Portomao and River Guadiana

Rob and Jacky Black
Sat 27 Sep 2008 16:54

We left Albufeira on Tuesday morning and motored to the bay west of Portomao so the boys could have a snorkel and swim. They duly set off in the dinghy, landed on the small beach near the caves and rocks and had a short attempt at snorkelling but due to the recent rain and the swell the visibility was negligible so they soon returned to the boat. Robbie then dived under the boat to check the sail drive leg and the anodes attached – all seemed well there so he did not attempt to change the dome anode. We then up-anchored and motored the few miles back to the marina where we booked in for one night. We walked into town and visited the self-service restaurant for supper – but the food was not as good as our last visit so we were rather disappointed. However the boys  later went to the beach bar where we had been entertained during the Blue Water Marine regatta and thoroughly enjoyed their jug of Mojitos and tapas!

The following morning we motored across to Ferragudo a small town on the other side of the river where we anchored and took the dinghy ashore to explore. It certainly was very pleasant and we enjoyed wandering around in the tiny alleyways as well as visiting the market for some good local produce – we will be going back there for sure! We set off for Faro mid afternoon and actually had a great SAIL all the way there! It was so nice to have all the sails up and no engine on for more than 4 hours. We arrived in the entrance to faro and anchored off the starboard navigation buoy as per the advice we were given by our friends on Nutcracker. An early start was called for on Thursday as we planned to get to the River Guadiana around high water. We arrived and took up our reserved berth at Ayemonte marina (we have found it best to call them in advance to ensure a place.)We had a walk through the town in the late afternoon and on Andrew’s recommendation (a nice Scottish young man who works at the marina) we went to Casa Vicente in the evening for tapas. This was obviously a popular spot as by 2100 it was full of Spanish people enjoying the ‘chocos’ (squid) and dish of the day Tuna in a warm sauce, both of which we had ordered too.

Friday morning we motored up river to Alcoutim and after being anchored for several hours off the town we managed to get alongside in the late afternoon. We had a swim at the river beach and a BBQ on board to celebrate my birthday.

Saturday morning dawned and we had some rain as per the forecast, but by the time we were ready to go ashore this had stopped. A trip to the market followed by coffee in the local cafe to catch up on all the gossip from the other foreigners who seem to congregate there, took up the rest of the morning. Meanwhile Robbie and Sean took the dinghy across the river to ‘Spain’ – the village of Sanlucar to have an explore. We were quite surprised to see them rowing on their return – it transpired they had seized the engine by going across a fishing line off the bank. Fortunately it was soon put to rights when then unwound the nylon line form the prop-shaft and there appeared to be no permanent damage to the prop.

More rain in the afternoon put paid to the idea of a walk to the very old castle about 4 kilometres away (you can just make out the ruins although they blend in with the local rocks) so the boys watched a DVD and we had a siesta!

We plan to leave here tomorrow morning and head back to Faro where we can easily deliver our visitors to the airport plus we have a good restaurant in mind for dinner on their last night and a belated birthday treat for me!

Jacky and Rob