WIKIPEDIA SAYS :
The Guadiana River (Spanish pronunciation: [ɡwaðiˈana], Portuguese: [ɡwɐðiˈɐ̃nɐ]), or Odiana, is an international river defining a long stretch of the Portuguese–Spanish border, separating Extremadura and Andalucia (Spain) from Alentejo and Algarve (Portugal). The river's basin extends from the eastern portion of Extremadura to the southern provinces of the Algarve; the river and its tributaries flow from east to west, then south through Portugal to the border towns of Vila Real de Santo António (Portugal) and Ayamonte (Spain), where it flows into the Gulf of Cádiz. With a course that covers a distance of 829 kilometres (515 mi), it is the fourth-longest in the Iberian peninsula, and its hydrological basin extends over an area of approximately 68,000 square kilometres (26,000 sq mi) (the majority of which lies within Spain).
The Ria Guadiana is a cruisers mecca, it forms the border between Portugal and Spain , a vast winding river that has little commercial traffic or disruptions, has no buoyage and is home to MANY cruising yachts looking to escape high mooring charges.
The entrance is well marked but shallow, the sea turns from a clear blue to a muddy brown as you approach a sure sign of a fast flowing estauary, the entrance is not to be trifled with in a storm.
A sand bar blocks the entrance and at low water spring tides there is only a meter of water so care has to be taken and the tides calculated before pressing on , we had two meters at one hour after high water.
Perfect for pressing deep up stream as the flood tide carrys you in at over 2 knots and to maintain steerage I found my self doing 5 knots over the shallows, not something I like doing when I dont know the area at all - plus the depth gauge flickers between 100 meters and 3 meters with everything in between.
A short distance up stream lies the bridge that spans this mighty river, a steel and concrete umbilical connecting Spain to its neighbour Portugal, the height of the bridge is 23 meters and my mast is 15 meters (I think) plus an aerial so staring up at the widest span as you pass beneath makes it feel as though you are about to hit .
The river broadens out after the bridge and meanders its way in land for many miles , much of it is navigable, stick to the outside of the bends for deepest water, we took the tide up river for 3 hours before dropping anchor opposite a really pretty Spanish farm house - with a rooster it turned out ...hmm
The tides were fairly big being close I suspect to the equinox and the flow was amazing, rowing ashore was difficult , sleeping was difficult with much debris clanging against the hull like the sticks against a drum , steel has such good acoustics at 03:00 !
We stayed here for a week and enjoyed the chilled out life style , waking late - tired from "the log drum" that we had become - bed early as the light faded fast , there were several other cruising yachts coming and going , it was interesting guessing the nationalities from the boat designs.
It took us four hours to get back down the river the night before we left, there was thunder in the air and lightening striking the sea not so very far away, fortunately we had timed it right as the storm was dieing, we anchored on the seaward side of the bridge before the fishing harbour - you know they go out early and settled in for the night (no drumming)
Cruising = boat repairs in the sun
So there I was minding my own business, just drinking beer and whiling away the time, I was sat on the coach roof, I knew the roof had shrunk back from being in the sun shine, forty years of rain in the uk had taken its toll and now the sun had started to dry out the timbers.
Initially I just thought a little epoxy filler would be a good temporary repair - initially i was mistaken , the small repair turned into a BIG repair, the forecast was for rain in a few days time, the roof had a leak - lets fix it !
Imagine a world with no more buckets catching drips, imagine a land where the bedding stays dry and mould is banished forever, thats where i want to be , in a world without drips - Im going to fix it once and for all.
My nickname in wood work was Ian - no good with wood , I hated wood, i always sawed off to much , always glued bits on, hated what I made, I once made a finish out of silver birch - where was the point ?
Now this is getting a bit serious, this will need more than a bloody sauce pan to catch these drips, dont panic, stay calm, its the roof , we wont sink !
A totally seamless repair -id say invisible