Río Guadiana or anchoring in crazy tides

August 08 – August 13, 2019; 1329 nm and 144 days after departure from La Rochelle

We spent almost one more week in Culatra after Jana left. We slowly rearranged Altimate and got ourselfes back to a two person set up.

a little tile art house at Culatra

Meanwhile SY Saviour, our friends from La Rochelle, also arrived in Culatra. Of course we wanted to see them and had some drinks together. They figured out that there was a fiesta on Saturday at the little Island of Culatra. Something about a Saint “Iforgotthename”. Perfect timing for us to meet and party! We all got a little dressed up; as dressed up as you can get when you have to ride for like 10 min in a dinghy against some waves 😁 and trying not to get wet… Yeah, we made it, arrived in a pretty good shape and were curious to see whats going on at this fiesta. Well…what should I say? The party was over by the time we showed up. At 6:30 pm we were more or less left alone with long and empty beer tables covered with loads of empty beer bottles. Only some not really sober youngsters where strolling around to find their ways home. Bad timing for us.🤷‍♀️ Notes to Saviour: I think you need to focus a little bit more on your Portuguese skills.😉
Still, we had a nice evening as one of three bars was still open. The beer was cold, we were nicely dressed and we could catch up with our friends.

a walk at the island
having a sundowner at the beach with the Saviour crew

The Río Guadiana, our next destination forms part of the border between Portugal and Spain. That was a special feeling all the time in the Río. Sometimes we were in Spain and only a few yards further on we were back in Portugal. As there is one hour time difference between Spain and Portugal we really got used to being continiously jet lagged …😉.

at the anchorage at the beginning of the river waiting for the rising water

The sail (ok, it was more motoring than anytghing else) up the river was beautiful and diverting. But first we had to anchor at the entrance of the estuary as we arrived before low tide. A welcoming break to have some lunch and a little rest – we got up veeeeery early – until the tide tilted. With the rising water we continued our way and meandered up the scenic river. 20 nm later we anchored between two little villages Alcoutím/ Portugal and Sanlúcar de Guadiana/ Spain.

Sanlúcar de Guadiana/Spain

Dependend on the current, we had Spain on our right and Portugal on or left or the other way round.😉 In sailor vocals: east side Spain; west side Portugal.
Did you guys know that the tide of the ocean influences a river that much, that even 25 miles upstream the current is still some knots strong? I did not know about it! Maybe I was not listening at school when this topic was told… Just to make it clear, when the tide is rising the water goes with 2 or 3 knots UP the river and of course the other way round at falling tide. That makes the anchoring in a river special. The boat aligns with the current (not the wind). As we were not the only boat in this cosy area, we could experience how differently boats align to the changing current. They drift in all directions but not at the same time. One day we were suddenly pretty close to a Canadian sloop. We were – because of our lifted keel and strong winds – already following the new current while the sloop was only half way through. It was not an issue because we were both aboard, but it showed us the weired anchoring movement in a river. To provide a carefree night we moved Altimate a little further away…

a view down the river, one can see Sanlúcar
and up the river

Both of the villages are cute but have not much to offer. Each has a little grocerie shop and a couple of bars/restaurants and of course churches. Spain has a bakery, open every morning, while Portugal provides two times a week a market with one fruit vegetable booth and one butcher. 🙂

The mills of Sanlúcar
and the church of Alcoutím

We had a few strolls in both villages. Including crossing the river with the dinghy, we made both villages within 20 minutes. That was exhausting! 🤪As there was not much to explore we enjoyed the quiet river life, the evenings with some interesting traditional music (it was horrible 🤣) and had some nice chats with Brits and Germans we met at the Portuguese bank.

In the morning of the 13th of August we left the boarder villages to our next destination, Sevilla.



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