Thursday, August 17, 2006

Rio Guardiana to Cadiz

Wednesday 9th August 06 (contd)


We had noted earlier that there was a place that offered book swapping for free in SanLucar. So, after the main heat of the day had abated, we crossed back to the Spanish side of the river with 5 books stashed in our rucksack. We followed the crude map that was posted on the pontoon gangway into a little side-street. There was a door with a cardboard notice attached that was blank. Turning it around, it declared that this was the right place and, assuming that the wind had flipped the sign, we entered to be greeted by a black Labrador and a tan Labrador who were very friendly. We called out but no-one seemed to be at home. However, there were clear instructions that we should leave as many books as we took and that swapping could only be done from three designated bookcases. There was a very good selection and we perused for some time before exchanging goods and leaving. On leaving, we decided that the reversed sign meant “I am out” and therefore flipped the sign back again. The owner is very trusting to leave people to wander into their house – quite refreshing.

We took the dinghy over to the Portuguese side to visit the Portuguese fort. There was an entrance fee that outsized the interest inside but we did learn that the fort, amongst other duties, was indeed used to fend off the folk from the other side of the river.

Later, as we sat on a terrace overlooking the river taking afternoon refreshments, we noticed a solo sailor anchor close to Nadezhda. We returned to the boat shortly afterwards just before the tide started to turn. As it did, the adjacent boat started swinging and snaking and coming very close. We had decided that we would move down-river a few hundred yards to avoid the local canine kafuffle disturbing our sleep and so were not concerned. However, the Belgian owner who had been ashore came over in his dinghy and said he would move his boat. We, instead, invited him on board for a drink and it appears that he is a bit of a disaster area having hit things, run aground on rocks and had many other misadventures. As he was regaling this, his boat took a monstrous swing and we were all fending off as he stepped across and moved his boat further away.

We eventually had to part company when dusk arrived and we moved Nadezhda just before the light failed.

Fliss ............

Nothing to add really. The Belgium man was really pleasant but was a walking disaster, He said that he had had enough of solo sailing and was going to sell his boat and find a new wife. I think he was lonely. Shame we had to move as he offered to cook us Belgium chips.

Thursday 10th August 06


I awoke early and prepared the boat and got going down river. The morning sun gave a nice light on the river and its banks and we had an uneventful run downriver on the flush of the last 3 hours of tide.

The bridge did not seem so low on the way back as we reversed under it to get a good look.

We anchored off Ayamonte and went ashore to re-provision.

Friday 11th August

We set off to catch the last tide out of the Rio Guardiana and set the sails for El Rompido about 15 miles East. There was no wind and we sat there for a couple of hours going nowhere. Eventually, we had to start the engine in order to get to the shoal entrance before the last of the spring flood and therefore motored most of the way.

We entered the river that runs just inside a 5-mile-long sandbank and caught the fast flowing tide up river amongst high speed motor boats (the majority of boats around here are power-boats and they are always driven at full-throttle). We anchored just off the town and bounced up and down as the motor-cruisers, speedboats, power-launches and jet-skis raced either side of us.

This coastline is now getting to be a bit tedious. Although the Guardiana was a nice relief, the brown sludge of the river coats the boat and we are in river sludge again in El Rompido and other places further East. The coast is one long, low-lying beach interspersed by high-rise tourist apartments and hotels. We have no wind here and the heat of the day is oppressive making it difficult to do anything without breaking into a sweat, slurried with sun-tan lotion. Sitting in the rivers it is not advisable to cool-off in the water.

It will be nice to move to clearer waters with less motor-traffic.


I agree with Pete it’ll be nice to see something different a real shame for Bobby as it isn’t spectacular scenery, I have high hopes for Sancti-Petri, which is described as the Caribbean of Spain. Here’s hoping eh!!!

Were off to see the sights of El Rompido.


It doesn’t really bother me that the coastline isn’t as spectacular as the Ria’s as I am having a wicked time with dad n Flikka however I think dad wishes I had seen some of the west Portuguese coast or north Spain. The weather has been exceptional so far, the sun making the days almost unbearably hot, but unfortunately there has not been much wind. Due to this, we haven’t made much progress on the sailing front, only having sailed a measly 37 miles in the 9 days I have been here… that suits me though as I get a bit nauseous at sea.
I’m really going to enjoy my time here at El Rompido as we then have a 50 mile sail, which will take us 10 hours if we have good wind which as of yet needs to make an appearance or if we motor which is not going to happen (its too expensive.)
Not much else to say really, dad and Fliss have pretty much summed it up nicely…

Sunday 13th August 06


El Rompido. Cyrstal clear water, tranquil sand dunes, stunning beaches with an attractive & quaint fishing village, beautiful trees hug the banks of the Rio Piedras.

Umm did we blink and miss it? Are we in the right place? Did Detlef Jens (the author of the pilot book we are using) actually come here? There is no clear water, tranqil sand dunes, attractive fishing village, stunning beaches but we do have trees.

There are more motor boats than the Solent on a busy sunny Sunday, the constant whirring of engines with owners loving to come as close to Nadezhda as possible. Many many jetskiiers all revving past at top speed, you’re attacked on both sides!

We would leave but due to the immense shallows and tides we have to wait till later on tonight.

Anyway yesterdays events.

Dinghy launched for shorebased activities & off we go to explore El Rompdio, no sand just thick black sludgy goo. Unfortunalty we had to carry the dinghy quite away with the goo squelching between our toes as we navigated through broken glass, dead fish and other detritious that littered the shore, to add to this joyous event I noticed an outfall very close to were we were walking. I’m glad that El Rompido is very small and has few inhabitants as we could have been up to knees in thick, black, questionable goo.

The village itself is really quite nice but not a lot to do apart from drinking beer and mud walking.

Good news is that it has cooled down a little and there are rumours about some wind tonight.

Today has been uneventful as we are waiting for the tide to change so that we can go to Chipiona (around 50 miles).


And to add to it, Fliss and I had jippy tummies this morning that made us feel weak and lethargic. A lazy, day being harassed on all sides and bouncing up and down on the wash. We even had some waves land on deck as they splashed up our sides. So much for the aforementioned tranquility!

El Stampede'o

Be glad to get out of here. We would have left this morning but I did not want to leave on a falling tide since, if we touched bottom and stuck, we would be neaped – stuck for the next few weeks – Arrrgh. Anyway, we will get going tonight and head for Chipiona.


Although the mud left skanky black bits under our toenails and the tides have not been in our favour, we can wash our toes and wait for the tide… its not that big a deal.

The village was ok, admittedly not as quaint and pretty as Faro, a friendly residential town like San Lucar or a lovely little market town like Ayemonte, but it was ok. There were very few facilities – a supermarket and a grocers – and only a lighthouse to look at.

Today, after a few games of Rummikub and me teaching myself to do cryptic crosswords ( nan and grandma do them and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about ) dad and I explored the small local beach. Not much else to tell really, though we found some mother of pearl and are going to try and get some more as its prettiful!

I’m having a really good holiday so far and I've only got 2 weeks left : ‘ ( but im missing my mum, glen and the rest of my family and best mates. Looking forward to getting home and having a nice pizza or a portion of chips ( my mum is a bit of a food natzi but here you cant cook junk… healthy stuff only to an extent,)

Sunday 13th August 2006-08-15

Fliss ………….

Hello again, it’s 11pm and a beautiful clear evening, shooting stars and a number of dilemmas!

Go into Chipionia in the dark (we would arrive at 1am) not desirable.

Go to Cadiz again in the dark (arrival would be 4ish) not desirable

So we have hove-to about 12 miles off Chiponia. 1st time we have done this and the boat is behaving really well a gentle rock and doing 0.50kts. and so far not a boat in sight.

Pete is due to go and grab some shut eye, Robyn is tucked up in the living room & I’m on 1st watch.

The sail has been good! nice close reach, steady wind (probably a force 4) and Robyn wasn’t unwell, in fact she helped me find my way through a maze of fishing pots as Pete was trying to get some rest before landfall (we’d going been going 20 minutes) We must have had to avoid at least 50 of the low-lying scallywags.

Pete then re-appeared and said there’s pots all around you, to be greeted with a duo of “we’ve been dodging these for the last 30 minutes”. They were everywhere!

So after and hour of hoving to Pete re-appeared and said “Sod this for a game of soldiers lets run to Cadiz, big port and should be well lit”.


Well, in order to get out of El Rompido, we needed to leave at the top of a rising tide. This meant either go in the dark down a narrow unlit channel before dawn or leave at 18:00. We chose the latter, which meant that we would arrive at Chipiona in the dark at low tide. This is not advisable since the C-Map charts show only about half a metre depth between the entrance buoys and the entrance itself. Fliss read the cruising guide that stated that there was an anchorage 5 miles NW of Chipiona and we agreed to go there. However, when I re-checked with the C-Map charts and looked in the Almanac, there was no mention of any such anchorage.

Let’s do some comparisons………………

Cruising Guide: “There are good and attractive anchorages just inside the estuary of the (Rio) Guadalquivir about 5 miles away from Chipiona”

Reeds Almanac: “There are no recognised stopping places and any anchorage is vulnerable to passing traffic”

Cruising Guide: “To sail up the Rio Guadalquivir, with the National Park ……..must surely be the absolute highlight of any cruise in this region of Atlantic Andalusia.”

Reeds Almanac: (Which normally shuns ANY critique of places): “The river is not difficult to navigate but can be hot and uninspiring, through the flat and almost featureless terrain of the Donana National Park”

I know who’s review I would place my money on. So, no anchorage and no entry to Chipiona.

Monday 14th August 06


So we went to Cadiz! We dodged fishing boats, one appeared to be aiming for so “Jobbo” shone the 2000 candle power torch on the main sail & the fishing boat got the message and turned, another drove straight in front of us dropping nets, all good fun & kept us awake.

At 6:30am we arrived at Cadiz, both feeling jaded! The navigation lights all blended into the background & add that with tired burning eyes it certainly was a wake up call.

Sails down, fenders out we find our way into the marina, Halleluiah! Christmas has come early, there’s two men waiting to take our lines!!! This to me is the height of luxury!

Even after stomping on the desks downing sails, engine on, mooring up & talking to other people Robyn didn’t wake up till 9am, amazing really!

We retired back to bed at 09:30am and woke up at 1pm feeling really shattered but we found the showers and ventured into Cadiz.

Looks absolutely lovely similar to Lisbon and today we will explore fully.

Pete had to be guided back to the boat as he was so tired that he had lost his sense of direction this is unusual for him.


Having decided that hoving-to was boring, we had a lovely sail down to Cadiz in bright moonlight slooshing-along easily at 6-7 knots. The entrance to the bay is nice and simple and, as long as we remembered that the buoys have a habit of jumping-up to meet you suddenly in the darkness, we entered without issue.

The sky lightened just as we finished getting the sails stowed, preparing lines and fenders and gave us enough light to see the entrance to the marina – perfect timing at 07:30 (local time).

Back to the issue of the Cruising Guide which states “However, the marina is quite a long way from the town and there is no bus service, so explorers will have to be willing to walk, or call a taxi, which may be one reason why this interesting city is missed by many yachts cruising the area”.

So we decided that we would just meander around the port and look at the views over the sea-wall since we were too tired to go too far. A short wander down the sea-wall and we found ourselves on the edge of the Old-Quarter of the city. Less than 15 minutes from the marina!


The sail was fantastic… the best sail I think I have ever done. I wasn’t ill. I helped Fliss through ‘Pot City’ and yes it was great. We set off and the sea was a bit rocky but as soon as we got the sails out it calmed down a bit. We had a good 6-8 knots all the way and were really speeding along.

I went to bed and dad had to turn the VHF down as some idiot kept talking about “monkeys want a banana” and “I.M.O” which was amusing at first but got annoying after a while. Dad said he had heard the same guy before I arrived about 150 miles up the coast, yet the VHF only picks up around 30 miles. Nadezhda has a stalker!

I have decided not to listen to the cruising guide any more. After saying El Rompido was “an attractive village…with dunes and fantastic beaches” (it was a bit of a dump and the beaches were muddy and really not that great,) and that there was a long walk into Cadiz … did this guy actually go to any of these places? If he did, did he actually leave the marina???

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Faro to Rio Guardiana

Sunday 6th August 2006


Yesterday we left Ila Da Cultra bound for Tariva which only around 17 miles absolutely no wind at all but we decided not to put the engine on and to just gently bob.

Around 5 miles off Ilha Da Cultra we “bobbed” into beautiful clear water (about 2.5mtrs). We decided to drop anchor and go for a swim. It was the 1st time we could clearly see how the anchor worked as it slowly twisted round and one of it’s flukes dug into the sand.

There was some tide so we tied a line and a fender to the boat and laid it out behind to give peace of mind to not so strong swimmers (me).

The water was lovely clear and warm but there wasn’t really that much to see apart from a few shells.

Pete dived down to the keel and I think was concerned that the water was getting shallower. I checked the depth and it had gone down to 2.4mtrs so up anchor, we were off again.

During the passage I decided to try my hand at making bread, I followed the instructions, clearly (I don’t usually do this) and for an hour nothing happened, it didn’t rise! I kept scrutinising it through the glass bowl willing it to bring forth great bounties and hey presto it eventually worked!!!!!! I stuffed the bread with Chorizo (like salami) olives, sun dried tomatoes and parmesan cheese. I made Bobby rolls stuffed with sun dried tomatoes and Parmesan. They were instantly scoffed and declared an all round success, the meat, olives & tomatoes seeped into the bread, they were delicious. I must admit I was a amazed as normally I’m a bit of a failure at bread making…. Who knows with this new skill, I could be a master baker when I get home.

I also made the St Lucia curtsey flag, really labour intensive! Cut out the flag, hem all the way round, draw in the detail (really just three triangles symbolising the volcanic island amid a blue sea with three central mountains) and colour in with blue, black and yellow. The flag was chosen 1979 after a local held competition.

We arrived at Tariva at around 5:30pm.

Out went the hammock. I spent a good hour and a half gently swinging as our dinner was left over Shepherd’s pie so Robyn & Pete prepared the rest, it was my night off! Mind you I still had to wash up.

Robyn in the hammock

Later on (around 9ish) Pete decided it was his turn. I don’t think life could have got any better for him as he was served vodka & orange juice (with a cocktail umbrella for effect) soft relaxing music & just gently swinging. The expression “The cat who got the cream” springs to mind!!

Bobby has just been for a swim and saw a flat fish with spots on it’s back.

Later on this morning we’ll venture into Tariva.

Anyway enough from me, hope all are well!


Not a lot to add. I took the snorkelling-break as an opportunity to scrape more grass off the propeller. It’s amazing how much it grows and how it manages to hang-on when the prop is turning.

I also prepared the oar that split the other day and glued and clamped it. We shall see if it holds together today. Unfortunately, the wood is saturated in salt and I think that this reduces the adhesion.

The fresh-water pump gave-up the ghost last night. It sounds like the belt that drives it has broken. A little job for today. Unfortunately I don’t think we have a spare so it’s down to the foot-pump now.

It’s very hot again. Both yesterday and today are shade-hunting days with no breeze to relieve the sultriness. I hope this does not last since I really don’t want to resort to motoring again.

Tuesday 8th August 2006


Tavira was quite nice, lovely little squares and side streets but not really that much you can say about it apart from a big supermarket which sold super large cans of Tuna, I was amazed at the size of them.

Church at Tavira

The fish here are great same as the fish in the Hamble, thousands all swimming together and they propel themselves out of the water some even making 3 foot in the air we love to watch them. We have a theory that they want to be dolphins when they grow up.

We left Tavira yesterday at around 10ish on our way to Ayamonte with no wind at all, where has it gone?

We motored down the river and Pete spotted a guy with a surf board and thought totally pointless as there was no wind or swell, he couldn’t have been more wrong the surf was magnificent, big high rollers, there must have been some wind somewhere but not where we were.

This proved to be a pain for us as we rolled all the way to Ayamonte. It wasn’t fun for Robyn but she did really well and we have a new cure for seasickness, bad jokes (they are bad) and just keep her talking to take her mind off it, poor thing! She wasn’t sick but just didn’t feel that good, from now on if there’s no wind we’ll go late afternoon & evening that way if she feels sick she can go to bed and sleep it off.

We decided to go into a marina as we were very low on water, not bad but no facilities to speak off.

Ayamonte is delightful sitting on the Spanish side of the River Guardiana, Lovely little town with markets, very pretty squares and back streets, loads of people just promenading and the town has a real feel good factor.

Last night at 10:30 (were usually in bed at this time) we donned our finest and headed off to the town to people watch, very nice but a late night! Pete and I are too old for late nights and feel shattered today.

It’s unbearably hot today and again no wind, the thermometer is reading 30.6 in the shade.

We’ll leave the marina later on today and drop anchor in the River Guardiana


I spent the morning the day before yesterday with my arm inside a very small space trying to get nuts off bolts and coax the water pump out. The belt-drive was ok and the problem with the pump was that the belt-gear was slipping on the drive spindle – easy fix by tightening the Allen screw. We now have running water again in the toilet sinks.

One of the oars split down the middle the other day and having glued it back together, I spent part of the rolly, hot passage sanding it down. Eventually, the dust produced was sticking to my sweat and making me feel even more hot and bothered and so gave it up. A job for another day!

This afternoon, we left the marina. This was an easy manoeuvre that did not go according to plan. We dropped the lines and started reversing, the prop-kick took the stern into the pontoon and the wind blew the nose off. There was no room really to go forward to rectify the situation and we jiggled and jaggled backwards and forwards trying to coax the rear-end off the end of the pontoon with Fliss pushing against the pile that supported it. A few attempts and we were free with just a rubber-mark as forfeit. Funny how, what appeared to be such a commonplace, simple manoeuvre can go wrong.

We had the wind behind us up the river and we set the headsail only. There is a bridge about a mile up with a documented height of 23 metres. As we approached, it looked very low. I slowed down by letting the jib fly loose but we still approached too fast to do anything if the mast hit. We went under with what appeared to be only a couple of feet to spare. I was certain we were going to hit, so much so that I was physically trembling afterwards. Anyway, we proceeded with no further issues and life was again comfortable after I had changed my shorts.


P.s I would like to mention that I usually do the washing so we’ll go back under at low tide.

Pete again….

The river is nice with olive groves on the hummocky hills and bamboo lining the banks. We arrived at our destination (20 Miles upstream) in late afternoon between the villages of Alcoutim on the Portuguese side of the river and Sanlucar on the Spanish side. Each side has its own fort and we can imagine in the past that there has been a lot of sabre-rattling across the water.




One of the good things about this place is that you can go to the Spanish side and have lunch at midday. Then, you can row across to the Portuguese side, set your watch back an hour and have it all over again.


I love it here. I really love it. Living on the boat, snorkelling, the sun shining every day… it’s a hard life! As Fliss said, the sail was not good from my perspective. I was a rather ominous shade of green for the whole trip, the boat rocking furiously side to side. To take my mind off it, Fliss told me some very, very bad jokes i.e. What’s white and blue and swings through the trees? A fridge with a denim jacket on… I still can’t figure out why fridges with denim jackets on swing through the trees but I laughed and we therefore have decided that my sickness is mostly psycho-somatic.

Anyway, yesterday didn’t go off to the best of starts. We had to leave the marina at 1 o clock Spanish time as we had paid for 1 night. I had just got back from shopping (my favourite past time) in Ayamonte and we decided to head off up the river. Nadezhda would not behave and dad and Fliss had an interesting time exiting the marina whilst I sat below reading my book.

It wasn’t long after we set off up the river that we saw a bridge. We weren’t sure whether it was high enough for the mast to go under without touching. Fliss and I ran to the front of the boat and dad stood at the back helming, all trying to make the decision whether to turn round or whether we could make it under without damage.

We left it too late though and so even if we had decided to turn around we didn’t have time to stick the engine into reverse. We went through with just a couple of foot to spare… dad was shaking after this so I, being a very nice daughter, fetched him his ciggies and he seemed to calm down after that. We watched another boat, with a slightly longer mast sail through after us. It seems that they waited to see if we would make it before attempting it themselves!

9th August 2006


Last night was unbearably sticky, no breeze at all, Robyn & I struggled at bedtime, I think after a couple of hours she drifted off but I didn’t.

The Spanish dogs were calling the Portuguese dogs and they went on all night, the church bells on both sides chimed every thirty minutes & our resident walrus snored! Teem this with the heat it wasn’t a restful night. In the early hours Pete being a gentleman offered me his side of the bed, which was cooler. Tonight we’ll move slightly down the river otherwise I’m in the dinghy with a Stanley knife to give the dogs an emergency tracheotomy and the bells are going to get it too.


We awoke to find the anchor chain had collected all the river jetsam. We had a complete floating island of bamboo at the front of the boat and another hanging off the outboard of the dinghy.

We got up early to climb to the fort on the Spanish side before the sun rose too much. This gave us great views across the countryside but the fort itself was a bit of a nonentity. This afternoon, we will visit the Portuguese fort that is actually in the village itself and will not be a sweaty climb.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Sao Vincente to Faro

Monday 31st July 06



We awoke to an abated wind and raised the mainsail before taking-up the anchor. When taking the anchor chain in, it pulled-up short at 30 metres, we were stuck! I put the engine in ahead but it simply pulled the chain over the gypsy on the windlass. I put the anchor snubber on and reversed hard and suddenly we were freed and the anchor came up fine. Off went the engine and we had the jib out and were roaring along at 8 knots towards Lagos. Even after the wind died to a light breeze, we were still doing over 5 knots….amazing what new sails and a clean bottom will do.

We were headed straight for Lagos, but there is a headland just before. We ran out of wind just at that point but the headland was an intricate carving of arches, caves and inlet-grottoes. We dropped anchor and set about exploring in the dinghy. We rowed in, out and around the beautiful coastline as tourist dories roared back and forth – we should have arrived a little earlier!


Eventually, we set the headsail and gently slid past the rest of the cliffs to Lagos where we dropped anchor off the beach (the marina is 40 Euros per night!!)

After the heat of the sun had abated, we took the dinghy up the river towards the marina and left it to re-provision. On the way back, the wind had come back with a vengance and the outboard motor decided it was time to play-up. We coaxed it with many pulls of the starter cord and eventually got back even if a little wet.

Today, we set off under headsail only bound for Alvor, a massive 2.5 miles away. The town is inside a shoal inlet and the guidebook suggested that you could probably get a boat with 2 metre draft in there. We went into the entrance just after low tide so that we could see the channel before the shallows were covered with water. However, the pool of water at the town is small and there were many masts sitting close together there. We decided that we could wait until high water and then find nowhere to anchor so it would be better to go straight on to Faro. We set sail again, 6 knots under headsail alone.

As we were skirting the coast, I noticed a bay, rock formations like Lagos and a few masts. We detoured for a look and liked it so much that we have stopped for the night. This has the same rock-arches and many pinnacles thrusting out of the water. Beautiful bay and clean, white sand. Much less touristy that Lagos and the better for it. The really good thing about this cruising lark is that, if you don’t have any hard timescales, you can change your itinerary as many times a day as you feel like. Bliss.



Yes the trip back after provisioning was interesting with Pete uttering the immortal words of “Start you child of unwedded union” after a soaking & me leaning forward to keep the nose down we arrived back at Chez Nadezhda.

The trip to Alvor did leave sweat beads on the forehead, I helmed and Pete piloted us in, it was unbelievable! The sand spit must have been 10 foot away! Yes there were masts and yes it looked busy but in all honesty we chickened out! It was hard conditions as the wind was blowing the nose off and you had to give Nadezhda rev’s which isn’t ideal when approaching serious shallows. When the depth dropped to 2.3m Pete made a call to anchor. I’m sure we touched bottom as the depth alarmingly showed 1.8m, I’m glad we didn’t go further as I’m not sure my nerves would have held up for the rest of the trip.

It’s lovely here really laid back.

We’ve been for swim but I must add getting into the water was a challenge but Pete wasn’t a gentlemen and splashed me so I had no choice but to go the whole way.

I agree life’s a beach when you have options and it was a superb call on Pete’s part as we are sheltered and the sun is shining and it’s a good life.

Tonight just chilling on deck, I-pod with speakers a few vino Portuguese and an early start tomorrow for Faro.

Evening in Faro Lagoon

P.s we have mastered a new technique for launching a dinghy in surf, it’s called the Hawaii 5-O technique. We don red swimsuits and pick up the dinghy and run out with it and then leap onto the boat grab oars and paddle for all it’s worth, we look total plonkers but hey!

Wednesday 2nd August 2006


Yesterday, we raised the anchor early and set-off for Faro, the wind was light and the sea was calm. Every so often, the wind died completely leaving the boom wandering gently from one side to the other. We stuck-it-out with no urge to resort to the engine since we thought that the afternoon breezes would eventually arrive. And so they did. We finished our uneventful sail at 7 knots and practiced our gibing into the narrow entrance of the inland waters of the Faro/Olhao lagoons. We anchored half-way up the channel to Faro all alone. Listening at night, we could have almost have been back on the River Hamble as we heard the familiar sounds of warbling waders.

This morning, we motored-up the channel on flat, glassy waters and have got just about as close to Faro as is possible before the shallows make further progress impossible. The lagoon is full of narrow channels bounded by flat grassy areas just above the water-line and the occasional sandy hummock. Navigation is interesting and the deep water is not always where you might expect it.

Although when leaving this morning, the day was quiet and peaceful, we are now anchored under the airport approach and ‘planes are roaring above our mast every 5 minutes. The airport is 6km away, so we are well positioned to pick-up Bobby who will be joining us tomorrow morning.

Close to the shoals


We haven’t told you about the super yacht we’ve seen a couple of times, she’s a British boat and must be about 50 metres or more, a real stunner. I reckon she’s owned by someone famous as the skipper speeds past us in his powerful launch so that the owners can’t be recognised.

We might not be a super yacht but we also have a skipper, 1st mate, cook, and bosun on board.

Nice gentle sail yesterday that I managed to cook a lasagne on route, the only thing is I made far too much so it’s lasagne for the next three weeks.

Anyway got to go and finish making mossie nets for the guest bedroom.

Friday 4th August 2006


Bobby arrived at 9:30am and getting to the airport was really easy we took the local bus and it took around 20 minutes.

Faro is really quite lovely but not that big. We visited the cathedral, which was absolutely lovely and very ornate.

Faro Old Quarter

Usual provisioning, what do you cook for veggies? The choice in Portugal is very limited.

Early afternoon we picked up anchor and headed off for Ilha da Cultra jib out and sailing gently down the river, watching out for the ever-closer shallows.

Robyn was tired and had an early night.

Illa da Cultra in the Portuguese pilot book is said to be stunning so in the morning off we went in the dinghy and weaved our way through the anchored fishing boats.

The part of the shore where we landed was dirty, broken glass, fishing hooks and generally looked neglected. After quite a long trek we found the raised path, which leads to the beach, who needs the Great Wall of China! It seemed like miles.

The beach was very winding with lovely soft sand but the water had loads of weed in it. No one went swimming.

Back to the boat and we decided to go to Olhao only a short trip up the river again a gentle sail up.

We dropped anchor just off the harbour & I went down below to cook a shepherd’s pie.

The harbour master or some chap in uniform told us we couldn’t stay and to move over the other side of the river or go into the marina, so we moved only for him to turn up again to tell us we couldn’t stay where we were. We could only assume that they try to bully you into going into the marina.

So were back where we were last night.

Sadly there’s not a lot to say as I don’t find it that exciting here.


Anchored in Faro, we were spitting distance from the sudden shallows. We only realised this as the tide went-out and the land came ever closer. A boat came in late in the evening and thought it was a good place to anchor behind us, I jumped-up and made hand-signals saying “no, no, shallow!”. He was Spanish but got the gist of it and moved elsewhere. I am sure he was grateful after he saw the terrain at low water.

We inched out of Faro at low water. For a time, we only had one centimetre of water beneath our keel but soon found deeper water downstream and had a lazy sail to Isla Culatra.

Note to ourselves: Don’t leave the engine on the dinghy when towing no matter how short the journey, it looked like it was going to turn-turtle and drown the outboard.

Today was a bit of a let-down after the pilot book rated the place so highly. However the pilot book, although bought recently, is utterly out of date and is written by a marina-dweller who has no sense of adventure. Tomorrow we shall go to Tavira which the Lonely-Planet guide suggests is a bit better.


What can I say…The 4.30am start to get to Southampton on Thursday was not my idea of fun…but it was definitely worth it. I arrived at 9.30 in Faro…a quaint village with a beautiful cathedral and lovely walkways….yesterday we motored down to ilha culatra but did put some headsail up at the end and were really gunning it.
We sailed on to Olhao ( pronounced Oh haowl … how people get Oh Haowl from those letters ill never know) … anyway … the washing up awaits….
Oh and dad, fliss and I were doing a crossword… and the clue was _ _ _ p _ s of wrath … a film…. We got fed up as a lot of the clues were this hard and put in silly answers so it looked finished and we didn’t feel bad about not completing it… dad said…..the Grapes of Wrath… at the end we looked in the answers and….it was right!!! What a guesss….. you go daddy….