Where is it, how to get there, how does it work... which will eventually become the FAQs,
The nearest airport is at Faro which is about an hour and a half’s drive. Car pick-up at the airport can be provided for up to four guests for €45. If a larger group is coming it is usually possible to arrange a mini-bus. Alternatively you can get a bus from the airport to the town centre, and then either a bus or the coastal train to Vila Real do Santo António, passing through popular resorts like Olhão and Tavira. Collection for up to four guests from Vila Real would be €20. The bus service from Vila Real up the Guadiana valley is very infrequent, to put it mildly!
The next nearest airport is at Sevilla in Spain, about two hours drive. Again collection of up to four guests can be provided for €75. Sevilla has a beautiful city centre, so a late collection or early delivery could be arranged if you wanted to see the city for just a day.
The boat is usually based at Laranjeiras, about 9km south of Alcoutim. But as it’s a boat it can move, so you can decide what view you want from the cockpit as you eat your breakfast and there’s plenty of moorings to choose from. Because the boat is not a commercial passenger vessel, guests are only allowed to voyage aboard as volunteer crew. No payment is solicited or accepted for voyaging aboard the vessel.
There is a charge for running costs in diesel and maintenance for moving the boat of €35 per hour. It’s obviously more ecologic and economic to do this with the rising or falling tides, when the boat will be motoring at 8 to 10km per hour. To attempt it against the tide would reduce headway by a good 4kmh but then getting into the rhythm of the lunar tidal clock might be an added attraction to life here on the Rio Guadiana.
Visitors aboard are joining the vessel for a bed and breakfast service. The breakfast will be traditional Continental, with tea and coffee, fresh orange juice, bread and butter with jams, honey and cheese. If you have a special dietary requirement then most things can be arranged with advance knowledge.
The vessel has a bar serving cold beers, wines and soft drinks at normal local prices, but when the boat is moored in it’s home port of Laranjeiras guests are encouraged to instead patronise Nuno’s bar on the quay, which has a much better choice anyway!
At other times, such as at remote anchorages or en route, a light lunch of bread, cheese and meat with fruit and a wine or beer can be provided for €6 per person. Lunches can also be provided in picnic form for walkers.
I’m sure you’ll want to use the local restaurants and get a taste of Portuguese cuisine. But if the vessel is in a remote anchorage, far from the nearest café or even road, you can still try some local specialities. The restaurant at Laranjeiras provides a bookable take-away service of traditional dishes ready to reheat aboard. These are always subject to season and availability, and are especially good in the hunting season. These evening meals with dessert are provided at ±€12 per person depending upon the menu.
When the boat is moored on a visitor pontoon with electricity supply everything works! When we are off supply four solar panels charge the batteries and economy of consumption is important. Things like the espresso machine and the oven use too much power, and charging mobile devices would best be done in the day. The boat’s water tanks hold one thousand litres, ample for a week of visitors, but showers can’t be 40 minute daily affairs!
The toilet is an electric flushing macerator system and simple to use. It is very important that no paper other than “reasonable quantities” of toilet paper are put in.
The shower has a pump out that needs to be switched on when it’s running because the shower tray is below the level of the river outside. But none of it’s complicated and will all be shown in detail when you’re aboard.