A record of our Journey

It's nice to keep a record of where we've been, so here it all is. We also keep blog over at Sailblogs.com (see link) but each year this is transcribed into our own website.

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France - 2012

2012, Original

The birth of the 'original' Wild & Woolly

11 January 1990 | Adelaide | From the Archives …
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Wild & Woolly was first born in Sydney as a Cole 23 trailer sailer ... We moved to Adelaide and striped the boat back to a bare hull and refitted her from bottom to top. We loved this boat and she gave us many excellent expeditions ... one of the best ever being at anchor in a mangrove creek at sundown. The mosquitos came down in drones as the brigade of swallows swooped down for dinner. While all the time a huge stingray swanned around beneath the boat in clear water.
Wow ... if ever you wanted to get the cruising bug, this was it!
2012,Antibes

The BIG day

July 12th, 2012, Antibes
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Finally the big day (or week actually). Our boat was launched in Antibes, France this week. Lucky Cap'n Grub was on hand to help our friends from Vicsail with the final fit out. Today (Thursday) is the maiden test sail while The Owner has to slug his way through a management workshop Ghana.
2012, Antibes

Maiden Voyage

July 14th, 2012
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Shiree set off with Micah from VicSail and an Australian friend of theirs called Philippe from Antibes to St. Rafael. This was a delivery trip in order to relocate the boat after the initial fit out and launch in Antibes.
It was an uneventful early morning sail as they set off early. However, sail turned out to be the wrong word since they motored all the way in flat calms.
2012, Antibes,Gavin & Jane

Finally off

August 4th, 2012, St Rafael to Antibes
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Finally we're on our way. After a week hanging in and around Saint Rafael we set off to collect Gavin and Jane (our friends joining us from the UK). Had a combination of motoring and sailing since the wind was still pretty moderate except for a good afternoon breeze. On the other hand we wanted to make sure we were able to find a berth in Antibes (which we did).
Best part of the day however, was a fantastic sail with the main and code zero set right into Cannes bay ... At one stage we were marking 7 knots of speed with only 8.8 knots of apparent wind ... That same day we also hit 8.2 knots (SOG) which bought a big smile on our faces.
2012, Cannes,Gavin & Jane

Dragged on our first anchoring!

August 6th, 2012
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Having BIG trouble with all of the Raymarine gear. Vicsail trying to help us from Sydney and suggest we move round to Cannes ... Excellent sail which allowed us to try all configuartions including reefing. By 5pm we dropped anchor in the channel behind Isle de la Lerin in the Gulf de la Napoule near Cannes. Since this was the first time we had anchored, it ended up that we dragged as soon as the wind came up around 11pm. Not wishing to risk measuring the depth of chain in the dark, we cruised back to Cannes Marina and berthed on the diesel berth overnight.
2012, Cannes,Gavin & Jane

A toddle up the coast

August 7th, 2012, Cannes - Villefranche - Sanremo
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Motored in the afternoon from Cannes to Villefranche where we anchored near Point de Lilong. Beautiful night at rest with only a gentle swell. One highlight was the boat next door ... surprise surpass, the young couple on board walked around completely starkers all afternoon and and night.
Next day, we sailed up the coast past Monnaco to Sanremo, Italy.
2012, Maps,Gavin & Jane
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Italy - 2012, 2013

2012, Sardinia,Gavin & Jane

Beautiful Sardinia

July, 2012
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After a long overnight sail, that included thunderstorms hanging around on the horizon, we made landfall on the North Eastern corner of Sardinia. La Maddalena is a National Reserve. Many Islands and wonderful channels of water to cruise in. Later that day we sailed down and anchored behind Isola Tavolara (Table Mountain) - see video link

Tavalara Sunset

July, 2012, Sardinia
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After a great overnight sail from Elba south, we anchored for breakfast and little nap in the North Eastern corner of Sardinia, which is simply outstanding. A dedicated National Park area, it’s full of little islands and passages. A saying heaven.
Later that day we cruised on down the coast and dropped the hook for the night behind Mount Tavalara (Table Mountain)
2012, Ponza,Gavin & Jane

Ponza in August - Are you kidding!

August, 2012, Isola di Ponza
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It feels like every Roman with a boat decided to come to Ponza for the summer break! And wow should you see the way these guys drive! We anchored in xxx and you would imagine it’s hard to fit in another boat. Naaa. Let’s just drive into that small gap with me budgie smugglers at full speed. Drop the hook in the vipers nest of other chains ’n anchors. Reverse back 10 feet and then grab a Martini followed by a swim. Alorha, weeva ar-eye-v’d.
2012, Ischia,Gavin & Jane

Anchored under a Castle

August 6th, 2012, Isola D’Ischia
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The Amazing Mr. Ripley was set here at Ischia. We slipped in behind the other side of the Castle and anchored in the small bay.
2012, Amalfi,Gavin & Jane

Nuclear Frigate or Superyacht?

August, 2012 - ‘A’ for Abromavic
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We saw this amazing boat at a distance and we honestly thought it was a new age military vessel. Later, we found it at anchor and discovered it belongs to Abromavic, the Russian oil tycoon (and owner of Chelsea). You just love it or hate it. I love it!
2012, Tropea,Gavin & Jane

Tropea SUPER Onions

August 2012
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Tropea was a highlight on our journey, and a big surprise. It’s a well known (by Italians) town in Southern Italy. What for? Onions. Red onions … But, on top of that it has a lovely marina and a quaint tourist town perched up on a hill. Somewhere to revisit.
2012, Sicily,Gavin & Jane

Racing through the Messina Straights

August 2012, Messina
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Sailing between the toe of Italy and Scilly we transited the Messina Straights, saw some small (famous) whirlpools as the two currents meet from Northland South. We also had a bit of fun trying to keep in front of and AluBat sailing yacht (seen behind me in this picture). We managed to keep in front, not that we’re (Gavin and I) competitive … much :)

Taormina YachtHotel

August 2012
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We discovered a set of moorings run as a Yacht hotel underneath Taormina, Sciclly. That’s Mount Etna in the background and this is definitely a place to put on our ‘come back to’ list.
2012, Sicily,Gavin & Jane

Ancient Syracuse

August, 2012
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Anchored in the perfectly enclosed bay of Syracuse in a good mud bottom. The ancient city is old and gloriously positioned. It’s evocative past is once more something to look forward to once we return to cruise (as opposed to being on a delivery run since I have to get back to work soon).
2013, Sicily

Back to Syracuse

July 10th, 2013, Sicily, Italy
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Arriving at Syracuse felt like our real journey has begun. We were here briefly last year on the way to Malta and even although we're still playing catchup with time lost in Malta it feels great to be here. Amazingly, when we went into town we found the two things we needed most were side by side and close to our dinghy park. The post office and a telephone shop. So we're connected again.

Taormina hop

July 11th, 2013, Sicily, Italy
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2013,Calabria

Whoops, someone got the main halyard stuck

July 12th, 2013, En route to Calabria
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The main halyard (pulls up the Main sail) got itself 'accidentally' wrapped around the deck floodlight that's mounted halfway up the mast. We decided to leave it there till we arrived in a marina rather than go up the mast for the first time. When we left Taormina it was brisk (12 knots) and lumpy due to an upwelling current at this point. So, we decided to put up the jib only for stability while we motored. We were doing fine at 6.5 knots. Later in the morning however, the wind increased to over 20 knots and we were able to turn the engine off and make our course at 6.6 knots ... A fantastic speed with just the jib and tacking into the wind. Later the wind dropped and we also changed course ... So, after a Skype call with Gavin in the UK and a little dig ... I decided to go up and fix it. Piece of cake ... And yes, we're getting fitter and skinnier ... As planned.

I'm loving it

July 13th, 2013
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We just scraped over the sand bar at Roccella Ionica with 1.4 metres under the keel to secure a place in the marina overnight. This place is full of boats heading to Croatia so it's a bit buzzy. Better still is the local Restaurant/Pizzeria which was jammed packed with locals ... And it was obvious why (Bobby) ... Great food! So, of course Shiree looks so happy.
2013,Calabria, Family Viscomi

A picture says a thousand words

July 14th, 2013, Soverato, Italy
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Now THIS is what retirement is all about. Great food, fantastic weather and your own boat at anchor in the bay!

Italians in Calabria - fantastic combo

July 16th, 2013, Soverato, Italy
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More Gnocci anyone? Or maybe the Spaghetti di Marinara? Fresh swordfish, calamari, octopus ... Thanks Maria and Maurice for a wonderful stay.
2013,Calabria

Taste of what's to come

July 17th, 2013, Cabo Colonne, Italy
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After a great tipoff from an Aussie yacht, Rob on Sephina, we found our first anchorage that represents what our new lifestyle is all about. Originally we were making for a place called Crotone (look it up on Google). The wind was strong and the waves on the nose. So, we ducked off sideways to look at a set of moorings in a Marine Park under the shelter of a low Cape. It turned out to be ideal. So close to the rocks behind us that you felt you could touch them, sheltered from the prevailing winds and all on our own. Just fantastic. We had planned to stay one night but spent two and half days enjoying the peace and quiet.
2013,Pulia,Renzo & Pasqua

Unbelievable Italian experience

July 18th, 2013, Santa Maria di Leuca
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The crossing overnight from Cabo Colonne to Santa Maria di Leuca was a real first for Shiree. She did an outstanding job and took her first ever night watch all on her own while I slept. This takes a lot of courage and confidence. Imagine, the sails are up, the waves keep coming but you can't really see anything meaningful, the boats around you are always present ... You can see them from their lights and the electronics on our boat ... And YOU are all alone in charge! We docked at 10am next morning and were both very tired.
Our friends, Renzo and Pasqualina soon came to the rescue and the next two days and nights were just amazing. We had the privilege to sleep in a real double bed at their house, which is just amazingly perched right on the edge of the most fantastic limestone cliffs.
July 19th, 2013

Olive expert

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Antonio showing off his Olive groves - which were truly outstanding. He tends the land in between the trees well and, most importantly, has made wells for drip feeding the trees.
2013,Pulia,Renzo & Pasqua

Traditional Italian Experience

July 20th, 2013, Puglia
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We were treated to an authentic Italian family experience and visited Pascalina's Mum and Dad in the countryside They are in their late 70's but still growing Grapes and Olives. Unbelievable people. Maria, Pasqualina's mum, stayed up till 1am the night before preparing the pasta and the meal we had together included one of their chickens that was alive and well 3 days earlier. There's only one thing left to say .... "We'll be back"! Earlier, Antonio (Papa) took great pride to show us his Olives and vegetables. Just amazing.

Having fun

July 21st, 2013, On the way to Otranto
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Renzo was totally in his element on our sail up to Otranto. We hit 9 knots with full main and jib on a starboard tack in 13 knots of wind and a lumpy sea. Although Pascqualina kept saying "No way, forget it Renzo ... " her face told a different story :) either way, we enjoyed their company.
2013,East Coast

East Coast boring? No way!

21 July 2013 | Otranto to Brindisi
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After our fun and games at sea on the way in, the engine cut out while we were in moderate seas right on the nose while approaching the massive harbour mole (about 2 nm offshore), we were super pleased to find that, once again, whoever keeps propagating the belief that the East Coast of Italy is boring was completely wrong. We had a wonderful stay here for two nights. Upon arrival we took advantage of the small restaurant at the Nautica Navale which is right opposite the castle (and Italian warships). Had the tastiest mixed grill which included samples of Italian sausages - delicious!
John and Sue arrived as planned from the UK, unpacked and settled in.
2013,Pulia,Sailing,John & Sue

On the nose all the way

23 July 2013 | Brindisi to Bari
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Sailing up the East Coast of Italy the most frustrating thing is that you can expect the elements to be against you the whole way up. The wind seems to know exactly the twists and turns of the coast as you move NW and no matter what you do you can expect the wind and tide to be coming from exactly where you want to go, and often without much wind either. So, expect to motor a lot. On the plus side we had John and Sue with us and it was really good catching up - I went to primary school with John and he was best man at our wedding.
2013,Sailing,John & Sue

Live from the boat

25 July 2013 | Just off Peschini
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Update ... Live from the boat as we cruise past Vieste just now and are literally alongside Peschini as I type. It's dead flat calm. We've motored all night at a steady 5.5 knots with low revs, so we all slept well (3 hours on, 3 hours off). 'All' includes an old school friend, John who was also best man at our wedding, and his wife Sue joining us for a week up to Venice. Over the last three days, we've had a mixture of 'on the nose' headwinds up to 23 knots or nearly no wind like last night. En route for Isolas Tremiti.
ADVERTISMENT : If you missed the earlier videos that we've posted on YouTube you can still check them out via the links in the side bar on the right ... Take a look at our tour round Grand Harbour, Malta in 'Black Duck & Mr. zippy'!
2013, Tremiti,John & Sue

Tourist stop

25 July 2013 | Isolas Tremiti
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We sailed from Bari to the Tremitri Islands with an overnighter. When we arrived it was just beautiful. After passing Vieste (which looked beautiful by the way) it was getting towards 8am and the ferry operators had already started. One after the other cruised past us, confirming that these Islands are indeed loved and popular among the Italians. When we arrived and dropped anchor, we could see why. Just idyllic ... Amazing coastal swimming areas, rocky cliffs with sandy coves and caves to explore. Spent some time here swimming and having lunch. Then decided to continue straight on our way and headed off for another nit sail, at his time to Ancona.
2013, Ancona,John & Sue

And another nice surprise!

26 July 2013
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Coming into Ancona was another reminder of just how beautiful this part of Italy actually is. Coming from the South you are first met by a headland which ends in a layer cake of agglomerate materials. As you get closer to the port and still on the town side, you see old retaining walls over high cliffs protecting big church and her buildings. These 'walls' are 200 feet high ... Then rounding into the commercial harbour is a massive rebuilding program to make the port even bigger with new outer breakwaters. Ships the size of cargo vessels lie at anchor piled up with huge rocks to be dumped below - something like The Flintstones.
Once inside the harbour we had our first Coastguard checkup. They came towards us in their torpedo boat sized craft and we had to share our boat documents etc. finally we made a mooring alongside at the Marina. Frank, Franceso, came to help us and soon became Shiree's best buddy.
Ancona turned out to be a little gem. Excellent facilities including chandler and many places to eat and drink. Most importantly though, we were able to catch up with Carlotta and Clelia who made a special effort to come and visit for a coffee. Great to see her after such a short break and catch up pall the Lagos gossip :)
2013, Ancona,John & Sue

Catching up with Carlotta

26 July 2013
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Coming into Ancona was another reminder of just how beautiful this part of Italy actually is. Coming from the South you are first met by a headland which ends in a layer cake of agglomerate materials. As you get closer to the port and still on the town side, you see old retaining walls over high cliffs protecting big church and her buildings. These 'walls' are 200 feet high ... Then rounding into the commercial harbour is a massive rebuilding program to make the port even bigger with new outer breakwaters. Ships the size of cargo vessels lie at anchor piled up with huge rocks to be dumped below - something like The Flintstones.
Once inside the harbour we had our first Coastguard checkup. They came towards us in their torpedo boat sized craft and we had to share our boat documents etc. finally we made a mooring alongside at the Marina. Frank, Franceso, came to help us and soon became Shiree's best buddy.
Ancona turned out to be a little gem. Excellent facilities including chandler and many places to eat and drink. Most importantly though, we were able to catch up with Carlotta and Clelia who made a special effort to come and visit for a coffee. Great to see her after such a short break and catch up pall the Lagos gossip :)
2013, Venice,John & Sue

Another Dream fulfilled

28 July 2013 | Venice, Italy
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One of the goals we set was to sail into Venice. After an uneventful night sail through the oil fields of the Northern Adriatic, we arrived late morning. And yes, it was everything I had hoped for. Dodging ferries running between the islands, including the Lido car ferry, Pilot boats, tugs and many small fishing tinnies around the entrance to the Lagoon itself. We motored up to and past Piazza San Marco, past the bustling, gondola loaded Grand Canal, and then right round to Tronccento, the central bus/boat/rail terminal for Venice.
Another goal fulfilled was to stay at the marina right opposite San Marco underneath San Georgio Maggiore. This small private marina allows tourist boats to take berths when owners are absent, and luckily for us one was. That evening, a quick trip on the ferry reminded us of the touristy side of Venice, the streets full of people, many eating places and one of my all time favourites, the displays of merchandise. It doesn't matter what they sell, the Venetians seem to have been born with a passion for displaying things in attractive ways.
John and Sue departed next morning and we set off for Caorle to get our leaky rudder posts looked at.
2013, Venice,John & Sue

See you next year!

29 July 2013 | Venice, Italy
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So good to catch up again John, and especially to get to know wonderful Sue! See you both next year in Korfu.
2013, Venice,John & Sue

Venice by Boat - BIG one!

29 July 2013 | Venice, Italy
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This is what a cruise liner looks like when it floats past Venice. Amazing! And would you believe they have one like this two to four times a day coming in and out! By the way, look at the name of this boat ... It's the sister ship to the one that ran aground last year ... Big isn't it..
2013,Caorle

Alhora ... Let's fix this problem

30 July 2013 | Caorle, Italy
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Through our friends at VicSail in Sydney, we were connected to Alberto, whose company sell Lagoon Catamarins here in Caorle (NE of Venice) and a shipyard called CNC srl. Finally we have the chance to fix the leaking rudder post seals. It turns out this yard is run by the most competent and service oriented crew we've come across. Alesandro ('Alhora'), the Manager, was extremely helpful and assured that everything we needed was given priority. Turned out that spares had to be posted in from France - that's another story since it gave us a mini holiday in a very pleasant and surprisingly beautiful little town.
Net result? Yahoo ... They fixed the leaking posts.
2013,Caorle

Sun and sea

01 August 2013 | Caorle, Italy
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Graham and Josy joined us in Caorle and we all checked into a hotel for a day or two (turned out for 4 nights). This small town turns out to be a little gem. Mainly Italian local tourists fill up the place in the summer and there are many wonderful little restaurants tucked away as well as beach gulls of the compulsory Mediterranean beach club beaches ... Primarily this is also a fishing town as well as a marina base (one here and one other neighbouring Santa Magharita). Here's an extremely RARE shot taken by me actually sitting on the beach - reading all day.
2013,Caorle,Maps,John & Sue,Graham & Josy

Our trip so far ...

26 September 2013
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So, as we near the end of our 2013 season I thought we would post a map ... The two colours show 2012 (yellow line = Antibes, France to Malta) and 2013 (green line = Malta to Bar, Montenegro).
2013,Pulia

Final 'sea' trip

27 September 2013 | Bar to Bari by ferry
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What better than to end our season by catching the ferry! Arriving in Bari this morning after an overnight sailing was 'déjà vu' seeing the harbour the second time in one summer. But this time from the top deck of the ferry. Great!
2013, Pulia

Fresh, very fresh, pasta ...

27 September 2013 | Bari, old town.
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What we love about Bari is its lack of pretentiousness ... The old town is as good as any we've seen in Europe, but with one exception - it's lived in by ordinary Italian families. Walk through the narrow steers and alleys at 8am and you'll find all the mammas making fresh pasta shells. At 3pm they'll all be sitting on their plastic chairs in groups nattering. At 8pm the whole family will be out in the street! And at any time you'll be dodging scooters :)
2014,Caorle

Heading to the showroom

17/05/2014, Santa Margarita, Italy
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We met Alberto Munaro, the GM of 4Venti, last year when we came to Caorle for the rudder stocks that were fixed up at CNC. Alberto has agreed to try and sell our boat and even better wants to park it outside his offices!
2014,Caorle

Still own 2 boats :(

17/05/2014, Santa Margarita, Italy
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So, here we have the last shot dear old ‘Wild & Woolly’ in pride of place outside the sales office in Santa Margarita (next door to Caorle). After a coat of anti-fouling on the hull she'll look beautiful inside and out. All we need now is a buyer to keep Geoff (our Financial Advisor) of my back!

LATER NOTE: We sold the boat 8 months later to a Swiss man and his wife.
2014,Caorle,Launch

THE BIRTH OF OUR NEW BABY

05/05/2014, Caorle, Italy
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On Saturday the local forecasting was predicting a Bora over the weekend (plus 40 knot winds) so we had planned to stay put till Monday. However, it ended up further South so on Sunday 4th we set off directly for Caorle arriving at 1pm. Alberto was there to meet us wi his great smile and a welcoming bottle of Champagne (what a wonderful man). And the best news ... The truck with our boat would be arriving overnight from. Milan! Yahoo!
Next morning we all went out to CNC shipyard and there she was. Our boat, No. 158 all shrink wrapped and waiting to be offloaded! Very exciting indeed.
Caorle,Launch

The 'branding' of Gumnuts

15/05/2014, Caorle, Italy
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What a GREAT job my friend Ales has arranged for me (and at such short notice, thanks). Damjan turned up personally to apply our Gumnut stickers, which as you can see look amazing!

More difficult to park?

17/05/2014, Caorle, Italy
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Now the davits have been added, the metal bits sticking out the back to pull up the dinghy, I'm beginning to visualise exactly how I'm going to do what's called Med Mooring'. This is a way of 'parking' your boat where you back the boat up with the stern facing the marina and have a secure line to a fixed mooring at the bow of the boat.

How did the visualisation go? Hmmm ... The plan is 'wait and seen where everything fits! I suspect you might read a post on this one later :)

'Peanut' the dinghy is christened!

18/05/2014, Caorle, Italy
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Today, our Highfield 260 with a Yamaha 6HP 4 cylinder engine was ready for its very own sea trials. Great fun was had in the river and lagoons behind Caorle.
OK, it doesn't zip around at 30 knots ... But it's a big improvement on Black Duck and Mr. Zippy (ex: Wild & Woolly). It's not a good idea to name your dinghy as 'Tender to Gunnuts' since it lets people know you are away from your boat when the dinghy is tied up alongside a town quay somwhere. So, we decided to name our new dinghy as 'Peanut' and the outboard as 'Mr. Crunchy'. I know ... It's corny, but we like it.

Long list ...

19/05/2014, Caorle, Italy
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Commissioning ... A work in progress

14/05/2014, Caorle, Italy
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As you can see from this picture, still plenty of work to do. Everything all nicely wrapped up.

Big 'un

15/05/2014, Caorle, Italy
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I've sent this picture to a few friends already ... And my comment was "the mast, not Shiree" :)

Moving to the outside ...

17/05/2014, Caorle, Italy
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One step closer to lanch. This picture taken while the boat is still moving. This yard (CNC) uses the most up to date equipment. Here you see a sort of motorised trolley. It's controlled remotely by an operator with a control pad over his shoulders. Just amazing!

And now ... The mast!

17/05/2014, Caorle, Italy
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Don't need to write much on this one. The picture says it all. This is the process called ‘stepping the mast’
Just when you think you're ahead you look at the list of things to do and start getting concerned. Today's picture features two of the team here who have rally worked hard, Titsiano and Daniele. Our local sailmaker even worked on Sunday to complete the bag for Shiree's new folding bike and again yesterday to finish the zips on the Bimini for our solar panels (which we've now ordered another 2 making 4 flexible panels all together.
The yard got busy again and made the second coat of antifoing and painted the propeller. The plan is to launch on Tuesday at 2pm. Fingers crossed!
2014,Caorle,Launch

Close shave

20/05/2014, CNC Yard, Caorle, Italy
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The yard we chose to commission Gumnuts in is outstanding. They use the most sophisticated equipment to move boats around. However, it's people and experience that make the difference. Look closely at just how close we are on both sides ... We're talking centimetre gaps. Just awesome to see!

He’s the Man!

20/05/2014, CNC Yard
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This is Adelino. He's the Foreman in the yard and also takes responsibility for all lifts and moving. All of which he does via these remote control devices.
Apart from that, he's one of the nicest blokes you'll ever come across.
Caorle,2014,Launch

The BIG launch day

20/05/2014, CNC Yard, Caorle, Italy
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The big moment we had been waiting for had finally arrived. Still lots of work to do in commissioning, but after days of work we were finally able to float our new boat.
Caorle,Launch,2014

Christening

20/05/2014, Caorle, Italy
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Champers all round and a little for the bow.

Customs clearance ... Phew!

1/05/2014, Trieste, Italy
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The original date for clearing customs (tax clearance for a European built boat carrying an Australian flag) was 26th in Venice. So we were happy to find ourselves 5 days ahead of the curve. Our agents advised Trieste, so off we went. Departure at 2am so we could arrive at 8.30. Good overnighter to test the motor which cruised easily at 7.5 knots effortlessly.
The whole process, compared to France, is hugely bureaucratic. It took till 3pm to complete all the bs. Even then it seems we're not done yet! We still have to make one more trip to Bari on the way out!
Caorle,2014

Fancy entrance to yer own Barbie

21/05/2014, Caorle, Italy
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Imagine this ... Racing back from Trieste so we could attend our very own BBQ that the we had arranged with the yard. We wanted to say thank you to all the fantastic people who helped launch Gumnuts at CNC. We arrived in the nick of time at 7.50pm for an 8pm rendezvous. So, cruising up the river once we were close it seemed like a great time to test the outdoor speakers and the new mast foghorn/loudspeaker ... 'We come from a land downunder' blasted our arrival.

And boy, what a barbecue. We think Aussies are good, but look at this! The three men from left to right are Adelino, Tetsiano (who did most of the fitting on our boat) and Rocco (the inox magician who can make anything in metal, including our own BBQ support which I'll show in a separate blog).
2014,Caorle

Old Fisherman's summer huts

18/05/2014, Caorle, Italy
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What a lovely surprise waited for us today. On entering the lagoon, some 4 nautical miles upstream, we ran into these really picturesque huts. They are built completely with reeds from the lagoon and were originally used by the fisherman in the summer. So quaint.
2014,Caorle,Launch

Moonlighting as a baker :)

21/05/2014, Caorle, Italy
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What a lovely man! This is Roberto, our electrician who installed our solar panels and air conditioning. He decided to make a special cake for our BBQ ... In fact he made two!
Caorle,2014,Launch

Best restaurant in town and definitely the best boatyard in the Adriatic!

21/05/2014, Caorle, Italy
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These are our friends at CNC shipyard, Caorle. Not only did they create an amazing barbecue but they laid out this huge improvised table inside the sheds. The best night!
2014,Caorle,Launch

Cap'n at the helm

23/05/2014
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Took the boat out for the first time today for a sail. We had Brendan from Vicsail onboard as well as our local sailmaker, Paolo, both very experienced sailors. This allowed me to jump into Peanut with Renzo, Pailo's 70 something father who sailed round the world in the 80's, so we could take photos of Gumnuts under sail. This one is one of the best shots though, Cap'n Shiree looking somewhat pleased with herself :)
2014,Caorle,Launch,Sailing,Paolo

The money shot

23/05/2014, Caorle, Italy
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This is the picture everyone dreams of having of their own boat. I was determined to take the opportunity to get great pictures of our boat sailing while we were on our commissioning voyage with our local sailmaker, Paolo flying his own sails to test they set well. Think you'll agree - they do! And some more.
2014,Caorle,Launch,Paolo

"I told you it was too hard"

23/05/2014, Caorle, Italy
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Here's Brendan after wrestling with our newly made storm jib. It was made as the 'wrap over' type (using the rolled up jib as it's fore stay). However, after a deal of trying and discussion we've all agreed to change it to one that will fly on its own inner forestay (made of rope and removable).
Caorle,2014,Launch

Nearly done

26/05/2014, Caorle, Italy
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Brendan finished his handover, and I must say the whole process was extremely professional and well done. Every day he would turn up with his lists and we'd start doing things or ensuring others we're or would. The final parts of the jigsaw came together today with the completion of or flexible solar panels.
So, that's it now ... We're just about ready to go saing!
Caorle,2014,Launch

Brendan the artist

26/05/2014
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As a parting gift, Brendan gave us one of his pen & ink sketches that he did here in Caorle. We love it, so it stays with our new boat. Thanks Brendan!

Couldn't leave without a special goodbye

26/05/2014, Caorle, Italy
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This is a picture with Alberto and his wife Valeria and daughter Camilla. What a lovely family. They took great care of us while we've been here putting our new boat together, including letting us sleep onboard their own Oceanis 43 while commissioning Gumnuts.
Alberto is our local 'Brendan' with his own business selling Lagoon catamarans. We actually met last year when we bought Wild & Woolly in for warranty work. For sure, we'll stay in touch and meet again.
29/05/2014 | Alberto
Hi Martin and Shiree . Thankyou for your beautiful words. You are always welcome, was a pleasure to share with you this period. Arrivederci, baci
2012, Maps,Gavin & Jane
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2013,Maps,John & Sue,Graham & Josy
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2014,Bari,Gavin & Jane,Maps

Followed the plan

07/06/2014, Adriatic crossing to Bari
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After a casual motor down to Cavtat, 2 hours south of Dubrovnik, we formally 'checked out' of Croatia. As planned we left at 6.30pm and followed the advice from PredictWind weather routing by taking a slightly more northerly route to start. After motoring till 9pm the wind shifted and strengthened as predicted. Subsequently we were able to sail all through the night, sometimes at over 8 knots with full sail. Next day we entered Bari and tied up at the Lege Navale waiting for the fun and games on Monday when the customs agent arrived to help finalise all the Exportation Documents. That only took all day!
2014,Pulia,Gavin & Jane

Tenuta Pinto

08/06/2014, Reunion with Domenico and his family
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At the end of our Monday ordeal with Italian bureaucracy, we were treated to an even more important aspect of Italy. Family values, friendship, hospitality and great food and wine!
Domenico Pinto, who we had met last year when we stayed at his Agro Turismo farm property for a week, came into Bari with 2 cars to whisk us all off to Tenuta Pinto (a few kilometres inland from Mola di Bari). After an amazing dinner with his family he even offered us rooms for the night. It was wonderful to see Isa, Nicole, Chiara and little (big) Vito again and to share their table.
2014,Pulia,Gavin & Jane
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Bari to Monopoly

09/06/2014
After a hearty breakfast at Tenuta Pinto, we all set off for the boat and the 'big adventure' for Domenico and his family. Unfortunately there wasn't to be a lot of wind, but it provided a promised 'day out' and a 'day off' for this hard working team. We cruised (mainly motored unfortunately) from Bari to Monopoly where they all caught the train back home.
It was an emotional goodbye (especially to Domenico) and we promised to spend more time with them when next we pass close by.
Here's a picture of young Vito at the helm.
2014,Pulia,Gavin & Jane

Brindisi to Corfu race

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10/06/2014
We timed our run down to Brindisi outer harbour to a tee! Arriving 15 minutes before the start of the Brindisi - Corfu yacht race we circled at sea waiting for the boats to rush out. And rush they did!
2014,Pulia,Gavin & Jane
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Food food food ...

11/06/2014
No need to say more ... Italian food indulgence has become a cruising past time ... This table at lunch time with Gavin and Jane already half demolished during our trip to Lecce by train. Oh yea ... Want to know more about this gem of a town? Go online with Google and read up. Worth a visit.
2014,Maps,Gavin & Jane
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2014,Pulia

Happy Birthday Domenico

24 July 2016
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We first met each other 4 years ago when we stayed at Dimenico's amazing farm accommodation, Tenuta Pinto (Agricole Turismo) south west of Bari in Pulia. Through the amazing generosity of the whole family and the fact that we were the only guests that week, we lived and ate with the Pinto family for five days. Now here's the thing. I don't speak Italian and Domenico doesn't speak English. Yet we were still able to spend a whole day in his car chasing local produce (wine, sausages, cheese) for his business. We've kept in touch and visited since.
Here's a shot the next day with Vito, his son and Domenico squeezed into an Italian Tuk Tuk!
2014,Pulia

Tenuta Pinto

25 July 2016
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This is a shot of the main house of Tenta Pinto. The guest rooms downstairs are barrel vaulted stone ceilings. The. Yielding was constructed as a summer retreat in the mid 17 hundreds by a very wealthy family from Mola di Bari (just 10 kilometres away on the coast).

Malta - 2012, 2013

2012,Gavin & Jane,Sailing
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Made it to Malta

August 2012
Planned our overnight passage to include a dinner stop at anchor on the south eastern corner of Sicily, leaving at midnight so we could arrive at sunrise. What a fantastic way to arrive here.
2013, Manoel Island

It's all a bit surreal ..

June 3rd, 2013, Malta
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Shiree and I both flew out together on Saturday after a wonderful night saying goodbye to friends in Lagos. In Dubai, Shiree turned right and is presently in handover mode with our pool villa in Phuket. I've turned left and here I am in Malta to get the boat ready for cruising. Doesn't she look great? We get launched tomorrow morning at 9am. There's a sweepstake at work about how long I'll last before I come back to work ... It averages out at October this year! Little do they know that everything still feels so surreal at the moment. It's like I'm on the start of a three week holiday - they had better watch out ... Maybe it will be July! Nah, just kidding :)
2013, Manoel Island
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Still in the yard

June 8th, 2013, Manoel Island Yacht Yard
Still sitting up on the hard stand waiting for a couple of 'under the waterline' jobs to complete before putting the boat back in the water - most likely next Wednesday, the day before Shiree arrives.
Thursday night it blew 25 knots and living aboard while being 'up in the air' supported by poles was quite an experience. The movement comes from the pressure on the mast and rigging and is quite noticeable. I've settled into a nice rhythm at the moment. Stuff everywhere, a real batchelor pad while I resort everything, fix a few things, add some wiring for a new audio system etc. better get it all cleaned up before the Captain arrives!
2013, Manoel Island
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Back in the water

June 20th, 2013, Malta
Finally, we made it back into the water where the boat belongs. One of my new toys is a Go Pro sports camera, the type you see people strap on thier heads and jump off cliffs or ski down impossible slopes filming all the way. So, Wild & Woolly made her first video - of the relaunch! Check us out on You Tube, click here.
2013, Grand Harbour
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Grand Harbour tour

June 27th, 2013, Malta (still)
The technology we use today never ceases to impress me. Here I am sitting on our boat, 5 km offshore from the coast of Italy using an Italian 3G SIM card in my iPad that is set up as a personal hotspot so Shiree and I can both log on with our Macs. This is the first time I've had good access to process a video we made in Malta and upload it to YouTube.
So, that's my blog today ... Technology rules - Yhey! Oh yes, and a video link to see our trip round Grand Harbour in our dinghy (affectionately called 'Black Duck'). This was a 7 nautical mile trip (see picture of our route) and we needed a petrol refill on the way round. But it was worth it.
CLICK HERE to see for yourself ...
2013, Manoel Island
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We wiggled a bit

June 28th, 2013, Malta at MIYY
So, go to Marine Traffic (App or web site), find us and then press 'Show Track' ... And ... You'll see the picture below. Yahoo, our AIS (Automatic Identification System) is working at last.

This track represents our sea trials and our attempt to get the Raymarine gear all working this afternoon (Thursday). Unfortunately it didn't ... But, no problem. Since we had the expert on board he could see the extra layer to our never ending problems getting everything working. Prior to this he had to connect the VHF correctly, move the Fluxgate compass and install a new chart plotter - and the conclusion? They're ordering a new course computer since its not working either!

Should be here by next Monday so we're still stuck in Malta. However, it's a really worthwhile problem to sort out for the benefit of the next 7 years or so ....
2013
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Malta memories

July 1st, 2013
This posting is designed to whet your appetite ... From the 'old way' of looking at things (pre retirement) you would imagine we would be impatient and frustrated at the slow speed that everything has been done. On the contrary, as our first month of a new life it couldn't have been better. We're relaxed and enjoying the fact that for once in our lives WE literally have time. It's also been good adjustment month to just living on the boat, not trying to live and sail the boat (although we could easily have done so). After 4 weeks, we know where everything is, we can pop up to a particular store and buy that special thing to improve something or other.
Add to that the fact that we've found the Maltese people and Malta itself to be really good people and a great place to live. Mediterranean feel with English language and people understanding they live on an Island with great history and context in the Region.
This picture is a small 'local' restaurant under the walls of Valetta where we had the most amazing Swordfish lunch. Just WOW.
2013,Gozo
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Meeting great people

July 6th, 2013, Malta / Gozo
We've already started meeting the most amazing people. One of them, Peter and his pals Alan and John turned up one morning in an old Moody. They are all over 70 years old, full of life and energy and love sailing. Turns out Peter is a professional Captain, having been master of boats all his adult life (starting with the Merchant Navy). They all lived in Gozo and insisted we must get up to visit them. So we did, and wow, what a great weekend. BBQ at Peter's, tour of the small island in the afternoon and the pleasure of being part of the Festa at Ghasri. Each Church at this time of year has a celebration week for their special Saint. All the family come out into the streets and the band plays. Then there are the most incredible fireworks, but think military firing range for sound - unbelievable! Thanks Peter and crew!
2013,Blue Lagoon
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The other 'Blue Lagoon'

July 9th, 2013, Comino, Malta
On our last day in Malta we finally got the Raymarine gear all working, thanks to an incredibly good Maltese engineer called Kurt. Also thanks to the replacement SPX30 Course Computer that was needed to be changed (among many other things). So, off we went to the Customs and Immigration only to find out that my passport is showing as stolen in their computers. Whoops ... Seems I needed to advise the Swiss Police that it was returned after my big theft in Geneva in May last year. Thanks to the most friendly Policeman we've ever met it was all fixed up in a jiffy. We mentioned that we might like to anchor overnight in the 'Blue Lagoon' at Comino ... He just told us twice he hadn't heard us :)
Great anchorage in a most beautiful location. Shallow depths, clear water and a sandy bottom make for the most amazing blues. Plus ... Of course, heaps of tourists including boats with blaring music full of young kids having fun ... At least they left early enough to leave the three boats at anchor a blissful night with a flat calm. It is an amazing place geographically though.
PS - yep, they're my brown legs and the water is 10 metres deep under them!

Croatia - 2013, 2014

2013, Rovinj,Graham & Josy

Rovinj

02 August 2013 | Croatia
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After an uneventful crossing to Croatia (motoring) we cleared in at Rovinj (silent 'j'). All the drama about how difficult it is to enter is (as usual) completely exaggerated. You simply raise the Q flag, dock at the appropriate Customs quay, send the Captain ashore with the paperwork and pay the respective fees that includes a yearly permit to cruise. Frankly speaking this makes sense as well as the fees to enter National Parks or to pay for moorings etc. In the end, as a country utilising its assets, Croatia deserves the chance to raise money this way. After all, it's just a focused 'tourist tax'.
Now, as you can see from the picture, Rovinj is a beautiful town. Her Cathedral perched on top of a medieval town that was once just an Island.
2013, Pula,Graham & Josy

Pula - Gladiators and concerts

04 August 2013 | Croatia
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Pula is billed as an Industrial town not worthy of a visit by most pilots books. Again, it's been our experience that the books are completely wrong. First, there is the 6th largest surviving Roman Amphitheatre in plain site of the marina! Then there is the old town centre and to top it all we were grandly entertained for free that night by an amazing performance in front of the old Forum (that includes a fully standing Roman Temple) courtesy of the Israeli Embassy. Jazzy music played pall forms of saxophone and flutes.
Oh yes, Bobby, did I mention the food ... Now we've passed through the Pasta, Pizza Fish period and entered the land of Fish, Pasta and Cevipcici sausages :)
2013, Pula,Graham & Josy

Amir Gwirtzman

04 August 2013 | The Forum, Pula
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Amir Gwirtzman treated us to a live rendition of his album 'Inhale, Exhale'. This guy is very entertaining. He played a whole range of flutes and Saxaphone but combined them with looping software that enabled him to build up a complete ensemble of backing instruments - all played live and all by him. Fantastic.
2013, Susak,Graham & Josy

Big Sand Island

08 August 2013
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Heading South (as always now we're in Croatia) we came to Susak Otuk (which is one of only two sand Islands in the Dalmatian coast). It was a quiet and calm anchorage in 3 metres. A jug of Mojitas was called for ... and demolished. Both the calm of the waves and smiles on the faces were evident as clearly can be seen here with Josy. And this before the drink :)
2013, Vili Rat,Graham & Josy

Vili Rat on Dugi Otuk

07 August 2013 | Alias Villius Ratus on Dogus Ogus
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Tucked away in a delightful corner of the north end of Dugi Otuk (Otuk means Island) is a small village of 200 people called Vili Rat ... We disrespectfully renamed it Villius Ratus on Dogus Ogus since it sounded so much fun. As you can see from the picture it was indeed an idyllic place to stop overnight.
2013, Zadar,Graham & Josy

Zadar

08 August 2013
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Our first decent sail in Croatia. Set off with full main and jib and sailed half the day. Tacked through the islands, stopping for a swim break at Petrcane, 10nm north of Zadar. Took a mooring opposite the big ferries coming and going to the Islands. The old town of Zadar was well worth a visit and once again we ate out to sample the local fare. As an Australan we met today called Alan put it 'We're eating our way through Croatia!,
2013, Zadar,Graham & Josy

Sea Organ Surprise

08 August 2013
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One thing Croatia does EXTREMELY well ... No, not breakfast ... Ice Cream! Here we are enjoying a Fruit Salad (plus, plus ...) for breakfast with Graham and Josy. This was the supposed morning of the blow. What did we get? Blue skies, flat calm seas and no wind. Oh well, just had to relax and take it easy, something we're all learning to do well.
2013, Kuklijica,Graham & Josy

The dreaded wind that never was

09 August 2013 | Kukljica (silent 'j')
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In this part of the world, people take weather warnings very seriously. Even in the summer, local variations caused by the high land all along the coast or thunder storms can impact a low pressure system pushing the winds right up to Force 10 (storm force). This means winds up to 60 knots (over 100km/hr) called a 'Bora'. So it turned out that Friday 9th was one such day of bad weather warnings for later that day. We were already at sea so I started to ring ahead and make sure we would be secure for the night at a marina all tucked up safe and sound. However, everywhere I rang was full up - and we're not talking small marinas here. One was 450 boats, another 350 and even the biggest one on the Dalmatian Coast at 1,200 boats ... all full up! So, change of plans and a quick dash over to a small town nearly opposite Zadar called Kukljica, and success.
You can see the frontal change in our picture for the day. However, the dreaded wind, rain or thunder storms didn't turn up in the end. We were subsequently treated to two nights in one place and a lovely small and relaxing town.
2013, Kuklijica,Graham & Josy

Breakfast of champions :)

11 August 2013 | Ice Cream Parlour!
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In this part of the world, people take weather warnings very seriously. Even in the summer, local variations caused by the high land all along the coast or thunder storms can impact a low pressure system pushing the winds right up to Force 10 (storm force). This means winds up to 60 knots (over 100km/hr) called a 'Bora'. So it turned out that Friday 9th was one such day of bad weather warnings for later that day. We were already at sea so I started to ring ahead and make sure we would be secure for the night at a marina all tucked up safe and sound. However, everywhere I rang was full up - and we're not talking small marinas here. One was 450 boats, another 350 and even the biggest one on the Dalmatian Coast at 1,200 boats ... all full up! So, change of plans and a quick dash over to a small town nearly opposite Zadar called Kukljica, and success.
You can see the frontal change in our picture for the day. However, the dreaded wind, rain or thunder storms didn't turn up in the end. We were subsequently treated to two nights in one place and a lovely small and relaxing town.
2013, Skradain,Graham & Josy

Skradin - inland 12nm

12 August 2013 | IKraa Falls
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On the coast near Sibinek, you enter a river system that winds 12 nautical miles inland through amazing limestone gorges and under modern 40 metre high road bridges. Finally you arrive at an old town called Skradin. This little have includes a fully services ACI Marina. Catching the ferry into the National Park brings you after a 15 minute ride upstream to the Krka waterfalls. This picture only captures a small part of it. There are seven main slabs of these falls. This is also the site of one of the worlds first ever hydroelectric schemes. Seems they missed the title by only two weeks to another project in the USA.
2013, Sailing,Graham & Josy

Cap'n Graham

13 August 2013 | Somewhere at sea ..
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So, here's the proof source ... Cap'n Graham at the helm while under full sail in the Adriatic. Not quite a 'Duck to Water' but certainly enjoying this particular moment ...
2013, Trogir,Graham & Josy

Trogir - UNESCO heritage

14 August 2013
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Trogir has one of the most complete mediaeval towns in Europe. As such it has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This was also our base to say farewell to Josy and Graham as they made their way back to Europe this morning. Food? Oh yea ... So many places to eat in Croatia that we have forgotten how to cook on board!
2013, Sailing,Graham & Josy

WANTED - A job like theirs.

15 August 2013 | - their NEW job enjoying life, not the old ones :)
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Someone has to do it ... It might as well be the two of us 'Leading by Example'. By the way, that's a hand bearing compass not a medallion I have hung round my neck.
2013, Bobavisce

Vegging out

17 August 2013 | Australian slang for 'relaxing'
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Yesterday was our best ever sail (sorry John, Sue, Graham and Josy). We left Trogir with no set plan on where we would go. The wind was a perfect and steady F4, we set a tack wherever the wind took us and as a result hit 9.8knots, an all time record for our boat. As we rounded Solta Island on the Adriatic side we came across a huge flotilla sailing fleet of about 50 boats. We sailed right through the pack and having already creamed every boat on the way over I couldn't resist turning round and starting from near the back of the fleet pacing our way through the charter boats (all sizes including cats). After getting near the front and seeing them all tack North it was time for us to head South for a run. We checked out every anchorage along the West side of the Island and eventually rounded her and ended up in a small but perfect mooring spot called Bobovisca on Brac Island.
Our task now is to sit quietly on a perfect mooring and Veg out till Monday when we plan to go to Split.
2013, Bobavisce

'Big Foot' spotted

18 August 2013
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A very dear friend of ours (and a mutual friend of many) Jamie, has just undergone a massive foot reconstruction surgery. She's recovering, but in pain and needs our help. Presently she has her lower leg and foot in a big plaster. So, enter the 'Big Foot' sighting campaign. Shiree and I noticed that we were being stalked by a Big Foot in the woods near our boat. Later we went for a walk and found a whole lot of Big Foot photo opportunities. Maybe you could find them near you? If so, send your shots to Jamie directly or to our e-mail if you don't have hers and I'll send them on ...
2013, Split

Roman heritage

20 August 2013
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We spent all of last week in Split at the ACI Marina. Split is somewhere I'd never heard of before coming to this part of the world but you soon discover the rich history of this amazing country. Split was (in fact still is) the location of the Palace of Roman Emperor Diocletian (from 285AD). Through circumstance it has survived as 'domestic architecture' in as much that local people moved in and therefore it has become completely part of the old city. It is the most intact Roman Palace in existence. The local people are proud of this heritage and once per year put on a week of celebration that culminates in an event in the old city. We were so lucky to be there on the closing ceremony ... The picture shows the Roman Legion displaying their formation techniques. Shiree was more impressed with the physique of the Gladiators :)
2013, Split

Fabulous Palace

20 August 2013
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This is an artists impression of what the original Palace would have looked like. Most of the outer wall and corner towers still exist today. They are simply part of the walls of someone else's home today. The same is true for many parts of the inside.
2013, Bobavisce

Happy Balrog the dog

24 August 2013
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We left Split to follow the wind and see where it took us. The wind blew well, then stopped and then started again ... We poked our heads into Milna for a look - with all our sails up ... Then turned and headed back to Bobovisce again. That gave us the chance to confirm with Rob from 'Sephina' who we had met previously in Roccella Ionica and he also booked there to arrive the following day. It was great to be back in this idyllic spot and as soon as Rob & Jen came in we were treated to seeing their amazing dog, Balrog, jumping in and out of the water doing doggy style bombs. He's an amazing dog. Diving in, climbing out with only the simple joy to jump back in again! He is also the first diving dog we've seen. He literally shoves his head under water for half a minute searching for the best rock to bring up. Amazing.
2013, Bobavisce

Vegemite anyone?

25 August 2013
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When we first arrived in Bobovisce we were so pleased to see another Australian boat and even more so that it was next door. So, we met Dave Nd Dee on SOLERO, their Xc45. Next morning Rob and Jen arrived on SEPHINA, thier Aussie cat. Then lo and behold another Australian turns up in the form of Mike and Leanne on a Lagoon 450 called OOROO 1. To top it all Barry and Gail arrive the last day in TIME OUT, a Sun Odyssey 45. Here we are ... Five independently owned Australian boats all lined up in a row in the middle of Croatia. The coincidence was too much, so we quickly got to know each other and show the charter boaters how to really party.
2013, Bobavisce

Adding $1,000 value to my boat

27 August 2013
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Take a look at this picture. Big black thunderclouds and rain all night. But, in the flat calm of the early morning next day I woke up and peered out of my bedroom window and this is what I saw. I decided it was a 'must take' picture opportunity so out came my trusty iPhone 5 ... Only one small problem, there is a gap between the hull and the skin of the interior cabin (don't ask me why Beneteau do this) and ... Yes, you guessed it. I dropped the phone into my boat!!! It looked like I would never EVER get it back. However, later that morning with the help of Rob, his tools and our dismantling the side panels we were able to recover it - and all so I could show you this beautiful picture. Aren't you lucky :) Me too ...
2013, Hvaar

Let the wind decide

27 August 2013 | 43 09.777'N:16 23.593'E
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What a fantastic feeling to leave an anchorage not knowing exactly where you will sleep that night. Having researched all the surrounding options from a seamanship perspective (the Islands of Solta, Brac and Hvar) we sailed out of our mooring between other boats at anchor. Tacking behind one charter catermaran it was obvious from the looks on their faces that most people don't do this. So, zig zagging our way out of the inlet we emerged into an open bay and set sails for a NW or N trip along Solta. At first I thought we would completely circumnavigate Solta by taking the inside route back up to Maslinica. By the end of our first long tack it was clear that it would be easier to head out between Brac and Solta and take the southern side of Solta. However, once in the Hvar Channel, it seemed obvious that we should stay on our favourite starboard tack (due to the extra weight of the generator and fuel on the starboard side) and make one long tack over to Hvar. So we did.
By the time we reached Hvar it was gusting f5 and a great sail. The black rain and thunder clouds had built all afternoon so we also opted to go in to the ACI Marina at Palmizana on a small Island opposite Hvar called SV Klement.
2013, Hvaar

Day trip by Ferry

28 August 2013
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There are regular ferries hopping over to Hvar, so we left the boat in the marina and headed out for a nice day outing. The old town of Hvar was a principal port of the Venetians and as such prospered. The result is a beautiful little town which has become a top touristic spot along the Dalmatian coast. The place is buzzing. Shiree made an interesting comparison and thought Bodrum in Turkey may once have been like this ... About 50 or 60 years ago. As there own advertising goes 'Mediterranean as it once was'.
2013, Bobavisce

Still our favourite mooring

02 September 2013 | Bobovisce, Brac Island, Croatia
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Here we are again on our favourite mooring (number 7 or 8). What a difference a month makes. It's September now and all of a sudden it's cooler to sleep at night. Better still it's as if a magic wand has been waved and the rowdy charter crowd have been switched off - sorry ... Just that we're fed up with the noise and the danger of people who have no idea about boats and just want to party in our backyard!
2013, Bobavisce

Day trippers ...

02 September 2013 | Supetar and Milna, Brac, Croatia
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While sitting it out waiting for our spare parts, we decided to be regular tourists. On Saturday we caught the bus over to the main ferry port of Brac Island called Supetar. Lovely day. Then today (Monday) we walked two hours over a hill to Milna, another beautiful anchorage North of Bobovisce (which we still prefer). The picture is of Milna taken from the table of the restaurant where we just finished Lamb chops ... Yummy.
2013, Bobavisce

Remember your first ever sail?

06 September 2013 | Bobovisca
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This is Vedran. It's his first time ever on a sailing boat and something we wanted to share with him. We seem to have hit the all time record for mooring nights in Bobovisce (10) and as such have come to know Vedran who runs this little business. He has worked hard over two years to establish a quality service in a beautiful spot. Check out his business By clicking here and see for yourself. You will also see some great pictures of Bobovisca and understand why we liked it so much.
Oh yes, sailing? He loved it of course!
2013, Hvaar,Xenia

On the road again (go on ... sing it ...:)

08 September 2013 | Vbroska, Hvaar
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Yahoo ... We're sailing again and we won't be going back to Split again soon - nothing against it, just we've had too many reasons to go there versus plan. Even though our engine works fine we once again left our mooring under sail and zig zagged out of Bobovisce. Winds were mainly f3 but ended the day with gusts of 5, so we had a great sail to Jelsa on the Island of Hvar. After a quick tour of the harbour we moved along to Vbroska. This tiny hamlet up the end of a creek is famous. Locals claim it's the oldest fortified Church in Croatia (1580).
2013, Hvaar,Sailing,Xenia

Friends in the right places

08 September 2013 | Jelsa (don't forget, J is pronounced Y), Hvaar
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About 9 months ago, Xenia (pictured above) and I arranged to meet today - in Jelsa, Croatia. And we did! What a really small world we live in. It was such a pleasure to take Xenia sailing and equally great to share the pride she has for her home in the old part of town. First it was calm and we motored. Then we put a Jib up. Finally in a f4 we put the lot up and had a cracking sail. Tacking we made 9.2 knots and on the way back, running and then on the quarter 7.4 knots. All in all a good day was had by all.
2013, Hvaar

Monday night after work ...

09 September 2013 | Palmizana
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This picture is going to frustrate a few people ... But hey, someone has to sit on bean bags in tree houses watching sunset drinking Mohitas with their loved one instead of being stuck in traffic after work. And it might just as well be us ...
2013, Korcula

On the last leg for this year

10 September 2013 | At anchor opposite Badija Monastery, Korcula
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We're heading south now and will soon be in Dubrovnik and shortly after in Montenegro where we'll stop for this year and put the boat 'to bed' for winter. Tonight we are at anchor right opposite a monastery on the Island of Koracula. It really is this beautiful.
2013, Korcula

Picture Postcard

12 September 2013 | Korcula, Croatia
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We decided to move round to the ACI Marina tucked away under the old town of Korcula. I know it's another fairy tale picture in the collection of places we've seen in Croatia. But ... It this place really is like this! We hadn't actually planned to stay an extra two days, but when I looked at the long term weather predictions it just kept showing rain till Friday. Since we're not in a rush, we decided to wait for sunshine - 'cos we can :) we even stayed on the boat yesterday afternoon and watched a movie while the rain and thunder storm passed us by. Afterwards the light clarity is just amazing as you can see above.
2013, Dubrovnik,Sailing

Three months after retirement

13 September 2013
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Well, it's just over three months now since I retired and we're nearing the end of our Mediterranean sailing adventure for this season. The picture attached was literally the view en route for Dubrovnik, Croatia arriving this evening.
So, hows the first three months gone by? Actually, I can honestly say we haven't had a minute to get bored. On the contrary, it's been so busy 'working' the boat, seeing new place and meeting new people, that I feel like I need to 'retire from retirement!' Would you believe (apart from new technical books and manuals) I've only had time to read one book. The other good news is that now we spend every minute together, Shiree still loves me - was there ever a doubt :)
2013, Dubrovnik,Sailing

Anchor testing ...

14 September 2013 | Slano and Mali Zaton (Near Dubrovnik)
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On the way to Dubrovnik we had a cracking sail. Everything from f4 and tacking to a calm and then a dead run which gave us a last chance to fly code zero (our big lightweight sail). But in the end it was getting late and blowing f6 so we called it a day and anchored in a lovely spot 15 NM north of Dubrovnik called Slano. It blew hard in the evening which bedded the Anchor well and then overnight it was flat calm - fantastic nights sleep. Next morning, forgetting it was Saturday and the charter boat changeover day we found there was 'no room at the Inn' for us at the Dubrovnik Marina ... So, we went round the corner to another beautiful spot and anchored in 11 metres at Mali Zaton.
Now, our anchor is great. We upgraded from the Beneteau supplied Delta to an Australian anchor called a
SARCA Excel (link to their web site). And excel it does! At about 8pm till 9am the next morning it blew from 15 to 25 knots ... But we didn't budge an inch thanks to our Excel (and 45 metres of 8mm chain). The screenshot is from our chart plotter at about 3.30am showing the track of of our boat while at anchor (the yellow line is wind direction).
2013, Dubrovnik,Sailing

One picture is not enough ...

16 September 2013 | Dubrovnik, Croatia
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Wow! The '777 Harbours & Anchorages' guide to Croatian waters says Dubrovnik is 'Possibly one of the most beautiful towns in the world'. Frankly speaking we would have to agree with this statement. It's staggering in its location and architectural heritage. A walled city big enough to walk around completely (and walking the walls is a must do tourist event not to be missed) yet big enough to make it interesting. As per most of this country, Dubrovnik is steeped in History from ancient times to the present. However, it's still hard to imagine more than 2,000 bombs being dropped on this place only 15 - 20 years ago other than to see all the repairs (tastefully and as authentically as possible) completed by the local people and with the help of UNESCO. If ever you get the chance ... Go see for yourself. Amazing.
2013, Dubrovnik,Sailing

Still raining

17 September 2013 | ACI Marina, Dubrovnik
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Our friends Mike and Leanne on OORRO1 are already in Athens having made it through the Canal and the Greek bureaucracy (just). This morning they sent us a glorious sunny picture as they are about to head off as tourists. So, here is our 'reply' the view from 'Wild & Woolly' this morning :)
2014, Rovinj,Gavin & Jane

Hello old friend

29/05/2014, Rovinj, Croatia
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So, finally we get to go sailing again, actually motoring, but at least we're off! Our good friends, Gavin and Jane joined us in Caorle from the UK and stay with us till Corfu. This is fantastic, since they were also with us for the maiden voyage of Wild & Woolly.
First stop down the Croation coast was Rovinj (j is pronounced y and in this case just drop it). This also felt like visiting an old friend. We loved it last year and it's still just as beautiful. Cap'n Shiree rushed ashore to fulfil our 'Port of Entry' obligations and, knowing her way round, came back in record time.
2014, Rovinj,Gavin & Jane

Gumnuts in Rovinj

29/05/2014, Rovinj, Croatia
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We stayed in the ACI marina at Rovinj. This lovely evening shot includes our dear Gumnuts
2014, Rovinj,Gavin & Jane,Sailing

A seagulls McDonalds

30/05/2014, Rovinj, Croatia
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Departed at 5 in the morning to a beautiful flat calm sea and this fishing boat sorting out their nets and catch.
2014,Gavin & Jane,Sailing

Geez it's hard to get good help

01/06/2014, Somewhere at sea …
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A typical day in the life of a skipper. Cap'n Grub having a snooze on deck, the hired help catching flies or writing diaries. Hmmmm.
2014,Gavin & Jane,Sailing

We love our new boat!

01/06/2014, Somewhere at sea …
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"http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJnOzEj0ZEY"
Try watching this video on www.youtube.com
What an awesome couple of days we've had. We stopped over at a mooring in a quiet, secluded bay in Veli Rat on Dugi Ogus for the night (after Rovinj). Next morning at 5am I set off single handed with the dastardly crew all sleeping in. No worries, it gave me the chance to play with the sails. Reeding in the jib and the mainsail I probably made a bit of noise but most importantly it let me make the boat heel over :). He, hee ... Imagine the bodies sliding accross beds below :)
Later in the day we clicked up 9.6 knots on a beam reach with 27 knots of wind. Closer to the Island of Brac the wind was dead behind us and blowing 30 knots and we averaged 7 knots with just the jib up (hitting 9+ on the top of waves)
What a fantastic start to getting to know our new boat. We love it!
2014,Bobavisce,Gavin & Jane,Sailing

Pot of gold in sight?

02/06/2014
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Back in Bobovisce waiting for our friends Peter and Des to rendevous with us, this amazing double rainbow appeared and we were able to capture this 'lucky' shot. I guess it's all true ... in this case, there really is gold at the end of this rainbow!
2014,Bobavisce,Gavin & Jane,Sailing

Vedran and family

02/06/2014
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As most of you know from last year, we love Bobovisce ... and here's one of the reasons ... Lovely Croation people like Vedran and his family who made a special trip out in the dinghy to say hello.
2014,Bobavisce,Gavin & Jane,Sailing

No engine?

02/06/2014
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We met up with Peter and Des as planned. They've sailed all the way up from Malta in Des's Moody 45. We met these guys last year in Malta on Wild & Woolly. Leno, an Australua friend of Peters joined them.
Here they are trying to row over and say hello - except they forgot to untie their painter :). Couldn't resist just watching them while they tried to work out why the current was so strong against them :). I know, it's naughty ... but fun.
2014,Bobavisce,Gavin & Jane,Sailing

Gotta go faster than 6knots ...

03/06/2014
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We took Vedran sailing again. This being only the second time in his life (the first with us last year when he experienced 6knots. We just managed to exceed his record on a sail over to Split at 6.2knots.
2014,Hvaar,Gavin & Jane,Sailing

Calm anchoring

04/06/2014, Palmizana-Klement near Hvar
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After arriving in Hvar, we dropped off Gavin & Jane by dinghy with instructions on how to find us later since we wanted to take the boat round to a nearby bay and anchor.
Nervously they left us wondering if they would ever find us again ... Nervously, we left them like parents seeing their kids head out to a party for the first time. We anchored as planned in a beautiful bay (those of you who followed Wild & Woolly may recollect the picture of us drinking at sunset in a tree house seat - same place).
So, time clicked by ... No kids home yet. Sun going down ... Still no kids. Shiree went ashore to walk through the forest path we had told them about to meet by the ferry ... Still no kids. Then it got dark ... Still no kids! Finally they made it back with stories that the ferry service doesn't operate this early in season ... So they had to call around and find their own way over.
Oh well, all's well that ends well. Still a beautiful place to wake up in.
2014,Hvaar,Gavin & Jane,Sailing

Hey, I can't reach the ceiling!

05/06/2014
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Now this really is something to show off ... You see, Gavin is 6ft 4inches!
2014,Sailing,Gavin & Jane,Sailing

sv 'Love Life'

05/06/2014
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We caught back up with Des, Peter and Leno on board Des's Moody 419 'Love Life'. Then we circled each other taking boat pics.
2014,Sailing,Gavin & Jane,Sailing

Drive by shooting ...

05/06/2014, near Korcula
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Here's one of the best shots from Des. Gavin and I were sailing Gumnuts like a little dinghy. Putting in tacks and gybes to make circles round Des. In 18 to 20 knots we certainly had a lot of fun. Oh, I forgot to mention that both of our wives were below having an afternoon nap. We could only picture them rolling around after each tack! Laughing? Noooo, very concerned for their wellbeing :)
2014,Korcula,Gavin & Jane,Sailing

A beer at sunset to celebrate

05/06/2014, Korcula, Croatia
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We all met up in Korcula for our pre-arranged rendevous. I insisted we have a sundowner at the top of one of the old town wall towers. Not sure who is king of the castle, Gavin or Des.
2014,Dubrovnik,Gavin & Jane,Sailing

Food for the poor :)

07/06/2014, ACI Marina, Dubrovnik
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Late afternoon and a charter boat is trying to dock in cross winds right next door to us. It's a tough call and we're all up to assist. Talking to the Austrian men onboard it soon reminded me of the saying 'Don't judge a book by its cover' since one of the crew owns an 80+ foot Swan! A remarkable boat.
Our perception of charter boat people also took a further change when, next morning food parcels started arriving! The boat next door plus another decided we needed feeding, so we ended up with bag loads of left over food and grog! Amazing supplies of many new food items, including great cheeses and fancy sausages. So, we'll think differently about charterers in future ... Well, the good Austrian ones anyway. Thanks guys!
2014,Dubrovnik,Gavin & Jane,Sailing

Dubrovnik

07/06/2014
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Made a two night stop in Dubrovnik so Gavin & Jane could enjoy this beautiful city. This tantalising shot was taken the morning we saws right under the walls. What an amazing medieval city. Hoorah for UNESCO to rebuild it after the last round of bombings ...

Montenegro - 2013, 2014

2013, Zelenika

Checking in and out ...

September 18th, 2013
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Well, leaving Croatia and entering Montenegro was easy. Just make sure you have the right paperwork including Insurance, Registration and Captains Licence (like anywhere), fly the Q flag and their national flag (like anywhere) and all goes well. We asked in Dubrovnik, and even though its only another 6 NM to the SE we were told we had to check out at Cavtat as the last port prior to the border, so we did, and it was easy. Rounding Cape Osta, Zelenika is the first Customs entry port for Montenegro when sailing from Dubrovnik. We had great September weather with f4 sailing and clear blue skies ... Again!
The picture is leaving the customs wharf at Zelenika.
2013,Kotor

Another Venetian city

September 19th, 2013
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Kotor is yet another city in this part of the world that has huge history, including Venetian. It seems all these Venetian heritage places have something else in common ... They all attract cruise liners! Kotor is 12 NM inland at the end of fiord like lakes the size of Lake Geneva ... Looking round a corner to see huge cruise liners like this is incredible ... But then these waters are 40-60 metres plus deep!
There's no picture of Kotor today ... You'll have to do a Google search and see the aerial shots for yourself.
2013,Tivat

Croatia on the right, Montenegro on the left

September 19th, 2013
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The forts guarding the entrance to the Bay of Kotor.
2013,Bar

The BIG day ...

September 23rd, 2013, AD Marina, Bar, Montenegro
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Well, it was our big day to have the boat lifted ... And boy, what an experience. I'm sorry to say (very sorry) that Health & Safety have not yet arrived at this yard and we were somewhat horrified to watch our boat being lifted. First, we were snuggled into a gap between two other boats. "Just point the bow in here Captain" ... Where? Behind the stern of the boat you just pulled forward??? Heavens above, a young Russian family sat on their yacht and watched while we were lifted right over them! Watch out for the video I'll make and post of the whole thing ... You decide.
2013,Bar

Your kidding, right?

September 24th, 2013
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While preparing the boat for wintering today, it was our turn to get nervous as another boat was lifted out and placed next to us ... Well, they tried to ... The crane got to the point shown and then refused to engage any further ... It's a 20T lifting crane and sounded like the gears were grumbling. So, they put it back in the water and went to get a bigger crane. It ended well, and now we have a Beneteau Motorboat for our winter neighbour.
2013,Bar

It's done ...

September 25th, 2013
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Finally we ended up on the stand, the Montenegran way ... It all worked and we're pointing NE which is where the main winds come from over winter ... As well as the odd Bora from the North.
2013,Maps
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2013, Maps
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2014,Bar

A Treat to Start

28/04/2014, Bar, Montenegro
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We made it back to Bar in real style. After a fantastic weekend catching up with old friends in Kosovo (Krystyna and Christophe) as well as our new friend, their son Max, we had a wonderful drive through Kosovo and Albania to arrive safely at Bar. We found this terrific little hotel / restaurant / bar called Le Petit Chateau just walking distance from our boat. If ever you're in Bar, Montenegro ... I know, it's not likely ... But if you are ... Stay here!
2014,Bar

Refloating

April 2014
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So, time to risk all again as our Montenegrin crew set to the relaunch of 'Wild & Woolly' for her final sail up the Coast. In all honesty, I must say that the team may look a little rough and ready, but they are extremely skilled at their job. Here's a great shot of the 'moment before' relaunch.
2014,Bar

Predict Wind

30/04/2014, Bar, Montenegro
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Time for a plug. Good old fashioned advertising, except they're not paying me :(
I'm fitting a PredictWind satellite system on GUMNUTS so I've been using more of the subscriber features lately on their App (which I recommend to all). Here is a screen shot of the planning feature that takes into account your boats specific sailing / motoring parameters and then calculates the best route to take if you leave on 4 successive days - in relation to the weather and especially in relation to wind direction and boat speed. On Gumnuts it gets even better ... We will be able to receive this info (and more) 24/7 via our satellite connection. All pretty cool!

Slovenia - 2014

2014,Adriatic

Motored all the way!

01/05/2014, Adriatic
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We set out the same night as our relaunch. It was a hectic two days where we managed to get the boat washed down and re rigged (running up all halyards and sails) as well as stocking up with food. Two Slovenian friends came down to join us for the sail (Alex and Gogi) and after a meal at Le Petit Chateau we set off at 21:30 pm that night.
Summary of the whole trip? Rain, light winds mainly from behind and sometimes on the nose. Result? Motored all the way in 47.5hours!

Surrounded all night

01/05/2014
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It's not easy to see, since it's a bad picture taken with my iPhone at night of an electronic screen ... But each small blue triangle represents a large fishing boat (about 120 forget long). As you can see, all up the Croatian Coast we were surrounded all night on the second night. Vigilance required, but with the help of AIS and lights, all was OK.
Click to add category

Finally went sailing

02/05/2014, SW Porer Light, Istria
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On Friday morning we were off the Porer lighthouse, which marks the SW corner of Istria) and as the day wore on we were finally able to put up full sails for the last time on Wild & Woolly. OK, we were heading for Ancona and then Venice, but it was fun for a few hours. It also helped us miss a thunder storm off Istrian which made me feel like the Captain of a 747 flying around cumulonimbus for the comfort of passengers :). Finally we got bored of heading the wrong way since our ETA to Piran was 9pm if we got back on track motoring at 7.2 knots.

3,000 nm on Wild & Woolly

02/05/2014
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Look carefully at the top, middle of the chart plotter in this photo ... And you'll see that it clicked over to 3,000 nautical miles on the LOG. Not bad in mainly 2 seasons.
PS - Shiree doesn't normally dress like this on board, but I had to call her out of the shower for this picture ... And we broke the 'no drinking' rule on board for a celebration toast.
2014,Piran

Piran, Slovenia

03/05/2014
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On arrival at Piran at 9pm on Friday night after a 47.5hour trip, the first thing Gogi wanted to do was rush out and make sure we caught his favourite cafe before it closed. And let me tell you, it was worth it. The cakes were delicious. Thanks for joining us guys!
2014

Slovenia really IS beautiful

03/05/2014
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What a lovely surprise. You should definitely include Slovenia on your visit list.
2014,Maps,Wild&Woolly
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Cyprus/Lebanon - 2014

2015,Cyprus

Thunderous farewell

29/05/2015
After delay on top of delays we finally said 'enough'we're going! So, Shiree went to make all the check out procedures on Thursday afternoon so we were all set to go at 8am on Friday morning. Lovely dinner on board 'Macnoon' with Michael and Sue followed by a relatively early night (nearly midnight). All was well till about 2:30 in the morning when we woke up to the sound of heavy rain. Too late! All the hatches were open and there was water everywhere! After cleaning up and rechecking the weather forecasts for our sail to Cyprus in a few hours time, it was off to bed with a huge thunder and lightning storm to dream about all night. Finally awoke to a cloudy wet morning. The Bimini was 'just about' ready (but we'll need to come back).
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After fuelling up and saying goodbye to friends it was time to finally get sailing for the season.
(Picture - Frec & Jackie on 'Blue Searcher')

Finally sailing

29/05/2015
An eventful crossing to Cyprus after leaving Finike on 29th at 9:30am. Winds mainly 20 to 25 knots and reasonable waves since it had been blowing harder west of us for two or three days. Consequently we had some interesting waves on the quarter. Sailing with deep reefed main and jib between 7 and 9 knots consistently. Thunder & lightening all night wasn't so pleasant but hey, that's sailing!

Broken man

02/06/2015
During our drive through the mountains we came accross an amazing statue. The symbology is obvious. The dove of peace overlooking a broken man on the world. Clearly a comment about the strife in Cyprus from 40 years of separation in the North/South.
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At the Ancient city of Salamis, Shiree tests 'the position' in the Roman Latrines that accommodated up to 24 naked men socialising, talking and maybe doing a little business on the side (according to our guide). Plus ... Well, you know what latrines are for :)

Ancient Salamis

02/06/2015
Here is the Gymnasium where naked blokes worked out in Roman times.

Doing her 'business'

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OK, we're convinced - Cyprus is beautiful!

03/06/2015…
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The previous times we had been to Cyprus left us with an 'average' feeling about the place. That changed completely after out three day exploration of the entire island in the capable hands of Graham Campbell, who was determined to show us what's on offer. And that he did! We visited Ancient Greek and Roman sites, Mosques that used to be Cathedrals where Kings were anointed, drove up, over and along amazing mountains, climbed over crusader castles and slept in Venetian ports. Not mention the amazing strawberries and tomatoes. Yes, it's public - Graham wins!

Crusaders were here

03/06/2015
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Queen Elanour lived way up here at St. Hilarion Castle overlooking Kyrenia. Romantic and daunting!

The GRAND tour

04/06/2015
Here's the tour we made of Cyprus with Graham.
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Thank you Graham and Josy

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We spent an amazing week in Cyprus with our friends Graham & Josy. Chilling out at their pool or just lounging around their beautiful home was just what the doctor ordered.

Gentle sailing

15/06/2015
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Sailed roughly half the trip over to Cyprus at about 6.5 - 7.5 knots on a beam reach to port tack. After about 3am the wind dropped and moved forward, so motored the last leg.

Just making sure you leave :)

Left Beirut as planned on Monday morning after checking out. Called 'Oscar Charlie' (Operational Command) to formalise our departure when 1NM offshore after passing armed ribs - all good fun. Better still, we were approached by a UN Warship (maybe an Italian Frigate?) who hailed us on the VHF when we were about 14NM offshore. They ran through a whole bunch of standard questions to prove we were fair dinkum, then they paralleled us for 15 minutes or so - I guess to check us out.
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Nice rest

19/06/2015
Spent three days chilling out with Graham and Josy. Here's a typical shot with adults relaxing after a swim - see kids, you're not the only ones with a problem :)
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'This is good'

20/06/2015
Sailing back from Cyprus to Turkey took longer due to the prevailing winds. So, after a couple of long tacks out to sea, South of Cyprus, we could finally turn the corner and head over on one long port tack to Finike. As predicted the wind also dropped in the early hours of the mornings, making for this classic 'I've retired and put my feet up' shot at 5:40am!
2015,Lebanon
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You're going where? Are you sure?

05/06/2015, Beirut, ATCL Marina
Much to the questions of every single person that asked ... We set sail for an overnight we to Beirut, Lebanon. Having worked there between 2004-8 we have many old friends to catch up with and we're not scarred off easily by CNN/BBC. Good sail on the day making 7-8 knots with full sail. Motored from about 3am once the wind dropped.
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ATCL Marina Beirut

07/06/2015
As you can see ... It's a terrible place to keep your boat :)
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Warm welcome

07/06/2015
Danny and Tanya (my old Assistant and friend) met us at the dockside with balloons and big smiles! We started off our visit in great style with two fantastic Food Fests. One at Byblos overlooking the old town and castle and lunch up in the mountains.
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Visitor passes

07/06/2015
As we checked in on arrival, the port Captain said he was relieved we had arrived, since it seemed like the whole of Lebanon was chasing our arrival! And so it was ... Next to visit us were Rania and Danni.
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Next up ...

07/06/2015
Our friends Amine and Stephanie with Georges were next up to visit us. This is just the start of lunch and dinners and lunch and dinners ....
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Afternoon visit

08/06/2015
Tony and Patrick popped by for a beer and Georges arrived to take us to dinner. It was 'good old times' with the boys all back together.

Dinner with Georges and his family

08/06/2015
Georges and Amal invited us for dinner with their family. Another Lebanese feast at a famous Beirut restaurant called Mhana.
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New table sir?

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Typical Lebanese dessert table. No, not a buffet ... All this is set up on a new, separate, table just for is for dessert!
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It's going to be a hot day!

09/06/2015
Here's a picture from the boat at 6:30 this morning ... You can see the heat of the day to come. Fortunately we now have rather effective tents to shade the boat and keep us cool.
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Chez Sami

09/06/2015
Lunch at one of the best fish restaurants in Beirut with Luca and Stephanie.
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Great cooincidence

10/06/2015
One of our best friends in Lebanon, Selim and Ashley, moved to the States shortly after we left for Nigeria. Imagine how pleased we were to find them back home visiting Selim's family this week. So, catching up plus ... Yep ... Lunch of course!

THE best night

10/06/2015
So good to catch up with friends from my old SOHAT team in Lebanon. Around 25 managers turned up to enjoy a wonderful evening with us.
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Bad boys

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Raymond, my old Finance Manager, on the right and Ragi, my old Technical Manager in the middle. Great to see them as always.
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A real treat

11/06/2015
Claud Zoghzoghy invited us to lunch with his family at Sydney's on the top floor of the Vendome. Food was exceptional and the company even more so.
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Old stomping groundFood food food ...

12/06/2015
Lunch today with Roger and Chadia Assi together with Amine and Stephanie Abboud. We met at Amine's downtown apartment and walked to a 'Modern' Lebanese restaurant called Lizas inside the Mwtropolitan Club. Better still, we passed our old residence for four years, so very nostalgic as well.

Doctors and Downtown

13/06/2015
Stacks Image 283390
Since we trust the doctors here, Shiree had a whole bunch of tests and scans scheduled for this morning. All went well except they missed her vein when pumping in the dye markers before the scan. Consequently she ended up with her arm swelling up like an Elephants trunk! Poor girl. Didn't stop us enjoying lunch with Fady and Racha though (and their new daughter). We enjoyed time wandering with them through the newly reconstructed 'Old Souks' of Diwntown Beirut.
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Shiree recovering from her tests by 'keeping her arm up' with a smile. The girl further down seemed to think I was taking 'her' picture - very friendly :)
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Finally a steak :)

13/06/2015
Lebanese cuisine ranks highly in our list of favourite cuisines, but after a week of lunch and dinners an Australian Wagu steak was most welcome with Patrick and Fabiene at dinner.
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Fishing with Georges

14/06/2015
When we first arrived Georges opening line was "When are you coming back!" ... In the meantime, we've seen a lot of him and his family as we're close. Last day today ... Fishing in Georges boat with Tony.
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Did you know it's like this?

14/06/2015
Here's a typical shot of Lebanon immediately you leave the coastal strip. Simply a beautiful country. We spent the afternoon up at Biet Mary looking into this landscape at the home of old friends Antoine and Marie-Therese. Their son Joe-Max and wife Maya were also there as a bonus, together with their gorgeous little girls (and son).

Final Lebanese dinner

14/06/2015
It was appropriate to close our visit with Tanya and Danny. We enjoyed a meal at Relais D'Entrecote, a few hugs and last goodbyes for now - till next time. Of course the selfie shot for the record :)
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Thank you Tanya

You're amazing!
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Gentle sailing

15/06/2015
Stacks Image 283460
Sailed roughly half the trip over to Cyprus at about 6.5 - 7.5 knots on a beam reach to port tack. After about 3am the wind dropped and moved forward, so motored the last leg.

Just making sure you leave :)

Left Beirut as planned on Monday morning after checking out. Called 'Oscar Charlie' (Operational Command) to formalise our departure when 1NM offshore after passing armed ribs - all good fun. Better still, we were approached by a UN Warship (maybe an Italian Frigate?) who hailed us on the VHF when we were about 14NM offshore. They ran through a whole bunch of standard questions to prove we were fair dinkum, then they paralleled us for 15 minutes or so - I guess to check us out.
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Atlantic with OOROO - 2014

2014,Winchester

'In Transit' family visit

30 August 2014 | Winchester, Southern England
Stacks Image 286011
Now 'en route' to our next sailing adventure and stopped over to see Shiree's sister Keveena and her family, Neil, Amber and Nolan. They live in Winchester which is one of the oldest towns in England. We had lunch at this restaurant which was built in 1450.
2014,Winchester

Howard Family Shot

30 August 2014 | Winchester, Southern England
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Neil, Keveena (Shiree's sister) with Amber in between us.
2014,Gibraltar

The Rock of Gibraltar

31 August 2014
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We landed today and as I got off the plane felt like I was 'literally' hit in the face by 'The Rock'! So, stopping all other passengers disembarking ... Here's what I saw.
2014,Gibraltar

Departing shot of Gib

01 September 2014
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One more shot of the Rock of Gibraltar just before we left.
2014,Gibraltar,Sailing

Gib in Fog

02 September 2014 | Rock of Gibraltar
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Set off on our big Alantic voyage surrounded by fog. Super impressed by Ooroo1's thermal imaging camera. An amazing tool!
2014,Atlantic,Sailing,Fishing

No wind but GREAT fishing!

03 September 2014 | One day out ...
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So, one day and one overnight into our trip and the expertise of Mike, our Captain, came to the fore. An incredible fisherman with a wealth of knowledge (and all the right gear).
This Marlin weighed in around 20 kilo and tasted yummy. Yes, we ate him.
2014,Atlantic,Sailing,Fishing

10 minutes later!

03 September 2014 | One day out ...
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Doesn't need much explanation ... Just exclamation!!! And yes, this Dorado tasted as good as the Marlin.
2014,Marrakech

Hotel 'Chez Eric & Chantal'

05 September 2014 | Marrakech
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After a gruelling 'sail' of 4 days and nights motoring, we were lucky to have our friends Eric & Chantal collect us from Agadir and drive to their place in Marrakech for a little R'n R and sight seeing. First though, a beer!
2014,Marrakech

Fantasia ... Local horsemanship ...

06 September 2014 | Marrakech
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Talk about good timing! The weekend we came to Marrakech coincided with an amazing spectacle that's a tradition between the tribes and villages called 'Fantasia'. Outstanding feats of horsemanship where the different village 'teams' must charge down an arena at full gallop, all together and in a straight line, then fire one volley of blanks as synchronised as possible while pulling their horses to a stop in time.
I've deliberately enhanced this photo to make it look like a painting since this is exactly what I've seen so many times in paintings but never believed them. Up till now I just thought they were depicting history and for tourists. Now you can see otherwise. They are indeed history, generations passing down their traditions and skills.
2014,Marrakech

Treated like Royalty

06 September 2014 | At Fantasia, Marrakech
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As the ONLY tourists there and foreigners, we we're treated like royalty and given box seats in a big tent.
2014,Marrakech

Lay day

08 September 2014
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It's a tough life, but someone has to do it :)
2014,Marrakech

"That's all Folks"

15 September 2014
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So, the end of our sailing season has arrived. We made it to Las Palmas, Gran Canaria onboard OOROO 1, the Lagoon 450 of our friends Mike and Floss. Rather than repeat the news of the trip, CLICK HERE to link to their own blog...

We've had an outstanding year of sailing in 2014. Not only a new boat but with generous amounts of good winds for us to enjoy. Thanks for following along on our adventures. We'll be back in May 2015 and our plans include more of Turkey, then Cyprus, Lebanon, Egypt (by plane?), Crete and back to the Greek Islands that we enjoyed so much this year.

Greece - 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017

2014,Corfu,Gavin & Jane
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Early crossing to Corfu

12/06/2014
Based on a weather prediction that the prevailing northerlies wee about to shift gear and blow from the South for 5 days or so, we decided to sail directly from Brindisi to Corfu instead of making a few more Italian stops. On arrival, we entered a huge marina at Gouvia, where Gavin and Jane also share a boat with two other couples.
2014,Corfu

Checking in - good news, bad news

The bad news was that the Pilot Book is wrong! It says you can make the entry into Greece (a very formal process at the first Port of Entry) via the Marina at Gouvia. We were quickly informed to get a taxi to 'New Port' in Corfu Town and find the Customs and Harbour Master. So, €35 and two hours later we finished.
And the good news?
Thirty days ago they changed the rules for cruising yachts. We still had to get a 'Transit Log' for the boat, but instead of producing it at every Harbour Masters office at every stop through Greece, we now just hand it in on the way out. So, after paying another €75 in total for entry fees, it's done. Much easier.
12/06/2014
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The picture is the private yacht of the Emir of Qatar at the New Port... Guess the fuel running costs are not really a concern huh?
2014,Corfu
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Gouvia Marina

13/06/2014
The marina is huge (over 1,000 boats) but we were on the outside pontoon overlooking this delightful village setting.
2014,Corfu,Polo
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Stern mooring, trees included.Gouvia Marina

18/06/2014
All the way through France, Italy, Malta and Croatia it's been stern too mooring in marinas or anchoring. Hello Greece! And Turkey ... The home of taking a line ashore and securing it to a rock or a tree. All new for us and great fun. Go in and have a look, agree the spot, back out, launch the dinghy and drop wifey in it at sea (Hee hee, we'll be back, honest:).
The big question is ... Do you take the rope to the boat or the boat to the rope!
2014,Corfu
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Cold enough to swim :) Sort of ...

18/06/2014
Here's my dear wifey all kitted out in her new short sleeved wet suit. With the sea temperature at 26 degrees many people would find that quite comfortable ... However, when you're used to 30 plus in Thailand ...
2014,Corfu,Polo

WOW! Tornado not Water Spout.

19/06/2014
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After our first tree mooring experience at Gaieos on Paxos we set off after a lazy start for what was supposed to be a simple sail to the mainland for our next spot at Mourtos. Imagine our surprise when we rounded the headland and saw this in front of us - exactly where we were heading!
Not only is the first real water spout any of us had ever seen, this could certainly be considered a small tornado! Definitely glad we were far enough away from it but in awe at having seen it.
2014,Corfu,Polo
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Days of thunders

19/06/2014
More pictures from the day ... Actually, we mainly had sunny clear skies and a good 15 knot sailing breeze. Arriving at Mourtos after the clouds had cleared we took our second stern / rock mooring. That night the wind got up and we had more thunder storms and one in particular scared the proverbial out of me at 2am. I was checking our lines with a strong torch and just as I flicked the power up to full strength a huge streak of lightening flashed 3kms away in front of me. The shock of timing made me jump back like a little kid giggling.
No problems though, mainly a huge down pour.
2014,Corfu,Polo
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I love this dinghy

19/06/2014
Just look at her smile ... It's pretty obvious.
2014,Corfu,Polo
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Mourtos

20/06/2014
Morning beauty ...
2014,Corfu,Polo
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Teacher teaching his teacher.

20/06/2014
Shiree caught this nice picture of me giving Polo a shot at the wheel. Back in 1996, Polo was my boss in Vevey. We enjoyed working together so much that, even in retirement, we've remained good friends.
2014,Corfu,Polo
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See you next time

21/06/2014
Polo flew out on 21st after a fabulous last day sailing.
2014,Corfu,Gavin & Jane
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Maiden Voyage sailing buddies

23/06/2014
After being together for nearly 4 weeks it was time to say goodbye to Gavin & Jane. It was amazing that they could join us for the maiden voyage of Gumnuts since they also sailed with us on the maiden voyage of Wild & Woolly. During this last week they've been on their own boat (that is shared with two other couples). This morning we waved goodbye after a coffee and hugs.
Gavin joked about getting ready for the next boat ... while we should never say never ... it's not likely in a long time now, we love this boat.
2014,Corfu
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Escape from Corfu

24/06/2014
Finally left Corfu (late at about 4.30pm) and motored in a dead flat calm South East to Mourtos, but this time on the north of the Island group.
On the way out, anchored under Corfu Castle we saw 'Grande Bleu' an amazing ship that we last saw last year in Tivat, but at a distance.
Take another look. It has a bigger sailing yacht than ours on deck as a play thing. The other side is an equally impressive motor yacht just as big!
2014,Lefkas
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How 'not' to enter the canal

24/06/2014, Northern entrance to Lefkas Canal
Whoops, by the look of the place on the beach where this ship beached itself like a stranded whale, someone must have set a Waypoint for the bridge just inland (that opens on the hour) rather than the small dogleg entrance you should take to the North of this point ... Either way, an expensive mistake with two tugboats called in to pull her off.
2014,Lefkas
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Lefkas Canal

24/06/2014
After leaving Corfu we sailed south to Mourtos and anchored for two nights on a row. Idyllic and peaceful ... Just what the doctor ordered! On 25th we set out in time to meet the 3pm bridge opening if Lefkas Canal. This is a picture of the bridge rotated to allow yachts through
2014,Northern Ionoan
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North Ionian Islands

25/06/2014
We anchored in a picturesque bay on Nisos Meganisi called Ormos Abelike. The photo is the Private Island that was originally owned by the Onassis family and now a wealthy Russian. Shiree has fallen in love with researching everything about this Island. Even Hitler gets a mention!
2014,Patras
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Gulf of Patras

26/06/2014
Typically, the seas around Greece and Turkey are extremely blue as a result of less plankton. This in turn leads to a lower ratio of sea life compared to other seas. So, it was with real joy that we spotted this Turtle. Not only that, he let us get close enough for a picture! Later we even saw a pod of Dolphins. Great.
2014,Maps
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Where are we?

26/06/2014
For those of you following our location, we're having a small glitch with our PredictWind service. I'm in the middle of upgrading and at present the GPS fix comes from my iPad, so it can be a bit out of date. The map in Sailblogs still works (as above) but is historic rather than live. Bear with us, we'll be back to live updates soon ...
2014,Patras
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Patras apartment block

28/06/2014, Patras, Greece
We made it to Patras, which is at the head of the Gulf of Corinth. Later today we head into the Corinth Chanel which is 60 NM long and finally the Corinth Canal.
The picture today is from the stern of our boat looking up (a long way up) the back of the Lagoon 520 owned by Aussies Kevin and Annette, who we also met last year. Their boat is simply enormous! Just look at the height of the boom. An amazing boat though and Kevin's a National champion cat sailor - they recently won the Lagoon Regatta in Split Croatia.
2014,Patras
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A more flattering view

28/06/2014
Thought I'd better post some better pictures of their amazing boat ...
Patras,2014
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A wee drop 'o Port

28/06/2014
This mail from our friends Mike and Floss,
Don't forget to get some of this.
We got the port not far from the marina.
Turn left on the Main Street from marina and about the first corner on the right there's a little bottle shop with an old biddy in it with a smoke in her gob. The bottles still have prices written in pencil covered in dust.
P.s. the old biddy blows smoke all over you.
Enjoy
2014,Corinth
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Significant entrance

28/06/2014, Corinth Channel - Rion Bridge
This huge bridge marks the entrance to the 60 nautical mile long Corinth Channel that leads to the famous canal.
2014,Corinth

Paint your own picture ...

29/06/2014, Near Itéa on the north side of Corinth Channel
No picture today ... Close your eyes and imagine this. It's an extract from a mail to a friend last night.
So, let me Describe my present situation. I'm sitting outside in the cockpit of my boat. We're at anchor in a remote part of Greece inside the Corinth Channel. It's dark (just) after the twilight at 9.30pm and the only light is the glow from my iPad on my face and the light downstairs in our cabin. I can hear a dog barking up on the hill where there must be at least one house. All along the sides of the shore I can hear the gentle sound of the small waves moving slowly along the shore and the boat bobs quietly in the middle of a good anchorage surrounded by small hills with deep water right up to the sides. It's 10pm.
2014,Corinth,Delphi
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Pile of old rocks?

30/06/2014, Delphi, Greece
We took the boat one hour north to a forgotten little harbour called Itéa. Just a normal town, not touristic. Had a feast for lunch with the most polite young man serving that you'll ever meet. Then, caught the local bus for €1.89 each to Delphi.
Supposedly, Zeus sent out two Eagles and where their paths crossed marked the site of Zeus. Today the 8th century BC remains are remarkable. The Temple of Apollo, the Amphitheatre and the Stadium are some of the ruins visitors see today. A hot 32 degrees centigrade but a very worthily visit - as Alan, my brother said "Delphi? Sure, been there ... Pile if old rocks on the side of a hill. But worth seeing ..."
2014,Corinth,Delphi
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So realistic

30/06/2014
Of all the things we saw in Delphi today, this small relief is my favourite. Just look at the reality and emotion of this Lion biting into the leg of a warier strangling it. Amazing.
2014, Delphi
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Ouch!

30/06/2014
On the way back from our sightseeing, exhausted from the heat, we were invited for a beer aboard a lovely Kiwi boat (a Halsburg-Rassey) owned by Lyn and Murray. On leaving the boat, poor Shiree tripped on one of the spring lines and fell down (hard) with a thump onto the concrete mole.
Nothing broken, but a real shock including a puncture would near the elbow and severe bruising. She survived the "Can you still pull on a rope?" test though:)
2014,Athens
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Getting better thanks

04/07/2014
All this rest has paid off for our Captain. No pulling on ropes 'n stuff for a few days.
2014,Athens

When in Athens ...

02/07/2014
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We booked to stay at Marina Zeas for 3 nights since it's our first ever trip to Athens with so much to see here. We set off this morning with good intent. First problem, shops! Oh, just another one here to look at, and another ... Then we decided to get th 'Hop on/Hop off tourist bus but couldn't find where it stopped (turns out we walked right by one stop). After about 2 hours we made our way to the Metro and caught a train so we could visit the Acropolis and Parthenon.
Hmmm ... We got as far as a nice looking restaurant spraying fine water mists from their awnings (to create a cooler space). It was lunchtime, the food was excellent, the beer was good, the Ouzo better and two and a half hours later we thought we'd better find what we came for.
This picture looking up from our table. Maybe I'd had one too many and by then but, believe me, Great lunch!
Athens,2014

Must be on everyone's list!

02/07/2014, Acropolis & Parthenon, Athens, Greece.
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The size and scope of the Acropolis was a real surprise for us. Much bigger than we had imagined and surrounded by much much more in terms of Archiological sites. Much bigger than the Forum in Rome for instance.
So, instead of the usual pictures looking AT the Parthenon etc ... Here's a panoramic shot of (part) of Athens looking FROM the Acropolis.

OK ... Here's the real shot :)

02/07/2014
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Just one of many pictures I could post ... But this one with a special Goddess in view :)
2014,Athens

I like the way they're reconstructing

02/07/2014
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The paler coloured stone is where they have reconstructed some missing parts or whole blocks.
2014,Athens

It's like corks or screw tops on wine

02/07/2014
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This is part of their worksite. Many people object to this and think the rocks and rubble should left in heaps 'as is'. The technique is highly scientific using all the best known materials including titanium pins. I personally like what they're doing, it gives visitors a real sense if scale and grandeur. In the end, there's no right or wrong, but people will have an opinion the same as replacing corks in wine bottles with screw tops!
Peloponnesus,2014

Greek hospitality with a surprise

03/07/2014
Stacks Image 278790
My brother Alan has a good friend here in Athens who called and offered to show us some sights while in town. Giorgione turned up at 6pm carrying a case if locally brewed 'Pale Ale' called Septem! An excellent brew as it turns out. We left at about 6.30pm thinking we were heading off to a suburb of Athens. How wrong! We proceeded to drive out of town, right back and over the Corinth Canal to the Peloponnesus Peninsular. Eventually, by 9pm, we arrived at the most magnificent amphitheatre we've ever seen (or would do, since it was closed!)
George proceeded to demonstrate his wonderful way with humans and soon the Security Guard and later one of the senior actresses running a dress rehearsal that evening allowed us the privaledge of sitting quietly at the top. The sun had set, but this picture from the internet is roughly where we were. The theatre was built in the 4th century BC at Epidaurus.
But that wasn't the end if our adventure ... However, to cut a long story short. We then went to another town for dinner, then another for Ice Cream - by now midnight ... And eventually arrived back onboard Gumnuts at 2am.
THANKS GEORGIOS.
Athens,2014

National Archaeological Museum

03/07/2014, Athens, Greece
Stacks Image 278802
We continued our classical education today with a memorable museum visit (Sue our Archaeology Professor friend would be proud of us). It was so good that we realised we'd spent two and a half hours in just the Prehistoric Collection rooms. Masterful and artistic pottery, gold masks, jewellery and wall paintings completely captivated us. We were inspired by the beauty and creative ability of people from the 7th millennium to 1050 BC. Objects from the Neolithic and Bronze Age for heavens sake! And all this in only 3 rooms of the 60 odd in total! Guess we'll need to go back :)
Athens,2014

Little clay statues

03/07/2014, Athens, Greece
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These little guys are only 10 cm high ... They we're found in burial graves throughout the Aegean and especially the Mycenaean tombs.

The 'rear' view

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Call me wierd, but I liked the fact that we could see behind the statues (pun intended:)
2014,Poros

Escape - back to our 'new' reality

08/07/2014
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So here's the thing ... Although this is our second year of cruising since I retired (and our third season in the Med) it's only now that we're beginning to 'feel' like cruising yachties. Having left Athens we deliberately sailed south to Portos instead of south east to the Cyclades. Then, instead of mooring at the town quay, we preferred to find our own quiet little bay to ourselves all alone.
Here's our boat hanging out and with a great shot with our outboard 'doing it's thing'.
2014,Poros

Poros

09/07/2014
Stacks Image 278863
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We did make it in there (by dinghy) for a beer and great roast pork like only the Greeks can do. Very pretty town.
It is a beautiful town though.
2014,Sailing,Kythnos
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Fish for dinner?

10/07/2014, On the way to Kythnos
Having bought Shiree a fishing rod holder for her birthday (in May) I finally got round to buying her all the fishing gear to go with it ... Believe me, that's the easy part. What I still have to get my head around is how to manage the flopping fish, scaling and blood 'n guts that follow after she catches one!
Still, the smile on her face is worth this small problem on our new boat. On top of which ... She has to catch one first (he hee).
PS - we anchored in a delightful, isolated bay on Kythnos overnight.
2014,Kythnos

What a night!

11/07/2014, Loutros, Kythnos
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Absolute chaos broke out here last night. This picture was taken the next morning. Moored in a Fiord like bay with a Greek Taverna at its head to feed us we enjoyed a romantic dinner for two. However it came quickly to a halt when we saw a 120 foot long Super Yacht trying to squeeze right next to our boat - and with the wind blowing over 14 knots. So, a rapid bill payment and back to Gumnuts by dinghy to protect her sides.
We we're moored stern to rocks with long lines and the anchor out in front.
The wind picked up to 20+ knots right on our sides. Since there were not enough suitable rock holds for them to run their stern lines to, they ended up sharing our rock (which we were already sharing with another 80 foot Motor Yacht). That, in itself, was enough pandemonium (in the dark) ... But it got worse!
At 1am they realised it wasn't going to work with the wind so strong and in tightening themselves even more, they literally ripped a 2 Ton chunk of rock (OUR rock!) into the water - including all our mooring lines!
So, having messed us all up they just drove off and 'reparked' across the road without so much as a 'sorry'.
Then another 100 foot super yacht opposite us decided he needed to re-anchor in order to cope with the strong winds. That, in turn, lead them to drag up OUR anchor chain with their anchor! So now the front of the boat is being pulled towards them!
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This meant that while Shiree was out in the dinghy making sure we were still safe at the back and finding us another 'security rock' I was out on deck directing operations to free up our anchor! And all this at 2 o'clock in the morning with the wind blowing hard.

Miraculously, our stern rope was securely buried 3 metres underwater below a ton of rock. It wouldn't budge so we'll have to cut it in the morning to get it back. Since I had earlier set the anchor well with 60 metres of chain in 5 metres of depth (that's a LOT of scope) we held OK.

This picture shows the stern line secured under 3 meres of water.

So, bed by 2.40pm and up again at 6am to check and help out as many of the boats left early. After all the fun and games the night before ... It's still like a picture postcard and not to be missed.
2014,Sifnos

More romance.

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13/07/2014, Vathy on Sifnos Island
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Found a beautiful protected bay on the south of the Island of Sifnos called Vathy. Anchored off the taverna and small jetty shown in this picture. Another romantic dinner for two watching our own boat at sunset. What could be better.
Dinner, sunset and our own boat gently at anchor. Ingredients for a good nights sleep!
2014,Sailing,Ios
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Shiree loves this rock

4/07/2014, En route to Fira (Santorini)
After an early departure, quietly slipping anchor while everyone slept, we set off for Fira, better known as Santorini. About 1/3 of the way there we sailed close to this amazing piece of geography. A huge rock of an Island that looks like it tipped over sideways in one of the many earthquakes or eruptions in this area. There's no doubt that this part of Europe must be a Geologists dream.

Changed our minds …

Having another wonderful sail with 5 -16 knots of wind. Halfway to our planned destination, Santorini, we decided to 'turn left' and go to the Island of Ios instead. It just seemed way too hard to anchor in a volcano (the huge deep waters inside the Islands are literally the caldera) and then imagine leaving your boat untended to climb up 1,000 steps to see the sights. The pilot book says it's easier to take the ferry from from Ios instead - just wishid read that part earlier. So that's the plan - turned left!
2014,Ios

Sunset with a view

15/07/2014, Grandma's Restaurant on Ios
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Moored right on the town quay. Electricity and water available (pay as you go). The best part though ... As we discovered 5 days later when we only had to pay €41 for the whole time we were there!
After booking our return trip by Ferry for Santorini the day after tomorrow, we decided to treat ourselves to a fancy dinner out. So, 'Grandmas' was the recommendation. We got all togged up in our best gear, had a complimentary car pick up and headed to a fancy resort overlooking the bays. The food was excellent and the views even better.
Then, on Tuesday, we went up into the main town of Ios. It's a cute little town that comes alive from midday with all the young people. Here's a view from the top looking down to the port, where Gumnuts is moored. Grandmas is halfway down the hill.
2014,Ios

Looking comfortable here ...

15/07/2014, In town at Ios
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As is often the case here in the Islands, the villages or towns are built on the hill above. The old town of Ios has been tastefully taken over by the young and (mainly) good looking. As you can see in today's picture though, you can still find the odd back street with friendly 'Mums' sitting in the shade waiting to gossip with the neighbours:)

The 'other' side of Ios

15/07/2014, Party town ...
Stacks Image 278955
We both took a double take when we read these signs. Believe me, they're real!
2014,Santorini

Santorini lives up to expectations

16/07/2014, Fira, Cylades
Stacks Image 280771
Stacks Image 280773
We had our day trip as planned. Absolutely worth it. Can't begin to describe the awesome nature of the location, the geography or the white houses hanging from the cliff edge. Did you know that it's estimated the cataclysmic explosion that formed this place is estimated to be three times bigger than Krakatoa?
Don't want to write more than needed - put it on your own bucket list.

For any other yachties reading this blog and planning a trip to Santorini, I can thoroughly recommend staying at Ios and taking the ferry. The high speed ferry on the way there only took 40 minutes and the normal one on the way back only an hour and a half.
This is a shot of Santorini from the stern as we came home.
2014,Ios

Picture us diving :)

17/07/2014, Far Out Beach Club, Ios
Stacks Image 280785
The boat moored next to us happened to be owned by Jason and Katherine who run a dive school called Meltimi. Since it's essential that Shiree and I get correct training to use our new underwater 'Sea Breath' apparatus, we booked some time with them. So, bright and early on Thursday (10am:) we set off in their Land Rover to the beach just south of town.
Imagine our surprise to see that they are located in the pool area of the'Far Out' beach resort. This place is like a continuous 'Schoolies Week' in Australia.
I could show you great pictures of me in the pool looking like 007 or shots from our dives ... But this one is WAY more fun!
This incredible knife edged rock continues down at the same angle for another 25 metres before it hits the bottom that slopes off. This was the scene for our third dive which was a 'Deep Dive' to 30 metres ... Crystal clear waters and a highly trained instructor with his team made this another satisfying adventure. Shiree and I both gained our PADI open water certificates back in 1997 in the Philippines but needed these refreshers. We really feel ready to use our Sea Breath now - with safety first.
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2014,Ios

The Octopus Tree

18/07/2014, Restaurant in Ios
Stacks Image 280802
This lovely little restaurant sits on the edge of the port area where we've been moored for the last 5 days ... We are there one night and true to it's name they hang a dead Octopus (quite a big one) in the tree at night. Guests wanting Octopus get one or two legs cut off with the knife and it's thrown into the pan! Can't get fresher - we love Greece and especially Ios.
2014,Amorgos
We've been offline for a week due to poor internet reception on the Island of Ios, plus we've been having a lot of fun. Funny thing ... Now typing at sea in 20 knots of wind on our way to an island called Amorgos. And here we are witha 3G connection 10 km away from the nearest radio tower!
Stacks Image 280816

We'll just rest here thanks

20/07/2014, Katapola, Nisos Amorgos
Yesterday, we had an invigorating sail from Ios to Amorgos, where we are now. During this passage we had winds of mainly 17-20 knots. However, in the early stages we were over canvassed (meaning we had everything up) when a down draft from the small (but tall) island we were sailing past, hit us with a 28 knot gust! All hands on deck to release sheets having been knocked to the rails and shorten sail. Then with a double reefed jib and single reefed main we cruised along nicely for another hour.
Finally a small wind shift (more to the stern) and strengthening to 20 to 27 knots and we were flying along happily with a full jib only and making between 6.2 and 7.8 knots. Great fun.
After checking out out two coves on the way, we settled for the main anchorage here on Nisos (means Island) Amorgos called Katapola.
The chart attached shows the outlook and our planned 'next' course. Each barb is 10 knots so the pinkish one with three long ones means 30 to 35 knots. That's force 7 on the Beaufort scale so we'll just wait it out one more day here and put our feet up.
(Danny, should arrive Kos on 23rd now)
2014,Amorgos

But what a good anchorage

21/07/2014, Katapola, Nisos Amorgos
Stacks Image 280828
We ended up three nights in Ormis Katapola (Katapola Bay). The first night we tucked up round the North Western inlet. Well protected (stern to to rocks) but side on to the deflected swell so we moved to the town anchorage.
Beautiful spot with good holding for the anchor (mud). We didn't budge one bit. In fact, we didn't even go ashore and enjoyed the rest.
2014,Levitha

In yer dreams!

22/07/2014, Nisos Levitha
Stacks Image 280840
Left Amorgos a day later than planned, still heading for Kos and final departure from Geeece. However, on the way we discovered perhaps our best ever location! A small island with a remarkable all weather anchorage and a handful of moorings. One taverna with two or three families a few goats, their own veggie patch and that's it!
Shane we're out if time (re the EU/Schengen) 90 day rule ... Or we could easily stay a week here!
2014,Levitha

At the taverna / family home

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22/07/2014
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By the end of the day there were 6 yachts at the moorings - German, French and one Turkish Family. Wandering up a rocky unmarked path leads to the only group of buildings on the Island ... And dinner.
Fish, glorious fresh and grilled! Great.

Here's the 'tavern' including the old Honda ... Yep, it still works.
2014,Kos
Stacks Image 280866

Catching up with Danny ...

23/07/2014, And Helena, Fabien, Nadia and Philip
Motored all the way to Kos with wind on the nose and not much of it. We had a prearranged rendezvous with Daniel and his family. Danny and I used to work together in 1996-8 and have only seen each other a couple of times since, so it was great to catch up after all these years.
2014,Sailing

Tips for sailing in Greece

24/07/2014
Stacks Image 280882
We finally went to check out of Greece today. Having come to the end of our journey through this wonderful sailing area and country I would like to reflect and share some learnings.
1. Greece is, hands down, the best sailing grounds in the Med we've experienced so far. Why?
- excellent summer climate compared to say Croatia, Italy or France.
- excellent winds with a lower proportion of time motoring
- fair and reasonable prices at town quays or marinas (compared to stupidly high and grossly overpriced Croatia)
- beautiful, well sheltered anchorages everywhere
- Islands conveniently scattered at cruising arms length
- excellent food and wonderful people
2. The rules for transiting yachts have changed for the better. Technically, all you need to do now is obtain a Transit Log (see Corfu entry) and then hand it in at the end.
3. Tip of the day - take the courtesy to call in and see every Port Authority on the way ... They love it ... They like to stamp your log (no charge) and they like to know your next stop. Think like 'Coastguards' and not like 'Police' and everyone benefits
4. If you're non EU, make sure that you force the Police to stamp your passport IN and OUT of all the EU countries you visit. Technically it's not required ... But believe me it helps
5. Make sure you have the original and or amended crew lists when exiting
6. Leave plenty of time ... It's still a labour opus and painful track from one office to the other, and must be in the right order (Police for passports, Port Office, Customs)
Most of all ... DON'T MISS GREECE!
Stacks Image 280892
Here's a summary of what we did. We loved our time in Greece and look forward to more time in future years.
2014, Maps

Greek Oddesey

25 July 2014 | Our journey through the Islands
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Here's a summary of what we did.
2015, Samos

Half half

02 August 2015
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Having used up most of our 90 days in Turkey (the limit every 180 days) it was time move on to Greece. Leaving Kusadasi to Samos is a simple 2 hour crossing, mainly south. The two countries are really close as you see in this photo. Practically all of the Islands you look out to from the shores of Turkey are Greek.
2015, Samos

Blue 'n White

04 August 2015
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Yep, we're definitely back in Greece! This picture taken in the back streets of Pythagorio.
2015, Samos

Full speed ahead skipper!

06 August 2015
SEE VIDEO
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Left Samos to catch up with our friends Mike and Sue on 'Macnoon' who we knew were on N. Leipsoi. Timed our departure at 2pm to pick up the best of the wind and had a great beam reach on the way. For all our potential 'landlubber guests' - enjoy!
2015, Leipsoi

Sailing 'In company'

06 August 2015
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After a wonderful meal all together we set off next morning for a short hop down to N. Arkenkhelis. In the past couple of years we've seen many charter yachts in groups - called flotilla sailing, and we generally smirked at them saying we preferred to go solo. Well, we were only three Aussie boats for five days company, but frankly it was fun!
2015,Leros

Don't be fooled by the calm ...

07 August 2015
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This was the picture as the sun set ... A remote, natural spot with a small tavern overlooking a bay. Clear, warm water to swim in and, as would be expected, a relatively busy place to anchor up overnight. So here's what happened. We had just concluded a lovely dinner for 6 in our cockpit and opened our 2nd bottle of red when, out of no where from behind the small hills surrounding the bay, lightning appeared. Always a sign of thunder and the imminent squalls beneath them we packed up in the nick of time and everyone went back to their boats 'just in time'. Our peaceful anchorage turned from 2 knots to 25 knots gusting over 30 which lasted for two hours!
During this time chaos emerged as all the boats who anchored properly (Go Aussie) stayed put while most others began to drag! There's no good or bad in this. If you drag you're in trouble. If you stay put you can be smashed into by a boat that drags! We all survived though some other boats were slightly damaged and all had a story to tell.
Turns out it was a freak storm that not even the Greek forecasting system saw coming.

2015,Levitha

'In the middle of nowhere' (singing)

08 August 2015
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Last year we discovered a real gem in the middle of 'Meltemi Alley' (the strong Mediterranean wind that blows consistently from the N/NW). So, we convinced our sailing buddies to join us there as the end of our 'in company' adventure. The island, Nisos Levitha, is practically deserted except for one extended family (see picture). They have layed down moorings and turned their farm buildings up on the hill into the tavern. After a meal at night you need a torch to walk home!
2015,Amorgos

Crossroads of civilisation

10 August 2015
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Departing Levitha, 'Gumnuts' turned West and '4th Dimension' and 'Macnoon' turned East heading back to collect incoming friends. Another favourite spot for us in Amorgos which the Pilot Book, unfortunately and incorrectly, makes little of the Islands importance. Check it out for yourself at:
Amorgos Island Website

Or
Wikipedia
2015,Scouala

Just hanging around

13 August 2015
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Dear Shiree enjoying the water time. Our ships water temperature has been reading on the high side. We'll say 29 degrees centigrade and friends will tell us it's only 24! We prefer ours even if it's wrong:)

After Amorgos we sailed quickly to Nisos (Island) Scouala, Naxos then Paros before arriving yesterday on Mykonos. Catching up with Kevin and Annette again, including dinner tonight.
2015, Mykonos

As pretty as ...

15 August 2015
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Mykonos ... As per all the tea towel pics
2015,Mykonos

Where's the wind?

16 August 2015
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Windless windmills of Mykonos. Better hold on to my (beautiful) hat :)
2015,Sailing

Still no fish ...

16 August 2015
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As soon as we leave anywhere these days, Shiree is right in there with the fishing rod. She's happy, but still no fish ... Hmmmm.
2015,Kythnos

Putting our feet up

17 August 2015
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I know, life's so hectic for us, you could wonder why we needed a three day break. Well, we sailed directly to Kythnos and took up a spot in one of our favourite locations. These two pictures are taken from the taverna overlooking the anchorages which are actually two bays separated by a sandy bar. Idyllic, peaceful, romantic ... Special!
2015,Kythnos

Our own private pool

18 August 2015
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So, the idea is that you throw out the anchor at the pointy end of the boat, drive backwards and then grab a couple of rocks to tie up the back of the boat. Job done, lower the swim platform and 'Voila' our own private swimming pool!
2015,Kea

Vourkari on Kea

19 August 2015
Stacks Image 283950
So, the idea is that you throw out the anchor at the pointy end of the boat, drive backwards and then grab a couple of rocks to tie up the back of the boat. Job done, lower the swim platform and 'Voila' our own private swimming pool!
2015,Athens

Incredible depth of history

22 August 2015
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What an amazing place is Greece. The marina we're staying in even has its own archaeology ... And it's literally right behind our boat. We're in Pireaus at Marina Zeas which was the ancient port of Athens. So, these rocks in the picture were built by the Greeks, the ones before the Romans not the ones in austerity today :)
You can see our boat ... We're the one with a tent!
2015,Sailing

Safety is important

22 August 2015
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One of the many things Nestlé taught me is the importance of Safety. We all know about the subject in the workplace, but it's equally important in other places that we 'live' ... Now I have more time, I can put my creative juices to all sorts of areas and this is the result regarding our 'Safety Briefing' card. After the briefing (which all sailing visitors get as they arrive) this card is then a reminder of what we discuss.
2015,Athens

The real value of experts

24 August 2015
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Ever since our boat was launched (well, the week after) we've had problems with the in-mast furling system for the mainsail. Last year in Turgutreis our Turkish friends (Burak and co.) did their best on two occasions, but the broken part immediately broke again. The only help we got from Sydney, where we bought the boat from was ... Yep, zero! Just constant delays and navel gazing. So, with good luck I found an expert in Athens. I asked Minas from 'Meltemi Riggers' to come and tune my rigging. That, it turned out was greatly needed since the Commisioning yard had set the boat up badly in the first place (their was a 3.5cm difference between port and starboard shrouds - a lot).
Anyway, I thought to ask Minas if he could look at my mainsail furling since I'm constantly having to find 'expert' advice that I can keep sending back to Sydney - to try and get them to fix the problem under warranty.
Not only did he look at it, but he confidently told me he could fix it. One part removed, some reboring and parts making and two days later he was back as promised - job done!
Thanks Minas ... As usual it only takes one expert to make a huge difference.
2015, Maps,Athens,Poros,Ermioni,Porto Heli,Nafplio,Korfos,James & Sam

Meltemi season

25 August 2015
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Our friends from Leura, Sam and James, arrived in Athens to join us for five days. This will be their first time on a sailing boat and just to mark the occasion the famous wind of the region the 'Meltemi' has set in for a week. Doesn't stop us having fun though. I've planned a trip on the 'side' of the winds instead of into it.
2015,AThens,James & Sam

James at the helm

25 August 2015
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And doing a good job too.
2015,Poros,James & Sam

Do you have permission to swim near my rock?

26 August 2015
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This cute little goat popped his head up from behind a rock while we were swimming. Then just stood there 'actively' watching the whole time. I was convinced he was really considering if he should jump in!
2015, Poros

Poros tourists returning ...

26 August 2015
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Anchored overnight at Russia Bay, Porus. However, Shiree took James and Sam into town for the afternoon to see this attractive little town.
2015,Porto Heli,James & Sam

Sunset with friends

28 August 2015
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Nothing better at the end of a great days sail than a drink on deck watching the sun set. Porto Kheli, Peloponnesos.
We've had some of THE best sailing ever while James & Sam have been on board, including a record top speed of 10.3 knots and one period of 40 minutes sailing at 9.1 to 9.6 knots consistently on a broad reach.
2015,Kilada,James & Sam

Full Moon

29 August 2015
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We had yet another amazing day of sailing up to Kilada where we'll be leaving our boat for winter this year (in a months time). We were rewarded with a beautiful full moon. Here you see moon rise while we were at the taverna waiting for dinner, plus the setting moon over the village next morning.
2015,Porto Heli, Nolan

Nolan leading 'Uncle Martin' astray

30 August 2015
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Unaccustomed as I am to drinking beer ... It was really good to welcome our Nephew, Nolan, as he joins us for the rest of our sailing time in Greece.
2015,Poros,Nolan

Backflips and Poros

01 September 2015
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Nolan (21) demonstrating how to jump in for a swim while anchored off Poros, Greece.
2015,Kythnos,Nolan

Old haunt revisited

02 September 2015
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Back to Kythnos with Nolan. Same old wonderful sunsets you never bore of.
2015,Sailing,Nolan

Favourite rock!

04 September 2015
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Shiree loves this island, and you can see why. It's like a huge cheese wedge - amazing. We saw this last year sailing from Kythnos to Sifnos and this time we 'had' to come in closer.
2015,Sailing,Sifnos,Nolan

Stunningly beautiful

04 September 2015
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The Cyclades are some of the most beautiful islands to sail in, anywhere in the world. Here, passing the coast of Sifnos on a calm day. If this doesn't move you to feel like running out and learning about geology, nothing will!
2015,Sifnos,Nolan

Walking home from dinner

04 September 2015
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We're in Greece. And among other things Greece means beautiful (and many) churches. It was late. It was dark. But this photo also demonstrates the old saying that 'the best camera is the one you have with you at the time'. So, good job we all have phones! This is with my 14MP iPhone 6.
2015,Nolan,Milos

Milos - an old Volcanoe

05 September 2015
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Sailed in late in the afternoon to the caldera of an old volcano that now forms the island of Milos. Left early next morning at 5am to give Nolan a partial experience of what it's like to go night sailing. Must return to Milos and stay to enjoy it.
2015,Nolan,Kilada

Time to wrap it all up!

10 September 2015
Stacks Image 284126
So ends another sailing season. We took the boat out of the water this week at a small fishing village on the Peloponnese Peninsula called Kalada. A highly professional yard that specialises in only winter storage.
It's hard work cleaning and preparing the boat for hibernation. Not only cleaning but also taking care of the engine, AC, generator, water maker etc etc. anyway, we're nearly done, so this will be our last sailing post for the season except the stats summary that I'll post later.
2016,Athens

Back to Greece

27 April 2016 | Athens, Greece
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Arrived this afternoon via Qatar for our 2016 season and spent the first night at a small hotel near the airport (on the coast). But, since this Greece ... The Octopus is still fresh and waiting for dinner!
2016,Kilada

Back to Greece

01 May 2016 | Kilada, Greece
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Arrived one week before relaunch. In this time the boat has to be washed down, polished and waxed and a whole bunch of general maintenance jobs run through. Here's a great reflection of the late afternoon (cold) sky in our polished and shiny hull.
2016,Nafplio

Nafplio for business and pleasure

07 May 2016
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We had to visit the Customs Offices in Nafplio to renew our transit papers for the boat. Nafplio is a regional centre and important town. Today, a popular escape for Athenians who can drive there in an hour (crossing the Corinth Canal on the way). Pedestrian streets in a well preserved historic town which includes a Venetian (mainly) castle. The streets overflow with flowers from hanging balconies and typical of this part of Greece, orange trees line the streets.
The old steam train and railwY station have become an art installation via the graffiti addition.
2016,Nafplio

Mycenaean Bridge of Kazarma - 3,000 years old!

07 May 2016
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The Mycenaean bridge at Kazarma is 15 km along the Nauplio-Epidaurus highway. It's built of limestone boulders without binding material in the characteristic Mycenaean masonry called "Cyclopean". This monumental structure, typical of the Mycenaean period, dates to ca. 1300 BC. and was situated along a well-built Mycenaean road which linked Mycenae, Tiryns and Epidaurus. It is still used today by the local population.
2016,Kilada

Relaunching GUMNUTS

09 May 2016 | Kilada, Greece
Made a video of the relaunch to show you how it's done.
(VIDEO HERE)
2016,KIlada

Kilada Shots

10 May 2016 | Kilada, Greece
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Just posting a few pictures from our time sitting at anchor in Kilada after the relaunch. We witnessed some beautiful sunsets over the mountains of the Peloponnese.
2016,Kilada

Drive with rain

10 May 2016 | Kilada, Greece
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We hired a car to drive to Navplio and visit the Customs department in order to renew our Transit Log (official boat papers in Greece). On the way back we enjoyed our first real rain in a long time ... as well as some stunning landscapes.
2016,Sailing

Sailing Again

14 May 2016
Placeholder
And doesn't the girl look happy! Cruised in and around Porto Heli and Ermioni for a few days. Mixture of good sailing and flat calms, mainly sunny with intermittent thunderstorms and cold!
Facebook fans ... We're back with the occasional links to the blog.
2016, Archie & Marjietjie, Porto Heli

Archie and Marietjie

17 May 2016
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Team Shot!
2016, Archie & Marjietjie, Porto Heli

Sailing buddies

17 May 2016
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Met up (as planned during the winter) with Archie and Marietjie (Afrikans so pronounce Mareeky) and their boat 'Maja' (pronounced Maya). Eating, drinking and sailing together.
One of the joys of cruising, meeting like minded people and making new friends. We first met these guys in Ios 2 years ago and ran into each other in Turkey and Greece since then.
2016, Poros

Poros stop over

18 May 2016
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Anchored off Poros, a well known destination in this region. It might surprise some readers to know that even in beautiful places like this, we sail all day and even upon arrival stay on the boat. We're simply comfortable to relax and enjoy what we have rather than dash ashore all the time.
2016, Athens

Light Greek lunch

21 May 2016
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Spoiler alert - stop reading and don't look at the picture unless you want to salivate!

Found a typical Greek lunchtime cafe serving locals near our Marina in Athens ... You could call the amixed grill but you would be wrong. All the meat is spit roasted! Yum!
2016, Palaia Epidavros

My perfect dinner companion

26 May 2016
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I know, I'm getting all gooey, and it's not just the wine, but who could want a better partner and setting than this one tonight. After two nights at anchor in Korfos with 15-20 knot winds gusting 30 sometimes (at anchor) we moved a short way down the coast to Old Epidhavros - and it's flat calm and absolutely beautiful! We went for a walk in the hill in the background behind Shiree's head (in the pic) and among the olive and orange groves are ruins from 3000BC onwards! Including an old theatre. What a lovely surprise.
But the best part? Quite simply it's the partnership. The romance. The special friend I shared dinner with tonight.
2016, Sailing

More of my wonderful sailing companion

26 May 2016
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En route ... More 'happy billy' shots.
2016, Pilai Epidavros

'Boat Porn'

01 June 2016
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Couldn't resist jumping in the dinghy and taking these shots of the boat. We're anchored in Old Epidhavros which was a lovely surprise (see separate posting).
2016, Pilai Epidavros

Contemplating life …

01 June 2016
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Couldn't resist jumping in the dinghy and taking these shots of the boat. We're anchored in Old Epidhavros which was a lovely surprise (see separate posting).
2016, Pilai Epidavros

Palaia Epidavros (old Epidaurus)

01 June 2016
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Meaning 'old' Epidavros remains on the original site of the ancient coastal town. The small peninsula seen in the middle foreground is covered in oranges, olives and old rocks! A wonderful discovery journey along rubble paths winding over the hill. Not touristic, just plain old tumble down and dirt covered ruins. Only recently excavated in the 70's there is now visible a 4th century B.C. 2,000 seat theatre and several other ruins including a church from a later period. Shiree and I just stumbled into the area by accident while out for a walk. Brilliant!
2016, Athens

My new life in retirement ...

02 June 2016
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Sometimes I'm asked if I miss work. A resounding 'no' in the context of the old meaning. However, I work, believe me, and it's the type of thing I thrive on - continuous learning. The good and the bad things about boats is that something is always needing repair or maintenance - even on a new boat.
Now I'm not an electrician ... So take a look at some pictures of the just a small part of the internal wiring and you'll understand what I mean. Add to this plumbing, mechanical, AC and refrigeration as well as steelwork and general building ... Great fun!
2016, Poseidon,Sailing

Sail by shooting

03 June 2016
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After a few days in Athens working on the boat, it was great to finally escape again and go sailing. On the endogenous the Atica Peninsula we sailed up close and personal with the Temple of Poseidon. Probably built on May 16th at 2:30pm in 440B.C. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sounion?wprov=sfsi1
2016, Kea

Arriving in Voukari, Kéa

03 June 2016
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We were excited to spend time back in Kéa, since we came here at the end of last season. It's a quick hop and a jump for the wealthy of Athens, who turn up in their mega yachts for the weekend, enjoy great food and a small (unspoilt) but trendy place. We stayed three days including a day with a hire car to explore the Island.
2016, Kea

Walking to Karthaia

05 June 2016
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This was a massive walk down 400 metres (and up again:) and over 2.3 kilometres of mainly rocky steps (and back again:). Took us an hour each way. And the goal? A deserted city inhabited continuously from the 9th century BC to 6th century AD called Karthaia. AWESOME and worth every step.
However, since it was gettin late, we decided to bring the boat round next day to explore.
2016, Kea

Hill top villages - the 'Chora'

05 June 2016
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Greek islands mainly have villages and towns set high up on the top of steep hills. This often means that the cute little places we anchor in, like Voukari are not actually the main residential area. So it was our Sunday exploration day to hire a car and go see Kéa. This started out with the Chora called 'Ioulis'. The reason the towns and villages moved inland was due to the numerous pirate attacks from the Turks. As usual it's a mainly pedestrian affair with steep alleys and laneways wandering between whitewashed stone walled houses with mainly blue doors. The essence of Greece.
2016, Kea

Ancient Karthaia

06 June 2016
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What an amazing adventure we're on! The ability to sail your own boat to a remote spot on a remote island to see an ancient city. Greek temples to Apollo (about 530BC) and Athena (around 500BC), a 4th century BC theatre as well as a Megalithic retaining wall and a Roman bath! And the best picture of this ancient site? Our boat in the background and our dinghy on the beach of course!
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2016, Mykonos

Mykonos still a photo

08 June 2016
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Planned ahead to be tucked up in the Marina here at Mykonos for three days as the Meltemi wind swept through. This is the name for the steady and strong winds that blow between NE and NW this time of year. The picture is taken inside the old town harbour after we came back from a touristic trip to Ancient Delos - a seperate post.
2016, Mykonos

Ancient Delos

09 June 2016
Stacks Image 284431
The deserted city and island of Delos is right next door to Mykonos and a half hour tourist ferry away. No pictures can convey the magnitude of this place. In the first instance it was considered the highly sacred birthplace of Apollo and Artemis. The earliest inhabitants of this 5 by 1.5 km island built in about 2,500BC FOLLOWED by the Mycenians. Most building took place after 166BC as a result of a free trade agreement that entered all Mediterranean trade here. Prosperity led to plunder in 88BCE and 69BCE after which it was abandoned and fell into decline. Excavations started in 1872 and continue today
2016, Paros

Venician fort, young wife, old town

12 June 2016
Stacks Image 284442
This is Naousa on the island is Paros (and of course my Captain:). We sailed south to the Island of Paros where we anchored for three nights in the protected bay. Winds changed and blew from the south this time ... But we were comfortable in our nest (along with 30 other boats at one time).
Naousa is a pretty little town. Fish restaurants and tavernas line the front and there's even the ruin of a small Venician fort at the harbour entrace.
Stacks Image 284447
2016, Paros

Taverna dinner

14 June 2016
Stacks Image 284455
One of our all time favourite anchorages. Big and roomy and theres always somewhere to shelter regardless of wind direction. Ashore for dinner and what could be better than to look out and enjoy this beautiful spot with a glass of red.
2016, Sailing

Sailors dream. We love our boat!

16 June 2016
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To experienced sailors , they'll read the numbers in this picture and 'feel' the excitement that we had sailing today. We love our boat! For those needing explanation ... we had the boat sailing at a boat speed better than the true wind speed (7.4 knots) at a sailing angle of 38 degrees to the apparent wind. Comfortable and great cruising, believe me.

PS: we are not racing ... But ... Whenever there's a sail on the horizon ... And this one was a 13 metre catamaran which we creamed past (waving and smiling of course:)
2016, Kythnos

Loutra village, Kythnos Island, Cyclades, Greece

17 June 2016
Stacks Image 284479
The top picture shows the small village of Loutra on Kythnos. A well known stopping off point for yacht charterers as well as cruising yachties . We prefer to anchor and go stern too the rocks in the inlet just round the headland from the village. Here you see Gumnuts in her 'shades' version. These two big tents make a huge difference to our life, keeping the boat cool.
2016, Sailing

Stealth Mode

18 June 2016
Stacks Image 284490
Today we made our own adventure. We have sailing friends, Mike and Sue in their boat 'Macnoon' that have been sailing steadily westward from Turkey. It looked like we would literally miss each other by only one day and one island apart!
So, we decided to stretch our program in the wrong direction and sneak up on them - which we did.
GREAT FUN! First, we turned off our AIS, which is the unit that sends our position to satellites for tracking ... Now we're in 'stealth mode' :). Then, tracking them all day using their broadcast position, we set up a reciprocal course to intercept them at sea. Then we calculated the intercept point in such a way that we could cross their path while we had the wind at 110 degrees on our starboard side. Perfect ... The International Rules of the Road (our nautical gospel for who gives way to who) would give us priority as we crossed them! Next, and the last part of our plan, run up our glorious 'Gumnuts' asymmetric spinnaker.
It was brilliant ... They saw everything unfold as planned and soon we had Mike on the VHF hailing us.
2016, Sailing

Stealth Mode

18 June 2016
Stacks Image 284501
Today we made our own adventure. We have sailing friends, Mike and Sue in their boat 'Macnoon' that have been sailing steadily westward from Turkey. It looked like we would literally miss each other by only one day and one island apart!
So, we decided to stretch our program in the wrong direction and sneak up on them - which we did.
GREAT FUN! First, we turned off our AIS, which is the unit that sends our position to satellites for tracking ... Now we're in 'stealth mode' :). Then, tracking them all day using their broadcast position, we set up a reciprocal course to intercept them at sea. Then we calculated the intercept point in such a way that we could cross their path while we had the wind at 110 degrees on our starboard side. Perfect ... The International Rules of the Road (our nautical gospel for who gives way to who) would give us priority as we crossed them! Next, and the last part of our plan, run up our glorious 'Gumnuts' asymmetric spinnaker.
It was brilliant ... They saw everything unfold as planned and soon we had Mike on the VHF hailing us.
2016, Sailing

We 'see' things …

19 June 2016
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Shiree has a wonderful habit of starring at the incredible geological formations we see everywhere in Greece. We are both in awe of Mother Nature and the planet we live on. But ... One thing Shiree really likes to do, is use her imagination to 'see' different animals in the rocks. See what you see in this picture ... To Shiree (and me) it's a dragon complete with its wing and head resting in the water ...
2016, Lavrio

Warranty work

23 June 2016
Stacks Image 284523
We've been relaxing in a place called Lavrion all of this week as we get our transom repaired under warranty. Only a small job but takes time since it involves fibre glass and gel coat layering. In the meantime, we've found ourselves in the middle of a small town and it's been blowing 25-35 knots anyway. Frankly, it feels like a holiday!
2016, Athens,John & Ellen,Sailing

Action Oriented Crew

30 June 2016 | En route to Poros, Greece
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As usual, guests on our boat, John and Ellen Thompson, were quickly trained by my darling wife, Cap'n Snooze, to take an action oriented approach to sailing!
2016, Athens,John & Ellen,Sailing

John & Ellen

30 June 2016
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Sunset at Poros with John, Ellen and Shiree
2016, Poros,John & Ellen

John & Ellen

30 June 2016
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Sunset at Poros with John, Ellen and Shiree
2016, Sailing,John & Ellen

Turns out it's Canada Day!

01 July 2016
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We soon discovered that you can't have Canadians aboard on July 1st with Canada Day. They even bought the bunting!
2016, Sailing,John & Ellen

Great View

01 July 2016
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Sailing along nicely with Johny Nine Point One today (his new name after achieving 9.1 knots while at the helm) when we suddenly had a blown out spinnaker falling into the water. The shackle holding it up at the masthead had come undone. After a well executed spinnaker recovery, the next job was for the skipper to climb to the top of the mast and retrieve the halyard!
2016, Sailing,John & Ellen,Nafplio

Kiwi reunion

02 July 2016
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Motored up to Nafplio and found our friends Murray & Lyn from 'Birgita' tied up on the town quay. They were literally about to depart with one line already caste off when Lyn looked up and saw us. Spent the afternoon and evening catching up over copious amounts of food and the occasional beverage :)
2016, Athens

45 knots inside Athens Marina

13 July 2016
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The day before John and Ellen arrived (Tuesday 28th June) we nearly didn't have a sound boat to take them sailing on! Read on.
We were moored at Zea Marina as the first boat facing the open inside bay when the strong north winds came through under a relatively sudden squall. Unfortunately, we took the full force of the strong wind that blew through (45 knots according to the Marina office) on the beam and the bow mooring rope snapped clean off under the pressure. Once free, the boat was pushed strongly sideways and the pressure at the stern cleanly pulled out the pontoon mooring ring leaving us only secured on the leeward side. Fortunately the second (leeward) mooring rope held well, as did the starboard stern line. This was helped by the fact that the boat was pressed over by the wind and also lying at a slight diagonal to the wind. By this time I also had the engine on and in forward gear as well.
The black marks on the stern up high next to the grey mooring line were from the black rubber attached to the pontoon. That shows how far the boat was pressed over. Incredible.
Had we Brocken free completely there would have been chaos. Like a domino effect we would have taken out several boats down the channel. However, only minor damage to the Passerelle (gangway) bracket was sustained. The Marina staff were excellent in coming to assist and the Management have also been assisting with the cost of repairs.
Why the late post? Well, we're back in Lavrio getting the fibreglass repairs needed, instead of sailing!
2016, Lavrio

He's the man!

13 July 2016
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If you need a skilled fibreglass man in and around Athens, then look no further. Introducing Mixalis (Michaelis) who has repaired the transom and also fixed up the damage caused at Zea Marina. Good workmanship, excellent trade ethics and working effort and above all a lovely guy. Give him your business!
2016, Lavrio

He's the man!

13 July 2016
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If you need a skilled fibreglass man in and around Athens, then look no further. Introducing Mixalis (Michaelis) who has repaired the transom and also fixed up the damage caused at Zea Marina. Good workmanship, excellent trade ethics and working effort and above all a lovely guy. Give him your business!
2016, Lavrio

Windy outside but so what?

14 July 2016
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30 knots outside but so what - A few of my FB friends have said they've enjoyed seeing the outside of our boat but asked me to post pics of the inside.
So, here's one! It may be blowing a near gale outside (and 10 knots inside with the doors open) but that's not going to stop Shiree doing the washing!
2016, Lavrio

Visit Lavrio - it's worth it

15 July 2016
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We've ended up in Lavrio twice now. Both times for technical work. But, what a find. As usual the striking friendly nature of the Greek people is everywhere. Trust, smiles, warmth, genuine affection and simplicity are among the characteristics you'll experience all over Greece and typically in Lavrio. For instance, Georgia in the Marine Shop hunted (by phone) for several days trying to locate items I wanted to buy. When we went back the second time and I collected the goodies my card wouldn't work. "No problem, said her mum, take the stuff anyway and pop in later to pay" ... Over €1,400 worth! Same happened to Shiree at the hairdressers. It's a simple working town but has good facilities including a great shop called Jumbo where there's a host of plastic gadgets you never knew existed (or you needed!).
2016, Sailing,Paros

En route for Turkey

16 July 2016
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One day late in leaving Lavrio and with no wind all day, we motored for 10 hours to reach Paros just one hour west of Naxos. We love the bay here, especially since South winds were predicted overnight and it's a great anchorage. Check out the twilight shots from last night of Naoussa and sunrise this morning with Naxos in the background.
And yes, we woke up to the news of an attempted coup - but we're still going to Turkey.
2016, Sailing,Danousa

Now you'd have to agree this is a Dinosaur!

16 July 2016
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Found another quite anchorage on the NE side of Danousa. Just as we arrived at the headland we needed to go round we found this resting Dinasaur. Come on guys ... You have to admit you can see him as well, huh?
2016, Sailing,Amorgos

Drive by shooting (photographic type)

17 July 2016
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We love Amorgos, but this season we didn't get time to visit. So, here's the closest we got, the whole of Amorgos seen from our boat this morning 'en route' to another favourite - Levita.
2016, Levitha

Kids Inheritance

18 July 2016
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Last night we stopped in a tiny island called Levita. This is our third time here and somewhere every cruising yachtie must visit if nearby. One small rocky island. An excellent all weather anchorage with about a dozen mooring buoys belonging to the one family living in the one set of buildings on the island. There's one tractor, one uncle, one set of kids, one herd of goats - you get the idea. And yes some chooks nesting on top of a stone wall as one does.
And Kids Inheritance? It's the name of Phil and Cheryl's Hanse 56 who we met here and enjoyed dinner with ... You guessed it ... At the one courtyard belonging to the one family that live on the island. Great night out!
2016, Sailing,Kos

Sitting out the Meltemi

20 July 2016
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We left Levitha at 5:50am in order to arrive early enough in Kos Marina so that docking the boat would be easier than if we left it later. Why? Once again the Meltemi wind was predicted to blow for three days, and up to gale force. We decided to book into Kos Marina and wait for this wind to pass through. Here's a shot of what the predictions looked like at one point.
Turns out the stronger winds stayed out a little further to the west and we've spent a couple of days relaxing and enjoying life. C'est la vie!
2016, Sailing,Kos

Entry / Exit procedures for Greece

20 July 2016
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The rules keep changing. As you would have seen from our earlier post at Nafplio we were pleasantly surprised at the efficiency as well as the information that we didn't need to do anything else till we left Greece - simply hand the Transit Log back to the authorities on exit. We decided to use an agent in Kos to make life easier for the exit procedures (three different offices in town). That was worth it!
If you are entering or leaving Greece with your 'non-EU' flagged yacht, I recommend you find A1 yachting (mail in advance to a1@a1yachting.com). In Kos, Nicos was great. He explained that the rules have changed (again!) even since we took out our Transit Log. Apparently it's back to the old model of having to let the Port Authorities know where your next destination is and crew list. He managed it for us with no problem.
My 'practical' suggestion is that yachts get at least two or three stamps from various ports along the way. Just to please them on the way out. That's what we'll do next year.

Turkey - 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017

2014,Bodrum/Turutreis
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Welcome 'Home'

25/07/2014, Bodrum, Turkey
We made the short passage over from Kos to Bodrum in no time at all. Coming into Bodrum under the auspices of the Castle and entering the huge marina with all the Gulets lined up around the old harbour gave us a warm fuzzy feeling. In all of our Expat travels, the country 'top of our list' to go back and work anytime was Turkey. We just loved it here (2000-2002). The people, the culture, the food, the history and antiquity surrounding you every day - everything.

Bump into reality

26/07/2014, Mite Bodrum Marina
The checking in process bought us back with a bump to today's reality. Turkey is a forward progressive country that has always displayed a passion to do it right. In the sailing world that now includes the confusion from interpretation of environmental laws presumably made originally for commercial (large) shipping and the charter industry. New rules in place mean that every yacht should obtain and use a 'Blue Card'. This card is used to record every time you empty your holding tanks (toilet waste etc). If the coastguard stop you and check your card you can be fined heavily for not having one or (in their opinion based on litres per day of people onboard) for not emptying enough - which implies you dumped it at sea or in an anchorage.
The rule is good - to protect the pristine waters in this region. As usual, with anything oriental, there's still heaps of confusion as the system is being introduced and slowly but surely ramped up year on year.
Here, for instance is a picture of a mobile pumping station on the marina pontoon opposite us the day we arrived. Anyone doubting it's a 'real' event (including Beneteau) should think again.
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Sail north to Gümüşlük

27/07/2014, (Pronounced Gooem-oosh-luekk)
Just one of many pictures I could post ... But this one with a special Goddess in view :)
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Walking on a 4000 year old wall

28/07/2014
Mindos, the ancient town that stood where Gümüslük is today was lived in around 2,000BC. One of the old sea walls that connected the small island just off the shore is still visible as a causeway. It's the local procession (that we joined) to walk over it and back.

The Island at the end of the causeway has some pretty old archeology on it. It’s fenced off to protect all of us random tourists making an even bigger ruin.
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"Ahoy thar me hearty's"

29/07/2014
Our blog wouldn't be complete without this shot!
Pirate ships laden with gold bouillon (tourists) stream in all day. This shot captures the peak of activity.
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Bulent and Sevin

30/07/2014
We spent an amazing day with Bulent and Sevin who we're recently married and spending the Bayram holidays in Bodrum with both their parents. We took Bulent and Sevin sailing for their first time and later that night we all went out for dinner. It's always nice to meet new people and to experience a country from a 'family' perspective - and that's what we were very privileged to be part of!
And the fish ... That's another story!
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The man knows his fish!

30/07/2014
It's hard to see Bulents Dad tucked away at the back, right hand side ... But what a knowledgeable man to have in a fish restaurant. Having owned two of his own in Istanbul and then being asked by Carrefour in Turkey to make sure all their fresh produce was fresh ... Then this was always going to be an outstanding meal ... Better still were the friendship and ties that we forged. More people we MUST visit and stay in touch with when we're next in Istanbul.
And we will, with pleasure.

Outstanding Service

02/08/2014, Burak of TEZMARIN, Bodrum
Via our friends at VicSail in Sydney, we were given the contact of the local Beneteau After Sales people who could help us re-tune our rigging.
WOW, what a find. I contacted Burak from TEZMARIN (at Turgurteis, Bodrum on +90 252 382 5232 if you need good help) the day before by e-mail, the day we were sailing towards him 2 hours earlier and he was there at the quayside waiting for us to dock!!! Within 15 minutes his technicians were all over the boat and two hours later everything was done!!! And well!
THANK YOU Burak!
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They're back!

03/08/2014, John and Sue fly in to Bodrum
Our good friends John and Sue arrived late last night. John was our Best Man and an old school friend of mine. It was with John and his Dad, back in 1973, that I had my first ever sail in his Dads boat!
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Happy Family - first time sailing

04/08/2014, Selcuk and his wonderful women
Here we have Hande steering the boat downwind in 18 knots and loving every minute. So were Mum & Dad (Cigdem and Selcuk) with her sister Nazli.
Selcuk treated us to a traditional lunch before we took them all out for, what turned out to be, a brisk sail.

And the winner is ...

04/08/2014, Nazli was AWESOME at the helm!
Don't be deceived by the small frame of 13 year old Nazli. She won the prize, hands down, for her ability to helm. All of the family had a go, and honestly everyone got the hang of it a ... these guys caught the 'sailing bug' today :)
But ...
This picture of a smiling, relaxed young girl with an amazing degree of concentration and focus was not 'set up'. She was steering (for the first time ever) for 20 minutes! What's more, we had 24 to 33 knots of wind on the beam by the time we were heading towards Bodrum Harbour. The wind was so strong we only had a double reefed jib up, yet we were sailing along at 7 to 8 knots. On top of that, I only had to show here the obstacles ahead (on the chart) once ... and she intuitively worked out the best way to steer the boat!

Yes Nazli, clearly, you're the winner!
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Bodrum day

05/08/2014, St. Peter's Castle, Bodrums
Spent the day in Bodrum so that Sue and John could enjoy this wonderful place. The castle is a 'must see' event, especially for cruising sailors. In the case of Sue, an archaeologist, it was phenomenal. Why? Well, the castle houses the Marine Archaeolology Museum. Apart from the many amphoras and other finds, there are two ships. One Roman and one Bronze Age! The picture doesn't do justice to this incredible and unique find.
The ship was discovered in 36 metres and painstakingly bought up to the surface. The articles are recreated 'as found' in the blue section and the ship recreated above it as it would have looked.
Likewise for the Roman ship.

For those who like Castles ... This is a good one! Mainly built by The Knights of Saint John as a Crusader castle it's presented today in great condition and houses the Underwater Archaeological Museum.

English Harbour

06/08/2014, Turkey not Antigua
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Near life sized, this bronze statue sits atop a rock near English Harbour (above).

Had a good sail at 8 knots eastwards from Bodrum to a small and beautiful anchorage called English Harbour - so named since the British SBS based themselves there during the War.
An idyllic spot for practicing synchronised swimming :)

Brisk sail back to Bodrum

08/08/2014
Beat into 22 knot knot winds with stronger gusts. Reefed down the jib and main for comfort and still able to make 6.5 knots through moderate short spanned waves. Love this boat!
Check out this short video for a feel of what it's like ... I shot this through the window of the saloon while we are heeled over onto the port side.
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Time to say farewell

09/08/2014
John and Sue left us today ... Sorry to see them go since we really like their company. Oh well, till next year. In the meantime, here's another short video from our last sail together ...
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We're so lucky

10/08/2014
Paolo, our sailmaker from Baraonda Sailmakers in Caorle, Italy joined us today for 3 days sailing! His daughter Isa (at the helm) and his nephew Giorgio are also onboard. When we all met earlier in the year we instantly found a rapport. That included his wonderful father, Renzo, who sailed around the world at the same time that I sailed from England to Australia - 1981. We literally crossed paths without meeting back then.
Paolo's knowledge and enthusiasm for sailing is great to learn from since it's 'in his blood'. His past lives include being a sailing instructor and having a chartering business. Most importantly though, he's a sailmaker that's even been called on for the Americas Cup. He made our storm jib and asymmetric spinnaker.
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Ancient Lassus

11/08/2014, (west of Bodrum airport)
We cruised north then east with full sail and then a small reef in the main (which we've found is ideal at 17 knots of TWS). Truly it couldn't have been a better day with a steady wind all day. We dropped the hook and went stern too rocks in a small village called Asin right opposite the ruins of the ancient city of Lassus ... A mere 3000 years (or so) old.
It was equally special that we were the
only visiting yacht. Next morning after breakfast we made a grand exploration. Gregorio turned out to be a bit of a scholar of Greek history and could even read the inscriptions still clearly visible in the rocks.
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Put the man to work!

16/08/2014
So, what better than to have your own sailmaker onboard ... Better still when he starts fixing and improving things. Thanks Paolo!

Team ballast :)

Another fantastic day sailing back to D-Marin at Turgutreis. Issa and Gregorio took to sitting out on the windward rail so at one stage we had the whole team out there ...
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Work days

16/08/2014, D-Marin, Turgetreis
We've been three days in the marina now getting a few jobs done. First, we've had the broken Bimini and the (one) broken solar panel fixed and the small accident last week as the anchor of a Hanse 57 caught us as we slipped Bodrum marina (our fault). Once again Burak from Tezmarin came promptly to our aid and by the end of day two everything was back to new for €250. Could have been much worse!
I've also continued to try and get the Air Conditioning working correctly, but no luck so far ... Even after 6 hours non stop it only gets down to 27.5 degrees. We're also getting a water filter system installed on Monday ... No more trips to the shop lugging bottled water anymore.
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Finally he's here!

19/08/2014
I've been trying to get him here for ages. But since he runs his own business he would never find the time. Finally we did it. My youngest brother, Alan, and his wife Lucie joined us this week till the 26th. Alan is a 'huge' character to have on board but a great deal of fun. Lucie has been very brave since she was worried about sea sickness and knew she would miss her horses, her dogs and cats and the French countryside. However, after the second day of sunshine and relaxing she's right into it!
2014,Daca/Fetihye
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Mehmet the salesman

20/07/2014
Tucked up in our delightful anchorage just south of Daça we were immediately accosted by a range of small boats. Initially we thought these could be 'unofficial' harbour masters come to assist us with our rock mooring and a small fee. However, after saying hello to the most persistent one near us, Mehmet, he proceeded to sell us nuts and grapes and then called up the guy who sells the fish. And here they are, cooked most expertly by Shiree. Yummy!
Next morning, as arranged, he arrived at 8am with our fresh bread and bags if fruit.
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Lots of the good stuff

23/08/2014
Today we sailed from Marmaris to Goçek. Amazing! Left with 7 knots on the nose so motored, but soon ended up with a following 15 knot wind so all sails up. By the end of the trip we were cruising along on a broad reach at, literally, 9 knots with just the jib up in 30 knots! Fantastic! Then, as we docked in Goçek it was an easy 11 knots. The downside? It's 38 degrees!!! Bloody hot and extremely uncomfortable. Now we're up the pub :) drinking beer and hoping the cabin cools down with the AC struggling while we're out.
2014,Kalkan
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Amazing phenomena

24/08/2014
As we approached our last anchorage of the season we encountered this incredible colour change in the Sea. It extended as far as the eye could see but we were coming in from the darker side. Normally colour change like this indicates shallow water ... So it was with some trepidation that we trespassed 'over the line' (since the chart said it was fine). Strangely, it was 51 metres deep either side as well as the same temperature. So, I'm left believing it was the result of a fresh water current from the river we passed earlier. Anyway quite exciting.
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Alan being Alan

25/08/2014
The water temperature, along with soaring air temperatures at 38 degrees (Celsius for our American friends :), is a massive 30.6 degrees! Alan decided to test his floatations skills with his second breakfast Nescafé!
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Cheers Skipper!

29/08/2014
Greatest Holiday I ever had :-)

Quote and picture from Alan after an emotional hug as we said goodbye and he arrived safely home. And the first thing he did? BBQ and beer!

Till next year Al ...
2014,Finike

All good things must come to an end

29/08/2014, Fineke, Setur Marina, Turkey
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So, after three days of getting the boat ready for winter it's time to leave our dear Gumnuts all tucked up for bed for another winter.
This year we're leaving her afloat in the Setur Marina, Fineke, Turkey. They have been getting some very good reviews by the cruising fraternity, some we've met personally. In addition, their price was good and they've been very prompt and professional - by mail and now in person.

You'll notice the black shade cloth wrapped around the mast and jib. That's me cheating ... Instead of mousing the halyards and removing all sails I'm leaving the sails up but the ropes all bundled tight and protected from the sun ... The dinghy is nicely tucked up with sun covers as well.

So, that's all from GUMNUTS this year. But ... We'll have a few more posts since we're heading off now to sail from Gibralter to The Canary Islands with friends on their Lagoon 450 - OOROO 1
2015,Istanbul
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And they're off!

Fresh spring day. 21 degrees, clear skies and Tulips
It's that time of year again. Left Phuket yesterday and here we are in Istanbul, Turkey en route to dear old Gumnuts. Decided to first catch up with old friends for a couple of nights stop over ... best of all .. we reacquainted our stomachs to a few 'old food friends' as we strolled down Istiklal Cadesi grazing all the way!
2015,Finike
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Like clockwork

30/04/2015, Finike, Turkey
Hats off to our friends at Setur Marin, Finike. We arrived at 4pm Tursday and on Wednesday they lifted us as promised. Better still, by close of day the bottom was already painted!
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Smoko with the boys

01/05/2015, Setur Marin, Finike, Turkey
We love Turkey. It's all about the spirit of the people, their culture and customs and the amazing food. Being with the people, engaging them and developing rapport, brings its own rewards. While we've been in the yard working on our boat, I've taught the technicians how to 'Coo-ee' and now they call me into their workshop each time they have a Nescafe. Fantastic fun since their English is limited so we laugh and giggle a lot while communicating in gestures.
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The Magician (Maestro)

02/05/2015
Every now and again I come across real professionals. In the boat business, people who are experts with Inox (metalwork) are sought after. Well, we found one here in Finike and his name is Makhmoud. Between my ideas and his genius for making good Inox work, we've added many new features to the boat. Notably this bespoke stand for the chart plotter. This took three days to get every angle correct, but was worth it for the precision.
Wow, what a night! And another great day. The boat was put back in the water this morning. Our turnaround time has been so fast we've had other yachties commenting on it as they walked past now we're back in the marina. Another highly productive day seeing us way ahead of plan in terms of setup time.
But wait ... The best part? Close your eyes and come on an exotic journey with me.
It's dark (10pm at night). We're sitting in the cockpit of our boat with a romantic light on that I made with paper serviette wrapped over the cockpit tanle light. We have a very pleasant Slovenian digestive. Our taste sensations are alive with blackcurrant and other wild flowers and berries exploding in our mouths. We're still good friends and just enjoy each other's company. There's a full moon. It's the big version where it seems larger than life. It's dead still and the water is calm and silky. Playing in the restaurant at the end of our marina jetty is a live Turkish band with a woman singing soulful slow Turkish ballads. Could it get any better? Well yes, for the first time in our lives we saw (well heard first of all) Dolphins right inside the marina pens! This is most uncommon! They circled our boat and then casually swam around two pontoons either side of us , gracefully popping up for a breath or two every now and again. What an awesome experience. We ran out to the bow of the boat to watch them in the dark still waters. I'm sure they came in fishing. Either way it's a real privilege.

Painting a picture ...

27 degrees, sunny
04/05/2015, Setur Marin, Finike
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Such agreeable friends

16/05/2015
The lovely thing about cruising in boats is the people you meet and the wonderful 'life' stories they tell. Here's just one example. Fred and Jackie on their famous steel boat 'Blue Searcher' - a 41' Robert Clark. This boat is a cut down version of Chay Blyth's 'British Steel'. Much more interesting though, are the youthful and rich characters of Fred and Jackie who have nearly sailed round the world in over 13 years or so ...

Work work work

17/05/2015, Finike
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It's actually good to check off so many jobs that I had planned to do. This is what we've done so far:
- small gel coat repairs to transom (minor cracks appeared in laminate)
- replaced Glomax at top of mast. The bracket had broken
- fitted new permanent steelwork to hold chart plotter above wheel
- new cockpit table grab rails
- re-rigged boats running rigging
- lift and anti foul
- checked AC problem and ordered new unit
- made deck sun cover for foredeck
- ripped out small ha basin in owners cabin and rebuilt
- cleaned all blocked outlets (following big winter storm that pushed wood chips in)
Still to go ...
- new water filtration system
- new (2nd) AC unit
- new Bimini and steel frame to support davits
- expert coming to check main furler system
- new inner forestay and furling system
- new boom tent sun cover

And the list goes on!
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Time is flying

18/05/2015, Finike
I know ... I've been duely reprimanded by friends for being slack on the posting front. That's because we're not used to being in one place for so long!
Still in Finike as per revised plan to get a range of improvements made to the boat. Having found a good yard capable of doing all the things I need I decided to night the bullet and stay still for a while. I'll post a few entries (below) in retrospect.

Credit to Turkey

18/05/2015, Inside the marina at Finike - Turtle inside red circle!
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Turkey has strict laws and controls on black and grey water waste from boats. The strictest in the Med and maybe the world. A lot of yachties were concerned about the extra cost of retrofitting holding tanks etc (many also respect the environment we share). However, the proof is in the pudding! Yesterday at 10am in the morning a large turtle swam within 20 metres of our boat right inside the marina! When you also consider my recent post about Dolphins chasing fish between the rows of boats then the purity of the water here is simply extraordinary - and this inside a commercial marina. Well done Turkey!

It's full on ...

20/05/2015, On board in Finike
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Steelworks have begin to go slower than I thought. The lesson here is how long it takes to produce excellent work. Bending the frame and matching a template produced something of substance on day one. Subsequent precision, welding, fitting and especially polishing is what makes for an outstanding result though. The AC guys only turned up at 5pm so we had the whole inside a tip till 11pm ... They'll finish today and next job is to install a powerful remote spotlight up the mast.
The new Bimini can't even begin till the steelwork is completed ... Friday night? And the solar panels can't go back on till the Bimini is done!! Definitely getting tight for time now - want to depart next Tuesday 26th for Cyprus.
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It's a tough life this sailing lark

23/05/2015
Met some more sailing buddies. Michael and Sue from 'Macnoon' or correctly 'Captain Michael' ex: Australian Navy. Lovely bloke ... especially when confronted with afternoon beer:)
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New look?

24/05/2015
Here I am at the end of a hard day polishing the new steel work with Makhmoud the Maestro. It took the two of us from 2pm to 8pm to get the job done!

Race to the finish

25/05/2015, Picture - Gumnuts alongside the yard at Setur Marina, Finike)
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It's been a long, but worthwhile, process to make all our changes while in Finike. However, we're down to wire now since we wanted to leave tomorrow morning for Cyprus! That's looking tough as of Monday morning.
- new steel frame should be fitted today (more welding and polishing all day, but on the boat)
- the spray hood is 'expected' to be fitted today
- the fixed section of the Bimini should be ready for its final fitting (once the steel is erected)
- the mid section of the Bimini can only be made once the steel is up ...
- the solar panels have to be fitted to the Bimini ... And rewired
- the already ordered water filtration system hasn't arrived yet ...
So, looks like a Thursday departure to be on the safe side and also ensure our Turkush friends sleep at night instead of working till 3am!
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Looking good

27/05/2015
Finally it's all coming together. The new Bimini on the back looks great and the solar panels are finally up!
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Famous neighbours

21/05/2014, Caorle, Italy
We are living right next door to a famous film star these days. "Stormvogel" ("Stormbird" or the Shearwater), the 73 foot classic racing yacht, that was the boat used throughout the movie 'Dead Calm' starring Nicole Kidman, Sam Neil and Billy Zane. Well before the movie she was first to finish in the 1961 Fastnet Race, the 1962 Buenos Aries-Rio race, and in 1964 won the Bermuda race, the Sydney-Hobart and the China Sea race and then in 1967 won the Transpac Race (Los Angeles-to-Hawaii).
We've downloaded the movie and plan a night in to reminisce.
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New Pulpit on the way

27/06/2015
One of the reasons we came back to Finike was to complete the steel work. I wanted a new (stronger) pulpit at the bow. Here is dear old Mahmoud with his friend making 'Kontrol' with a German K since he rabbits away to me in German all the time. Lovely guy though and a great craftsman.
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Double parked?

28/06/2015
This beautiful three master schooner docked next to us on Friday night. The bow sprit is nearly as long as our boat and appears to hover mysteriously over us. It's a 'Yoga' boat with tourists booking a one week cruise on this luxury boat. It is stunning.

Not another 'Montage' 'Kontrol' or Kline Problem'!

06/07/2015
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I say this lightly, but all of the words above are etched into my head since it's all I've heard all day every day for weeks!
Finike Turkish Yard words.
Montage - I'm going to fix it, make it.
Kontrol - check that what I've made so far works or fits
Kline Problem - Germish for 'small problem' (only ... meaning, I can fix it).

So, here we are nearing the end of our mammoth Finike refit experience.
Was it worth it? Yes, the end result is outstanding.
Was it value for money? Not especially. If you do the work elsewhere it will cost you the same, including Europe.
Was it delivered on time? No. On every single occasion the promises made (and remade, and remade) were missed.
Are they good people to deal with? Outstanding! A wonderful experience.
Overall best 'expert'?Sulayman, the Bimini guy will get his own posting - he's that good.
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Their first ever sail

07/07/2015
Today was a special day. I promised our friends at Atalya Gemi that I would take them all out for a sail - and we did! The fact that these 'masters' of Steelwork, Electrical and Sailmaker/Bimini production produce excellent results for our boats, but have never had the chance or been invited to actually be on one sailing.
That all changed today and the result was a picture in their faces. Worth every minute.
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Team lunch

08/07/2015
As a final way of saying goodbye, and to recognise our friendship, the Antalya Gemi team invited us for lunch, just before sailing. What we thought would be a low key meal in the usual town 'Locanta' turned out to be a drive into the mountains 40 km inland. The coolness of the air in the tres with running river plus amazing food was an awesome way to wrap up and say farewell to Finike.

Suleyman the Incredible

16/07/2015
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No, I'm not talking about a past Turkish Sultan. I'm talking about Suleyman our Bimini maker. I promised earlier to give him credit where credits due and here it is.
His attention to detail, attentive 'customer centric' ear, and his dedication to producing work of quality are what make this a 'stand out' tradesman. On top of all that, he's just a plain nice guy! We have no hesitation in recommending him to any of our friends.
He made our new Bimini, spray hood, boom tents (highly recommended in the July/August heat), a tailor made dinghy cover and even sewed on backing to our mats and made covers for our cockpit table. Design is all mine. But the real work is execution and quality.
Here's his card. Pictures follow.
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2015,Kakova Roads
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Two months and we're just starting

08/07/2015
We've already been two months into our 5 month season yet our anchorage tonight feels like the first one of the season. In fact, it is! We've been confined to the docks as we did so much work refitting. On the other hand we made our impressive crossing to Lebanon and back.
Great to 'get started' though ...
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Ancient tombs and Carpet sellers

09/07/2015
We spent two nights at anchor in Uçagiz (Ooch-a-iz). This whole coast dates back to the Lycean era and earlier. Today it's a touristic town with quite some charm. There's a small Fort nearby plus Sarcophagus strewn about the place. Plus, clear water at 30 degrees!
2015,Kas
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Old and new Kas

10/07/2015
Kas marina is the big brother 'Setur Marina' to Finike. So, we were immediately among friends. It's a more upbeat town than Finike though. More touristic and without doubt a gorgeous location. The pictures include a shot from the Roman theatre.
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Turkish family meal

10/07/2015
We were really privileged to be invited by Celal, the yard manger from Finike (blue shirt) to meet his family and eat with them at Iftar (the breaking of the fast during Ramazan (Turkish for Ramadan). His father used to be the lift operator in Finike and in Kas. His sister (who we'd met before) works in a dive shop and his mum prepared and an amazing meal. Such generosity and warmth. Thanks Celal!
2015,Kalkan
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Amazing coincidence brings old friends together again

13/07/2015
An old friend from our Uzbekistan days, Neville McBain, saw my Facebook posting about taking the guys out from Antalya Gemi. Putting two and two together, he wondered if we were near Kalkan since he had booked an apartment there for a weeks holiday. Unbelievably we had planned a stop at Kalkan on our way westwards! So, we met up with Neville, Susanah and their (very tall) family and took them all out sailing for the day. It was just amazing to catch up after 11 years.

What a drama ...

14/07/2015
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Boating includes making the odd mistake or something going wrong. For me that's 'opportunity' to solve problems and not give in. Well today we had our day of problem solving. Here's what happened.
After dropping off Neville and family, we crossed the bay again to take up our night anchorage under the stars. The night before the wind picked up enough for me to wish I'd put out more anchor chain, so this time I thought I'd give it heaps.
Unfortunately, I misjudged the distance off and found myself putting out even more than I planned. That didn't bother me since we have 100 metres of chain attached to our anchor. So, imagine my surprise when there was a loud crack from the bow. What? It turns out the bitter end of the chain wasn't secured properly at commissioning and the entire set, including an expensive anchor, went straight to the bottom in 7-10 metres! The chain counter only read 75 metres so I thought I was fine. Fortunately we have a spare anchor and chain/rope exactly for this and other situations. However, getting it out of the locker and setting it up took ages (note to self for next time). Then, just as we were getting ready to deploy again a catamaran pulled up and anchored right over the spot where our gear was lying on the bottom. After finally parking the boat for the night we rowed over to let our new neighbours know the problem. It was an Aussie boat 'All Together' with Toby, Karen and their boys aboard. By 9:30 pm we were eating dinner and ready for the recovery operation next day.

Next day ...

So, instead of sailing off to Fethiye, we started early rowing the dinghy around to try and see our lost chain and anchor. Fortunately, the water is so clear you can actually see the bottom at 8 metres. So we were lucky. Once the sun was up, but still low, Shiree spotted it and yes, it went right under the Cat. Then we were able to grapple the chain about 15 metres from the end and mark it with a red buoy. Toby was a real help and not only suggested we use his winch to pull up the chain and fix the buoy but also suggested we bring over Gumnuts and tie up alongside his catamaran so we could retrieve everything, which we did. The whole operation started at 8am and took us till 3pm! However, it was really worth it.
And the key finding? The anchor chain counter was under reading (we did have 100 metres out, not 75) and this time the bitter end is securely attached to the boat.
The picture is 'All Together' seen in the mooring as we departed next day.
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Huge cave

15/07/2015
Off to Fethiye on a windless day. Enjoyed retracing the steps we'd taken last year while my brother Alan was onboard. This time we were able to hug the coast more and admire the incredible mountains and cliffs along the way. This cave is enormous ... So big we could fit inside with room to spare - and we have 19 metres air draught!
2015,Daca/Fetihye
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Stuck at ECE Marina

16/07/2015
On top of our anchoring problems we also had a generator that keeps shutting down. Cleaned the water intake and strainers and all that left is a damaged impeller, so instead of anchoring somewhere in Goçek Bay, one of the most dramatic and beautiful spots on earth, we headed for ECE Marina in Fethiye to find an Onan technician. As soon as we docked we found our man! Shows the power of simple when it comes to advertising. Right message, right place, right time. Shame it's not so easy to get the part ... More time than planned here. Never mind, electricity = AC, movies, ice creams ... Yeah!
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Today's treat

17/07/2015
This boat pulled up in Fethiye today. It was Comissioned by Steve jobs ... 80 metres long, aluminium and designed by Philip Stark. Like it or not ... It's impressive and leading edge.

New incentive ...

19/07/2015
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After last nights little incident I decided it was time to break open my newly purchased anti-rat cones. These simple plastic devices slide over the mooring ropes to block the little critters circus acts.
In the meantime we should also report we're anchored here about 2 hours east of Datca.

Sneaky visitor

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One of the things boat owners dread most ... sneaky visitors who tightrope over 30 metres on a mooring rope precariously balanced over water to your boat.
Well, last night at 2:30 in the morning I heard what sounded like a small squirrel or large rat walk across the bedroom roof. Needless to say I was up like a shot, torch in hand and ready to evict. Nothing there ... Was I dreaming? Back to sleep. Then 4am same thing! This time I was quicker and hit the light, I'm sure I heard a splash :). Hoped so. Checked everything and back to bed. Then next morning what do we find? Evidence. One well chewed on Apple and little (big) droppings on deck as a gift.
We live in hope that he or she left the same way they came in! We think so, it's a profitable business visiting yachts, no need to get 'ratknapped' :)

Learning quickly

20/07/2015
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Well, This is our third season and I can truely say we're only just starting to get the hang of it!

More romance.

Here she is ...
Floating nicely
Always looking good
An excellent sailing companion

Oh, did I mention it's the one without the anchor :)
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Bottle fish

21/07/2015
We're in Turgutreis near Bodrum now, waiting for our friends Mike 'n Floss to join us soon. Came across these wonderful 'fish' sculptures today. They bring a smile but also a reminder ... All that rubbish was washed up on the beach, and all those plastic bottles that don't biodegrade ...
2015,Turutreis/Bodrum
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Hiding from the sun

22/07/2015
This is what we look like when we're all locked down at anchor or in a marina. The sunshades go up to protect us from the harsh July/August Meditteranean sun - and we're talking 38 to 40 degrees sometimes.
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Stripped out props

23/07/2015
While we were in Fethiye marina we must have had some rope wood or other debris sucked into the bow thrusters. This resulted in the blades being stripped right off. Incredible, and costly to order new parts then have a diver install them.
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Mike 'n Floss are here!

24/07/2015
Our sailing buddies, Mike 'n Floss joined us last night for a weeks fun in the sun. Great to have them on board after spending time on their catamaran 'OOROO 1' last year from Gibraltar to The Canaries.
2015,Sailing
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Hard to get good help :)

26/07/2015
As usual, our crew are 'revolting' ... That's a good thing, we prefer it that way.
2015,Kusadasi
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Amazing Efes

27/07/2015
And no, I'm not talking about it he beer! The ancient city of EFES is just north of Kusadasi where we also met up with an old Swiss friend, Chris, who now lives here.
Check out Efes here.
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Wow that's a mouthful!

28/07/2015
Found this boat moored up in Setur Marina at Kudadasi today ... What a mouthful of a boat name:
LUMPAZIVAGABUNDUS
If you had to read that one out on the radio phonetically it would go like this:
LIMA, UNIFORM, MIKE, ALPHA, ZEBRA, INDIGO, VICTOR, ALPHA, GOLF, ALPHA, BRAVO, UNIFORM, NOVEMBER, DELTA, UNIFORM, SIERA
Got it? Bloody tough one!
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Lay day

29/07/2015
We spent one more day in Kusadasi marina, enjoying the pool, a little shopping ... And a Chinese meal run by a Turk who also cooked Mexican, Italian and Indian ... Hmmm
(PA: you can spot GUMNUTS by the amazing fawn coloured tent over our boat to keep us cool)
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Serious Human issues

29/07/2015
As we left Kusadasi this was the sad sight that met our eyes. Refugees, mainly Syrians caught trying to make the short passage over to Greece - in this case the Island of Samos. There are about 200 people like this EVERY DAY!!!
As we motored West to our new anchorage we found empty lifejackets in the sea and floating oranges. Evidence of more problems.
The people concerned are paying mafia type people smugglers. They pile into inflatable boats and as soon as the coastguard get near them they puncture their vessels which dictates, by international law, that vessels nearby must assist and rescue.
This is a super issue in this region now. Once in Greece these people have open access to Europe!
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Infinity ahoy!

22/07/2014, Nisos Levitha
Left Amorgos a day later than planned, still heading for Kos and final departure from Geeece. However, on the way we discovered perhaps our best ever location! A small island with a remarkable all weather anchorage and a handful of moorings. One taverna with two or three families a few goats, their own veggie patch and that's it!
Shane we're out if time (re the EU/Schengen) 90 day rule ... Or we could easily stay a week here!
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'Clean up Turkey' campaign

31/07/2015
Our popular little anchorage at Çam Limani is also used by local people who come down for picnics, swimming or fishing. Unfortunately the environmental awareness level concerning taking your waste home is not as good as it could be. So, just before leaving, Shiree went assure and collected a dinghy full which we then bagged up and bought back to the marina rubbish bins.
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Half half

02/08/2015
Having used up most of our 90 days in Turkey (the limit every 180 days) it was time move on to Greece. Leaving Kusadasi to Samos is a simple 2 hour crossing, mainly south. The two countries are really close as you see in this photo. Practically all of the Islands you look out to from the shores of Turkey are Greek.
2016,Sailing,Turgutreis

Testing our sails

22 July 2016
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We had a new sail made over winter. It's called an inner foresail. However, it needed some modifications, so fortunately our Italan friend and sailmaker, Paolo, has an old partner working here in Bodrum. Andreas arrived as agreed and came out for a sail to check what needs doing. So nice to know 'quality' people like this.
Ad:
One1 Sail, Andrea Marrengo (a_marengo@hotmail.com) or Burak Tüzel (burak@onesails.com).
2016,Turgutreis

Back in Turgutreis

22 July 2016
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We arrived in Tugutreis, Turkey a couple of days ago and unfortunately the Sailblogs server seems to be 'down for maintenance'. This is the picture as sun sets at the Marina club house. One of those masts is ours ...
Last time we were here with Annette Coote and Kevin it was packed. Due to the recent events here it all seems a bit more subdued.
2016,Istanbul

Stop over in Istanbul

23 July 2016
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We've left the boat in D-Marin and we're off to Italy to help celebrate the 50th birthday of a friend (Doninico Pinto). On the way, we had the chance to meet up with Bulent and Sezin for dinner - and to hear their fantastic news ... Sezin is due to deliver a baby girl in two months time! Great news indeed!
2016,Turgutreis,Sailing

Coast guards on call

27 July 2016
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One thing that's noticeable this year, every single day we've been in Turkish waters we see all types of Coast Guards patrolling the waters between Turkey and Greece. Add to this the occasional Greek or UN warship (usually frigates) and you definitely feel the additional surveillance taking place. Combination of refugees, people smuggling and presumed coup escapees.
This particular ship was beautiful though. Reassuring to see such equipment when used for sea rescues.
2016,Sailing

Sunrise

29 July 2016
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This was my view at sunrise this morning down near Datca. We set off at 0445 for a 12 hour crossing to Kalkan where we'll spend tonight.
2016,Kalkan

Sunset

29 July 2016, Kalkan
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Picture from our anchorage tonight near Kalkan, south coast of Turkey. Last time we were here we caught up with Neville, Susanah and family. We also met Tobie and Karen with their boys as we lost our anchor. This time round, it's nearly empty!
2016,Kekova Roads

Our own castle to look over us

30 July 2016
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We anchored in Üçagiz (ooch-a-iz) which would normally be chooks blok but today was empty. This amazing place includes a Venetian fort guarding over us
2016,Kekova Roads

R'nR Shiree style

30 July 2016
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It was only a matter of time before we ended up with a stand up paddle board. Actually Shiree is very good at it and she 'posed' for these pics. Wasn't hard ... The water is 31 degrees centigrade! We're in an enclosed water system behind Kekova Roads at Üçagiz (pronounced 'Ooch-a-is').
2016,Finike

Dolphins in the Marina!

31 July 2016
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What an amazing spectacle. We saw it last time we were in Finike. Dolphins chasing fish inside the Marina. How incredible. Not just for one minute ... But at least 20 minutes worth!
2016,Finike

Made it to Finike

01 August 2016
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Good to be back. Talking with our friends here, it's been a tough year. When the Turkish downed a Russian fighter in the SE the tensions led to Putin banning all Russian tourism and trade with Turkey. This has been devastating for the orange and tomatoe growers of this agricultural region since they had built huge export volumes with Russia. Consequently crops have rotted on the trees and the ground. That, together with the more recent issues here are making business in the Marina also very tough.
2016,Finike

Smoko with our friends

02 August 2016
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Coming home to Finike is truely like coming home to family. It wouldn't be the same without coffee in the workshop each day with the team.
2016,Finike

Ice Cream with the team

02 August 2016
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So nice to be included and made welcome with these wonderful people.
2016,Finike

Last night in Hotel

03 August 2016
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Spent our last night in a hotel overlooking the Marina. Gumnuts is now safely tucked up on the hard stand with everything 'winterised' in shut down mode for the next 9 months. Off to Antalya in the morning.
2016,Antalya

Hadrian's Gate, Antalya

06 August 2016
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Spent a wonderful night in an old Ottoman style house inside the old city in Antalya. Included one of the best meals we've eaten all year. Very romantic I might add :)
2016,Maps

Summary of 2016 sailing

30 August 2016
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Here's a quick run down on our year.
Distance Sailed: 1175 Nautical Miles
Maximum wind at anchor: 16knots (Beaufort f5)
Maximum wind sailing: 28NM (Beaufort f7)
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