Rio Guadalquivir -a boaring time!

Rob and Jacky Black
Fri 29 Aug 2008 10:15

36:47.6N 006:21.5W

Wednesday 27th August

We left Chipiona yesterday morning and motored up the estuary of the River Guadalquivir looking for a suitable anchorage. The east side of the channel closest to the town of Sanlucar de Barrameda shelved steeply and although there were plenty of moored boats we decided to play safe and opted for a spot on the western side of the channel, close to the long sandy beach which marks the edge of the National Park de Donana. Once secured in 7 metres of water over the side for a swim as the temperature of the water was showing 24.5 degrees and the air temperature was 30 degrees. The current is strong in the river and it felt as if I was being towed along as I floated holding onto the safety warp we had rigged off the back of the boat! We found the fishing boats a bit of a disturbance in the night and when then return in the late afternoon but other than that it was a good spot to anchor.

As we sat eating supper we watched the last of the day trippers leaving the Park on the small passenger/car ferry which crosses every 15 minutes from the town to the sandy beach opposite. Within 5 minutes of this departure I thought I saw black ponies or large dogs appear on the beach but when I checked with the binoculars they turned out to be black wild boars!! We were amazed and watched these creatures trotting along the tide line and checking out the litter bins for any scraps etc.

Next morning we headed for the town in the dinghy and paid a visit to the information centre for the National Park. It was fascinating to read about the history of the region as well as confirm what we had seen (that there were wild pigs in the park!) the previous night. It will certainly be a place to visit at some stage in the future but as the guided tour would have taken almost 4 hours we decided to give it a miss today. We visited the yacht Club – it looked very nice but the bar didn’t open until mid-day so we found An alternative cafe and had some light refreshments before buying bread in the shop next door and returning to the boat. It was a scorcher of a day, so plenty of swimming for me and Rob even lowered himself down the steps on the back of the boat to cool off. The wind did get up in the afternoon which helped to keep us cool but it died off again by 2000 and the air temperature was 34 degrees.

I was on the lookout for the wild boars again with the binoculars when I heard police sirens on the other shore. On re focusing I saw hoards of people lining the top of the beach and several police cars charging along the beach with their blue lights flashing. I continued to watch and to my amazement  a horse racing starting box was towed onto the beach. This was followed by about 20 race horses which duly cantered the length of the beach and back. After about half- an –hour the horses and riders were loaded into the start bays and the race started. There was much cheering and the horses streaked along the beach for about a mile! Meanwhile on the other side the boars arrived and this time there were three!

So all in all there was quite a diverse range of entertainment while we were anchored in our quiet spot!!  Bonanza the next town to Sanlucar was where all the fishing boats moored and we have noted that if we anchor in future it may be quieter to go north of this fishing harbour and who knows we may see ‘Hoss’ and ‘Little Joe’!! (That really dates me doesn’t it?)

Jacky and Rob