So Anders Eliasson took his new Thames skiff over the border to Portugal for a short holiday. As promised, he reports:
Lago Alqueva is an artificial lake in Portugal. Its in the south in the Alentejo province and part of the lake is on the border with Spain. It’s the biggest artificial lake in Western Europe and its more than 80km (50 miles) long. The region is also considered to be the least populated part of western Europe.I was there for 4 days with my 12´ Selway-Fisher Thames skiff and my dog, rowing some 3 to 4 hours a day.The place was a very pleasant surprise. It's late summer here and everything is very dry, but the feeling was fresh and lush. The water is not clear but it seems to be very clean with a lot of plants and fish. The whole zone is pretty deserted and accomodation is scarce. No campsite, very few hotels or B&Bs. I slept in the back of my Ford Focus van and enjoyed the loneliness. That was what I was looking for.I could imagine that the lake would be a really great place to do some serious dinghy cruising. There are an endless amount of small islands and hidden bays where you can camp wild. There´s no need for sleeping in the boat. The weather was warm but not overly hot, a maximum of some 32 degrees celsius. Most days there were a stable wind of some 6 to10 knots, in the afternoon a little stronger and in the morning less.The little skiff did great. Its not the ultimate rowing machine. Its too short and fat for that (12 x 3´8) but it is a dedicated rowing craft and you reach max hull speed with little effort. I´m looking forward to going back. Its only a two hours drive from where I live.Thanks Anders - the HBBR folk have been discussing more far-flung cruising grounds and I think this one is now on my personal list.