The Three of Us

The Three of Us
Bessie - much missed

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Return to ,S'Ours

At last, flights are booked for 23rd September for our return to Alcoutim, Portugal.  So much has happened since our last post.  I, Tina have recovered now from my fall and spleen removal in April, having spent the summer in England with our 2 grandchildren, our youngest son has got married and our eldest has a new relationship.  So all is well with the Burgesses.

When we are back on board and had time to make plans, will let you know what they are and where we will be cruising next.  Till then, safe sailing to all our cruising friends and we look forward to catching up with a few of you in the near future.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Such a long time since last post!!!

It has been several very busy months since I last posted to our blog, so I thought I would just give a quick update to let folks know what we have been up to.

Since leaving Cadiz and travelling back to the River Guadiana we have had our friends Richard and Viv out for a visit and a great time was had.  We look forward to seeing them out here perhaps aboard Sea Change in 2013.

Christmas and the New Year were a very hectic time on the river with lots of parties (working and otherwise) and we had to escape down to Pomerao for a quick breather before heading back to Alcoutim to start all over again.

I (Tina) have returned to England for 3 weeks to visit Family and left Geoff aboard S'ours at anchor.  From his telephone call it sounds like he is having fun - attended a Jazz festival amongst other things so I don't feel guilty leaving him on his own.

Now I have a new IPad (thank you Graeme) I will try to keep you all updated more often and also to add some photos next time

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Spain and back

We have had a good 4/5 months with wonderful sailing conditions (no overnighters) just meandering along the Algarve coast from Portimao in Portugal down to Cadiz in Spain and back again to Faro where we have rented a mooring for our visit home to see the family.  We have been very impressed with this region with its many safe and varied anchorages.  Amongst our favourite are Tavira, El Rompido, Cadiz and of course the River Guadiana.

Tavira anchorage was enjoyable for its birdlife with many Oyster Catchers calling throughout the day.  Plenty to watch when the locals came down at weekends and some nice walks.

It proved very handy having the bikes aboard as it is a good couple of miles hike down a level road into the town which is very well equipped with supermarkets (incuding Lidl which all boaters love), free internet in the town square and a wonderful library where you can read the English papers.

Again lots of bird life in El Rompido, lovely walks on the beaches accessed by dingy and a walk over the dunes on boardwalks.

Cadiz, a wonderful old Spanish Town, very hospitable and within easy reach of several other towns by rail or bus.

The River Guadiana - I have fell in love with the place and could easily put roots down here, so much so that I even dragged Geoff off to look at a house (shock, horror say our sailing friends), but it was a lock and go type of property, so we would still sail for most of the year but I would have somewhere to put our few remaining treasures that are in storage amongst our family back in England.

We have left S'Ours on a mooring in Faro for a month whilst we visit family and friends back in England.  A live-aboard neighbour is kindly keeping an eye on her and is reporting by email to keep our minds at rest (first time we have left S'Ours afloat).

We are due back aboard on 7th November accompanied by our good friends Richard and Viv who live aboard in dreary old England.  We are hoping our enthusiasm together with first hand experience of the area will give them the encouragement to throw off those ropes and join us in the Med.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

River Guadiana to Cadiz, Spain

On 4th July we managed to get the hook out of the Guadiana glue and coast hopped down to Cadiz. We made a short stop at Isla Christina to get a new furling line at the Fishermans Harbour (VAT free). Not a particularly interesting town but made the most of it.

We then sailed down the coast accompanied by dolphins to El Rompido and a really lovely anchorage. We managed to anchor first off just off the seaward side of the river - it being the weekend it was somewhat busy, but they all go home at the end of the day.

We spend a couple of days there and then moved up the river some 3 miles and managed to anchor just east of the fuel dock opposite the small town. Great little resort town, with a couple of small supermarkets and a slightly larger one located in the resort near the lighthouse.

Were able to dinghy across to the ferry landing stage and take the boardwalk across to the sea beach. Spent a wonderful few days just chilling out and walking on the beach.

11th July and it is time to head for Cadiz. After a smashing sail we managed to anchor round on the inland side of Cadiz just next to where they are building a new bridge. Great shelter from the SE through to the NW. There is a small sport fisher marina ashore where you can leave your dinghy securely - they made us very welcome. The old Town is within walking distance and after a day sightseeing we caught the No. 5 bus back to the anchorage.

There is also a very large Department store/Supermarket within a 5-minute walk so provisioning was a doddle.

We were able to take the bikes ashore - Cadiz is very bike friendly and we were able to leave them locked in the marina for the duration of our stay there, which was very handy. We also tamed up with another British couple and enjoyed a few evenings ashore in the Tapas bars.  You can pick up a Tapas Passport from the TIC - you have to visit 6 Tapas Bars and enjoy Tapas and a glass of wine and  get the passport stamped, you then go to the TIC where they validate your passport and hand over 3 bottles of wine per person.  The Tapas cost us 2 a total of 36euro - the 6 bottles of wine are selling for 3.45euro a bottle, and it is good wine :) 

When the wind swung around to the east we up anchored and sailed across the bay to Puerto Sherry which has an anchorage behind the training wall opposite the Marine. This anchorage is only really open to the South, so we made good use of both anchorages sailing back and forth as wind dictated.
We caught the bus (3.5 Euro each) to visit Jarez so that I could see the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art performance, something that I had wanted to do for many years. Unfortunately you were unable to take photos during the show but when the Tall ships visited Cadiz - an unexpected added bonus, as part of the event the School put on a performance each night and I was able to take photos then - magic.

30th July and we have booked our flights home for 10th October and booked the mooring in Faro for the month (120 euro) for S’Ours so we are now making plans to move on and are looking at sailing across to Tanger in Morocco and maybe Rabat if we have the time - watch this space.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

27th May – At 10.30 we set sail heading east.  First stop was Culatra Island just off the coast near Faro.  Had a great sail until the winds dropped, so out come the cruising chute and we were on our way again at around 3 to 4 knts.  Dropped anchor just off the island in the afternoon and had a very peaceful night. 

We had been told that we must visit the River Guadiana which is the border between Portugal and Spain and as the wind was still with us next morning we headed off early and after another cracking 40mile sail we made the river entrance and dropped anchor off the Spanish town of Ayamonte – good holding.  This is a good place to provision for a prolonged visit up river.  There is a large Mercodona supermarket (situated on the town bypass) within walking distance of the marina and a smaller supermarket right on the waterfront near the ferry dock and petrol/diesel available close by.  The marina wanted 5euro a day dinghy charge but we tied up to the inside of the ferry dock at no charge.  We were told that there is a Lidle in Villa Real but we didn’t go over there, maybe on our return trip.

We headed north up river under sail with the tide.  We need 20mtr clearance for bridges and had room to spare at low water going under the A22 bridge.  We have since been told it had been laser checked at 23mtrs HWS.  Approximately 1 mile north of the bridge on the Portuguese side (west) there is a floating 100ft pontoon belonging to a golf club. You can’t see the golf club and, no one bothered us for the 2 days that we stopped there.  It is a handy place with 4mtrs at low water.

The pilot guide is straight forward for the trip up river with plenty of water on a rising tide.  We made it to Alcoutim under sail on the one tide.  There are a few villages on the way that have their own floating pontoons where you can land a dinghy, will do them on the way back.

Alcoutim itself has 2 docks at 10.50euro a night for a 41ft boat, and fabulous free hot water showers ashore. Small Spar like shop ashore selling everything but not a lot of fresh veg.  Gas is available, petrol and diesel is not (6k nearest Petrol Stn). 

You can use the washing machine (2.50euro a load) at the youth hostel (own dock) 1/4mile up river from Alcoutim and you get to use their swimming pool for free (just ask).  Internet is free at the local Library with power supply and there is also a book-swap.  The local Tourist Office is very helpful.  On Saturday mornings there is a fresh fruit and veg market (very small) and a refrigerated meat van (excellent quality) to be found over the bridge and first turning on the right. 

Alcoutim have developed a delightful Lido where you can swim, chill out, walk etc. just behind the town on a tributary of the Guadiana. 

We were lucky to arrive when they held a 2 day festival there with live music, local produce, pastries (yum yum) and all manner of craft stalls – had a great time.
Sanlucar on the Spanish side has a similar pontoon with unlimited stay (always full).  2 shops and a baker (excellent).  Cheaper than the Portuguese side - 1 hr time difference and they also have siesta for 3hrs in the afternoon.  There is a high ex pat population this side and people are very helpful.  Smashing book-swap and David has hand drawn charts of the Guadiana for up river exploration.

We caught the bus to Mertola (Mondays and Fridays - 4 euro per person each way).  Well worth the cost of the bus, had a great day out (Castle shut Mondays).

There are lots of nice trails on both sides of the river that are well marked and which we made good use of. 

Packed up the rucksak and spent the day walking part of the GR114 on the Spanish side - hot but very enjoyable.

Like everyone says, it is very easy to stay here longer than originally planned.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

The anchorage off Ferragudo beach has plenty of room with at least 14ft of water.  The only drawback is the wash from the fishing boats as they leave and return morning noon and night.  Once you get used to that, it's ok. 

The marina is just across the river where you can get water and they have laundry facilities - large machine 16kg for 8euro including power and softner. 

The other good thing is that you can pick up free wifi from several different sources in the anchorage so if you swing about a bit you can usually pick up one or the other.   

Speaking about swinging about, S'Ours is known for weaving about so we purchased a secondhand homemade riding sail for $10 in the USA and used it for the first time here. 

What a different it has made, very pleased, she is much more settled in winds at anchor now.

Spares and yacht parts - difficult and extremely expensive here (there is almost no leisure sailing by the Portuguese at all).  The answer is to order elsewhere in Europe and have it shipped in by local shippers/removal companies (we did this for our paint, tools and other odds and ends) at a cost of £30 per 1/4 cubic meter (1m x1m x .25m).  Collected them from their depot in Alcantrihla.  Fishing boat parts, stainless steel and machining are all readily available.  We had new chain plates made here.  There are specialist tradesmen around - check in the boatyards at the fishing harbour - just ask around there.

The town has a good range of shops and supermarkets with a great Lidl just a bike ride away :).  Their bread is excellent, cheap and freshly made each day on the premises - couldn't keep Geoff away.

The train service is hourly and cheap to Faro where a bus connection to the airport is just some 200yds from the station.  I flew home to Stansted for 40euro (one way).

Ferragudo seems to be the quieter, family side whilst Portimao is the high rise hotel, nightclubbing side, so you have a choice. 

Very pleasant walks around the headland to other small secluded beaches.

We have spent a very pleasant few days here just getting a few odd jobs done.  Have finished varnishing the floor which looks very nice now.

 We have decided it is time to leave so with a good 15knt wind blowing this morning and forecast for the next day or so it is up anchor and away for faro and pastures new - quite excited.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Back in the water at last

14th May - After what seems a very long haul of much hard work and lots of frustration, the day has finally arrived to put S'Ours back in the water. 

The tractor arrived promptly at 10am and without any hitches we were out of the yard and lowered gently back into the water. 

After checking all systems we gently motored down to the anchorage just of Ferragudo beach.

We soon settled back into liveaboard mode again with a quick dip over the side and sundowners in the cockpit :)

After a couple of days we decided our shakedown cruise would be just 4 miles down the coast to Alvor.

On 16th May we left and had a very slow, gently sail, only making 3 knts at best and found an anchorage just outside the town.

Went ashore to find that the have built a wonderful boardwalk that goes from the town right down to the harbour entrance (approximately 1 mile long).  So we took the beach option first and then walked back along the boardwalk together with a few locals promenading for the evening.

Alvor is a small but rather nice town with a splendid beach and at this time of the year not too crowded.  I think we are seeing it at its best.made use of this deal of course. 

The local supermarket had a deal,  if you spent 25 euro on groceries all your meat was then half price.  I bought 5 kilo of mince and bottled the lot for later use :)

20th May and it is back to Portimao to get some laundry done in the marina and for Geoff to carry out just a couple of minor jobs that still need doing.

After a much faster sail back - 6 knts, we are once again  anchored just of Ferragudo beach where we can pick up free wifi - very handy.