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A guide to the anchorage and other information of assistance to the cruising sailor

Culatra Island Chartlet
This anchorage is at the entrance to the channel leading to Faro and Olhao and is the recommended anchorage for the area.. The anchorage is on the inside of a sandy island with beautiful beaches, particularly on the southern shore. The small village has a few fishermen's cottages, holiday home and a small hotel..

The anchorage at Faro is beneath the flight path to Faro airport - one of the busiest in Europe whilst at Olhao the anchorage is in the channel leading to the commercial port.

Culatra anchorage is open to the west wind and therefore it is not recommended that a boat should be left unattended for long periods in the winter months.

There is a cafe on the island and a ferry service operates throughout the year to Olhao where there are frequent connections by bus to Faro and other places on the coast

RCC Guide - Atlantic Coast of Spain and Portugal - Fourth Editon

Amendments and comments :

"I don't agree with much of what is said about this lagoon. I visit there every week and have never been aground in a channel. My RCC pilot which is the edition before last has the buoys up to Faro in the wrong position (I am sure that they have been changed) however I use an up to date Portuguese large scale chart that has all the buoys in their correct positions (on which I am sure the chart in the new pilot has been based), leading lights are excellent. My students do pilotage exercises there by day and night and never have any problems. It is completely OK to arrive at low water. On a big spring ebb you will find the tide at the entrance to be as much as 7 knots. However by keeping to the extreme left (within 15 metres of the western mole, the ebb will be reduced to about 4 knots). Then leave the 3 port hand buoys just to starboard to keep out of the worst of the ebb.  Approaching from the west there is a sand spit with a depth of 0.5 which extends almost .7 mile in a SE direction out from the sandbank about a mile from the entrance. (This depth is shown on the admiralty chart). The best way to avoid this is to keep .75 mile off the sand bank for the last two miles (use of radar is the easiest way to do this) then approach the entrance using a transit of the green and white beacon on the end of the eastern mole in line with Santa Maria light house."

Received form Martin Northey - Algarve Sailing School - June 2000

Press the appropriate button to cruise along the Coast
Going EAST
Vilamoura 8 m
Vilamoura 8 m
Portimao 33 m
Going WEST
Vila Real 32 m
Vila Real 32 m
Tavira 9 miles