Slow Sailing

06 May 2017 | San Antonio Harbor, Ibiza
24 April 2017 | Ibiza, Balearic Islands
02 April 2017 | Valencia, Spain
21 March 2017 | Brittany, France
22 February 2017 | England
03 February 2017 | Valencia, Spain
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

Going In Circles

06 May 2017 | San Antonio Harbor, Ibiza
Heather
We've been out cruising around Spain's Balearic Islands for 2 weeks now so I thought I would share some ramblings about how its been. And yesterday, for the first time in forever, we were screaming along at nearly 8kts sailing so it even qualifies for some space on Sailblogs for a change. It is still early-ish in the season and so I can only guess that is the reason for winds that do a 360 every few days. It keeps us moving from one anchorage to another to find the lee and keep away from the swell which can come from a different direction to make things interesting. Having a look at the GRIB weather files does nothing yet to explain where this swell comes from, it just visits. Nothing is very strong or big, it is just that we don't feel like being uncomfortable! And while it would seem that there is no time for grass to grow under our keel, we have a velvet carpet of green on the bottom and it takes about 20 strokes of the corner of the brush to get it to come off one little spot. We did another round yesterday in gorgeous, clear water but have a long way to go to be finished. We hope that since we put 25 liters of paint on last year, we can scrub off the carpet and expose a fresh surface. It's so nice to see fish enjoying the shadow of our keel in all the anchorages and we had a dolphin visit yesterday but it didn't stay. We've always maintained that the clearest water we've ever seen is in the Bahamas but actually this is just as clear, it is just that there's not much in it!
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We've been moving around the islands of Ibiza & Formentera as they were first in line from Valencia. Known for their summer party atmosphere, there are also a lot of beautiful calas (coves) with high rocky sides, some decent walking & biking, a small walled city on Ibiza and lots of beaches. And these actually have sand! We continue to find modern Mediterranean architecture pretty unattractive and the old stuff very beautiful and interesting. We enjoy walking along the ramparts and pretending we're in a Game Of Thrones episode. Since Europeans seem to love to walk, there are random & planned trails pretty much everywhere we go and lots of picturesque cliffside paths from every anchorage that offer spectacular views. And every cala has a cafe! On wooded trails we even ran into some friendly pigs and there is no shortage of fresh herbs, especially rosemary which smells nice baking on something in the oven. We did a great day of biking on Formentera Island, which is all laid out with numbered bike paths and sight seeing. The inland wildflower fields surrounded by the most stone walls I've ever seen were so pretty with all the poppies and the lonely lighthouse on the point was a great destination. We wanted to bike another day but we had to leave yesterday because of the wind shift. They also have large salt pans on Formentera that kind of stink and we always get a chuckle when we think of how all this stuff gets to the bottle that you buy in the store. It is like all the exotic spices of the spice islands laying on the ground in the sun next to the dusty road. There's bound to be some extras getting in there!
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One thing about cruising here is that there doesn't seem to be much cruising scene. There's no pack of boats headed one way with the seasons and the cruising boats that are out and about are all spread out. When we meet people they are invariably heading off someplace other than where we're going or just staying put. I think things will change when we get to Gibraltar late summer though as boats will be gathering for the Atlantic crossing. We did get a chance to rendezvous with Geoffrey & Julie right before we left Valencia but ever since then we have been pretty much on our own. They are the friends we met in Valencia who had us to their lovely thatched cottage in England.
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It is still early in the season so there is plenty of room in the anchorages & on the beaches but things are heating up. We've seen all manner of anatomy already since the general thought is you want all your bits evenly tanned here! I feel like I should be going around handing out Vanuatu nambas! In the harbors, all of the tour boats smell of fresh paint and the restaurants & stores are getting set up for the masses. It has a festive feel but we're also a little scared of what it will be like in July & August when I think all of Europe is on vacation. We made out OK last summer but I don't think I have recovered from the Vatican museum crowds!
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It is 6 years ago this month that we quit our jobs for the fourth time to go sailing. We've seen more of the world from our deck than any other way and we have a lot of great memories. We do get a little antsy though if we feel limited by weather because we have gotten impatient in our old age. For example, this morning it was blowing 25 kts in our semi-protected anchorage and boats were dragging. We could see the holiday makers (as the cruising guide calls them) on shore walking off their hangovers on the promenade. We could just as well have had a hangover since we felt nauseous from all the motion of our bucking boat. We were joking to ourselves that they will be bummed out to leave this paradise and go back home but we will still be out here in the wind & waves "living the dream". It isn't all rum punches, at least not in our opinion; it can have its ups & downs. When the wind settled down and we got ashore Jon turned to me and said "people are having a really nice day here". Well yes, when you are not out in the harbor losing sleep with the roll, worrying about whether you are going to drag yourself or get creamed by another boat sliding by, you can have a nice day! We had a really nice afternoon strolling the seashore, people watching (rugby on the beach) and doing some errands in town. We actually found a new internet provider that has reasonable rates. And now it is a beautiful evening with no wind. I think we'll put umbrellas in our drinks tonight and look for the green flash. Life is good again.
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Let Summer Begin!

24 April 2017 | Ibiza, Balearic Islands
Heather
4/22
We are stocked up, the maintenance is done, rigging check done, radar is in, loose ends are tied up and we are leaving this slip to start exploring! After 7 months in Valencia, it is hard to say goodbye but at the same time, we are ready to move on & see new things. We're headed to Ibiza,in the Balearic Islands and are really looking forward to finally seeing them. Still part of Spain so we don't have to give up the Cava, jamon and all the other Spanish stuff we have grown to love.
Everyone has been so nice to us and we feel fortunate to have discovered this place so unexpectedly. When I went to pay the final marina bill, I found out that the marina gave us the last month free because they felt bad about the hassle we had with the theft and they wanted us to leave with good feelings! Well that is a nice feeling. We sold the old radar dome in the consignment shop here and you get the full amount to spend in the store. We thought oh great, there is nothing in this store we want and it always feels like we accumulate some pack years since the staff smokes non-stop. But it just so happened that the day we walked in, they were stocking up a new rack with Sea to Summit hiking gear so we ended up with new backpacking pillows, super light daypacks and tech towels. So that saved us from buying more boat chemicals that we don't need...
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We've never stayed in a place with so many bike paths and we came to do nearly everything on our bikes. Watching Spring fill in has been great because there are so many wildflowers. We rented countless cars by biking to & from the airport because the car rentals were ridiculously cheap- ($3.50/day was our record but $5 as second best isn't too shabby) and we could get there almost entirely on bike path. To break up the boat work recently, we rented one for a few days to head northwest to the town of Albarracin. Touted as one of the prettiest medieval villages in Spain, it sits in a little bowl of pinkish mountains and the village is beautiful with overhanging wooden balconies and a castle with a wall running up the hillside. In about the year 1010, it was actually a small Islamic state for 100 years. There were hiking paths to cave drawings, paths running along an old Roman aqueduct as well as along the river that runs through the city. The lilacs were blooming, both white & lavender and it made me think of you mom! It was the first place we've ever stayed that had the "uni-pillow"- one long pillow that runs the width of the bed to share- that's a new one for us! And when we went out to dinner, we got the common budget 3 course meal that includes wine & bread but this time, they put a bottle each of white & red on the table for you to have as much as you want! But then again, beer is the same as soda at McDonalds...
It has definitely warmed up a lot and the sun is out full on. It feels like summer except there is a cool breeze off the water.
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4/24
We made it! It was a long, easy 80 mile day to Ibiza yesterday with a dirty prop but we rolled into a beautiful anchorage just as the sun set and we have the place to ourselves, well except for the gulls. We saw lots of dolphin and the water was that gorgeous Mediterranean blue that I've been really missing these past few months. We got in the water today and cleaned the prop and know we have a lot more cleaning to do with our tanks on but we should gain a kt of boatspeed now! It is great to be cruising again.

Home Afloat

02 April 2017 | Valencia, Spain
Heather
We are back to Valencia, Spain living afloat again. It's nice to not have to plan where we're staying tonight.. or tomorrow night! And we're enjoying being able to cook whatever we feel like. The varnish can & sandpaper are back out for some touch-ups, the sails are on which is nice because we aren't tripping over them inside anymore. And the sun has been shining away which is good for the soul. We already need sunscreen. Jon ordered the radar unit from the UK and when it arrives we can start thinking about dropping the lines here. We want to head to the Balearic Islands, still part of Spain. But I love this city. It has such a vibrant feel and everyone is always outside. We've been trying to learn more Spanish using Duolingo. Long way to go but anything helps. We found another great bike path. And we finally got some real Valencian paella today & sangria.

Here are a few pics of what we saw in France. They're not great. But this part of France turned out to be just what we were hoping for in that it was rural countryside with some beautiful old picturesque towns, lots of history and many, many, green velvet fields. When doing the Normandy beaches, we stayed in the gateway town of Bayeux, which amazingly, was untouched by bombs during the invasion. The US military actually made a ring road around the town center so that they could avoid the inevitable congestion of tanks and military vehicles in the tight streets. The ring road still exists today. The cemeteries, museums and conserved heavy battlefields were sobering but interesting. The town of Mont St Michel with its castle on a rock island was stunning even though the tide was out when we visited. And St Malo was another beautiful walled city with great views from the ramparts. Made famous by the book "All The Light We Cannot See", it is a unique spot with a great harbor for sailboats too. Can't wait to start the book that you gave me mom!
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On the way back to Paris to get near the airport to leave the following day, we made a family history stop in a little town called Mortagne Au Perche because Jon's cousin Loranne told us that there was a plaque for Charles Turgeon- a really distant relative!- who sailed to Canada in the 1600's to start a new life. We stopped at the library in the town and 2 great ladies went right to work remembering where the plaque was in the town! Turns out there were 2 of them- one in the old Notre Dame church that listed all the people who left from the town for Canada, and another for Charles mounted on a housing building nearby- not quite so lovely of a building either. Well, it was a nice little diversion and funny to be on the hunt for these plaques. The library ladies were so helpful and we could barely understand their French but we found both of them so success!

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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 -