Finally we got away from the Guadiana Glue/Velcro or whatever it is that prevents boats from setting out to sea again. How long ago since we'd had the sails up? Sometime in spring with the usual preparations for getting the boat ready, but it must have been before this squatting happened:
Some bird had tried to make itself at home – but we must have changed anchorage before it got settled.
I felt quite sorry for the poor animal, but the result caused by another invader made me feel quite the opposite:
This hole in our staysail must have been caused by a rat and the most likely place for that to have happened must have been on the pontoon at Alcoutim, because around the pontoon in Laranjeiras are lots and lots of cats. Unless the rat climbed up somehow when we were anchored? Anyway, it could have been a lot worse; years ago we'd had a rat chewing about ten holes in a brand new sail. (A good reason for having a ship's cat again?)
With a favourable High Water early one morning we steered Eos across the Guadiana bar – nice to have the current with us and also nice to have plenty of water under the keel. Quite lumpy though it was at the river entrance and it got only slightly better out at sea. The wind was too weak and too much from behind to fill the sails properly and there was a side swell to help us roll even more.
Just after setting sail we saw a big Navy ship approaching and we hurriedly turned on the VHF. They didn't call us though but came straight at us, slowed down to near stationary when they were right next to us, did half a circle around the boat.... and sailed off again. They were probably put off from boarding because of the sometimes wildly moving boom and gaff!
A more welcome visit was made by many dolphins. How delightful it always is to have them playing around the bows.
Having sailed out of the Guadiana at High Water we had plenty of time to get into the Ria Formosa before the next High Water, which was a good thing because with just the little bit of wind there was all day, Eos took her time covering the 30 miles. Only in the entrance to the Ria we were going fast; the nearly 3 knots of current swept us in real quick. Wouldn't like to have that kind of current against us!
Last summer we really enjoyed Culatra, but after having spent so much time on the Guadiana, we had forgotten about the noise and movement by all the little boats dashing across the sandbanks at High Water from Culatra to Olhão, added in the weekends by the holiday speedboats and occasional jet ski, plus the disco noise reaching us all the way across from the mainland and on top of that the many airplanes right across to and from Faro. Despite all that, Culatra is a real good hide-out away from the August heat, the crowds and the expensive marinas. It's an anchorage with plenty of space and we noticed how several boats were of the same opinion, staying there for weeks or months at a stretch.
The island still gives the nostalgic old-fashioned beach holiday feeling with the prettily painted low houses and the “roads” only just wide enough for the 3-wheeled Apecars. For all the nice pictures see last year's entry Cool Culatra.
However, some buildings don't quite make it.
Deliveries to the restaurants and small shops on the island are done by boat and also the dustman does his work by ship.
We kept close watch in case our dinghy would get flooded by his cooling water.
From last year we remembered how cool it was being anchored here, but this year it was much warmer and not so windy. Also the sea water was of a really pleasant temperature; swimming off the beach on the south side of Culatra (the “outside”) was the most fun with the yellow flag showing; nice big waves – making you realise how much stronger and real dangerous they would be when a red flag is flown.
Culatra has moved up in the world and now boasts an internet “cafe” on the beach. Not much shade is provided and you need to try out different positions to see anything on your screen, even on a cloudy day.
And why was I the only one there?
Because the internet connection wasn't working!