Ria Gaudiana, Ayamonte. 37,08.15N 7,23.83W
We enjoyed staying at
Whilst here we enjoyed the
little town and a lovely walk over the marshes. Lots of
wading birds including storks and also 2 kingfishers. After 2 nights we
headed out and once again nearly ran aground! (no
channel markers to be seen). We headed, on recommendation, to the next port
along the coast, a mere
We had not intended to visit Portimao as it seemed to be just a very large tourist resort and marina,but opposite the town was a little picturesque village with a castle and a calm sandy beach, Feraguda.
We crept as far into the
beach as possible, dropped anchor and launched the dinghy.The
village was quaint, built on a steep hill with the church at the top and a
little fishing quay at the bottom. Small cafes lined the quay, barbeques
ablaze. All vying for our custom. We had however been
told that the best sardines were to be had from Rouie’s
shack on the beach. We caused comments from two Austrian sailors as we made our
way back to the boat, the skipper rowing and the crew swimming! We returned to
the beach that evening and after socialising with two other crews, also on the
beach (one Dane, one Aus, two Swedes and two German
kite-surfers), walked bare foot to the café. It was very quiet but we were
treated like family. We just asked for sardines and a bottle of Vinho Verde and Rouie obliged by
going out the back to get cooking. He returned and started to chat then
suddenly realised that he had left the sardines so, with a very English
expletive, he dashed out to finish cooking. The sardines WERE the best in
We had just heard from Conor and Marion, friends from Christchurch Sailing Club, that they had flown into Faro to be reunited with their boat, Toucan. This naturally decided the next destination, 25M along the coast.
Faro itself is situated on
the edge of a national park, the Ria
Formosa. This is a huge area of sand and mudflats with long sand dune islands
forming the boundary between the estuary and the sea. We followed the long
channel up to Faro and anchored off the channel. It was very peaceful except
when aircraft came into land where they passed directly overhead to land about
We enjoyed the company of Conor and Marion whilst exploring the old walled town and
environs of Faro. After 2 nights, we all motored down the long channel to
anchor off the little sandy
Toucan left the following morning and we went ashore to explore the island. It had an atmosphere all to itself. A very bustling little harbour full of small fishing boats, nets, seagulls etc. We walked into the village which seemed to be a large version of Hengistbury Head – long sand streets with a single line paving slabs laid along the middle.
No cars, just a couple of tractors for transport. We walked through the main street over a board walk and along the long sandy beach. An ideal spot to relax.
After a night up another channel at the town of Olhao, (where I braved a haircut at a non English speaking hairdressers), we sailed gently along to the border of Spain and Portugal, The Ria Gaudiana where we hastily changed the courtesy flag to Spain and headed into Ayamonte.