9th to 14th February 2018
By the time we got to Alvor, a few hours later than expected, the tide was well on its way out, so we anchored just off the channel by the entrance. This turned out to be a serendipitous decision. Once we were settled Arthur’s first words were something along the lines of “its good to be at anchor. It is beautiful here.” He was right – the kids, and us, are so much happier out of the marina/city and with space to explore and play without restraint.
The next day was spent largely on two beaches, either side of the sand dunes. We saw a real-life example of “Sharing a Shell” (one of the kids’ favourite books), with a hermit crab struggling to carry an anemone; only missing the bristleworm trying to get in, wriggling and making a fuss. Anyway, it was cool to see and watch for a while. Exploration of the sand dunes and sand-building sites (including an extensive crab harbour) ensured the time passed quickly and with many smiles.
We moved up the river to the main anchorage, or rather outside the main anchorage – we couldn’t see a space with comfortable swinging room in the anchorage itself, so put ourselves near to another catamaran over the river, with our swinging circle taking us about 10m from a sandbar. Later in the day Dave took Arthur over to the sandbar and dropped him off, which he loved as it meant he got to explore the sandbar on his own for a short while before Charlotte and Theo joined him by kayak.
The sand dunes outside Alvor have a wonderful walking route through them which we visited after a grocery shop. The town itself, while VERY touristy, seemed nice enough. We could have happily spent a few more days there, but had to get to Faro the following day to meet up with Nana G. As the bottom of the boat was heavily fouled having spent too long in a marina, a couple of hours after high-tide we went back to the sand-bars near the entrance from the sea to the river and sat the boat on the sand. One of the pleasures of owning a catamaran is that in sheltered waters we can simply drive onto a beach and “park”!
By 6pm it was shallow enough for Dave to get into knee/waist deep water to clean the hulls and check the boat over; and by low water we realised we would struggle to get off in the morning at the time we were hoping to. So, Dave dragged the anchor out about 40m to where the water was waist-deep and left it there for the night, hoping that as the tide returned and then ebbed it would drag us somewhere slightly lower. We ended up floating by about 9:30am (2 hours after low water), slightly later than hoped but much earlier than we would have been able had we left the anchor alone. Well worth the effort.