Speedwell of Rhu Ship's Log

21 st to 25 th of March 2018 - The Guadiana river again

Crew : Andy and Helen
Destinations : The Guadiana River, Guerreiros do Rio, Alcoutim and .
Distance : 99 miles

The alarm rudely woke us at 0600. It was still dark so we slowly had breakfast and prepared Speedwell for a long day sail. We left just after 0700 at dawn. We sailed toward our waypoint under reefed genoa and mizzen making over 8 knots, sometimes nearly 9! It was cold. Although there hadn't been much swell forecast there were short waves making for an uncomfortable sail initially. I succumbed to seasickness but by 1200 the sea had settled and our speed had reduced to 6 knots with a Force 4 on the beam. We were able to set all the sails and Andy went off watch for a short nap. By about 1330 the wind died completely. We passed a couple of other yachts one heading roughly in our direction and the other seemed to be going toward Huelva. For the last 4 hours or so we had to motor. The wind did pick up but it was on our nose as we motored into the Guadiana River entrance. We anchored at around 1730 below the Guadiana bridge. The wind slowly died away giving us a peaceful night.This made a nice change as the weather always appeared to come from behind us in Chipiona so we had a lot of slapping from the waves in the marina on our stern at night. 

The following day we weighed anchor around 1330, as the tide started to flood. After roughly 15 miles of motoring we found a space to anchor near a cafe at Guerreiros do Rio. The hills either side of the river were beautifully green in comparison to September and nice and cool. We went ashore for a beer which was the cheapest we had found so far. We explored the village briefly making plans to go ashore again the following morning to visit the river museum. Unfortunately the museum was closed the following day due to the Festival del Contraband going on up river at Alcoutim and Sanlucar de Guadiana. So instead we had our first custard tart of the year and coffee, and a walk above the river surrounded by lavender and beautiful wild flowers. We then returned to the boat and motored for an hour up river to join the party.


As we approached the anchorage at Alcoutim we noticed a pontoon going across the river between Portugal ad Spain. It was going to be quite windy and the tide is quite strong so we anchored leaving plenty of swinging room. There were more boats at anchor than there had been in September. Many of them appeared to have been there to over winter and others just for the festival like us.

We went ashore and crossed the pontoon bridge to Spain, joining in with the spirit of things even though we didn't really have any idea what was going on. It was the first non religious festival we have come across and there was plenty of eating and drinking happening. There were various stalls exhibiting local artisanal crafts, various people dressed up as smugglers and some music. We stayed until Sunday morning when we took the ebb down river. The wind was from the north so we were able to sail the whole 20 miles down river and under the bridge using just the Genoa. We anchored back where we had started.



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