Adventures of Berkeley East

15 October 2016 | Fano, Italy
28 September 2016 | Revenna, Italy
21 September 2016 | Venice, Italy
18 September 2016 | Zadar to Rovinj, Croatia & Venice
03 September 2016
29 August 2016 | Opatija, Croatia
25 August 2016 | Biograd, Croatia
19 August 2016 | Dalmatia, Croatia
04 August 2016 | Dugi Otak, Croatia
29 July 2016 | Dalmatia, Croatia
22 July 2016 | Gargano Peninsula, Italy
21 July 2016 | Puglia, Italy
06 July 2016 | Brindisi, Italy
05 July 2016 | Othoni, Greece
31 May 2016 | Gulfs of Corinth and Patras, Greece
29 May 2016 | Pireaus, Greece
23 May 2016 | Serifos, Greece
18 May 2016 | Thira, Greece
16 May 2016 | Mykonos, Greece

Summer was over

15 October 2016 | Fano, Italy
The last day of the season is always bittersweet, and this year was no exception. After six months of living, and cruising, on Berkeley East, we are typically ready for a break, but we are never, really, ready to let go of the life completely. It was nearly October and we were on the east coast of Italy. The air and water were getting chilly, so shorts, afternoon swims and balmy evenings looking at the stars, had been replaced by sweaters and quiet nights tucked into the warmth of BE's cabin. The wind had become more erratic, and there was rain, lots and lots of rain.

So with one last early morning departure from Ravenna, we were off to Fano, Italy, where we would leave Berkeley East for her seventh winter in the Mediterranean. It was an eight-hour sail and we wanted to arrive as close to high tide as possible, as the entrance to the marina in Fano is very shallow. BE had touched bottom in Fano several years before, so we knew first-hand the importance of timing.

A sunrise departure is always beautiful, almost worth enduring a cold dawn in autumn, well almost. We were lucky to have enough wind to sets BE's sails one last time before removing and storing them from the harsh winter elements. It was sunny, and peaceful, with very few boats on the move. All in all, it was a pleasant end to a fantastic season. From Turkey through Greece to Italy, a few months in Croatia, time in Venice, and even a land trip to San Marino.

As we approached Fano and Marina Dei Cesari, we called on the radio to our winter host, Multinatic. "Bongiorno, was the reply," what a welcome sound. Soon, a tender was sent out to lead Berkeley East through the narrow, shallow entrance. After much weaving to stay in the deeper areas, we breathed a sigh of relief having seen nothing less than 8.8 feet on the depth sounder, meaning BE had more than a foot of water under her keel all the way to her temporary berth.

It was a strange feeling to be docking in Fano after having spent the past three winters in Turkey. Familiar surroundings and recognizable faces were replaced by newness and uncertainty. But the enthusiasm and friendliness of the Italians was so comforting that we quickly settled into our new home to prepare Berkeley East for hauling.

Marina Dei Cesari is small, and the boatyard there would be considered tiny, in comparison to our previous winter marina in Turkey. Until recently Wally, makers of stylish high-tech, high-performance yachts had a shipyard there for constructing their large composite craft. This facility is now used by Azimut/Benetti to build luxury power yachts that are launched by Multinatic, BE's winter caretakers. Ferretti/Pershing also launch and commission their high-speed luxury yachts in Fano.

Intimidating company for a little boat like BE, but we quickly realized that while Berkeley East was a small fish in an exclusive pond, she would still be treated like a big catch. Within days of our arrival, barriers were moved to extend the boat yard into the parking lot, and fences were put in place to secure BE's resting spot during the winter months, a prime position with a gorgeous view.

While the next two weeks were spent doing all our usual winter chores on Berkeley East, we also tried to get reacquainted with Fano. A small town in the Marche region of Italy, Fano is about 200 miles south of Venice. Known as Fanum Fortunae in Roman times, today it is a popular coastal resort and one of the most important fishing ports in the Adriatic. There are many sites to visit in Fano, but it is not your typical tourist town. English is definitely a second language; so Google translate quickly became our best friend. We will spend the winter months polishing our Italian skills.

Walking away from BE at the end of the season is tough, but the cold, rainy weather made it clear that summer was definitely over, and it was time to go home. We had reached our goal of returning to Italy, and we did it without overstaying our Schengen visa, which was a real accomplishment. Next year Spain!

Thanks to Lucia and Matteo for this beautiful Fano sunset picture

The “Cool” Aunt

28 September 2016 | Revenna, Italy
Many, many years ago, we lived and worked in San Francisco. We were young and loved the excitement and fun of the city. When Aunt Judy came for a visit, we wondered what we could possibly do, with Aunt Judy, in a hip city like San Francisco? Little did we know that Aunt Judy (who really wasn't a lot older than we were) was the "Cool" Aunt.

Some 37 years later, when Aunt Judy decided she wanted to visit us on Berkeley East, we were impressed, but definitely not surprised, that she would want to take on such a challenge. She joined us in Venice, after having already traveled for three weeks in Ireland and Scotland.

While awaiting her arrival, we received a call from a polite Italian man requesting the name and location of the lovely American woman's yacht. Always resourceful, when Aunt Judy's phone didn't work in Italy, she enlisted the assistance of a local. After a spirited water taxi ride to the marina, she didn't flinch at having to navigate the passerelle (gang plank) just to board BE, and after a glass of wine, she practically ran across the plank.

We introduced Aunt Judy to our Venice neighborhood, Castello, and got her in the groove of chilling in the famous city.

She saw much of the area by water, via taxi, gondola and valporetto (bus), a very fitting way to explore Venice and its surrounding islands.

After a couple of days, we sailed Berkeley East more than 60 miles to Ravenna. Aunt Judy is somewhat familiar with boats, and had sailed with her brother (Big Lar), but this was a new experience, sailing out of the Venice lagoon into the Adriatic, even navigating BE through a huge fishing fleet. There were more AIS targets on our screen than we had ever seen before.

Upon arriving at the marina in Ravenna, Aunt Judy got to witness the excitement of what happens when BE's bow thruster cuts out during docking. And the following day, she shared in the joyful hours of tracing and repairing the issue, a little loose wire deep under the forward berth. But with the work comes the reward of touring a beautiful city like Ravenna, and it's 1,500-year-old churches, decorated in sparkling Byzantium mosaics that create the largest collection in Western Europe.

One of our favorites, the Galla Placidia Mausoleum, was built in the 5th Century, commissioned as a family tomb by the Empress. It is also said that the structure inspired Cole Porter's legendary song "Night and Day." The singer was awestruck by the mosaic-adorned cupola that depicted a nighttime sky in which 900 golden stars shine. The mosaic seems to alternate between night and day, hence the song.

From Ravenna, we traveled by car to the tiny country of San Marino. An independent republic enclosed within Italy, San Marino is the world's oldest surviving sovereign state and its oldest republic (since AD 301).

Despite its Italian character, San Marino is very proud of its independent status, and has its own football team, military force and stamps. The town of San Marino is high above the coastal plains, and can be reached via tram. Although the steep slopes, cliffs and castles are impressive, what really takes your breath away is the view. On a clear day you can see the Adriatic Sea and the marina where we left Berkeley East

Another day found us lost in the streets of Bologna. Trying to use a GPS in a big, busy, Italian city is always entertaining, and our driving experience in Bologna was no exception. After an hour of near misses onto one-way streets, and wrong turns into pedestrian squares, we decided to park and walk. Bologna is the largest city, and the capital, of the Emilia-Romagna Region in Northern Italy. Often called scruffy and gritty, we would describe Bologna as having a down-to-earth elegance. Our visit was a brief one that showed us that this city was well worth a return trip.

On our final day with Aunt Judy, we drove her to Padua to begin the last part of her European adventure. We'd had a very busy week, and at 73, even with a bum foot, she was a trooper, with no complaints. Like us, Judy was happy and excited to be in such fascinating places, always the "Cool" Aunt.

Living in the hood

21 September 2016 | Venice, Italy
We've been to Venice twice previously. Once before Berkeley East and again, four years ago, with BE. As we often say, we aren't good about going back to places, but Venice is one exception to the rule. We love that city.

And on our third visit, we were able to berth Berkeley East in a new marina just a short walk from the city through a local Venice neighborhood called Castello. The Castello neighborhood grew up around the Venetian Arsenal, the largest naval complex in Europe. It is the eastern-most district of Venice, encompassing several islands, including Sant'Elena, BE's new Italian home.

We spent a couple of weeks wandering in the hood, finding small shops and restaurants, and local sights, including the neighborhood church Sant'Elena, on our way into the city.

We explored during the day, and at night, and even ventured out before dawn to watch Venice come to life. We bought a valporetto (water bus) pass for when our feet were tired. We sat in parks and cafes and listened to music. We spent time in the outer islands. We shopped but bought nothing. We flew the drone. While we couldn't resist peeking at the most famous landmarks, there was no pressure to sightsee, as we had seen most everything before. It was as if we lived in Venice. And we thoroughly enjoyed every second of it.

Enjoying the evening in Piazza San Marco listening to music and admiring the views of St Mark's Basilica without crowds

Rush hour traffic in the canals

Enjoying sunrise over the Grand Canal

Visiting the Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, our favorite Venetian church. The basilica is full of works of art including the giant monument to Titian

Visiting the Burano, a four island archipelago, known for its brightly colored buildings and lace

Touring the glass factories on the island of Murano

We often talk about what to do when we stop cruising, and one idea is to live in different places for a few months at a time, in order to become immersed in the local culture. We're making a list of destinations where we would like to do that. Venice is at the top of that list.

Vessel Name: Berkeley East
Vessel Make/Model: Hylas 54
Hailing Port: San Diego, CA
Crew: Larry & Mary Ivins
About: We quit our jobs in July of 2007 and began our adventure, sailing the US east coast in the summers and then spending our winters in the Caribbean. In 2010 we sailed across the Atlantic and will be cruising the Med for the next few years.
FAQ Q: Did you go to UC Berkeley? A: No. The name Berkeley East came from a ferry boat, "the Berkeley", that we met on over 30 years ago in San Diego. The East came as a result of seeing the boat being built in Taiwan. There was 30-foot Chinese symbol on the wall behind her during [...]
Berkeley East's Photos - Caribbean 1500 2008 (Main)
Photos for blog post
15 Photos
Created 2 August 2016
18 Photos
Created 17 May 2013
Extra pictures for Croatia
12 Photos
Created 5 September 2012
Venice June 2012
20 Photos
Created 12 July 2012
Tuscany trip summer 2011
30 Photos
Created 18 July 2011
Pictures from June 2011 - The Ligurian Coast of Italy
29 Photos
Created 29 June 2011
Wardrick Wells - Exuma Land and Sea Park May 2009
11 Photos
Created 4 May 2009
6 Photos
Created 22 April 2009
20 Photos
Created 21 April 2009
24 Photos
Created 19 April 2009
Pictures from our trip to Los Testigos, Venezuela - March 2009
5 Photos
Created 11 April 2009
4 Photos
Created 28 March 2009
Pics form the 2008 Caribbean 1500
No Photos
Created 26 November 2008
Octopuses Garden Highborne, Exuma Cay, Bahamas
15 Photos
Created 22 May 2008
4 Photos
Created 22 April 2008
13 Photos
Created 28 January 2008
Chistmas 2007 in St Maarten with other crusiers and Mike and Linda (frends & meighbors from CA)
6 Photos
Created 28 January 2008
5 Photos
Created 23 December 2007
5 Photos
Created 21 November 2007
3 Photos
Created 5 September 2007
4 Photos
Created 28 August 2007
7 Photos
Created 28 August 2007
6 Photos
Created 22 July 2007
10 Photos
Created 22 July 2007
In early July 2006 we made a quick from Sydney, Australia to Kaohsiung, Taiwan to check on the construction of our Hylas 54. She was a little behind schedule, but the build quality was excellent.
4 Photos
Created 22 July 2007
4 Photos
Created 17 July 2007
After 28 days aboard Sigrun Bolten from Taiwan, Berkeley East arrived in Port Everglades Florida. Mary and I helped unload her and motored up the river to be hauled and rigged. We where joined by our friends and next door neighbors (from CA), who were in Florida cruising from California to the Caribbean.
5 Photos
Created 17 July 2007

Profile & FAQs

Who: Larry & Mary Ivins
Port: San Diego, CA

Our travels


April 2016- Return to Didim Turkey

May 2016 - Cross the Aegean, through the Corinth canal to the Greek Ionian Islands

June 2016 - Greece - Ionian islands and Italy

July - September 2016 - Somewhere in Italy or Croatia

October 2016 - Somewhere in Italy then fly home to Charlotte

Berkeley East's Winter port 2016/2017 - Unknown