Slow Sailing

22 December 2016 | Vero Beach, Florida
23 October 2016 | Real Club Nautico, Valencia
07 October 2016 | Valencia, Spain
26 September 2016 | Valencia, Spain
18 September 2016 | Toulon, France
01 September 2016 | Corsica, France
24 August 2016 | Porto Turistico Di Roma
09 August 2016 | Underway to Rome
29 July 2016 | Thomas Bay, Malta
16 July 2016 | Siracusa, Sicily
08 July 2016 | Anti Paxos, Ionian
30 June 2016 | Paxi, Ionian Islands
16 June 2016 | Syros, Cyclades
05 June 2016 | Poros Island, Greece
05 April 2016 | Aegina Island, Greece
31 March 2016 | Aegina Island, Greece
11 March 2016 | Lavrio, Greece
28 February 2016 | Lavrion, Greece
06 February 2016 | Ao Po Grand Marina, Phuket
28 January 2016 | Rebak Marina, Langkawi

Happy Holidays To Our VIPs

22 December 2016 | Vero Beach, Florida
Heather
If someone had asked us at this time last year if we'd be spending Thanksgiving & Christmas back home with family & friends this year we would've said that was impossible. We had the year all planned out. But nowadays, it seems like we never know where we're going until we get there because we change our minds. But we do know where we've been and this year was a banner one for new places, cultures & experiences. From Thailand, to Malaysia, Nepal, India, Greece, Italy, France, Spain, Canada and the USA, we've learned a lot and have finally reached several places that have been on our wish list, both by land & by sea. Every time someone asks us if we're ready to settle down I sort of cringe because I love seeing all this stuff and keeping the landscape fresh.

We've had a nice visit back in the US. And all the while, we're hopefully re-setting our European visas so that we'll have a blank slate when we return to the boat in late January.
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We spent the first few weeks up in Vermont with my mom & dad enjoying the last of the fall leaves, celebrating my dad's birthday, cooking up great food and eating hamburgers whenever we got a chance to go out. We've never had a good American burger outside of America. I like the way my dad wears the hat I brought him back from Nepal.

Jon & I headed to Quebec City for a few days to see it for the first time. We brought our bikes and covered many miles of great paths, toured Parliament, hung out in the lobby of the Chateau Frontenac and stayed in fantastic Air Bnb places because just as it is in France, Quebec is all set up for it. The election hit us hard and reminded us of 9/11, but without that united feel. We drove as far north as we could, up to the Canadian Shield where the roads end, as much to get further away as to see what it was like up there. They get snow early in that area!
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We got together with long time marina friends Kevin & Claire & Judy which we'd talked about doing for a long time and it finally happened.
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We celebrated an early Thanksgiving with my mom & dad and didn't take enough pictures, well I don't think we took any at all....sorry about that mom! It was so nice to have all the ingredients we needed for the dinner at hand and be together for my favorite holiday. Then, our road trip started. We drove to Tulsa for turkey number two with Jon's brother Craig & his family. I have never seen so many Christmas lights as they have in Tulsa and as always, we got our fill of Craig's homemade BBQ (but we always have room for more).
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From Tulsa we parked the car in Dallas and flew to McCall, Idaho to see friends Mark & Anne. The last time we'd seen each other was in New Caledonia two years ago. We got 2 days of XC skiing in before much of anyone in the country I think. Whenever I'm out west, I feel like I am in a winter fairy tale scene with the ponderosa pines and the fluffy white snow. We helped some other cruising friends on Kailani erect a fabric garage at their new house because we have so much "experience" building them.... we have a few ourselves! What a contrast to the last place we saw each other in steamy Thailand. And, we got a chance to go for two rides in Mark & Anne's plane. What a great experience and something that we've been dying to do for years. They even let us steer. They've planted a seed and we hope to make it grow. We also learned that hot chocolate tastes a lot better with a shot of peppermint schnapps!
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We shed our snowproof layers once we got back to Texas and headed to Big Bend National Park which has been calling to us for quite some time. We spent a week camped in the same tent that Jon brought home to me in 1989 and set up in the living room of our apartment. It isn't waterproof anymore, but it doesn't rain in the desert! We hiked & biked all over and absolutely loved the park. Standing at the river's edge looking over the narrow 100 feet to Mexico, I thought to myself that I did nothing to deserve to be born on this side of the river. I don't wish anyone else anything less. We met a Mexican man on one of the trails and stopped to talk for a bit. We ended up singing all the Spanish songs I learned as a kid together like Lito Lindo & La Cucaracha.
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Before we left Texas, we stopped in Houston to see my great aunt Alice. It had been a while since we'd seen each other. It wasn't enough time, but we vow to come back.
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And now we're in Vero Beach at Jon's parents through the holidays. It is good to see them. The air reminds me of my childhood Christmases. Their dog Katie still loves to play fetch & steal undergarments when you're not looking. I'm making good progress teaching her to chase her tail.
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It's been a wonderful year. We've seen & learned so much. We've also become inspired to do some more things. How does the saying go? "One if by land, two if by sea? The freedom of the open road (and traveling at such speeds!) makes us want a go-anywhere camper really bad!! Just put it in a container and ship it around the world! We'll be happy starting with the US park lands. We have another ocean to cross first though.

A saying on a recent card we received said: "Good friends are like stars. You don't always see them, but you know they're there."

How true. That goes for family too. Thanks to all you VIP's for being a part of our lives. Best wishes for a wonderful holiday & a new year full of good health & happiness.
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Taking A Break

23 October 2016 | Real Club Nautico, Valencia
Heather
I just wanted to write and say that I'm not going to be writing and saying anything much while we go back to the USA for a visit- we leave tomorrow. The boat is looking spiffy with all the work we've been doing and hopefully it'll be OK. Its been nice to have some down time to just poke around and not feel rushed to get everything done in a day. We managed to get several nagging projects done like replacing the galley sink drains, stripping the bowsprit, cleaning the chain locker, repairing the sail cover- those sort of things. We joke about how our standards have changed over the years as we are in places that we can't find the products we used to insist on. Like the varnish- we'll use anything! People often ask which kind of varnish we use and I always have to ask which piece of wood they're talking about. But we have found some places to get stuff here in our explorations. We've also found more broken stuff on the boat- I was studying the boom vang the other day and lo & behold there was a cracked fitting. We had the mast end re-made last year and now the boom end is cracked. Glad we weren't crossing this year! Then the galley sink seacock fitting rusted through and we actually found a replacement here which was great. And then Jon noted a cracked cleat, so we are as usuual, hauling things back & forth which is our norm. Then last night, I was pounding chicken and we see the wood on the underside of the formica near the sink, has rotted out. It gets wet all the time but my gosh, we weren't expecting it to rot out! So now that is cleaned out and we're hoping it will be all dry when we return and we can fill it back in.
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We've taken some more great bike rides. Yesterday we did a long ride to this old town with a Roman ruin on top of a hill. We didn't find anything of interest in the town really, but the ride there & back was great. We're seeing some leg muscles now that we haven't seen in a while...

When you get to the bike path that is about 1 minute from the marina gate, you can either head toward the city (where many others branch off) or out toward a park with a very long beach. Its a nice ride and there are a lot of stray cats that live out there. We've taken them food, but others feed them too, so they aren't starving. We never see dogs, just stray cats. When we visited the botanical garden, there were a few there and one so tame he just hopped into my lap and didn't want to leave. I wanted to take him home..
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We continue to really like Valencia and this marina. The marina has really nice landscaping and it is massive. It has a busy sailing school and I love seeing the kids sitting out there in their prams because it reminds me of my beginning sailing days. There are crew boats grunting in the dark as they speed past and this weekend our dock is alive with raceboats for the some sort of championship. I learned a couple of things today about racers. They bring these massive waterproof bags that you could fit 20 people in and line the dock with them so that they can empty out the interiors of the boats so they'll be faster when racing! They'd need a 18 wheeler trailer for all the junk, I mean necessary equipment we have on this boat! Then they even drop their anchors & chain into the water at the berth and buoy it so they can pick it back up on their return. I know nothing about racing but can see that this is a lot of work.
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We keep our bikes out under the covered parking area so they are ready to just hop on and go. The old town is so pretty and interesting and on weekends many of the museums and attractions are free! So we've done some of those and learned a little more about the history here. Today we visited the old Silk Exchange. Built in the 1400's, when Valencia was in its heyday trading silk, they spared no expense at making it a showpiece. The room of columns had unique curved columns that spread out like a palm tree as they reached the ceiling. We hadn't seen this style before.
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The archeological museum has excavated a Roman & Moorish city underneath one of the squares and the museum showcases the ruins of it. It is all underground because each new city would just build over top of the old one which is why everything is much higher than in the past! We followed up one of the museum days with a "menu del dia" like they do in France but this 3 course meal included wine before & some moscato afterward. Its as close to all inclusive as we get. What a deal.

We've been enjoying the food here from the grocery store. After going so long without any clams, Spain seems to be huge on them. You can get any kind of clam in a can too, including razor clams. Snails are big too, but we haven't gotten in to them, yet. The other day we were on a bike ride in the morning after a rain shower and the cement path was covered in snails. And then there was a guy out there collecting them to eat- free escargot! In France, everyone has a baguette hanging out of their bag or tucked under their arm; here, its snails.... Then today was beautiful & sunny and the snails weren't out, but the praying mantis's were with their faces turned up to the sun.
We're getting back just in time for my dad's birthday. It's been a long time since we celebrated together. Looking forward to being among familiar faces and our own language for a while!
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Plans In Sand

07 October 2016 | Valencia, Spain
Heather
One of the greatest parts about cruising around on a sailboat is that you always have your home with you. If you want to stay, you are already home. And another wonderful part is that, to the extent that you don't have concrete plans, you have the freedom to re-write them to fit whatever takes hold of you. And so it was that when we pulled in to Valencia, Spain, we smoothed out the sand and made some new plans- we're staying here!
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We had an uneventful passage from France to Spain overall but it was kind of annoying because the wind was all over and there were a few squalls & lots of impressive lightening on the second night. We did cross the prime meridian so are now back in the Western hemisphere! We didn't get much of any sleep though and were feeling altogether frustrated when we pulled in to the marina in Valencia just as it was getting dark. The marina was a pleasant surprise though in that it was really nice and very well protected. No ferries! We crashed for a long, quiet sleep and then started exploring the next day. I'd read that Valencia was a great biking city so we set out on our bikes for some exercise. It turns out there's a path right from the marina and it goes through a beautiful10 km continuous park that threads through the city. Then there are so many others going every which way it feels like a biking frenzy! There is a vibrant old city, a massive grocery store 15 minutes away by bike, the airport is right here and it has the cheapest flights we've seen in years and the marina is affordable & suits us well. That's pretty much all we need. We both felt so happy after that first day and then after another, we knew we wanted to stay. But we needed to get some sort of permission from immigration. We spent 3 days biting our nails and making ulcers trying to figure out if we could and getting shuffled from one department of officials to another because we don't fit into any mold being here on a boat but eventually we got an answer that yes we could, as long as we leave for 90 days. We wrote letters in Spanish trying to explain our situation and each official would carefully read them and try their best to help. I suppose we could still encounter problems at the airport but we are hoping that the answer we got will stand and the supporting paperwork will cover. Everyone has been so nice to us.
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We breathed a sigh of relief and booked tickets for a 3 month visit back in the US for the end of the month. We can now spend the holidays with our families which is great, because we were missing them. We made some new friends on the boat in the slip next to us- Julie & Geoffrey and it was great to hang out talking together since we've been pretty much been on our own for months now. Geoffrey made us shrimp & salmon for dinner- how am I going to top that?! He also introduced us to the Spanish sparkling wine Cava which is pretty good.
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We hopped on our bikes again and rode 65 miles out to see Ali from the boat Vulcan Spirit because she's here in Spain visiting her dad. It was a great bike ride through a lot of agricultural fields including loads of orange groves, pomegranite, grapes, eggplant, lettuce and tomatoes. It's so nice to just see all that sutff growing. We never stop appreciating Google Maps and how it has changed our lives. It routed us on beautiful roads and bike paths such that we had the best distance bike ride we've ever done. We celebrated Jon's birthday while visiting and had such a nice time catching up with Ali and meeting her dad. He has an old dog named Maddie who loved to be rubbed and reminded you when you stopped. On the bike ride back, we were worried the roads would be busier because it was a week day, but it was negligible. The only real difference was that on Sunday, we felt like we were in a bike race (and losing it too!) because there were HUNDREDS of bikers out. The Spaniards love to bike and they would pass us in groups, moving so fast, but always with a flurry of holas & buenos dias's.
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Then we came back to Evergreen and our friend Tim came to visit. We set out on this cruise together from New England in late October 2011. We weathered a n'oreaster in Montauk, helped each other through the Panama Canal and then sailed halfway across the Pacific together. He completed his circumnavigation last year. We spent most of our time just jabbering to catch up.
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And now we're going to focus on getting the boat ready to store. Phew! We don't have to leave! The day after we got here the navigation computer died- the motherboard went. Jon got it working with an old one we had but now we can get it replaced. We're making lists of things we need and will work on projects, but at a slower pace. Some we'll tackle and others we'll leave on hold for now. This city deserves exploring. We climbed the tower to the Valencia Cathedral yesterday for a view and while we were up there, the bell struck 11o'clock so we got the whole feel of the old bells! Our Spanish has come back and we can communicate pretty well which is a nice change. It feels really good to be here, to be stopped and to think about the places we want to explore in the coming months. We want to continue our Europe tour by car once we get back from the US so now we don't have to pout that we were leaving it prematurely. The UK is only a $30 plane flight away too, the US not too much further really, so we feel like we have lots of options. In the meantime, Valencia is home and it feels right.

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Vessel Name: EVERGREEN
Vessel Make/Model: Tashiba 40 Hull #158
Hailing Port: E. Thetford Vermont
Crew: Heather and Jon Turgeon
Extra:
Over the years, we've explored much of the Caribbean Sea & Atlantic East coast. In January 2012, we left the USA and headed for the Pacific. We visited the Galapagos, French Polynesia, Samoa, Cook Islands & Tonga before heading to New Zealand. We've enjoyed thousands of miles of beautiful sailing, [...]
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EVERGREEN 's Photos -