Some on the boat would say we are back home...in Port de Soller where we spent about a month previously. Back here so that we can get Niamh to her flight tomorrow from Palma, to say hello and goodbye to Pete and Kathleen and their 2 tiny dogs, and to do some remedial work on a couple of boat issues! Not sure how long we'll be here this time!
After leaving our mooring in Asinara before first light, sneaking through the narrow pass just on first light, we were off back across towards Manorca. See you (probably for the last time) Italy, although we've said that before! A mostly mellow crossing, apart from a large electrical storm that stayed around us for several hours overnight (spectacular if not a little unnerving), and a bit of a front that brought 35 knots from nowhere and incurred a bit of damage to our main sail. We made it into the great but by this time of year very busy little anchorage of the outer Mahon harbour, in time for a swim and freshen up.
Back to our old haunt off Donkey Island after a very very (if you ask Kath, uncomfortably) fast trip across the Strait of Bonifacio. The infamous winds of this strait were true to form and Tim was having a great time battling Patea's rudder against the wind all the way!
Last day in the lovely Corsica - too short a time here but its been beautiful, great weather, warm(er) water for lots of swimming, and lots of sunfish!
Lyndsay arrives, yay!
Four days anchored here and day tripping around the corner to the stunning Scandola nature reserve (land and sea) with lots of snorkelling, mountain goats, and stunning geology. Tim and my favourite place so far :)
Oops, sorry, we haven't updated for a while...this is where we've been!
Tucked into a marina for the eve, so we're hauled ourselves up the steep road that leads to the old township, and exploring the narrow streets and old churches. Danielle leaves us tomorrow, after a week of lots of sailing and a little bit of relaxing and walking - it's been great having her along, and hopefully she'll join us again for some of the Atlantic!
The weather is meant to abate in the morning, so we'll head back up the coast to Scandola, where we will get to put an anchor down and actually get in the water this time!
Quick trip up the road to Capo Roso, nestled into the national park and in a nice anchorage surrounded by steep red cliffs, which we scaled and explored for the afternoon, dodging Mediterranean Bush lawyer and admiring the birds of prey circling overhead (falcons? Eagles?). The weather is die to pack in tomorrow, so we'll do.A quick trip up to the Scandola marine reserve and then run for cover at Cargese.
A quick sail up the coast to the Island of Sanguinaires, a nice snorkel, followed by a couple of hours walking around the Island, checking out the historic buildings, fortifications, tracks, and dodging the myriad of young chicks covering the Island. The birds are predominantly large seagulls, and despite the raucous nature of the adults, the fluffy little chicks held great appeal to the younger members of our party! The island is busy during the day with ferry-loads of tourists, but we arrived as the last ferry left so had the whole bird sanctuary to ourselves for the evening:)
We'll continue north tomorrow and look for safe anchorage for the next few days, as the mistral is meant to blow hard from the west during the middle of the week.
After a quick spin around Propriano doing check in formalities (5 mins with the gendarmeries), a quick shop, some beach time, and lots of photographs of the quaint little town, we sailed (and crocheted bumblebee poops - ask Izzie who is stoked with her new crochet set!) our way up the coast to Porto Apollo for the night. We're still feasting on Yellow-fin - just 2 more kilos to go!
We'll work our way up the coast over the next few days and head to Scondola world heritage site, which is purportedly a-mazing!
Bonsoir! Just arrived in Corsica, after a mirror like crossing from Sardinia, and then 4-5knots of genny reaching for the arvo. Mellowest crossing between countries we've ever done! We're now nestled into a wee forest clad nook in the south west, with a spattering of picturesque cabins poking out from the bush. It looks, and smells, surprisingly, like old leather and wood smoke. I think we're going to like it here..
A surprisingly fast trip across from Minorca to the Island of Sardinia, with the big gennaker up mostly, and comfortably sitting on 6 - 8 knots all the way. Crew performed faultlessly, although there is a rather tired tween on board now! At least 6 pods of dolphins, a turtle, and about 7kg of blue-fin tuna in the fridge being sashimi'd and consumed at an impressive rate:) We've frozen some but the boat will be exclusively piscivorous for the next week I expect!
We snuck in late last night back to Ascinara National Park, where we will stay the night and then head on to Corsica in the morning. Hopefully with a quick walk ashore to let Izzie Chase some donkeys!
A quick call in to this nice little anchorage in Minorca, Thai noodle spicy chicken for dinner, rounded off with a home-made egg custard for desert, a glorious nights sleep, then we're off to Corsica tomorrow - hopefully we'll be there by Friday, weather dependent.
Tucked back into Sa Calobra - the snake - with a glorious full moon about to sprout over the cliffs above us. A quick swim in the morning and we'll boost our way across to Minorca tomorrow, in the invigorating 3 - 5 knot breeze forecast for the next few days.. Fuel supplies allowing, we will start the motor to Corsica on Wednesday, and hopefully catch the back of a dying mistral, arriving into Corsica Thursday night - fingers crossed..
Tucked in to the west side of the large bay that harbours Palma - the Mecca of (expensive) yachting in the Med. Super yachts, check. Beautiful little beaches and coves packed with punters, check. Super expensive everything, check. Ah, the other half certainly seem to be doing just fine here! We'll just pretend for a couple of days and move on before we get exposed for the fraudsters we are, hola!
The plague-ship Patea calls in to a nice we spot just north of Anthradx (how fitting) for the night, before heading to Palma tomorrow. Sorry Dani, the bug that was 'gifted' to Niamh on her flight over 2 weeks ago hasn't quite departed us yet. Bring vitamin C!
A quick sail down to the island of Dragonera - named no doubt due to its profile and menacing cliffs (I'd swear it's a set from the Game Of Thrones), but after a quick visit to land, could equally have been named from the teeming lizard life ashore. Everywhere you look there are lizards chasing each other around the myriad of stone paths and walls that seem to meander around much of the harsh landscape. Friendly little lizards too - one little guy climbed halfway up Niamhs arm before retreating, and then doing it again before skittering off. Izzie on the other hand was a little more cautious of the little dragons running amok! We'll continue around the Majorca coast for a safe anchorage tonight, as Dragonera is no place to be at night!
Ducked 'home' for a couple of nights before heading to Dragonera tomorrow, then on to Palma to pick up Danielle Sunday eve, then onwards to Corsica. Hmmmm, more sticky-dirty-socky brie and baguettes - breakfast of champions!
We've made a plan for the next week, and item one was to go explore some close anchorages, and this little ripper was at the top of that, uh, sub list.. Picturesque? Lovely? Beautiful? Maybe stunning? All adjectives definitely appropriate - we're nestled into this tiny turquoise wedge of the Mediterranean, that somehow manage to squeeze between these towering vertical cliffs, with the teeniest tiniest beach separating the rock faces, behind which then opens out into this massive ravine that goes up into the mountains... Yeah, a piccy tells a thousand words, and maybe thats the best plan..
Fortuitously, Niamh is a serial social medeorite, so check out the facebook page if you want to see a few more:)
Drifted back 'home' after a nice day at Tuent with 5 knots of breeze from behind, and cold beersies in hand, and have been settled back in Port de Soller since.
We'll stay here for a few more days, then start to mosie our way around to Palma, where we pick up Danielle on the 19th, and then begin to head to the Island of Corsica, France. We'll be in touch in a few days:)
Apologies for the hiatus, but we've been relaxing in Port de Soller after Niamh joined us last week, so we've been kicking back on the beach, and enjoying the occasional gelato! Today we sailed up the coast to another lovely little bay, Cala Tuent, which is isolated, small, and just magical. No other yachts to be seen, and a lovely view up the valley to the high cliffs that surround the bay, and much of the island of Majorca. We snorkeled, and whilst Niamh and I explored the coast line, Kath and Izzie stayed in the water for a full 15 minutes before getting out - well done Izzie! Fished, again, unsuccessfully, again - a common theme!
After a relaxing week in Port de Soller, we decided we'd better take Patea for a walk offshore, and the light breeze facilitated that nicely, followed by some unsuccessful fishing (again) - we need to work on that!
After three lovely days schmoozing round Ciutadella and the surrounding areas, horse riding, zoo-trippin, many delish lunch and dinners out, a late-night double-layered heart-shaped chocolate-zucchini-fairy-cake bake-a-thon, and a 5-year-olds birthday party with far more sugar than is wise and prudent, we decided to head further south and escape the beauty, serenity (and gallons of red sand that falls from the sky) that is Menorca. Thanks for the stay - big thumbs up.
After a morning faffing (I mean prepping the boat) we headed out into a dark-grey afternoon sky, and proceeded to romp towards the island of Mallorca, some 35nm away. Despite the late start, we were cranking along, averaging about 9 knots for the crossing, and with good wind and speed (new boat record, and PB 15.4 knots!!!) we decided to carry on down the coast another 20nm to what looked like a better anchorage in the forecast breeze. Snuck into Port de Soller just on dark after the breeze abated later in the run, with a final score of 58nm in 7 hours - an average of 8.3 knots - not bad for an old cruiser :) (the boat - not me). We're now rockin-n-rollin on anchor with a solid swell sneaking in the heads - all going well a surf in the morning may make up for the lack of sleep tonight!
Whats going on?! We seem to be channeling Wellington weather the last few days, and todays 25 to 35 knot downwind ride to our latest anchorage was no exception! Hitting 12 knots boat speed with only the dodger and a hanky on the foredeck - unexpected!
We're tucked away in Ciutadella now, expecting it to blow up to 40 knots for the next few days, so we'll stay put and enjoy some land activities for the duration, including celebrating Izzies 5th birthday on Sunday, which she is very, very, VERY excited about!!
We spent the afternoon wandering around the quant and narrow streets of town, squeezing in some architectural admiration between sampling the miriad of kids playgrounds that seemed to present themselves around every corner (= one happy little lady!). Now we're kicking back enjoying the relative luxury of abundant electricity and plentiful water - may even splash out and have a shower! Ahh, the joys of being plugged into the marina wharf!
Hope everyones keeping warm back home as the autumn hues evolve - its our turn now to start sampling the warm weather of spring - bring it!! And Merry Easter and all that - may the chocolate fairys be generous!!
Notched up our PB on the short downwind leg in 20 - 25 knots - 12.7 knots = :)
Might head to Milorca tomorrow, in prep for Izzies 5th birthday on Saturday - we're hoping to find swimming pools, pony rides, and of course, cake!
A jaunt up the harbour this morning preceded what was both a successful, and hassle free entry into Spain - that gets the big tick from us! A quant little township on a lovely harbour served up the best hot choky I'd had for months, and an actual flat white, appeasing Kath no end! Another 10 day grocery shop (100 Euros including three bottles of spirits and wine - awesomely cheap!), and back to the boat to plan the next leg... TBC!
Hola! 31 hours later (but only 8 hours sailing gurumf) and we're now in Spain! 2 pods of whales, 3 pods of dolphins, one turtle, buzzed by one sea-level jet plane, waaaaay too much ocean rubbish, no fish caught, 2 birds successfully roosting in our saloon, and after too long with the numbing drone of the diesel engine we're tucked into a little bolt hole surrounded by historic (and current) fortifications, with somewhat tired eyes and a beer in hand. And its finally warm! We'll do customs and immigration tomorrow (office hours, and all that), and then start working our way up the coast enjoying the many beautiful anchorages on offer. We'll flip a coin to see which way we go tomorrow:)
After a brisk sprint down the coat in 20-30 knots, we're tucked into a somewhat exposed anchorage in Fornelli passage, that we will be using at first light tomorrow morning, when we head for Menorca in the Baleariac Islands. Hopefully to slightly warmer waters - Izzie and I had a quick swim yesterday - and despite wetsuits, Izzies swim totaled about 12 seconds - the minute she hit the water she was trying to climb up my face in order to launch herself back onto the boat and escape the 15 degree water. It was quite an efficient method to exit, and moderately amusing for any onlookers, although less so for my face.. Good to be in the water though! Wishing I brought a proper dive suit, rather than a surf suit however.. Refreshing!
Tomorrows passage is about 200 nautical miles, and with the weather forecast (light winds), we're expecting it to take about 36 hours, so you wont hear from us for a few days - hopefully we'll have cell coverage when we arrive, but no promises! Take care all :)
We're tucked in to a little cove on the eastern side of Asinara National Park, after a rather unexciting trip across the top of Sardinia, in 2-5 knots of breeze. Asinara is an island paradise off the north western tip of Sardinia, with mixed-use terrestrial and marine protection, with some areas completely off-limits to human visitation and only accessavle with a scientific pernit - very cool. We were chased away from the marine reserve by a bunch of burly fellas on a large coast guard cutter, as we took a peak at the marine reserve- oops!
The island has some unique fauna, including marauding herds of donkeys - first noticed as we saiked in and a couple of stumpy-legged donkeys were chasing each other down the deserted waterfront and main street of the picturesque little township we are now anchored of. The sounds of them braying continue to echo around the deserted bay, although i expect that may wear a little thin later this evening!
We originally planned on departing Sicily, and Italy, tomorrow bound for the Spanish Baleariac Islands, however the forcast 20 to 25 is now 25 to 35 knots, so we'll hang here for a few days and enjoy the reserves, whilst depleting ours (the red wine reserve is dire), and head off on Monday: 10 to 15 knots beam reaching forecast, so can't wait to try the big genakker - giddyup!! Happy Friday yous fellas!
We're tucked in to a little cove on the eastern side of Asinara National Park, after a rather unexciting trip across the top of Sardinia, in 2-5 knots of breeze. Asinara is an island paradise off the north western tip of Sardinia, with mixed-use terrestrial and marine protection, with some areas completely off-limits to human visitation and only accessible with a scientific permit - very cool. We were chased away from the marine reserve by a bunch of burly fellas on a large coast guard cutter, as we took a peek at the marine reserve - oops!
The island has some unique fauna, including marauding herds of donkeys - first noticed as we sailed in and a couple of stumpy-legged donkeys were chasing each other down the deserted waterfront and main street of the picturesque little township we are now anchored off. The sounds of them braying continue to echo around the deserted bay, although i expect that may wear a little thin later this evening!
We originally planned on departing Sardinia, and Italy, tomorrow bound for the Spanish Baleariac Islands, however the forecast 20 to 25 is now 25 to 35 knots, so we'll hang here for a few days and enjoy the reserves, whilst depleting ours (the red wine reserve is dire), and head off on Monday: 10 to 15 knots beam reaching forecast, so can't wait to try the big genakker - giddyup!! Happy Friday yous fellas!
A short skip around the bays to get to our next spot, with a quick duck in to Santa Teresa Gallura for some icecream and chocolate - just the essentials! We've navigated the seagrass covered bay and dropped our anchor in the only patch of sand available - viva la algae!
A fast, tight sail from Corsica to Sardinia to test Patea for the first time - 8 - 9.5 knots in 20-30 at 60 degrees apparent = happy!! She moves and its going to be a fun boat to reel off the offshore miles in!
We're tucked into a beautiful little cove surrounded by monolithic rock formations in yellow hues and golden sand beaches - despite the breeze its still a magical spot, although the wind chill is definitely contributing to not swimming in the otherwise balmy 14.7 degree water... Tomorrow perhaps!
Left Gianuttri with the waking seabirds - and in to a bit of Mediterranean chop, but the stormy skies did clear and the sun shone, as it always seems to here. Sailed most of the day in view of the fabled island of Montecristo (i think - anyone know the story?!).So, the end of day 2 - dolphins - check, sun fish - check, 16 hours sailing - check, new country - check (hi France!), small vom from the small grom - check (dammit - but she's chirpy as now so all good!). Must be time for his lordships cream (3 Euro a bottle!), and a bit of a lie down :)
We decided to stay the night in this glorious little nature reserve, tucked into this tiny harbour surrounded by seabirds and lots of unusual calls in the night - very cool. Early start tomorrow though - heading to Corsica!
On our way!! After a number of delays, we dropped lines at 8 this morning and are headed towards the island of Giglio under a beautiful blue sky, a casual 6-10 knots of breeze, and we are tickling along quite nicely under full sail between 6 and 7 knots - perfect!! We'll be in to Giglio just before sun set - looking forward to that first Leffe already!
Boat is bought, prepped (mostly), and ready to go!! Departure, hopefully, next week!!
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