The night before our departure for the River Guadiana, we helped a boat tie up on a berth alongside Money Penny and realised that Sally had been near us in Marina Lagos when we stopped there in November/December. Her owners, Hakan & Eva (having spent the winter in Lagos) were now continuing their journey too.
At 8am on the 21st March 2018 both boats slipped their lines and continued on with their adventures.
Sally alongside us.
Ayamonte, on the mouth of the River Guadiana, was our next port. The River Guadiana is situated on the border between Portugal & Spain. The 47 miles from Albufeira to Ayamonte Marina took nine hours under a mix of both sail and motor. The wind was slight until we reached our destination and were approaching the Berth, but we moored up safely and went to the office to check in. On the walk to the office we noticed another familiar boat, however this one had been in Milford Marina - Jane G, belonged to Jane & Clive. Alistair had first met them in August of 2014 when they arrived at Milford Marina on their retunr form a 16 years, 1 month & 2 days circumnavigation of the world. The press had picked up on the story and Jane & Clive had even featured on morning TV. We headed down to their pontoon to say hello and ended up spending a couple of hours drinking coffee and chatting about their experiences and then joining them in a local restaurant for Tapas that evening. Ayamonte was their ‘home port’ for the time being.
Jane & Clive had told us about a festival taking place up river in Alcoutim and Sanlucar. The villages are opposite each other on the banks of the river (Alcoutim in Portugal & Sanlucar in Spain). We spent two nights in Ayamonte and then headed upriver to join the festivities. We sailed the whole way up river passing Questing, Brett & Vicki’s boat, and then anchoring off Alcoutim. The only drawback was an English couple (who believed they owned the mooring rights to the river) hurrying out to us in their dinghy to inform us that we were far too close to their boat as a storm was approaching (we were at least 50m away!)…….we moved to maintain the status quo, the storm never materialised!!
Questing in the River Guadiana
The festival is a ‘contraband’ festival, celebrating the history of contraband between the two villages & countries. A temporary floating pontoon across the river gave one access to both villages, with stalls displaying and selling ancient crafts.
Local people played the part of smugglers, moving back and fore across the floating bridge selling all sorts of things…. from flowers, copperware, ironware and even ‘ladies of the night’ selling their bodies!!! To cross the bridge you had to pay a Euro for which you received a bandana to prove you’d paid and a number of bands played throughout the afternoon on either sides of the river.
We spent two nights at anchor in the River Guadiana and then made the 9.8 knt, down wind sail, 18.7 mile journey back to Ayamonte Marina passing under the suspension bridge that conects Spain & Portugal. The following day we departed Ayamonte for Rota – again in the welcome company of Sally.