And down the Rio Guadiana.

Are we nearly there yet?
Mike & Sarah
Sun 25 Jul 2010 20:13
37:12.52N 7:24.86W
14th July 2010
After an excellent sail down the river from Alcoutim we arrived at Vila Real around mid-day, anchoring on the Portuguese side (changing the courtesy flag back to Portugal's), opposite the Ayamonte marina.
One problem with anchoring off anywhere is in trying to find somewhere safe to leave the tender. In this respect Vila Real is no exception. After a bit of tentative exploration we were beckoned to tie up at a pontoon servicing the Clube Naval. The rest of the day was spent exploring the town. Subsequent to being razed by an earthquake and tidal wave in 1755 the town had been rebuilt on a grid system. Cafes and restaurants abound, which is O.K if one enjoys a predominantly fish menu, but the diet was beginning to pall. So, by the time something suitably palatable was found and consumed, it was dark by the time we returned to the Clube Naval to collect the tender. Unfortunately, the compound gates had been locked and it was necessary to seek out someone from the club to let us through. Got the feeling that we hadn't done the right thing in mooring there.
Back on board for the night in time for the wind to whistle down the river valley at 30 knots, whilst the tide flooded at over 3 knots. Poor old Footloose didn't know whether she were tide or wind rode for a while. Anyway, at least the holding was good.
Next day we needed to return to Vila Real for petrol for the O/B and general provisions. This time we elected to go into its marina and ask if we could tie-up for a while. They were initially very anti but eventually agreed that we could, in exchange for 9 euros. Ouch! Still, at least we did get all the chores done and enjoyed our last day in Portugal. We've enjoyed seeing a lot of the country and meeting many of its people over the past 6 weeks or so.
So tomorrow (17th July), at low water we will weigh anchor, strike the Portuguese flag and head east along the Spanish coast for about 30 miles.