The Rio Guadiana

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.
Suspension 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.
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Bay of Pigs
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.
Two Villages
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.
Praia Alcoutim
New & Old
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.
River anchorage
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.

 


Comments

The Rio Guadiana — 4 Comments

  1. Mr. Vaslav MARKEVITCH, MARCO VINCI RESEARCH, Climate, Mountain skying and ocean sailing specialist, brought up in England in the early Fifties. on said:

    17.jpg

    Hello Vickie and Roland,

    Glad you went up river and enjoyed it. I know both sides well and have visited there occasionally on each side, but always tributary of my car, no boat, except a public ferry to go sometimes over between Alcoutim and San Lucar. I much prefer the Portuguese side and people’s welcome, and know just about very village between the bridge and up there.

    I was just a bit surprised that you chose Ayamonte’s marina, with lots of huge dredges, little room to meneoeuver and plenty administrative hassle, rather that Vila Real de San Amtonio’s smaller, more quiet and elegant surroundings. I even remember meeting there a retired British admiral with his yacht, flying the Blue Ensign reserved for former Royal Navy.

    Was very interested by your brave passage below the bridge. That must have required guts ! I remember once an Irishman told me that to solve that problem, he had once weighed his boat down a few feet, and putting all the heavy things temporarily on one side, also managed to incline the whole boat and advance crabwise so just so the mast wouldn’t hit !

    Your photos are simply beautiful and bring me lovely memories. Guadiana is a world to itself. In pst times it was a regular crossing for fugitives, starting with the Jews fleeing Inquisition, then later during WW-II as a path for Allied Airmen trying to get back to England via Portugal. Later, it was much less recommendable, as some of the local Spanish villas below San Lucar high above Guadiana, were reputed to be drug stashes !

    Net weekend, am driving and ferrying across from Ancona to Split on my first pilgrimage to pray for us all at the Hill of Miracles of Medjugorjé in Bosnia, where since 1981, Our Holy Mother Mary began appearing (and still does to 6 local villagers (4 girls 2 boys now grown up and all married with families). My life has been saved a umber of times in exceptional circumstances and last week I had a dream and got a message : “Now is the right time to go”.

    Although I rarely go to church, except when they are empty, I feel duty bound to obey this call. Qttached is a picture my eldest boy Manfred took of me in the early ‘Eighties when we were visting Haderslev in Jutland, apparently reputed for being Scandinavia’s largest traditional church. As you can see, it is symbolic too of our love for the sea.

    Question to Roland :

    When will someone invent a properly working telescopic mast ? Folding ones may be fine, but take a lot 0f hard work fixing and are not reputed to be very tough.

    All the best to both, and keep in touch,
    Vaslav &

    17.jpg

    Hello Vickie and Roland,

    Glad you went up river and enjoyed it. I know both sides well and have visited there occasionally on each side, but always tributary of my car, no boat, except a public ferry to go sometimes over between Alcoutim and San Lucar. I much prefer the Portuguese side and people’s welcome, and know just about very village between the bridge and up there.

    I was just a bit surprised that you chose Ayamonte’s marina, with lots of huge dredges, little room to meneoeuver and plenty administrative hassle, rather that Vila Real de San Amtonio’s smaller, more quiet and elegant surroundings. I even remember meeting there a retired British admiral with his yacht, flying the Blue Ensign reserved for former Royal Navy.

    Was very interested by your brave passage below the bridge. That must have required guts ! I remember once an Irishman told me that to solve that problem, he had once weighed his boat down a few feet, and putting all the heavy things temporarily on one side, also managed to incline the whole boat and advance crabwise so just so the mast wouldn’t hit !

    Your photos are simply beautiful and bring me lovely memories. Guadiana is a world to itself. In pst times it was a regular crossing for fugitives, starting with the Jews fleeing Inquisition, then later during WW-II as a path for Allied Airmen trying to get back to England via Portugal. Later, it was much less recommendable, as some of the local Spanish villas below San Lucar high above Guadiana, were reputed to be drug stashes !

    Net weekend, am driving and ferrying across from Ancona to Split on my first pilgrimage to pray for us all at the Hill of Miracles of Medjugorjé in Bosnia, where since 1981, Our Holy Mother Mary began appearing (and still does to 6 local villagers (4 girls 2 boys now grown up and all married with families). My life has been saved a umber of times in exceptional circumstances and last week I had a dream and got a message : “Now is the right time to go”.

    Although I rarely go to church, except when they are empty, I feel duty bound to obey this call. Qttached is a picture my eldest boy Manfred took of me in the early ‘Eighties when we were visting Haderslev in Jutland, apparently reputed for being Scandinavia’s largest traditional church. As you can see, it is symbolic too of our love for the sea.

    Question to Roland :

    When will someone invent a properly working telescopic mast ? Folding ones may be fine, but take a lot 0f hard work fixing and are not reputed to be very tough.

    All the best to both, and keep in touch,
    Vaslav &

  2. Hi Vaslav,

    We did enjoy the time in Ayamonte. No hassle at the Marina at all. It was actually a slower process checking in at Vila Real de San Antonio, were we are at the moment. But you are right, VRSA is more elegant! Both places are worth a visit.

    Roland

  3. Hi. We are planning to sail up to the river Guadiana in the next few days. We are wondering if you know of any available guidebooks on the bridge and the river which we can obtain from a nearby town like Faro. Thank you.

    • roland@bellaluna.biz

      Bcc : marcovinci77@gmail.com

      RE : Rio Guadiana

      HELLO VICKY, ROLAND AND FRIENDS,

      No clear whether this was your email or someone else’s of your friends. But have lived both in Ayamonte and Portuguese side for almost a year, so know and visited both side of Rio Guadiana most of the way up, including beyond sailing areas.

      As an old sailor myself, have already had to face bridges. Am astonished no one mentioned the old, safe and well proven trick of “bending the boat”, maybe using some kind of ballast, and sailing it under bridge without sails, slowly and on engine only, with mast at a fair angle of some +/- 50°. A very easy way to pass bridges whatever their airspace. Also no need to trust some not always trust worthy sailing books.

      Another piece of advice. The Portuguese port and modern marina opposite Ayamonte’s port, Vila Real do San Antonio, just a little lower on the river, is much more friendly, welcoming and equipped. I even once saw a British Admiral (flying Blue ensign!) sail out of there and heading north with his S/Y. Had a very high mast, so I guess he may also have “bent”.

      Going up-river, no great distance and scarcely inhabited beaches until you arrive to Portuguese end of River’s normally deep sailing area, at small town and port of Alcoutim, easier to reach than opposite Spanish side. River being sometimes narrow and not deep, if you want to enjoy and relax, advise slow motor sailing only. On land, short of walking to the nearest tavern and bar, best use bikes. There’s plenty to see. Last but not least, remember that Portugal time is GMT.

      For the rest, have a good time and keep in touch. “Dinskohl, minskohl, alle vracke flickor skohl…”

      Vaslav MARKEVITCH
      Ocean Dept.
      MARCO VINCI RESEARCH
      Email to: marcovinci77@gmail.com

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