12/05/2013, Atlantic D1-8
Gotta Love Boats Â- that is the mantra we keep reminding each other, as we face each obstical that this life afloat throws at us.
We are now on day 8 after leaving Gomera in the Canaries. Our first day out even though there was not a lot of wind we managed to sail all night and day, the highlight being when we caught a large dolphin fish. Largest catch to date and made for a lovely fresh dinner for everyone.
The second day out we had no wind and ended up doing some motoring in the sunshine with flat seas. Decided to go for boat speed and enjoyed the 1 knot current and winds, when they come up, off the African coast. On my watch I had a first when a dolphin breached off the port bow, normally they don't come totally out of the water.
By day three the wind was still all over the place, but by following it around we were able to sail all day, however it was overcast and quite cool. By this time I had had two days out of the galley, a rarity for me as Russ does not cook. Kim, Jim and myself are taking turns being on for the day (galley slave) and as there are five of us on board it means that when we are galley slave we have a day off watch Â- works well for me ?
Not much fun when I was on the 9 Â- 12 evening watch as it was also so dark you could not see the horizon. However I did have a magical half hour when the phosphorescence was incredible, normally it just follows us behind the two hulls or alongside the rear of the boat, but it was everywhere, off the bow, sides, behind and not just close by, but far away too. There were masses of flashes, small, big, bright and then glowing. Sometimes it seemed as if another boat was near by, but it was just the phosphorescence in the distance. A very cool experience.
Day four was more of the same winds, but it was also cold and wet. We celebrated my brother's birthday in the evening with roast lamb. We have not been eating meat as Jim is vegetarian, but this is a tradition on board Ta-b and we even finished up with chocolate brownies and candles.
The next day the wind was a bit better at 7.5 knots and we were making 5 knots which was not bad. But it was not a good day. We had a problem with our new generator and it did not look like an easy fix, even with all the spare parts we had bought with it. We do all our cooking, water making and laundry using it so, as Russ says, it is our life's blood. On top of that my computer decided to take a sad too, thank goodness before we left we made sure that we got Russell's working with the programs we need as backup.
By day six we had made the decision to head for Mindelo in the Cape Verdes islands. We were praying that our generator people would come up with a solution, but we are now having to wait until Barbados before we can get it fixed. However the four whales that we saw cheered us up as we had only seen dolphins so far. Have seen more of them since, quite the site, Cam nearly ran over a couple ? but we always stay well clear.
We got into Mindelo on day seven having motored for two days. We enjoyed catching up with our friends on Van Kedisi who have had autopilot problems; which are now luckily fixed. It was a quick 24 hour turn around; while we searched out a decent camping stove (we had been using a little emergency one we have), filled up with water and fuel, cleaned up the boat and brought fresh provisions. Shopping however was very limited and expensive. The place reminded us of the windward islands in the Caribbean.
Since leaving Mindelo the winds have been light and we have had to motor for ten hours, however the trades look like they may start tomorrow and we are currently sailing in 8.5 knots and making 5 knots over the ground. We will be a lot happier when they settle in as we really want to be in Barbados by 20 December for our kids arrival. Will post another blog in about a week and in the meantime hopefully you will have been able to follow us on winlink's position map under VA7JHP. Love to you all J&R
11/26/2013, La Gomera
One more sleep and then we will leave tomorrow from La Gomera; which is one of the three only places you can check out of in the Canaries for Barbados. Alas the wind is not looking good for us, from Wednesday onwards all we can see is very little wind and in the wrong direction so we will not have time to stop in the Cape Verdes. Not a bad thing as once one gets going on a long leg it is sometimes not a good thing to stop.
On our way to Gran Canaria we stopped at Arrecife, mid east side of Lanzarote. We had been chased out of Puerto de Naos by a very officious port policeman when we tried to anchor, and there was not a lot of room in Arrecife, but we managed and even had our first take out dinner on board from the local chinese - it was so good.
Getting into Peurto de La Luz in Las Palmas we were welcomed into the marina much to our surprise as the place was nearly full with ARC boats, we ended up managing to stay for four nights before they threw us out. It was the cheapest place we have ever moored and it was great as water and electricity were included, so I managed to do 16 loads of laundry (cockpit cushions included) while we were there. Spent some time with our friends on Sonsy Lass who are on the ARC+ rally which left on the 10th November, were even invited to one of the ARC dinners which was fun. We were amazed at how unprepared a lot of the boats were and the chandlers were having a field day. Each participating boat is checked over by the organisers and there was a lot of groaning going on as a lot of boats thought that some requirements were a bit OTT. Our friends medical kit to meet the ARC specifications cost them 1,100 pounds, a bit excessive they thought, as did we.
We ended up staying in Las Palmas longer than planned at anchor, as we were able to get some jobs sorted out there and bumped into a few people that we had not seen since we were in the Caribbean. Richard and Pip on their last evening took us to a fantastic steak restaurent called 9 Calla Portugal, it was excellent and we would recommend it to anyone who will be in LP and likes meat. We also rented a car for a day and went up into the mountains, what a treat to see autumn/fall colours and enjoy some of the interior of the island.
From Gran Canaria we headed to Santa Cruz the capital of Tenerife in the north east corner. Yet again we had to go into a marina as there are not a lot of safe anchorages amoungst the islands. Yet again we hired a car and had a look around the island, just delightful with some charming villages and the huge Tiede volcano was fascinating. We headed south to San Miguel, a very popular golfing area with a huge choice of different cuisines on the broadwalk and a lot of English who winter over there.
We had planned to go to La Palma which is locally known as Bonita (pretty island) which is the most unspoilt of the islands and very beautiful. However half way there the wind and waves picked up dramatically and for the first time ever we decided to turn around and went to La Gomera instead. It was a good decision and we ended up going to La Palma a few days later by ferry for a couple of nights as there was no way we were going to be able to get there on Ta-b in the time we had. Yet again we hired a car and toured around the island. It is a little gem, which sadly the German walking clubs have found, and even in November (normally a quiet month) it was pretty busy. There is hiking everywhere, anything from a half day to a week around the lush forests and volcanos.
We enjoyed La Gomera and met a lot of interesting people there, one being an Ozzie called Andrew Abrahams who is part of the Atlantic Challenge. There are 16 rowing boats with teams of 1-4 people who are rowing in a race across the Atlantic to Antigua. Andrew is one of two solo rowers and we have become his unofficial support boat. Russ helped him with some repairs and we managed to feed him his best meal (he said) since he has left Oz, luckily he likes curry â˜º We look forward to seeing him tonight when we get back to Gomera.
Then it was back to Tenerife and Gran Canaria to pick up our crew, had a couple of great days sailing and met them in Magon which is known to be the little Venice of the Canaries. There was no room at the marina, but luckily we were able to anchor off which in fact we prefer. Our first day it was Friday market day and the place was buzzing, ferries coming and going packed with people - crazy. We met another two British boys who were antifouling their rowing boat and are due to leave for Barbados next week. They are not part of the Challenge - just doing their thing for 60 odd days against the elements. We were impressed. Rowing4research was their boat, if you want to check them out. We did enjoy Magon, the buildings were painted white with different colour trimwork, little canals and lots of great shops and restaurants. A popular place to holiday we would think.
Picked up Kim, Cam and Jim and ended up motoring all the way to Tenerife yesterday and after a good start this afternoon to Gomera we are now motor sailing. Did a huge fresh provision shop this morning, an eye opener for the crew as they are not used to everything being in Spanish and not many people speak English. Also shopping for up to 25 days takes some thought as you can't just run to the shops when you run out of something, and fresh produce does not stay fresh for over three weeks â˜º
Memories of the Canaries? Lots of very dark clouds over delightful volcanic islands, no rain but big winds (until yesterday) and sunshine offshore. Old sugar plantations which now grow Bananas, and seem to be everywhere, and fantastic walking trails and forests. It has been fascinating to spend some time here.
We are as ready as we will ever be, and so is Ta-b, and we are keen to get going. Will use winlink.org to download weather grib files and will update our position there daily. If you want to follow us go to site then map, user positions and type in VA7JHP and you should find us. Can download a short blog remotely to our sailblog site and plan to put a few up on our trip too. Our AIS will also show where we are on various AIS tracker sites too. Barbados here we come, we will write from there. Enjoy the build up to Christmas, we will miss the lovely house lights and snow for sure.
11/21/2013, Between Tenerife and Gran Canaria
Looks like I can update our blog when offshore. This is a test to see if it works.
We are currently at anchor off the south west corner of Graciosa Island, a delightful spot just north of Lanzarote in the Canaries. Graciosa is a small, flat and sandy marine park with four low volcanic cones with no made up roads. A forty minute walk yesterday afternoon took us to the little harbour of Sociedad. There was not much there, more like a ghost town, but we did manage to get some fresh bread and a cold beer overlooking the fishing harbour.
Seems like a lifetime ago that we were in Menorca, but as that was where I finished our last blog, it seems only fitting that I start off from there. We love Menorca and enjoyed revisiting Mahon and Ciudadela the two main towns, both of which have a lot of character. In between we went to Biniparraitz (bit rolly, cala would have been better), Cala Covas our favorite with lots of tombs and hikes, and Cala Saura. We were with our friends on Van Kedisi most of the time and enjoyed a lot of pot lucks (shared dinners) and games evenings together.
From Menorca we sailed down to Pollensa in Majorca in time to watch the 1st and 2nd America's cup races with another New Zealand boat we met there called "Silver Fern" in an Ozzie bar. The America's cup then became a major part of our life, trying to find Sports Bars on our way down through the Baleriacs became a challenge, but we managed to watch most of them. However (in some ways sadly) we can now slow down our sailing plans, as our hopes were to be in Auckland for the next cup with Ta-b, but now it looks like we will have to wait a few more years.
We stopped off in Soller on our way to Andrax before we met up with our friends Caroline and Simon who were joining us for our next leg. Having spent quite a bit of time in Andrax on our way East across the Meditterean it was lovely to return and spend some time there. Unfortunately we soon found out that jelly fish had decided to take over the local waters and it became impossible to swim, which for water babies like Caroline and myself was a huge dissappointment.
Within a couple of days we sailed to Ibiza where we anchored in Cala Talmanca the bay east of the town. When we were last there we had boats dragging everywhere, but luckily this time it was calmer and we went ashore with Van Kedisi who were once again traveling with us to watch the cup and have dinner. They also came down to Formentura where we spent a few days waiting for the right weather to cross to Mar Mehon on the mainland of Spain. We had been recommended to go there as there is a huge inland lake and you wait for the bridge to open before you can enter. To be honest it was not worth the stop and we departed early the next day to go down to Cartagena.
On arriving in Cartagena we met up with several boats we knew from Marmaris; lots of tales to share. While there we were lucky enough to enjoy the start of their week long annual festival. Everyone was dressed up as romans and there were all sorts of events, a great atmosphere and we had a lot of fun while ending up licking our wounds over the America's cup.
We ended up staying in Cartagena for longer then planned as the weather was not in our favour with big seas forecast against us. Even our friends on Half Moon delayed their departure, and Tom is a weather guru. So we ended up departing together and had a fantastic sail to Garrucha where we got together in the evening as we stayed overnight in the more or less empty marina there with them.
Sadly Caroline and Simon left us in Cartagena. They had been great fun to have on board, particularly while we camped out as we still had no generator. With no water maker and four on board we had to be very frugal and cooking on a little camping gas burner added to the entertainment. Luckily we were often in places where we could eat out and so enjoyed some great Spanish fair together.
We arrived in Gibraltar at 0300 hours on the 25th September, the day we had hoped to arrive, but against our rules of never coming into harbour at nightime. Well rules are to be broken, adrenaline was high after nearly 2 days of sailing, and we had been there before. Thank goodness for our AIS system, as a picture I took will show that it was like playing dodgems on the way in. We were most impressed (luckily we were up) the next morning ,when our generator guy turned up at 9am to start work on our generator a day earlier than we had booked him.
I left for England the next day so that Russ could take the boat apart in my absence. Luckily there were a few boats in Ocean Marina to feed him in the evening and also look after our frozen food as it looked like our freezer had packed up (it was only a loose wire in the end). Both of us were busy with Russ managing to get a ton of jobs done, while I rushed around sorting out parts for the boat and visiting my mum nearly every day. I even managed to get together with a few friends and other family, an added bonus, but the time went by way too quickly.
However as always It was great to get back home to Ta-b and Russell. On my return we decided to put our trip to Morocco on hold as we still had quite few jobs that we wanted to sort out before we left Gib. We did not want to rush a trip to Morocco, so I spent the next ten days going to Morrisions every day with my granny trolley and back pack, loading up with goodies (lovely English treats too) for our forthcoming offshore adventures. Tons of cleaning, cleaning, cleaning to keep me busy too. The weather was lovely, sunny every day although a tad cold in the mornings.
Jane and Sean of Happy Hour got back from England on the 15th October and our friends Richard and Phillipa arrived on the 18th October, so we had some very social evenings together before we left to go across the bay to La Linea. We really recommend the steaks at Gauchos in Gib and we had a great last evening with Happy Hour who we hope to see again in Grand Canary next month. We had our Liferaft serviced by the Viking dealer whilst we were in La Linea; which is on the Spanish side of Gibraltar harbour. Lots of history in Gibraltar although a 2 hour covers most of it, but what we found really fascinating was how "British" it is, even though it is so far away from Britain. We could have been in Britain and certainly enjoyed the pork pies and scotch eggs to be found in Morrisons. Plus we have loaded up the freezer with Crispy Aromatic duck for those special "romantic" nights â˜º It was riveting to overhear two guys chatting in Spanish, then move into a British saying, and then finish the conversation in a broad cockney accent. Most people in Gib speak both languages although in Spain we were surprised how few people spoke English. For those boatie friends following us, Ocean Marina was about the same price as Le Linea and was very convenient for spending time in Gib. They do not often have space, but if you contact Kevin (we can give you his details), who does excellent work, he will make sure he gets you a berth.
So when were we going to find a weather window for our leg to the Canaries? It looked like we were going to have to wait until the Saturday for any wind, so we decided to go to Ceuta across the strait as we had itchy feet. It is not in Morocco being part of Spain, however at the last minute we changed our minds and thought what the heck, lets make for the Canaries and if it takes us six days instead of five, what is an extra day. On Thursday afternoon we motor sailed across the strait and by 9pm (the start of my three hour watch) we were off Cape Espartel. I was certainly kept on my toes navigating through lots of fishing boats, flashing blue buoys and the like. It was the fishing boat that came across my bow from the starboard side and then forced me to do a 30 degree turn to starboard, as he came straight for me, that was obviously going for an insurance payoff. Certainly made me sweat, and I wondered how a boat with less experience might have suffered.
I was able to turn the motor off at 10pm, once clear of land (and bl..dy boats) as the wind picked up, however the seas were very confused and we had an uncomfortable night, especially our crew who had yet to get their sea legs. By Friday morning we were getting a lot of black clouds and lightening that we were trying to avoid, so much for the weather forecasts before we left. We played dodge with the clouds, squalls and lightening most of the day, but were trucking along quite nicely with the wind. However the seas were still very confused and by evening the wind was up and down like a yoyo.
The grib files were still showing that we were due to pick up a nice wind from the north on Saturday so we could head wing on wing down to the Canaries and at last it came giving us a fantastic days sail. The seas were calmer and Richard and Pip were beginning to come right, the wind was great, although it was not as warm as we had hoped, so when the sun came out it was wonderful. I even made my tradional roast lamb offshore dinner that evening, which everyone was able to enjoy.
Sunday on my watch at 9am, we had two visitors on board a moth and a small bird, apart from the dolphins and a whale on leaving Gib we had seen very little other wildlife on our trip. By Monday as we got closer to the Canaries and the wind picked up we began to see more boats, they certainly kept us on our toes as the waves were building and sometimes they were difficult to see. The winds by the evening were a constant 28 to 32 with our instruments showing a maximum wind (not gust) of 37.5 by the time we arrived on Tuesday at 5.30pm. We were flying although we only had our third reef out on the main, it was exhilerating and even our crew were enjoying themselves, in the seas that got to be 5 plus meters high. Looks like Russell won the prize of top speed at 15.6 although not witnessed so Richard and Pip decided they won on their watch with 13.7 knots. Well done Ta-b she did a wonderful job as always.
By the time we dropped our anchor in the protected anchorage of Graciosa we were happy to celebrate the completion of another leg of our journey. Our crew had been stoic troopers and we were very proud of them and Ta-b, it was a tough trip. The wind was still at 25 knots and has not come down much in the last 2 days, however our plan is to move onto Arrecife in Lanzarote tomorrow as the forecast is for only 15-20 knots and Phillipa and Richard would like to get to the Grand Canaries by Sunday which is still a good sail away.
We have Kim, Cam and Jim (just noticed our crew's names all end in M - interesting) arriving on the 23rd November and we hope to leave soon after the ARC rally to cross the Atlantic. Our plan is to take the southern route to Barbados to arrive there before 20th December; which is when Amy and Edwin arrive for Christmas. Depending on weather and time we may stop in the Cape Verdes for a few days on the way. I would like to get a blog out before we go and apologise if I have rambled on a bit in this one, but have had two months to share with you. Hope that this finds you happy, healthy and enjoying life.
Hola - we arrived in Mahon, Menorca after having had probably one of our best crossings to date. The forecast for once was correct and we had between 10-20 knots most of the way on our beam. Our average speed was 7.5 over the ground and we completed 204 miles in 27 hours.
That sadly was not the case with our leg from Greece to Sicily, it was probably our worst. We had 15-30+ knot winds which was not forecast, not a problem as Ta-b loves a good ride as long as the wind is not on the nose! The issue was the waves, they were short, sharp and BIG. We have never had water in the cockpit, but we got 3-4 rogue waves as high as the bimini hit; which gave us 1.5 inches of water on the floor before it drained away. On Ta-b we can do watches inside and only go out, when necessary, tied on in heavy weather; luckily neither of us were in the cockpit when the waves hit. The journey was over 260 miles and took us 37 hours. Sleep for me was impossible, it was like being in a washing machine, but Russ was able to snore away quite happily. We had G&T's on an Ozzie boat the day we arrived and they agreed that it was their worst trip from Australia in ten years too. All great experience though.
We loved Siracusa. The Italian architecture is a delight and of course the pasta and gelato an added bonus. The language is also such fun and people watching over my favorite new drink "sprite Aperol" in one of the many piazzas was wonderful. It was then onto Taomina where we had been on our way east. A stunning town on top of a hill overlooking the harbour where we were able to reprovision, however we also found out that if you are not local you get put to the back of the line which did not impress us much. From there we went through the Messina straits to Vulcano island.
That was another interesting trip. Going through the straits there were not the fishing boats that we saw last time with the high bridges fishing for swordfish, although we saw one fish continually jumping out the water. Great we thought as we had our line out, but hey no, a french boat tried to ram us up the bum and took our lore with him - b..t..d! It was a new lore too which we had specifically bought in Taomina!
We continued north and the black clouds that had been hovering since we arrived in Sicily did their thing and the heavens opened. We had so much rain that the visability came down to maybe a boats length, when that eased the thunder and lightening appeared in full force, big flashes in front lighting up the sea red, orange and yellow - yikes all electrical stuff in the microwave and no touching of anything metal. It was a tad too exciting and we were happy to get through it. There was no warning in the forecast, although ch16 told us after the event, but Ta-b was very happy to have had the wash as she was covered in salt.
Vulcano was not the sleepy little place that we visited a few years ago, when we went ashore at night with a bottle of wine and snuck into the hot mud pools for a free soak. No way, we had to anchor in 42 meters with 120 meters of rode out not wanting to be too close to the crowd. Turned out to a blessing as at 2230 the wind picked up and boats "poured" out the anchorage. Two were stuck together like siamese twins, and nearly hit us as they tried to untangle their chains.
We had a couple of days motoring to Celfau and across the northern coast to Trapani. Celfau was a charming town with lots of little cobbled streets and restaurants overlooking the rocks and sea beyond. I could have spent longer there, but we felt it best to get some miles under our belts and went onto Trapani which we also enjoyed before our leg to Sardinia. Not much wind for that trip, but at least it was fairly comfortable and we enjoyed the little bay of Malfatano when we arrived. From there we planned to go to Carlo Forte, but the wind was against us and we ended up in Porte Pino. A lovely long sandy bay; which in our pilot showed as a no anchoring militory zone, however we saw other boats there and with our iphone/ipad navionics program realised our pilot is way out of date.
We went into the marina at Carlo Forte for water, and as it was only 46 euro for the night (elec and water inc.) we decided to stay. Had a busy day recharging batteries, provisioning, washing the boat, filling with water, doing six loads of laundry, vacuuming and cleaning with the unlimited water. We treated ourselves to another dinner ashore (becoming a bit of a habit with limited cooking facilities on board without a generator) before we set sail early the next day for Menorca.
So it was ciao to Italy and hola to Spain, gosh I can't keep up with the language. Amy where are you with your University Spanish? Thankfully most people speak pretty good English here (and a lot are). Dick (our friend who crossed the Atlantic with us) arrived this morning. Like us he is taking his boat from Turkey to the Caribbean so it will be good to catch up and travel with him and his crew for a while.
We hope this finds everyone well and enjoying life. It is always great to hear from friends and family, so do drop us a line and let us know how you are and what you are doing. Until the next time. Carpe Diem
OMG blog time I says to myself. Thought I was up to date, but hey - no it has been a while. Good news is that Jamie was able to sort out my camera; he's the clever one of the family, he also sorted out some of our computer problems too. So I can now take photos and explore my creative side, feels great. Jamie took 429 photos during the week that he was with us (I must take more I suppose) so I have put some of them in the Gallery as there are a few more of us which happens when we have guests.
It was wonderful having my brother on board Ta-b for a week. We started off by meeting up with Excellence and Royal Blue II at Solta island the first night. Fourteen ashore for an awesome Greek dinner, made for a memorable evening and it was good to connect with everyone before they moved south. We were heading north, to met up with friends on Awatea as we had planned to travel together for a while.
We took the inland water way up to Skradin which was gorgeous. We had to go under two bridges; we took our hats off to Awatea as their mast so very nearly touched both of them, they are taller than us â˜º The next day we all took a boat up to the waterfalls at Krka and also to the Basilica island monastry, both of which were spectacular. We ended up spending five nights together, had a ton of fun sailing, checking out anchorages, sharing sundowners and meals on each others boats, and exploring ashore.
On our way back to Trigor we stopped at the Blue Lagoon where Jamie treated us to a delicious dinner ashore, must admit the water is a stunning turquoise and it is worth checking out Krknjas. Then sadly it was Jamie's last night, we managed to send him off with a party as there were five FYR boats in town and we had a fantastic dinner at Alka restaurant which we would recommend.
No sooner had we said goodbye to one guest, but we picked up another two. This time it was a girlfriend who I raced with in Sun Peaks, and a friend of hers, for a couple of days. We took them to Vela Luka on Korcula where we met up with friends of theirs, a delightful couple, who introduced us to local food and wine at one of their favorite restaurants - the local squid is the best.
Then it was off to Vis, both Vis town and Komiza were well worth visiting, and onto Lastovo. There is a national park on the west coast of Lastovo which was stunning and we met up with Kintukani and Awatea for our last few days with each other in Skrivena. It was a beautiful quiet spot with a wonderful restaurant where we splashed out on an excellent meal together . We took a tour around the island with Awatea and saw how more than half of the island's trees were lost due to a love stricken guy who set fire to them - so sad. It was here that our generator packed up, an electrical problem, but as we are splashing out on a new one in Gibraltar we are not getting it fixed. We use if for making water, laundry and cooking. Soooo salads, dinners ashore and going into the odd marina every couple of weeks to top up, can't be too bad â˜º I also have a little camping gas burner for making tea!!
Our last island in Croatia was Mljet, one of our favorites. Another national park with two inland lagoons and an island monastry; you could rent bikes and kayaks to spend the day exploring the lagoons which were beautiful. We could have stayed longer, but it was time to check out of Cavtat and sail to Montenegro.
Montenegro like Croatia used to be part of Yugoslavia and was one of the last to become independent. It was certainly quieter than Croatia, although Croatia was not that busy considering it is the high season. We motored up the inland waterway to Kotor with its impressive defensive walls climbing the mountainside behind the old town and checked in very easily. It was a lovely spot to spend a few days and the marina where we topped up, cleaned up, etc.. was very reasonable. We checked out of Tivat and for those who are visiting Montenegro it is worth doing as their duty free fuel saved us a lot of money, be warned you have to book in many days in advance (we were lucky). Also you can get duty free booze via a local cafÃ©, but you need to give them 24 hours notice.
We picked a weather window that gave us an amazing ride down to Othoni island, just off the north coast of Corfu. The wind was behind us at 25-30 knots most of the way and surfing down one wave we hit our maximum speed, I think to date, at 16.5 knots. Being at the helm it was quite the roller coaster ride, not normally my thing, but on Ta-b a blast.
We stopped off at Paxos and Anti Paxos on our way to Lefkas. Both islands we loved and are well worth visiting. Anti Paxos especially was very quiet and the snorkeling the best I have had in the Med. The scenery was magnificent, the water crystal clear and the perfect temperature, yes I am back swimming several times a day with my fishie friends.
Down in Lefkas it was serious clean up time with free water at the dock while sorting out our starboard engine. We also took a couple of days off to go to Meteora, a world heritage site, where there are magical monastries sitting on top of huge rock pinnacles. There used to be twenty monastries, but there are now only six remaining. Two are working nunneries and all of them have been beautifully restored.
Currently we are in the bays of Menganisi waiting for the right wind to take us to Sicily, probably a two day journey. The Adriatic is a great place and we can understand why liveaboards winter over in Lefkas, an island that is connected to the mainland via a bridge and is very central for cruising the Ionian. The winds here are much kinder in the summer than in the Aegean and we have met some wonderful people on our travels. One family we bumped into knew Edwin and we also knew their son from New Zealand - it's a small world. To date we have visited five countries this summer and we still have a few more to go before the Canaries, our last stop before crossing the Atlantic. We have certainly still have a lot of miles to cover. I will finish by sharing this quote which I rather like from Dr. Seuss "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind."