Arriving in Spain!
We left our anchorage early in the morning. Today we would reach Spain! Can you imagine? We left August 5 and 23 days later we sailed all the way to Spain! The morning started off very dark. The sky was black and yellow. No idea what would come out of that darkness at the horizon. We reefed the main and genoa … kept waiting what would happen … and nothing happened! It turned out to be a beautiful sailing day! The distance from Portimâo to Ayamonte is 63,2 NM. We were offshore for 10,9 hours of which we motored 7,8 hours … according to the logbook … which we are not very sure of if this is correct. We have a digital logbook and you have to manually give in what happens. Which is not always accurate as we might forget to turn it off again. We arrived at beginning of the river around 18.30. Still, the sun was shining and the temperature was great. Entering the river is easy enough from either Portugal’s Algarve coast or Spain’s Andalusia’s coast. Sailing further up the river you see the stunning white suspension bridge called ‘X-Lax Bridge’. It’s very low and if you want to pass under the bridge you have to wait until low tide to go through. We cannot go through as our mast is too high anyway. The clearance height at low tide is barely 60 feet. Very tricky, so we stayed in front of the bridge! There were 3 other boats anchored so we decided to do the same. But anchoring is tricky we found … there is a vicious current that runs up to 5 knots .. which we only found out in the middle of the morning when the anchor alarm started yelling. We had to go out a few times that night as the anchor was dragging all the time. Early morning we were lying in the middle of the river which was fine as the river was wide enough and we would not hit anything! If you stay here for a longer period of time remember that you have to speak Spanish on one side and Portuguese on the other side. And there is a one hour difference!
The Guadiana River
The Guadiana River is the river on the Portugal-Spain border, separating Andalucia (Spain) from Algarve (Portugal). The river’s starts from the east of Spain to the southern provinces of the Algarve; the river also flows from east to west, then south through Portugal to the border towns of Vila Real de Santo António (Portugal) and Ayamonte (Spain), where it flows into the Gulf of Cádiz. The river covers a distance of 829 kilometres (515 mi), it is the fourth-longest in the Iberian peninsula, and its hydrological basin extends over an area of approximately 68,000 square kilometres (26,000 sq mi) (the majority of which lies within Spain. There is a well-equipped marina in the river called Marina Isla Canela. The natural beauty of the river formed by a labyrinth of caños, branches, steams and mud plains, make this a must-see spot for nature´s lovers. There are many different bird species which feed, grow and live around the river. Spatulas, Flamingos, Terns, Cormorants, Seagulls, Snipes, Ospreys and many more.