Olhao to ???? Tavira 2nd October
We left the fantastic anchorage around 13.00 with the plan to go to Vila Real de Santo Antonio some 35 miles East. We decided to leave via the main channel due to the tight pilotage at the close East entrance. We left with the tide on the flood to ensure we would float off any obstacles as the depth increased. Great, solid plan!!! But the tidal flow was amazing it was like going thought the Alderney races the wrong way!! With the Engine screaming we slowly edged out of the entrance at 1.5 knots, it was safe but very very slow; Look at the flow on the buoy in the picture!!!
The tide rips by….
Once out of the entrance we slowly made progress to the east but found ourselves behind plan and unlikely to make Santo before the tide was foul and entrance impossible. So we looked at the charts and decided on 2 options… 1) Over night passage to Cadiz some 80 miles or 2) Tavira a very small river estuary some 15 miles down the coast. Option 2 was chosen and course set.
Tavira was very small and quiet and after some careful pilotage we hunted for a good anchorage. The guide said it was ill advised to enter if your boat has a draft greater than 1.5m - great when we have 1.9m and some additional centimetres due to the amount of stuff on the boat!! It was also spring tides, so with a quick calculation we worked out we needed 3m of water to drop the hook…. After 10 minutes we could only find 2.8m and with the tide on the turn we could not leave either!
We made the decision to drop the hook and hope! We thought it would be good to have a swim / snorkel and find out how much water was around us. The tide was running at around 2 – 3 knots in mid channel and it was quite good exercise to just hold onto the bathing ladder. With a big effort, and with flippers, we made the slack water in the shallows and found the bottom, and some clear water to explore. There were lots of shells and a few fish, the big surprise was how the river shelved away and we had only 15 meters of water around the boat. The boat would swing around on the tide turn and if we went left we would be OK. If went right, we could hit the edge of the channel………
We set up the fishing rod and waited with some trepidation. Would we catch fish or just hit the bottom!!! Around 21.30, we were in the dark still waiting for fish and the tide!! We expected the turn around 22.15!! I pulled in the rod ready for the turn and found we had caught our first fish… It was the smallest and most ugly Stone Loach I have ever seen. It was saved from the frying pan and released to fight another day! The tide turned and we prayed for the correct turn. With some coaxing with the rudder we made the left turn with only 80cm of water under us!! We could go to sleep at last.
The ugly Stone Loach