Senhora das Navegantes Continued ...

The festa, or party, here continued and finished, yesterday. We followed the celebration in our dingy and what a fabulous, energetic, wave of boats that accompanied the statues on their journey to the mainland town of Olhão there was!

It began in the morning with a sense of excitement in the air. All of the fishing boats were in the marina for once, none were out fishing, 

and many had decorated their boats for the occasion.

All kinds of gorgeous fishing ( and other) vessels took part in the procession over the water.

First of all they brought the statue out of the church here, with blessings and a small service, and took her across the water to the mainland town ofOlhão, accompanied by boats from Culatra. In Olhão she was joined by another statue and brought back, this time with a whole plethora of different yachts, fishing boats, dingies, and motor boats. It was really exciting to say the least.

Many boats were flying along, tooting their horns and you could feel the energy all around.

Fire crackers that had been marking different stages of the two day ceremony went off into the sky.

And "A Senhora das Navegantes" ( the Lady of the Navigators /Sailors) was brought back in style.

Here she is, at the bow of the boat giving her blessing of safe passage to all sailors.

This is the other statue that was brought over from the mainland.

Here she is after been taken off the boat on her way to the church on Culatra for a service.

The second statue follows.

A band accompanies the procession!

All in all it was a lovely day. The islanders here are so so friendly to foreigners, they all really make you feel welcome and are happy to share their celebration with you. 

We happened to return to the island later that day and joined, quite by chance, the evening procession - where a group of the local inhabitants walk slowly through many of the streets of Culatra, following the priests carrying the statues ( and giving occasional blessings and songs), all accompanied by the brass band. It was lovely and a real insight into this small fishing community, with their respect for this ceremony ( all cafes, bars and restaurants were closed during this walk - through and the islanders, although cheerful and friendly remained also serious and quiet during this time) and their friendliness to foreigners. 

Perhaps strangely the weather has suddenly changed - the wind which has been quite cool and urgent is now warm and soft, much more typical to an August summer here and for the first night since we arrived we were able to sit outside, while the sun went down, for our dinner without needing extra jumpers to combat the cold wind.

Bliss. 

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