Katanne

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Sunset in "Pirate Alley" Salalah to Aden

Details of our voyage before 1st January 2007 can be found in a separate section 


17 June 2014 Lagos to Lisbon  122nms
After nearly 2 years in Lagos we finally got away and started our trip home the UK. The winds were light for all of our run to LIsbon which is was good as we could expect given that the prevailing winds are predominantly from the North and more often than not at strength 4 - 6. We stayed 4 days at the marina Oerias near  Santa Marta which was siginificantly chepaer than Cascais and fresh bread was delivered by the the marina staff to the boat daily. It is very well placed for a visit to Lisbon which we did on 2 occasions, revisiting some of the places we had seen before and exploring area we hadn't.

22 June 2014 Oerias to Porto   175nms
The winds were still light but there was a 2m swell when we left at 0600. However, it eased as we made our way North and we had a favourable current for much of the time so we arrived  ahead of our planned time at 1330  at the marina Pavoa do Vazim, 10nms North of Porto. It was very good value at €145 for a month but it is without character, a bit run down and suffers from swell in the marina at times. However, it is ideally placed for visits to Porto being, as it is, at the end of the tramline that runs into the centre of Porto.  We had planned to stay here of 2 weeks to explore Porto and the Douro wine district. We hired a car for a few days and had a thoroughly enjoyable time visiting the wine cellars and Quintas along the Douro. The highlight was a night's stay at the Quinta Pasadoura where we had a lovely evening sampling lots of wines with our meal. This quinta won the IWC trophy for the best vintage port for 2014 - their 2011 vitange - and so I naturally bought a bottle which I'll open on my 85th birthday. We took the time to visit most of the port houses and learnt much about the types of port.

11 July 2014 Porto to Viana do Castello   20nms
We left quite early at 0700 and suffered 1.5m swell and no wind for the short run arriving at 1100. We had to ti0e up outside the marina until the footbridge was opened before tying up inside. It's a small marina but well protected from the wind and being well up the river there is no swell ever. We enjoyed the town and took the funicular behind the town from where the views are quite spectacular.

18 Jul 2014 Viana to Vigo    47nms
Another 070 departure (I do like ot leave early in the morning!) with light winds and some fog which was replaced by rain. We had planned to go to the anchorage outside Bayonna but discovered the anchor winch wasn't working so we carried on up the Ria to Moana which is opposite Vigo on the north coast and from where there is a regular ferry to Vigo. In Vigo we were able to obtain permits which would allow us to visit the National Park Islands.

23 July 2014 Moana to Isle Cies    9nms
The entrance to the Ria de Vigo is protected by the Isles Cies which is visited by 100's of tourists each day. The islanD has lots of walks and very good beaches. The ferries which run constantly throughout the day made the anchorage rolly but it was calm at night. We had a run ashore the next day but the wind increased and since it was likely to get worse the anchorage would become untenable so we moved 4nms to the mainland bay of Ensenda de Barra

24 July 2014 Isles Cies to Ensada do Barra      5nms
This bay turned out to very protected although we did move a few 100 yards on the 28th to get away from the williwaw winds which were whisling through a gap in the hills. We did very little and enjoyed just chilling out.

30 July 2014 Ensada do Barra to Combarro    17nms
A late start - 0830 - in calm conditions to the marina at Combarro which is near the top of the Ria Pontevedoa. It's a lovely town with houses, bars and restaurants cut out of solid rock so has been deemed a national heritage site.  We took a bus to Combados to where a wine festival was been held. Of course we enjoyed it very much. The white wine produced in this area was all that was on offer and I thought very overpriced.

3 August 2014Combarro to Isla Ons   13nms
Like Isles Cies this is a National Park. we left at 1030 for the short motorsail to Playa Melida. It was a bit rolly but no one else was anchored there. I spent much of my time during the day watching the clam fishermen who have rakes on flexible poles which are in excess of 10m long. They drag the rakes along a metre or two from their anchored boats then use a powered which to haul up the pole and rake. From what I could see they were lucky to get more than a handful of clams each time but spent all day doing so. The clams sell for €25 a kilo in the local markets. We also saw lots of swimming crabs and the phosphorescence at night was spectacular.

5 Aug 2014 Isla Ons to Playa  Coroso Rai de Arusa   12nms
Leaving at 0945 and arriving at 1210 we found a lovely anchorage between 2 small islands (rocks really) at the East end of the Playa Coroso in the Ensenada de Eugenia de Riviera. It was calm with very clear water and Nicolette was able to replace a missing bolt from the propeller anode. 

7 Aug 2014 Coroso  to Caraminal Marina 5nms
Unfortunately the wind made the anchorage unteanabl so we  moved to the top of the Ria to the Caraminal marina. The ria is blighted with mussel rafts but otherwise is very pleasant. I fixed the anchor roller plate which had started to come loose. 

8 Aug 2014 Caraminal to anchorage 1nm
The €37 a day charged at the marina seemed excessive given that the anchorage outside offered the same shelter from the Southerly wind so we moved there. The wind blew to F5 and it rained for much of the time we were at anchor.

10 Aug 2014 Caraminal anchorage to Coroso   6nm
The Southertly winds moved to the North so we went back to Coroso but this time anchored to the West of the rocks and by the beach of Coroso. 

11 Aug 2014 Coroso to Ria do Muros   31nms
We departed at 0750 with light winds but the swell was still there. We anchored in the Ensenada de San Francisco at 13.30.

12 Aug 2014 Ria do Muros to Mugia. 31nms
A Southerly wind which put us on a lee shore picked up very early in the morning so we decided to leave. We tried lifting the anchor but it was snagged so well that nothing I did would shift it. Despite the worsening conditions Nicolette ageed to dive on the anhcor using the on board hookah. It took her only a few m,inutes to realise that the anchor was lost to us. It was jammed firmly under a massive slab of rock. The winds were up to 25kts by now and the seas were getting up. I therefore had no option but to dump the anchor and the first 50m of chain at the link between the 2 lengths of chain.  Then I was unable to put a reef in the main. We set off under genoa alone and that was partially reefed. The winds reached 30 kts and the seas with 2m of quartering swell were uncomfortable. With the winds now right on the stern and falling I fired up the engine but  clealry the anode had lost another bolt since we had another ratttle from from the prop. To add to this the anchor winch roller had been ripped out of the deck during our attempts to get the anchor up. We arrived at Mugia at 1545 in rain which we had for most of the trip. The marina, which is new, was well protected and nearly empty. Most go to Camarinas but as Mugia becomes more well known it will soon be a popular alternative. 

15 Aug 2014 Mugia to Coruna    48nms 
We left at 0700 taking advantge of the light Southerly winds and had a a pleasnt motor sail although the wind increased to 25kts as we closed on Coruna. After taking on fuel we went ot the Real de Nautica marina which is very close to the town centre eand very good value. We were put on the outer pontoon which suffered badly whn the fishing boats went by so at 2230 we moved to an inner pontoonfrom where, next day, Nicolette put another bolt in the prop anode  A  festival was in full swing for the duration of our stay so we enjoyed a number of cultural events. I would recommend sing this marina if you are in Coruna. 

21 Aug 2014 Coruna to Cmaret sur Mer (France)    341nms
We left at 0720 with headwinds to 25kts but expected to die which they did. and by the end of the first night w e had calm seas. These weren't to last though and as we moved North the swell increased and became quite uncomfortable. The winds were N to NW at about 10-15kts. However, the current was, for the most part , favourable. The swell forunately died on our last full day at sea and we were able to sail for much of that day. The marina had plenty of room so we didn't have to raft up. Initially we were on an outside pontoon then we moved to an inside one and a couple of days later moved to the well protected marina Vauber. We enjoyed the town but it was apparent that prices generally are much higher than in Spain or Portugal.

30 Aug 2014 Camaret sur Mer to Guernsey 130nm.
This was to be our last overnight sail. We left at 1200 to catch the N going tide round through chanel de fort and had a favourable current for all but 4 hours of the 21 hour passage. It was a bit bumpy during the night but we relished the current which had us arriving well ahead of our planned time at high water at St Peter Port so we went straight in to a strangely half empty marina and took a finger pontoon.
During our stay here I repaired the anchor winch roller plate and did a number of other jobs.  We enjoyed our walks around Guernsey but our stay there was cut short by a change to  the weather forecast.

5 September 2014 Guernsey to Alderney.  24nms
The initial weather forecast had suggested we might be able to stay in Guernsey for a week or more but a high pressure system moved in ahead of the forecast time and offered us at least 5 days of good weather so we left at 1330 withn the tide and a flat calm sea and arrived at 1700. We took a mooring in Braye harbour, of which there are many, and the next day the water taxi to explore ashore.

7 September 2014 Alderney to Poole 62nms
A 0515 departure to take advantage of the current and with flat clam seas we made good progress arriving at the town quay marina at 1545.

8 September 2014 Poole to Deacon's Yard the Hamble 35nms
We leftat 0620 to ensure we had a good current and it was with us until we got to Beaulieu. I was amazed at the number of yachts in the Hamble - solid on both sides of the channel all the way up to Deacons  Yard. We arrived at 1230 and took a finger pontoon next to the lift out. The staff at Deacon's were very accommodating and so we stayed on the pontoon until the the 11th, the day we were hauled out. In addition they gave us some space to use in a container which was wonderful and allowed us to move most of our stuff off the boat and into the container before we lifted out. Before lift out the mizzen was removed but put back later. During the time the mizzen was on the hard I was able to remove the wind generator. I also took off the max prop and replaced it with the original and unused fixed prop. I hired a long wheel base transit  van which. by the time we had left was over half full. What could have been a very stressful time was made manageable because of the very helpful staff at Deacon's. We left Katanne  after lunch on the 12th.

Details of our voyage before 1st January 2007 can be found in a separate section 



Winter 2012-2103

We carried out a number of jobs on Katanne then flew home for a short visit. A novel experience for us was to return by car taking the ferry from Portsmouth to Bilboa in Spain. Of course we visited the Guggenheim centre but also took a leisurely week to drive back to Lagos. Christmas day was spent at an apartment in Merida. Our plans to buy Christmas day lunch from El Cortez Ingles failed when we discovered there wasn't one. Luckily we found one supermarket open which saved the day. Salamanca was a particularly good stopover, a delightful university town which excels in the number and quality of its tapas bars.

Back on board Katanne we continued with our makeover which involved some varnishing of the interior woodwork. By the time we had finished she was looking like new again. We had our fair share of rain but it was never cold and we enjoyed a number of excellent walks with the "strollers"

We also took the time to visit Seville for a few days and it proved to be as beautiful as we had expected.

We had a visit from our friends Dai and Jenny ; we ate and drank well and went for 6-8km walks most days. It was unfortunate that Nicolette was in England at the time of their visit. My daughters, Joanne and Kathryn also came for a long weekend and I was able to indulge them with the best of Portuguese fayre.  Nicolette's friend Rebecca and her son also visited us for a long weekend in February.


1st  Jun 2013 Lagos to  Albufeira     25nms

We left for our summer cruise at 0900 with light winds forecast for our run to Culatra but as so often happens the forecast was wrong. By 1200 the winds were up to 20kts on the nose so we diverted into Albufeira. A very secure marina but without any character and some way from the town. It is reminiscent of the song "little boxes" with multi coloured multi shaped apartments thrown to together in an apparently haphazard way and probably made from ticky tacky.


2nd Jun 2013 Albufeira to Culatra     22nms

Anticipating an Easterly wind later in the day we left at 0720  and managed to sail for a couple of hours, but then the wind came up from the East and by lunchtime it was blowing 20kts again but we were now close to Culatra and it was an easy motorsail to our anchorage.  It's very secure and capable of taking a hundred yachts but the fetch created by a strong Westerly can be uncomfortable  and was the reason we left after a week. Before doing so though we enjoyed the island so much that we vowed to return. Not only to enjoy more of the cockles we had picked but also the pleasure of walking the 800m boardwalk from the fishing village across the dunes to the Atlantic and its clean beaches.


8th Jun 2013 Culatra to Ayamonte      32nms

We made an early 0700 departure to take advantage of the ebbing tide and before it got too low. The previous 3 days of Westerly winds had kicked up a viscous fetch and which had us pitching uncomfortably. However, we now had light airs and a pleasant motor sail to the marina  which was barely a quarter full. The marina is again secure and the town is pleasant but the real reason we were there was so I could watch the F1 grand prix!!


11 Jun 2013 Ayamonte to Mazagon      32nms

The bar outside Aymonte has caught many unwary sailors so we left with plenty of water at 0740 and with a nice beam wind and quiet seas. We managed  to sail for most of the way but eventually the wind died completely. The anchorage outside the marina had good holding and is secure in all but S or SW winds.


12 Jun 2013 Mazagon to Rota     43nms

A  fair run with light airs expected so we left at 0700. In fact we had a good sail for the first 5 hours until the wind came on the nose and so we motor sailed the last 3 hours. We were surprised at the increasing swell as we approached Rota.  The marina is very secure  and is well placed for visiting the town and Cadiz; the ferry runs from the marina to Cadiz. The town has a couple of wonderful bodegas which offer  the full range of sherries from the cask and tapas for next to nothing. With a glass of sherry and a tapa for little over a Euro it's often difficult to get away. Sherry is only produced in a small area around Cadiz and we visited 2 of the 3 towns which are designated for sherry production. Port Real de Santa Maria lies just North of Cadiz and is easily reached by bus from the marina. The Gutierrez bodega was outstanding and was the highlight of our sherry adventures. Jerez also has a number of Bodegas but the tours of some of those were poor compared to that of the Gutierrez Bodega. Strong winds prevented the Cadiz ferry sailing the day we planned to go there but a bus was laid on instead and caused us no inconvenience. 


19th Jun 2013 Rota to Chipiona    16nms

We left at 1230 after the forecast suggested the Westerly winds would ease but they did not. However, it was only a 3 hour run to the marina which was almost empty.  The town was pleasant and made more so when we discovered a lovely restaurant on the promenade which served the most wonderful appetizers. They were more than a tapa but less than a rationes  and we had those instead of dinner. A sherry to start with (mandatory in this part of the world) and wine to go with our food; we couldn't have asked for more. I particularly enjoyed the fried sea anenomes.


20th  Jun 2013 Chipiona to Mazagon      26nms

We left about 10.30 and had a mixed sailing day. The wind  was fickle allowing us to sail for an hour or two and then we would need the motor until it backed a bit and we could sail again. The anchorage was peaceful and we had a quiet calm night.


21st  Jun 2013 Mazagon to Ayamonte        30nms

Timing is all for an entry into the Guardiana river so we left at 0720 and close hauled all the way avoiding many fishing pots as we did so. We arrived on time at 1330 with a strong Northerly running down the river and the tide in flood, so it made for a choppy entrance. However, we did have 3 kts in our favour as we made our way to the marina and a chance to see another F1 grand prix.


23rd Jun 2013 Ayamonte to Culatra        30nms

We left on the ebb at 0640 and had 1.8m under the keel at the bar. We had no wind but some swell so it was an uneventful motor sail all the way arriving at 1130. Our last visit had been cut short by the Westerly winds so we planned to stay until we got bored - that turned out to be a month later. The days just passed by without us really taking note. We were lazy and loved it. We had a few trips by ferry from the village to Alhoa for provisions and picking cockles whenever we felt like it. Culatra village relies on is fishing industry but enjoys a modicum of tourism too. It's an idyllic place with no roads and lots of sand. The boardwalk is lovely and takes you to the Atlantic which invites you to take a swim. I had some problems with the autopilot instruments and spent some time trying to fix them. In the end I concluded that the problem lay with the instrument itself which proved to be the case and it was successfully repaired by Raymarine in the UK. One noticeable highlight was the unexpected visit of Kathryn and her family. They were staying with friends near Lagos and came to Alhoa prior to leaving by air from Faro. We enjoyed a lovely lunch together  before they left.


20th Jul 2013 Culatra to Portimao      37nms

We had a deadline to meet since we had arranged to be hauled out on the 22nd so we left at 0655 into a light Westerly arriving at the anchorage at Portimao at 1340. It was about half full. Reasonably secure but not an attractive anchorage but with dinghy access to the town.


21st Jul 2013 Portimao to Lagos    7mns

A flat calm day but we were able to tie up to the Sopromar pontoon on arrival (Sopromar being the boatyard we were hauling out into)


22nd Jul 2013 Haul out.

Asked to go in bow first I advised the haul out operator that I'd need to go in stern first but he was insistent. When he realized that wouldn't work we went in stern first but by this time the wind had got up so I needed a dinghy to assist me.  We only had time that day to clean the hull and topsides and left the boat the next day.


20th Sept 2013 - Back to Lagos

After spending some time in the UK we again brought the car back via Bilboa but only took a couple of days to get back to Lagos. Nicolette gave the boat a thorough clean before I set to anti fouling  whilst Nicolette polished the topsides. I also, for the first time anti fouled the propeller and shaft with a propriety product (Velux Plus). Time will tell if it's any good. Staying on a boat when on the hard isn't much fun so we opted to stay in a small hotel in the town and it worked very well.


24th Sept 2013 Back in the water

Katanne looked beautiful and gleaming all over as we put her gently back where she belongs - on the water. A few minutes later and we back on the same pontoon we had been on in 2012.


Winter 2013-2014

Life soon settled into a familiar pattern with weekly walks, dinners with friends, visits to the market and a new one - Monday's at the cinema. We took a short trip to Evora in the Alentajo wine area and had a lovely time tasting the wines and enjoying the local foods. Unfortunately many of the vineyards require prior booking but we nevertheless learnt a lot more about the wines of Portugal.

We've done some more varnishing and the new cooker which w installed last year is still pristine New carpets are on order and a new galley work surface is being laid. Nicolette went back to the UK for a couple of weeks and has another trip planned for January 2014.

As I write this we are only 12 days  from Christmas so Katanne has to be decorated both inside and out which will happen in the next day or two. We have 2 Christmas trees, one for the bowsprit and one for the pilothouse and lots of baubles and fairy lights.



 

13th September 2012 Barbate to Lagos, Portugal   145nms

As I expected the seas were not good and for the first 3 hours and the route to Cadiz would have been very poor even though the winds were dying. Once the seas died a little we managed to sail for quite a lot of the way and arrived at Lagos at 1215 on 14th September. This is to be our winter haven and we chose very well. The marina in nearly 1nm up a river and is absolutely secure. The facilities are excellent and we have free use of the Marian Hotel swimming pool. The town is a delight and everything we need including the rail and bus station are but a few minutes walk away.


12th September 2012 La Linea to Barbate   36nms

We left at 0500 in order to have favourable tides through the straits.  The winds were to light to sail but the currents were good and we had an easy passage arriving at Barbate at 1130.  Nicolette's friend Linda and her daughter Nicola together with 3 of their friends came on board. Linda and Nicola stayed overnight with the intention of sailing with us to Port Real de Santa Maria, near Cadiz.  Unfortunately the next morning the winds were Southerly which would mean the seas would be rough and it was also foggy. We abandoned the idea of going to Cadiz and instead set sail at 10.30 for Lagos in Portugal.


4th September 2012 Almerimar to La Linea   130nms

We left at 0800 and were able to sail for some of the time. The winds were variable but the seas were uncomfortable. We arrived at the Gibraltar fuel dock at 0900 on 5th September. We hadn't taken any fuel since Rome so we filled up the tanks and jerry cans to take advantage of the duty free prices (0.50€ a litre cheaper than Spain). We then moved into the new marina at La Linea.  We enjoyed the tapas at a bar near the market the first time we were here in 2004  so it was a pleasant surprise to find it still there and the tapas and beer as good as ever.  We left the boat here and took a bus to Vejer de la Frontera to visit a friend of Nicolette's. It's a beautiful historic hill town with every house painted white and narrow cobbled street, not far from Barbate. We stayed 3 days and had a lovely relaxing time. On our return we moved out tot the anchorage in preparation for our trip through the straits of Gibraltar.


29th August 2012 Cartagena to Almerimar   110nms

We left at 1000 expecting light airs but by 1500 they started to rise and eventually we were sailing with a reefed main and no genoa in 30 + kts. The wind abated after midnight to about 20kts but the seas remained uncomfortable.  We had a lovely little bird come on board in the afternoon and he happily perched on our heads and fingers. Nicolette was able to feed him a tomato which she lodged in the dinghy handle and which he thoroughly enjoyed. He settled down somewhere near the forepeak but must have fallen into the sea because he suddenly appeared on my knee wet through. We didn't see him after that and thought he had flown on. Sadly we discovered him the next morning in the pilot house. He must have flown in there then crashed into the windscreen with fatal results. We then had thick fog on our arrival with visibility of only a few metres. We tied up at 1000 on 30 August. I didn't like Almerimar much when we last visited it and it hasn't improved. In fact it is now more run down and dated with lots of empty apartment blocks.


22nd August 2012 Comte to Cartagena    139nms   WE COMPLETED OUR CIRCUMNAVIGATION HERE

We left at 0700 with light winds and flat seas. We crossed our wake at 0730 the next morning arriving at 1030 on 23 August. We dressed the boat overall using some of the 70 odd country flags that we had needed and most of which had been made by Nicolette. "Yachting Monthly" asked me to write on how I felt about completing a circumnavigation and I duly submitted a piece which dealt, in the main, with the people we has met rather than the places we had visited. Cartagena is suffering the effects of the recession but we enjoyed it nevertheless and went to see a performance of Swan Lake by the St Petersburg Ballet. 


18th August 2012 San Antonio to Cala Conte   6nms

We had intended to go further round the West coast of Ibiza but liked the look of Conte and so stayed there. It was a really good anchorage with lots of soft sand ensuring a good holding. The water is crystal clear and azure blue.  There was some roll during the day caused by passing boats but it was very peaceful and calm at night. It is separated from another bay just to the East in which there were lots of boats anchored. A number of charter boats tried to go from one to the other only to discover the 1m reef in their way.  We also had another yacht foul our anchor then drag us along for 20m -   excessive drinking was probably the cause.


17th August 2012 Cala   Blanco to San Antonio   15nms

By now I had had enough of rolling around at night and San Antonio was a secure anchorage unlikely to have any swell getting into the anchorage. We left at 0800 and motor sailed for 3 hours. The anchorage was large and secure but devoid of any other redeeming features. The water was dirty and there was lots of tourist traffic.  We didn't bother to go ashore.


16th August 2012 Santa Ponsa to Cala Blanco, Ibiza   52nms

We left wt 0600 and managed to sail moist of the way with the wind on our stern and the genoa out on the pole. We arrived at 1630 and then had an unpleasant night with lots of roll. This is a  very pretty bay with only a couple of beautiful houses , crystal clear waters and Nicolette even found a flying Gurnard shuffling above the anchor chain whilst snorkelling and checking the anchor.  Not see one of these since the Caribbean.


15th August 2012 San Elmo to Santa Ponsa   8nm

We motor sailed back to Ponsa were there was much less roll.


14th August 2012 Santa Ponsa to San Elmo   8nms

We managed to sail some of the way leaving at 1000 and arriving 2 hours later. Again we had booked a free mooring and met up with friends of Nicolette. We had a very expensive and somewhat ordinary meal ashore and then had to suffer a really bad night with heavy roll. The view of Dragonera island is lovely, very pretty spot so a pity about the roll which made it untenable.


10th August 2012 Las Illetas to Santa Ponsa   12nms

We left in calm condition at 0800 and arrived at 1110.  It is a nice big bay with easy access to a small busy town with good supermarkets and a pleasant place to watch the closing ceremony of the Olympics and provision.


7th August 2012 Cala Blava to Las Illetas   8nm

A 0845 departure and a nice sail brought us to the anchorage at 10.30. This turned out to be a gem of an anchorage.  Clear water  over good holding sand and very few boats staying over night. We were surprised that it was so quiet being only 4nms from Palma with the Spanish military social club taking over much of the beach so fairly popular place with locals.


6th August 2012 Ensenada de Rapita to Cala Blava   19nms

We left at 0800 and managed to sail much of the way arriving at 1150. We had arranged, through the internet, for a free mooring for 2 days. In the event the anchorage was so rolly that we left the next day


2nd August 2012 Porto Colon to Ensenada de Rapita    24nms

We left at 0800 and motor sailed arriving at 1145. The holding was poor and we had to re anchor to find some sand and decent holding.  We anchored south of Isla Gabina and Nicolette enjoyed the swimming ashore for coffee and ice creams.  There are shops behind the hotel and lots of holiday makers at this time of year.


31st July 2012 Cala de Tale to Porto Colon, Mallorca   44nms

We left at 2130 and motor sailed into a light breeze at 4kts arriving at 0845. There was little room in the anchorage with poor holding and some roll so we took a mooring.


31st July 2012 Mahon to Cala de Tale   24nms

We left at 0815 arriving at1315. The wind was light and on the stern so we had to motor sail (as ever). The anchorage was fine during the day but as night fell we were exposed and on a lee shore so we departed for a slow night sail.  Lovely swimming.


25th July 2012 Porto Conte to Mahon, Menorca   186nms

We left at 0300 and had an uneventful trip with sailing and motor sailing as the wind, never strong came and went. We arrived at 1515 on 26th July and were lucky to find a good anchorage given that the small area allocated by the Mahon authorities was very full. There is a massive bay between the anchorage and the town of Mahon in which all anchoring is prohibited. Not surprising that yachts don't stay long there.   A visit to La Mola, the huge fort above the anchorage is well worth the visit at the end of the day when it's a bit cooler.


20th July 2012 Porto Torres to Porto Conte, Sardinia   42nms

We left at 0630 and motor sailed into flat seas and no wind. We arrived at 14.50 but had some trouble finding a suitable anchorage in the NW of the bay. On the 24th July we moved to the Southern anchorage so that we could go shopping, an easy bus ride to Algherro.


18th July 2012 Capo Testa to Porto Torres   42nms

An early start at 06.30 with very light airs and after a motor sail we arrived at 15.30 and tied up next to Ice Maiden in the marina. It was a good opportunity to replenish our stores and top up with water.


17th July 2012 Zui Paulu to Capo Testa    16nms

It was now time to move on and make our way along the top of Sardinia through the Bonifacio straits which rightly have a bad reputation. We motor sailed and encountered some swell but the anchorage was secure on the eastern side.


10th July Zui Paulu to Cannnigione and to Zui Paulu 1nm

We moved anchorage to do some shopping then went back to our beach anchorage at Zui Paulu.  The strong winds came as expected reaching over 33kts at times but the anchorage was very secure and we had excellent holding in sand.


9th July 2012 Porto Cervo to  Golfo di Arzachena 7nms

A 2 hour motor sail. We left Cervo because stronger winds were expected and I wasn't happy with our anchorage there. We arrived at 1020 and anchored in Zui Paulu


6th July 2012 Perevo to Porto Cervo   4nms

We found an anchorage which was fine for the weather we were having but was a bit too close to the shore had the wind turned. Porto Cervo is the playground of the mega rich who park their mega big super yachts here. Ashore it is like the best parts of Paris or London with all the luxury stores represented. We expected it to be busy and noisy but it was neither. The anchorage was calm and quiet and we loved it. We were able to top up with water from the pontoons only 200m away and there were showers ashore.  Nicolette also saw a huge ray whilst snorkelling , there is life in the med after all.


5th July 2012 Calle Volpe to Perevo   5nms

We were actually on our way to Porto Cervo but liked the look of this bay so stopped there for the night. Some very big moorings were available for the super yachts which are so common in this area.


4th July 2012 Marinella to Calle Volpe   4nms

We motor sailed very slowly with flat calm seas



2nd July 2012 Porri to Marinella (Sabina) 11nms.

A 2 hour motor sail to a lovely bay but exposed from the West so we moved into the next bay Golfo di Marinella.


29th June 2012 Olbia to Isla di Porri  7nms

We left at 0845 and motored in flat calm condition and took a free mooring. It was another (among many) lovely anchorage.


23rd June 2012 Tavalora to Olbia 10nms

Leaving at 0900 we motor sailed and arrived at 1120. We were preparing to anchor when a space became available on the public wall so we tied starboard to.  The wind was not abeam but still blowing us onto the wall so we used our empty jerry cans as extra fenders which worked very well.  Olbia was a nice town with a convenient supermarket but it was very hot.


22nd June 2012 Taverna to Tavalora  3nm

Another wind shift brought us to Tavalora but over night the wind increased and we dragged in the early hours. The bottom was thick weed which was the cause of the dragging. It was however, an offshore breeze of about 20kts



21st June 2012 Taverna to Tavalora to Taverna   6nms

The wind had shifted so we moved to Tavalora and back to Taverna later in the day.


19th June 2012 Brandhinghi to Taverna 7nms

We motored round to a lovely bay. This was to be the start of a wonderful time in NE Sardinia. Generally it was uncrowded and there was always a secure anchorage to be found regardless of the wind direction.  We loitered and over the following 3 weeks anchored many wonderful bays.


16th June 2012 Porto di Roma to Brandhinghi, Sardinia   128nms

We motor sailed out at 0940 and had light airs all the way arriving at the anchorage at 11.15 on the 17th.  A very pleasant and secure bay.


11th June 2012 Ponza to Ponti de Roma, Italy,  62nms

Another 0450 departure and with light airs we motor sailed most of the way. My charts indicated that the marina was up the river with the new touristico de ponti de roma being on the coast. There was very bad swell and entering the river was a trial, only to discover the marina no longer existed and I had in fact booked into the new touristico porti di roma marina. After an equally hair raising exit from the river though the swell with only 1m of water under the keel at times we made it to the marina from where we planned to visit Rome. Our main sail was by now unusable, the 10 years of UV light had worn it away and parts of it were shredding just by touching it. A new one had been ordered and it arrived whilst we were here. Unfortunately, the roach was not correct and leech caught on the backstay so it will have to be returned when we go back to England.

We saw all the usual sights in Rome and met up with a friend of Nicolette's Monsignor Rod Strange who runs The Beda College for Catholic priests in Rome. We also went to Ostia Antica which was spectacular. 


10th June 2012 Feola to Isola Ponza   6nms

We actually left at 0450 as the winds were already making the anchorage uncomfortable.



8th June 2012 Ponza to Cala di Feola  6nms

Another pleasant anchorage on the West side.  The winds were forecast to go back to the West so back we went  to our favoured spot outside of  Ponza harbour.


3rd June 2012 Ischia to Ponza.      48nms

Another early departure at 0530 arriving at 14.45 we anchored just North of the harbour off a lovely beach. We took the dinghy to the Morelia caves and then moved to the West side of the island in anticipation of winds from the East.


2nd June 2012 Procida to Ischia 4nms

We left at 0910 expecting winds from the SE which would have made our Procida anchorage untenable and so moved the 4nms to anchor close Castello d'Ischia arriving at 0950. Nicolette discovered mussels attached to the rope of a buoy and after spending close to 2 hours cleaning the ones she collected we had a very nice moules mariniere   that evening.


31st May 2012 Amalfi to Procida    38nms

We left at 0840 and motor sailed with light winds and settling seas arriving at our anchorage at 1450


29th May 2012 Agropoli to Amalfi   25nms

0800 saw us on our way (relatively late for us) and we arrived at 1230. The town wall moorings were now private so we went into a small marina which required being towed behind a pontoon finishing up only 20m from the shore but very secure. Amalfi was lovely and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay there.   The Tuesday market was held just outside the marina gate which was the closest we have ever had a fresh market.


28th May 2012 Maratea to Agropoli    53nms

We departed at 0540 and motor sailed first to Agnone but that turned out to be a fishing harbour with no room for a yacht so we continued on.  The rain set in and the only possible anchorage was full so we had to stay on a pontoon near the entrance. The public town wall was no longer available.


26th May 2012 Cetraro to Maratea   30nms

Unsettled weather with thunder around but light winds.  We left at 0530 and arrived at 1130.  It is a very secure harbour and a very pretty town and little beach for swimming.



25th May 2012 Vibo Valentia to Cetraro  50nms

There are few good anchorages on the West coast of Italy, most of them being fair weather only. During our time going up the coast we invariably had a lot of uncomfortable swell which would have made the available anchorages very uncomfortable.  We left Vibo Marina at 0540 and arrived at Cetraro at 1530.


17th May 2012 Reggio Calabria to Vibo Valentia   50nm

After our enforced stop at RC we were pleased to leave at 0545 and had flat seas and no wind at all. The contrast from the day before was amazing and the last of the Messina Straits were a mill pond.  We arrived at 1545. A lovely marina, Marina della Sud, whose owners laid on a bar-b-que to mark the beginning of the sailing season. Gales were raging in the Tyrrenian S ea so we had to stay 6 nights there.


13the May Taormina to Reggio Calabria    25nms

We left very early at 0420 knowing that the winds in the Messina Straits can be very bad. It didn't help though since we soon had winds to 30kts on the nose and we had to tack upwind whilst motor sailing. We arrived at 1200. The marina is just a harbour wall with few facilities and a very long walk into a very forgettable town. The winds continued to rise and the swell in the "marina" was so bad that we unable to leave the boat. There is nothing to commend Reggio Calabria and it should be avoided if at all possible.


10th May 2012 Catania to Taormina Bay 25nms

We left at 0730 arriving 5 hours later after a roller coaster ride with rotten seas, short and steep and increasing winds. The town though was very pleasant.  You can catch the small bus by the railway station to take you up to the hill top town with a magnificent view of the bay.


8th May 2012 Syracuse to Catania   30nms

Light winds didn't do much to help us after our 0720 departure and the sea was very confused making it an uncomfortable trip, arriving at 1340. The anchorage was not good so we took a bows to position in a small marina.


27th April 2012   Elafonisis   to Syracuse, Sicily   370nms

We left at 0730 and arrived at 10.30 on the 30th.  We had light wind throughout and had to motor sail the whole way. The anchorage was dirty and smelly but the town was a delight.


24 April 2012 Agios Nikolaos to Elafonisis, Peloponnese     170nms

The wind was calm when we departed at 0700 but then rose steadily and backed until it was on our stern. I ran with the main only for some time arriving at 1700 on the 25th. The main sail is showing its age and we had to carry out some running repairs. I also changed back to the 150 genoa.



Winter of 2011   Crete

Agios Nikolaos is a quiet town in the winter, without the tourists it has a charm of its own. The weather was varied with strong Southerly gales creating a swell in the marina which, at times, made it difficult to get on and off the boat. A number of events were organised including a Sunday bar-b-que and a number of very interesting walks. In addition there were instructive classes on a range of subjects including "navigation using Open CPN".  "Getting the best out of your kindle using Calibre"  and one on tuning your computer to make it run faster. We flew home before Christmas and again in February during which time I arranged for some extensive works on our house in Bridlington.

 My Sister and her husband visited us in the spring which gave us an opportunity to explore more of the island. All in all it was a good place to over winter.



24th September 2011 Spinalonga to Agios Nikolaos 10nms

Leaving Spinalonga we had gusts to 35ktts but therafter it was down to 20kts. Nevertheless it would mean a tricky berthing on our arrival at 10am. In the event we were put on the end of "C" pontoon. That proved to be a temporary berth since yachts under 12m are berthed on D dock so the next morning we moved to D dock. This dock was built for small motor boats so is really inadequate for yachts. We had the stern mooring lines changed to something more substantial but they are shorter than I would like. The marina is subject to a long surge at times and we have already experienced a small surge but it was not a problem for us or the boat.  


21st September 2011 Iraklion to Spinalonga             40nms

Leaving our berth at Iraklion was made difficult because the wind was now Westerly to 25kts. I chose a relatively calm period and we backed out without any problems. We sailed and motor-sailed arriving at Spinalonga (10nms of Agios Nikolaos) at 1400.

We anchored well away from the town of Elounda but then realised we might impede a tour boat which anchored off the shore near. The next day we lifted our anchor only to discover we had picked up an enormous anchor which had a 10ft steel bar attached to it. In trying to remove it one of the flukes caught inside the martingale. We needed three ropes and a deal of ingenuity, supplied by Nicolette, to remove it. We then anchored well away from the shore and the other yachts. The wind increased as the day wore on so the next day we moved about 1nms North to get into the lee of the land where the conditions were much better. We had planned to stay here until 1 Ocotber when we were booked into Agios Nikolaos but the weather forecast was not ood with winds increasing to force 7 over the next week or so. We therefore took the decision to go to Agios Nikolaos early.


20th September 2011 Rethymnon to Iraklion           36nms

The pilot guide says it's a "sleigh ride" going West to East along the north Crete coast. We, however had a 15 kt Easterly to contend with. We arrived at Iraklion at 1500 and found a berth inside the marina. We were told that it was a private berth but were later given permission to stay the night there. A great stroke of luck but the hapless yachts on outside wall of the marina were being battered by the 15kts of Easterly wind. It was all but untenable and fortunately the wind dies in the late afternoon leaving a horrible swell which rolled the boats mercilessly.   The town was interesting but full of expensive sea food restaurants.


18th September 2011 Hania to Rethymnon               31nms

We enjoyed some "wing and wing" sailing despite the confused seas arriving at 1345. Our first berth proved to belong to one of the residents so we anchored off the beach but found a spot alongside inside the East wall the next day. The marina pontoons are all taken by local boats so there are only about 6or 7 berths for visitors but the anchorage off the beach is good.  Rethymnon is another interesting town, not as taken with tourism as Hania so less spoilt.


15th September 2011 Kithera to Hania, Crete           63nm

We left at 2015 and motorsailed leisurely throughout the night arriving at 0900. We went bows to with tailed moorings provided. Hania was a lovely town to explore with a myriad of narrow streets with a strong venetian influence. The harbour master was very helpful and the harbour itself very secure.


14th September Elafonisos to Kithera 18nms

We had a look at Avelomona but the bottom looked pure and grassy and there was very little swinging   room, it was also quite gusty so we anchored off the beach just to the East   


11th September 2011 Port Kayio to Elafonisos 24nms

Reminiscent of the Caribbean this was a wonderful safe anchorage in a bay of white sand bottom and pristine beach. The sand spit only adds to the romance of Elafonisos. There were lots of beach chairs on our arrival but before we left they had all been cleared away - the season ends early here. We had the bay to ourselves one night with only a couple of other yachts there the others.  Another of our favourite anchorages.


10th September 2011 Koroni to Mezapo then Port Kayio         45nms

Mezapo was our intended destination but the winds there were much higher than the prevailing winds. There was nowhere that I could see that offered us a secure anchorage, despite what the pilot guide says so we continued to Port Kayio which was delightful.  It is protected from all but the NE winds and for those there is a bay just 1nm to the North which offers good protection. The bottom was hard sand and it took three goes before we got the anchor to set well.


8th September 2011 Methoni to Koroni 19nms

We arrived at 1200 and anchored towards the North end of the bay but still inside the reef. Lots of small boats limited our anchoring options. The NE wind produced some chop and threatened to increase so we moved to the anchorage South of Koroni, off the beach. It as in fact much windier here but we have more anchorage room.


7th September 2011 Pilos to Methoni 10nms

The approach to Methoni is quite spectacular as you sail by the old Venetian fort then round the Turkish tower. We anchored off the beach which was protected from the SW winds but is exposed to the SE.


6th September Kiparissia to Pilos             28nm

We managed to sail for 8nms of this trip before the wind died. We anchored  at the North end of the bay.

               

5th September 2011 Katakolon to Kiparissia            29nms

With no wind we motored and arrived at 1340. The harbour was large and empty so we went alongside the NE quay. It is a very secure anchorage but fearful of the damage the concrete quay could do to our fenders I found a wooden pallet which I tied to the boat and which hung between the fenders and quay. It worked brilliantly.


3rd September 2011 Zakinthos to Katkolon              23nm

We motor sailed to the Peloponese and the village of Katakolon. With strong side winds we tied bow to the quay. From here we took a train to Olympus which was worth seeing. The place where the Olympic flame is lit every 4 years was probably the most unassuming area of the ruins.  In the evening we had strong easterly winds which caused our stern anchor to drag so we went stern to. This was a much safer option but we then suffered constant wave slapping made worse by the scooped stern of the yacht next to us.


1st September 2011 Cephalonia to Zakinthos           37nm

We departed at 0730 and arrived at 1430. As we approached the Southern end of Cephalonia we made a detour towards Ormos Kastelios but soon realised that it was not a tenable anchorage. At this point we were between a large reef and the mainland so Nicolette went reef watching from the bows. We took a course that kept us over the sand and never had less than 4m under the keep. Unfortunately a French yacht behind us went aground. There was nothing we could do since he had made his way into the centre of the reef. Eventually he was able to free himself. We went bows to at Limini  Zakinthos.  Another pleasant harbour with a long quay which got surprisingly full with other yachts.  Plenty of charter boats still around everywhere.


29th August 2011 Skhoinos to Eufima, Cephalonia 15nms

We managed to sail some of the way before the wind died but arrived at 1200 and went stern to the town quay. It was a lovely spot with power and water available and a very helpful harbour master.


27th August 2011 Vathi to Skhoinos, Ithaca             3nms

Our intended destination was no good in the prevailing SE winds but we had no qualms about returning to Skhoinos. We anchored in virtually the same spot and enjoyed a touch of déjà vu.


25th August 2011 Skhoinos to Vathi , Ithaca            3nms

The anchorage is well protected and there is room for many yachts. We explored the town and ate ashore and I was able to download the Economist and the weekend papers onto my Kindle.


22nd August 2011 Atoko to Ak Skhoinos, Ithaca 10nms

This has to be our favourite anchorage in the Ionian. We arrived at 1030 and anchored in a small bay (38 23 193N 020 43 327E) in about 11m of water and with over 60m chain. Nicolette had difficulty finding a suitable rock but eventually did so. Other yachts were tying to tress which is frowned on. The water was clear and calm and there were only 2 or 3 other boats which stayed overnight. In fact it as so calm we didn't appreciate the strength of the winds outside the bay.


21st August Meganisi to One House Bay, Nisos Atoko            13nms

We arrived at 1115 and ied stern to the shore, it is a pleasant bay with, as the name implies, one house ashore.  The water was crystal clear and Nicolette enjoyed snorkelling despite there being little sea life. Unfortunately there was a NE wind overnight which was uncomfortable.


19th August 2011 Levkas to Nisos Meganisi            10nm

We anchored in Ormos Abelike taking a line to the shore and close o our old friends Stefan and Lona of Cat Coquette. We had last seen them in the Red Sea but had met some years previously when we were cruising around Cuba. We had lots to catch up on and had a thoroughly good get together. This was a good anchorage except in NE winds but there are numerous bays and shorelines which between them offer protection in all conditions.


17th August 2011 Ioannou to Levkas 30nms

We managed a couple of hours sailing and arrived in time for the 1300 hrs opening of the bridge but for that eek only the bridge had limited opening times so we stood of f until 1400 and then went into the marina. We took on water and used the laundry but couldn't find anywhere to fill our US/AUS/EU  gas bottles. Camping gas is widely used throughout Greece.


16th August 2011 Mourtos to Ormos Ayiou Ioannou 16nm

3 nms East of Parga the bay is bland but offers good protection from the NW winds.


15th August 2011 Corfu to Platarias then Mourtos 24nms

We motored over to the mainland intending to stop at Platarias , which was all but full of charter boats, but the winds in the harbour were strong and would have been on the beam after tying up to the quay so we continued onto Mourtos anchoring in the channel between the mainland and Nisis Ay Nikolaos. 


13th August Gaios to Corfu 32nms

We anchored close to where we had been previously and the following morning a 15 minute walk saw us at the airport from where Jakaira left to go back to the UK. He had enjoyed a lot of swimming and exploring the forts in Corfu and of course the wandering through the back streets now full of stalls selling everything  a tourist might want. It was good to spend some time together.


9th August 2011 Petriti, Corfu to Gaios, Paxos 20nm

No wind on the East side of the island but plenty on the West. We motor sailed in calm seas arriving at 1200 and just in time to take a bows to berth on the town quay. Gaios was packed with yachts and motor boats. The ferries left at pm and their places were immediately taken by yachts which had to vacate by 10am, the next day. It was entertaining watching the aggression of the skippers and the vocal arguments, exacerbated because most of them were Italians. We ate ashore and Jakaira and Nicolette walked to Mangonisi. I watched a "gas guzzler" drop his anchor and chain across the our chain and the chain of 4 other yachts. So on departure I knew we would have problem. Nicolette dived onto the rope/chain and unshackled the rope from the chain, which was where the other boat's chain was lying across ours. It was a sterling effort free diving to over 6m.


7th August 2011 Corfu to Petriti               10nm

After a short motor sail in flat seas we arrived at 1100 and anchored just outside the harbour. It was full of local fishing boats, some of them quite large o there was no chance of going onto the town quay. 


29th July 2011 Paxos to Corfu 30nm

We had been in haste to get to Corfu after the weather forecast had predicted very strong North winds. In the event whilst the winds did increase to gale force on the West side of the island they remained very light on the East side. We arrived at 1200 and laid 40m in 4m of water - I don't believe the chain does any good in the locker and we had masses of swinging room. We stayed a week waiting for my grandson Jakaira to arrive and during that time explored the town and enjoyed a few meals ashore.


28th July 2011 Levkas to Mangonisi, Paxos             35nm

We went through the bridge exit at 0700 and motor sailed up to Mananisi. It's a lovely small and  very protected bay but with lots of grass. Anchoring was difficult with very little room so we eventually went stern to the wall next to another Nauticat.(44).


27th July 2011 Tranquil Bay, Nidris to Levkas marina             12nm

We motored into and up the Levkas canal which has been in use for over 2000 years. The marina charges at €45 a night were not cheap but anchoring is theoretically forbidden off the town quay. A  good meal out in the evening and a quiet night.


26th July 2011Petalas to Tranquil Bay Levkas 30nm

With the Aegean and the gulfs of Corinth and Patras behind us we sailed up the Ionian Sea, well motor sailed to be exact. Tranquil bay was anything but tranquil being full of other yachts but we found an anchorage only to drag just before sunset. We re-anchored safely.


25th July 2011 Messalonghi to Petalas 25nm

We left at 0645 and motor sailed with calm seas arriving at 1140. A good anchorage in a very large bay - sadly we spotted a dead  Loggerhead turtle as we entered the bay.



24th July 2011Trizonia to Messalonghi 40nm

Departing at 0600 and arriving at 1500 we motor sailed through calm seas.  The entrance to Messalonghi is a long cut between low lying waters along which garden sheds have been converted to summer houses with a plethora or rickety jetties bordering the cut. Interesting but not attractive. The marina is probably the worst w have been to, it has no character and seems to be miles from anywhere though we were told that the town is only a 20m minute walk away.  It was the only possible stop on the way to the Ionian so one night was enough.  The only good thing about the marina was the washing machine. They are very scarce in Greece and laundries are very expensive.



23rd July2011 Itea to Trizonia 22nm

The wind had blown itself out and e motored into a light breeze and calm seas arriving at 1100. Another failed marina, this one with a large ketch sunk in he middle of it. We found a space alongside one of the pontoons which was very secure. There were lots of lovely tavernas on the other side of the island only a few moment's  walk away which we took advantage of and  had a very pleasant evening.


21st July 2011 Korfos -Corinth Canal - Itea            57nms

I had been asked by Yachting Monthly to write a short article about the Corinth Canal passage so Nicolette was already keyed up to take a myriad of photos. The article read as follows:

"The Corinth Canal, which separates the Peloppones from mainland Greece, is, to my mind, one of the 3 great seawater canals. Not for its length, which is only 6.4km, but for the majesty of its rock sides towering  90m above sea level. Having already been through Panama and Suez I was looking forward to our transit of the Corinth, and it didn't disappoint.

6am on the morning of the 20th July 2011 saw us leaving Korfos, 15nms  South of the East end of the canal.  It had been a delightful overnight well protected stop, where we had gone bows to using tailed moorings provided free of charge by the tavernas. 

An easy motor sail in very light airs and we were tied up to a concrete quay. 30 minutes later and after the East bound vessels had gone through, we were clear to enter the canal. The paperwork was minimal; we showed our ship's registration document and handed over €140 for our 10.4m Nauticat 331, Katanne. Charges are based on the volume of the boat, length x breadth x draft. Yachts coming from the West stop at the same quay and pay their dues after the transit. We had expected to see a blue flag replace the red one but in the event we were waved through by a canal official. The canal is open from 0600 to 1500 each day except Tuesday when maintenance work is carried out. Interestingly, in addition to the overhead road and rail bridges, there are submersible bridges at each end of the canal.The transit was surreal; initially it seems like any other cut but then the rock sides got higher and higher until they towered 90m above us. They are in fact cut at an angle of 80o but appear to be vertical. The effect was such that the 21m width of the canal appeared to decrease and our 3.4m breadth seemed to be so much more.  We had a counter current of about 0.5kt but no adverse winds so boat handling was not a problem. The canal has little commercial value now but for a yachtsman cruising Greece it's a wonderful and easy way to get between the Aegean and the Ionian. All too soon it was over and we entered the Gulf of Corinth."


I was well aware that very strong winds were expected in the Gulf of Corinth so we decided to make for Itea. In the event we got there a couple of hours before the winds rose to gale force. A yacht arriving the following day had ripped both his main and genoa. Itea marina is one of many failed ventures in Greece. Almost completed and then allowed to fall into disrepair. As a result there are no charges but most of the serviceable pontoons are taken with local boats. A very nice old man came along in his fuel bowser and we bought 150litres at forecourt prices. He came the next day with some lemons for us and then again with a 1.5 litres of his wine. Nicolette fell heavily on her bottom going down to the galley. Following a visit to the local doctor e took a bus to the main town of Amfissa where she had an X ray. There was no permanent damage they said but an unbelievably large and rainbow coloured bruise. 3 months later and the swelling has not completely disappeared. Her E11 card came in useful and we only paid a total of 5€ for x -ray and doctors.


20th July 2011 Athens to Korfos              30nms

The wind had deserted us so it was a motor sail o the delightful village of Korfos arriving at 1245. (another 0600 departure)

We took advantage of the free moorings provided by the taverna but of course felt obligated to have meal there which was very good.


15th July 2011 Kithnos to Athens - Kosmos Marina 44nms

We had intended to make for Ak Sounion but on arrival it was untenable. However, we had had just enjoyed a thrilling sail across the Kea strait with inds to 30 kts and gust well above that. We continued sailing in flat seas and winds to 20kts - a close reach no less - to Agios Kosmos Marina.  A Greek friend had offered us free berthing there. The marina is just a parking space for all the motor boats and cruisers. There are no facilities at all but ideal for us since it offered us a secure haven. There was very easy access by tram to the centre of Athens. Although we had both been before e nevertheless enjoyed Athens again particularly visiting the new museum.


7th July 2011 Serifos to Kithnos              24nms

We had a good sail across Serifos strait but had to motor sail the rest of the way arriving at 1120. We anchored the first night in Ormos Fikiadha but the gusts were violent so the next day we moved to the adjacent bay, Ormos Kolona. We tried taking a line ashore but the side winds were too strong so we anchored in the bay. The gusts continued to be extreme so the next day I spent a long time monitoring the winds close to the shore. Eventually I spotted a area where the winds were very light so we re-anchored and Nicolette took a line to the shore.  The winds blew for the next week but we were well hunkered down and grateful that we had found a safe spot to anchor. The day before our departure however, the anchor ceased to hold and so we spent our last night there in the middle of the bay - the gusts still quite strong. We concluded that for 7 days our anchor had not actually been set but that the chain was being held by the very long weed. Our anchor was definitely in the sand but apparently not set well.


5th July 2011 Paros to Serifos 33nm

We actually managed to sail 25nm for this trip and arrived at 1445. We anchored just North of the harbour of Livadhi. However, the following day we dragged with gusts to 26kts. We rest the anchor and despite making sure we had a good hold we let out 65m of chain in 15m of water. We took a bus to the Chora which was on the top of a hill overlooking the bay and had a pleasant walk down following the ancient footpath. During our walk we met a couple we had seen a few times whilst we were in Symi - a small world.


3 July Naxos to Paros              10nm

A short hop and we were able to anchor in Ormos Ay Ionnou, a bay just North of Naousa.


1st July 2011 Denoussa to Naxos             28nm

We arrived at 1330 and anchored under the temple of Apollo. Only the arch exists now and in fact the temple was never completed because the stone being used was unsuitable. It was a good anchorage except in SW conditions. There were lots of ferries coming and going but surprisingly they made no noticeable wake. Inevitable the wind did come from the SW and was forecast to reach force 6 so yet again we had to leave before we had intended to.


9th June 2011Patmos to Denoussa           42nm

Out of the Dodecanese and into the Cyclades the winds were fickle which necessitated motor sailing most of the way. We anchored in a beautiful bay on the South side, Ormos Dhendro. It's a very popular nudist beach so there was always lots to see! We would have stayed longer but on the evening of our second day there the wind went Southerly and although it died off during the night the seas remained lumpy. With the wind forecast to stay in the South for another day we had to leave. The very clear water made it easy to see the small wreck in the shallows in the  middle of the bay.


25th June 2011 Leros to  Skala Patmos 16nm

A very early 0615 departure arriving at 1015. We went stern to the ton quay with 55m chain out in 5m depth. The winds form the side continued ot increase so the next day we moved to a pontoon at the unfinished marina. It as a wise decision as the winds rose to 35kts, we were bows into the wind whereas we had been side onto it on the town quay.                                                        


24th June 2011 Emborios to Ormos Lakki, Leros 7nm

We had intended to go further North but the seas were very unsettled so we diverted to Lakki and anchored in a bay just East of the old marina.


22 June 2011 Kalimnos Harbour to Emborios (Kalimnos) 12nm

With winds to 28kts we left the harbour at 1400 and motored to the very pleasant bay at Emborios here we were able to take a mooring, one of many provided by the tavernas. The wind increased overnight so we moved closer to the village and took a mooring. There was much less wind here and no strong gusts. In the evening we were entertained with a rite on initiation. During the afternoon the children, aged up to about 15, piled up bags of hay and just before dark made 3 piles of hay along the jetty, the last one at the end of it. The hay piles were then lit and the children proceeded to jump through the flames and diving into the water after clearing the last inferno. They did this numerous times, both girls and boys. Smaller piles were set back near the road and the smaller children performed the same rites. Mothers were also swinging their babies over the top of the flames (quite safely and securely) This took place on the eve of the feast day for John the Baptist. A  real baptism of fire?


20th June 2011 Kos to Kalimnos              14nm

Arriving at 1130 I decided to go bow to the harbour wall. Unfortunately a departing yacht tripped our anchor the next day and with the strong side winds we were unable to rest it. As a result we departed in haste and without checking out with the port authorities.


17th June 2011Knidos to Kos 18nm

We decided to enjoy the pleasures of the marina arriving at 1130. It's a lovely town and is famous for its connection with Hippocrates, we saw the tree under which he sat but it needed a stretch of our imagination to believe that it was the same one he sat under,  We checked into Greece here after being driven  by a local young lady  to the government offices, well out town  where we had to pay our dues.                   


16th June 2011 Datca to Knidos               20nm

Although checked out of Turkey we nevertheless made one more stop at Knidos only 20nm away. Although quite busy with gullets we found a good anchorage and were able to go ashore and explore the amazing ruins.


14th June 2011 Symi to Datca 15nm

A early motor sail saw us going bow to the town quay. The anchor hadn't set well and so Nicolette dived on it and set it manually. Our stern anchor has only 12m chain so is only used when the conditions are very benign. We paid an agent 40TL to effect our check out from Turkey


11th June Serce Limani to Panormittis, Symi            13nm

We actually sailed most of the way and arrived at 1030. This is a spectacular anchorage and very secure. The monastery dominates and we stayed long enough to enjoy the tannoyed service. We also took the bus Symi and enjoyed exploring the stepped back streets



9th June 2011Kucuk Kuruk to Serce Limani            45nm

Now predictably motoring into the breeze which invariably builds as the day progresses we arrived at 1430 and tried to tie to the shore but the wind as on the bean so we anchored in the middle of the  by in about 12m of water. We had squalls overnight and a forecast of force 7 so we prudently stayed an another night there       


8th June 2011Fethiye to Kucuk Kuyruk, Kapu Dag 12nm

A short motor sail after which we tied our stern to the shore. Nicolette does the brunt of the work taking the line ashore and then finding a suitable rock to tie to.  Always beware the sea urchins which lurk in the rocks and grass.


27th May 2011 Kalkan to Fethyiye 43nm

No wind again but after safely arriving at Fethiye I found a dentist to deal with a dental problem that Nicolette was suffering from. A 2 week enforced stop whilst a new crown was made and fitted allowed us time to visit Ephesus. We stayed overnight in Selcuk and enjoyed Ephesus despite the crowds that were with us. We also had new curtains made and cleaned the mainsail. "Melodi" was our favourite restaurant.


26th May 2011 Kas to Yesilkoy Limani near  Kalkan              18nm

A 0730 departure but we still had wind on the nose and up to 30kts entering the bay.


25th May 2011 Finike to Kas 20nm

An early start but no wind found us at the anchorage South of Kas at Bayindir Limani - not as good as the pilot guide said.  It is generally very deep and the reasonable depth waters had us on a lee shore. 1 night was enough.


23rd May 2011 Finike to Kekova Roads 15nm

After being landlubbers for nearly 8 months we finally set sail albeit for only 15nms but it was just so lovely to set the anchor and have a pleasant and very peaceful night in a calm and pleasant anchorage. We had of course been here twice before so we didn't linger


4 November 2010 to 23 May 2011 Our remaining time at Finike

Finike in our minds was the perfect place to spend the winter.  The lovely quiet market town is rather sleepy and unsophisticated but has everything one needs right there, a few moments walk from the marina.  Local prices, friendly local people and very few tourists make it rather special.  The area surrounding Finike is a field of poly tunnels and rugged coastline with the Lycian Way running through it en route to Antalya.  Only 90 mins from the airport, easy to reach by local bus and also not too far from Kas for the required visa runs.  Its microclimate of warm winter sunny weather was lovely and the sea off the breakwater all through our time there was wonderful for my swims.  Between 18 and 20degrees most of the time and little octopi sitting in the rocky pebbles to watch and study gave me plenty of incentive to get into the water.


We went to the opera on one occasion, put on by the Antalya Operatic society and orchestra which was enchanting and many went to the regular concerts on a Friday night.  We had a wonderful Christmas, a dinner was organised at the Finike 2000 Hotel which overlooks the marina and does a special winter rate for the marina.  Lovely rooms with a great view and many even go to the buffet breakfasts at the weekend.  The Yachties took over the kitchens and cooked the local turkeys with all the proper trimmings .  On Christmas eve a special carol concert had been arranged with everyone bringing a traditional dish of their country.  The 29th of December brought the one really bad storm of the winter with huge hail stones causing a little damage to biminis and Katanne was covered in 10inches of ice in the morning when we awoke.  The town in a small area was two feet deep in solid ice and it took 2 weeks to thaw in parts. 


The Saturday market is excellent with a smaller Wednesday market if required.  The fresh trout come down alive every week and made a nice change to the excellent meat and our favourite restaurant Mavi Sofra and of course the Donar Kebabs.  The prices were amazing and we were paying a lira for what we were to pay a euro for in Greece.  I did a lot of provisioning for the summer there as prices were so good.  January brings the Camel Wrestling to Kumluca the nearest big town which also has a fabulous food market.  Yes Camels beautifully padded and decorated stand and use their necks to try to push each other over.  Quite a noisy spectacle and great family fun with lots of food stalls, camel sausages of course, providing a great days entertainment.

In early February I discovered that our friends from Marmaris on Rendezvous Cay were visiting the Istanbul boat show compliments of their Marina.  Well, an opportunity not to be missed  so we booked the same Side Pension and some flights from Antalya and joined the party.  We blended in with the two bus loads and wearing the lovely red jackets provided went on a four hour cruise of the Bosphorus.  The day was sunny and warm and we were royally wined and dined.  The following day they picked us up and took us to the boat show and once again were entertained.  We had then had one more day to see the Topkapi Palace, the cisterns and some of the other sites the city has to offer.


 March was soon upon us and the snowy mountain backdrop called to everyone "skiing" and Alistair on Largo Star organised a ski trip to Saklikent .  With 2 hire cars and 10 people we headed up to Antalya and then drove an hour into the mountains to a small ski resort. One ski lift ran to the top where an observatory sits and a lovely black run with very few skiers was a wonderful challenge to Tom who had not skied for 17 years.  I walked the hillsides and explored the almost derelict and deserted ski resort with two of the girls who had also just come along for the ride.  It was beautiful weather and there were plenty of eagles and birds to watch as well as the skiers.  We did take a ride on the chair lift for fun and the cosy fire place in the lodge made the après ski perfect. Then it was time to fly to the UK to catch up with the family so Katanne was hauled out into the boat yard for 6 weeks whilst we flew home and visited everyone we could.  We even managed this time to get to Norway which was a bonus.  On our return we polished and anti fouled Katanne and put her back in the water sparkling and ready for the summer.



30 October - 4 November  2010 Cappadocia - Turkey
After dropping Jakaira off at the airport we spent the night at a hotel close by and the next day drove to Guzelyurt and the hotel Karballa which had once been a monastery. We were the only guests and found ourselves locked in when we tried to get out to go for dinner in the village. All was resolved and we had a pleasant if somewhat cool night there. On departing the next day we discovered that the hotel was closing for good so we were probably the last guests.
Our first stop on 1 November was to the underground city at Derinkulu. Dug out of the rock substrata this city, which dates back to the 6th century had 18 levels - 8 of which we were able to explore. There are 52 ventilation shafts up to 70m long and miles of tunnels. The upper levels were used for the livestock but lower levels had wineries and store houses as well as a church and living accommodation. We saw the massive rock that could be rolled easily to block a tunnel (realms of Raiders of the Lost Ark) and marvelled at the shear size of it all.. 10,000 could be, and did live there for months at a time when they came under attack.
It was on the road to Soglani that we started to realise why Cappadocia is so special. There are parts of the planet that do not seem real they are so strange and alien. Cappadocia is one of those places, with its spectacular rock formations of "fairy chimneys" and deep gorges formed by the erosion of dissimilar volcanic rocks. The volcanoes are still there and were a magnificent snow covered backdrop to the wonders we explored. The Soglani valley is a deep gorge with cones of tufa forming a barrier between the walls of the valley and the river bed. All are riddled with holes which are dovecotes. The larger ones have churches and miniature but habitable monasteries carved out of them and some even have the outer part of the cone carved to resemble a church.  Built about the 9 to 11C there are literally 100's of  churches carved into rock faces throughout Cappadocia, we saw half a dozen in Soglani most of which still had coloured frescos decorating the inner walls. We stopped at Keslik monastery and St Stephen's church on the way to Goreme where we would stay for 2 nights. The frescos in the church were beautiful and as good as any we saw thereafter.
Our pension in Goreme, The Walnut House, had a new annex with arched rooms and under floor heating, and a jacuzzi, It was also very central. Over the next 3 days we explored most of the main sites of Cappadocia. We went first to the GoremeOpen Air Museum which is probably the jewel of Cappadocia. Recluses found refuge here in the 4C and were joined by Christians chased out of Caesarea by the Arabs in the 7C, and went on to build their churches and monasteries in the rocks. They lived there peacefully until the 11C. The Goreme Valley has at least 30 churches some of which were in amazing condition particularly the Dark Church with its carved columns and beautifully preserved frecos.  Refectories with benches and table carved out of the rock, wineries and monasteries built on several levels were abundant and inspiring.
We then drove to Pasabag, the valley of the monks, with its most beautiful fairy chimneys - cones taller than 10m topped with flat hats or cylinders crowned with pointed hats. Then onto the 3 valleys of Zelve which housed an important troglodyte city inhabited for over a 1000 years and only abandoned in 1950. Its inhabitants dug and created dozens of galleries, churches, living areas and warehouses which ended up weakening the entire cliff. Today much of the cliff face has collapsed so that we could see the 100s of exposed rooms, tunnels and galleries. It was sad to think that a large community had lived here inside the cliff structures until so recently and now the valley floor is littered with large boulders. To end the day we drove to Pigeon Valley, a large canyon with white cliffs punctuated by fairy chimneys. Dovecotes have been dug into the rocks, each entrance painted white to attract the doves. The guano is collected once a year and is a vital fertilizer in this land of rock.
After the sun set the temperature fell quite quickly so we were glad of our fleeces as we explored Goreme in the evenings. We had a clay pot dinner which is basically a chicken or beef stew cooked in a clay pot shaped like a vase. The waiter at our table then knocked off the top of the pot to give access to the stew.
The following day we went to the Ilhara Valley which is a canyon 100m high undulating over 14km between the villages of Ilhara and Selime. We first went down the 401 steps to the valley floor (Nicolette counted them) and then had a lovely morning walking along the riverside exploring the churches and monasteries and houses set into the cliffs. There are over100 churches in the valley but we only visited 6 of them. Back up the 401 steps and a short drive to Belisirma where we had fresh trout for lunch. Then to the Selime Monastery which was spectacular. It was excavated into the rock on several levels with interconnecting galleries and stairs. The church was massive with numerous powerful pillars separating the 3 naves.  From there we drove to Konya a city of over 100,000 and where Nicolette navigated us superbly right to our intended hotel close to the city centre. A quiet evening meal and good breakfast the next morning  before setting off to Side which was really a tourist infested non event and Aspendos  which has the most complete amphitheatre we have ever seen,. It was built about the 5C BC and could accommodate 20,000.  From there it was only a 2 hour drive back to Finike.
 
21 October - 30 October 2010 Visit by Jakaira

Jakaira, my grandson, arrived at Antalya airport on the evening of 21 October, dressed very smartly in a pin striped suit. Doing so had paid dividends because he had been upgraded to business class on the BA flight! The following day we went to see the flaming rocks at Chimera and the roman ruins at Phaselis. Then we took Katanne to Kekova Roads and had a delightful 3 days with excellent weather. We explored the local hills and walked over to the next bay where Nicolette and Jakaira swam among some submerged Roman ruins.  After a quick 5 minute lesson Jakaira was let loose in the dinghy and thereafter spent much of his spare time careering round the bay. Back in Finike and before long he had found the clothing stores selling fake designer everything so it wasn't long before he had a new wardrobe.  On the only rainy day of his stay we drove to Demra and then to the tombs at Myra and onto Kas by which time the rain had given way to the sun. The next day we went to the amphitheatre and ruins at Arcanda which lie up in the mountains some 30km from Finike and on the way back stopped at a trout farm for lunch.. We had a great time together and before we knew it he had to leave us but we can pick up where we left off next year when we go to the UK.



14th September 2011 Kekova Roads to Finike, Turkey            15nm

A short 3 hour motor and we were safely moored bow to on dock A of the Finike marina. It's close to the town which I think we will enjoy. We have already been to the market which is excellent and there are a couple of decent supermarkets nearby.


9th September 2011 Larnaca to Kekova Roads, Turkey

We left at 0700 expecting light airs and calm seas. This was the case until the second night of our passage. The winds increased to nearly 30kts but it was the seas which made it a very uncomfortable 10hours. We were being rolled and pitched at the same time - a real washing machine experience. Such weather had not been forecast and really caught us out. Kekova Roads is a beautiful anchorage and we stayed there 5 days before leaving for our winter base, Finike. 


16th August 2011 Jounieh to Larnaca 123nm

We managed to sail the 97nms to Cap Greco and stayed there until 19th when we motored back to Larnaca, just in time for the wine festival. It is held in Limassol and there is free transport. Lots of wines to taste and a good choice of places to eat. We went twice during this second visit to Larnaca.


3rd August Larnaca to Jounieh, Lebanon 123nm

We first motored to Cap Greco about 27nms from Larnaca and had a pleasant night at anchor. From there we sailed and motor sailed to Jounieh marina about 15nms from Beirut in Lebanon and arrived at 0800. The marina is part of the Automobile and Touring club of Lebanon and is very upmarket. The only place I have seen 2 Ferraris side by. Nicolette enjoyed the Olympic size swimming pool. Getting around was difficult with no recognisable bus service, taxis were expensive but we had a day in Beirut and then took a tour first to the Bekaa Valley and Balbek and then another to Biblios.


19th June 2011 Ashkelon to Larnaca, Cyprus          210nm

Amazingly we managed to sail nearly half the distance with light airs and flat seas. We arrived in Larnaca on 21st June at 0745.

We had intended to stay here only a few days after being told that the stern to anchorage against the outer wall was unsafe in Easterly winds. True enough but fortunately for us the Easterly winds are not present after May each year. In the event we were there, the first time for 6 weeks. During that time we hired a car to visit the Troodos Mountains and the wine growing areas there and enjoyed some fine wine tasting. We also went to Pathos and Limassol and to Nicosia which is sadly a divided city.  Larnaca is a lovely quiet resort town, pleasant to walk around and with a plethora of European shops.  We had a pleasant evening watching the Cyprus Symphony Orchestra with a visiting Russian conductor and another evening with the National Georgian Ballet.


ISRAEL AND JORDAN


Osher Perry, a good friend who we first met in the Pacific when he was crew on the yacht Flight owned by another friend Jim, lives in Tel Aviv and kindly took us with girlfriend Ashley to the Dead Sea. On the way we took a cable car to Massada, built by Herod and besieged by the Romans who eventually captured it. The swim. Or rather, the float in the Dead Sea was strange.  The salts and chemicals give the water a very oily feel and of course floatation is just too easy and I did the tourist bit by reading a paper whilst floating


On the 24th of May we took a bus to Eilat, a taxi to the border with Jordan to Aqaba and then a bus to Petra (Wadi Musa) and stayed at the Valentine Inn which is typical back-packers hotel, quaint and friendly. The price included an evening meal which was a chicken dish with rice and at least 25 other vegetable and rice dishes. The ruins of Petra had been one of our "must see" places and it didn't disappoint. From the walk down the 3km Siq and the first spectacular sight of the Treasury we were totally enamoured. We stayed 3 nights and had 2 full days and saw all there was to see. The climb to the Monastery took about 35minutes but was well worth it as was the climb to the High Place of Sacrifice. The 2 obelisks there have been created by chiselling away the entire surrounding summit!! The walk down was equally impressive and not visited by many since it is difficult to find the track going down behind the hill. The visit to Petra ranks alongside our trip to Machu Picchu and will never be forgotten.


Tina and Robert stopped in Ashkelon for a few days on their way from Austria to Australia so we all went by bus to Jerusalem. There was so much to see that we went again 3 days later on 6 June. The whole town is a massive religious site and daunting in its scale. We visited all the quarters but the time spent inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was especially uplifting. Despite the 100's of people queuing to see one thing or another there was a calmness about it which I have seldom felt elsewhere. The Temple Mount was a disappointment, controlled by the Muslims we were not allowed inside the Dome of the Rock.


On the 10th June we hired a car and went to stay with Osher  From his home we went first to the ancient city and port of Caesarea and then to the Sea of Galilee which was much smaller than I expected it to be. We visited Nazereth to see the Church of the Annuciation and  went to the Mount of Beatitudes and Capernaum on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. The next day we took an extended ride to Bethlehem. Somewhere around Jerusalem we got hopelessly lost and took another 2 hours to get to Bethlehem. We drove along the "apartheid" wall which was so forbidding. A local driver showed us the way to Manager Square where we were able to park before going to see the church of the Nativity and a number of other religious sites.  Seeing the massive apartheid wall and hearing of the severe restrictions put on the Palestinians was disturbing. Their own water is controlled by the Israelis who limit the amount they can use being a fraction of the amount the Israelis can use. They also have restrictions placed on their travel movements and very limited work opportunities. Given that Palestine was a country in its own right (united with Jordan under the British mandate of 1918-21) and now the Palestinians are virtually prisoners in their own country is hard to understand.



14th May Back to Egypt to help a friend.

 The day after our arrival in Ashkelon I received an email from our close friend Tina, her husband Robert had had a heart attack in Ishmalia and would fly to Austria for surgery as soon as he was stabilised. Tina wanted advice on what to do with Shirena.  After asking Fatty Goodlander to help out we flew almost immediately from Tel Aviv to Cairo. I had never intended to return to Egypt so I was concerned that my entry back into the country with no exit stamp on my visa would be an issue (and maybe a jail sentence) I got away with it.  The plan was to arrive in Ishmalia early Friday morning and leave later that day taking Shirena to Port Said and onto Ashkelon. Tina had paid the agent an additional $540 and a bond of $810 to ensure that there would be no problems with our taking the boat. The agent understood exactly what was required and confirmed that all was in order.

The pilot didn't turn up on the Friday and on Saturday the SCA demanded to see Robert (dragged from his sick bed) and Tina. The upshot was that intelligence checks were required on Fatty and I before we could make the transit and they would take 2 weeks to complete. This despite the fact that we had both done so only a few days earlier!!!  To get the boat to Port Said, where I could take over as captain, meant that Robert and Tina would have to sail to Port Said.

Robert was in pain and on the point of collapse when they reached Port Said 7 hours later. The pilot, who was aware of Robert's condition demanded more baksheesh on top of the $20 Robert had given him. Tina administered pills and life saving medicines.  Eventually they were able to leave; we waited another 4 hours before a pilot arrived to take us 100m to the end of the SCA controlled area. Naturally he and pilot boat demanded a present. Neither was successful. We arrived back in Ashkelon on 16th May with their yacht Shirena which we moored next to Katanne. Nicolette prepared it for a long unattended stay.

The $540 was for naught. In my opinion the SCA wanted their baksheesh but the agent was not prepared to give up any of his plunder. The result, a very seriously ill man was forced to sail his yacht for 44nms up the Suez Canal. No one I met seemed to care whether he lived or died.

Robert is now recovering in Australia. Fortunately no surgery was needed despite it being a very serious attack .He and Tina will be flying back to Ashkelon and Shirena in the spring to realise their dream of sailing around the Greek Islands


8th May 2011 Ishmalia to Port Said   then Ashkelon, Israel     210nm

We left at 1130 and again the trip was uneventful, the pilot accepted his envelope but the pilot boat that picked him up then demanded baksheesh. I refused and after some argument it left. We were lucky since a yacht some days earlier had been rammed by a dis-satisfied pilot boat. Leaving Port Said was a massive relief, it was then that we realised just how distasteful it is to be constantly asked for baksheesh. Like many of our friends we were glad to be out of the country and vowed never to return. (Since we had not checked out of the country we had little choice).

The trip to Ashkelon was a motor in very light winds and calm seas. The Israeli Navy called us up at 50nms range and then did so; it seemed every 10 miles thereafter. They dominate channel 16 with almost constant verbiage. We arrived in Ashkelon at 1615 on 9th May


CAIRO

Nicolette's friend Jane and her husband Alan live in Cairo so picked us up, helped with a delivery of diesel and took us to their home for the night and an evening out. We went from there by bus to Cairo and booked into a poor hotel but which had the advantage of being close to the centre and the National Museum. were we went the next day. It was a real treat and gave us a good insight to the fantastic history of Egypt. On the 4th we hired a car and went to see the pyramids at Giza.. I was surprised how close they were to the town but it was, nevertheless an awe inspiring event. We also took the time to see some of the older pyramids and other ancient sites. The nougat we bought was fantastic as were some of the meals but again we were constantly being harassed wherever we went which  could have spoilt our time there. We were back in Ishmalia on the 5th


30th April 2011 Port Suez to Ishmalia - Suez Canal 44nms

We left with the pilot at 0530 and had an uneventful run. We motored close to the port buoys and even so had some very large container ships pass within a few yards of us. The pilot was very good and talked about his family. It is expected that they are given some money (baksheesh) at the end of the trip and this can be a cause of some rancour. Our pilot seemed almost apologetic asking for "a present" and didn't open the envelope containing $10 after I had given it to him. Ishmalia is a mandatory stop and from there we went to Cairo. Yachts are moored stern to and there are guards at the entrance to the marina. Anything brought in is closely inspected and if possible baksheesh demanded. Diesel brought in attracts $5 a can payment. Not a pleasant place to be although the town itself is OK.


27th April  2011 Hurghada to Port Suez                   120nm

We motored out, as ever , with light winds and a good following current. Despite a favourable forecast the winds increased to 30kts on the nose by 2130 but decreased significantly by 0630 the following morning. It is the topography which causes the wind to increase, funnelling down from the Suez canal. We arrived in Port Suez  on the 28th at 1400 and were measured for the canal transit the next day. I had done my own measurements which tallied with those of the official measurer. We had our first taste of the Suez canal sickness - baksheesh- with the boat boy constantly asking for more of anything.


ABU SIMBEL, ASWAN AND LUXOR TRIP


A 0500 departure on 20th April by private car to Aswan. Uneventful and some god desert views. Our arrival in Aswan was marred by the very poor hotel chosen for us by Royal Dream Tours ( avoid them like the plague) but I persevered and we were put into a better hotel with Nile views and close to the famous souk which we visited.  We took the local ferry across the  Nile to see the Island of Plants.  This was once Lord Kitcheners Spice garden and it was lovely.


Abu Simbel.


A 0400 departure in convoy with all the buses and cars going there.  Our car had a spare seat  which was taken by an armed soldier providing security for the convoy.  The Sun Temple of Abu Simbel was built by Ramses II together with the Hathor Temple of Queen Nefertari and was moved 241m from it's original postion, as the water rose to cover it after the high dam at Aswan had been completed. The dismantling and rebuilding of these 2 temples is in itself a marvel of engineering. Seeing the 4 statues of Ramses II as we came from behind the artificial hill  (but built from the original stone) was incredible. Words really can't describe the impact it has on one's senses. Nevertheless we were eventually able to move from our awe struck stances and explore both the inside of it and of Queen Nefertari's temple.  We had a qualified English speaking Egyptologist for all our time so we were oft times reeling back with information. The things I remember about Ramses II was that he is considered the king of all kings,  he thought he was a god too and queen Nefertari is the only queen with statues the same size as her husband.  The drive back through the desert to Aswan was amazing with the mountains in the distance and nothing but sand as the road moves away from the fertile valley of the Nile.


Philae


On the island of Philae is the temple of Isis. Interestingly this and 4 other temples were built by Alexander the Great so are in fact Greek temples. However, Alexander built the temple of Isis as the Egyptians had done so apart from the more shapely carved relief's of the women it is difficult to see any differences.  This temple was built about 241 bc but after the fall of the Greeks and the rise of the Roman empire the temples were taken over and defaced in the early AD years by the Coptic Christians. Nevertheless the temple of Isis is in remarkable condition had some fantastic carvings that could have been done last week they were in such good condition ( we were to say the same thing at all the temples we visited).  One of the reasons that the temples survived so well is that many of them were covered by sand and silt.


Kom Ombo


We sailed overnight on our Nile Cruiser and arrived next morning at the East bank some 30kms downstream from Aswan at Kom Ombo to see the Temple of Haroeris and Sobek. The distinguishing feature of this temple is it's bi-symmetry with twin entrances, one for Haroersis also known as Horus depicted as falcon headed and which seemed to me to be one of the most often carved gods.  The other entrance was for Sobek the crocodile headed god which wasn't seen much outside of this temple. It was interesting to see some fine carvings of the many surgical instruments that were used - stethoscopes, scalpels and suction caps which showed just how advanced the Egyptians were some 3000 years ago.


Edfu


The Temple of Horus ranks as one of the finest temples on the Nile and it was certainly very impressive (but so were all the other tmples we saw) I do remember that one of the obelisks was missing and can now be found on the banks of the Thames and called Cleopatra's Needle.  The temple was almost completely buried until it was discovered in the 1860's which accounts in part for its excellent condition. Like many of the temples it was built over many hundreds of years (Karnak took 2000 years) so there have been many changes and additions so it is difficult to identify the origins. In this case though, the temple is clearly dedicated to Horus who was originally the sky god but after seeking the revene of his father became the god of revenge.


We set sail again heading for Luxor.  We had to traverse a Lock at Esna which came as a surprise  and by morning we were moored along side with the temple of Luxor on the east bank and the Winter Palace (luxury hotel) right next door.


Valley of the Kings


Another early morning start for the Valley of the Kings stopping to see the Colossi of Memnon on the way.  They were very impressive to say the least.   We were unable to take any photos of the Valley of the Kings.  We visited three tombs out of 63,  which was plenty for a morning but did leave you wanting to see more.  We visited the tombs of Ramses1, 111 and VI.  We could not believe the colour of some of the decoration.  We then visited the temple built by egypt's only queen dressed like a man and wore a false beard, Hatshepsut whose effigies were then thoroughly defaced after her death by her successor   Tuthmoses III.


In the afternoon we saw the amazing temple at Karnak on the West bank with its huge hypostyle hall of 134 coloumns.  It was stunning.  Luxor temple by night was majestic and we explored it ourselves without the guide on Saturday morning before heading back to Hurghada stopping at Senzo Mall which has a modern supermarket the like  of which we have not seen since we left Thailand.  It is well stocked with everything you could need.


16th April 2010 Port Ghalib to Hurghada 110 nms

A simple overnight motor to Hurghada. The winds and waves were up by 0200 but we had made good time and soon got shelter closer to Hurghada .


12th April 2010 Dolphin to Port Ghalib  110nms

We left at 0600 and planned if the weather was favourable to go straight to Hurghada. In the event I downloaded some grib files ( computer generated weather forecast) and it was obvious that the strong Northerlies were returning so we reduced speed to 3kts and made for Port Ghalib. The expected N arrived at 0245 and rose quickly to 20 kts so the decision to go to PG was vindicated. A yahcy had left Dolpin he night prior to ur departure to make for Hurghada and got within 50 nms of H before turning round and sailing 45nms back to PG. The winds and waves were so bad that he wasn't making very little headway.

Port Ghalib is a resort and apartment complex with surrounding what was Marsa Alam but has been dug out and landscaped to form canals and a marina. Very little here for the yachts except a very safe anchorage and the chance to go ashore and relax until the next wx window arrives.


4th April 2010 Elba reef to Dolphin (Sataya)  Reef     150nms

This trip meant crossing Foul Bay and it is very aptly named. The wind started off well but throughout the night we had confused and unpleasant seas which died off somewhat a 0400. and then rose again so that we had 20kts with rising seas and 35 nms to go. We arrived at 1345 having left at 0745 the previous day.  The North winds blew strongly for a week but at least we could enjoy the dolphins and the protection form the seas. Nicolette  had great success swimming with the dolphins which are mopre used to the presence of humans than those at Elba and took some fabulous underwater photographs and video. One dolphin circled her and clicked away as though he were having a conversation. On another occasion she saw a baby suckling its mother.


3rd April 2010 Marsa Hamsiat to Elba Reef    22nms

Another day of flat calms. The anchorage had lots of coral so we buoyed it. In the event the anchor lifted cleanly.  Good snorkelling. Nicolette swam briefly with a pod of 30 dolphins


30th March Marsa Shinab to Marsa Hamsiat 22nms

Calm sea for this trip and n owind. More fantastic scenery surrounded by desert and mountains in the distance. We saw Dugongs and Ospreys and brilliant green kingfishers. We tried to leave on 2 April but with 22kts of wind on the nose we went back into Hamsiat.


29th March 2010 Wreck to Marsa Shinab   31nms

We arrived at 1215 after motoring all the way. The entrance to the marsa is spectacular and we weaved our way between the reef fringed shore for about 3 miles to a very well protected anchorage. Probably the most beautiful marsa we anchored in. Having caught 2 fish on the way we had Shirene, Cat Coquette and Wild Card over for a fish dinner .


28th March 2010 Inkeifal to Wreck Anchorage 23nm

Unusually we were able to sail most of the way close hauled. We anchored close to the reef but there was a lot of coral and we had some problems lifting the anchor. We reanchored in 20 m but still had problems the next morning getting g the anchor up as did the 3 other yachts (Shirene, Cat Coquuette and Wild Card) Not a good anchorage.


25th March 2010 Taila Ilsands to Marsa Inkeifal. 10nms

We motored into the usual winds and arrived at a lovely anchorage which offered good proection.


23 March 2010 Marsa Fijab to Taila Islands   39nms

More motoring into wind arriving at 1440 and anchoring in coral and sand, a well protected anchorage when the wind is from the North. Good snorkelling.


22 March 2010 Suakin to Marsa Fijab   58nms

We motored into 10-12 kts of Northerly between the reefs in a safe channel arriving the next morning.  A lovely marsa, which means bay, where we saw lots of  ofpreys.


14 March 2010 Trinkitat to Suakin   42nms

The winds had died in the nght and we therefore had to motorsail into 10 kts of headwinds. I caught a small tuna on the way which was well received. We arrived in Suakin at 1515. The anchorage is very well protected from all quarters and has good holding. There is a good market and a stall selling Mango, grapefruit or Orange juice - delicious. We bought some goat meat (part of the leg) and Nicolette made a fantastic Moroccan Lamb (Goat) dish. We took a bus trip to Port Sudan and enjoyed Shawrmas and bought a cooked chicken. Suakin is a step back in time, biblical almost with all the men in white dish dashes and many riding camels or donkeys. Traders making things(!) out of tin cans and stalls selling legs of goat mat and goat heads. It was once a prosperous town but is now very decayed. If a building is damaged nothing is done so as a result there is a whole area of buildings that are in ruins with only the minarets still standing.


13 March 2010 Khor Nawarat to Trikitat 42nms

With 2 reefs in the main and no genoa we made 6kts average to arrive in Trinkitat at 1415. The winds had abated a bit to 30kts and the anchorage offered good protection from the sea but not the wind. The anchor set well but I still laid out 55m of chain in 6m of water


11 March - 12 March 2010 Massawa to Khor Nawarat  170nms

We had intended to make straight for Suakin but  after indifferent winds for the first 20 hours the winds got up to 40kts with 3.5m short seas which were uncomfortable. We therefore made for the anchorage of Khor Nawarat which offered good protection from the sea but none from the wind. Luckily the anchor set well the first time in winds of 40 kts.


6 March - 8 March 2010 Assab to Massawa    260nm

A mixed bag of winds to 30kts with only a reefed main flying and flat calms as we approached Massawa. We had to tie up alongside a 3ft high granite jetty which was very bad for the fenders. I put metal and plastic protectors on them but nevertheless 2 of the fender covers got ripped. From Massawa we took a bus to Asmara and stayed overnight. Whilst Massawa shows all the signs of the 1990 war with pocked marked and derelict buildings Asmara outwardly looks reasonably prosperous. There are lots of street-side cafes serving coffee and cakes and everyone is reasonably well dressed. Eritrea is a mainly christian country so alcohol is freely available and it made a pleasant change to hear church bells in the morning rather than the wailing and competing calls of the Iman. The drive to Asmara took us through semi desert and up to 2500m so Asmara is quite cool. It was developed by the Italians and so there is a lot of art deco type buildings and lots of Italian coffee machines. We stayed at the Crystal Hotel which was a cut above our usual but we wanted to relax in pleasant surroundings. Back to Massawa and a meal of spaghetti Bolognese and a beer. We checked out the next day and the immigration officer came on board to ensure we had no stowaways and waited on the quayside until we left.   



1 March 2010 Aden to Assab, Eritrea     130nms

It was an uneventful sail and motorsail arriving in the straits of Bab el Mandeb at 0200. There were lots of unlit fishing boats in the straits who flashed weak LED torches at us so we spent a couple of hours dodging these phantom boats. The anchorage at Lahaleb Deset was very secure and good for all conditions. We saw a goliath heron and pink flamingos and a number of osprey type birds.



18 February - 23 February 2010 Salalah to Aden   600nms.

Details of the Convoy which went from Salalah to Aden are given separately. However, the passage itself was also interesting. We had no visits from any of the coalition forces but had 3 engine failures and 6 yachts got caught up in fishing nets. We had very little wind except during the afternoon of the last 3 days. The currents were strongly against us for the first 2 days then mostly with us. I caught 4 tuna one morning before breakfast which gave us lots of fish for the next 5 days. Aden was very interesting and we hired a car for a day to see the local sights and also to go to the airport to pick up a package. The night before our drive there was the heaviest rainfall for 25 year. As a result the roads were flooded and we took a number of diversions to get to Crater and other sights. I bought a large live crab and we had a local meal of chicken and rice in a very busy local café, as soon as you finished eating you were expected to leave to make room for others. The anchorage was secure but the bottom was covered in debris. We picked up a large tyre and then  an anchor. The fuel dock was as filthy as you could imagine.



MF CONVOY

Sometime in January we heard that a convoy was being organised from Salalah to Aden and would leave early in March, There would be a charge of 200 euros for each yacht in the convoy. We wanted to be in the Red Sea before the end of February as did a number of our friends. After some deliberation I decided to organise and lead a convoy which would leave in Mid February (MF) By the time we left Salalah the number had grown to 27 including a single handed Korean who spoke little English, in fact there were 17 nationalities represented. Fortunately I had done a good deal of planning and the convoy plan could cope with what would seem to be the largest yacht convoy ever, at least one which maintained formation for 6 days.

The convoy was split into groups of 6 each group being 2 rows of 3, each group had a leader and he decided a safe formation distance from the group ahead. The leader of each group was in the centre of the front row of his group; the outer yachts formatted on him and the second row formatted on the yachts ahead. This turned out to be the easiest way for the  yachts to formate on each other. During the day we kept close formation with yachts about 100-150m apart and a night we increased the separation ( pirates seldom attack  at night) Instead of using our yacht names each group had a code name be it, Eagle, Skyhawk, Merlin, Kestrel  Sakar. Within each group was lead, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.  This worked extremely well. If any one called with a problem or with information then everyone knew immediately the position of the calling yacht. We used channel 67 as the hailing channel (we had used 16 until there was a pirate attack about 40 nms from us and the frequency was embargoed for emergency use only during the attack). The pirate attack was a wake up call and sharpened everyone's senses. The US coalition force ship which went to the aid of the freighter being attacked made no attempt to intercept the pirates after they discontinued the attack and I had to call them up to find out which direction the pirates where headed. They went South and away from the route we took which was about 10 nms offshore.

We practised what we would do in the event of a pirate attack; in essence the convoy closed up so that yachts might only be 10 yds apart. We had no weapons with which to fight off the pirates, only some lines streaming behind the rear yachts to catch the propellers of the pirates outboard engines. Our defence was the inhibiting presence of 27 yachts very close together, we hoped it would cause confusion and indecision. The pirates wouldn't know what weapons we might have and since they look for targets of opportunity our convoy would not be a target they would want to attack ( we will never know if e were right)  Significantly the convoy must have looked intimidating to the fishermen we met because with one exception they kept out of our path which is unheard of normally.

The convoy sailed or motored at 5kts boat speed. Katanne can maintain that with 1600 revs so I motored the whole passage at those revs. When we had some wind our speed increased but I kept the engine running. This ensured that everyone could maintain formation even if they had to shorten sail sometimes.  

We had a couple of engine failures but "Silver Fern " took first 1 boat in tow until they fixed the problem and then almost immediately afterwards another yachts, which had 2 outboards one of which had failed, had to be towed the rest of the way to Aden. On our last night we ran into a stream of fishing nets and no lees than 6 yachts got caught up in them. All were able to cut themselves free and we never lost the convoy formation, at times it was stretched out a little but the group formation remained intact and we soon had the convoy formation back in place.

We had a brief stop each day for yachts to carry out essential maintenance and during one of these stops "The Southern Cross" launched her dinghy (outboard already attached just for this eventuality) and transferred fuel cans from a number of yachts to  other yachts. The whole operation took less than 15 minutes.

One of the yachts "Chenoa" sent an email twice a day to the UKMTO who recorded our position and were thus able to send the nearest coalition force vessel to us had it been necessary. I had from the beginning of the planning kept both the UKMTO and MSCHOA advised and was delighted when they took to calling me by phone for clarification and updates.

My original plan had assumed a 5kt boat speed which would give us an arrival time of 0900 on the 23rd. Amazingly despite breakdowns, fishing nets, adverse and favourable currents we reached Aden at 0900 0n 23rd February. I had asked the convoy that we make an orderly arrival to avoid chaos in the anchorage. The first group increased speed to 6kts an hour from the port and the other groups adjusted their spacing. After 6 days of being in close proximity to each other and  everyone naturally keen  to drop anchor we nevertheless achieved a remarkably ordered arrival and there were no problems in anchoring the convoy. Our port controller gave us a deal of entertainment with his quaint English whish I'm sure had been learnt from watching US cartoons.

Naturally we had a party the night after our arrival and it was both amusing and endearing to see that the group formation had held with crews with in each group sitting with others from that group. Lots of friendships had been forged during a passage which required everyone to give great consideration to the boats around them, to suppress their natural instincts and work together and  to be as patient as Job.


30 January - 10 Febuary 2010 Uligan to Salalah, Oman  1275nms

     We had good winds for most of the passage, to begin with we were closed hauled and not quite making our course but after a few days the winds eased, we also had favourable currents for much of this passage. On the morning of the 8th February we were advised by a yacht about 100nms ahead that they were in a gale with winds to 40kts. We therefore changed to our small genoa and reefed the main. After 6  hours we could see a bank of nimbo stratus and as soon as it reached us the winds went to 25 then 35kts. Amazingly, Nicolette continued with her cooking plans and made a pizza during the gale which lasted for about 24 hours.  After the gale the winds died and we motored the last 30 nms to Salalah.

SALALAH, Oman

A very typical Arabian town and one which has the benefit of oil revenues. Lots of good roads and everyone it seems has a car. We used an agent called Mohammed who sorted out our inbound clearance and organised , hire cars and fuel and gas. We hired a car for the day and went to a modern museum and into the countryside where we saw lots and lots of camels seemingly roaming around freely.  One delight was the Oasis club which cooked wonderful steaks and had a good selection of beers  which was a surprise given that we were in a strict muslim country. It was here were we had our meeting to finalise the convoy details prior  to our departure from Salalah through pirate alley to Aden




5 January - 17 January  2010 Kata Beach Thailand to Uligan, Maldive Islands   1550nms

      For the first 3 days we had variable conditions with  short periods of strong winds and then no wind at all. In addition we had long periods of heavy rain and thunder storms which were too close for comfort. On one occasion I altered course by 40 degs to avoid a storm ahead of us but we were still caught out by one which appeared directly overhead without warning. Until we passed the Southern tip of the Amdaman islands the current were very strongly against us often over 2 kts. There were also ovefalls which had strong adverse currents and choppy seas. We passed the Southern tip of Sri Lanka on 13 January and had current with us of 3kts for a time but still very little wind. We met a fisherman at sea who gave us a lovely tuna in exchange for some cigarettes. On the 15th the wind went from nothing to 30kts in a few hours -  however it was the beam seas which were uncomfortable not the wind since we had reefed down  as the wind increased and Katanne was sailing well. With 130nms to go to Uligan the wind died again and we had to motor for the rest of the way.

ULIGAN, Maldive Islands

A delightful oasis in the middle of the Indian Ocean, the islanders were very kind to us and arranged a dinner near the beach and a bar b que on the sand tip at the end of the island. We also took a boat trip to see other islands. We had access to the internet, were able to buy fuel and water and some food supplies. The island is a classic with white sands and clear azure blue waters. Plenty of sea life and a good climate. We stayed as long as we could knowing that we wouldn't see clear  waters again for some time.


Thailand

It's now the first of January 2010 and what follows is a short recap of our activities since we flew from India to the UK. However, I should mention that the New Year's Eve celebrations in Kata Beach where we are anchored were spectacular. We went ashore for a dinner of BBQ seafood;  walking along the beach to the dinghy afterwards was enthralling. There were lanterns been lit, they are 4ft tall cylinders made of paper with a bamboo structure at the open end to hold the inflammable wick and keep the lantern open.  They were being lit all along the beach and there were 100's in the sky both from Kata and the bays North and South of us. At the same time people were setting off fireworks, small and big and the stalls were doing a good trade in selling drinks to the many holiday makers having a wonderful time. Back on the boat we had a perfect vista of the mile long beach. As midnight approached there were fireworks being set off everywhere until  the whole beach became a massive display area. There were organised displays from all the hotels and individual fireworks all going off. It was in many ways more spectacular than the incredible display we saw at Sydney 2 years ago.


Our time in the UK was too short and we felt we were rushing around to see everyone and not spending enough time with anyone. That said it was wonderful to be home again and to see family and friends. It was our first meeting with Betty May my granddaughter and Nicolette got to meet Matilda, her niece, for the first time.


Back to the boat in early September and after a quick anti-foul and clean up she was back in the water. However, we were without a usable rudder and needed a tow back to our pontoon. The rudder cap had been taken off  in order to access the stuffing box and a new rudder cap had to be made . Lots of other jobs were done and on the 20th October we left Malaysia and headed up to Thailand.


As ever there was little wind but we enjoyed the anchorages on the way to Ao Chalong where Nicolette's son and girlfriend joined us for 3 weeks early in November. The weather was varied and so they had the good sense to take a cabin when we were at Phi Phi Don. For their last week they were in Kata Beach which we have since come to enjoy.


After their departure I repaired the wind generator which needed new bearings. Since then we have been making preparations for our sail to the Red Sea and Europe. We've enjoyed a number of lovely anchorages on the West side of Phuket which  unfortunatel;y were not accessible when Simon was here. Christmas was spent at Kata Beach, I had intended to buy a selection of seafood from the local market but on the 24th they were closed. The day was saved when Nicolette suggested taking a scooter to Rawai where the sea gypsys have a big seafood market. As it happens the scooter was needed to take Nicolette to the dentists. She has had a recurring inflammation of a crown which has been very painful. The crown was removed on the 28 December and after a visit to have the stitch out on the 4th January we should be able to set sail.. Christmas dinner was a treat with lobsters, mussels, prawns massive and large, crab and cockles.


All being well we will leave for Uligan in the Maldives on the 5th January. From there we will make for Salalah  and establish a convoy of yachts to go to Aden. The Salalah/Aden trip is through the  Somali pirate infested area and a convoy is considered a deterrent. From Aden we will go up the Red Sea which is about 1,000 miles long and into the Mediterranean for the summer.



At  the beginning of August 2009 we left Katanne on the hard in Rebak Marina and flew first to India for 11 days and then onto the UK returning to Rebak on 5 September. On our return we set too and put antifoul on Katanne and to polished the hull. I also changed the stuffing in the stern gland and eventually did so for the rudder post but not before we had to grind off the rusted up mild steel rudder cap and replace it with a stainless steel one which had been made locally. Back in the water Nicolette made up 9 flags which should take us as far as Turkey. We also made a Jordon Series Drogue which involved Nicolette sewing 448 tapes onto the cut out drogues and 116 seams to make up the drogues. I then had to splice in 994 tapes to the plaited rope we used. It seems that we men are incapable of doing a good job of cleaning so Nicolette decided that she would clean out the engine bay and bilge. When she asked for a toothbrush I agreed with her. I am also refining my ineptness!!!! What follows is an account of our time in India.


1 -3 August 2009 Delhi, India


We arrived at our hotel late in the evening  and started our Indian adventure proper on the second.  We first of all hired a driver for the duration of our time in India. We set off  to see the Red Fort which is enormous - we were later to discover that in comparison with other forts it was only average in size. Nevertheless it was spectacular. In one of the large public gardens we found the graves and tombs of Mahatma Gandhi and of Rajeev Gandhi. Both are considered deities and the tomb of Mathatma was particularly poignant. No one is allowed to approach wearing footwear.


The following day we visited New Delhi with its wonderful architecture and were surprised at the contrast with Old Delhi. In particular the 2 houses of parliament (one for north India one for south India).  They are very expansive and built out of red sandstone and very English in design.   We found that all the museums are closed on Mondays so set out to visit  a number of temples and tombs. Most of them are laid out in large beautifully kept gardens so it was a pleasure just to walk around the gardens. Humajyun's tomb was noticeable because it is a precursor to the Taj Mahal.. It is the arabic influence which gives it some similarity. At Qutb we saw the Mahab Minar (a giant minarette) which is spectacular, I think it is about 67m high, in perfect condition and inscribed with the word of the Koran.


  The following morning we left the Florence hotel in the Karol Bagh district (a busy local market area, full of hustle and bustle and of course cows) to  see the home of Sonia Gandhi which also included a look at the spot were she was shot and killed by one of her  bodyguard. Then it was on to the national museum which  gave us a good insight into some historical aspects. Many of the exhibits are dated and the museum could certainly be updated. This was one of the many places we visited were the entrance fee was in the order of 350 rupees compared with the 10  rupees that the locals paid. Fortunately we were not short changed here but we were to discover that it was more usual to deliberately short change us than not.  


5 - 7 August 2009 Agra


The drive to Agra took about 4 hours and allowed to see lots of the countryside and sadly lots of the extreme poverty too.  The roads were good and including toll charged 3 lane motorways. Even on these roads the cows rule supreme. It's really quite incredible that cows are still allowed to roam freely anywhere they choose. Traffic on the motorways was regularly brought to a near standstill whilst a cow or 3 meandered along or across the roads.  Of course the main reason for being here was to see the Taj Mahal . We arrived  at the Taj about 6.30 am and were surprised that how quiet it was. The Taj Mahal lies in beautifully kept grounds and other buildings all of which serve to provide a spectacular vista on arrival.  Our first view was amazing and no photo can do justice to the sheer beauty and symmetry of the tomb. We took our time walking around the gardens and viewing the monument from lots of different angles. The sun was just up and shining on the East face of the dome, later on as the sun moved the dome lost its slight pinkish hue and became brilliantly white. Once close up we marvelled at the awesome beauty of the marble inlays. Shan Jalan built the Taj to enshrine the body of his favourite wife who died after giving birth to her 14th child.  It took 21 years to build and had a workforce of over 20,000. To add more poignancy to this sadness of this story you need to know that Shah Jalan was interned at Agra Fort after his son seized power. He died there after spending years gazing wistfully at the Taj Mahal in the distance. His body was carried across the river to lie alongside his beloved wife. We will never forget the pleasure and fortune of seeing the Taj Mahal.

The Agra Fort where Shah Jalan died include ramparts which stretch for over 2.5km. The forts in India usually have a palace within and often it is the palace that takes up much of the acreage. Opulence is taken for granted here and there seems to be no end to the lengths that the Shahs went to in building the forts and palaces.

The next day we went to Fatehpur Sikri which is ghost city 37kms south of Agra. Built in 1585 by the Mogul emperor Akbar it was occupied for only a few years. There was never enough water to sustain the population. It is in perfect condition  and has 2 palaces, halls, pavilions, mausoleums and tombs and is a powerful reminder of the Moghul architecture and grandeur.


7- 10 August 2009 Jaipur


We took a day's detour on the way  to Jaipur to visit Ranthambore National Park where we hoped to see the tigers. They were driven close to extinction before the national park was established and even now there are less than 50 tigers living in the wild there. The safari was in an open sided jeep arriving at sunrise. We didn't see a tiger but we did see lots of wildlife and a leopard which although wild had been imprinted to a ranger who discovered it as a small cub abandoned.

Jaipur is the pink city. Pink because all the buildings on the main roads in this grid laid out city are painted pink and have been so since 1854 when Prince Albert came to visit and it was decreed that all the buildings be painted pink which is the colour denoting hospitality. It was here that we also stayed in a palace. At least it had been a palace until the 60's when it became a hotel but all the palace trappings were there. It was called the Bissau Palace and was an oasis of calm and tranquillity in the midst of the chaos of Indian cities.  It was beautifully decorated with hunting scenes and very comfortable.  It is just outside the city walls and typrically Indian in style.


Jaipur is also the city of forts - there are 2 well known ones and both are enormous. Amber fort for example has over 13km of walls. The views from the bastions were fantastic and we were able to look down on the palace complex which itself was worth a half day visit. Here we saw amazing mirrored rooms and water tanks capable of holding 100s of 1000s of gallons of water. Secret passages to the harem and water  courses laid to cool the air.


Our short but enjoyable trip to India came to an end on the 11th August when we flew form Jaipur to Delhi and from there to Heathrow. We left with mixed feelings. The Taj Mahal was the highlight but the palaces and forts of Jaipur were also memorable. The poverty we saw was distressing and the constant attempts to extract money from us by fair means and foul became tiresome on occasion. I usually write about the food but we were forced to eat at our hotels or western style restaurants because whenever we tried the local fayre we suffered the consequences.


9 July to 16 July 2009 Penang and Borneo


On the 11 July we flew to Kuching, Sarawak, Borneo. We arrived quite late in rain so were soon tucked up at the hotel. The following day we went to the Sunday market which was not as diverse as had been advertised but had a pleasant walk down the Main Bazaar which is the oldest street in Kuching. The following day we did the museums, explored the town and visited Fort Margherita built by Charles Brooke who's father was the first Raj of Sarawak. The Brookes controlled the country for 150 years until the arrival of the Japanese in 1941. In the afternoon we went to the Semenggoh wildlife rehabilitation centre, which was our prime reason for visiting Kuching, to see the wild and semik wild orang-utans. It is only possible to visit for 1 hour in the morning and 1 hour in the afternoon. We were extremely lucky to see lots of them at feeding time including 3 mothers and babies. The centre was established 25 years ago and has rehabilitated a number of orang-utans which are now breeding and 13 babies have been born there. They only come to the centre for food and otherwise live in the jungle. With lots of fruit available for them at this time of year there is a good chance that none will turn up to the centre.  In the evening we found a wonderful sea food centre, full of locals and only 5 minutes from our hotel. Midin( crispy jungle fern) together with a whole fish and a dish of prawns all beautifully cooked served us very well.

On Tuesday we took a boat trip to the Bako National Park to see the diverse flora and fauna. And see lots of Pitcher plants (Nepenthe) during a 4 km walk through the jungle. We also saw the proboscis and sliver leaf monkeys and a viper and some large bearded pigs. Another night and another food centre, this one above a car park but the food was fabulous. The stalls look a bit like a large salad bar and you select what you want onto a large plate, prawns, chicken , sea cucumber, many varieties of mushroom and lots of other vegetables and greens. It is then cooked as a single dish to your liking and charged at the cooked rate.

On our last day we went to Sarawak cultural village to see different long houses, the traditions and dances of Sarawak. I had some success with a blow pipe but failed to buy the poison for the tips of the darts which would have been useful against any pirates we hope not to meet!!!! We had a an early ferry  home after a short night stop in Penang to find Katanne as snug as we had left her.


For a change we took a fast ferry from Langkawi to Penang, a trip of about 3 hours arriving in time to go to the Eastern and Oriental Hotel for one of their well known buffets. The E and O was built by the Sarkie brothers that later built Raffles in Singapore and has the same Georgian features. It fell into disrepair in the 70s but has been re furbished to Raffles standard. The buffet did not disappoint.  I had at least a dozen different dishes ranging from prawns and scallops to roast beef and duck with a vast array of salads and desserts. We had a wonderful view of the sea and mainland coastline from our table under the veranda  and the weather was kind to use being balmy and dry. Nicolete spent the next day shopping and we also visited the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion  built by one of the Chinese founding fathers of Penang. None of the furnishings were original but the design and structure of the house were worth seeing along with the very informative guided tour.


20 Jun 2009 to 25 June 2009  Ao Chalong to Rebak Marina, Malaysia                                              120nms

                We had a pleasant 5 day sail back and even managed to sail for some of the time. We stopped at Phi Phi Don, Koh Kradan, Koh Petra,  and Taratua. Kradan was busy with over 20 fishing boats seeking shelter from the 2m swell and numerous squalls.


4 June 2009 Koh Phanak to Ao Chalong.                                                                                             28nm

                Our plans for cruising round Phang Nga bay were cur short by the continued bad weather. We had rain, strong winds and occasional thunder storms and it was not a bit enjoyable. The waters were very murky so when we could swim at slack water there was nothing to see. The tidal currents were shifty lots of debris so the waters were not clean. As it was the winds were on the nose at 20kts until we closed on Ao Chalong. Surprisingly the weather here had been fine during our absence.


3 June 2009 Phing Kan to Koh Phanak                                                                                                  7nm

                We had intended to make for an anchorage closer to Ao Chalaong but when we out of the lee of Phanak the winds were up to 30kts and the seas lumpy so we anchored in the lee of Phanak . We were entertained in the evening by the night flight of 1000's of fruit bats; alerted to their presence by the smell of guano.


2 June 2009 Pan Yi to Koh Phing Kan                                                                                                   5nm

                We had planned to go to Chong Lat but the weather continued to be poor so it seemed prudent to go back to the safe anchorage of Phing Kan. A fisherman had laid his net over our anchor and had snagged it when recovering his net so we lifted anchor a bit earlier than planned to free his net.


1 June 2009 Koh Phing Kan to Koh Pan Yi                                                                                           5nm

                Motored through shallow water to the stilted village of Pan Yi. It is a muslim village which now has a number of seafood restaurants. We went to one on the evening and had a lovely and very large meal consisting of bowls of prawn and squid, fried rice, chicken cashew, mixed veg and chilli crabs.


29 May 2009 Koh Hong to James Bond Island                                                                                      5nm

                The winds continued to be strong with lots of rain and thunder storms. The anchorages were made less comfortable by the strong currents which would lay the boat at right angles to the wind. We went very slowly through shallow waters which are not charted to anchor in the lee of a massive limestone cliff about 1nm from James Bond Island. It is very busy with 1000's of tourists arriving in cruisers and long tails. Any charms it might had has been destroyed by the tacky commercialism.                                    


26 May 2009 Koh Rang Yai to Nakha Noa              and Koh Hong                                                                12nm

                We had planned to go further North but the seas were uncomfortable and it was raining heavily so we dropped anchor in the lee of Nakha Noa In the afternoon we continued on to Koh Hong which was more secure and is surrounded by high limestone cliffs but did have a 3 kt current running. Bought a kilo of fresh prawns which fantastic.


25 May 2009 Ao Chalong to Koh Rang Yai                                                                                           15nm

                The SW monsoon proved its unpredictability by blowing from the Se and making the anchorage very uncomfortable. We also had thunder and lightning but fortunately not too close


4 May 2009 Phi Phi Don to Ao Chalong, Thailand                                                                                 26nms

                A 0630 departure arriving at 1130 motoring into a 12kts headwind. We checked in here and then continued to take it easy. The mainsail and cover was taken for repair. We ate ashore regularly and stayed long enough to watch 2 of the  Formula 1 races


30 April 2009 Koh Muk to Phi Phi Don                                                                                                   42nm

                We arrived at 1410 after an early departure of 0630 and were lucky to find a mooring. Phi Phi Don is a popular tourist site and is very tacky but has some charm nevertheless. It also has the best Pad Thai which is a noodle dish with prawns or chicken.


29 April 2009 Tarutua to Koh Muk                                                                                                          52nm

                Another motorsail and our original anchorage of Petra looked very rolly so we went to Koh Muk arriving at 1600               


27 April 2009 Rebak Marina, Malaysia to Tarutua, Thailand                                                                   25nm

                We went first to Telaga marina to check out and to get some fuel then motorsailed to the anchorage of Talo Wao


Cambodia and Hong Kong  26th March 2009 to 7 April 2009


Siem Reap


     Back in December 2008 I took advantage of a sale of air tickets on offer with  Air Asia and secured some very good deals although it did mean that we had to do 2 more flights than could have been done.

     We flew from Langkawi to Kuala Lumpur to Phnom Penh to Siem Reap all on the 25th March and all the flights were on time. Our friends Eric and Jacqui had arrived a few hours before us and had settled in a at City River hotel where we went after a night at the Mekong Palace Angkor hotel which was not as advertised.

     By 10 am on 26th we had a driver organised and set off for the temple of Angkor Wat which is only a few miles from Siem Reap. The Lonely Planet says "simply put there is nowhere on earth quite like Angkor Wat".  I would heartily concur. The monument is breathtaking from the moment we set on eyes on it.  Perhaps the photos in the picture gallery will give you an idea of its stunning beauty.  What the photos can't show is the detail of the carvings which are everywhere.

   The temple is surrounded by a 200m wide moat  some 1.3 x 1.5 km  and a rectangular outer wall 1025m x 800m. Of note here are the elephant gate and the statue of Vishnu hewn from a single block of sandstone and measuring 2.3m high

    On the ground floor there are four galleries which form the rectangular outer wall which in total is over a 1km in length. Each of the gallery walls is covered in bas reliefs of exquisite beauty and detail. One wall depicts a battle, another a triumphant battle march. The third is of heaven and hell, there being 37 heavens and 32 hells and the fourth is the most famous; the churning of the ocean of milk.

     There are 3 storeys with interlinked galleries, towers and lots of stairs which get steeper the higher you go. Pilgrims have to prostrate themselves in the presence of the gods and it's easier to do so if the stairs are near vertical.  

     Cambodia is a mainly buddist country and all the temples we saw have and are used by Buddists but at the time they were built the Hindu faith was predominant so some temples contain all the hindu gods and deities. Angkor Wat was probably built as a temple and a mausoleum.


    In awe of what we had seen we set off next for Ta Prohm which has been described as the ultimate Indiana Jones fantasy. Have a look at the photos which will show you why.  Like the other temples this was built between the 10th and 12th centuries.  The temple has been partly devoured by the jungle and the massive trees and root systems embrace the ruins. It is a testimony to the awesome power of the jungle which was once conquered  by the temple builders but now conquers and seeks to destroy.  Ta Prohm was built as a Buddist temple dedicated to the mother of  greatest of the Kings, Jayavarman VII. We relished this magnificent temple and enjoyed the shade it offered from the midday sun.


    Now satiated with the magnificence and stunning beauty of the temples we nevertheless opted for more and went to see Angkor Thom which is not a temple but a great city. There are at least 4 temples within the 10 sq km enclosed fortified city and numerous terraces and a royal palace.  There are no less than 5 gated entrances  each of which is a wonder in itself.  On the approach to the South gate for examples there 54 giant statutes either side,  many of which are in spectacular condition.

We stood on the Terrace of Elephants  which is 350m long and has the most wonderful carvings of elephants, garudas and lions. The king and his entourage would stand here to watch  a grand parade  pass by along the 300m wide avenue.

Next we looked over Baphuon   which was a spectacular temple. However, before the Cambodian civil war restoration work was carried out the temple was taken apart piece by piece. During the Khymer Rouge regime all the records were lost or destroyed. Some 300,000 stones how had to be put back with no records of where they should fit. No wonder it's called the world's largest jigsaw puzzle.

Walking down to the centre piece of Angkor Thom we thought that the temple of Bayon  was unimpressive and jumble of stones. How wrong could we have been?   It's a place of stooped corridors, precipitous steps and a collection of 54  gothic towers, decorated with 216 smiling, enormous faces. These huge heads glare down from every angle and as you walk round, a dozen or more heads are visible at any one time, full face or profile, almost level with your eyes or staring down from on high. In addition the extraordinary bas reliefs on the ground floor are even more extensive than those at Angkor Wat  featuring over 11,000 figures and on walls that total 1.2km in length. It's not just the enormity of all of these temples but the quality and detail of the carvings and wonderful condition of the buildings.

It was now well after 5 o clock so we  returned to the hotel swimming pool and after a refreshing swim we strolled over to "Pub Street" the Temple Bar was our venue for the evening were I enjoyed fresh crab in curry sauce - it was wonderful - whilst the others had equally enjoyable meals which were served during the floorshow featuring an array of Cambodian traditional dances. 

The next day we went to the distant temple of Banteay Srei. A Hindu temple said to be the crown of Angkorian art. The carvings, which are extensive, were exquisite and so fine and delicate that it has been said they could only have been done by women. The stone is of a pinkish hue. It was a wonderful as anything we had seen so far.

From there we took a drive  and 2km walk to see the the riverbed carvings at Kbal Spean. The carvings on the riverbed are of hundreds of lingas (phallic symbols) and the water running over them becomes holy and is stilled used today. In addition there are some superb carvings on the rock faces strewn on the side of the river.

We saw a number of other temples on our way back to the hotel - it had been another day filled with wondrous and unforgettable sights.

Nicolette and I were up at 5am the next day to see sunrise over Angkor Wat. We arrived in the dark with few others there and watched as the sun rose over the temple - see the photo gallery  - it was a moving moment and we felt some of the heritage of Angkor. Back to the hotel for breakfast then off to see some more of Angkor Thom. Each of the smaller temples has something to offer and just walking around taking in the expanse and beauty of the whole area was wonderful. We finished up at Bayon to spend more time with the enigmatic carved faces that looked down on us from all directions.

Eric and Jaqui left the next day and we took the opportunity to visit the museum and markets and generally enjoy the town before leaving the following day by bus to Phnom Penh.  It had been an unforgettable 4 days and one which ranks alongside anything we have seen on our travels.

Phnom Penh was worth seeing but sadly it is very much a building site as the economy of Cambodia blossoms and the city, which was enforcedly  deserted during the Pol Pot regime, is regenerating fast.

It was now the 1st of April we flew to Hong Kong and enjoyed 6 totally different days immersed in the hustle and bustle of that vibrant city. We did all the usual things, up to peak on the tram, a night at the Jumbo restaurant in Aberdeen, Temple St. the Ladies, Jade and Goldfish markets. The sight and sound evening at the Ave. of Stars and many trips on the Star Ferry. Of course we ate some delicious meals and shopped until we dropped!!


We are now back on Katanne and making her ready for a trip to Thailand. The water maker is working again after replacing the relief valve and a mysterious leak from the exhaust/raw water outlet has been located. The stainless steel outlet has been re-welded and hopefully the problem has been fixed.



Andaman Isalnds to Rebak Marina, Malaysia


15 March 2009 Butang Island to Rebak Marina                                             38nm

                Our intention was to sail or in this case motorsail direct to the marina. However, the wind was on the nose and so we looked at anchoring in a bay on the South side but it was full and deep water. Then we had to divert to Telaga marina to get fuel since Bebak don't have any so we didn't arrive until 1830hrs


14 March 2009 Koh Rok Nai to Butang                                                        60nm

We motored out at 0500 hrs with distant lightning to the south which cleared as we approached it. We first went to the S anchorage which was full having passed an indifferent anchorage on the W side of the E island. Then we motored to the NW anchorage to the moorings that were no longer there so we settled behind an island in the middle of the archipelago arriving at 1630hrs.


13 March Ratcha Yai to Koh Rok Nai                                                            48nm

We departed at 0500 after a bumpy and uncomfortable night. We caught a small tuna on the way arriving at 1430hrs


12 March 2009 Patong to Koh Ratcha Yai                                                     21nm

We lifted anchor at 0900 planning to stop at Freedom Bay but the water was not clear and there was a lot of debris. Arriving at 1315 we were able to take a mooring.


11 March 2009 S Similan Island to Patong                                                    55nm

An uneventful motorsail with current against us most of the time but we did catch a nice tuna. Leaving at 0520 we arrived at1630hrs


8 March 2009 Koh Similan to Koh Miang , South Similan                             7nm

There were 3 anchorages to choose from and we tried them all. He wind at night was totally unpredictable so despite our best efforts we still suffered rolly nights


6 March 2009 Similan Islands

We arrived from Port  Blair at 1030 and found a mooring buoy in the South anchorage of middle island. After an uncomfortable night with the wind from the NW we moved to the North anchorage. The  highlight of the day was the news that my fifth grandchild , Betty May was born at 0455 weighing in at 7lb 7 oz. The waters around the similans are very clear and there was some excellent snorkellikng with a wide variety of fish to be seen. Some of the coral was in good condition but too much of seemed to by struggling




The Andaman Islands 27 January to 3 March 2009


Rather than give a day by day account I have for this part of the voyage listed our log details and then Nicolette has written about the Andamans.

25 January 2009 Yacht Haven Marina Phuket to Nai Hairn Thailand            35nm

27 January 2009 to Freedom Bay Thailand                                                     16nm

28 January 2009 to Ao Po Marina Thailand                                                    35nm

29 January - 1 February 2009 to Port Blair, Andaman Islands                     430nm

5 February 2009 to Chiryatapu                                                                        19nm

6 February 2009  to South Cinque                                                                   18nm

7 February 2009 to Rutland Island                                                                     6nm

8 February 2009 to Chiryatapu                                                                         10nm

10 February 2009 to Havelock no 7                                                                                           38nm

14 February 2009 to Inglis Island                                                                      20nm

17 February 2009 to Outram Island                                                                     5nm

18 February 2009 to North Button Island                                                          14nm

20 February 2009 to Henry Lawrence Island                                                    15nm

21 February 2009 to Havelock No 1 and no 7                                                   17nm

24 February 2009 to Neill Island                                                                         9nm

27 February 2009 to Port Blair                                                                           20nm

3 March 2009 to Similan Islands Thailand                                                                350nm


    We left Thailand at the end of January with a bit of a false start.  Katanne was clean fuelled and full of water as we rounded southern Phuket to set off for the 490m sail to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands which lie in the Andaman sea.  Unfortunately a hose became disconnected and we lost all our 400lt  of fresh water into the aft cabin and we had to return to Ao Po on the east side to dry out and refill our tanks.  24 hours later we set off once again across the Bay of Bengal to this wonderful island group which are part of India.  These 300 or so islands lie in the Bay of Bengal 1000k from mainland India.  The island chain covers 755k from north to south and mostly uninhabited. The Nicobars are out of bounds for all foreigners as are some of the Andamans, which are home to various indigenous peoples who are being protected from outside influences and indeed are hostile to visitors..
     We had some bites to our lure and lost a few fish before finally catching one good barracuda just before we arrived in the main town of Port Blair on South Andaman.  Most of the population lives here in a thriving bustling town.  It's full of colour with all the beautiful sari clad ladies and the wonderful Ambassador cars (morris oxfords), trucks and of course Tuk Tuks.  It's like stepping back in time, with no real supermarket but many trading stores with huge sacks of dried goods and many small shops selling all sorts of everything.  The cows are wandering everywhere amongst the traffic and it's really best seen at night with all the lights on and it's much  cooler.  The simple restaurants serve good cheap food of great quality and we have had many wonderful Thali's (south Indian lunch meal).  We had an amazing Tandoori fish at the New Light House restaurant.  A trip to the harbour master with our itinerary was a great experience as he granted us permission to visit all the islands we had mentioned.  The dept of Wildlife though decided we could not go anywhere until it was pointed out we just wanted to anchor, not necessarily go ashore.  I guess they have no idea what we are doing here but having been granted our permits and cleared with immigration and customs we were free to leave for a month's exploration.  

     The Town of Port Blair has few tourist attractions the main one being the town jail.  The Cellular Jail built by the British to house the freedom fighters and political adjitators against British rule.  We also went to the sound and light show which gave a moving history of the cruelty and barbarism of the British Gaolers.  There is also an old saw mill standing testament to the old ways of logging with ancient machinery still in use.In the south we visited north and south Cinque islands which are very beautiful but the anchorages were rolly and uncomfortable so we did not linger.  The small village and bay of Chirayatapu on the southern tip of south Andaman provided a wonderful all weather anchorage along a beautiful forest edged beach with a great reef along the whole line of the bay, dropping down to about 15m. In the forested backdrop there are many kingfishers high in the trees.  Here I had the best snorkelling in that the corals where diverse and plentiful and the fish truly amazing.  Lion fish of all sorts where just hanging about in the open.  I saw the biggest black and white sea krait (Snake) I have ever seen and found 4 lobsters in just one swim.  Huge black and brown groupers and jewfish hug the bottom pretending to be rocks and there is a multitude of colour with so many fish of every size.

     The Islands of Havelock and Neil are the only two islands in Ritchie's Archipelago  population and have some great resorts. Again the food was wonderful and really cheap. It is all very low key, the simple huts costing but a couple of hundred rupees. The emphasis is on Eco; this I am sure is for economy not ecology.   A couple of elephants on the beach at Havelock take visitors for rides so we had to have a go, unfortunately my pictures did not come out but it was great fun for only 20 rupees each.   It's the only place we have been where there is elephant dung on the sand. 

     The dive school was at Havelock no3 (all villages are numbered) and I quickly booked a day's diving, going to South Button Island. This group of three islands lie like a row of buttons in a line not that far from each other.  All small and South Button is perfectly round.  We did two dives there, not very deep, but truly spectacular.  The best dive I have ever had, I will have to say, both from a coral and fish point of view. There is no real anchorage there so we only sailed to Middle and North Button.  They were both beautiful tranquil uninhabited paradises and they were hard to leave.  (For those that do not know Knoop means Button in Afrikaans so I think we should rename them.)

     We have been to about 9 different islands, about 13 anchorages, and we have for the most part been alone apart from Havelock and Neil.  There are so few boats cruising and we were in areas far from the local fishermen.  It felt as if we were on the edge of the world.  It has been the best cruising ground from that point of few.
     On Inglis Island we found a family of spotted dear on the beach early in the morning out for a stroll.  On Henry Lawrence Island there is a lone dog which the fishermen feed so we went ashore with some biscuits but it was waiting for them and not interested in us at all.  The highlight for me was at Neil Island our last island before returning to Port Blair.  The National animal of the Andaman Islands is the Dugong or sea cow.  This is the animal that gave rise to the story of mermaids.  We have seen them in Puerto Rico and Australia but never as clearly as on the 25th of February.  I was snorkelling not far from the boat when I spotted it beneath me.  I watched him grazing on the sea grass for a long while. It was about 6ft long and quite large but swam just like a mermaid, so gracefully.   A little while later he rose up for air next to the boat and swam just below the surface for ages so we could see it really clearly. 

      There were so many turtles as it is the season for laying and they are always    lovely to see.  We have seen green back and Olive Ridley turtles and also many rays.                                                                                                              My underwater camera unfortunately died completely which was very frustrating as we had such clear water but I guess all the fish and corals must begin to look a bit alike.   



The winds continue to be either insignificant or against us (to be expected in the North East monsoon) so I have made little note of our sailing but instead concentrated on what we have seen and done. Nicolette has once again done the write up


THAILAND


20 Janaury 2009


18 January 2009 Koh Rang Nui to Koh Phanak                                                                                       15nms

Just motored up a few miles after lunch to an Island not far from Yacht Haven where we will go on the 20th.   Dropped our anchor off a tiny beach on the steep rocky island and a long tail fishing boat approached us offering us Prawns.  They were still alive and looked wonderful.  Dinner problem solved. Later on when Tom prepared them, one was still alive so he put it back and watched it swim away. Later in the evening when I came down to the galley to cook I could see them glowing in the dark.  They were still full of luminescence but did not seem to be a problem we are both fine.  Had a nice swim to the beach and enjoyed peace and quiet of the anchorage which we had all to ourselves.  Another fisherman came by the following morning to offer us more prawns so will have to think of another way of doing them. Sailed around the  Just around the corner to next bay where there is a cave area, or Hong. Tour boats bring canoeists who venture into them in the dozens so I will have to go for a swim and see what they find.  The horizon is absolutely stunning with the many rocky islands of Phang Nga bay spreading out north of us.  The islands of the Man with a golden gun are awaiting exploration at another time as tomorrow we head back to Yacht haven marina to prepare to leave Thailand for the Andamans.


17 January 2009 Panwa Bali to Koh Rang Nui                                                                                         13nms

Nice beach but too many rocks to be able to get ashore from where we were anchored but had a good swim.  Nice coral but no visibility.  Tourists come daily to take mountain bikes and walk on the beautiful beach which has many coconut palms,.


15 January 2009 Ao Chalaong to Panwa Bali                                                                                           1nm

Great relief to be anchored on the other side of the bay near a few quiet resorts and a little beach bar with great food on the beach. 


8 January Ao Nui to Ao Chalong                                                                                                                             30nms

A full day's sailing , the first for many months.

It is great to arrive and finally check in at the town on the Southern tip of Phuket.  A small rally event had been set up for the 9th and we were taken courtesy of the Thai tourist authority to all the marinas on the island and shown what services are available.  Yacht Haven treated us to a wonderful lunch and we managed to get the name of a local sail maker who is now making a new 150% genoa for Katanne.  Tom is worried that the second hand large one we have will break, we now discover its made from 4 oz fabric that is used for laser dinghies.  We saw the new marina at Ao Pao and then on down to Boat Lagoon where the boat yards have every facility for repair and maintenance.  The last marina, the Royal Phuket, gave us a wonderful proper afternoon tea in the posh coffee shop with very fancy cakes, sandwiches and proper china cups and saucers.  We ended the day out back at the pier and were treated to an amazing buffet dinner , all for free including plenty of beer.  It was well worth the time because it gave us an idea of where everything is and where to get what.  They drove us through the streets of Phuket City with its lovely little houses.  The anchorage is quite windy with rough seas so as soon as all the necessary jobs are done we will move to calmer waters.  Best laundry service yet, it was line dried and ironed for very little money.  Some good supermarkets so will be able to stock up when necessary with what I need.  Better selection than Malaysia but more expensive too I think.


7 January AoYong Kesen to Ao Nui                                                                                                        1nm

Quick 10 min trip across the bay to take the mooring at lunchtime and stayed over night in a beautiful spot which we had to ourselves.  Had great time snorkelling to the beach and around the rocks.


6 January 2009 Phi Phi Le to Ao Yong Kesen, Phi Phi Don                                                                     5nms

Just around the corner is the larger island of Phi Phi Don where we took a mooring in the centre of the bay by a busy beach.  Many monkeys played on the sand and watched the tourists come and go.  I swam ashore , snorkelled and read whilst Tom relaxed as usual with his book and binoculars.  On the other side of the bay is Ao Nui with a distinctive rock formation , Camel rock.  It hid a secluded beach with a deep anchorage but with one mooring ball in the middle of the pass which I was keen to take when all the boats had left.


5 January 2009  Kok Rok Nok to Phi Phi le                                                                                                             35nms

Amazing anchorage .  The location of the film "The Beach" it has now been invaded by the hundreds of tourists who flock here daily by speed boat and Long Tails.  We picked up a mooring in the centre of this steep sided bay facing Maya Beach which is surrounded by these huge cliffs making the bay look very small.   Managed to swim ashore early in the morning before the traffic started.  Lovely though at the end of the day when all the others had left. The huge lime stone rocks are typical of the islands around this area.


4 January 2009 Ko Taratau to KokRok Nok                                                                                                            52nms

Great Snorkeling at last.  On a mooring but should have moved around the corner as wind got up in the night and it was rolly.


3 January 2009 RLYC to Ko Taratau, Thailand                                                                                       29nms

Finally in Thai territory, took mooring, nice to be in clear water.


MALAYSIA AND SINGAPORE


21 December Telaga to Royal Langkawi Yacht Club, Langkawi                                                                               16nms


On the south of the island near the ferry terminal and not far from a small town we are in the Yacht club until the new year.  We have been able to refill our gas bottles and do some provisioning.  Not far from the YC is the ferry terminal with a great Indian restaurant and also a local sea food hawker market, so plenty of choice for meals.  There is a supermarket in walking distance and a lovely pool at the YC to cool off in.  A family of Hornbillsl live in the trees above the pool and there are plenty of monkeys to entertain us.  We booked for the buffet dinner on Christmas Eve which was wonderful and we enjoyed the company of Aquarius, Forza and Shirena who were also at the YC.  On Christmas day we all met on the Balcony with our Champagne and Prawns and had a wonderful lunch in spite of the rain which arrived.  I had gone down to the Indian to get some fresh Naan breads and everyone enjoyed the meal including the mince pies I had made.  Tom and I enjoyed some Christmas pudding that evening courtesy of Tesco's in Penang.  New year was welcomed in in style. We served champagne and ate the last of the mince pies on Katanne before going back to the YC for a  five course dinner at the YC.  The Mashuri dancers came to entertain us and we had a very good evening with Forza and Rubicon Star.

18 December 2008 Palau Bunting to Telaga Marina, Langkawi                                                                                15nms

A long day sail to a wonderful beach, not the official anchorage but perfect for us just to stop and relax.  I could swim to the beach where in the early morning and late evening the macaque monkeys roamed for crabs.  Wild pigs came to walk on the sand with the large monitor lizards and sea eagles were circling overhead and diving to catch fish.  No habitation at all as no road to the beach.  Occasionally a boat came with some tourists for the day or a fishing boat pulled in.  We stayed for 8 days, just reading and polishing the boat.  Having washed all the salt off in Penang it was good to make her shine again with lots of polish and elbow grease.  We read and I cooked which is something I have not being doing too much of as the food ashore is so good and so cheap.  It was actually hard to up anchor and move on to Langkawi. The last dinner of the rally was to be held at Telaga Harbour on the NW corner of Langkawi.  Luckily there was a small marina and we took a berth for the three days we were there.  It was very close to the amazing cable car which we went up .  The rally took us by bus inland to Kota Mashuri  a Mausoleum/Museum where food and dancing were laid on.  The story  is of a girl in about 1820 who was said to have been unfaithful and was stabbed to death and she place a curse on the island for 7 generations.  This has now ended and Langkawi prospers as some clever politician bought the land, gave the duty free status to the island and then sold the land to developers.  It's a beautiful island with nice beaches and again great food  It's quiet and laid back .  For me the highlight was finding Cariad in the marina.  She is looking beautiful having been fully refitted but still being worked on by 2 thai workers who have been living on her as long as my Dad sailed around the world on her in 1948.  I was able to go on board and Tom took some pictures of me sitting on the wheel house where my Dad sat so long ago.


There was a great dinner at the local resort where the rally participants had a final goodbye as ways are now parting and some are staying for Christmas in Malaysia whilst others head to Thailand or home to Australia for the holidays.  We are heading for the town , Kuah, to stay at the Royal Langkawi yacht club.


10 December 2008 Penang to Palau Bunting                                                                                                            60nms

Georgetown, Penang is a great city with a fort and a lighthouse, many shops, Great Little India and much to do.  We walked miles to see all the sites.  As we had not passed under the bridge we did put our flags up to be dressed overall which looked very nice.  They were all the country flags made to date by me, over 40 of them.  The Boat yard invited us all  to come and see the yard and then took us to the fort which is a war museum now and then to dinner at the Chairman's house on the hill.  It was amazing.  They had laid out tables for us, supplied beers and set up a hawker food centre.  We were able to go and sample all the best of the local dishes freshly made and they entertained us with dancers, so a great night was had by all.  We had a good buffet dinner as guests of the tourist board and the school of Chinese dancers with amazing drums played and danced for us.


1 December 2008 Palau Talang to Palau Jerajak - Penang                                                                        63nms

Stopped overnight just south of the bridge which crosses from the mainland to the island of Penang.  The rally wants us all to sail through together.  It was impossible though.  The current rushes through the channel between the island of penang and the island of Jerajak so we pressed on to the Tahjong City Marina at Georgetown. 


30 November 2008 Lumut to Palau Talang                                                                                                              14nms

Nice to have a swim in the sea and glad to be reaching the top of the Malacca strait.  No mishaps fortunately with all the logs and rubbish which seem to be causing trouble to many.


23 November 2008 Port Dickson to Lumut                                                                                                             150nms

Heavy thunderstorms and lightning close by overnight.  Small marina where we were lucky enough to get a berth so I could clean the boat.  Luckily we did not get a visit from the local rats which boarded the yachts on the  other pontoon.  Nice pool at the yacht club and a really nice little resort town which seemed to specialise in dried fish goods for tourists, Malays, to take home with them. Lumut is a rally stop and a tour and dinner where arranged.  The tour was not up too much and they took us to see a resort none of us will ever want to stay in.  They showed us a typical home stay place where you can live like a malay , the afternoon tea laid on was delicious and there was some dancing by local girls.  They took us to see a honey producer on the way which meant Tom  gave the lecture on beekeeping which was of great interest to many and the honey was delicious.


19 November 2008 Palau Basau to Port Dickson  (Admiral Marina)                                                       48nms

Delayed departure for 1 day  - bad weather

Nice marina but no power on the dock, great pool.  Good place to leave Katanne and take the bus back down to Malacca.  Booked 2 nights in Heerin Street right in the heart of the old Chinese Portugese town.  Narrow streets filled with little shops.  There were so many museums we had to be selective but we enjoyed the Maritime museum very much.  Up in the ruined church on the top of the hill I found the original grave stone for Jan Van Riebecks wife who is now lying in Cape Town castle having been moved to be buried with her husband.  We took a boat up the canal and got off near a typical old Malay house, the Villa Sentosa.  The owner of the house proudly showed us around and then took us to the bus station to return to Port Dickson.  In the small streets of the town we found a Chinese shoe maker who still makes the tiny shoes for the bound feet of the Chinese noble women that was banned in the early 1900's and enjoyed some amazing Chinese food.  We also went round a beautiful Chinese Baba and Nonya house.  The Chinese having settled here way back in the 1500's then mixing with the malay population combined with the portugese traders and then the arrival of the British has lead to this town having a very interesting a varied history.


18 November 2008 Palau Pisang to Palau Basar                                                                                      68nms

Longer day sail today so left earlier.  Filthy water and the boat is so so dirty.  Near to Malacca but not a good place to leave the boat and take the ferry to see the town.


17 November 2008 Danga Point  to Palua Pisang                                                                                     40nm

Day sail, motoring into head winds.  Lots of fishing boats and traps to be on the look out for.


31 October 2008 Danga Point Jahor Bahru  Malaysia

Our arrival in Malaysia heralds the start of a new adventure.  The anchorage near the major city of Jahor Bahru was near the mussel and fish farms and close to an esplanade ;with many eating places.  The vibrant city teaming with shoppers and many malls provided great eating destinations.  Our favourite was the Restoran Muthi in Little India which served wonderful curries and vegetables on banana leaves for not much more than a $.  We were able to find and fit new batteries ours having worn out completely and also found the rectifier required to fix the wind generator which had given up the ghost a while back.  The Malaysian Rally was to begin from here and during a press conference there was a terrific thunderstorm resulting in on of our number being struck and loosing all their instruments  which is what we all fear most.  We stayed here over two weeks enabling us to apply for our Indian Visas which will be required for the Andaman Islands and to get stocked up with provisions.  There was an fantastic fish restaurant out in the river , so Tom organised a boat and over 20 of us went on the Monday night for an loveley amazing meal.  The village nearby heard we were all there and invited 50 of us to a wedding feast.  It was wonderful to see the house prepared for the bride and groom and the amazing feast laid on.  It seemed no problem having another 50 to feed as the whole area seemed to be invited and people came and went paying their respects and admiring the terrified couple.  The rally organisers took us on a day out to visit the town of Kukup and take us to the pineapple museum where research is done on the fruit .  Guess they are trying to make the ultimate pineapple.  We also were taken to a national park where the Mangrove restoration is important and we could see the start of the Malacca straight which we were now going to traverse on  the 17th.  A very frightening moment occurred when we returned to the boat one afternoon at Danga bay to find a multi coloured 3ft long thin snake trying to climb up the side of the boat.  Tom fended it off and it tried again so he hit it even harder and it luckily lost its grip and floated away, think it must have fallen off a tree in the rain.  We managed to buy some wonderful mussels from the locals nearby and had a wonderful Moules Mariniere.....


INDONESIA


We  left Darwin on 26th July and motor-sailed to Kupang, our first port of call in what was to be a 3 month stay in Indonesia. I have not given any details of the sailing conditions during this time because there was very little wind and for almost all of the time we motor-sailed. Instead this part of the log has been written up by Nicolette who has given a vivid descriptive account of what was a remarkable 3 months.


31 October 2008 Departed Indonesia for Danga Point, Jahor Bahru, Malaysia                                                        49nms

Left Nongsa Point marina in the late afternoon to anchor offshore by a small island so we could make an early morning start on our trip round to the other side of Singapore Island.  We held our breath as we went under the bridge, only clearance of 25m.  Entered the river mouth of Danga bay passing acres of fish farms and Singapore police coast guards en route.


19 October 2008 Batam                                                                                                                           58nms

It's wonderful that the new AIS is working and we can see the coursesand speeds of the many ships passing by.  Arrived at Nongsa point  at mid day.  Great marina still being refurbished with fantastic swimming pool and not many yachts.  Stay here 10 days or so I think until our visas run out.  Great place to visit Singopore from.  We can leave Katanne in safety and take the ferry. It's only 23k to Singapore and a short bus ride to the ferry terminal.  Restaurant is expensive but good supermarket in town. 


We booked a small hotel off Orchard road and took the early morning ferry across.  Singapore has changed a lot since we were both been there but it was still fun.  Good food in the Hawker Markets.  Tom found Newton Circus to be much the same.  He bargained for Chili Crabs at Lau Pa Sat.  I found Arab Street with all the silks and Tom enjoyed the Sim Lim tower with all the electronic and computer stores.  The new Singapore Flyer or Eye is great being taller than London Eye but not so spectacular in its build.  We could see the remains of the Formula 1 track and all the other sites.  We had a fabulous three days using the MRT(mass rapid transport) seeing amongst other things the Art Gallery, South Asian Civilisations Museum, Raffles and much more.  Then it was back to Katanne.


 Bit of a clean and polish and washing of the decks left her sparkling and we finally said good bye to Indonesia.  This has been the most amazing and most diverse of all the places we have been.  We have been truly humbled by the warmth and welcome of these smiling beautiful people who were just so pleased for us to visit.  They are trying so hard to bring back the tourist who have been frightened away by events.  The different cultures and customs which we have seen, the way the different religions do live in harmony and everyone works really hard has been an eye opener.  The change from east to west in the wealth of the islands due mainly I suspect to the climate was also interesting.  The eastern region is suffering from water shortages which has a major impact on everything.  We have moved forward not only in miles but in time it seems.  The old traditional ways of life are more evident in the east  the west being much more sophisticated with the total contrast of Singapore just 20m away.  Batam is more like Malaysia and Singapore than the rest of Indonesia.  How long before it all changes time will tell.


18 October 2008 Mesanak,                                                                                                                      260nms

Lovely sail to a beautiful bay.  No other yachts but good stop after our stay in Belitung.  Lovely swim and peaceful afternoon .


11 October 2008 Belitung                                                                                                                        275nms

This is the final rally stop and definitely the most spectacular anchorage with huge granite boulders.  We arrived early for the rally events but found plenty laid on for us.  A beach without a village lay off the clear water and boulders isles.  There was however a stage set up and a restaurant strip used by locals who came by the hundreds to see us.  They cordoned  a section of the beach for the dinghys.  Amazing crabs and prawns to be had at excellent prices.  We had a welcoming afternoon dance with lunch on the first day.  The Navy put on a 10k swimming race in the early morning.  I had just been for a snorkel to one of the small islands were there was lovely coral to be found and felt quite tempted to join in with the Indonesian marines.  Dancing followed yet another lunch and speeches.  We were presented with beautiful painted Javanese hats.  The next day  we were taken on a city tour to the museum and zoo .  We walked down to the beach to watch Kite flying to find a group of strange dancers on the side of the road.  A full gamelan orchestra accompanied the strange men with two dimensional horses being whipped with bullwhips getting into trance.  They worked them selves up to a frenzy, tearing banana trees up with their teeth, stripping coconuts with their teeth and breaking them open on their heads.  They were eating grass and flowers . When we walked away I was covered in goosebumps inspite of the heat.   It was a all a bit unnerving and I actually had really terrible dreams that night.  The kite flying was much nicer with many school children out to watch the fun and all wanting to take our photos.  We were given small picnic boxes once again with water and local cakes.  The hospitality is overwhelming.  Then it's back on the bus to the local inland freshwater lakes which have swimming pools to be welcomed by the Chinese human puppets cum acrobats.  A wonderful lunch was laid out yet again on the small tables for us just to help ourselves.  Some swam  later and others just watched the dancing  which we had to join in with. 


The next day there was a trip to town for shopping.  Tom went and I stayed behind to do boat jobs , Going for a swim actually.  We then found we had been invited to a nearby Hindu temple at the Balinese village nearby.  They wanted us to see their festival and buses were quickly found to take those of us who had not gone to town  and we all met under the shade by the beautiful temple.  The orchestra was playing. Fruit was offered and water and the dancers began.  Beautiful little girls, boys being a bit more boisterous and elegant ladies, acrobats, all performed  for us.  In the background we could see the ladies with their offerings walking to the temple , baskets of fruit and garlands of flowers.  Again we felt humbled to be included and they allowed us to walk  in the temple before waving us all good bye.  Back to our favourite restaurant for some wonderful crabs and some Mee goreang (fried noodles). 


The gala dinner was excellent and as the regent did not  manage to make it speeches were a little shorter than usual.  Some more dancing was put on to entertain us.  This is the official end to the rally but we have one or two more stop before we leave Indonesia. This was one of the nicest anchorages we have been to with the whitest sand , the warmest people and wonderful food.


6 October 2008 Karimunjawa                                                                                                                  145nms

Another night sail and arrived off central Java.  Anchorage lies between a small island and a tiny one with a fish farm attached.  It is one of a group of 27 islands which are relatively hard to reach so quite isolated with lovely clear water and quiet people.  They were still celebrating the end of Ramadan and the day we had decided to try and take a bike to tour the island we found they were all going to a beach picnic so there were no bikes to be had.  We visited the fish farm instead and I swam in the resident shark pool.  There was only one small restaurant which was self service and had a great atmosphere.  Islanders seem to make their living by fishing and drying the catch or growing Bonzai..  A really lovely place with no one trying to sell us anything unlike the previous places.


1 October 2008 Bawean                                                                                                                                            211nms

Lots of fish attracting rafts on the way to Palau Bawean. This is an island off the coast of java.  Good down wind sail over a couple of days.  Beautiful bay with small village and great fishing boats.  Walked in to town to find it was Ed Il Fitri the end of  Ramadan.  Thus prayers all night.  The town was all out in the streets and everyone dressed in their finery.  Every one very happy to see us and to practise there English.  Scores of motor bikes with up to 5 on board scootered by, one crashing as it misjudged the distance as they were so busy turning to look at us.  Luckily no one was hurt.  On the 4th we went for a stroll in the village to find the locals preparing a bbq to which we were invited.  The fresh goat skins of the meat were in the sun drying and the kebabs were on the fire.  We sat under the tarpaulin with the men to be served with sates, goat curry and rice followed by fresh watermelon.  Women and children ate afterwards which I found a little embarresing as there was no problem with me eating with Tom.  It was a wonderful occasion none the less.  Getting quite good at eating with our fingrers.....


17 September 2008 Lovina, Bali                                                                                                                              85nms

Arrived in Bali in the early morning.  Bali is more Hindu than any of the other islands and much more touristy.  Lovina beach is very lovely with a beachfront full of hawkers and restaurants.  Most evenings there was an entertainment laid on for us as well as a lovely dinner with the obligatory speeches.  We enjoyed an afternoon of Buffalo racing.  Beautifully dressed animals were driven through a paddy with a driver on a small seat behind.  They went off in pairs and it was hard to tell who the winner was but clearly it was understood by excited locals.  They put on some masked plays and some educational dramas all in Bahasa Indonesian so quite hard for us to follow but all good fun. 


We left Katanne at anchor for three days and took a bus to the ferry terminal on the west of the island at Gillilmanuk for the island of Java. .  And no, Krakatoa is not East of Java as we discover it's actually on the west coast before you get to Sumatra.  We disembarked at 9pm and got back on the bus to head for Yogyakarta.  Java is the largest island with a population of 120 million in a space half the size of great Britain.  The two lane road was packed with buses and lorrys bumper to bumper all the way.  We hurtled through the night arriving in the early morning.  We had booked a small hotel with a little pool in the heart of the old capital..  We took 2 Becaks, a type of three wheeled rickshaw with a local driver.  Tom's driver, Simon spoke some English and we headed off into the mad traffic to find the sultan's palace.  Becaks have right of way as I guess they were there before cars arrived.  After an interesting tour of the Palace we found Simon and his friend waiting for us.  We negotiated a good price for the rest of the afternoon and they took us to see the Sultana's Palace and the Water Palace.  This would have been lovely if the pools had been full of water but there is a drought.  They took us to the main shopping street to wander about looking at local crafts.  We asked to be taken to the workshops where the famous Batik is made.  I was fascinated by the whole process and loved looking at the fabrics. Then it was  back to the hotel for a cool swim before a quick dinner and then out again.  That evening we went to the outdoor theatre at Prambanan, the Hindu temples.  We saw the story of  Rama and Shinta performed by the Ramayana Ballet.  A truly amazing drama of dance and music and song with the magnificent floodlit Candi Shiva Mahadeva as a backdrop.  200  dancers and a full gamelan orchestra took part in a spectacle of monkey armies, giants on stilts and clashing battles.  One of the scenes involved the burning down of two thatch houses which burst into flame taking us all by surprise.  They rebuild them for the next performance.


Early the following day we set off by bus to Borobudur, one of the most spectacular Buddhist temples in the world (a colossal three dimensional tantric mandala).  Built in the 8th century it was buried 50 years after it was built by volcanic eruption and rediscovered only in 1815.  It has been restored to its former glory and is now a world heritage site.  It was very dramatic rising out of the plane near some huge volcanoes, it covers some 60,000 cubic meters of stone.  The pilgrims walkway is 5km long and there are nearly 1460 narrative and 1212 decorated panels.  Some 432 serene Buddha stare out from open chambers and some 72 sit partially visible in latticed stupas.  It was awesome in the early morning.  We found 2 museums, one nautical and the other about the construction of the temple including the stone umbrella which would have topped the monument.  It has not been put back for fear it will be toppled again.  After a picnic breakfast supplied by our hotel we set off in the bus to visit the Hindu temple of Prambanan.


This temple site was erected about 50 years after Borobudur.  The site covers over 5km and has many shrines which lay in ruins for years and are now slowly being restored as best they can where they have the stones.  Many earthquakes and volcanic eruptions have cause damaged and even done so recently putting some restoration back to square one.  The proximity of the Buddhist and Hindu temples shows the tolerance of the islands and the arrival of arab traders in the 11th centuary brought Islam to the region which makes it all very interesting.  Mostly all is very peaceful and the arrival of the Dutch and the Portuguese added Christianity to the mix.  After another good local lunch we were back in the hotel for a welcome dip.  The following day Simon and his mate were waiting for us and they took us to some more interesting batik shops and helped us clear up a blocked phone.  Another hairy bus ride through the night took us back to the ferry and we returned safely to Katanne in the early morning. 



10th  September 2008 Gili Air ,Lombok                                                                                                   89nms

We have anchored off the jetty on the small island of Gili Air. We can see Gunung Runjani on Lombok in the east and Gunang Agung in Bali, two great volcanoes.  We saw the sunset over one and the full moon rising over the other at the same time. Gili Air is one of the nicest islands we have visited.  Its only mode of transport is horse drawn trap.  There are many restaurants and small places to stay and only white sand roads with a lovely beach and great snorkelling.  It's one of three islands in a small group facing Lombok.    I spent one day diving with Manta Dive which was very worth while and another day snorkelling with some other yachties.  We took a local boat which took us too the best snorkelling spots to see the turtles and fish. The rally reception was held on a beach on Lombok so the yachties hired a fast boat to carry us across for the do.  Ramadan prevented any dancing but we got the speeches and some wonderful food served on banana leaves, us seated on mats of the same in small groups.  Hospitality is overwhelming still.  We took a trip with double dutch to see the monkeys,macaques, which came to be fed very politely and then we went to see the wood factory where they made carvings and bowls.  We also stopped to see the weaving and Tom was dressed up as a local bridegroom, very smart.  We stopped to see the fish farms in the river and had great difficulty finding somewhere for lunch as Ramadan is still in force.  Hid in Macdonald's for a quick bite and went to the supermarket in Mataram.


The day  we were leaving gili air our mooring broke whilst  ashore and Katanne nearly ended up on the coral saved only by an anchor rope from fishing boat in the Rudder skeg. Four dinghies came to hold her off, Keishe, Island time, Nimbus and Investigator 2 did an amazing job.One of the locals called us from internet café and we rushed back to the dinghy.  Once aboard  I managed to get in the water to cut the line and tom was skilful in manoeuvring Katanne out of a disastous situation. So many things went right for us when otherwise we were in real danger of losing Katanne. All was well with no damage and we spent the night in Teluk Kumbul , the bay across the water in Lombok.  We took a trip to the town of Sengigi for a night out in an expensive restaurant with our rescuers

.


7 September 2008 Medang                                                                                                                      135nms

An Island off Sumbawa, just an overnight stop.  Our lovely large Genoa got ripped accidently in the night.  Luckily it was all in the bottom panel and I was able to repair it with some spinnaker tape and sewing on a big patch of new sail cloth, good as new we hope. Had a nice swim though and made a pizza for lunch and baked a chocolate cake for my birthday.  Tom caught a barracuda so plenty for fish curry and fried fish in crumbs....  First fish since Australia on board.


6 September 2008 Gili Lawa  Laut                                                                                                           18nms

Overnight stop


5 September 2008 Komodo Island                                                                                                          18nms

Loh Liang is an amazing huge bay tucked inside the NE side of Komodo.  There was no village where we anchored and there was great snorkelling off the beach.  I managed to swim ashore and found a beautiful deer under the trees.  Wild pig came to play on the beach and in the early morning a herd of deer could be seen on the hillside.  A fisherman came across to sell us a string of pearls (my birthday present) which were farmed here.  The marine reserve is doing a great job in preserving the coral which is getting a hammering from ruthless fishermen who dynamite the reefs...  All around this area mariculture is in evidence and the farming of seaweed is one of Indonesia's main exports.  The following morning we went to raft with Double Dutch in the passage between Komodo and Palau Padar for some snorkelling.  Amazing fish and coral but strong currents so care had to be taken.


4 September 2008 Rinca Island,                                                                                                                              17nms

Anchored just off the ranger station of Rinca Island in the Komodo National Park.  Here we were able to take an hour's afternoon trail with Raymond our guide to see the famous Komodos Tom has been wanting to see since 1956 when a young David Attenborough first brought these creature to the world.  They are as awesome as we had hoped.  We saw one dragon who was protecting his mate chase off a rival.  There are many monkeys and buffalo and wild pigs around.  All game for the dragon.  The following morning early we returned with our guide for a two hour trek.  We were very fortunate to come across 10 or so dragons feasting on a recently killed buffalo right on the trail.  They tend to bite them in the groin and as their saliva is toxic the mighty buffalo soon fall ill and die.  The feasting beasts did not mind us coming to close they were so enjoying the feast.  We felt so privileged as it's not a sight often seen.  It was only the third feed the guide had seen this year.  The smell was horrible and we had to leave eventually when a new dragon arrived and got a whiff of our scent.  What a fantastic day.



2 September 2008 Labuan Bajo, Flores                                                                                                   31nms

The last port of Flores for us but the first for many coming from the west.  We are at the western end of Flores in the Mangarai region , the stepping off place for the World Heritage site of Komodo.  It's a bustling thriving town, falling apart and run down but with a certain charm.  We anchored firstly in the Harbour where we were able to refuel and do some shopping.  We moved Katanne to anchor off the beach to see the Kaki dancing which involved two opposing teams of dancers with bullwhips hitting each other and actually inflicting some quite serious blows causing injury under the clothes but all taken very seriously.  A wonderful dinner followed later in the evening with yet more dancing.  The population of Flores is more Christian and animist than Muslim but all are tolerated and live in harmony.  The sound of the mosque though does tend to awaken us quite often. 


1 September 2008 Bari, Flores                                                                                                                 29nm

Overnight stop, nice arriving at lunch time with plenty of time to swim, make dinner and prepare for another day sailing.


31 August 2008 Lingeh Bay, Flores                                                                                                         33nms

Overnight stop


26 August 2008 Riung, Flores                                                                                                                 45nms

We anchored off the town  jetty .  A cluster of wooden houses on stilts,  nestled round the pier with an avenue of trees leading up to the town.  Buffalo were under the trees and the place had the air of a sleepy back water.  No market so little to be got in the way of shopping apart from eggs and a pleasant cup of coffee served on a tray with cup and saucer and out of a teapot....

We spent one night there and the next morning moved to one of the 17 islands which make up a marine reserve.  The island was sandy with palm trees and coral and some beach tables for day trippers brought from Riumg.  We could see the main island only about 20 mins by dinghy away.  We stayed for 4 days it was so relaxing.  Clear water with great snorkelling for me.  I encountered two great big cuttlefish mating off the reef which was amazing and saw many different fish and corals. I even found a small baby conch shell with host.  A couple of boats joined us, not too close by and we had a bit of a respite from the rally and all its activities.  Hard to leave our desert island.


24 August 2008 Ciendah, Flores                                                                                                                              30nms

 An overnight stop in pleasant bay.


23 August 2008 Mausambi, Flores                                                                                                          45nms

Another rally stop in the Ende region but the conditions were so rolly we did not stay for the official events but left the following day.  Ramadan has now begun so we had extra long prayers all night.


18 August 2008 Maumere, Flores                                                                                                                                        22nms

At the resort of Seaworld in the Sikka region of Flores the rally made its next formal stop.  A great welcome was laid on with all the people of the area pouring to the beach to see the dancing and displays put on for us as well as sport on the beach and rowing races.  There was a lovely swimming pool which we could use but not a lot of other tourists.  The buffet dinner and dancing with the speeches given by the regent and tourist ministers are becoming a bit of a routine but so enjoyable with amazing foods to try so well worth it.  There is so much singing and dancing , everyone being genuinely pleased to see us.  We arranged with Double Dutch to visit the Three coloured crater lakes of Kalimutu in  the Ende region.  It involved an early morning ride across the island to the south coast and up to the craters in the early morning.  It is best to see them when the sun hits them full on.  The colour of the water has changed in each of the lakes over the years due to the chemical composition of the soil and minerals in the water.  So now instead of being maroon, turquoise blue and black , they are green , brown and turquoise. It was a lovely drive through the rice paddies and farmland.  Stopped for a lovely lunch on the way back and visited a village by the sea on the south coast.  Everyone is trying to sell us a scarf....


17 August 2008 Besar, Flores                                                                                                                  24nms

A very rolly one night stop in lovely bay on the island of Flores


15 August 2008 Hading Bay, Flores                                                                                                        42nms

The island of Flores at last.  We are going to be sailing along the north coast


14 August 2008 Sagu Bay, Palau Adonara                                                                                                               15nms    

An overnight stop only but plenty of time for a wonderful snorkel with beautiful coral and lots of fish.  Locals came out to boat looking for books and pencils and just for a look at us.


11 August 2008 Lewoleba, Lembata                                                                                                                          32nms

Lewolaba is a great bay with a nice beach front.  Here the welcome took a slightly different note.  A band of horsemen led the fleet of lorries and bikes carrying all the sail Indonesia participants round the town and nearby villages for the locals to see us.  A real cavalcade.   A dinner was laid on in the nearby restaurant and welcoming speeches by regents and ministers was responded to by Tom our elected spokesman.  The dancing was colourful and enjoyed by all.  The tour around the island to Lewolein Village proved to be a highlight.  We were shown all the traditional ways of life , from making of Palm wine , weaving and all styles of cooking .  Tom was the chief for the day and given a traditionally woven sarong to wear.  We enjoyed a wonderful lunch under the trees and dancers performed local rites and sports (Tug o War).  There was a traditional dance of sword fighting which the children started with swords and shields, Tom joined in  which caused great amusement.  After lunch they gave us a demonstration of how to catch fish by hand.


The villagers changed into their               work sarongs and some men went to the head of the bay to the rocky outcrop and drew their net to the shore,  all of a sudden the villages rushed, from young to old, into the sea shouting and beating the water.  They then pulled hundreds of small fish from the water, by hand and stuffed them as fast as they could into their clothing until there was nothing left.  They had caught hundreds of small fish which would then be gutted and dried and maybe sold                                                                                             

Dances were put on in the evening , the best one being one where a man ended up balanced horizontally on the top of a tall bamboo pole..  definitely something not to be tried at home.

10 August 2008 Balurin, Lembata                                                                                                             57nms    Overnight stop only.


6 August 2008 Alors,  Alor Archipeligos                                                                                                                           138nms

The town of Kalabahi was our destination after sailing slightly NE of W Timor and having to time our morning arrival with the tide and have the current with us up the "selat". Useful having being giving some wonderful tide program to use. A sleepy place in the midst of a local festival and expo was our destination.  Again a huge welcome and crowds of school children clamouring for our autographs greeted us.  We were taken to the museum and the expo to see the dances of the many tribes and displays of local goods as well as weaving displays.  The variety of cultures is as diverse as its religions.  The animists with trees in hand and leaves around their heads standing next to girls in sarongs to the Chinese dragon dancers welcomed us.  A buffet dinner was laid on in the square in front of the anchorage.  I and two other ladies , dressed in local dress for the fashion show to be held afterwards.  It took 3 hours to be pinned into the Ikat clothes and we felt very special. We were also taken to visit a village up in the hills to be greeted by the chiefs with bows and arrows in hand and wailing ladies dancing in retreat in front of us drawing us up to the houses of bamboo and sticks.  They performed traditional welcomes and invited us to join in.  This was followed by picnic lunch by the sea, the local school children also came to dance for us and we all had a great time. Then in film star style we were taken to a botanical garden and each planted a tree.  A sandal wood for Tom and a Teak tree for me.  We are accompanied everywhere by a police escort and following amubulance.......


I managed to arrange a dive trip after a frantic and rather hairy, motorbike ride through the town in the evening with Ahmed our rally assistant, and his little girl to find the dive shop, and enjoyed two fabulous dives in clear water with great coral.  The giant frogfish and the tiny Pygmy seahorse were the stars of the day


30 July 2008 Kupang, West Timor                                                                                                          453nms


Our arrival in Kupang was tremendous, suddenly after a good five days at sea where were thrust into a multitude of people all thronging to see us, saying "Hello Misterre"and the roar of motorbikes everywhere, the normal mode of transport for the Indonesians.  After being impounded by customs we had to remain for the week whether we wanted to or not until the bureaucracy of the rally was sorted out.   All a perfect waste of time and unnecessary as we later found out they had decided to treat us a commercial ships not leisure craft.  The hospitality though was amazing. We were given a bit of a tour of the island taking in the making of the stringed Sasando instrument (bamboo with up to 43 strings for plucking) from Rote Island to the south greeted by beautiful dancing girls.  We stopped for traditional cake and drinks and a bit of dancing with the locals and on to lake.  The road was lined with flags to greet us for 14km and as we approached we were overtaken by villagers on foot and bike who wanted to see us.  This was the first time any tourists had visited this spot ever they told us.  We were greeted by the chief, presented with Ikat scarves, the first of many and joined in the welcome dance.  The ladies were all dressed in their finest sarongs and the toothless smiles showing red mouths from too much beetel chewing showed the delight of them all.  A wonderful lunch followed the Regent's speeches and prayers.  We were able to see how they wove the Ikat and walk by the lake.  Every child and adult wanted to shake our hand or have a photograph taken.

We were also feted at a special dinner by the regent and formally welcomed .  The Sail Indonesia Fleet was officially in Indonesia at last all 120 boats of 14 different countries.


Darwin


We spent a very useful month in Darwin enjoying the hospitality of the Darwin Sailing Club.  Our fridge which had broken down after leaving Seisa was swiftly repaired, a great relief as we had stocked up with lots of cheese in preparation for Indonesia. We put wheels on the Dinghy as there are such big tides it would be difficult to pull Kitten up and down the beach without them. 


  The weather in Queensland is ideal in mid winter with lovely dry sunny days and not a drop of rain in sight.  We were able to enjoy the night markets at Mindl beach ,a stroll away, in the cool evenings with great food and street entertainers.  We visited the Museum which has a wonderful collection of beautiful Indonesian fishing boats, confiscated for fishing illegally as well as the largest crocodile captured and unfortunately died in the process of relocation having attacked the locals in Fannie Bay.  "Sweetheart" is now stuffed and preserved for posterity.   There is information about the cyclones which are prone to hit and a bit about the aborigines.  There is also a museum in the old prison and we took a day trip to the Litchfield National Park.  A trip down river crocodile Dundee style was great with many sea water crocs swimming and lounging on the banks.  We were able to go very close and almost touch them...  There were also a great variety of birds and sea eagles to be seen.  After lunch we took a walk through the bush to some old aboriginal cave drawings and to see the sacred rocks. 


We stocked Katanne to the gunnels with boxes of good Australian wine about 140L for our forthcoming trip as well as lots of

General provisions  for the next three months in Indonesia where Aldi and Woolworths will be missing.


1st July 2008 to Darwin                                                                                                                            100nms

                We left just before midnight and caught a 3kt current but no wind so we had to motor for the first 13 hours. Once clear of the Howard passage which we transited at slack water we picked up enough wind and were able to sail to Darwin. We arrived at Fannie Bay at 1345.  We were greeted that evening to a brilliant fireworks display held annually to celebrate Darwin Day. We moved position next day with spring tides of over 7 m. The fridge had ceased to work on 27th  but we were able to get if fixed by lunchtime on the second. I also  fitted wheels to "kitten" the dinghy.


30th June 2008 to Alcaro Bay                                                                                                                   40nms

                A 0630 departure and yet another lovely sail until the last hour when the winds died. The big genoa was put on in Somerville and this kep our speed up with lighter winds. Alcaro lies just before Cape Don and is useful as a stop to wait for the flooding tides through the Dundas straights.


25th 2008 June to Somerville Bay                                                                                                            569nms

                We left at 0820 and arrived at Somerville at 1645 on 29th June. We had a fantastic sail with winds from 15kts to 30kts. For the most part we had a reef in the main and the genoa poled out. The seas eased dramatically after Cape Wessel. Our best run was 145 nms in 24hrs with reefs in the main and genoa.


19th June 2008 to Seisa and "over the top" via Cape York                                                                       45nms

                Left at first light (0615) and had a nice sail. Went through the Albany Passage making 9ts with the current. Then over the top of Australia with Cape York to port and down the W side of the cape. We were close hauled at Possession Is. But the sailing was fantastic with flat seas and winds to 25kts. We arrived at 1300. Seisa is a lovely anchorage; it's a small town but has a supermarket and internet access and showers. We enjoyed a couple of evenings ashore  having drinks with fellow cruisers.


17th June2008 to Escape river                                                                                                                  73nms

                An 0315 departure and a wonderful sail  with winds less than 20kts. The river was full of pearl rafts and we anchored well up the river in very calm waters. We arrived at 1600. It was miserable the next day so we stayed at anchor.


15th June 2008 to Grenville Point                                                                                                                             46nms

                Up anchor at 0640 and a lovely  sail with reefs in. We arrived at 13.30 avoiding the shallow water that had Nimbus aground. Fixed the outboard (new plug and cleaned carb) Saw a number of manatees (dugongs) and had drinks with Double Dutch and Oz


14th June 2008 to Portland Roads                                                                                                                            40nms

                0630 and on our way with reefs in and winds to 35kts, seas to 1.5m only and at times we were making nearly 8kts. We arrived at 12.30 averaging nearly 7kts.


13th June 2008 to Night Island                                                                                                                 21nma

                Departing at 0915 with winds to 30kts we arrived at 1330. Saw our first and only crocodile on the beach here.


12th June 2008 to Morris Island                                                                                                                               60nms

                An 0420 departure with light winds so we had to sail and motorsail arriving at 1515.


11th June 2008 to Flinders                                                                                                                      15nms

                We left at 0930 with winds from 10 to 37kts with a reefed main and genny arriving at 1220  to a lovely anchorage.


10th June to Bathhurst bay                                                                                                                       75nms

                We left at 0530 destined originally for Ninian bay. We had winds to 35kts and a squall which reached 47kts. Ninian bay was untenable so we continued to Bathurst where we found a calm anchorage. We arrived at 1745.


4th June 2008 to Lizard Island                                                                                                                 32nms

                Another great sail leaving at 0640 and arriving at 1330. I caught another mackerel 1 minute after putting the lure in the water!! Lizard Is. Is the first place we have found clear water but of course N of Cairns it is not possible to swim because of the presence of salt water  crocodiles.  Good snorkeling with plenty of Giant clams to be found.  Climbed to the top of Cooks Look to see where he had searched for a way out of the reef and also walked to the Research station.  Found some lizards for which the island is named. Winds were up to 35kts by the 6th so 10m of extra chain laid out. We went up Cooks Lookout and to the resort and the Marlin bar and happy hour on the beach.


3rd June 2008 to Cape Bedford                                                                                                                               35nms

                Wind at last with a lovely downwind sail in 10 to 15kts. Seas are very flat now as we sail inside the great barrier reef. Caught a nice 10lb mackerel. We had a a 7hour sail arriving at 1400


2nd June 2008 to Hope Island                                                                                                                  40nms

                We managed to sail for the first hour and then it was back to motoring. We arrived at 1400 after leaving at 0630.


1st June 2008 to Low Islets                                                                                                                      37nm

                We had 5 very pleasant days in Cairns which is a very beautiful city. We went the cinema twice and enjoyed lots of fresh frui and veg.  However, we had to motor again with no wind and took a visitor mooring.


27th May 2008 to Cairns                                                                                                                          15nm

                For this short trip we just let out the genoa arriving at Cairns marina at 10.30 , a 3hr sail.


26th May 2008 to Fitzroy Island                                                                                                                              64nms

                We left at 0315 and were pleased to do so after a very uncomfortable rolly night. We reefed the main and the no2 genoa. The winds were to 30kts easing later but we had a good sail arriving at 1500


25th May 2008 to Dunk Island                                                                                                                 37nms

                We had to motor thro' the channel and only got a sailing breeze in the last hour arriving at 1400 hrs.


24th May 2008 to Haycock Island                                                                                                                            19nms

                 The overnight winds died and we had to motorsail to the Hinchinbrook Channel and Haycok Island. A secure anchorage.


23rd May 2008 to Orpheus Island                                                                                                                            40nm

                A glorious early morning (0655) sail with the genoa poled ou. We arrived in Little Pionerr bay at 1400 and picked up a visitor mooring. Winds were up to 30kts overnight with rain squalls


22nd May 2008 to Magnetic Island                                                                                                           12nms

                We motorsailed to Horseshoe bay but with lots of rain showers we cancelled our plans to go snorkelling in Repulse bay.


19th May 2008 to Townsville                                                                                                                   144nms

                A good wind to start with but then the wind died and we had to motorsail.. We made for the breakwater marina arriving at 0945 on 20th May.


16th May 2008 to Nora Inlet Hook Island                                                                                                                8nms

                Another secure anchorage but rain showers so Nicolette  made some country flags. We were very dissappointed  with the Whitsunday's the re were few good anchorages and the islands are tree covered and not very interesting. Swimming and snorkelling are not an option                                


13th May 2008 to Cid Inlet                                                                                                                       11nm

                A pleasant sail to a very secure anchorage


12th May 2008 to Lindeman Island                                                                                                          15nm

                We found a better anchorage at Coconut bay off Lindeman Island. The waters in the Whitsunday's are very murky so we couldn't snorkel and swimming was not inviting.


8th May 2008 to the Whitsunday's                                                                                                           420nms

                We had originally intended to go only as far as the Percy Islands but ultimately decided to go straight to the Whitsunday's.  After a variable sail with winds to 35kts at times and dead calms as well we made for Goldsmith Island but couldn't find a  suitable anchorage there so made for Thomas Island instead. The anchorage there was poor, our first sport had us surging thro'270 degs and laying to a lee shore so we moved only to find we had williwaws up to 30 kts (katabatic winds from the shore). We arrived on 11th May at 1430                                                                                                                         


6th May 2008  to Fraser Island                                                                                                                 98nms

                We set sail after 6 months ashore, The wind was variable so we motorsailed  and sailed our  way there. We anchored in Pelican Inlet and celebrated my 62nd birthday there. Nicolette made chocolate cake.


24th April 2008

                Katanne is out of storage and back on the hard for our return. Over the next 5 days I applied 3 coats of antifouling and polished the topsides. We went back into the water on 29th and I fitted the AIS receiver which I discovered needed it's own GPS but fortunately I had a spare available.  



6th March to 21st April 2008

We went back to the UK


9th February to 6th March 2008

Visits to the Hunter, Mudgee and Orange wine districts and to the Blue Mountains


Wine summary:

We tasted 27 different wine varietals and 15 different blends, visited, 4 wine districts and 43 wineries (plus 9 more where we didn't do a tasting) and sampled 235 wines.


3rd March 2008

We have finally got rid of the camper   Hurrah.  Staying back at our friends Jacquie and Eric in Horsfield Bay.  We spent the weekend back in the Hunter  where we tried a few more wineries such as Mistletoe and Pigs Peake.  It was a short drive back to the house and comfort.   Just lots of packing to do for our flight to the UK.


28th February 2008

Mudgee is a lovely town with some nice hotels and restaurants and an Olympic sized swimming pool which was near the campsite.  There are many wonderful vineyards.  The most well known was of course Wild Oats.  Robert Oatley's boat competed in, and won, the Sydney to Hobart race we watched start after Christmas.  The weather was mostly kind to us but we did have a spectacular storm and heavy rain one night.


21st February 2008

The rain returned so we headed to Orange another grape growing region.  It's at a much higher in altitude from the Hunter so they have cool climate wines.  The area is very lovely and much more rural  than the Hunter and less touristy.  The wineries were open for tasting over the weekend which was great and we stayed until  Monday and then headed for Mudgee driving down the back roads through some national reserves.  Some of the roads were unmade but the van coped very well.


20tth February 2008

After a week it was time for a pause from the drinking and the crowds who flock to the wineries for tasting and educating so we headed to the famouse Blue Mountains.  The town of  Katoomba sits on the edge of the rift valley provides a central point for walking and sight seeing.  The stunning peaks and eucalyptus lined mountain sides are amazing.  We took the Scenic cable car and aerial rides which gave stunning views of the Three Sisters and other promontories.  We were able to follow the board walk through the trees below.  Fortunately we had a lovely dry sunny day to do this.  The weather in Australia has been very unseasonal and it's been much cooler and wetter than anyone expected.  This has been good for us otherwise we may have been baking in the van.


18th February 2008

We have spent the last week in the beautiful lower Hunter Valley in the town of Cessnock.  A ovely campsite with en-suite facilities including a kitchen sink and somewhere to leave our things.  We not only tasted many wonderful wines but found the Smelly Cheese Factory and sampled the cheese and ice-creams as well.  They grow many olives which are also available for tasting along with Dukkah , a  spicy nut mix which you take on bread dipped in the wonderful flavoured olive oils made locally.   We went to the organic vineyard of Tamburlaine for a tour which gave us a great insight in to how wine is made from the time the grapes are picked.  We were able to take sips from the barrels at various stages of the process and finished up with a cheese plate and some wonderful wine.  After much swilling and tasting and pouring away the excess we got to know the Shiraz , the verdelho and chardonnays as well as many others.  Many of the vineyards are just dealing with the home market and are Boutique wineries.  Others are much bigger such as McGuigans and Tyrells but the quality and consistency of the wine astounded us.


11th February  2008

Headed off from Sydney northwards to Point Stevens.  Here we camped by the river at Koala Shores in the rain.  There were no bears to be see or sunshine so we continued on to the Hunter Valley.


9th Februaray 2008 Sydney Australia

We went to the one day Cricket International at the Sydney Cricket ground where Australia beat Sri Lanka.  We also took the train in one day to visit Darling Harbour and Circular Quay and the Rocks where it all began for Australia.

In Sydney house sitting for Eric and Jacqui who are holidaying in Bali.  It's wonderful to have a place to stop and rest from the camper van for a few days.    The weather has been very wet with so much rain that it looks as if the drought that Australia has been suffering may well be over as a result of the La Ninea conditions. We're looking after their 2 cats Sasha and Willie. In the evenings a possum has been appearing on the deck to look at us which is very sweet.


28th January 2008

 Now In the Kosciusko National Park in order to visit the spectacular Yarrongabilly Caves.  These are only 100,000 years old so the stalactites and mites are relatively new and growing rapidly as there is lots of moisture.  There is also a lovely thermal bath in the valley which is 27 degrees.  It was built by convict labour and wonderful to swim in.


25th January w2008

In the Barossa Valley with its many vineyards and other orchards, in the valley of the Murray river.  Stopped and bought some boxes of Clean Skins (excess wine bottled without labels which is sold for a fraction of the price)  It's large green body of water snaking through the eucalyptus but it's not that inviting inspirt of the heat.     Saw lots of emus running down the side of the road on the way to Mildura and on to Hay.  We went for a beer in the local bar which was very typical of the Australian pubs.  There is a sheep shearing shed there but there was no live display as it was a public holiday for Australia Day.  Another highlight missed me fear.....


21st January 2008

Adelaide is definitely the nicest of the Australian cities visited so far.  The campsite was a bus ride away from the city centre and the 4th test between India and Australian was to be played here.  We did the usual Museum and Art Gallery trips. We visited the lovely botanical gardens with its amazing giant Amazon water lily pool and the National Wine Museum.  For the Test we stocked up with goodies from the wonderful food market and had a lovely day.  I am at last beginning to understand the game a little more. 


8th January 2008 

Off down the Great Ocean road to Adelaide. This was a little a little disappointing as much of it was inland and the bits of the coast line we could see and reach was not swim able anyway.   The flies also make sitting out or walking a bit of a nightmare and we resorted to our head nets, found in Kmart, for relief.  The rocks called the 12 apostles are now eroded away to 6 and the second of the arches of the London Bridge has collapsed so it was not that spectacular really.    We had stopped on the Otway Peninsula and camped in a eucalyptus forest.  There were some lovely walking tracks through the trees which were full of Koala Bears.  There were so many, some with babies and all very active feeding in the twilight and again in the early morning.  They are as cute as they look and just as vacant.  We were diverted back inland by a road accident on the Sunday afternoon and found ourselves at Mount Gambier with its amazing blue crater lake.  It's really an amazing dark sapphire blue quite different from the glacial blue lakes seen in NZ.  At Keith we had kangaroos jumping past the campsite fence which was fun.  There are also large flocks of pink and grey birds called Galah's which are  members  of the cockatoo family but quite different from the usual sulphur crested ones we have seen in Horsfield Bay.


12th January 2008

Off to Wilson's Promontory and on to Melbourne. .  We did see an Echidna walking down the roadside which was surprise.  In Melbourne we used the bus to get us into town and the trams for getting about.  We did the Immigration Museum, Ned Kelly's Goal, the War Memorial and more botanic gardens and also the Gold museum.  The city was buzzing with the Australian Open tennis being played and the weather was lovely.  There is also a very, very good fresh market with many wonderful things to eat.  


 2ndJanuary 2008

So it was off down the coast.  Unfortunately it's the main school holidays and the sites on the coast are full of holiday makers so it was all very crowded.  Pebbly Beach was the first pretty spot we came too and we found some wild kangaroos and huge monitor Lizards nearby.  We were able to meet up with Keith and Christine from Poco Andante (Tom raced in her in the Bahia Redonda regatta in 2006.  We last saw them in Bonnaire, 2006) who have been in NZ working for the last year and are in OZ on holiday too.  We went on a trip into the mountains in their 4 wheeled drives Toyota, which was fun. We went for a lovely walk in the primeval virgin forest. We also saw a few dead wombats on the roadside which made a change from the many dead squashed possums on the road of NZ where they are considered pests.  We all headed inland to Canberra the capital of Australia.  Sightseeing covered the two houses of parliament, the war memorial, Art Gallery, Portrait Gallery and Museum as well as the Mint and a drive through the consular district with its distinctive houses reflecting the nationalities it represents.  We spent a day at the Manuka Oval watching an Invitation II play India and headed on down through the Tidbinbilla Reserve where we saw Emus and Kangaroos and a Lyre bird. 


22nd December 2007 Horsfield Bay, Woy Woy, Australia

 We are with Eric and Jacqui who have now moved into their new house around the corner from their old house.  A trip to the Sydney Opera House for the Christmas Special was a wonderful way to start the festivities  which ended with a spectacular night on Garden Island, part of Australia's Naval base to watch the New Years eve fireworks.  We had the best view in town of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and  joined the rest of Australia to see the new year in.  A very kind friend of Eric and Jacqui's let us stay in his apartment for the night.  Then it was off in the third of our campervans to explore South East Australia.


23rd  November 2007 South Island New Zealand


 We arrived in Wellington for two nights which gave us an opportunity to see the amazing Te Papa museum  , the Botanic Gardens and a ride in the little cable car.  We then took the ferry across the Cook Straits to catch the train down to Christchurch.  It runs along the coast for most of the way but we could see vineyards and there are also salt ponds.  Again there was an open viewing carriage for us to use and we arrived in Christchurh in the late afternoon.  Our second camper van was not available until the Friday so we had a few days just to relax in the very modern Hotel So which I think is modelled on the idea of the Japanese sleep pods.  It is a new very modern hotel in the heart of the city.  So it was more museums gardens and strolls round the shops.  Once we got our van we headed for Arthur's Pass.  The Scenery had changed and we felt we could have been in Scotland with the gorse and rugged mountain sides.  We spent the first night by the side of a lake  on a fisherman's track free camping, as they say, on the way down to Greymouth.  We drove north a little way to see the Pancake Rocks  and then headed south for the Glaciers.  We saw both the Franz Josef and Fox Glacier but the weather was a little disappointing with dark cloudy skies and some rain though it did brighten a bit.  We saw many lakes including Lake Hawea where Tom went fishing.  He caught one small trout which he replaced only to find that that is what they take, no wonder there are so few fish these days.  Lake Wanaka was beautiful and we did a wonderful climb past the small diamond lake to view Mount Aspiring.  Again a swim in Lake Wanaka was most refreshing. We drove on south to Queens Town and on to Te Anau were we waited for a couple of days in the pouring rain.  We wanted to go up to Milford Sound but the weather never eased and in the end we gave it a miss.  We had tried possum meat pies on the way down and here we found some good venison pies.  Deer fill the fields nearly as much as sheep and cows.  The density of animals is amazing but the grass just grows as there is so much rain. 


We drove to the Otago peninsula stopping to look at Dinosaur trees and a petrified forest on the shore line.  These are fossilised trunks which look like rocks. Through Dunedin and on to the Otago Penninsula which has the only mainland Albatross nesting ground in the world along with a disappearing gun built to fend off invaders which never came and we were able to view the southern Royal Albatross nesting and flying which was definitely a highlight.  Then on to Omaru home to the yellow eyed penguins found nowhere else in the world and the smaller tiny blue penguins.  The yellow eyed ones came ashore singly and manage to climb incredible cliffs to their nests.  On the other hand the smaller blue ones all come ashore together in rafts of 50 to 60 at dusk.  We watched them land and return to their waiting chicks after being at sea all day.  From there we went up through the hills to Lake Benmore en route for Mount Cook.  The clouds descended and the rain covered the mountains so no view was to be had and we had to make do with a video.  On then to Lake Tekapo, with its stunning blue colour and fields of lupins.  We visited the observatory at Mount John where there is a satellite tracking station and also the small ecumenical church of the Good Shepherd on the lake.  There is a statue to a dog called Friday which belonged to an infamous sheep rustler.  After nearly three weeks we headed back to Christchurch to catch our flight back to Sydney.  There was a lovely carol concert in the Cathedral  which put us very much in the mood for Christmas.


2nd November 2008  North Island New Zealand


After Hauling out of the water into the yard on 2nd November  we drove down to Sydney via Coffs Harbour and joined our friends Eric and Jacqui Henry in Horsfield Bay just 30 miles north of Sydney. We visited the wildlife park nearby to see the wombats, roos, tasmanian devils, echidna and other indigenous creatures we hoped to see later in the wild.  After the weekend   seeing the city and the museum, we flew to North Island New Zealand. We spent a couple of days exploring Auckland and then hired the first of our camper vans and headed north to the Bay of Islands.  The Museum in Auckland provided us with Maori Dance and insights into the culture of the Islands.  A trip up the Sky Tower gave us a wonderful view of the Bay but Tom did not think $195 was enough to make him do the bunghy jump   Wangarai and Opua are two of the ports much frequented by other pacific crossers so it was interesting to see where they all were.  We went to Waitangi where the treaty was signed with the Maoris.  We took a trip around the famous Bay of Islands where the boat squeezed through a hole in the rock which looked far to small and then headed back through Auckland to Lake Rotorua.  The famous pink and white terraces are long gone but the town remains.    We explored the geysers (they drop soap down the hole of one to make it blow for the tourists daily) and the mud baths and took the walk through the lunar landscape with its lovely different coloured pools.  We visited the Victorian Spa baths which are now the museum. There are some amazing rivers and falls too which are part of the Hydro power system which were well worth a look. We also took the opportunity to visit a breeding centre for the elusive nocturnal Kiwis.  A lovely campsite on the Blue Lake nearby was very peaceful and I was able to swim and then we headed for Lake Taupo where we did some free camping on the edge of the lovely lake. Again the swimming was wonderful and Tom and I enjoyed an amazing sunset.  We returned to Auckland to drop off the van and catch the Trans Scenic Train to Wellington, the capital of NZ.


The train was fabulous with a large viewing section in the rear carriage in which we were seated.  The mountain views and Volcanoes topped with snow combined with many viaducts and a very complicated spiral rail track to get us up the mountain provided us with spectacular views. A lovely relaxing journey and Tom was able to enjoy not driving.


21 October 2007 Scarborough Marina



We have been 2 weeks in the marina and during that time we have had a major service of the engine and had the rigging tuned. Lots of small jobs have been done but we have also managed to go to the cinema 3 times. The last occasion was free after I one tickets for the cinema from a free newssheet. The editor kindly drove us back after the private showing of "A Mighty Heart" and a couple of days later he offered us the use of his old Honda car so now we have wheels, We also have free WiFI on board. Nicolette is taking advantage of the free very large outdoor swimming pool and we had a great time at the seafood festival held just outside the marina. Jacarandas were in full bloom in Brisbane when we went there last week, it is a modern and very vibrant city. The surrounds of Scarborough are lovely with lots of parks within  which there are numerous free electric bar- b- ques


26 Sept 2007 Manly to Scarborough Marina, Moreton Bay, Queensland                                 20nm



                The next morning we had a leisurely motor up to Scarborough marina were the boat will stay until we leave for Darwin next May.   


25 Sept 2007 New Caledonia to Manly nr Brisbane Australia                                                  768nm

                I had spent some time trying to choose a good time to leave NC. At this time of year there is always the chance of a low pressure system running up the coast from the Tasman Sea. If this happens then you can expect 50 plus of wind and very big seas. More than one yacht has been lost in these conditions We Left at 1030 after clearing customs and immigration with a well established high pressure system off the coast  by Brisbane. We sailed for the first 24 hours then the wind died completely (which I had half expected) Over the next 5 days we motored, sailed and motorsailed. By the 30 Sept the winds had got up to 28kts but we were close hauled and bucking an adverse current. We arrived at Many Harbour Marina at 1200 on 1 Oct 2007.  ^ hours previous to that as we were entering the NE passage -which is a shallow water approach to Moreton Bay - a saw a humpback whale only 20m ahead of us , his tail clearly out of the water coming straight for us. We were in 4m of water and I was concerned that he might hit us. In the event he went under us, I could see him very clearly as he passed down and beneath our starboard side. Imagine my surprise when 2 humpbacks surfaced only 15m behind us. The other must have passed underneath and on our port side.  Customs, Immigration and Quarantine came aboard  and gave us clearance to enter the country. The quarantine officer took away some whole cloves, whole allspice, popping corn and mayonnaise (containing more than 10% egg) He would have confiscated any fresh meat of fruit or vegetables had we had any.



17 Sept 2007 We to Noumea, New Caledonia                                                                          140nm

                We left at 10.30 in order to make the Havaannah passage (south of New Caledonia) at slack water. The wind was very variable so we had to motorsail for much of the time. Once clear of Havannah the wind died and we motored up to Noumea and to the marina at Port Moselle arriving at 1400 on 18 Sept. Noumea is a modern city and very French and a worls apart from the life and culture of Tanna. We visited a couple of museaums, had a disappointing meal out but enjoyed a local festival and music in the park.


11 Sept 2007 Tanna to We, Lifou, Loyalty Islands                                                                  160nm

                We took up the anchor at 0600 and sailed with a reef in the main and genny. The winds were 25kts with an uncomfortable sea. We arrived at We at 0815 on 12 Sept. There is a small marina there which we enjoyed but little else to commend We.


3 September Port Resolution, Tanna, Vanuatu

                We were immediately taken by this lovely island. There was a village close by ; all the huts being made from  logs for the structure. Plaited palm leaves for the roofs and woven palm leaves for the sides. The villagers were most welcoming and we were able to barter for food, a meal on the beach and for a truck ride to the volcano. I had seen the bright red glow of the volcano the night before we arrived. We took a truck to a point only 150m from the caldera (in exchange for 10litres of diesel) and were able to look into the crater. Unfortunately there was no wind that night so the dense smoke obscured our view but we could hear the lava bubbling and occasionally erupting above us. We took another truck to Lenekal to check in and the route took us round the bleak base of the volcano. On the way back we stopped to witness the start of a circumcision ceremony. Boys aged between 4 and 15  are circumcised without any anaesthetic using a sliver of bamboo. Afterwards they are kept in isolation for 3 weeks and then the ceremony is held. There was a feast of food, fresh cooked pork ( and pigs waiting to be slaughtered) and lap lap which is cassava and meat wrapped in palm leaves and cooked in the ground for many hours. It was similar in appearance and texture to brawn

                We had 2 lovely meals on the beach with white sand, palm trees and a beautiful blue sea surrounding us. (some cutlery paid for one of the meals) and watched the men of the village try, unsuccessfully, to catch a wild boar using only bows and arrows, catapults and spears.

                The only problem we had was occurred early one morning when  the wind suddenly rose to something over 40kts and we dragged about 200m to a point uncomfortably close to a reef. We reset the anchor and had no further incidents.


30 August 2007 Musket Cove to Tanna, Vanuatu                                                                    550nm

                We left at 0830 and after 2 hours we were in 25-30kts winds with the seas building. Given that Tanna  is open  to any wind from the Eat we decided to make course for Port Vila.  For the next 2 days we had rough seas and winds well over 30 kts with occasional gust over 40.  However  early on 2 Sept the winds eased and moved round to the South so we decided to make for Tanna arriving there at 0800 on 3rd September.


27 August 2007 Vunda Point to Musket Cove via Lautoka                                                      22nm

                We first cleared out in Lautoka and then sailed down to Musket Cove arriving at 1500. After anchoring in 15m  we were offered a mooring which we took. The resort offers free bar-b-que facilities to the yachts which we took advantage of and of the swimming pool.  We also became life members of  the Musket Cove Yacht Club.


24 August Waya to Vunda Point                                                                                                              35nm

                We left at 080 and arrived at 1430. Vunda point is a marina and  made a pleasant change and cost very little for the 3 days we were there. We were able to take on fresh water and top up the fuel and Nicolette spent a long time cleaning the topsides and the stainless steel.


16 August 2007 Suva to Lautoku Fiji                                                                                      100nm

                We left at 1300 with a reefed main and genny. The wind was soon up to 34kts which is gale force 8 but with it being abaft and with easy seas we had a very pleasnt sail.. Once we were in the shelter of the island the wind died and we motored for the last few hours. The land around Lautoka is very brown compared to Suva. They have little rain there whereas we seemed to be under a rain cloud most of our time in Suva. We dropped anchor at 1015 and went ashore to do our clearance in. The next day we sailed up to Waya and the Octopus resort (32nm). What a find. The resort welcomes yachts and allowed us free rein of all the  facilities. Eating out there was very reasonable and we took advantage of the walking tours up the hills and to the local village. The Fijians like Kava and the men will drink it most evenings if it's available and it is customary to take Kave with you to present to village chief. We were invited to a Kava ceremony and I was elected chief of the visitors so whilst the rest of our group toured the village I had to stay and talk ( and drink Kava) it was a memorable experience. Nicolette went on a night snorkel and also went diving. The coral reef by the beach was excellent and in very good condition and so there were lots of reef fish to see.


5 August 2007 Fiji to Tonga                                                                                                    435nm

                We left at 0900 and for 3 days we had a most glorious sail with the big genoa poled out and the main out on the other side. Even with an adverse current we were averaging nearly 5kts. On the last day the wind got up to 28kts and backed to the south so we reefed down and continued to sail well. We arrived at Suva at 0900 on 9 July and anchored in 3m . Suva reminded Nicolette of Durban and there seemed to be more Indians than Fijians in the town which was very busy and vibrant. We went to the cinema 3 times and to a lovely rainforest and the museum. We also ate out a number of times and had some wonderful curries.


22 July Tonga

                Neifu lies by a lagoon which is some 7 miles from the open sea. Tonga is made up of three distinct island groups and we were in the northerly one. The town is lovely and everyone dresses traditionally with the men in long skirts and the women in skirts with bamboo wrappings. We sailed at the weekend (24th) to Port Muella which is only 10 miles or so from Neifu and enjoyed seing more humpback whales. We went to a number of other anchorages over the next 2 weeks or so and also had a wonderful lobster meal one evening at Neifu.  Shortly before leaving for Fiji we were told that Nicolette's brother,Gremmy , had had a serious climbing accident and had suffered severe head injuries. ( he made a good recovery and by 19 October was back at home  still undergoing therapy but improving) We also were told that my grandson, Jakaira had fallen from a tree and had a ruptured spleen ( by 19 October he was doing well but had not returned to school because of the danger of suffering a hard knock)


19 July 2007 Niue to Tonga                                                                                                     260nms

                We left at 0900 with light airs which built during the night and we made good speed with reefs in the main and genoa. The next day the winds eased as did the seasand we had a glorious sail with our friends on "Flight" within sight. We arrived at Neiafu at 0900 on 22 July. Note that there was no 21 July since we crossed the (artificial ) date line en route.


12 July Alofi, Niue

                The island of Niue is primarily of limestone and has no rivers running into the sea or any outflow of water from the land. As a result the waters round the island are the clearest in the world and one can easily see the bottom in 40m . Niue is also a breeding ground for the Humpback whales and whilst e were there we saw a number of them at close range actually swimming through the anchorage. The anchorage itself in also of interst. It's not usual to anchor because of the depths but the Niue Yacht club have laid 40 excellent moorings. Going ashore is an adventure as well since there is no place to moor the dinghy. On arrival at the wharf it's a case of everyone jum ping ashore leaving one person to hook the dinghy up to the hook of the crane and then after vacating the dinghy it is hoisted ashore. Except on our arrival the seas were so bad that we couldn't get ashore and we were hoisted up with the dinghy!!.

                Niue Yacht club is the focal point with wifi and good company. The members, none of whom have a yacht, do everything possible to make life easy and feried us around wherever we wanted to go. The anchorage can be untenable in a Northerly which we had on arrival but and it was very rolly but improved the next day.


7 July  Raratonga to Niue                                                                                                         586nm

                We left at 8 in the morning  with all sails up to make the best of the light SE winds but by 1415 the winds haddied completely and we had to switch the engine on. The wind came up early the next morning an we continued close hauled with 10- 15kts.  The wind was variable for the next 2 days and came form most directions and at various strengths but by 10 July we had 30kts plus and were reefed down with rough seas. The wins eased a bit the next day b ut we were close hauled and not makinig our course.  We arrived at Alofi  at 080 12 July.


1 July Raratonga.

                We are anchored med style stern to the quay as we did in Papeete. On the 29 th we had a walk round the town and found ourselves in an exhibition of locally made bedspreads. After talking with some of the ladies we were invited to the Kai Kai which means eat eat. The next day we joined them at the Kai Kai and had a vast assortment of  foods. We tried most of them including many which  were totally unknown to us. Octopus, pork , chicken cooked a dozen different ways, fermented coconut milk, lots of unknown vegetables. We were given a plate made from a leaf and half a coconut shell , no utensils only fingers to tear away a piece of pork or octopus tentacle. It was a lovely experience especially since we were made so welcome and I was asked repeatedly if I had had enough to eat. The Cook Islanders are quite large so they probably thought I needed fattening up. One other surprise, we can buy malt vinegar here which we have not seen since Gibraltar. There are fish and chips shops and we shared a single fish and chips (lots of vinegar too) and which was more than we could manage.


23 Jun Bora Bora to Raratonga, Cook Islands                                                                          535nm

                The weather forecast indicated that if we didn't leave straight away for Raratonga then we would be stuck in Bora Bora for another week. The forecast proved to only partially correct. We left at 1130 and for the first 24 hours we had rough seas and it was very rolly but we had expected this to be the case. However we made good progress making nearly 130nm in the first 24 hrs. The sailing conditions improved and it was very pleasant until wee were suddenly hit by a squall which had winds peaking to over 40kts. I managed to get a wrap in the genoa in my haste to douse the sails but also got the mizzen down without any damage. After the squall had gone through I was a

ble to unwrap the genoa. Nicolette slept through it all and only woke up as I had got everything sorted out. We then had lots of rain squalls but none with excessive winds in them but it did mean we sailed with reduced sail. By the 26th we had good sailing conditions again with the wind backing to the North. This continued until dusk on 27th when the wind strength increased to I put in a precautionary reef in the main. By 0500 on 28th the wind was up to 30+ kts and was from the SW (the direction we were going in) We were unable to make any headway so we motored the remaining 90nms to Raratonga which took us over 24 hours. 2 boats only 50nm behind us were unable to motor into the seas and wind and arrived 36 hours after us. Katanne proved again to be very seaworthy when motoring into 16ft seas. Nevertheless we were very pleased to reach a safe haven and to do so without damage to the boat. The forecast weather was a predicted except the SW winds arrived  more than 24 hours before forecast.  4 days later the winds are still blowing from the SW.


19 June 2007 Raiatea to Boar Bora                                                                                          21nm

                We had a lovely sail arriving at 1530 and anchoring off Bloody Mary's . It was very windy there but on 20th I decided to take a free mooring. Unfortunately our mooring line broke in the night - I had however put on the anchor alarm  and so we were alerted immediately and I was able to clear  the reef area and set the anchor. The anchor alarm is part of the GPS and records a specific position. If the boat moves more than .02 or .03 nm from this position then  the alarm goes off. The incident was all of my making because I invariably put out 2 anchor lines and for some unknown reason didn't do so on this occasion. The Boara Bora festival started on 22nd and we watched some really fabulous dancing. There were 2 troupes each of about 60 dancers. They were both traditional with lots of hip wiggling and grass skirts but the second troupe were especially good and so well co-ordinated. We were thinking of moving to a less squally anchorage but the forecast winds were such that we decided to make an early departure for Raratonga      


12 June 2007 Mo'orea to Raiatea                                                                                                             200nm

                We left at 0900 and had a lovely if somewhat slow sail with clear skies overnight. We arrived on 14th at 1300 to discover that the cutlass bearing Had arrived!!

                There isn't much to do in Raiatea so we were pleased when we were able to haul out the boat at 1400 on 18tth. I removed the max prop and rope cutter and had some help with the cutlass bearing. The old one came out easily and we had no trouble putting in the new one. Putting back the max prop took the longest time but I was pleased to note that all the cogs and gears were in good condition.  I also serviced and put back the rope cutter and managed to finish just as the sun was setting at 6pm. We were back in the water  by 0900 and went straight off to Bora Bora.


11 June 2007

                Still in Mo'rea and having a wonderful time but we may leave tomorrow. We had an impromptu bar-b-que with six or seven other boats and there were 11 nationalities represented. We also went to swim with the sting rays and sharks and that was awesome. There are some fabulous photos of the rays and sharks in the picture gallery. We enjoyed a kilo of locally farmed fresh (live when we bought them) prawns and also had an evening out at the nearby Sheraton resort where we watched a local traditional dance group. Mo'orea is one of our favourite spots and we'll will be a bit sad to leave it but the fitting of the cutlass bearing has to be the priority.


31 May 2007                                                                                                                            18nm

                We motored out of Papeete very gently at 1000 hrs and picked up a light wind which took us to the entrance of Opunohu bay which is where Captain Cook actually anchored and not in Cook's bay which is just to the East. Arriving at 1430 hrs we anchored in 14m but a day or 2 later moved to a better anchorage in 6m. The water is remarkably clear and the snorkelling very good. In the morning when it is flat calm you can clearly see puffer fish around the anchor chain and even an eagle ray swimming by. The land surrounding the bay is volcanic and there are massive pinnacles of rock at the head of the bay. It has to be one of the scenic bays we've anchored. We took a scooter round the island and saw a number of marea (sacrificial altars) and an unparalleled view of the 2 bays from Belvedere view point.



23 May 2007 Rangiroa to Papeete Tahiti                                                                                  194nm

                Fortunately we had plenty of wind for this overnight sail, in fact we had too much and spent the last 8 hours reducing sail to slow down and make a day time arrival. We had lots of rain showers and distance lightning and very variable winds. Altogether it was a frustrating sail not helped when the autopilot decided to shut down. Recycling it brought in back in short time. We moored "med" style at the town quay in Papeete arriving there 0930 hrs. "med style" means putting down an anchor then reversing to the quay and securing the stern to it. Our first attempt failed because our anchor had snagged on a very large chain but which allowed the anchor to drag. Papeete was wonderful.  We soon got used to the traffic close by which was virtually non existent in the night. Nicolette was able to hop ashore whenever she felt like it and go window shopping at her leisure. Lots of fresh water and shore power was a luxury we had not enjoyed for months. We could eat out where a number of food wagons set up each evening 300m away or get a take away from the market. Fish and Chips in a baguette for instance!! Together with Flight we hired a car and toured the island and in the process picked and bought loads of  pamplemousse from a roadside house.


8 May Ua Poa to Rangiroa - Tuamotos                                                                                    550nm

                A 5 day sail with little or no wind for much of the time. We used the spinnaker whenever we could but at night we had to be cautious because of the numerous rain showers and squalls. A few hours before our arrival at Rangiroa   there was a heavy noise and vibrations from the prop shaft. I thought it might be the rope cutter but we were thereafter very cautious using the engine.

We anchored in 12 m arriving on 13 May at 1500 hours which had been timed to go through the pass into the lagoon at slack water. Currents of up to 9 kts can be experienced if attempting to enter at the wrong time. The noise was caused by the inner sleeve of the cutlass bearing becoming detached. With help we were able to get about 2 inches of it back into the bearing and then Nicolette secured a jubilee clip just forward of it to stop it coming out again. We decided to haul out at Raiatea which would give us plenty of time to get a new bearing. "Flight" arrived shortly after us and together we went on a dinghy drift through the pass (3 times) which was good fun. In addition the snorkelling was excellent with black tipped sharks, rays and a plethora of different coral fish. We also had a lovely buffet at the Kia Ora hotel. Also went to a pearl farm and bought some beautiful black pearls. One for Nicolette and one each for Joanne and Kathryn, my daughters.

7 may 2007 Hakahetau to Hakamaii                                                                                        5nm

                A quick motor sail found us in a much better anchorage with no swell arriving at 0700. The anchorage is only big enough for 2 boats and is in an enclosed bay with a settlement at the head but no where to take the dinghy and go ashore.


6 May 2007 Nuka Hiva to Ua Pau - Baie d'Hakahetau                                                                            25nm

                We left at 10.00am and had a good close reaching sail with 15kts of wind and flat seas. Arriving at 15.00 we anchored in 12m. The bay is overlooked by spectacular rock formations but the anchorage was extremely rolly  and we had an uncomfortable night.


29Apr Tahuata to Nuka Hiva                                                                                   87nms

                A pleasant overnight sail broad reaching with somewhat rolly seas. We arrived in convoy with Double Dutch, Flight and Wombat of Sydney. Nuka Hiva is the main administrative centre for the Marquesas but like the other islands we've seen is very laid back. Nothing much seems to be going on and it's difficult to know what everyone is doing. There are 2 or 3 reasonably well stocked shops but prices are very high and even local produce is not cheap with a grapefruit costing well over a dollar (and there well laden grapefruit trees everywhere.

                I was able to buy a new replacement display head for the depth sounder and arrange for a new hydraulic drive unit for the autopilot to be delivered to Papeete 


27 April Fatu Hiva to Tahuata                                                                                  42nms

                A good sail until in the lee of the islands when we were hit by 38 kts squalls. Anchored in baie Hanamoena which was one of Eric Hiscock's 3 most beautiful anchorages in Polynesia. It is very pretty and a bit like Saline Bay in Mayreaux in the Caribbean. We went with friends in their dinghy to a nearby bay and had a lunch of prawns at a local restaurant.


22 Apr 2007 Baie de Vierges Fatu Hiva, Marquesas, French Polynesia

                We arrived at daybreak after the worst 24hours of sailing of the whole crossing.  The depth sounder was not working but we have a portable one so we were able to take soundings.  The baie of Vierges means bay of virgins but it's said that originally the "i" was missing from vierges so it translated as the bay of the phalli. It's easy to see why with massive columns rising out of the cliffs. The anchorage is spectacular and apart from the williwaws (strong squalling gusts of wind) coming off the hills it was very comfortable and a great place to settle down and reflect on our passage. Of course we overdid it by walking up hill and down dale and then suffering with stiff limbs the next day. We arrived virtually in convoy with Flight and Paws which had left just the Galapagos just after us. Other friends turned up over the following days and Wombat of Sydney was already there having done the crossing in 17 days in his racy First 47.  We had no local money but Nicolette bartered with a t shirt and perfume for a whole stalk of bananas, grapefruit and mangos and a pareo (sarong) for herself. Mike off Wombat was took apart  the autopilot motor, cleaned it out and got it back to working condition.



29 Mar Galapagos to Fatu Hiva, Marquesas, French Polynesia                                                3000nms

                We were well prepared for this, our longest passage so far, but set off in light airs and had to motor sail until we were clear of the islands. Until the 5 April we had indifferent winds and for long periods no wind at all. We were also going through the ITCZ (used to be called the doldrums) which gave us cloudy skies and some rain. I decided to motor at the most fuel saving speed I could which meant we made about 4kts under motor. Although we motored for a total of 80 hours we only used 120 litres of fuel. When the wind came up we were able to put up the spinnaker and then as the wind increased the big genoa on the pole which was often furled in with increasing wins. We never experienced more that 25kts and for the most part the winds, when we had them were between 10 and 20kts.  On a long passage like this the individual days are forgotten there is only yesterday, today and tomorrow. Food becomes very important and Nicolette never ceased to amaze me with the variety of meals she produced. We ate very well on the trip and unlike the Atlantic crossing I lost very little weight.

Rather than give a day by day blow I have extracted some log entries:

9 Apr Fabulous 24 hrs clear skies reaching with 12kts. 6+ kts with current, later winds down to 10 kts spinnaker up making 5+ kts

11 Apr Third day of great sailing. 10 -12 kts on the beam good seas. Big genny working well

12 Apr Autopilot failed. Rigged up tiller pilot to drive hydrovane rudder. Had to reef main and lower mizzen to balance sails

17 Apr wind 18-20kts. Genny poled out with reefed main. Lost another big marlin but very exciting to watch. Adverse current of .7kt Watching porpoises when spinnaker pole brackets flew off. Used jubilee clips to effect a repair. Autopilot back on line Yippee!!

20 Apr autopilot failed again. Back to tiller pilot. Spinnaker down ad ref in main. Tiller pilot not working well, discovered bolt missing from securing bracket. Fixed it.

                We caught and lost a number of very big fish en route. Some broke the trace and other just straightened the hook. They were too big to land anyway but we enjoyed the spectacle as bystanders. We also had a great time watching a 20m whale which came so close it sprayed me and its breath was awful. We read 20 books on the crossing but maintained watches all the time. There was very little commercial traffic but with our autopilot problems we needed to keep a close eye on the sails and on the tiller pilot.

                I had decided that with the arrival of La Nina and stronger trade winds that we had no need to go to far south before taking the rhumb line to the Fatu Hiva. I therefore took the rhumb line at 100W and 5S whilst other went as far as 10S. This paid off because we kept the wind but didn't get the very severe rolling conditions that the Southern boats suffered. We had it for the last 36 hours and it was really awful and tiring. Others had it for most of their crossing so we were thankful that we had such a smooth time of it. We had established a net on the HF SSB radios and checked in each morning. At the beginning there were only 5 of us but by the time we arrived there were some 24 boats on the net. It was very useful to hear where the others were, the speeds they were making, the course they were taking and the conditions they were experiencing. I think it was accepted by all that the route we took turned out to be the best. We made the crossing in 24 days which was very creditable. A40 ft catamaran took 22 days as did a Halberg Rassey 47 and a Nauticat 40 took 26 days.




13 - 29March 2007 in the Galapagos

                During our time here we visited the Darwin Research centre, Tortuga Bay, Los Greitos, Isla Bartholemew, Isla Floreana, Isla South Plaza, Isla Isabella and a bay tour in Puerto Ayora.

                These islands are special for a number of reasons. Charles Darwin went there and realized that he could easily see that the animals and birds had evolved over many years to suit particular circumstances. He wrote the evolution of the species which turned on its head all the thinking that had gone on before and of course it was very controversial. To think that man had evolved from other primates was too many, unthinkable. The Galapagos Islands are a long way from any other landmass and so the animals and birds had all got there somehow and then adapted to the islands. For example there are about 15 types of finch which have all evolved from a single type. One of them is called the carpenter finch because it picks up a stick in its beak and uses it to pry out the grubs in the bark of trees. Another finch has a very pronounced beak with which it can crack hard seeds and another has a way of cracking open shells.


The Tortoises on the islands are massive and live for 100s of years; it is the only place on earth were they are found. There were 100s of thousands of them until the first pirates and settlers came along. They killed the tortoises for food and took lots of them away on their ships because a tortoise can live for up to a year without food or water so the sailors had a supply of fresh meat for many months. Other predators like the rat and the goat and the cow and the wild pig have even the fire ants have done so much damage that the tortoises can no longer breed in the wild. The rats and fire ants eat the eggs and the goats and other trample on the nests. Fortunately in 1967 breeding centres were established on a number of the islands and even though there were only 15 tortoises on one island they are now doing very well. The eggs are collected as soon as they are laid and then taken to the breeding centre to incubate. The young tortoises are kept at the centre for 4 years and then released. There are differences between the tortoises from different islands some have flatter shells than others for example. We went to see the tortoises in the wild, they like to go to farming areas in the dry season to eat and that's were we saw them wallowing in mud baths if they found one or roaming around.


The penguins came from Peru and are very small only about 30cms high they have adapted to the climate but unfortunately couldn't adapt quickly enough to cope with the EL Nino weather which raised the water temperature so much in 1991 that many thousands died and there was no breeding for some years. We went to see a colony but they were nearly all away at sea. That colony is now only 800 strong when before 1991 it was many 1000s and after 1991 the population went down to less than 500


The iguanas are really special because they have evolved to create a separate species which is the marine iguana and can only be found in the Galapagos. The marine iguanas are black and this is because the rocks on the shore are volcanic and black so they are well camouflaged. They eat under water plants but also wander about on land as well. They, like the land iguana, obviously believe in their camouflage because when you approach them they just freeze and you can get within a couple of feet of them before they move. That makes them very easy to photograph and it almost as though they are posing. It's a strange thing about all the wildlife in the Galapagos but nothing is frightened by our presence. Birds will sit a few inches away, sea lions swim to you, tortoises just ignore you and the iguanas pose and the hummingbird moth will come to the boat to drink from a can of Pepsi.


I had a fabulous experience swimming with the sea lions, like everything else they are totally unafraid of us. One of them came right up to my mask and nudged it then swam away and then swam round me. We also went to see a colony of sea lions. They seem to have lovely time sunbathing for most of the day them slipping into the sea to catch a fish for dinner. They are warm blooded so don't spend too much time swimming around and when they do you often see them with a fin sticking out of the water. It gets warmed up by the sun and helps keep them warm. Sometimes they lie on their backs in the water with 2 fins in the air. The female sea lions can wander off and join another colony whenever they feel like it and there are some colonies which are called bachelor colonies. The alpha male can get very tired watching over all the females and babies so he takes time off too at a bachelor colony.  Sea lions are different to seals in that they have ears and they can use their back flippers to walk which a seal can't do. They are very common all over the islands and we saw them at most of the places we went to. They don't care where they sunbath so they are often found on the backs of boats or in a dinghy.


The blue footed booby is another very special bird unique to the Galapagos. They look quite comical with bright blue feet but of course those blue feet have a purpose. A bit like the peacock and its spreading tail the blue feet of the Booby are used to attract a mate. The bluer the feet the more healthy the bird and therefore the more likely to attract a mate. The colour of its feet comes from the food they eat just like the pink flamingos we saw which get their colour from the pink shrimps they eat.


7 Mar 2007 Las Perlas to Academy Bay Galapagos                                                 880nm

                We had light winds to begin with and then for the rest of the passage we had very little winds and motored for many days. On the 9 March I noticed that the revs were limited to 2000 and changed the fuel filter. When I restarted the engine the starter battery exploded. It was quite dramatic and of course happened at night. We removed the battery and dumped it and cleaned out all the acid from the battery box. I wired the starter to the service battery and we continued on our way.  That same night we had a lot of lightning around us and at one point we had to make a big diversion to the west to avoid 3 large cells that had developed on our track and only about 4 miles away.  We celebrated my first crossing of the equator on the evening of the 12 March with champagne and smoked oysters and anchored in Academy Bay at 0800 hours 13 March.


5 Mar 2007 Contadora to Isla San Jose                                                                    23nm

                Another lovely sail between the islands. We discovered on arrival that the downhaul and up haul brackets on the spinnaker pole had become detached. The area around the rivets holding them had become corroded. I put in oversize rivets which seemed to work (see Pacific crossing)    


4 Mar 2007 La Playita, Panama to Contadora, Las Perlas                                        38nm

                So good to be sailing again and we had a good reach using the big genoa, the seas were flat so we went very well even when the wind died. I lost Nicolette's beloved rubber bucket overboard but fortunately she was able to dive for it and retrieve it.




16 Feb 2007 Transit of the Panama Canal                                                                                33nms

                After picking up our friends Martin, Ian and Murray who were to act a line handlers we had the pilot come aboard then rafted with 2 other yachts Melis and Amazing Grace. We were on the starboard side. The transit through the first 3 rising locks went without incident. The locks are over 1000ft long and not designed for small boats so the potential for accidents is very real. Line handlers on the lock side take in our big lines and secure them to bollards. The line handlers on the boats then take up the slack as the water rushes in. With a nest of 3 boats we only had the 2 starboard lines to look after. We spent the night on the lake moored to a big buoy and the pilot came aboard about 6.30am the next morning. Then it was a motor for 28nms across the lake to the down locks. This time one of the yachts tied to a passenger ferry and we tied to them whilst we were in the locks. It was quite a moment when the last lock opened and we entered the Pacific Ocean.  We anchored at Playita about 6 miles from the canal and from there went into Panama City a number of times. We enjoyed an evening at the carnival although we missed the procession and went to see a number of films. Panama City is very modern and the opposite of Colon, being clean and safe. I installed an in hull transducer for the depth sounder and bought a new navigational computer


13 Feb 2007 Colon.  

                As I write this update we are only 3 days from our transit through the Panama Canal. We have been busy making sure the boat is ship shape. Checking nav lights and an engine service together with a massive stocking of provisions. Colon is not a nice town, it's very run down and walking around town is not recommended. It bears no comparison with Panama City which is very modern and clean. After our transit with Linger Longer we stayed overnight in Panama City and were able to go to the chandlers, buy a small DVD player and go to the cinema.


31 Jan 2006 Isla Lintone to Colon (Panama)

                A lazy 0900 departure with heavy rain and low cloud. We had to motor for a while whilst I unjammed the main halliard which had caught round the mast steps. Then a broad reach to the breakwater outside of Colon. We anchored on the flats (as the anchorage is called) but when we dinghied into the marina we were met by Willi and Gloria who had an outside slip. After negotiating with the dock master we tied up alongside Linger Longer and when they left 3 days later we took their slip.  Very good because the holding on the flats is notoriously bad and a few days later a number of boats dragged with only moderate winds. We transited with Linger Longer acting as line handlers which was good fun and was a good experience prior to our own transit.

               


29 January 2006 San Blas (Chichime) to Isla Lintone                                                              48nm

                We departed about 7.00 am and had a good sail inside some substantial reefs. We had a beam sea which made for some rolling and twisting and with the winds at a good 25kts we kept in the reef in the main. We stayed close to the shore to avoid an adverse current offshore and arrived at Lintone at 1500.  The anchorage is in large open bay and in 11m


The San Blas islands

                There are 365 coral reef islands in the San Blas some close to the shore and therefore with mud anchorages but many others a few miles offshore with sand anchorages. They have been described as being similar to the best islands in the Pacific. All I can say is that they are spectacularly beautiful. They are what we dream of when we think of a desert island. The islands are only a foot or so above sea level and are fringed with pure white sand with clear blue waters lapping them. Coconut palms are in abundance and occasionally one or more of the Kuna Indians will stop by in there ulus (dugout canoes) offering to sell or barter wonderful big crabs or lobsters or fruit and veg. The ladies come by in their ulus selling Molas which are pieces of embroided cloths about 15 -18 inches square. Except that aren't really embroided. They cut out intricate patterns which show the cloth underneath and which is then invisibly stitched. Other pieces are stitched on top. Have a look at the photos in the picture gallery to get a better idea.

                We spent a month in the San Blas and visited a number of islands including Gertie which had a sizeable village on it. From there we went on a 12mile jungle hike after a 40mimute ulu ride. We had a bar-b-que on the beach with Alianna and enjoyed a wondrous meal ashore of lobster tails and coconut rice. The only downside of our time in the San Blas was the loss of a yacht called "After You".  I noticed a yacht on a reef about 1.5nm from us on the morning of 11 Jan. The single handed skipper had come from Cartagena and arrived late in the day. Unfortunately he had caught a rope round his engine whilst playing a swordfish and so was without an engine. To compound things he had been told there was an easy anchorage close to the East Hollandes entrance when there is not and certainly not at night. He put down an anchor in 30ft but it was on a shoal and sometime in the night it dragged into 50m and then onto the reef. There was little we could do to help since many other bigger boats and dinghies were on the scene. The yacht was eventually dragged off the reef at about 5pm but sank in less than a minute.

The islands are so enchanting that at one stage I considered staying there for some months. However we decided to stick to our plan and reluctantly left the islands on 29 Jan.

               



29 December 2006 Cartagena to the San Blas islands                                                              195nm

                We left at about 4.30 pm and were soon dealing with winds up to 25kts on a broad reach and a reef in the main. Within hours the wind was touching 35kts and so the main was taken in and the genoa reefed to the point were there was only a handkerchief left up. We were still doing well over 6kts with seas that peaked at about 18ft. Wonderful if somewhat boisterous sailing but we going to reach the San Blas in the dark which is not a good idea. After 24hours the winds abated but we stayed well reefed to reduce sail and eventually hove to arriving at the East Hollandes entrance at about 08.00 hours. We an chored in 5m close to Alianna (with Sim and Rosie) at the Southern end of the East Hollandes cays)


Cartagena

                After a few days at anchor we took a slip at  the Club Nauitco marina which was our Christmas treat. The old city of Cartagena has to be one of the most beautiful in the world. Cobbled streets with lovely 17th century buildings all with balconies which are covered in multi coloured bouginvilla. We took a walking tour round the old fort and the old city including a couple of churches and museums. I also arranged a Christmas lights trip in a chiva (wooden bus). 40  of us went on the evening of 22 December. There are big prizes for the best lit street, balcony and house so the lights and deorations were of an extremely high standard. On Christmas day we had a "open boat" for a couple of hours and many of our friends popped  by. For Christmas lunch Nicolette cooked a truly wonderful beef Wellington which followed a prawn dish I'd prepared.Christmas pud and mincepies of course - I think it was our best Christmas since we left the UK. We went to the mud baths which was an experience in itself and managed to see Casino Royale and a poor Swan Lake (one act only) All in all we had a really good time in Cartagena.


30 November 2006 Punta Hermosa to Cartagena                                                     54nm

                No wind for our early morning departure until we reached Zamba Bank after about 4 hours. Then we had a fabulous coastal sail all the way to the entrance of Cartagena. The North entrance was blocked off in the 17th Century to stop the British fleet using it but more recently the submerged wall has been breached making a 4m wide gap for small boats to use, it saves over 2 hours using this entrance. Our first impression of Cartagena were good. The Old City can be seen first as you close the shore and then the high rise buildings on the Bocogrande. After clearing the entrance the harbour opens up and is massive. We headed for the yacht anchorages in the NE area of the harbour and anchored in 3m close to Club Nautico. Since our arrival we've strolled round the old city and it is beautiful with narrow streets and fabulous buildings most of which have flower bedecked balconies. We've also been to the mud baths which was great fun.


29 November 2006 Rodadero to Punta Hermosa                                                     54nm

                Please to be away from the relentless partying that went on all night on shore we settled for light airs that eventually died altogether . We'd made a 0445 departure to ensure we crossed the manzanilla river entrance before lunch but it was a non event with calm seas and no wind. We arrived at 1330 and anchored in a wide shallow bay that was well protected from all but the SW. Helen Louise were with us whilst the rest of the flotilla had elected to stay at Rodadero


28 November 2006 Bahia Guajraca to Rodadero                                                     17nm

                I put the main up for this short sail and got caught by a v very strong gust as we cleared the bay. We were laid over to about 80 degrees before I could release the main and in doing so I managed to sustain rope burns to my hands. We then took the main down and used the Genoa  to  motorsail the remaining distance. We anchored in 4m off the tourist beach and were immediately visited by a number of pedalllos.          


24 November 2006 Mojes del Sur to   Bahia Guajraca (Columbia) GMT - 5 hours in Columbia             198nm

                We were wing and wing until  Punta Gallinas after an overnight sail passing Gallinas at 0800 . Most of the other yachts anchored there whilst we elected to take advantage of the good winds and continues to 5 bays. However we had very strong adverse currents  but the boat was sailing very well. A big wind shift at 2330 hours was followed by no wind at all so we had to motor for the lat 12 hours into 5 bays at 0930 26 Nov. On the way we caught an 8 lb Dora do which we shared with Clarabella when she arrived some hours later. The SV Arhia was in distress some 27nm from our anchorage with a broken rudder and injured skipper. The Columbian coastguard sent out a rescue vessel with a doctor on board. 5 bays was a lovely and very secure anchorage except for the strong gust of winds coming off the surrounding steep sided hills.


21 November Aruba to Monjes del Sur (Venezueala)                                                              56nm

                We averaged 6.5 kts in winds up to 25kts on a broad reach - my log says "a cracking good sail". Mojes del Sur is unique. It is 2 very small rock islands 150ft apart lying 35nm offshore. The top of one of rocks has been removed to create a dam between  the 2. The dam is about 15ft and behind it (west of it) there is a rope strung from one island to the other to which visiting yachts tie up. We had set off before the other yachts so we were on hand to help them tie up. It was quite a sight to see 6 yachts tied to a single rope 150ft long sheltered behind a 15ft dam 35nm offshore. We did encounter a large swell for some of time which was caused by a big low that caused strong gales further West.


20 November 2006  Aruba to Airport anchorage Aruba                                                          10nm

                We made 7.5kts with the main alone and a very strong current. Winds were up to 30kts in the anchorage. Now a small flotilla of 6 yachts (Helen Louise, Clarabella, Wild Orchid, Decoursey Spirit, Mystic Adventure)


19 November 2006 Curacao to Aruba                                                                     46nm

                We left early in the morning in a rain squall but thereafter we had clear skies and slightly stronger winds. Nevertheless it was great sailing  averaging well over 5kts. We anchored at the East end of the island close to a massive oil refinery. The anchorage was rolly. % other yachts arrived within 20 minutes of us.


18 November Spanish Waters to Santa Cruz (Curacao)                                                            27nm

                6 hours of lovely downwind and reaching we anchored in 4 in a delightful bay with a nice sandy beach.


12 November Bonaire to Curacao            (Spanish Waters)                                                    38nm

                Light winds but lovely downwind sailing  8hours to cover the distance. Anchored near sv Sol to pick up their wifi service. Did some shopping to top up on stores.


5 November 2006 Solavento (the Aves) to Bonaire                                                 43nm

                An 8 hour downwind sail averaging over 5kts with 12-15kts of wind, we have had some of best sailing in the past week. Caught and lost 4 fish  (can't work out why I keep losing them) Out for dinner twice whilst here and a trip to the cinema. Took the dinghy over to Klein Bonaire where Nicolette snorkelled. I had a cut finger so didn't venture into the water.


3 November 2006 Barloventao to Sotavento                                                                            19nm

                With continued good winds we had another peaceful sail. 4 hours to the anchorage at Palmeres.


2 November 2006 Caya de Agua to Aves de Barlovento                                                          32nm

                Yet another lovely sail with  15kts of wind, the genny poled out. A seven hour sail saw us anchored in the middle anchorage. Last year we arrived here in a squall and had difficulty seeing the reefs but with clear skies this time they were extremely visible.


1 November 2006 Carenero to Caya de Agua                                                          9nm

                Another delightful sail in 12kts of wind. Anchored in the southern anchorage but as last year this caya is overrated and not very comfortable. Caught another booby which managed to get free and fly off without any intervention.


30 October 2006 Los Roques to Carenero                                                                               12nm

                A downwind run with 15 - 20kts  using the genny only and making 4.5kts. It was a lovely peaceful sail. Then we encountered a squall just as we were passing Carenero so anchored in a very secure bay. We had been here the previous and were inundated with flies but this year it was a delight. Large shoal of small fish were being hunted down by a shoal of bigger fish and as the massacre moved along the edge of the mangrove the pelican would fly ahead of it , settle in the water and wait for the shoal to come to them - bills open in the water, then fly ahead again and repeat the process.


27 October 2006 Tortuga to Los Roques                                                                 103nm

                We left at 1500 with good winds and close reaching. Somewhat surprised that we had a strong adverse current. We sailed the outside route and anchored Francisquis a few miles from grand roque. With no wind we motored for the last 4 hours and arrived at 11.30. A very secure anchorage  


25 October 2006 Puerto la Cruz to Tortuga                                                                              65nm

                Whilst in Puerto la Cruz we obtained a very large second hand light weight Genoa and had covers made for the dinghy. We had also had some repairs done to the main and a new UV strip for the Genoa. It was an uncomfortable sail to Cayo Herradura sailing close hauled with 20kts of wind.  During the night I had a problem with the furlex which turned out to my fault. I had anticipated light winds and put on the new Genoa but hadn't put enough extra turns on the furlex so in taking it I broke the furling line and managed to damage a stanchion and part of the furlex. We enjoyed the peace and quiet of the Cayo after the close confines of the marina in PLC.


13 September -13 October  2006     Trip to Peru and Bolivia


After securing the boat and leaving keys with friends we got away at 1030. It was a long trip spent mainly sitting around in Caracas airport and we finally got to Lima at 02.10. There was a taxi waiting for us to take us to the Hostal Espana. After a good sleep (despite the noise - the Espana is a very noisy place) We set off  to see the Catacombs under the convent and which spread for miles under Lima and the changing of the guard at the palace. The marching  is very much like you'd see in  toy town  and although the spectacle lasted over an hour the guards were never actually changed!! A tour of the first of many Cathedrals and then our first lunch. I hope not to bore you with details of all we ate but the food was very good and there were some significant highlights. Anyway our first meal which cost £2.20 for the 2 of us consisted of a cerviche, steak and soup and a drink.  The Jesuits were a  vicious lot as we discovered when we went to the museum of the inquisition. It needed a very perverse imagination to come up with all the forms of torture they devised. The day was rounded off with a couple of pisco sours and pizzas. We had been advised to go to the National museum  before seeing Machu Picchu and it was well worthwhile. Our guide talked us through the Peruvian culture from 600bc to the Spanish conquest.  The Inca period actually lasted only a very short time but had a massive impact on the country.  After another excellent lunch (fish, soup and pork chops) we went to see the basilica of Rosa of Lima. She's the first saint of Peru but had some strange ways. She was heavily into flagellation and would hang  by her hair so that she could stay awake all night to pray. She made herself a cell to live in and wore barbed wire vests. Nevertheless she was revered in her time and statutes of her are found all over the country. We ended the day with a trip to the church of Saint Dominica.  We had a great evening after finding some open bars and live music and lots of locals enjoying themselves. Lots of street food including boiled potatoes and chicken gizzards (40p) and delicious pork sandwiches.

16 September saw us on our flight to Cusco and accommodation at San Blas II (our most expensive hotel). We ate virtually next door on fresh trout and then watched a film. Quite a few bars set aside a room for watching DVDs. Next day I wandered round the Plaza d'Armes whilst Nicolette dosed herself with Sorochi pills to counter the effects of altitude sickness. We had both  been drinking lots of Mate Coca made from coca leaves ( from which cocaine is also made) but poor Nicolette had succumbed.  There was a massive procession at the  square which seems to involve the whole town and later I discovered it happens every week. What patriotism!. Next day we took a tour of the city, another cathedral and another church and then to some very interesting Inca sites, Saksaywaman is spectacular and here the Incas used very large rocks, some 150tons, which were shaped and finished so they fitted together perfectly. Next the water temple at Tambo Machay and then to Qenko and its sacrificial altar. The Incas only sacrificed humans on very special occasions, normally it was the llama or alpaca that suffered.

                Then to the Sacred valley going first through Pisac primarily so that we could see the market there - we didn't buy anything except a couple of delicious empanadas! Urumbamba for a buffet lunch then to Ollantaytambo which was a very significant Inca fortress and is still a spectacular sight.  Next Qenko another Inca site and then to Chinchero which is a village that has lots of Inca remains. The highly decorated church is built on an Inca base and the main square is unchanged from the time of Inca. Tried Alpaca in the evening - not much different from steak.

                Now the 20th September and time for an early morning (05.40) departure and our train journey to Agua Calliente and Machu Picchu. The train journey was wonderful with fabulous views as we meandered up the valley and the sides got steeper and closer so by the time we got there it seemed more like a canyon than a valley. Took a room at Don Guillers (not up to much but only £8.00 a night) and then off to the hot springs to relax.. Up at 5.30 to catch the first bus to Machu Picchu.


MACHU PICCHU

                It's difficult to describe our feelings when we first saw the whole site. The location of course is special  being as it is some 2,400 m high and perched on top of a steep sided mountain, The size of the area covered by the buildings is more than I expected and the surrounding views are fantastic with mountain peaks all around.  We hired a guide as part of a group and spent the next 2 hours being immersed in Inca culture. Most of what we heard is intelligent supposition because the Incas had no written language. It's incredible to think the Machu Picchu was only completed in 1450 but by 1500 it had been abandoned. Of course no one knows why, perhaps a neighbouring war, drought or  starvation. There weren't many body remains so it's unlikely to have been a plague. Who knows? After the tour we wondered around freely marvelling at the wonderful stone work;. The site is in pristine condition primarily because it was not discovered by the Spanish who would have destroyed it in their search for gold. Only the roofs are missing because they were constructed of wood and thatch and were designed to be recovered ever 5 years. The Incas were great astrologers and most of the sites are built at places with significant astrological interest. For example Machu Picchu has a sort of sundial which shows the position of the sun on 21 June but also the sun is seen to rise directly from behind one of other of the surrounding mountains at specific equinoxes. We marvelled at the intricate stone work and the sloping doorways and windows which were designed to be earthquake proof ( and they are). We sat and soaked up the incredible feeling of just being there. Many say that they feel a spiritual presence  but I thought it was just awesome. After lunch we walked up to the Sun gate which gave us an incredible view of the whole of Machu Picchu from above.  

                The next day I set off early again with the intention of climbing Wayna Picchu  which towers over Machu Picchu. I made the top by 7.30 after a gruelling 31 minute climb. I thought I was alone up there and revelled in the silence and majesty of it all when a Swedish guy popped up having arrived 2 minutes before me. The top of Wayna Picchu is a mass of large rocks one of which is flat and reputed to be a sacrificial stone. We sat in  waited for the clouds to clear but more than that just revelled in our being there. After 40minutes or so a group of French arrived and the silence was gone forever. Then the clouds began to clear and we got our first fleeting glimpses of Machu Picchu from our wonderful vantage point. Within half an hour the clouds had gone completely and we could see every detail of the site. The memories of what I saw in those minutes will be cherished and with me forever. After about 900 minutes I set off to find the temple of the moon which is on the backside of Wayna Picchu and about 400m down.  I discovered an almost unused route which a local guide was taking with a private group of 2 so I followed them for an hour down a near vertical  track which came out directly above the temple. It's a very special place and the stone work is even finer than that at Machu Picchu but it was not as spectacular as MP. The climb up  Wayna Picchu was a doddle compared with the way back form the temple. I had to climb back up to a point about 200m from the top of WP and traverse the side of it. Near vertical steps had been cut into the rock face and the trail went up and down as I made our way round. It took over and hour but some of the views were unbelievable. Safely back at MP I found a quiet spot and lay down to rest.  I spent another couple of hours taking in Machu Picchu and then returned to Agua Calliente and a wonderful soak in the hot springs.  We had a nice meal in the evening  and a good night's sleep. A leisurely walk around the town the next day including a walk down the railway tracks and then back on the train to Cusco.


                Back in Cusco and a special meal that evening when I had cuy which is guinea pig. It's a Peruvian speciality and has been eaten for 100s of years. In fact most of the paintings in Peru of the last supper feature a guinea pig as the main dish. It came without the hair ( naturally) but with a full set of teeth and claws. Tasted unlike anything else but with the texture of rabbit. The next day we took a wooden bus for a tour of the city. A quaint experience which we both thoroughly enjoyed. Also had Peruvian wine that evening had decided not to have it again.

                It's now the 26th September and we are off on the Inca Express to Puno. This is a luxury coach with a tour guide. Rather than driving directly to Puno we stopped  at various interesting sites and places and made it a very enjoyable day. We saw yet another church at Andahuaydillas and pre Inca ruins at Raqchi. After checking in at the Hotel Europa we wandered round the town and enjoyed a pisco drink with hot cinnamon and clove tea.

                The next day we went to see the Floating Islands of Uros. They take about 4 months to construct and are made of the matted roots of the reeds covered with layer upon layer of reeds. They do float but are generally anchored to the lake bed in about 2m of water. The largest one is permanently inhabited and doesn't float anymore.  Of more interest were the reed boats which were the inspiration  for Thor Heyerdahl who constructed a reed raft and sailed it across the Pacific to prove that the Pacific islands were first discovered and inhabited by the South Americans. He succeeded but 30 years later  DNA tests proved he was wrong.

                After a lunch which included a nice steak we took the bus to Copacabana. Lovely lodgings at the Hotel Utuma  (£12.00 a night) very good breakfast and  mate coca and fruit in the atrium for free. It's a lovely town and we enjoyed walking round it and down to the shores of  the lake. The next day we took a boat to the Isla del Sol. More Inca ruins and a very suspect sacrificial altar but then a fabulous 8km walk along the ridge of the island. The lake surrounded us and we were able to see just how large it is. At least we could see the lake to the horizon.  The walk took us through eucalyptus groves and across lots of terraces all under cultivation and finally down a 1000 steps (Inca ) to the little harbour where we were to be picked up. The Orilla restaurant was our venue for the evening and we enjoyed stewed beef and pepper steak. Copacabana has a strange custom whereby  cars, buses and lorries are parked outside the church and decorated. They are then blessed by the priest. It is all taken very seriously and we were lucky enough to see the blessings take place. In addition there were multiple wedding ceremonies going on so the square outside the church was packed.  30 September now so an afternoon  bus to the highest city in the world La Paz which  is about 3,800m above sea level. (12,500ft) At one stage we had to leave the bus and take a motor boat across lake Titicaca whilst the bus went across on a flat topped ferry. The Hotel Milton was OK but had clearly seen better days. An open topped double decker bus with  headsets and commentary in 7 languages took us round the city. We were advised not to stand up and rightly so since jumbo sized power cables regularly brushed the top of the bus and decapitation  was a distinct possibility for anyone disregarding the advice.  We went to see the Moon Valley which is an area of La Paz where the rocks have eroded  and created a bleak and strange landscape. We enjoyed a visit to the coca museum which gave a very detailed explanation of the status and value of coca to the Bolivians. They have been chewing the leaves for 1000s of years and with no ill effects. Now that the Western world is awash with a derivative - cocaine it's been decided to eradicate the coca plantations. The US are the driving force but as ever their attempts have little effect and now that Morales is President of Bolivia things might change - he used to be the president of the coca growers association!!! Little else to report on La Paz, we could have gone to see more exciting pre Inca ruins but didn't feel up to  another long bus journey. We did however, buy a 2.5lb pot of honey for a few pence!! We also had our best lunchtime meal at the Naira. Brilliant vegetable soup and then chateaubriand with roast potatoes all for £1.00 each.

                Next stop Arequipa which has a lovely main square - probably the prettiest in Peru. Seeing the mummy of Juanita was very moving. She was sacrificed as a 14 year old child by the Incas after she had walked (the Incas never discovered the wheel and llamas can only carry 30kilos from Cusco and then taken to the top of  the Ampato Volcano. She was discovered in 1995 after a nearby volcano had erupted and melted all the ice on Ampato. Juanito had actually fallen out of her grave and rolled into the dormant crater of Ampato. If she had not been found straight away (above 20,000 ft) then her mummified body would have melted and been destroyed. As it is Johan Reinhard got her down the mountain and into a freezer before any damage was done. The artefacts found around her are amazing. One poncho was on display and looked as though it were woven the day before. It's of the finest weave in brilliant blue and intricate designs. Juanita is one of a total of 14 mummies that have since been  found including 2 more that were on Ampato. The Incas probably sacrificed her after an  earlier eruption of the volcano next to Ampato in an effort to appease the gods. Juanita is unique in so far as all her internal organs are intact. We were also very lucky to see her since she is taken away for 6 months of each year for research purposes.

The next day we set off for Colca Canyon  which is the second deepest canyon in the world, the deepest also being in Peru but not accessible. We were lucky enough to see one condor but at some distance away. However the bus journey was a treat in itself and offered us tremendous views of the ice capped mountains, herd of vicuna, llama and alpaca and stopping at the top of a pass on the alto plano at an elevation of 4800m which is nearly 16,000. We enjoyed the hot springs in Chivay and had a jolly night out as part of a small tour group. Back in Arequipa we found a roof top bar on the 4tth floor overlooking the Plaza d Armes .       

Next day another cathedral and the Santa Catolina convent in the afternoon. Nothing like any convent we've seen before. The nuns each had their own house complete with kitchen. They had at least one servant (assistant) to wait on them and lacked for nothing except men and the freedom to leave. Most of them were put there by their wealthy parents. There are streets and courtyards and cloisters. What was effectively a swimming pool and large outside laundry are still there to see. In fact the whole site is in excellent condition since it was summarily closed up in the 1870s after Vatican 1 put  a stop to the freedoms the nuns enjoyed and instituted community living and vows of poverty.  The next day (7 Oct) we had a leisurely walk round the central market and enjoyed fresh orange and pina juice  then an afternoon bus trip with CIAL (the second best of the 3 bus companies) to Nasca arriving at 2am. An afternoon visit to the Necropolis at Chauchilla was well worthwhile. It covers  a massive area and was used by all the Peruvian cultures up to and including the Incas. Unfortunately grave robbers have destroyed many of the graves and the whole area is strewn with human bones and broken pottery. However, some graves have been uncovered and we were able to see the foetally placed mummies and their artefacts. We also went to a small gold processing plant. Literally a backyard operation with women and children standing on large smooth rocks which are in troughs containing the spoil and mercury and water . The women and others move from side to side and on the rock which crush the spoil. The gold mines have mainly been closed but the government allows these small scale operations to operate tax free.

Another  big day with a flight over the Nasca lines and we weren't disappointed. Fortunately our pilot was a bit mad and was happy to put the Cessna centurion on its wing tips so we got fabulous views of the many features. There were far more trapezoids then we had imagined and some of the animal s were incredible especially the spider and the hummingbird. No one knows the reason for the lines but it's generally supposed that they were made to please the gods and end a long period of drought. The flight only lasted about 40minutes which for the couple behind us was quite enough. I thoroughly enjoyed the flight and admired the pilot's skill - the stall warning was going for much of the time but I never felt he pushed it too far. One notable thing about Nasca and the area around it is that it is desert. In fact we drove hundreds of miles across the desert. The valleys however are fertile being fed by underwater rivers coming from the mountains. We also saw the world's highest sand dune, Sierra Blanca, at 2,300m. In the afternoon we took a Cruz del Sol  (the best company) back to Lima. Unfortunately I had picked up a tummy bug which restricted our travel plans but we partially solved that  by going to the cinema for an afternoon.  We spent the first night at the Espana but it was so noisy that we moved 100m to the San Francisco which was very quiet. We enjoyed a  trip to Miraflores which is a suburb of Lima and were pleased we hadn't taken a hotel there since it's all very modern with lots of shops and malls.  Without knowing much about it we went to see the Huaca Pucllana and that turned out to be a real treat. It's effectively a massive pyramid built from adobe bricks. Originally it  covered 100s of hectares and is still 85 hectares. It was built on many levels in about 200bc and was in the shape of an enormous frog. It has a hollow core running through and this may have been a way of communicating with  the rain  gods.  We saw whole walls 2200 years old made from adobe and interestingly they were built in a similar fashion to the inward sloping windows of the Incas ( to withstand earthquakes)

Sadly it was soon time to leave Peru; we had an uneventful return journey and we were back on the boat at 8pm. All in all it had been a memorable trip and one which we won't forget. We saw so much that it will take some time to digest and fully appreciate what we saw. The people we met were without exception kind and helpful and only served to enforce our view that both Peru and Bolivia are wonderful countries to visit.


                 


1 September 2006 Cubagua to Peurto La Cruz, Venezueala                                                     48nm


Very light airs so we had to motor most of the way. We arrived about 1400hrs and initially had a bad mooring near the fuel dock. Moved later to a good mooring on the Eastern floating dock. Organised new covers for the dinghy, new UV strip for the Genoa and  maintenance of the main. Also bought a big light airs Genoa second hand for night time use in the Pacific in light airs.


28th August 2006 Polomar to Cubagua                                                                                     22nm


I tried out the hydrovan autopilot on this leg and it worked well provided we din't have too much weather helm. I'll need to put a reef in the main if we are to use it in winds over 15kts. Had a lovely sail with wind abaft the beam and arriveing at 1330. We stayed for 3 days enjoying the peace of the island and bay.


27th August 2006 Testigos to Margarita                                                                                   50nm


Had a lovely sail in light airs. We caught another Booby but this time it had snagged the line so we were able to release it unharmed. We anchored in4m at 1630hrs


26 August 2006 Chagaramus to Testigos                                                                                 98nm


We departed at 1500 hrs and had to motor for a while  but evenuallt put up the sails with 10kts of wind and a good favourable current. We anchored in Balandra bay at 0800.

                                               

26th June 2006 Grenada to Trinidad                                                                                            86nm


The wind was stronger than forecast to begin with at over 26kts and strong adverse currents which had us down to 1.4kts over the ground at times. I stayed on watch all night because there was so much traffic, not least the 14 or so other yachts that were around us. We arrived at Crews Inn at 0930 and hauled out at Peakes on 4th July. We left for the UK on &th July  and returned on 12 August. The baot was back in the water with new antifouling on 15th August and we slipped at Coral Cove until 26th August. I completed the installation of the autopilot for the hydrovane and replaced the bowsprit planks and put some wooden protection bars on the dinghy. Nicolette in the meantime did a thorough clean including all the exterior teak and made new rope bags.



21st June 2006 Carriacou to Grenada                                                                                       32nm


One of the best sails this year with 18kts off the port beam. The seas were  a bit rough but Katanne romped through them and with her now very heavy displacement we had a compfortable rune. There were about a dozen yachts on the same route and only the very large ones were going significantly faster than us. Monohulls of 40ft arrived less than an hour ahead of us and the catamarans  with a perfect wind for them were being held up by the seas. We anchored in the lagoon and were pleased to see that Island Water World have set up a free wi-fi  for the yachts.


15th June 2006 Tobago Cays to Union Island and Carriacou                                    14nm


The tropical waves were imminent ( in the event thet turned out to be very weak and passed north of the Cays) so we checked at Unio Island and sailed on to Cariacou. We had a pleasant night out at the Lambi Queen. Chicken and Fish whilst listening to a e drum quintet. I lost my glasses overboard whilst securing the dinghy is strong winds but fortunately Nicolette found them the next day. She also saw a massive spotted  eagle ray which had no tail .


14th June 2006 Saline Bay to Tobago Cays                                                                              2nm


A final attempt to get some good snorkelling. We knew there were more tropical waves due but hoped they would take longer than forecast.


12th June 2006 Tobago Cays to Saline Bay                                                                              2nm


At this time of year we get a lot of tropical waves coming over from Africa, some of which will become hurricanes. A particularly strong wave was forecast and the cays were  going to be too windy for snorkelling ( and lots of rain and thunderstorms forecast too) so we went back to saline bay to sit is out. It turned out as forecast with 27hours of rain occasional thunderstorms and strong squally winds


10th June 2006 Saline Bay to Tobago Cays                                                                              2nm


The wind finally eased up so we went back to the Cays to try for some more snorkelling. Sapristi with a shallower darft asked us to joing them in a short trip to Petit Tabac. A deserted island which featured in the Pirates of the Caribbean. It was a lovely day out and particularly so s since it will be many years before we see them again (they are sailing to Europe next year)


5th June 2006 Tobago Cays to Saline Bay (Mayreaux)                                             2nm


The wind had made the Cays unpleasant so we went for shelter in Saline bay which has a lovely long beach. With no fresh provisions Nicolette is excelling with what we have on board. Chelsea buns for example and a fabulous steak and mushroom pie for dinner ( the paella we had in the Cays was made from tinned shell fish). Sapristi came round to saline so we got together and had a wonderful beach bar-b-que using driftwood.


4th June 2006 Mayreaux to Tobago Cays                                                                 3nm


A short run with just the Genoa flying.  Saprisit came over for a paella.  It was hard work snorkelling with strong winds and a choppy sea


1st June 2006 Bequia to Mayreaux                                                                                           23nm


A good sail at last even through the 25kt squalls we had on the way. The anchorage  at Sltwhistle Bay was very busy but we enjoyed a walk into the village. Chris had caught a nice tuna on his trip over which they asked us to share with them on Sapristi.


26th May 2006 St Lucia to Bequia                                                                                            53nm


A mix of sailing and motorsailing  for the 9hour trip.  Cribbage and chilli  on board with Chris and Trish of Sapristi and  a trip to St Vincent  were both fun. The holding off St Margaret's beach  was not good and when we after a particular strong squall we realised we had dragged. We weren't alone though and a number of other boats spent time as we did trying to get a good set.  We also entertained Fred and Nina of MI Nina who we had first met in St Kitts


22nd May 2006 The Bat Caves to Pitons                                                                  1nm


We looked first at Malgretoux but it like the bat caves ahd become very rolly so we anchored between the pitons and enjoyed first calls snorkelling off the jalousie beach.  Together with Sapristi we went to see the sulphur beds in the crater of a defunct volcano and then on to some botanical gardens.


20th May 2006 Anse le Ray to The Bat Caves                                                          6nm


No wind and heavy rain overnight but the snorkelling at the bat caves was excellent


19th May 2006 Rodney bay to Anse le Raye                                                                            13nm


Another pleasant sail in light aire. We had tried to anchor in Anse le Rey last year but the weather was too bad to go ashore for the traditional Friday nigh tfish festival. This year the anchorage was fine and we had no trouble getting ashore and having a very good evening together with Stephan and Lona off Cat Coquette who turned up a couple of hours after we arrived. The fish festival together with a steel band was excellent and well worthwhile.


18th May 2006 Martinique to St Lucia                                                                     24nm      


One of the few occasions we put in a reef but it made for a lovely reaching sail in 25kts. We took on fuel and water at the marina them anchored just outside it.


15th May 2006 Grand Anse to Le Marin and St Anne                                              16nm


We checked in at Le Marinand were able to buy a new rod and reel. Whilst at anchor we were hit by a trimaran called Trixolar who had lost his drive just after lifting his anchor. He hit the hydrovane and dented the stainless steel rod case.  Lovely prawns pil pil for dinner and canasta on board Sapristi later made up for the earlier mishap.                  


14th May 2006 Anse a la Anne to Grand  Anse d'arlett                                            11nm


Sailed and motorsailed in light airs


13th May 2006 Dominica to Martinique                                                                   50nm


We only managed a couple of hours sailing he rest was a motor sail. Anchored in Anse a la Anne. We had planned to stop at St Pierre but it was obvious as we approached it that it was very rolly. La Anne was very nice except for the ferries which run until 1830hours and create a lot of roll. So much so that we lost the fishing rod overbnoard when we leaving as a result of the excessive roll created by the ferry.


12th May 2006 Portsmouth to Roseau                                                                                      20nm


Sailed most of the way until the wind died.  We took a mooring off the Anchorage hotel. Nothing wrong with my eyes just too much wind and sun so wrap round sunglasses recommended.


10th May 2006 Le Bourg to Dominica                                                                      20nm


A good sail all the way  - as it should be!. Anchored off Portsmouth and the following day we took the bus to Roseau to arrange an appointment with the ophthalmologist ( I had sore eyes)


9th May 2006 Isla Cabrit to Le Bourg                                                                                       1nm


Only a ten  minute run  but whilst there we went to see Fort Josephine


8th May 2006 Deshaies to Isla Cabrit - The Saints                                                   35nm


The trades had left us and we were still stuck with light southerlies so a sad motor to Cabrit.



4th  May 2006 Antigua to Gualelope                                                                                        42nm


We left with S to SW winds after waiting a week for fair winds. In the event it was another weeks before the trades returned.  We anchored in Deshaies  which was as rolly as had been in Antigua.  Both Sapristi and Cat Coquette ( our convoy in Cuba)  arrived a  day or so later. We celebrated my  60th birthday with a nice lunch at the Moillage and later enjoyed champagne with Chria and Trish on Katanne


14th April 2006 Jolly Harbour  and around Antigua                                                 54nm


We motored down to Falmouth and anchored off Pigeon Beach. The next day we went to Nonsuch bay and anchored close to the reef after a goods days snorkelling we went the next day back to  Falmouth to be there in time for the Classics week.  The hat club party ( mount gay rum hats) was marred by the lss of Nicolettes purse which was stolen whilst she queued for her hat. It had been taken by another yachtie since they were the only ones there. It was eventually found and only the money and one credit card had been taken. We too the dinghy out to the start line for the 2 days of racing and it was spectacular. J class boats down to a restored 6metre were all there. Classic schooners and English trawlers were racing against modern schooners built to the original design. The variety of boats milling at the start ( five start tines) was a wonderful sight and probably unique to the Antigua classics. We wnet out for a meal or 2 and enjoyed the free hospitality provide by Mount Gay Rum. After the reaces we went to Ricketts bay ( next to Nonsuch) to get some peace and quiet. Then to English Harbour where our friends disembarked.  Westayed on for the mount gay hat party for the race week proper and then planned to leave for Guadelope. Unfortunately the weather turned quite nasty and we were stuck ther for some days.  


10th April 2006 St Kitts to Antigua                                                                                           48nm


Back on a run to the east so the iron spinnaker was used in 20kts of true wind and seas to match.  We made for Jolly Harbour marina where we were to meet our friends Dai and Jenny who had flown  over from the UK on the 12th to spend a couple of weeks with us.


8th April 2006 Statia to St Kitts                                                                                                23nm


With 2okts of wind to start the day we  were on a close reach and later close hauled but had to motor the last hour of the trip. The Nauticat 331 is not built for close haul sailing and will stall if the Genoa is hardened in or attempts to sail closer than 60 degrees true to the wind are made. We had 1 night in the lovely little marina there and then sailed over to Majors bay prior to  setting of for Antigua                                                                     


6th April 2006 St Barts to Statia                                                                                                28nm


A reach in 12kts - it's so good to get the sails up after hundreds of miles of motoring . The anchorage was very rolly and the town seems to have degenerated a little since last year


4th April 2006 to Anse Columbier                                                                                            2nm


Another light airs sail. This is a lovely anchorage. We found sucker fish in excess of 4ft attached to our keel  and this after seeing smaller sucker fish attached to a big turtle. We've never seen sucker fish of this  size.


3rd April 2006 St Maarten to St Barts                                                                                       17nm


Finally got the sails up with a close haul run in light airs. We took 5 hours but everyone of them was enjoyable.


24th Mar 2006 St Thomas to St Maarten                                                                                  120nm


Not only did we have the easterly but also an adverse current so the journey took 19hours. We anchored in the lagoon but went into Simpson Bay marina to install the new batteries. The engine was serviced with a new raw water impeller and new injectors. I fitted a PUR40e watermaker which will be used in the Pacific, it makes 6litres an hour and uses only 5amps. I also fitted a charge controller to ensure that the wind generator does not damage the new maintenance free batteries.


22nd Mar 2006 Culebrita to St. Thomas                                                                   16nm


Still going East so another motor sail but I did catch a 3lb tunny half of which we had for dinner. We anchored in 5m in Charlotte Amelia which also has a sea plane landing area which was very active. Nothing much special about the island which is very amercican except it's a duty free port and gin was only £1.48 a bottle!!


21st Mar 2006 Culebra to Culebrita                                                                                          3nm


Only a night stop because of the roll but the did enjoy the very pleasant beach


19th Mar 2006 Palmas del Mar to Culebra                                                                                20nm


No wind so another short motor sail. The West anchorage was very rolly so we went into Ensenda Honda and anchoredbehind the reef. We were then entertained by by the boats returning from the regatta. I caught another 2 baracuda on the crossing.


14th Mar 2006 Palmas del Mar to Puerto del Rey                                                     20nm


We had planned to leave at 0300 but somehow my watch alarm had been set to go off at 0000. Neither of us realised so set sail and only after half an hour realised we'd set off 3 hours early which accounted for the strong winds. This meant we had a night arrival in Puerto del Rey but it's an easy entrance and we soon tied up alongside. We had decided on coming into a marina because we need new batteries and some other work doing. We hired a car to go to old San Juan which is much like Havana but the buildings are in much better shape. We also went to the Bacardi distillery which is much more upbeat than others we have been to.


11th Mar 2006 Salinas to Palmas del Mar                                                            35nm


We had calm seas whilst behind the reef but once clear of the Boca de Inferno (the gap between the reefs into the open sea) things got very uncomfortable. However, we did see a manatee just before Inferno for which this area is famous. We had to stay 3 nights in this anchorage until the winds eased. Palmas del Mar is just a very large complex of apartments with a private marina. We anchored in the harbour.


10th Mar 2006 Ponce to Salinas                                                                                               20nm


Motored again in light airs ( very lucky to have good weather) Salinas is regarded by some as the nicest anchorage in the Caribbean  but we didn't think so. It's certainly well protected but it is really just a big lagoon surrounded by mangroves and the water is very cloudy.


9th Mar 2006 La Parguera toPonce                                                                                           26nm


The Ponce stop was made in order to get fuel and water. It was an easy trip against the wind in light airs. The anchorage was just outside the marina close to the fuel dock and not particularly attractive.


3rd Mar 2006 Dominican Repuplic to La Parguera Puerto Rico                 250nm


We decided not to check in in the DR and with very light head winds and a calm sea to make direct for Puerto Rico. We arrived at 1000 on 5 Mar having left at 1630 0n 3 Mar. The highlight of the trip was catching a 20lb Kingfish which was to provide us with 26 main meals and 14 lunches!! ( this included 4 steaks which gave 8 meals to Sapristi) The fish was cut into 12 steaks and 2 fillets. We joined forces with Sapristi and Cat Coquette, who arrived a day later, to hire a car to take us Marguez where we had to check in. We also visited Boqueron where I had 12 lovely small oysters.


27th Feb 2006 Haiti to Isla de Beata Dominican Republic                                         140nm


Although the winds were forecast to be good we had to put into Aquinas, a bay on the Haitian mainland after 4 hours of struggling against a strong head wind and rough seas. We left that evening and had a good current with us as we followed the coast. However the next morning the seas got up and the current was adverse which together with 25kt winds on the nose made for a very uncomfortable 5 hours of sailing until we made isla de Beata. The wind instruments packed up and 2 of the teak planks on the bowsprit were smashed. It then took 5 attempts to set the anchor in flat coral with a thin covering of sand.  We had to stay there 3 nights until the wind eased. However, we did get fresh fish when a boy of about 15 swam over to us and offered to spear some fish. He was back 15 minutes later with 7 small red snappers.


21st Feb 2006 Port Antonio to Isle a Vache, Haiti                                                    174nm


The seas when we left were not good, in fact Cat Coquette had left an hour earlier and then returned to leave later. However after 4 hours and clear of the island the seas calmed  and continued to do for most of the trip. A couple of rain squalls and the wind mainly on the nose so the engine was well used. We did manage to sail the last 8 miles into the bay.

Isle a Vache is to date the most beautiful anchorage we have visited. Clear blue waters and palm fringed white sands with small houses dotted within. It is also the poorest place we've been to. Within minutes of dropping anchor we were surrounded by dugouts each with 2 or 3 children in them. They wanted copy books and stilos. Nicolette stapled 20 sheets of A4 together to make the books and we had a good supply of pencils. The children also wanted footballs and baseball caps of which we had neither. The older boys wanted to work so we had 2 of them clean and polish the hull of the boat for which we paid them in US$. These 2 boys then gave us a lovely fish as a present. We also received paw paws  from someone else. The little houses nestling in the palm trees are without electricity  but each has a sort of garden of swept packed earth enclosed with a stick fence or conch shells.

There is no mechanised transport  but a few horses are around. The fishermen use small  sail driven boats - much like a felucca. Many of the sails are made out of plastic sheeting and the fish they catch were never very large. The lobsters were also small.  Isle a Vache is an Island off the mainland which is not considered safe to visit but  the islanders were so friendly and we felt ourselves ever to be at risk. It was a memorable visit and one we shall never forget.


8th Feb Cuevo to Port Antonio Jamaica                                                                    230nm


We had a good sail all the way to Port Antonio arriving at 0700 on 10 Feb. The entrance to the bay was interesting with a very strong southerly set. It is a beautiful anchorage just outside a new Marina which forms part of a new development of parkland an bay-side promenades. The town was safe and the market a joy to visit. Everyone so helpful and eager to offer advice. We had lots of meals out since it was almost as cheap to do so as eat on board. We also had our share of enormous and very tasty ice creams. We went with Sapristi and Cat Coquette by public bus to Kingston where we went to see the Bob Marley museum (which was a disappointment). The bus ride was memorable in that the driver seemed ot have forgotten he had upwards of 30 people in a bus designed for 18 and slung the bus with gay abandon round each bend. We didn't sway much though since we were packed in like sardines!! We also hired a car to take us all to the Ochos Rios but again that was disappointing. The Beauty of Jamaica was in the nature of the people, the lovely fresh food and local meals. We took full advantage of the marina facilities and on occasion had sundowners round the pool.


4th Feb Cayo Breton to  Cayo Cuevo                                                                                        28nm


We had strong winds and an uncomfortable sea until we go inside the reef when things became much easier. Stefan and Lona off Cat Cuquette where already there and anchored in a sheltered part of a large bay. Sapristi turned up a bit later having bought an enormous Pompano which we they bar b que'd for us all the next day on a the beach. We also had drinks on Cat Cuquette. A visit by more fishermen  bought forth nearly 8lb of the best shrimp I have ever tasted. They were all of a good size but many of them were very large. Too many for us so we invited the others round to share them.. At this point we could continue through the "Garden of the Kings" for another 70nm before exiting the reefs or leave them just south of Cuevo. The remaining islands inside the reefs were mainly mangrove so we opted to leave Cuba for Jamaica. We should have checked out in Manzanillo but decided it was too far a diversion ( some 85miles away)


3rd Feb 2006 Zaza de Fuego to Cayo Breton                                                                             25nm


Managed a close reach until the wind died and anchored NW of a fishing station.


2nd Feb 2006 Cayo Macho de Fuego to Zaza de Fuego                                             18nm


Another small island fringed with mangroves on the North side and white beaches on the South. Unfortunately most of these islands are like this so it wasn't possible to anchor, with the prevailing winds, off the beaches. A lovely protected anchorage where a fisherman came over and invited me to his boat. I took a fifth of rum and did an exchange for 3 lobsters and a fish. This was a wooden boat but we were to see many of the ferro cement boats which are the staple in Cuba



1st Feb 2006Cienfuegos to Cayo Macho de Fuego                                                    51nm


We had to motorsail for the first 4 hours but then had a pleasant close reach to a lovely  cay with a white sand beach and lots of coral.


23rd Jan 2006 Guano del Este to Cienfuegos                                                                            49nm


No wind so we motored overnight to this mainland port. The entrance is very interesting being a wide river entranced opening up to an enormous bay. The marina was on the North side of the bay.  On arrival we were told that the marina was closed for repairs but later when we advised the port manager that we were leaving the boat at anchor to go to Havana he relented and the 3 boats at anchor were brought into the marina.

I'll let Nicolette give you our impressions of Havana and Ciefuegos


HAVANA


We travelled to Havana in a car with a Chris and Trish from Sapristi.  The journey was marked with many stops and our driver having to explain himself to the security forces and promise to return in a few hours..  We arrived in the old town at midday The Plaza San Antonio was lovely and there is a special statue of the Parisian gentleman who gave all he had away was standing by the church.  We managed to find a " Casa Particulares" after  a little while , a lot of places were full.  These are a bit like a Bed and breakfast and it meant we would be staying with a family.  The apartment was very comfortable and we had a tremendous view of the city.  The breakfast was lovely with wonderful fruit and eggs. We were very   near to the Plaza Vieja with a wonderful bar on the corner held a brewery and sold wonderful beer.  There many other nice bars as well.  We were amazed at the buildings and some of the restoration work is progressing but parts of the city are very derelict.  The Malecon , the promenade , was damaged in the hurricanes of recent months.  We walked for miles.  The Capitol building and the opera house dominate the city.  The Cuban Ballet were performing Don Quixiote for 4 nights only to celebrate the 400 years since it was published.   Amazingly we were able to get fantastic seats for Saturday night for $20.  We later found a statue of Sancho Panza on Rosenante in the Plaza de Armas, where the booksellers have there stalls.  The ballet was a highlight for us both, the costumes , dancing , music and production the best I have ever seen.


We crossed the river by the local bus , a hair raising journey in itself, to go the fort.  They were preparing a display of gun fire.  At 12 noon a 21 gun salute was fired, deafening and a marching of bands and soldier's  to celebrate Jose Marti, a hero of the Cubans who had helped liberate Cuba from the Spaniards.  Apparently Castro was in town as well as us.  We found the china town and the local Sunday vegetable market.  Two economies run in Cuba with 2 currencies.  The tourist peso is 25 of the local pesos.  Castro has tried to get rid of the dollar.  We managed to get some local money in the fruit market and were able to buy some food and vegetables with it.  We took the bus back to Cienfeugos on the Monday, having worn ourselves out.  There is no begging in Havana, but you can see the poverty and everyone wants to sell you a Cuban cigar.  It is strange having a capital city with no neon lights or advertising signs.  No litter or rubbish of any kind.  I managed to find a small church and attend mass on Sunday morning.  The congregation was small and mostly old, those who would have been teenagers in 1957.  But the man who played the guitar and sang with his 3 children was young, it was all very moving.   The church was like so much else in need of a great deal of work.  The lack of basic materials is frightening.  It's all just decaying around them. The atmosphere is wonderful and we had plenty of time to absorb it.  The bars around the Plazas are filled with musicians playing all sorts of jazz and we found El Floridita where Earnest Hemingway drank Daiquiris's and Mojitos.  Many Cuba libres were had as well. 


CIENFUEGOS

The town of Cienfuegos is quiet and peaceful . A few people asked us for soap as we wandered about.  We visited the small museum and saw the theatre.  We could walk down the Malecon to the down or take a horse drawn taxi.  The market held little in the way of produce really but you could get small pizzas, omelettes in a bun or fish in a bun for a couple of local pesos.  The man on the street corner with the Pigs head on his stall, slicing off slivers of meat to put in a bun has a steady stream of purchasers and I must say it was delicious.  The Cubans love ice cream , which can be scare.  They can be seen queuing down the street waiting for the Coppelia restaurant to open.  They only sell ice scream and we found an open air one in Havana, it opened at 11am on Sunday morning and by the time we got there at 11.30 it was packed.



22 Jan 2006 Cayo Largo to Guano del Este                                                                             34nm


Continuing eastwards we had more big swells and 25kts of wind head on.However once we got inside the reefs it eased somewhat and continued to do so until we reached our anchorage. It was a windy but safe anchorage with winds up to 30kts. We bought our first lobster for a fifth of rum - thereafter they got cheaper!! I also caught yet another Barracuda which was returned and lost a big fish that never showed.


18th Jan 2006 Canal Rosario to Cayo Largo                                                                             25nm


The wind continued to head us an d it was an uncomfortable run. Cayo Lrgo though has a very god marina which we welcomed. The entry procedures were long and expensive (115$ in all) with all sorts of official coming on board. We had our garlic corms inspected with a microscope and our tins of Venezuealn meat quarantined. So was our bacon but we baulked at having our eggs denied to us and eventually were allowed to use them ( they would have gone off by the time we left Cuban waters). The sniffer dog didn't find anything and the doctor declared us fit. I had to make a list of all the electronics on board and more than once our cupboards and cabins were searched. It was no less than we expected so we took it in good spirit. A beer to buy in the shop was 1$, a beer served to you in the bar was also 1$.                


17th Jan 2006 Cayo Campo to Canal Rosario                                                                           25nm


This channel would take us outside the reefs but  to get there we had to go over miles of shallow water. I spent most of the time looking at the depth gauge and often we would have 0.2m under the keel for mile after mile. We managed to sail most of the way. The anchorage was poor  and quite rolly until the wing veered to the North during the night


16th Jan 2005 Nueva Gerona to Cayo Campo                                                                           50nm


We were now on the North Coast of the Isle of Youth and made for an over night anchorage to the SE. The waters in this area are very shallow with only one or 2 passes through the reefs.  We made for the canal de la Cruz which had a reported depth of 1.9m minimum but we went aground at the entrance; Sapristi  drawing only 1m  surveyed the channel an d confirmed there was a bar right across the entrance at 1.5m. We therefore had to go back 10nm to Pasa de Quisasol which lengthened our trip by 20nm. The anchorage at Cayo Campo was indifferent.



15th Jan 2006 Ensenda los Barcos to Nueva Gerona                                                                20nm


A simple motor sail in pleasant conditions to a port of entry to Cuba. We were prepared for visits by many and lots of paperwork. We were not prepared to be told that it is no longer a port of entry!!. We weren't allowed to leave the boat but had to pay 10$ to tie up alongside. I was allowed to get some water. The officials were all very understanding but couldn't do anything to help. The port of entry we had to make for was Cayo Largo which, with the prevailing winds and tortuous route would take 3 days.


14th Jan 2006 Puerto Frances to Ensenda los Basrcos                                                               20nm


It was to say the least a rotten trip motoring into 25kt winds with a short steep sea over shallow waters. We could only make 3kts a times and it was uncomfortable. The anchorage was good though and safe but had no other redeeming features so was good only for an overnight stop.


11th Jan 2006 Grand Cayman to Isle of Youth, Cuba                                              170nm


Leaving North Sound was tricky with a big swell coming into the sound through a narrow gap which we had to leave by. The swell was so severe that I was concerned we might bottom out and actually had a depth reading of less than 1m in 6m of water. Thereafter things improved with the wind finally heading us as we approached Puerto Frances. A lovely anchorage with beautiful white sands and no one else there when we arrived. However it was also open to the North winds so we had to leave the next day.


26th Dec 2005 Bonaire to Grand Cayman                                                                 845nm


We arrived at Georgetown at 1020aam local time after an uneventful passage. For most of the time we had wind abaft of the beam and a favourable current. We had some squalls and quite a bit of rain and overcast conditions but nothing exceptional.  The first thing we noted about Georgetown were the number of Cruise Ships ( there were 9 there one day). However we had to move to North Sound , a safe anchorage, on 4 Jan because of an expected Northerly wind which makes the Georgetown anchorage untenable. We took the buses into town on occasion together with Chris and Trish of Sapristi who arrived 2 days after us. Georgetown is very much a haunt for the cruise ship passengers. It's not cheap and there's very little to commend it but it's off the beaten track and a good place to stop en route to Cuba.


13th Dec 2005 Bonaire to Curacao                                                                                           37nm


The second of the ABC Islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao) but the anchorage at Spanish Lagoon was not nearly as good as in Bonaire. We had a lovely braod reaching sail to get there.  The lagoon is big but the waters are not clear although it is safe to swim there. A free bus was laid on by the supermarket each day which happened to be close to the chandlers so we took good advantage of that.  We finally got rid of our last camping gaz cylinder and bought 2 more 10lb aluminium US style cylinders which gives us about 3months supply. We ate out a couple of times including Christmas eve. Christmas day was spent on the beach where we had an impromptu bar-b-que with, amongst others, Willi and Gloria off Linger Longer and Chris and Trish off Sapristi (who were with us in Cuba and all the way to Puerto Rico)


1st  Dec 2005 Aves Sotaventa to Bonaire                                                                  48nm


We had to motorsail some of the way but I managed to catch a  nice Jack which did us for 2 meals (fried and curried). The anchorage (moorings are mandatory) is spectacular being right on top of the reef. In fact the reefs seem to extend right round the coast of Bonaire and there are hundreds of dive sites. Nicolette managed to get a couple of dives in and I received my replacement GPS (the 120s' I had were faulty and had been replaced by the 125 under warranty) We were also able to take advantage of the wi-fi there and used skype a lot to call home. I had the biggest steak ever at "Casablanca" and being Argentinian it was excellent (US steaks are tasteless) In fact we brought back more than I could eat and that was enough to provide a meal for the two of us. We hired a scooter specifically to find some out of the way snorkel sites and to go through the National Park. We failed on both counts. Scooters aren't allowed in the park and most of the snorkel sites were only accessible through hotel complexes.



28th  Nov 2005 Aves Barlovento to Aves de Sotaventa.                                           18nm


Had a lovely sail in light airs but with flat seas made good time. Our chosen anchorage was no good with lots of swell and near a big mangrove area so we moved to a lovely anchorage off a very small island called Palmeros. It had white sands and a palm with a wide expanse of blue sea behind it. 


26th Nov 2005 Caya de Agua to Aves de Barlovento                                                               32nm


Instead of a barracuda we sadly caught a young booby (a bird) which mistook our lure for food. I was able to extract the hook which had caught in his wing and the last saw of him was flying away then settling on the sea to inspect his wounds. We arrived in heavy rain and had to negotiate a number of reefs to our chosen anchorage - exciting to say the least. I also caught a lovely bar jack fishing from the boat with a spinner which gave us a good meal.


24th Nov 2005 Grand Roque to Caya de Agua                                                         20nm


No wind to help us so a short motor  in clear skies and even clearer waters. We stopped briefly at Isla Cerenero but there were too many bugs around. Caught another barracuda there too which was returned.  We saw lots of rays and turtles in Caya de Agua which is so named because there is fresh water on this very small island


21st Nov 2005 Los Roques to Grand Roque                                                                            14nm


A lovely short sail between two reefs but the channel was for the most part amply wide. We anchored off the town and had a meal ashore to celebrate leaving Cape Verde for our Atlantic crossing 1 year ago.


17th Nov 2005 Tortuga to Los Roques                                                                     85nm


Another overnight sail but the wind died after 12 hours so we motored sailed the last 5 hours. The arrival was a bit tricky having to go through a reef gap in poor visibility and heavy rain. We anchored in 9.5m and then stayed for 4 days with winds up to 30kts Our anchorage was 14nm south of the town of Grand Roque and for the most part we were the only ones there.


8th Nov 2005 Puerto la Cruz to Tortuga                                                                   68nm


After nearly 3 months in Venezuela it was good to get away. We now have a new bimini and new awnings that go from the bowsprit to the mizzen. We also have a "windscreen" which  goes across the boat just forward of the mizzen and offers good protection from spray and wind when we are at anchor. In addition we have sunscreens on all the windows and for the cockpit when needed. We also have a kiss generator mounted on the mizzen so our time in Venezuela was well used.

We made for Playa Harradura in Tortuga and had a good  close reach all  the way making over 8kts with a helping current.  We had to stay longer than planned because of a tropical depression in Los Roques  but it was an uneventful and pleasant change from the marina life.



15th and 16th October. Regatta at Puerto La Cruz


We participated in the Regatta on Poco Andante, a 44' Bruce Roberts Mauritius. Two races of about 13nm over 2 days. We finished in the middle of the field which we had expected to do. However, we had a great time and I enjoyed the cut and thrust at the start. I had been asked to helm for both races so the start was particularly enjoyable for me. We lost ground on the upwind legs but gained it downwing and were able to pass a number of boats close enough to deploy our secret weapons - very large water pistols. There was a bar b que by the pool after the first race and there was supposed to be a cocktail party following the prize giving but that didn't happen and the prize giving was marred by a protest argument that threatened to go into the next day. Possible the prizes of $1000.00 were the cause. Hopefully next year they will race for the fun of it and not for the money.



Nicolette has taken control of the keyboard to cover the social events in Puerto La Cruz


29th Sept 2005 Bahia Redonda Marin



Simon leaves for Margarita after 2 week holiday with us. We had a fabulous time and I will miss him..



27th Sept 2005 Isla Chimana Segunda


We anchored in the small bay on the island with a red and white lighthouse looking down on us. There are very large iguanas on this island and we had a good chance to snorkel and relax .



26th Sept 2005 Isla Arapos


We took Katanne out for a sail to one of the islands in Mochima. We were able to swim and snorkel and feel the breeze we were lacking in the marina.



23rd Sept 2005 Bahia Redonda Marina


Simon and I went diving to see the amazing Cathedral caves off the island of Borracha in the bay of P La C. The dive was about 21m only but we came back up in the centre of this rock where light shines in the hole at the top creating a shaft of light at midday. The corals are special to the area. Called Christmas trees, they look exactly like that with little coloured presents sitting in the branches of the coral.



19th Sept 2005 Angel Falls


With Simon now with us we set out to the south. The National Park at Canaima which holds the wonderful Angel falls is one of the highlights of S. Am. We drove by car to Ciudad Bolivar where we were to stay in a Posada, a local small hotel. It had a small collection of birds and animals and a lovely pool. We visited the town and took the boat up the Orinoco river to go under the Angastoura Bridge. It is the only bridge across the Orinoco and the longest single span bridge in the S. Am. There are a piranhas in the river apparently.


The following morning we took a small Cessna 208, five seater to the park. Tom sat next to the pilot ready to take the controls if required. It was an hour flight over a stunning landscape. On arrival at the lagoon at Canaima we set off in a long dugout canoe, going up river to a small waterfall stopping for a picnic. We reached the base camp of the falls themselves after about 4 hours. The clouds were just parting and we could see the full cascade of water, about a kilometre fall.


Tom helped erect the hammocks we were to sleep in. We had time to swim in the river. The water colour is golden to dark red because of the tannin in the water. BBQ chicken was cooked for us on sticks over a wood fire and we all slept very well in our new beds. The following day we climbed up to the pool at the bottom of the falls for some more swimming. It is an incredible site and one we will never forget. More excitement was to follow as Tom was able to sit on the prow of the canoe on the trip back. Shooting the rapids was exhilarating to say the least and Tom said the view from the bow was amazing with nothing in front of him and his toes almost in the water. The landscape is amazing. The flat tepuis or mountains are from the same range as Table Mountain and some of the plants the same as well proving that Africa and S. America were once joined.


the next day after swimming in the lagoon and a good sleep we were taken across the lagoon in the canoe, trekked for 20 mins to reach the Golden waterfalls of Salto Sapo and Sapito. We were able to go behind them getting thoroughly drenched. The amazing volume of water cascading on to us was so exciting and we enjoyed this almost more than the falls themselves. We found some wonderful deadly yellow and black frogs and saw an otter on a small island in the river. There are wonderful flowers and butterflies every where but no fruits at all in this type of jungle. We flew back to Ciudad Bolivar and drove home very weary but so pleased we had had the opportunity to see one of the most outstanding waterfalls in the world. Simon certainly thought it lived up to his expectations. The photos we took are on the web site and hopefully you will get some idea of what it is like.



10th Sept 2005 trip to the Oriente


After a wonderful bbq on the 9th we set off for a weekend trip to the east. Driving along the coast road of the Mochima National Park to Cumana we stopped to try the local arapas , stuffed corn bread, and a wonderful casava or yucca bread filled with a sticky sweet centre, all delicious. The fort at Cumana is one of the first in South America and typical Spanish style. At lunch time we arrived at Mira Flores to walk up the wonderful river to see a waterfall. There were people abseiling down the sides of the gorge. We were helped across the rushing cold water by youngsters who were happy to help. That evening we went to the Guaracho Caves to see the photosensitive birds fly into the night.


After sleeping in a nearby Hacienda we returned to the caves via a small restaurant that specialised in strawberries and cream. The eastern state of Venezuela is known as the garden of the east. Most of the flowers and fruit and vegetables come from here. We entered the caves with a young guide who explained about the birds. They live in the semi darkness near the mouth of the cave. A wingspan of about a metre and very noisy, these birds fly as far as Brazil in a night to feed in the dark. The noise is intense. Once past them and in the pitch black we were able to use our torches and examine the fascinating stalactites and stalagmites which making some very strange shapes. We went about 1200m before turning back. The baby birds are learning to fly at this time of year and unfortunately if they fall out of the nest they have no chance of surviving. Lunch followed in a wonderful restaurant. We had a dish of lappa, type of capabari, skin like a pig but bones more like a rabbit. Delicious.





8 Aug 2005 Cubagua to Puerto La Cruz


An early departure and a good sail until about 12nm from P la C. We hit a squall from the south with 30 plus knots of wind and the seas built very quickly. I had seen it coming so the sails were safely stowed by the time it arrived. Then I noticed that the engine could only make 1800 revs so we motored into the rising seas at 2 knots. (Dirty fuell and a clogged filter were the cause). Whilst we were in Trinidad we had been talking to a couple on a bus and discovered that they had paid a deposit for Bahia Redonda marina but were now not able to take the slip. I was able to take their slip and pay them their deposit. We were very lucky since all the marinas in P la C well fully booked for many weeks ahead.


After taking view days to settle in and find lovely swimming pool we arranged for the work to be done. This consists of 2 awnings in grey for the front of the boat and the pilot house. Also a new bimini has been designed and it will be some weeks for the work to be done. We in the meantime have discovered the local fish and fruit market. The local eating venue, The Sheds , as they have become known, not far from the marina along the sea front with a spectacular view of Boracha Island where later Simon and Nicolette went diving. The food is amazingly cheap and the girls very friendly and helpful. They offer a selection of fresh fish and you are given a complimentary fish soup starter if you wish. Corn bread and avocado and salad are included . To follow they give complimentary coffee and fruit jelly in tiny plastic cups. All delicious washed down with a couple of beers. Beer is cheaper than water!! Some trips also needed to be organised , one to Angel Falls and the other to the caves at Caripe .(Written up separately below).



The central market in downtown P La C is nearly as big as Port of Spain and much more chaotic (if that‘s possible). There are mazes leading round in circles with endless stalls of fish meat and fruit and veg as well as clothes etc. There are little food stalls and juice bars offering freshly blended juices , the pineapple is to die for. The favourite breakfast treat for Tom is the Papa Rellena, which is a fried baseball of mash potato stuffed with ham and cheese or rice and ham. The cost is so little only 1000 bolivars (approx 25p). Petrol here is only 40 bolivars a litre ie. 100 litres per £1.



A regular weekend occurance is a trip to the Paseo Colon for a promenade with the locals along the seafront of downtown P la C. Small stalls sell jewellery and other handicrafts. There is a strong Arabic influence in the food, the Shawarmas are very superior donner kebabs and very reasonable.



The marina itself is at the mouth of salt pans which have been turned into a canal system with hundreds of fabulous houses , some very large and expensive and others are like terraces.



We are able to take the dinghy all the way through these canals to the Plaza Mayor shopping mall which has supermarket and wonderful food hall with a variety of cheap lunch time venues. The price of beef is very low and set by the state at less than £2 a pound for prime fillet steak. So now its beef everyday as opposed to chicken or Fish unless its Prawns which are equally cheap.




7 Aug 2005 Margarita to Cubagua 24nm


A lovely 3 hour sail to an uninhabited island where we anchored in 2m. We stayed overnight and enjoyed a clear star filled sky.



6 Aug 2005 Testigos to Margarita 53nm


An early departure and with light airs we motorcycled arriving at Polomar at 1530hours. I caught a 20lb baracuda only seconds after putting out a lure. Safley aboard I filleted it only then to discover that ciguatera poisoning was rife her too so yet another baracuda was dispatched back into the sea. We anchored well of and stayed only overnight.



2 Aug 2005 Trinidad to Los Testigos 105nm


A good overnight sail with a very strong current meant that we were making 8.5kts at times. The wind died later but we still managed the trip in a less than 19 hours. We moved anchorage on 5 August to noe which was less rolly and then wathed "Dione Star" a 90ft charter yacht nearly put herself stern to onto the rocks after suffering some gear selection problems whilst lifting up her anchor. It was the swift action of the driver of her tender who managed to get behind her and push her clear of the rocks.



1 Jul 2005 Grenada to Trinidad 87nm


A very pleasant overnight sail slowed by a a surprisingly strong west setting current. We had 3 days at the Crews Inn marina before going onto a mooring in Chagaramous bay which is the filthiest piece of water we have yet encountered. Tons of oil and debris float around it and noon would ever think of swimming in it. Managed to watch the grand prix on 3 July at Peakes and a week later we had a trip to the market in Port of Spain. It is massive and sells just about every form of fresh local food you could ever want. That day we had avocados and big prawns with pineapple to follow. Jumbo prawns for dinner (pil pil style) and with t bone steaks and tuna fish steaks in the fridge we were well set for a gourmet week. Even the breakfast at the market was good with a roti Trinidad style - filled with pot choy and mashed potato and bef in may case but any number of fillings were on offer.


We prepared ourselves for Hurricane Emily (13 July) which was predicted to pass close to Trinidad. In the event she moved off to the North and poor Grenada got another pasting. We had winds of no more than 30 knots which was followed by a sea which was very confused with a heavy swell.


On the 18th July I heard that my mother had died the previous day so I left for England on 21 Jul leaving Nicolette to look after the boat. Fortunately we were able to get a slip at Corel Cove marina. I returned on 31 July and before leaving for Venezueala we were able to get Yellow Fever inoculations.



22 Jun 2005 Carriacou to Grenada 31nm


We had a really good reaching sail to St Georges making over 6kts at times. The devastation from hurricane Ivan (2004) was still very apparent particularly on the east coast. Probably our best roti so far which we had at the Nutmeg. We moved over to True Blue Bay on 26 Jun hoping for some wind to keep us cool. However it was rolly so we went' the next day' to Mount Hartman bay. It was there we noticed that the vanes of the wind generator were about to fly off. We also snagged the anchor when we left on an enormous chain; we were able to get it to the surface after which Nicolette took to the water and secured a line onto the offending chain and we were able to clear it. We returned to St Georges and had a great main only run making 5 plus knots. Enjoyed a run ashore to a fisherman's party at Goavave where the main entertainment seemed to be drinking rum.



15 Jun 2005 Petit St Vincent to Carriacou 12nm


A good sail to Hilllsborough stopping at Sandy Island on our way out. We celebrated 1 year at sea with a meal out at the Garden restaurant. Plain fare but well cooked. On 17 June we sailed round to Tyrell Bay. Bought a case of wine from a passing boat vendor but declined the mangrove swamp oysters which ae in any case less than the size of a cockle.



14 Jun 2005 Union Island to Petit St Vincent 7nm


Another short hop but we had to motor with the wind on the nose. A comfortable anchorage and a pleasant walk ashore.



12 Jun 2005 Tobago Cays to Palm Island and Union Island 5nm


The anchorage at Palm Island was very uncomfortable to we continued on to Palm Island. Unfortunately I have few notes of our visit there except that the roti was very good!!



11 Jun Mayreaux to Tobago Cays 3nm


We anchored in 2m of the clearest and blue water we have yet come across. The cays are often very busy because they are so spectacular with a large reef offering protection from the Atlantic. Strong winds but flat seas. We snorkelled off horseshoe reef and I had a 5ft shark swim gently beneath me - given that we were in only 5ft of water at the time he looked uncomfortably close.





9 Jun 2005 Mustique to Canauan and Mayreaux 21nm


A lovely reach to Canauan but the anchorage was very rolly so we continued on to Mayreaux. Salt Whistle bay is where we set anchor and it was lovely with white sands and palms and a very protected anchorage. Snorkelling was excellent and we saw a shoal of Eagle rays. Had a conch bar-b-que on shore (cooked by one of the local fishing families)



7 Jun 2005 Bequia to Musique 19nm


Light winds meant we had to motor sail to Mustique. The rain which we had had for 4 days in Bequia followed us there. I nice anchorage but somewhat overrated and the most expensive beer so far in the Caribbean        


30 May 2005 Pitons, St Lucia to Admiralty Bay, Port Elizabeth, Bequia  56nm

                An early start (0300) with winds to 20 knots we had a fabulous reach down to Wallibou Bay, St Vincent. We just looked round the bay where the second and third parts of Pirates of the Caribbean has just been filmed. The set was much as we saw in last except that there are now 2 gibbets. Fickle winds until we cleared St Vincent and then close hauled making 6.5knots all the way to Bequia. We were photographed by the local "Beken of Cowes". He took some excellent shots one of which is shown. We arrived at 1500hrs.


28 May 2005 Pigeon Bay to The Pitons                                                   18nm

                In the lee of the island we had flat seas and so reached at 6 plus knots with 12 - 15 knots of wind down to the Pitons. A 3 hour run to cover the 18 miles. We tried anse chasternet but anchoring is not allowed there so we took a mooring at the bat caves. Great snorkelling but very rolly so the next day we went to the town moorings, we also went round to the moorings between the pitons but the wind was very strong so we returned for the night to the town moorings.


26 May 2005 Dominica to Rodney Bay, St Lucia                                    100nm

                An 0840 departure we were close hauled for most of the way but had to motor sail for about 10 hours when the wind died. We anchored close the marina and cleared customs then sailed over to Pigeon Bay (less than a mile away) We enjoyed a nice meal at the Jambe d'bois.

               

22 May 2005 Antigua to Prince Rupert's Bay, Dominica                         96nm                      

                We left at 1425 and motorsailed the whole journey - again there was no wind. Some very large lighting storms were a cause for some concern during the evening and until about 2am but fortunately they stayed well East of us. We enjoyed a good roti and hd a chicken meal at the Seaview Café. We had planned to leave on 25th but with no wind we delayed until the 26th.

                                                                                                                                               

18 May 2005 Anguilla to Falmouth Harbour, Antigua                             116nm

                Enroute we stopped for lunch and a swim at the island of Forchue. The sail throughout the night was uneventful but we had to motorsail given that there was very little wind. I caught and lost 2 good sized Mahe Mahe before realising that the hook had become barbless. It was replaced with a treble and the next morning I caught a 10lb barracuda. However it had to be returned because of the likelihood of it carrying ciguatera which is a highly dangerous toxin that causes serious illness. The toxin is stored by the fish from eating around reefs, smaller fish contain very little toxin but anything over 3 lbs is considered dangerous. We had a lovely steak and mushroom meal (again) on board - I think it is a real treat. We also ate ashore and had a good lunch whilst watching the Monaco grand prix prior to our departure.


10 May 2005 St Marten to Anguilla                                                                         15nm

                Another sail with light winds but very pleasant. We anchored in Road bay and made contact with Austin Richardson, the father of the best man (Rob) at Kathryn's wedding. He very kindly showed us right round the island and took us into the Valley which is the only town in Anguilla. The island has developed from nothing in 40 years - it was about then that the UK government were thinking of sending all the islanders to Guyana because they didn't think that there was a viable existence here primarily because of the repeated droughts.  The weather has not been good for the last 4 days with persistent and heavy rain, and no sun. Insurance documents arrived just before we left. However, during our enforced stop I reflected on our plans and became concerned that the trip to Chesapeake would necessitate our staying up there until 1 December. If we then took the intra coastal waterway we wouldn't be back in the Caribbean until 2006. Moreover it can get very cold up in Chesapeake after September and I didn't relish hanging around for maybe a couple of months in the cold. We have therefore decided to go South. Dominica and Bequia for a few days then the Grenadines and Grenada leaving there at the end of June for the islands off the coast of Venezuela. We'll spend the summer there and then look at the best options from December this year.


6 May 2005 St Barts to St Marten                                                                            18nm

                The bridge opened at 11.30 am to allow entrance into Simpson Bay so we had an early start. Light airs but a nice sail and flat seas. Unfortunately the bay was packed and it was clear there were no anchorages left so we went into Simpson Bay Marina. It proved to be an excellent idea and the service offered is second to none (garbage collected from the boat pontoon for example) I used the 110 to 230v transformer for the first time and it worked faultlessly. We went to the cinema to see the interpreter on my birthday after having had a lovely meal of steak with wild mushrooms chez Katanne. The previous night we had had a Mexican which was OK but not outstanding. However, Nicolette chose the venue for her treat to me, the Boathouse, and the meal there was exceptional. The calamares with jalapeno peppers and garlic where fantastic. I had a seafood kebab whilst Nicolette had Mahi Mahi - both delicious. We took advantage of the good chandlers there and I was able to get a new transducer for the log (which gives the boat speed) the other having failed sometime ago. I know we have the GPS which gives our speed over the ground but all the seatalk interfaces rely on the log so I need it to find out the true wind. 


3 May 2005 Gustavia to Anse de Colombier, St Barts

                We'd seen Anse de Colombier on our jeep trip and it looked lovely from the land and proved to be equally so when at anchor. The snorkelling was really very good and we saw numerous green turtles feeding on the sea grass and  shoals of 4 or 5 rays at a time - some of them quite sizeable. There was also a lovely walk on the side of the cliffs to a little village called Anse de Flammade. We walked there twice because it was so enjoyable.


30 April 2005 Statia to St Barts                                                                                25nm

                The wind was on the nose for this trip and since we needed to charge the batteries we motorsailed the journey. Anchored in Gustavia well off in 9m. St Barts is very French and caters for the very rich. Chanel, Luis Vitton etc. are there so we didn't do much in the way of shopping ( although Nicolette had a good look). We did, though, hire a jeep and went round the island swimming off 3 of the best beaches. We also took the dinghy over to some nearby rocks and snorkelled around them.


27 April 2005  St.Kitts to Statia                                                                               21nm.                                      We had an excellent reach all the way making over 5kts with ease. There were none of the advertised moorings so we anchored in 3m (moorings had been removed for repairs) Nicolette went for a dive on a wreck and had a thoroughly good time. We climbed the Quill which is the local volcano about 2000ft high. The crater is now covered with a rain forest and is clearly extinct.                        


23 April 2005 Nevis to St Kitts.                                                                               8nm

                We had to leave Tamarind bay a day earlier than we had planned because the wind changed and the roll of the boat became untenable. This happens with a wind change which results in the swell coming from a different direction. If the boat then lies side to the swell then the resultant roll can become spectacular to watch and impossible to endure for any length of time. The marina was full and the wind blowing strongly. We had to wait around for nearly an hour whilst a charter boat tried repeatedly to reverse into a berth. Eventually we were given a spot in a corner between 4 pilings so that was a good exercise. We moved from there the next morning to a regular berth between 2 pilings (bow to the pontoon and stern lines port and starboard to the pilings). Next day we took a trip round the island using the local buses. It was good exercise and very economical at  £4 total for the 2 of us using 4 buses altogether. We also went to see Brimston Hill fort which was very impressive. Indra's in Basse Terre specialises in Rotis and had about 50 different ones on offer. That said the one I had didn't compare with the best we've had. I was given a very fresh garfish over a metre long by one of the local fishermen which was enough to feed us twice. Wealso met another single hander - Jan the Corsican on Ulyxes.


16 April 2005 Monserrat to Nevis                                                                           33nm

                Another lovely sail this time with the wind abaft (from behind) and took a mooring in Tamarind bay. Good snorkelling where Nicolette saw a good sized Baracuda. Had a game of golf!!! Actually it was 12 holes each of about 100 yards. The greens were rustic and the fairways more so. Nevertheless it was good fun and good exercise ( a good mile each way from where the bus dropped us off). Had a nice meal at the Gallipot which is on the beach at Tamarind bay. Nicolette had a wahoo and I had a steak. We were also able to fill up with water here.


14 April 2005 Antigua to Monserrrat                                                                       26nm

                We had a lovely reaching sail all the way to Monserrat although the seas were a bit lumpy.  After anchoring in Little bay we went ashore and completed the usual customs and immigration formalities. They are a necessary pain but an essential part of cruising the Caribbean islands. We hired a taxi the next day and went to see the devastation that the volcanic eruption caused in 1995. Most of the south part of the island is now uninhabited and the capital town, Plymouth was totally destroyed. The lava flow covered the whole town and what areas it missed were destroyed by the millions of tons of ash that fell. The volcano is still a real threat and so no redevelopment of the south of the island has taken place. Only 5000 of the original inhabitants remain and of those 5000 half of them have come from Guyana and the Dominican Republic.



11 Mar 2005 Falmouth harbour to Jolly Harbour                                    12nm

                Jolly harbour was our fifth port of call in Antigua and where we were to leave the boat whilst we were in the UK. We had a very secure berth and the marina has good security. There is also a large supermarket on site which we were to use before departing. We left the boat on the 15 March and returned on the 6th of April.  The wedding of my daughter Kathryn went very well and the weather on the day (19 March ) was fantastic - very warm and clear skies. We then went up to The Wirral where I left Nicolette after a few days and moved on to my home town of Bridlington. We were both able to meet up with our respective friends before Nicolette joined me and we went down to Dorset and Cambridge before returning to my daughter's prior to our return to Antigua.

                2 days after our return and Katanne was lifted out. We stayed on board during her 3 nights on the hard. We were able to lots of jobs including antifouling her and polishing the sides before she went back into the water on 11 April. We went back into the marina to provision before leaving. We were able to refuel her here, the first time since Barbados and we had used only 200litres in 4 months.


9 Mar  2005 Indian creek to Falmouth Harbour                                       2nm

                We sailed round to Falmouth harbour and anchored off pigeon beach. Good swimming off the beach and a good roti from a local bar.


8 Mar 2005 Ricketts to Indian Creek                                                                       8nm

                Had a quiet sail to Indian creek which is overlooked by a complex of buildings owned by Eric Clapton. The creek is totally hidden from the sea and we were delighted when we got into it that we were, after an hour or so, the only boat there. The pelicans provided us with some entertainment and they certainly eat as well as we do.


7 Mar 2005  Nonsuch bay to Ricketts bay                                                               1nm

                We moved from nonesuch because the wind had changed direction and Ricketts offered more protection. We stayed the night there and had our usual evening swim.         


3 Mar 2005 English Harbour  to Nonsuch Bay.                                       9nm

                We motorsailed to Nonsuch Bay and anchored in West Bay tucked into the NW corner of Green Island. The bay is protected from the Atlantic by a long reef and the water behind it is very calm.  This is the most Caribbean like place we have visited with coral reefs and azure waters the colours going from almost yellow in the shallows to turquoise and then light and deep blue. We spent the 5 March on the beach under a coconut palm and in the evening returned to have a bar-b-que.  We used drift wood to cook Cajun chicken which was delicious served with new potatoes and a bottle of rose wine. A memorable evening in perfect surroundings.  As I write this sitting in the cockpit on Sunday 6 March we have another beautiful day and I have just finished filming a 3ft barracuda which swam round the boat about 2ft from the surface.


28 Feb 2005 Carlisle Bat to English Harbour                                           4nm

                Motored the 4nms (Easterly winds anyway) and anchored first in Tank Bay  but the holding was not good in mud so we took a mooring to the quay. English Harbour has been restored beautifully and all the historic buildings and quays from Nelson's time have been preserved. I experienced a real feel of the history of the haven and it was easy to imagine how it bustled and ran in the 18th century. Enjoyed reading the Times for a day or 2 but we haven't missed the news and nothing seems to have changed much in the UK.  We also had our best Chicken Roti here and had a long walk over the headland from English Harbour to Pigeon Bay and then to Falmouth Harbour.


27 Feb 2005 Deshaies to Carlisle Bay Antigua                                         42nm

                For the first time in ages we were able to sail; closed reached for the whole trip; we left at 0615 and arrived at 1345. Nothing at Carlisle bay except a luxury hotel which is owned by the brother of a friend of N. The bay is very shallow and as result the waters are not clear. Had a walk ashore.


25 Feb 2005 Peteite Anse to Deshaies                                                     14nm

                1015 and on our way in drain and light airs to Deshaies. No luck with the fishing rod this time. N. made a lovely paella using shellfish that we had in tins. We visited the Botanic gardens and did some snorkelling round the rocks but the water wasn't very clear. We also had fun with our anchor chain which snagged a buoy line which had not been used for years so we cut it to free our chain.


23 Feb 2005 Point a Pitre to Anse de la Barque Guadelope                      36nm

                We left at 0830 and with light winds we motor sailed. This had the one advantage of giving us a good trolling speed and we caught 2 lovely small black finned tuna. It has been some time since we had caught anything so they were specially enjoyed. In fact they were so solid they lasted 2 nights. First off the bone and then as fishcakes. A pretty anchorage but I forgot to take in the fishing line so we lost some line, a paravane and the spinner. The holding was poor on very firm sand so we moved to Petite Anse - the next bay to the North. Holding here was good and the bay even prettier. We spent 2 pleasant nights there and no reason to go ashore.    


17 Feb 2005  La Bourg to Point a Pitre Guadelope                                   36nm      

                We made an unplanned visit to Point a Pitre the capital of Guadelope. The outboard had broken and since it wasn't the spark or the fuel supply that was at fault

I surmised that it could only be the timing which was electronic and not something I could fix. The wind was on the nose and the weather not particularly good so we motored there. We went into the marina there which made for a change although we preferring anchorages more and more for the solitude we gain. The outboard was fixed and we were also able to get new high density sponges for the cockpit cushions. We also had an excellent beef bourguignon at a café next door to the launderette we went to.


14 Feb Anse Fideling to La Bourg  - Terre de Haut                                  5nm

                Our intention was to anchor behind Pain a Sucre which looked a very pretty anchorage but when we got there it had a sizeable swell rolling in so we went over to the lee of Isle de Cabrits but that was full so we continued on to Bourg des Saints which is the capital town of Terre de Haut. It is a pretty town and we had a pleassnt walk around it. The next day we hired a scooter (all of 90hp) and toured the island. It has its fair share of good sized hills so we were glad we had transport. We swam from 2 of the beaches on the island and went up to Fort Napoleon where we saw more Iguanas. There were stll the occasional tremors but nothing like the first one we had the previous day.


13 Feb 2005 Portsmouth to The Saints (Guadelope)                                                20nm

                We Left at 1000 and were able to sail for the first 2 hours then we had to motor sail. We went first to Anse Fideling which is a small bay on Terrre de Bas the Western most island of The Saints. It is a very picturesque anchorage and we had a pleasant night there. Next day we had a good lunch in Grand Anse - a walk of about 30m minutes. We saw our biggest Iguanas here. At about 1400 on 14 Feb we experienced a 5.9 (richter scale) earthquake centred 14km South of us at a depth of 14kms. We first heard and felt a loud and very deep rumble which lasted about 5 seconds. The boat shook but not violently. What was apparent was the noise and the vibrations were clearly from a very powerful event. The birds on the nearby cliffs flew off and then a small part of the cliff came down. All the dogs in the village were barking and numerous shoals of fish leapt out of the water. We heard later that the quake had been felt on the Beaches in Antigua 60 miles away. 


3 Feb 2005 Roseau to Portsmouth                                                                           8nm

                A swift sail to St. Rupert's bay and in time for the carnival. Our first anchorage was rolly so we moved into the NW corner and tied our stern to a coconut palm. From then on we had a very comfortable stay and smugly watched the others in the bay suffering some quite heavy swell; enough to damage the piers outside some of the restaurants. I blamed the swell for the soaking I got when I fell in trying to get into the dinghy returning from the carnival. Took local buses to Calibshe and Cabrits.  What we most enjoyed though was the local food. It was typical Creole and so cheap that we ate out most days. We both thought that Dominica was the nicest of the islands we had visited and that's why we stayed there 10 days.


1 Feb 2005 Roseau to Castaways (mero)                                                 11nm

                1000 hours and we went whale spotting but to no avail. Motor sailed to Castaways and anchored 200m offshore. Tightened the rudder stock nut which stopped a small leak. Had a walk into the nearby village of St Joseph. The swell came in that evening and was quite uncomfortable. It is extremely unusual to get a SW wind at this time of year which has made many of the leeshore anchorages rolly and with an uncomfortable swell.


28 Jan 2005 St Pierre to Roseau Dominica                                                               36nm

                A lovely sail leaving at 0530 and arriving at 1200 in time to clear customs and immigration. I fell in love with Dominica as soon as I set foot on it. There was music playing wherever we went and I felt that this was an unsullied Caribbean country. It is clear that this is a poorer country than any other we have visited so far and there is desperate need for tourism development and inward investment. Nevertheless, the people seem to be happy and were certainly helpful and friendly towards us. We visited Trafalgar falls and got a lift back in the back of an open small truck together with 2 teachers from the local school. We also went ot the sulphur springs and took a cable car through the rainforest. A few days prior to the last days of the carnival we went to a jam session on Independence street and had a great evening.

26 Jan 2005 Grand Anse D'Arlet to St Pierre

                A rare and very good reaching sail, the weather continued to be strange with winds from all directions except the norm. Anchored of the town jetty in the middle of the bay which gave us the opportunity to make a number of dinghy trips ashore to collect water. We eventually filled all our tanks. We walked to the Depaz rum distillery on a lovely hot day with clear skies.


24 Jan 2005 St Anne to Grand Anse D'Arlet                                                           14nm

                We stopped off at Petite Anse for lunch at anchor, a lovely  anchorage as was Grand Anse where the water was very clear. Also walked to Petit Anse in search of land crabs which we didn't find. Had a v good sandwich at a beach bar there.


19 Jan 2005 Pigeon Island to St Annes, Martingue                                  22nm

                We motor sailed into a stiff breeze off our starboard bow and took 5.5 hours to get to St Annes. We visited Fort de France, the capital, had a good plat de jour there of moules and frites. We also hired a card for the day and visited a number of rum distilleries. They were all much the same and the samples of rum were either ti punch or coconut rum so I never got to taste neat rum. We also visited a botanical garden where I saw my first humming bird.


18 Jan 2005-02-21 Rodney Bay to Pigeon Island                                    1nm

                After clearing out through customs wehad an overnight stop at Pigeon Island primarily so that we could have a meal at Jaime de Bois which was good but not memorable. Had a walk round Fort Rodney and saw a grove snake  ( very common)


12 Jan 2005 Marigot Bay to Rodney Bay Marina, St Lucia                      8nm

                It was surprisingly pleasant to be in a marina for a few days. We were able to do lots of jobs on the boat without any boat movement. Castries is the capital of St Lucia and is a lovely town. The market is vibrant and the local food fantastic. Example: a fish meal for 8 ec dollars (£1.6) consisting of 2 large fish steaks, macaroni cheese, dasheen, breadfruit, plantain, gravy, salad, rice and beans. The meal at Gros Islet was somewhat different, it was a buillon but was mainly a sticky dough and chunks of fat!!


8 Jan 2005 Anse la Raye to Marigot Bay                                                  3nm

                Marigot Bay looks beautiful in all the brochures; it is almost totally enclosed and mangrove swamps border 2 sides of the bay. However, the water is filthy - all the restaurants empty their sewage into the bay and there is very little tide or current to cleanse the bay. It rained for much of our time there and we were able to collect nearly 200 litres of rain water for drinking. JJ's a supposedly famous restaurant was a disappointment and the food was poor. 2 for 1s at the Beach Bar were good and was the steak we had on our last evening there.


7 Jan 2005 Bat Cave Moorings to Anse la Raye, St Lucia                        7nm

                There is a fish feast every Friday night at Anse la Raye and that was our prime reason for going there. The rain continued to fall and the swell was as bad here as at Bat Caves. Moreover, we couldn't get ashore because of the swell and breaking waves on shore. The jetty had been destroyed in an earlier hurricane.


6 Jan 2005 Maglretout to Bat Cave Moorings                                           1nm

                We had been waiting for a mooring to become vacant across the bay at the Bat Cabe moorings. When one did become so at 7.30am we rushed across to it. The bat cave moorings are actually on a coral reef so we swam off the boat straight over the reefs. It was a fantastic experience and the water was crystal clear and I saw my first school of squid. I managed to take some footage of the bats departing from the cave (just a slit in the rock face). The following day we bought 15 ballyhoo fish from the fishermen and one of them then offered to gut and fillet them. Overnight the weather changed with gusts to 28kts, torrential rain and in the morning it became very rolly. The water had also discoloured so we decided to move on.


4 Jan 2005 Jalousie Bay to Malgretout Bay St Lucia                                                6.0nm

                We had our 10 minute motor round the corner and went, as planned for a meal at Benny's which was very good; all the food is procured locally. Nicolette saw an octopus earlier in the day. We heard about the Tsusami 4 days after the event but I was incensed when T. Blair announced that his government would be giving a sum of money substantially more than be been donated by the British public. What does he think "government money" is and where does he think it comes from?




1 Jan 2005  Wallilabou to Jalouise Bay, St Lucia


Dep.  Wallilabou 010105 0820 Arr. 010105 1400                                   37nm

New Year's day and were up early for a sail to Jalousie Bay, St Lucia. Before doing so however, Nicolette had to swim ashore to untie the rope on the coconut tree; I then pulled her back which she thought was great fun. Our course to St Lucia meant we were hard on the wind and the pilot guide recommends motor sailing  because the winds off the Northern edge of St Vincent are unpredictable. We made good time and arrived at about 2.00pm after a sail of 37nms.  The entrance to the bay is spectacular as it guarded by the 2 pitons which are 2000ft high very steep conical in shape. They are not old volcanoes but essentially 2 enormous lumps of rock deposited by a volcano. The next thing that struck me was the clarity of the water. We are anchored in 50ft of water and I can clearly see the bottom I am sure that I would still see the bottom if we were in 100ft of water.  The area is all managed by a maritime conservation agency who lay down moorings to stop people anchoring and so damaging the seabed. We took a mooring and later on went ashore to explore. There is only a restaurant and a Hilton hotel both of which cater for wealthy tourists. However, there is a fabulous and quite famous snorkelling area just off the beach which will spend some time exploring.

                The following day we took a water taxi round to Soufriere which is the closest town and where we had to check in with customs and immigration. It was a lovely ten minute ride round the base of one of the pitons. I was immediately taken by the town and we intend to spend a few extra days here as a result. We will sail round the corner (10 minutes away) and pick up a mooring outside a well known restaurant called "Bennies" if it is not outrageously expensive we'll have a meal there. There are more moorings across the bay which are close to a sheer cliff where we will moor. It looks so peaceful and secluded there and snorkelling is done straight off the boat. I would also like to explore the town more and eat in the local cafes which are invariably more fun than the restaurants catering for tourists. After checking in at customs Nicolette was able to go to mass in the local church which is surprisingly big for a very small town. They were singing Christmas carols so I slipped in at the back and enjoyed them too.

                Later that day I had my first serious snorkelling session and we couldn't have chosen a better start. The coral reef we explored lies just off a sandy beach which is easy to reach and is at the base of one of the little piton. The reef is protected and managed by a conservation agency, no anchoring allowed and neither is any sailing or motoring permitted over the reef. What we saw was spectacular and far exceeded what I had hoped to see. There was a myriad of different fish species far too numerous to mention but covered a wide cross section of the all the species you are likely to find on the Caribbean reefs. The water was crystal clear and it was just so easy to float around at leisure taking as long as you wanted to watch the antics of the fish. Shoals as well as single types fish were in abundance. It is difficult to put into words the shear beauty of the reef which in addition to the fish has a wide variety of corals. We shall be returning there every day we are here.




30 Dec Bequia to Wallilabou, St Vincent.

Dep 301204 1130 Arr Wallilabou 301204 1420                                      16nm

The sail to Wallilabou on the island of St Vincent  was only about 3 hours but it was good fun. We took a mooring and because of the nature of the bay our stern was tied (by a very long rope) to a coconut tree on the shore. This  stopped the boat swinging about. We explored a waterfall but it wasn't up to much but you can't get away from the fact that this bay was used for the shooting of the film "Pirates of the Caribbean". The restaurant has been transformed as have some of the other buildings The highly praised restaurant wasn't up to much and everything was overshadowed by the place being an old set for the film - they are shooting a new one next month so what it will be like after that goodness knows. We ate shore New Year's Eve and watched a film on our return but neither us had the stamina to stay awake for the New Year and we were safely tucked up in bed by 10 pm and set sail early the next day.

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Bequia

Our mooring was in a very good position only about 3 minutes from the shore by dinghy. This was the first of the Windward Islands we had visited. It rained quite a bit throughout our stay but the rain is warm and soon evaporates. We had to remember to close the hatches at night if there was any chance of rain sometimes we didn't but on each occasion one of us heard it coming and closed them in time.

We ate out a few times - our favourite lunch being chicken roti which is curried chicken and potatoes in a wrap served with a hot sauce. They were about £1 each and made a very substantial lunch. The fruit market was an experience. Lots of lovely fresh fruit and about 20 stalls the holders of each one clamouring to sell us their wares. Nicolette solved the problem very neatly by buying one think from each of them, those we didn't buy from on one day we did on subsequent days. Everyone seemed happy with this and we were one of the few that were thereafter not hassled at.

Christmas was looming and plans were duly made. I ordered a lobster from one of the vendors - they all visit by boat (high speed launch really). Everything from fresh bread to water and diesel is delivered direct to your boat. Laundry is collected from it and delivered back the same day. If you don't want to take your dinghy then there are water taxis roaming around day and night. You have to admire the enterprise of them all. It is also made so pleasant because you are not hassled by Any of them and a polite "No Thanks" is met with grace. Nicolette had laid in a store of mince pies and Christmas cake and other goodies. We also had some decorations and I had managed to rig up the small inverter which was enough to run the Christmas lights that I put outside round the cockpit bimini (a cover over the cockpit). We had Laura and Phil (friends from Grasiosa and Barbados) for drinks on Christmas day and then we had some of the biggest prawns you are ever likely to see. We needed a rest and a swim after that but eventually I got round to the lobster. I had been keeping it alive in a sack suspended 6ft under the boat and when I took it out it was very much alive. The problem was one of size, it was very big and our biggest cooking pot  (one we bought specially) was far too small. I stunned it first with needle through the brain and then put the head into boiling water - the edible bit, the tail was outside of the pot!!. When I was sure it was dead I turned it round so the tail was in the pot. Put the lid on as best I could and covered it with a tea towel to hold in the steam. After 20 minutes it was ready and delicious it was too. We could only eat half of it between us - the rest was enjoyed a day or two later.  We hadn't missed out on the meat either since we went ashore on Christmas Eve and had a steak with some lovely and very diverse salads.

Christmas Day night we decided to go ashore for a drink - a bit daft really since we had had pina coladas, friends for drinks at lunchtime and wine with our meal. However, it was only 3 minutes by dinghy. We tied up safely and then I promptly dropped the boat keys into the water. Nicolette offered to retrieve them and fortunately she was wearing non-revealing underwear. Dress off and in she went. Then back to the boat to change but on the way she dropped the padlock. We retrieved that the next day. A quick change and back to the bar where we had a couple of drinks and met up with more friends.

Boxing day we walked round the island to Friendship Bay which has a lovely white  beach fringed with palms. It took about half an hour to get there and we needed to stretch our legs after all. We had lunch there at a beach restaurant and walked back in the late afternoon.

                The inverter finally turned up on 28 Dec which was really very good since it left the UK on 23 Dec. I duly removed the defunct one and fitted the new one and to date it is working perfectly. We can if we want put on a film (DVD) if we so wish. Before leaving Bequia we went to another bay (Lower Bay) which was only a 20 minute walk away and spent a god part of the day there. We have become serious bookworms and my reading matter in particular is reaching new literary heights. The Librarian part of Nicolette insists I broaden my tastes and I am thoroughly enjoying doing so.


17 Dec 2004 Barbados to Bequia

Dep Carlisle Bay 171204 1330 Arr Bequia 181204 1000                        97nms

We made first for Port St. Charles were we cleared immigration and customs and took on water and (duty free) fuel. We left Port St Charles at 1620 under motor since the wind was calm. Half an hour later and I had the Genoa poled out and a full main and off we went. The wind never exceeded 20kts and for mush of the time was less than 15 kts but we made good time and had a wonderful night sail with the moon nearly full and clear skies. We had 2 incidents; first a yacht to port of us (and therefore the one to give way) passed very close and went about 40m ahead of us. Despite shining a powerful light into his cockpit I couldn't see anyone and couldn't raise him on VHF. Of even greater concern was the cruise ship, which appeared just off our port bow on a constant, bearing. It 6 miles I put the radar on and called him on Ch16 giving his position and advising him that he was on a collision course with a yacht under sail. At first he said he could see nothing (now 4nm away) even though we had the deck lights on and our radar transponder would be showing us clearly on his radar. Eventually he admitted to seeing us on his radar and turned to starboard by 40 deg. I only hope the officer of the watch had words with the bridge crew since they were clearly not doing their job. We arrived in Admiralty Bay, Bequia at 1000 on 18 December, We anchored in 11m of water with strong squalls blowing and errant buoys around us and which were likely to foul our rudder or prop. After 2 days of worrying (and clearing loose line from one buoy from our prop) I took a mooring close to the shore and out of the main wind channel. 


10 Dec 2004

Barbados

We set anchor there but didn't go ashore until the next day. It's not surprising that after a crossing of that length when the maximum time you can sleep is 3 hours and more times than not it was much less, that we were tired and needed time to recover. Sleep was difficult at times given that the beach-bars have discos until 4 in the morning. We took time out to go Christmas shopping doing the usual things to buy in secret and we got our visas for the USA whilst we were there. The inverter which gives us 230volts on board broke while we were in Mindelo but the UK agents have kindly sent a replacement to Bequia which hopefully will arrive after Christmas. Other parts for the boat (non essential items) are being sent to St Lucia. Nicolette spent a long time in the water removing goose barnacles from the hull. I had thought that my antifouling wasn't working but it seems everyone has the same problem. They must have attached themselves whilst we were in Mindelo, I haven't noticed any on the boats in the harbour. She used a scraper on a pole and wearing fins and snorkel. Getting around Barbados was fun; we used the dinghy to go either to the beach or to the careenage which was in the centre of town or to the fishing harbour where there was a very good fish market. We bought billfish, blue marlin and flying fish from there. The flying fish are beautifully prepared, they are filleted and then the two lines of secondary bones are removed so there are no bones however small left. We also treated ourselves to a lobster at "Lobster Alive" where the lobsters are kept alive in tanks (they come from St Vincent). We took the dinghy direct to this beach restaurant and landed through some minor surf. On leaving the waves had grown, we had shared a bottle of wine and it was very dark. The upshot was that I grounded the propeller of the outboard and broke the shear pin. Necessity being the mother of invention I used a brass screw suitable filed down as a replacement (it's still in use)

We couldn't fail to notice just how friendly and helpful everyone was. Cars would stop to let us cross the road and everyone was keen to help and offer directions. For example I wanted to find a small inverter to power the Christmas lights. Anyone I asked would ring other shops or friends and eventually we tracked down what we needed and which has proved to be in constant use (uses less power than the main inverter so we use it for re charging cameras etc.) We also took a sightseeing trip on a bus which was fun and at times bizarrely hilarious. The bus was the usual town bus the driver thought he was related to Schumacher and hadn't made up his mind which side of the road we should be driving on. So we were careering round Barbados on a hot sunny day 2 days before Christmas and at the same time there was a woman in front of us playing at full blast on her radio "Winter Wonderland" Most of our companions were local who clearly went on these outings regularly and had with them everything they were likely to need. Our radio lady was dishing out plastic cups for those that needed them whilst the lady and her son behind us had enough sandwiches to feed the all the passengers twice over.  Blocked roads added to the fun especially when half the passengers disembarked to offer their expert advice on how to reverse out of the situation. We also took time to do some entertaining; Ben from "Shalom" a single hander who came over when we did was pleased to spend an hour or two having a drink. I don't think he was a natural single handed and missed having company. Doug, a Canadian we had met in Mindelo on "Kodo" whom we had had drinks with there came over for a few with us. We also spent an evening on "Jade" a catamaran with Laura and Phil (who we met in Grasiosa). However after a week we were ready to move on.


23 November 2004

Dep Mindelo Cape Verde Islands 231104 1000 Arr Barbados 10122004 0015 2100nm

The first week we made 100miles a day despite the winds being light for much of the time. We had the spinnaker up day and night for 4 days and only took it down when the wind strength increased above 18kts. We caught fish on 2 occasions which we enjoyed. The water generator would only kick in when we were doing more than 5 kts boat speed so we had to put the engine on for charging every 2 days or so.

By the 1Dec we were experiencing overcast conditions with stronger winds at times but frustratingly we also had times of flat calms. We received information of squall activity over a large area which covered our position. On the night of 2/3 Dec we had very light winds so I put the cruising shute up. Just after midnight we were hit by a squall of over 40kts and very heavy and torrential rain. It did an excellent job cleaning the boat which was spotless for a day or afterwards. It also tried hard to split the cruising shute but I managed to get it down safely and we rode out the squall with the main at 90 degs to the wind and doing 1kt. We were almost becalmed after the squall but we needed to chare the batteries so I decided that we should motor until day break - the first time we had done so on the crossing. The next day we heard that there was very strong squall activity south of 15N and we were at the time at 14 deg 58N so we went onto a NE heading until we heard later in the day that that particular trough had dissipated. For the next few days we had a mixture of strong and light winds. The spinnaker was the most effective sail so we had it up most days even in winds of 20 plus knots but we were prudent enough now not to fly it at night when we couldn't see the squalls approaching. We had our best days sailing to date on 6 Dec when we made 144 miles in 24 hours.

On 7 Dec all ships were asked to help out a vessel declaring a PAN MEDICO and needed to get to Barbados as soon as possible (It might have been a crew member with a suspected broken back) The yacht needed fuel and we were only 25 miles upwind of her so offered the 80 litres we had strapped to the railings of our boat. We also offered Pephadine which we had. In the event the yacht was in fact 60 miles ahead of us and was being escorted and assisted by a cruise liner.

We continued to fish through out the crossing but the breaking strain of the line I had was to low at 30lbs. I was hooking fish of 10lbs plus and of course was immediately broken (after stripping a load of line first) I tried smaller and smaller lures only to hook bigger and bigger fish until I ran out of line.

We had squally conditions for the rest of the crossing but the winds in between were steady and we made good progress.

The highlight of the crossing occurred the day before our arrival. I was facing backwards and reading when I noticed a brown and white shadow just off our stern. Whilst I was trying work out what was creating the shadow it moved forward to the starboard side about 4 feet away and became a 10 m white shape. I realised it must be a whale and this was confirmed a little later when if surfaced just ahead of us. For the next 2 hours this whale entertained us most royally. Initially I was concerned it might hit the boat but soon realised it had no intention of doing so. It would swim down either side of the boat and invariably turned to show its white underbelly when it did so. It also dived under the boat and actually registered on the depth gauge at 3.9 metres. The most exciting event though was the surfing. It would appear about 100m astern of us just under the surface and clearly visible. The swell was about 12 ft. As the swell ran towards us so the whale would surf with it but still just under the surface. It was the most amazing sight seeing it getting closer and closer and still heading straight for us. When about 10ft behind us it would turn to go one side or the other or straight underneath. Needless to say we watched it intently for the whole time and would have done so for many more hours had it not decided to go elsewhere. We think it was a bottle nosed whale deduced from its size, colour and type water spout it created.

From now on all times are local

We arrived at Port St Charles at 0615 after slowing down to ensure we arrived in daylight. After clearing customs and taking on water we made for Carlisle Bay, Bridgetown, Barbados and set anchor there at 1700.

How was the crossing? From a sailing point of view it was great, we had no headwinds (the first time I can say that!!) and the weather was generally kind to us. The trade winds had not set in and the squalls were not usual - they did continue for the following three weeks so the traditional departure date of 1 Dec would not have avoided them. Time and boredom were not an issue. We soon fell into a routine and never seemed to think about how long we'd been at sea or how long we had left. Of course there were milestones; reaching 1000 miles, the half way point, most miles covered etc. but neither of us were frustrated or found the passing of the days a problem.

We sailed about 2100 nms in 17 days which we later realised was a very respectable time for a 34ft "bath tub". I later realised that the journey time would have been at least a day and probably 2 days quicker had we cleaned the hull before leaving Cape Verde. By the time we reached Barbados the hull was covered in goose Barnacles (see entry on Barbados). Our speed after Nicolette had cleaned them all off was probably 0.75 knots quicker.


5 November 2004

Dep La Gomera 051104 1015 Arr Mindelo 131104 0830                       802.5nm

For the first 3 days we had fickle winds which meant we used the engine and many sail combinations. However we did cover nearly half the distance. Things changed rapidly from then on. The wind came up from the SW and reached F7 occasionally F8. By the evening of the 8 Nov we hove to for the night. We were making very little headway and the seas were uncomfortable. For the next 3 days we beat into the wind whenever we could but at times we were making so little headway that we motor sailed. The wind was always forecast to go round to the NE but never did. An unexpected gale centred over the Cape Verde Islands on 11 November and we received the tail end of it on 12 November when about 120 miles North of CV. We had 6 hours of F6-7 SSW but closed hauled about 235 deg off track for that time. Then the wind died completely and we motored into Mindelo at first light on 13 November. The forecast for our trip was for NE with a 24-hour period of SE. I now realise that any disruption of the trades is likely to last a week and will invariably be more violent than forecast. We had not fished on the crossing because the conditions were so bad but on the morning of 13 Nov as we entered Mindelo I found 6 good-sized flying fish on the deck which were much enjoyed that evening.

The pilot warns that the Cape Verde's' are unsafe with lots of theft. We found them as safe as anywhere, we didn't here of any problems of theft or harassment or anything else untoward. Mindelo was delightful; the shops are well stocked as is the fruit market and the fish market was wonderful with a 1lb of fresh tuna for less than £1.00. So here were a few flies around but the fish was so fresh and the vendors so pleasant that we didn't really care and we never suffered any tummy bugs. We ate out a few times and I serviced the engine and made sure everything was in order. The inverter broke while we were there which meant that there would be no movies on board for the Atlantic crossing but other than that we were in good shape. We took on water and fuel there before leaving for Barbados.

29 Oct 2004

Dep Tenerife 291004 0500 Arr La Gomera 1291004 1530                     64nm

Wind calm to begin with so under motor. Saw 3 pilot whales and received a navtex warning of  a  plague of locusts expected Canaries or Cape Verde Islands. Wind increased in the Gomera channel. We tried beating to windward but made no headway so continued with the engine. La Gomera was the most beautiful of all the Canary Islands that we saw. It had everything to offer from verdant hills to rugged and barren ravines. There is very little flat land there so the car we hired spent all its time going up or down hills and vales. In all we had a very relaxed time in preparation for the trip to the Cape Verde Islands.


23 Oct 2004

Dep Lanzarote 231004 0900 Arr Marina Atlantico Tenerife 241004 1000   131nm

A fabulous sail we averaged over 5kts on a reach for most of the way. Winds were F4 occasionally 5. Katanne loves those conditions and despite a 2.5m swell she was so settled. Caught 2 nice sized dolphin fish (mahi mahi) on the way and no doubt could have caught more but I only catch what we can eat. Excellent eating, Nicolette baked them with a sprinkling of rose baie (red peppercorns) and served with new potatoes and aubergine.

Took a hire car for the day and went up Spain's highest mountain (car and cable car!) which is about 12,000ft high. The national park is not as spectacular as that in Lanzarote but still worthy seeing. Couldn't find any bodegas despite spending some time motoring round the vineyards. Topped up at Cortes Ingles and Carrefour; we now have enough on board to feed the inhabitants of the Cape Verdes if they run short. Enough wine to set up our own off licence and I was given 4 plastic jerry cans so now have another 85 litres of fuel and a range of 700miles. The antifouling stops about 2 inches short of the waterline!!


17 Oct 2004

Dep Graciosa 171004              0800 Arr Rubicon Lanzarote 170104 1700 36nm

A lovely if somewhat slow sail for all but 2 hours. It was so good to have the engine off  for a sustained period. Katanne goes really well considering her size and added weight when on any point of sail except beating to windward which I'll try to avoid.

Had a lovely time in Lanzarote  the marina is very good with free use of the swimming pool (Nicolette took good advantage of that) and the best showers and toilets we have come across. We took a hire car for the day and went to see the "mountain of fire". Very spectacular. The volcano erupted in 1726 and caused devastation  to an island which had hitherto had a great agricultural existence. Now it so barren that you could be on the moon. That said every effort has been made to produce foodstuffs and the vineyards are unique. Each vine has it's own half moon shaped wall to protect it from the wind and to keep it warm at night. We tried the local wine but it wasn't for us.


5 Oct 2004

Dep Gibraltar 05102004 1000 Arr La Graciosa 10102004 0715             590nm

We had a good Easterly through the straits and continued under sail until after midnight when the wind died completely. It came up again at 1000 on 6 Oct but was on the nose. We sailed close hauled for about 11hours but after checking that we had only made 30nm and that on a favourable tack we had no option but to start the engine. Even so we couldn't make our course and lay about 30 degs off it. The wind throughout was only F4 to 5 but the seas were lumpy and knocking the boat back all the time. We motored at 4 kts for 5 hours and then went close hauled again since we could nearly make our course. By 1430 on 7 Oct we had to start the engine again and put a reef in the main. It was depressing having to motor for so long but we had little alternative. Katanne is not built for windward sailing and with any sea we could only make 60 deg to the wind and that didn't account for the drift. We motored until 0745 on 9 Oct and had a good reaching sail until the wind died. However at 2115 we got some wind again which slowly increased and we had a good sail until we reached Graciosa on the morning of 10 Oct.

What a landfall; There's a channel between Graciosa and Lanzarote which is to port and is no more than a massive volcanic cliff on its Northern side. Graciosa is also volcanic but  La Sociedad which where the marina lies looked wonderful, A small village of predominantly single storey white houses form a backcloth to the harbour with the wilderness of the volcanic island behind. There are no roads only sand ways; it is peaceful beyond belief. There is however, a fairly constant NE wind blowing at up to F4 so it isn't exactly silent and given that there is no electricity (or water) laid onto the pontoons then there is the inevitable whirr of the wind generators - ours included. It together with the solar panels installed in Gibraltar are providing us with all the electricity we need.


19 September 2004

Dep Dequesa 19092004 0800 Arr Gibraltar 19092004 1300 24nm

Wind calm, good tide round Europa point. Back in Gibraltar and things to do. Had the new solar panels installed, also had some stainless steel brackets made so that I can make a long detachable table for the cockpit. Checking out the engine I discovered that the header tank securing bracket was cracked and fell apart when I unbolted it. The arrival of the new one delayed our departure by 3 days resulting in us having headwinds en route to The Canaries. Such is life. Kathryn and Bailey came to visit for the weekend and we had a lovely time. Went to our favourite tapas bar in La Linea. K loved it, B fell asleep. Had a tour of the rock and saw all the famous sights including the apes which made Bs day. K and B also took a dolphin trip and saw literally 100s of them. Not surprising since there is a resident population in the bay. Took Alan and Doreen off Kiah to Malaga airport and did a mountain of shopping at the hypermarket in Algeceris. Enjoyed 2 quiz nights and even went out to eat. Lamb tagine turned out to be Irish stew. Only in Gibraltar could a Moroccan restaurant get it wrong!!  Completed all our preparations for the crossing including filling the septic tank (never used) with fresh water.


18 September 2004

Dep Fuengirola 18092004 0800 Arr Duquesa 18092004 1400               35nm

Wind calm, sun shining stongly. It is a queit and comfortable marina surrounded by the ubiquitous shops and bars. Watched the ryder cup which was exciting if for no other reason than that Europe where thrashing the USA. Nicolette's excellent pork escalopes for dinner.


16 September 2004

Dep Punta de la Mona 16092004 0630 Arr Fuengirola 16092004 1315    45nm

Wind calm; saw lots of dolphins. Went to a private hospital to have the stitches removed. Fuengirola is so tatty it is likeable. The boundary of the marina is lined with  single storey cafes and restaurants and bars and there isn't a Spanish speaking person in sight. Everything English, Irish< Scottish, Dutch and German is on offer. All compete to give the best an biggest full English breakfast at the lowest price. Ate ashore and it was predictably disappointing. Too good to miss for all the wrong reasons.


15 September 2004

Dep Almerimar 15092004 0615 Arr Punta de la Mona 15092004 1330    45nm

Light head winds but the sea was still lumpy afterearlier storng winds. The Med is remarkable in that it requires only a moderate wind to cause waves out of proportion to the wind strength and it takes an age for them to die down. Fresh fish for dinner and Nicolette finally got to go snorkelling there which she had wanted to do on the way up. Un fortunately the water was now much cooler so she wasn't in for long. However, she did confirm that the sea there is full of fish of al types. We moored up against the rock facing a mass of hibiscus. A lovely sight to wake up to


13 September 2004

Dep Aguadulce 13092004 0730 Arr Almerimar 13092004 1030 18nm

A short run round the coast to Almerimar. The wind heading us so no point in putting the sails up. Had a monster shop at the local supermarket and stocked up with bricks of wine and orange juice. Went to have my arm seen to and the doctor tried to take out the stitches. I thought it was too soon so left there and went to local private doctor who agreed that stitches shouldn't come out for another 3 days at least. Good laundrette here so a big wash including the bimini cover. Looks much better now it isn't covered in brown sand.


12 September 2004

Dep Garrucha 12092004 0600 Arr Aquadulce 12092004 1430 55nm

Light SW winds meant we had to motorsail. Watched the Grand Prix in Italy. Event of the day was to see very close by a flock of about 30 pink flamingos. They climbed a little as they approached the boat but then went back down to skimming the surface of the sea. Also saw a fair sized flying fish which passed less than a metre from the boat and glided for 100s of yards. Aqguadulce was not a pretty place being a fishing port primarily. Had a meal ashore which was one of the very few poor meals we have had.


11 September 2004

Dep Cartegena 11092004 0630 Arr Garrucha 11092004 1300 47nm

Motorsailed the whole journey. Not allowed to fish since my arm has to remain dry and I'm not suppose to exert any pressure on the muscles. Seas were calm. Marina was full so we tied to another yacht in the fishing harbour. This resulted in most of the most peaceful nights we've had..


9 September 2004

Dep Tomas Maestre 09092004  0700 Arr Cartegena 09092004 1100 25nm

NE wind was good enough to get the sails up, lovely to be able to switch the engine off for 3 hours.  Wind inevitably died and motored for the last stretch. Nicolette's birthday today so it was appropriate that we had a fair wind. Seas a bit lumpy after 3 days of strong Easterlies. Meal out at Ricon de Callego who specialise in different ways of cooking pulpo (octopus). Simon and Kunje departed by bus the next day to Madrid and on to UK.


5 September 2004

Dep Cartegena 05092004 0800 Arr  Tomas Maestre 05092004 1400 25nm

Wind on the nose F4 but dropped to 3 later. Seas lumpy after strong Easterlies. Caught a small fish but returned it species unknown. Waited for an hour for bridge to open. Next day went into Mar Menor, an inland sea of 12nm by 6nms. Anchored off island and took dinghy ashore to swim in netted area. The Menor is full of jellyfish. Tried 2 marinas round the edges but both full so planned to anchor for the night off the island. Slipped and caught my arm on a shroud split pin. Decided to go back to Tomas Maestre. Chart failed to show extent of shallow waters so went aground a few times trying to make TM as soon as possible. Staff there v helpful took me to emergency unit in La Manga. 13 stitches. Have to have it looked every 2 days so will stay here until 9 Sept and then return to Cartegena..

31 August 2004

Dep Garruche 31082004 07700 Arr Cartegena 31082004 1500 48nm

Motor Sailed all the way. New marina. Cartegena is primarily a large naval base but is steeped in Roman history and remains which go back over 2000 years. Went to Cortes Ingles and Carrefour. Simon and Kunje arrived 2 Sept. Visited the castle and other ruins. Delayed departure with strong easterly winds.


30 August 2004

Dep Almeria 30082004 0700 Arr Garruche 30082004 1500 49nm

Hot sunny day no wind. Nice marina but no access to club facilities at all including bar or restaurant. Religious festival in town.


29 August 2004

Dep Almerimar 29082004 0700 Arr Almeria 29082004 1400 21nm

Short sail but hove to watch Grand Prix and for N. to go swimming. Tried trolling at low speeds for fish - no joy. Few fish in the med.


27 August 2004

Dep Punta de la Mona 27082004 0615 Arr Almerimar 27082004 1300 35nm

No wind. Saw v large school of dolphins and up to 10 of them around the bow at times. Nicolette had a swim and did a bit of hull cleaning at the same time. Marina is very large but very quiet. Good laundry so spent 2 days there. Remembered eating in the marina during winter golfing holiday there. Summer prices bear no relationship to prices we paid then. Good supermarket close by.


26 August 2004

Dep Belamedana 26082004 0630 Arr Punta de la Mona 126082004 1300 39nm

Fog and F3 wind on the nose, eventually got some sail up but then wind died. Marina is very pretty and can't be seen until almost at the entrance. It is built beyond a big rock which now forms part of the breakwater. Lots of restaurants around the marina but little else. Went to the beach where everyone has snorkel gear. Must be something to see. Maybe call  in on the way back. Chilli con Carne on board.



25 August 2004

Dep Estapona 25082004 0800 Arr Belamedana 25082004 1430 34nm

Fog early on, no wind. Had a visit from the Guardia Civil whilst on route. They boarded us looking for illegal immigrants I suspect. Marina is very large with nothing much to offer. Had a lovely lasagne on board


24 August 2004

Dep Gib 24082004 0840 Arr Estapona 24082004 1340 25nm

No wind. Town is a tourist resort with nothing to offer us. Only note was that marina gave us a bottle of wine on arrival. Another town where the music starts around 2am and goes on through the night.


15 August 2004

Dep Barbate 15082004 0530 Arr Gibraltar 15082004 1030 35nm

Decided to leave early before the levante blew up. In the event the rounding of Tarifa was done in slight seas. We then picked up a 4ky current but we could see the slower current 20yds to port. By turning moving slightly to port we entered the slower channel and our speed dropped by 2kts.  20 yds to starboard and back up to 9kts plus. Fog in the bay but cleared as we reached the customs jetty. Went into Marina Bay. Gibraltar has changed so much physically but the essence of the place is the same since I was last there in 1976. It's enigmatic but for no reasons I can discern. Main Street is looking better but still selling high quality tat. The restaurants offer 70's style English fayre and there is the same feeling of decadence - and yet it is lovable, and there is a warmth there,  maybe it's only because of the common language but I suspect that it's more than that. One big advantage is the access now into Spain and La Linea. We went to the market there most days and had wonderful tapas on 3 or 4 occasions for lunch.

Bought 2 large solar panels which will be fitted on our return. Installed CD/VHF and SSB speakers in the cockpit. Serviced the engine at 575 hrs


14 August 2004

Dep Puerto de Santa Maria 14082004 0425 Arr Barbate 14082004 1225 44nm

Our intention was to make for Gibraltar but we chose a day when the levante (east wind) was blowing very strongly. The wind started at F3 on the nose but increased after Cape Trafalgar. Approaching Tarifa the wind was in excess of 25kts but the sea state was becoming rough. We therefore elected to go into Barbate. Nothing much there except a nice promenade into town.  A disco party started up close by at 0200hrs and was still in full swing when we left


11 August 2004

Dep Mazagon 110802004 0630 Arr Puerto de Santa Maria (Cadiz) 1400 46nm

A very pleasant yacht club run marina. Allowed us to stay 3 days and offered us use of all the facilities including swimming pool and tennis courts. Town is lovely and we had "Spanish Fish and Chips". No chips and the fish is anything from octopus to hake. The only similarity is that it is served in paper cones, which are taken outside to a table and eaten with beer or other ordered drink.  Went to Cadiz next day by ferry which takes about 30 minutes and visited the old part of Cadiz. Lunch out. Next day we went to the local market. Best yet, the fish beautifully presented. Bought Mero (grouper) which was v good. Lazy day followed apart from visit to market for more fish.


10 August 2004

Dep VR do SA 10082004 0740  Arr Mazagon 10082004 1300  32nm

Motor sailed with v light winds. Caught 1 mackerel which Nicolette made fishcakes of and which were enough for dinner. Disn't go round the town which was some 2kms away.


8 August 2004

Dep Vilamura 08082004 0830 Arr Vila Real do Santo Antonio 08082004 1630 41nm

Thick fog marked our departure which cleared after 3 hours. No wind until the last 2 hours then enough to motor sail. Caught 2 mackerel which were lovely. Plan was to go to Ayamonte on the Spanish side of he border but it was full so we went across the river and still in Portugal. The town was destroyed in 1755 and rebuilt with grid system roads. The shops were all selling cheap linen and cotton goods. A mystery. Passed set of tuna nets on the way. Entrance was v shallow. Had really fresh tuna second night there.


7 August 2004

Dep Portimao 07082004 0730 Arr Vilamura 07082004 1500 21nm

Motored for a while then with 8 kts of wind raised the cruising chute. Had a lovely sail for a couple of hours until the wind died completely. The beach then prawns on board. Vilamura is very touristy and the most expensive marina so far at 39€ a night. Woke up to rain. Time to go.


6 August 2004

Dep Lagos 06082004 0930 Arr Portimao 06082004 1300 7nm

Drifted on 5kts of wind to enjoy a peaceful day at sea. Went to the beach on arrival and took the bus in the evening to Portimao. Found the sardine stalls and restaurants and realised it was where I'd been some years before but in winter to play golf. Sardines were very good


4 August 2004

Dep Sines 04082004 0300 Arr Lagos 04082004 1500 89nm

An Island Packet 39 asked to follow us since they were wary of going round St Vincent. Clear skies and no wind all the way to and round St. Vincent. Then the wind got up to a F7. Mizzen dropped in a hurry since we had full weather helm. Left main up but spilled air as necessary. 4 rolls in the Genoa at one time. Island Packet wanted to sail upright so we had the legs on her until the wind dropped. Canal type entrance to Lagos and foot bridge lifted on demand. Had mini stuffed squid and a fish stew the next day for lunch. Good market, bought a 1kg Anchovy - fantastic.


1 August 2004

Dep Cascais 01082004 0700 Arr Sines 01082004 1530. 50nm

Very thick fog after 30mins. Without radar would have returned to Cascais. Caught 2 sizeable mackerel which we had for lunch. The best mackerel ever, totally different in flavour because they were so fresh. Sines is a lovely laid back, non touristy town. Delayed sailing a day because of very heavy fog.


30 July 2004

Dep Peniche 30072004 0630 Arr. Cascais 30072004 1430. 46nm

Picked up a wind after Cabo de Roca and made a good 5kts. It was so satisfying to have some sail up at last. Offshore wind made approach to reception pontoon very difficult. Tapas on board and sardines ashore. Next day to Lisbon. Train journey only €1.20. Lisbon is a most beautiful city, fantastic buildings, wide avenues, friendly folk and a lovely ambience. Had a great day. Ate snails in the castle. Cuttlefish for lunch.  On return gate crashed a regatta prize and enjoyed their hospitality


29 July 2004

Dep.Figueara da Foz 29072004 0630 Arr. Peniche 29072004 1510. 57nm

Clear skies but no wind. Caught 3 small mackerel but returned them. Saw shark and had company of large school of dolphins. Rafted up in busy fishing harbour, lots of wash and fishing boats in and out all night. Very noisy. Went to festival of sardines which were very good. This after a meal of ray cooked on board.


27 July 2004

Dep. Leixoes 27072004 0900 Arr.27072004 1800. 69nm

No wind, poor vis.  Lovely market and nice lunch. Owner showed us the choice of food to overcome language barrier.


25 July 2004

Dep. Viana do Costelo 25072004 0800 Arr. Leixoes 25072004 1430. 36nm

Motor sailed with very light winds. Set up TV on PC and got wonderful reception to watch Grand Prix . Reduced speed to ensure we didn't arrive during race. Visited Porto. A city of steps. Had an excellent lunch for only €10 for 2 soup, paella, wine


24 July 2004

Dep La Bayona 24072004 0730 Arr. Viana do Costelo (Portugal ) 24072004 1400. 34nm

High pressure over the Azores and no pressure gradient at all continues to deny us of any wind. Sea breezes are fickle but not apparent until late afternoon. Caught and lost a salmon or salmon trout. Bow to mooring


21 July 2004

Dep. Portosin 21072004 0500 Arr. La Bayona 21072004 1230. 47nm

Flat calm and fog. Lots of swimming crabs. Bow to moorings. Glad we have ladder to hang off bowsprit. Visited Vigo   (lovely fish soup). Best ever paella in Bayona and bought and cooked percebes - a prehistoric looking barnacle with a single claw on top of  a 2-3cm leathery type tube. Unique taste nearest equivalent would be winkles.


18 July 2004                                               

Dep Camarinas 180704 0550 Arr. Portosin 180704 1200. 41nm Flat calm, fog and rain and lots of swimming crabs. A ray of sunshine as we entered Ria de Muros. Went to Noya to join in mediaeval festival. Great fun. Visited Santiago, heavy rain there. Very swish yacht club


16 Jul 4004

Dep. La Corunna 160704 0420 Arr. Camarinas 160704 1400.  47nm

Wind N4 so good sail 5kts + winds increased in Ria to Camarinas. town  is surrounded by wind farms. Big fiesta in progress as we arrived - thought it was army playing war games.


9 July 2004

Dep. Falmouth 090704 1900 Arr. La Corunna Spain160704 080. 430nm

Motored for the first 10 hours but eventually got the sails up and made 5-6 kts until last 20 hours when wind died again. Saw schools of dolphins, minke whales and sunfish. Caught a 5kg blue finned tuna. Biscay was kind to us, rain and dull but good sailing. Arrived early off La Corunna so waited until daybreak before entering. Sun came out as we arrived and a beautiful day promised.


4 July 2004

Dep. Weymouth 040704 1500 Arr. Falmouth 050704 0700. 113nm

Wind WNW 1-2 motor sailed all the way


27 June 2004

Dep Hamble 270604 0830 Arr. Weymounth 270604 1900. 51nm

Wind dead ahead motored all the way (as ever) Lumpy seas off St Albans Ledge, quartering from there.


20 June 2004

Dep Dover 200604 0715 Arr. Mercury Point Hamble1080604 1630. 49nm.

Wind on the nose. Took Looe channel off Selsey Bill and got knocked down. Stowage plan tested and proved OK


18 June 2004

Dep. Dover1806040830 Arr. Brighton  180604 1900. 60nm

Wind on the nose 4-5, took inner passage around Beachy Head 0.3nm off. Quartering seas, rain.

.

15 June 2004

Dep.  Bridlington 150604 12.30  Arr.. 160604 23110.  204nm

Wind forecast NW but was S or SE 2 to 5 seas confused . Glad to be leaving the North Sea and heading South. No chance to sail; motor or motor sailed.



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