After a few days at Marina Ayamonte, we left and motored a short way up river to anchor and wait for the low tide so we could squeak under the suspension bridge. Our mast is 20.7 m including antennas. The bridge is 18 m accordingly to the charts but our guide book states 20.5 high tide 23 low tide…………. We felt more confidence because we knew of another 43 that made it under the bridge.
We then took the flood tide up river 20 miles. The fairly narrow Rio Guadiana separates Spain and Portugal so our anchorage put us between the Spanish village of Sanlucar de Guadiana and the Portuguese village of Alcoutim.
There is a one hour time difference between Spain and Portugal so the two churches in each village ring their bells at the top of each hour of their respective time. It is set so each church’s bell rings separate from the others. The rest of the hour you are entertained by the songs of the many birds. On either side there are multiple roads, either paved or hard packed rock for cycling or hiking that cross the beautiful country sides. This is a very pleasant place to relax and enjoy the surroundings. We are told that several cruisers like to winter here at anchor.
In Alcoutim they brought in truck loads of sand and made a very nice park with a sandy beach along a tributary. This was partially funded by EU.
Making our way back to the Atlantic, our next anchorage was a bit more remote with very small villages about 1.5km apart. As darkness arrived, we were serenaded by dozens of barking dogs on both sides. We speculated it must of been our anchor light that caused the noisy canine discussions.
Our last night at anchor was approximately 10 minutes up river from the bridge and this time as darkness arrived and we went down in the boat we heard a very odd noise. Then I remembered our friends told us about the fish that croak just like a frog. That was definitely the sounds, croaking frogs. It was quite amusing.
Next morning 0730 we snuck under the bridge and watched a beautiful sunrise.