room for 2 large pans.
      A great additional advantage is using the hob as a VERY effective room heating tool, it’s much more efficient that the hot air heating that runs off the diesel burner.
      The hob is expensive but for us well worth the money
      Hope this helps
      Vince and Jacs


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