The Guadiana River - by Lochlann

Rio Guadiana, Portugal/Spain October 2014

The Rio Guardiana is a long, deep tidal river that flows into the Atlantic forming the border between Spain and Portugal. Pomerao, a town some 25 miles upriver, used to be a base for Sulphur and Copper mining. It was mined further upstream then slowly made its way down river going through the crushing and separation process at stages along the way. Large ships travelled upriver to collect it and then take it to other destinations.
Sailing up the Guadiana with scandalised main to slow us down.

We sailed from Culatra in company with Humph and Maggie arriving at the mouth of the Guadiana later that same day. We sailed under a huge suspension bridge that made ‘laser zap’ noises as the wind passed through the wires. Mum let me climb the mast and stand on the crosstrees as we passed underneath. We couldn’t get all the way up to the two towns of Alcoutim (pronounced al-coo-teem) and San Luca that night, so we anchored half way to spend the night. The next morning we motored (no wind) up the river to the two towns. One of the first things we saw was a zip line leading from a tall hill on the Spanish side to a platform on the Portuguese side.
Going under the bridge with Lochlann pretending to be Captain Jack Sparrow!
Two Wylos sitting in a row.
Fin and I thought it looked like brilliant fun but Mum and Dad said it would be too expensive. We chugged our way past other Wylos (Ariel, Io and Zarlia), anchored a little way upriver of the towns and rowed ashore. We went to San Luca, on the Spanish side, first and looked around and got some chips in an exorbitant cafĂ©. We then went over to Alcoutim on the Portuguese side and decided that it was far nicer than San Luca. We found a very good library. It had Internet so we went in and everybody but me sat and stared at their ‘I-things’. I looked around at the library and found some English books and a wide collection of DVDs. I found about six that I wanted to watch but mum made me narrow it down to one - The Amazing Spiderman. I have wanted to watch it for a while but Mum has refused to get it for me. We went back to the boat that evening and as we tied the dinghy alongside, Thierry, the owner of Io, invited us over to have a look at his boat. We met his 14 year old son Yari, and Fin and I played card games with him while the adults talked boats.
Lochlann swimming
One morning we joined Humph and Maggie and went upriver to the small village of Pomerao. We tied up alongside a pontoon. There was a wide pole leading from the pontoon to the wharf and apparently was used for a greasy pole game when it was fiesta. Fin and I got our trunks on and walked along it. We then proceeded to have a pitched battle atop the pole to get the other into the water first. Fin got me in but then I grabbed his legs while he was straddling it. I put my feet against the pole (upside down) and pulled as hard as I could. Fin leaned to counterweight my pulling and then I suddenly let go and he toppled in the opposite direction into the water. I laughed so hard I swallowed a lung full of water and then Fin chased me out! It was great fun.
Maggie had friends that were taking her to go swimming in a lake a short drive away. She took us with them and we had an enjoyable swim. Then she took us to a small museum and we learned about the sulphur and copper mines. Some of the ore was crushed and then shipped to other countries to be used as gas which was used in World War 1.
Finbar thinking about swimming.
When we arrived back at the boat we were very tired, and mum and dad let us watch Spiderman while they went out to supper with Humph and Maggie. The film was good, symbolized by the fact that Fin deemed it “okay”.
The next day we went for a walk that Humph had shown dad that went through an amazing mining tunnel that was pitch black except for periodical ventilation shafts that acted as spotlights that came down through a shaft in the roof. When we went back to San Luca, Humph and Maggie paid for us to go on the zip slide as a goodbye treat. The company drove us up in a landrover and hooked us on, opened a small gate and…
… we whizzed down with the wind howling in our ears. It was absolutely amazing!!! A big thank you to Humph and Maggie for such a brilliant treat!

When mum deemed the weather suitable we motored downriver to the mouth of the Guadiana. We re-stocked with fuel and water at Villa Real, on the Portuguese side and then filled the lockers with stores in Ayamonte on the Spanish side. It took two trips in the dinghy to get all the shopping to the boat. So much so that there wasn’t room for me and Mum in the first trip.

The next morning we left mainland Europe and set sail for the Madeira Islands.
Written by Lochlann
Music as we sail.


  1. I love reading your blogs. And the pictures are great. Where are you now ?

  2. What a great time! I really enjoyed your entry Lochlann - I think you should think about writing as a career. Great photos too! Best Wishes Piers

  3. What a great time! I really enjoyed your entry Lochlann - I think you should think about writing as a career. Great photos too! Best Wishes Piers

  4. Thank you Piers! Lochlann was chuffed with your encouraging comment! xxx