06/05/2010, Mértola// Minas San Domingo
Mértola, 38 km north of Alcoiutim on the Guadiana is in the province of Alentejo (a well known good wine production area). It is hazardeous to reach it with our boats, so thanks to Mo, our new friend resident on the Guadiana shores, we drove through the steep hills and deserted landscape. We all got in his van for a little discovery trip. with Andreas, Swedish first met in Falsterbo who just came with his boat to Alcoutim. Since Antiquity, the area was already well known for minerals and for its prime location along the river. The Romans had established a good base at Mértola as show important ruins close to the Moorish forteress. The little village has been a very impressive settlement dominating the narrow valley since the pre Roman era. The Moors took over and the islamic culture left its trace even nowdays, some islamic holidays are still celebrated. Farther in the Alantejo where a torrid and dry wind sweeps the smoother hills, we go see the Minas Santo Domingo. The mines were closed in 1943. Exploited since the Romans, it is now a open wound in the landscape. The region is ruined by the acidic mineral deposit. The little village where the miners lived is still surviving among the remains of the mine and the acidic small artificial lakes with their bare and unhealthy shores. Far from the coast and its often clashy tourist traps, there is a lot to discover if what you want to see is the Portugal which still belongs to the Portugueses. Few tourists go deep in the country, and even fewer cruisers who prefer the security of the English speaking costal towns and marinas. Well they miss a lot, but we surely do not miss them around us !!
New pictures to the Photo Gallery
is like on the picture... looks mysterious and we don't know which way it really leads us.
One day at a time, we are following our intuition.
In a couple of weeks we'll fly back to Sweden and France to meet family and friends, and also to deal with some practical matters.
Our itinerary. not written in stone, for the next 6 months or so is to explore the Guadalquivir river to Sevilla, and then sail to the Canaries, Cape Verde and Senegal before eventually crossing to Brazil.
No fixed dates, what so ever, we'll stay as long as we're enjoyng it and heave anchor when it feels right to do so.
Some new pictures uploaded to the Gallery
for anyone with a keel boat i e. :-D
with a keel boat with the restrictions of around 1,60 meters of water...
We went north for a weekend trip, towards Poamarao, which is as far north as one can get on a keel boat.
However, the village didn't look all that appealing to us, so we turned back half a mile or so again.
Anchored at a bend in the river. Rowed the dinghy up a tributary to a little valley, completely ininhabited, with crystal clear water, fig-, olive- and almond trees, meadows and flowers en masse.... a little PAradise just for ourselves a full afternoon...including swimming in a pool in the almost dried out tributary.
A splendid day!
Sunday afternoon we went back to Alcoutim and dropped the hook at pretty much the same spot as the last time.
Bamboo is a bit of a problem in the river. Once in a while a stack of it comes flaoting with the tide, ends up on the chain or sometimes like in the photo on the stern - while we were atthe pontoon last weekend - andcauses significant drag.
Enough to cause us to drag anchor due to the really poor holding on the rocky seabed here...
WiFi is very nice to have on board. It's what makes all the difference as to being able to communicate with friends and family, and for me at least, to do some work from the boat.
We've had a NanoStation2 wifi amplifying antenna since a bit more than a year now and as with many technical convveniences, you don't realize just how dependent you are until they break or fail. A couple od days ago, the converter from 230 V to 12 V burnt and hence the unit didn't work and I had to sit outside the public library to get wifi signal. Not fun at all.
So after getting som technical support from friends on sailfar.net in particular I took to mending the unit yesterday.
After a lot of thinking, trying to remember whatever I learnt in elctricity/electronics back i school 30 years ago, I gathered the courage to solder a 12 V bridge pass the fried 230 V power input and thus powered the unit directly from the ship's mains which is an advantage obviously compared to working over an inverter.
Much to my surprise (!?) it actually worked, and I m now happily uploading this blogpost from the boat again.
As an aside, the technical mannual for the NS2 on their website states thatit works on anythng between 12-24 V DC so no problem.