Day 4: Mahi mahi!! The clicker on the rod screaming signified a good size fish had hit the lure, and was now running away madly trying to avoid the dinner pan - a quick drop of the headsail and we were pulling in a beautiful 7-10kg female iridescent mahi mahi - all were excited for fresh fish! With dinner for three nights secured we went back to the usual routine - dozing, writing, reading, some art work (Izzie, not the rest of us), and watching bananas ripen expectantly. The last of the papayas were consumed today, but still plenty more apples. oranges and mandarins, along with the 5kg of green bananas that will keep us scurvy free for the next week ahhharrr Thus far, 920 nautical miles traveled, and only a mere 1165 to go. We'll be half way tomorrow, or thereabouts, so may celebrate with a cheeky cocktail! Love to all, the RidingMoreStevenRohr clan
After a couple of hours stop in the most western island of the Cape Verdes, Santo Antao, where we finalised the reefing systems for our brand new main, we were off! Somewhat surprisingly, it was a bit like grand central, with Patea only one of about 300 boats departing the Verdes this season, and in the several hours that we were on anchor, about ten boats passed us heading west, all bound for the Caribbean or South America. With a perfect 15 - 25 knots on the beam we headed out, and slowly managed to catch the other boats on the horizon. The first night we could see three other yachts in the dark nights sky, but by day two all sign of human company had disappeared and we were gliding along in our own company:) Big hook up yesterday, but unable to slow the (no doubt enormous, but unseen!) fish down, we lost our big red'n'black Cantab lure that had secured us so much protein over the last few months. A few hours later and we had the pleasure to watch a small school of dolphins and a large school of truly enormous tuna (>2m long) smashing smaller fish, continually hitting them at speed at the surface and blasting into the air many meters, tail fins thrashing all the way. Everyone was on deck and absorbed by the aerial display, and it was a truly spectacular experience to see these apex predators hunting.
Its day 3 now, and we've been making great progress, averaging about 7-8 knots, and covering about 170 - 190 nm per day. Everyone seems to have found their sea legs, after a potential dodgy last Cape Verdian restaurant meal, and Kath and Iz are baking date and peanut butter muffins to celebrate being a quarter of the way across the Atlantic today! Just 1500 miles to go;)
Leaving the marina and heading onto anchor for a night to go over all the boats systems once more, and mount the new mainsail, then we'll be heading to Santo Antao for a night and then off! If you need to get hold of us urgently in the next couple of weeks, you can free text our sat phone (https://messaging.iridium.com/), or text or call us direct (for a small arm and a leg) at +8816 315 91645. We will endeavour to send a YIT update out every couple of days and you will be able to track our progress that way.
And finally, a massive happy birthday to my 21 year old Niamh, whose birthday on the 3rd, and party on the 7th I am missing - my love is with you sweetie, and I'll talk to you on the day, technology willing!
In the hive of activity that is Marina Mindelo getting prepared for our departure across the Atlantic in the next few days. This is unlike any other marina we ha've been in in that you dont see anyone sitting around lazily enjoying the sunshine and ambience, everyone is running around like mad things fixing, prepping, provisioning. Its cool being here amongst a whole marina full of boats that you know are also heading across the Atlantic soon. Last update before we depart will come soon!
A quick trip back north from Santiago to our new favourite Capo Verdian snorkelling spot for an overnight stay, which was accompanied by a huge pod of dolphins hunting flying fish around the boat and just offshore! We jumped in the water for a close up snorkel, and had to watch our heads as flying fish came careening overhead trying to escape the dolphins - twas a very cool experience!
Oh, forgot to say we shot down to Santiago to pick up our new sail, and our new crew - welcome Connie and Fletch, tis great to have you both back on board! We spent a couple of days here, then headed back to Mindelo, via a couple of stopoffs, to pick up new battens for the sail. Fishing is becoming exceptional, with hook ups every time we put the lures out!
A blustery run down the coast to our next little gem, with sand blows up the hill and a plethora of fish life around the peninsula to the North providing great snorkelling. Oh, and we picked up this little GT on the way here - fish for Africa!! (finally!)
A quick cheeky day sail across to Sau Nicolau, and tuna for breakfast! And likely sashimi for the next week too!
A week already in the Verdes! We've mostly recovered from the lack of sleep on the passage from the Canaries to here, induced by a decent 2-3m spwell, and strong winds the whole way, and Patea rolling along only on a handkerchief sized headsail (as we ripped that in the first 24 hours following a crash gibe - bugger). On the plus side - new boat speed record set - 17.8 knots!!
But we are loving it here - the motto of this island of Sal is 'no stress' and that is certainly proving true. Super super friendly and welcoming people, cool landscapes, and good surf and snorkelling. We've had fun exploring with an Irish family we met first in Morocco so Izzie has had her kid company tank filled up!
New main sail ordered, and now everyone has to cross their fingers and toes that it arrives here - we can't leave until it does!
Safe and sound after a vigorous sail (30-35 knots ALL the way!) - tired crew so a feed and a beer or two then bed - more to come soon!
See you Canary Islands!! After a lovely month we're doing our first proper offshore section and heading to the Cape Verdes islands some 800nm south of here. That should mean an extra couple of degrees water temperature and should move us clearly into the 'tropical' realm - yeehar!! Should be there in about 5 days so don't expect updates til we've arrived! :)
The Canary Islands so far - we've been here almost a month now and while we are back in Spain this a far cry from continental Spain and Europe. The Canary Islands are one of the Atlantic Ocean's offshore island groups, along with the Azores and Madeira, which we didn't visit, and the Cape Verdes which will be our next stop after the Canaries. Sprung up from the deep ocean, this hotspot volcano chain provides a perfect place to stop en route across the Atlantic and each of the islands are a handy day sail away from each other. The landscape is lunar, mostly devoid of vegetation (Kath is missing trees!), and almost all of the towns seem geared towards the huge influx of European tourists that visit here. Patea has been getting a lot of attention from Tim and others with catchups on maintenance and fix ups, and Kath is doing her best to make the boat heavier and heavier with stores to last us as well as possible until the next cheapish place, likely Panama (4 months away!). Weve all been enjoying the slightly warmer water temperatures again and Tim has had his first few surfs of the trip, first successful (??) spearfishing jaunt, and Izzie is learning to bodyboard. It feels much more like we are in an ocean now with numerous sightings of dolphins, whales, turtles and many rays - now just waiting for the trolling success rate to improve.
Los Cristianos - we seem to get stuck here, fixing and waiting for parts for the boat and drawn in by daily sand sculpture marathons. We also say good bye to Gesa here who has been with us on and off since Morocco and has been great to have aboard. We'll miss your capable help, awesome cooking and great company. Hope to see you in the Caribbean!
Our last stop in the sun-baked and sand blasted North Africa, and Essouira provides the stark juxtaposition of wealthy western tourism thrust into the raw world of Maroc culture, harking back to ancient times; living for the locals is day to day, working for what they need, not what they want, seemingly happy with food on their table, hand made fabrics on their backs and In their homes, and smiles on their faces. In the old town, the myriad of tight streets are more tunnel-like than urban, as shop fronts and street vendors thrust their wares into the walkways, narrowing the pathways that are barely wide enough to squeeze a moped down, and the haphazard sheets of tin overhead further enclose the spaces in an attempt to provide some protection from the rains, that, at least in our time, never arrive.
Wares to meet your every need are everywhere- fabrics are hand spun, dyed, woven, knitted, in every colour imaginable, meeting the wide and varied needs of the locals and the tourists.
Pottery, metalware in brass, copper, silver and steel for your every household need, as well as the endless intricate trinkets.
The food markets are where all the local hustle and bustle is, from the expected (fresh fruit and vegetables, dried foods, spices, all piled impossibly high) to the less expected (live animals, selected by the buyer and butchered to order). Animal protein is raw, unpackaged and in your face. The flies do well, and hygiene is in its most basic form. Public toilets are non-existent, as is water for drinking or cleaning your hands - we are glad to have both right there with us on the boat, but still an upset tummy is the norm for us westerners, rather than an unlucky occurrence.
We stayed in the coastal fishing port of Essouira for almost a week, hemmed in by strong winds, but glad of the time spent to explore and make new friends. With wharf space at a premium, we were one of 5 sailing boats all rafted up together to the one and only coastguard rescue boat in the harbour - but everyone assured us that it never leaves the port. We shared the port with several hundred tiny fishing boats, usually manned by one or two locals, who put to sea in most any condition, to catch enough daily to feed the family, and sell to pay for the outboard fuel. The smell of fish cannot be escaped from, nor the dust and grime that seems to blow constantly off the land. 3 weeks later and despite multiple attempts to clean, the grime still continues to run off the boat and rigging.
Morocco, raw, guttural, simple, and in-your-face, but so expansive, diverse and beautiful, it's been an absolute pleasure being here, thanks for having us and sharing your beauty with us foreigners.
We left Rabat in convoy with 4 other boats all planning to get out of the river mouth before the bar closed due to impending swell, and waved goodbye to the friendly locals stationed along the river. We soon decided to abandon our plans of sailing a shorter distance down the coast for the day and instead pushed on to make the most of the great sailing conditions to travel overnight all the way to Essouiara. This did mean however Tim had to spend his birthday at sea, after not a great sleep and lentil dahl for dinner - but Izzie and I whipped a birthday cake so hopefully not all bad?!
After a sparrows fart start, we tore across the fabled Gibraltar Straight at first light, dodging tankers, container ships, fishing boats and a tidal stream to be reckoned with, and arrived three hours later, in...
Magnificent, with your gleaming new marina and opulent waterfront facade, but a street or two back and the real country starts to unveil itself. The sweet, pungent aromas of spices and oils combined in ways that at least this white-boy from Canterbury has never had the pleasure of savoring before. Tangines, served in a hand made pottery dish, and containing a delectable slurry of turmeric, safron, paprika, cumin, and other devine-ness slathered over your favourite meat with colourful veges, and baked to perfection - soooo good!
Medinas were visited, Kasbars admired, camels were chased, and the local 'utes' full of building materials were patted (donkeys and carts). Morocco, you're awesome!!
After leaving La Linea/Gibraltar in a torrential thunderstorm we had a quick sail down to Tarife to spend our last evening in Spain for a while and catch up with friends on Dolphin Dreamer (with Izzies much adored doggie friends and trampoline!).
3 nights in a marina - what luxury! We've only had 1 night in a marina since April so we are revelling in the abundant water and electricity, having shore showers and an easy point for spending 3 days walking and exploring The Rock and town of Gibraltar. It's also Grandma's birthday and Fathers Day too!
A long day, but good sailing, and we're here in Malaga where we will meet Izzies Gran and Grandad tomorrow. And its a Monday night! And its not a public holiday tomorrow! So the shops will be open!!! Very, very excited!!
One of the joys with cruising is getting to properly, decently, solidly, lose track of time. Its a glorious place to be, and one truly appreciates that the working week is well behind you - big ups. The downside, however, is one has no comprehension of what the date is, or what week day it actually is. After a glorious fast run down the coast we pulled in to Adra, dropped the anchor, and skipped ashore knowing the town was stocked with supermarkets, with all the sweet juicy fresh delicacies that they contain - giddyup! We hiked with our backpacks, re-usable grocery bags in hand, a glint in the eye, and high-hopes in our hearts for the freshness that awaited us.... Aaaand, crap - its Sunday, and eeeeeeverything is closed! Expletives were vocalised, and we trudged back to the boat empty handed. Tomorrow. There's always tomorrow! Zucchini stew, here we come!
A bonus, we found an outdoor market with lots of second hand stuff, and Izzie scored half a dozen new trucks, and several new ponies, so someone is stoked!
Ah cruising life - its still most definitely worth it, despite the occasional period one lives in nutrient deprivation!
A quick stop at Cala Gata, a nice marine reserve, a cheeky little snorkel, then onward, on the mercy dash for fresh food..
Long day sailing and snuck into this awesome little hippy hidey-hole, which would have been great to stay and explore, but the crazed look in our collective eyes fueled by lack of fruit forced us to continue on early the next day, in pursuit of a green grocer!! Even the dodgy zucchini is starting to look good - god help us!
A quick trip around the corner to Cartagena, with the promise of big city lights and good food to restore our heavily depleted supplies. The last of our fresh fruit and veg were consumed last night (apart from one, somewhat dodgy zucchini that should have been put out to pasture last week), and the promise of crisp apples, sweet nectarines and crunchy carrots provided a heady drive towards the beckoning shores of this mild-mannered town. We roared into the harbour and cast our anchor down metres from what was, I swear, 2 abandoned submarine bunkers from WW2. We were heading to the famed submarine museum of Cartagena, before exploring the wider area, and hitting up the supermarkets for fresh goodness. A long motor across the harbour to the city, however, dashed our dreams of fresh produce, as well as gaining clarity on the truth around the mysterious 'submarine bunkers' - a public holiday and EVERYTHING was closed!! We dejectedly wandered the (actually quite pretty) Cartagenan streets searching for some semblance of a grocer, but had to settle for 2 warm bagettes and a small bunch of bananas from a corner store (which despite our overarching disappointment were delicious!). Restaurants had already closed for the day too, so we meandered back to Patea, and Kath whipped up a delicious pasta, sans veggies and meat - who needs it eh!! Onward down the coast tomorrow to source food, before the scurvy kicks in..
A couple of full day sails and we are making good progress towards the Costa Del Sol, where we will pick up Grandma and Granddad! Tonight we pulled in to Isla Grosa, a marine and terrestrial reserve, but murky water and lack of light precluded a snorkel, dammit!
Puerto Calpe, and a catch up with some new friends on Lodestar and Dizzie - Patea becomes alive with 5 kids creating madness and mayhem under the influence of sleep-dep and sugar whilst diligent parents enjoy cold beverages on the back deck!
Ibiza, you beautiful island full of beautiful people, beautiful anchorages, beautiful turquoise ocean and golden sand, and beautiful new friends! Thank you, you've been lots of fun and gracious with your sharing of amazing vistas, sunsets, and geologic formations, and providing me with my new favourite dive spot (sorry Scandola, your still lovely too).
It is with a glint of sadness that we say goodbye to your shores, and the new, and old friendships formed and cemented. Thanks to Brent, Donna and Jack, Krista and Mikey, for visiting us, and hello to the wonderful new friends on SV Pegasus and Lotus, Oscar, Karin, Albert, Marta, Camiel, Ester, Senna and Taia, we'll miss you guys heaps! Memories of the evening beach barbeques with all the kids running amok will be cherished, and afternoons with the kids swimming between boats to play with new toys will be greatly missed too!
It's been a great month, and quiet different to the Ibeza experience I always thought I'd have, but onward to the mainland today, with 20 knots forecast it'll be fun and fast sailing, fingers crossed!
Update ; 10 knots and big rolly seas - pants! Movie time to keep little people (and big) distracted from the motion..
Last day with Brent, Donna and Jack with us, and the last day for us in Ibeza (boo), so back to Sa Caleta for some yummy food, and a last swim in the lovely warm Ibezan waters. Awesome to have you guys aboard for the last week, and Izzie has particularly loved having Jack aboard, who has driven her to be even more confident in the water! Thanks guys, see you again soon!
Back to Cala Llonga for the last fling with the families on Pegasus and Lotus - Izzies had so much fun with Albert, Marta, Senna and Taia, and a family movie on the beach at night was a fun way to say goodbye. Safe travels and we'll see you again some day:)
After a lot of sailing to find water we settle into this beautiful anchorage on the eastern side of the spot of Formentera.
South Formentera - finally away from the zillions of other boats!
Lovely spot here apart from the busy air traffic and hundreds of wakes rolling the anchorage every day from the superyachts, but now largely to ourselves, apart from catching up with friends from Dolphin Dreamer and Frida :) And a great couple of days catching up with Krista and Mikey and their friends who are holidaying here, including a swim in the freshwater pool where they are staying - luxury!
Hi Ibiza! Rolly but nice secluded anchorage, just us and one other boat!
A few days back in Soller to get the boat sorted, lazybag and main back on, and now a quick evening sail down the coast to get us a little closer to departing for Ibiza tomorrow!
After a very windy and sleepless night, including a fire on the adjacent hills from the earlier electrical storm and a breakaway yacht from a nearby bay, we left Sa Calobra for the last time and headed back to Port de Soller.
Back in beautiful Sa Calobra again, and a proper thunder/rain storm to turn Patea red again with the sahara dust that seems to fall every time it rains here - however the last time we can remember rain was about 2 months ago so definately not complaining!
Just a stones throw from where we were last night...
Into the very busy but beautiful port of Pollenca. We'll stay here a few days as Conny and Fletch are sadly leaving us, we need to pick up the main and do a few other jobs. We've now see all 4 sides of this island!
Terrible anchorage given the dozens of fast ferries that kept coming out of the harbour and rocking us around but worth it for the amazing cave system we got to visit in this little town of Porto Cristo, complete with a classical quartet playing on a rowboat in what is claimed to be the largest underground lake in the world (not sure about that one!).
Sadly we farewelled Lyndsay today who has been awesome to have on board as always. She is off to have fun on bikes next but we hope she'll be back before too long!
A bit of a town and beach day at this lovely quiet town of Sant Jordi. Our awesome visitors found the best restaurant in town and shouted us dinner so was a great evening had by all. Unfortunately none of the pubs in town were showing the Black Caps-Pakistan game the next day but Kath was so glad ;) we could stream it via Radio Sport!
A day stop at Cabrera terrestrial-maritime national park, next time hopefully we can get one of the popular moorings but still managed to fit in a stroll to the castle, fossick on the beach a snorkel and some running races that sadly ended with scraped knees but luckily an iceblock was not too far away, thanks Fletch!
A nice chilled and very light wind sail down the precipitous backside of stunning Dragonera Island. Quick stop for a snorkel then onto this bay for the night. A jellyfish took a bit too much of a liking to Lyndsays inner thigh but a bit of G&T seems to have worked marvels!
After a week in the now much busier Port de Soller, a fixed clutch, replenished food, water, gas and diesel, a couple of good walks, yummy paella, and lots of swimming, we are off again. We are now minus Niamh sadly but still have the lovely Lyndsay and will soon be joined by another couple from NZ. Izzie had a couple of fun days with some Antipodean boys also living aboard their boat and who are heading home to Aus in similar timeframes to us. We hope to see them again!
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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