It's coming up to three years since Annie and I started this amazing journey on Annecam and we never cease to be humbled by the number of people that follow us on this adventure. From the early days in Croatia right up to the present time we keep running into people who have been inspired by what we are doing and some of them have made the move and are now sailing on their own yachts. Only a few years before we were the ones who were inspired by the blogs we were reading and the people we met in our travels, now to be the ones that are inspiring others is very humbling.
It has only been this season we have had the means to keep a track of the number of blog views and from April until now we have had over twenty thousand views. So thank you all for taking the time to read this blog and if you are thinking about doing the same all I can say is get out there and just do it.
The photo is just one of the many beautiful sunsets we encountered this last season while on passage in the Mediterranean
With thirteen days until I fly out of Australia, life will be good to be back on Annecam.
After reading a blog post by a fellow cruiser, Brian who is sailing up north of Australia, I have to say he is so right when he mentions the time we spend away from the boat does put into perspective how much we take for granted the places and the people we have spent so much time enjoying. It is the times we are not there on the boat that makes us appreciate just what we have been up to for the last seven months or so.
On Annecam we managed to sail to sixteen different Islands and countries this last season and they all had something different to offer and after seeing so many wonderful places they start to blend in with the last place we were anchored at. It is only when we are away from it all that it starts to hit home of how wonderful this cruising life really is. There is also the prices we pay for everyday things like food and fuel, for some reason we seem to be paying more than twice the price here in Australia than we did in the Med for the same items.
Time is flying along as I now have only 15 days left here before I catch my flight back to Annecam and only 20 days before our planned departure from Gibraltar to start our Atlantic crossing, weather dependant of course. We will not be heading off to be bashed up by an Atlantic winter storm, I'm sure we will have enough tropical squalls to deal with as we approach the Caribbean, so I do not intend on getting beat up as we are leaving. If we have to wait a few more days to leave on a good weather window, so be it.
The youtube video is our passage from the Marina Di Cala Del Sole, Licata, Sicily to Malta to be hauled out, this was a rollie ride with the left over swell and almost no wind at all for the first half of the trip. The dolphin were entertaining and crossing the shipping lanes was interesting and Malta was a real eye opener for us, they even drive on the correct side of the road over there.
Life is starting to get a little busy off Annecam.
At least one of us is counting the days until the Atlantic crossing starts, it is coming around very quickly from the time that you will be reading this blog entry it will be less than 25 days until our planed crossing should start and it is only 20 days until I jump on board a plane to fly to the other side of the world to meet up will the crew and to be back on Annecam. This will give me 2 days to brief the crew, do the last minute provisioning and to check all of the systems are working before departure.
Our rough plan is for me with the help of two very competent sailors. Is to sail across the Atlantic to the Caribbean via the Canary Islands. The two crew members will then depart for their respective homes and Annie, after having a couple of months new grandson time will jump back on board sometime after to sail with me and some of our family down to the southern part of the Caribbean before the hurricane season starts. As usual all plans are subject to change because of weather, breakdowns and family issues back in Australia.
The youtube video clip is the passage from Malta to Tunisia via Lampedusa Island, we made it two overnight sails in very calm conditions, almost no wind to speak of and a nice flat sea. Most of the time we felt that we were all alone as there were no other boats in sight, although the AIS told us that we were not alone. Check out the tuna we nick named 'Trevor' this one fish we estimated the weight at about 55 kilograms, took well over one hour to release at the back of Annecam, this happened not that long before we arrived at Lampedusa.
Life is starting to get a little exited on Annecam.
What a time to get a bug in my computer, some people call it sods law, down under we call it Murphy's Law. In other words if it can go wrong it most likely will. I did tell all of the applicants for the final crew position, the ones who submitted resumes and or CV's that I would notify them by return email on or before the 1st of December. I have managed to notify some of them before the crash but I'm sure not all. So if you are reading this please except this as an apology for me not sending the email.
This now leads me to announce that I will be crossing with a crew of two, Gordon a Canadian and Sarah from the United Kingdom. They both will be meeting me in Gibraltar on the 29th of December. Thank you to all of the wonderful sailors who applied.
The youtube video clip is the passage from Yasmine Hammamet Tunisia to Sardinia, this was meant to be a nice overnight passage of 232 nautical miles but a Mistral wind of 38 knots right on our nose from midnight on the first night changed the nice easy passage into a close reach with several tacks that ended up being a 312 nautical mile slog. We still had an average of over 7.5 knots covering the total distance in 41 hours.
Life is still very busy of Annecam but I would prefer to be sailing.
The countdown has begun as we have one calendar month to go until our planned departure from Gibraltar to start our Atlantic crossing, weather dependent of course. With the exception of Gordon from Canada the makeup of the crew is still yet to be finalized, so watch this space and all will be revealed. One of the many yachts that we hope to buddy with left from Gibraltar yesterday to spend a few weeks in the Canaries, we have several other friends who are crossing with the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers right now.
I'm still collecting the final equipment to take back to Annecam, there is an Iridium Go communicator for weather routing plus unlimited sms to keep in touch with family and friends and an Auto Tether system for the just in case we have a man over board (MOB) or that might be a woman over board, it should be called a person over board system.
Here is another short youtube video for you.
Life is never dull on or off Annecam.
Some people tell us that the journey is all about the different destinations with the many cultures, architecture, languages and foods that we get to experience. In reality the challenge is the actual sailing, the trimming of the sails, the passage making, the navigation, the planning and preparation that goes into making sure we do arrive at our intended destination. There is also planning the 'just in case' ports and safe harbours and bays we may have to head to if the weather turns bad.
We managed to get to sixteen different countries and Islands this last season and in doing so we made thirty two separate passages, most of which were day sails anywhere from fifty to ninety five nautical miles and only seven involving night passages that were up to and over three hundred miles. We always try to save our cruising budget by anchoring as much as possible but as we sailed further west in the Mediterranean the good safe anchorages became fewer which resulted in having to stay in a lot of different marinas.
The Balearic Islands of Menorca, Mallorca, Ibiza and Formentera will always be a highlight of this last season along with Malta, Lampedusa and Tunisia. We were so fortunate to meet and sailed with a lot of fantastic people from all over the world at these locations.
The short youtube video will give you an idea of what it was like for us.
Life is very busy off Annecam.