By Konstantin Gridnevskiy
Recently, I went to the Algarve in Portugal for sightseeing and packrafting and here are a few impressions from this trip. This tidal mill is one of the few things that we saw on our recent trip to Algarve, Portugal.
It doesn’t look like it, but the waves were huge and my initial idea to packraft to the cave, which can only be accessed from the sea, was blown away by the strong south-western winds the moment we arrived there. But it didn’t mean that we still couldn’t enjoy the sun and a bunch of fresh juicy oranges that we bought on the way.
Even though not all my packrafting dreams in Portugal came true, I still managed to ‘paddle’ and sail the estuary of the Rio Formosa on the Atlantic Ocean coast. But I had to be rather careful as well – most bushes were out there to get me and my packraft.
One of the things that went wrong was also the problem with my paddle – when packing, by mistake I took parts of two different paddles with me. You can imagine my surprise when I discovered that on the shore, next to the water. But I did not despair and decided to DIY out of the situation by joint two parts with a piece of wood that I found at the place. It did help … for a while. But that’s another story 😉
The wood I used was not too strong and when it came to paddling against the wind, it snapped and I ended up with two parts again. Good thing I had my Windpaddle (the sail) with me, which still allowed me to enjoy packrafting at the estuary of the Rio Formosa in the south of Portugal.
The estuary of Rio Formosa is a narrow strip of water between the cozy and the Atlantic Ocean, which is influenced by the regular tides and the winds. It snakes through the sand and mud flats and helps to form numerable islets that grow or disappear with the tidal changes. The area stretches for dozens of kilometers from Faro in the West to past Tavira in the East.
My playground was the area near Cacela Velha, an ancient town, which is still dominated by a medieval church and an 18th-century fort. During the Islamic period, this place was called Cacetalate Darrague and it also had a fortress built in the 8th-9th century to ensure control of navigation on the River Guadiana. However, it is possible to suspect that there was a settlement here as long back as the time of Phoenicians. The current fortress was rebuilt at the end of the 18th century after it was destroyed in an earthquake in 1755.
Going back up to our car, I held my head high and my packraft even higher – the seashore there is not only full of seashore shells but also of sea shore prickly pears. Marta caught me at the moment when the birds were flying over me – they were the highest. ?
Was a ‘good-bye’, but definitely not a ‘farewell’ …