Happy Birthday Captain Underpants!
30 April 2016
It seems my Captain celebrates his birthday each year lately on a boat. Not surprising really.
2012 On board Lati in the US Virgin Islands.( in a boatyard) but Lee and I whisked him away for a night in the rainforest
2013 was in Portugal with Lati in a boatyard
2014 was on board Lati in Aegina, Greece AFTER she had been in a boatyard.
2015 was on land but looking at a boat in someone's yard. NOT to buy, just looking!
2016 this year we are on board Valiam in Mooloolaba Marina. It's been raining all day and a bbq steak with a red is planned for tonight. Just how the captain likes it.
The pic is a part of Facebook's memory snaps
27 April 2016
Valiam is now in her 'princess' berth at Mooloolaba Marina where 'princess' Linda can hop on and off without relying on getting a dinghy to the river. Mooloolaba Marina is her permanent home at present and we are using her to stay on board when we catch up with family, friends and yachties passing through.
Here's a pic when fellow Women Who Sail Australia member Lanise came on board Valiam for a coffee and a chat. See I don't always have a champagne glass in my hand!
26 April 2016
Our grandson Joe visited us despite being on crutches. He managed to climb on board no worries
SALVAGE IN MY SARONG - Linda is writing a new book
14 April 2016
After the very successful Women Who Sail Australia Gathering and much support and advice gratefully received, Lati's incredible story will be titled 'Salvage in my Sarong'. I am writing in earnest now to be published before the end of the year.
Interestingly Facebook has 'memories' of most days 4, 3 and 2 years ago which really help with my writing. This memory of April 2014, is like yesterday to me. Bill had flown to Greece 3 weeks before me to rebuild Lati's engine. When I arrived, he had rebuilt the engine from almost scratch with new parts, launched her back in the water, motored around Aegina island on his own and med moored her. He had cleaned and tidied, bought a new floor mat and had everything cosy and ship shape. I love my Captain Underpants!
We had such a great time that summer, our last on Lati exploring the islands in the Aegean and visiting Turkey. The little blue wooden boat with the Aussie flag helped us make many friends.
It was indeed a huge adventure from the abandoned wreck we found in the Caribbean, the back breaking restoration, then the long trip across the North Atlantic with no refrigeration, limited fuel and water.
Wonderful Women Who Sail Australia Gathering
03 April 2016
This weekend was the first time sailing women from all over Australia converged to partake in a fabulous Gathering of learning and sharing in Nelson Bay, Port Stephens.
I had the honour and privilege of taking part in a conversation lead by solo around the world sailor Jessica Watson. Two other women I admire greatly were part of the panel - Lisa Blair and Kristi Foster.
Lisa has many challenging voyages under her belt including Around the World Clipper race, solo Tasman race and is now preparing for a non stop solo circumnavigation of Antarctica. Kristi is an inspiration in the way she overcame a severe disability, wheelchair bound to now become a respected skipper and sailor.
I met so many other competent sailing women and feel quite humbled listening to their stories. Thank you to them all.
Women Who Sail Australia Gathering this weekend
30 March 2016 | Nelson Bay, Port Stephens
Excited to be speaking on the panel with these awesome women
Women Who Sail Australia Gathering on the Bay 2-3 April
29 February 2016 | Port Stephens, NSW, Australia
I am thrilled to be a presenter at this wonderful weekend in Port Stephens on 2-3 April. It will be a fantastic opportunity to connect and learn from people from such diverse backgrounds. The seminars are for women only but the Saturday evening dinner is open to the whole community. During the dinner a discussion panel lead by Jessica Watson will include me. How awesome is that?! The link below is how you book your tickets. All proceeds go to Sailing with Disabilities and VMR. Yes there will be champagne and copies of the latest edition of my book!
Click here for info and to book your tickets
Latest Epilogue for 2016 edition of Sailing in my Sarong
23 February 2016 | Mooloolaba, Qld, Australia
It’s just over 5 years since I first published Sailing in my Sarong and what a wonderful friendship tool it has been. The first year was frenetic with presentations, travelling to both boating and writing festivals in Australia and overseas. I am continually humbled as well as really pleased when people from all over the globe write to me, and sometimes make plans to meet us wherever we happen to be. Bill (Captain Underpants) takes it all quietly in his stride and I am thankful for his total support during all the activities associated with this book.
I would also like to thank the following people for their continued support of Sailing in my Sarong and our adventures – Shelley Wright, founding member of Women Who Sail Australia Facebook page, (as well as all the members I continue to meet and drink champagne with in different harbours and on line chats), Christian Brook of Boatbooks Australia, Phil Ross – Cruising Helmsman, Australian Wooden Boat Festival Tasmania,(2013), Nancy Bruning, Lee Maunder, Mark Maunder, and the many libraries around Australia who continue to have my book on their shelves.
Another dream came true in the form of my first solo art exhibition titled ‘Scribbling Barefoot’ in 2012. A big thank you to the beautiful, vivacious and creative women Maya and Annie who embraced me and my art at Rosebed st Gallery. Nothing beats the real thing. Whether they are books or paintings, I believe the real tangible object has a more intimate connection with the viewer than images on a screen. So far I have resisted an e-book. I continue to write regularly for our website and Facebook page which keeps me connected with everyone seeking adventures. Once bitten by the cruising bug, it never stops.
In 2012, I wrote :
Bill sheepishly announced to me that he had bought an old boat at a bargain price, that ‘needs a bit of work’ on ebay. This little boat wasn’t nearby. It was in the Caribbean. Crazy crazy crazy. My darling husband said it was to get me to the Mediterranean that summer.
“We can have a small boat in the Mediterranean and leave her there. In September we come back and sail Valiam to Patagonia. She’s much more suited to ocean passages in the southern hemisphere.”
We shall see. But anything is possible and if anyone can do anything, he can. Or should I say ‘We can.’ So that will be another story…..
And Lati, (a 31ft Kim Holman timber boat built in 1967) was rescued by us in the Caribbean. Looking forlorn and grubby she had been neglected for years. On first inspection Bill said white faced ‘We aren’t going anywhere in her..’ But after the initial shock, underneath the grime, rubbish and a few missing bits we went to work. After 3 months of sweat and tears in a horridly hot and dusty boatyard, and all our savings gone, Lati emerged like Cinderella. She is a really nice solid boat with lovely lines.
After only one day’s sea trial we set off across the North Atlantic for Portugal. 2600 miles and 25 long days of very little wind, we finally arrived in the Azores. A further 13 days later we arrived in Lagos, Portugal, still in the Atlantic, but the gateway to the Mediterranean. Mission accomplished. We fell in love with Portugal, especially the cheap wine and ‘sardinhas.’ That summer back in Australia, we were too exhausted to contemplate a huge eastward passage across the Pacific to Patagonia so we opted for a trip to Tasmania instead in our beloved fast and spacious Valiam. Patagonia will have to wait for us when we are ready.
In 2013, we flew back to our little rescued orphan boat in Portugal to spend 6 months sailing the Med. Without refrigeration and some of the other comforts, bigger boats have, we mastered Med mooring, squeezing into small spaces on town docks. Lati sails quite well and despite major engine repairs in exotic locations she got us to Greece. The Med is all about the different cultures, ancient ruins, delicious food and wine and making lots of friends along the way. A very special thank you to our Greek friends Christos and Christina whom we met on their yacht in Trizonia, Gulf of Corinthe who continued to look after us in Athens and Aegina. 2014 was our last Mediterranean summer cruising the Aegean visiting many islands including Turkey. So now I have the Mediterranean dream out of my system but it doesn’t mean we will never go back. Quite the opposite as we have lifelong friends in Greece to visit. We were somewhat sad when we sold Lati in 2015 and now she is a Norwegian yacht with an Australian owner.
With her Australian flag flying, we would often get asked ‘Did you sail all the way from Australia?’ We usually replied, ‘Yes, but in 2 boats….’
Lati’s story is quite remarkable and begs to be written,
so please be patient, it’s on it’s way.
Linda Frylink Anderson
17 February 2016
Email : [email protected]
Website : www.valiam.com.au
Facebook page : Sailing in my Sarong
Linda's first market stall
14 February 2016 | The Channon, NSW, AUSTRALIA
The tiny town of The Channon advertises on it's sign 'The home of the craft market'. I chose this market in the Norther rivers region of New South Wales to sell my mosaic art. ( and my book!) Up before dawn with a big collapsible marquee tent, old velvet curtains, folding tables and my precious artworks wrapped in blankets I wound and found my way through winding country roads, some dirt. Siri didn't work due to no phone connection but I got there just in time to be allocated a site.
Lots of interesting people to talk to about both sailing and art. I was asked about commission work, an offer to display in a community gallery and a lovely lady from Armidale bought my most recent big work only completed yesterday! Here's a photo of a small piece 'Little Mermaid' next to my book.
Scribbling Barefoot & Mosaic Art , my facebook page dedicated to my artwork
Lati the little Aussie battler
25 January 2016
We sold Lati earlier this year but we think of her often with great fondness. From the first moment in March 2012 when we hoisted the Australian flag on her rigging in St John, US Virgin Islands, we were proud to be Aussies in a foreign land. Months of hard work to get her seaworthy to tackle the great North Atlantic Ocean arriving 25 days later in the Azores then a further 13 days to reach Portugal, the gateway to the Mediterranean.
Three years of summers frolicking in the Med and repairs in exotic locations, Lati was welcomed everywhere we sailed. Our last summer in the Med in 2014 was spent in Greece exploring more than 14 islands as well as couple of weeks in Turkey. Everywhere Lati turned up the locals smiled and would invite us to their taverna, offer assistance with the smallest things whether we could freeze bottles of water in their fridge (we had no refrigeration) or where the cheapest giros were. ( flat bread wrapped around a kebab,salad and chips). Greek friends helped us source engine parts speaking Greek for us and driving down crazy alley ways we would never find to get the best deal.
As Australians back in our home port, we like to help and assist other cruising yachts. Not many foreign yachts come into Mooloolaba, but when they do we try our best to return the wonderful welcome we received when we were on board Lati. (And Valiam too) But here's cheers to Lati our very own little Aussie battler.
This photo was taken in a sweet harbour on the island of Ithaca in the Ionian, Greece.
Home among the gum trees
19 January 2016
2016 - What will the new year have in store for us? Home is now on a mountain off the grid in northern NSW, our own piece of paradise. It's like living on a boat as we are in charge of our own power, (solar and batteries), water (rainwater) and waste (composting sawdust toilet) surrounded by bush, wildlife and a beautiful garden with fruit trees.
While sailing around Greece in 2014, I dreamt of this beautiful place. Yes I adore cruising and exploring new landfalls but it was time for us to enjoy some space and have a shed. I have a shed and an art studio! It is here that I will finish writing Lati's story. I am still not set on a title and keep going between these two :
A Little Latitude
Salvage in my Sarong
By the time I finish writing I'm sure one of these will feel right or perhaps something new.
Our beautiful yacht Valiam also has a new home. After selling our house by the sea, we bought a marina berth at Mooloolaba Marina. So now we can step on and off, enjoy the facilities, the yacht club, the beach across the road and restaurants a short stroll away. The best of both worlds. Our home on the mountain is 3.5 hours drive from Mooloolaba.
Many people ask us if we have any trips planned on Valiam this year. I would like to go away on a short trip in the winter up north. And our long term sailing plans do include Patagonia but we are not sure when. In the mean time we are enjoying the peace on our mountain and looking after the garden.
We visit Valiam and stay on board every couple of weeks for a few nights. It's lovely to remain in contact with the sailing community as well as our friends and family on the Sunshine Coast. Christmas and New Years Eve was an extremely social time catching up with many sailing friends. There is a communal area on the lawns at the marina where we can use the barbecue and often bands are playing too. So if you are on the Sunshine coast we may be at the marina to enjoy a drink and a chat. I always have copies of Sailing in my Sarong on board too.
This photo was taken last January when we were sailing back from Sydney.
Cheers from the Valiam crew!
21 December 2015
You will find us celebrating New Years Eve at Mooloolaba marina if you happen to be in the area. Thank you everyone for your continued interest in our sailing and non sailing adventures and for buying my book. I have been a bit busy to finish the 2nd one but 2016 will be when Lati's story will be published.
Health, peace and happiness to you all 💗
From the Sea to the Mountains. From the Mountains to the Sea
06 December 2015
My birthday celebration in the bush was such a treat. Especially as we had not seen Jane and Andy since our last sojourn in Greece last year on board Lati. We sailed from Kythnos to Epidavros to meet with them for dinner before they sailed off to the Corinthe Canal at dawn the next day in July 2014.
Since then we have stayed in touch via Facebook. Friends Kim and Steve ( SV Red October) drove up from Port Macquarie for my party. Kim, Jane and I are members of the Women Who Sail Australia group and we all love the support and camaraderie this wonderful on line group offers. Kim and Jane met for the first time. It's an interesting phenomenon when we women get on so well on line then meet in person it's like socialising with old friends. A very special connection. And the blokes get on pretty well too.
Grandchildren as crew
31 October 2015 | Mooloolaba Marina, Qld, Australia
Joe and Tahlia helped their Pa ( Bill) move Valiam to Mooloolaba Marina today. I wasn't around but looks to me the lines were all under control. Great I can sit back and relax next time!
Valiam and Lati's positions around the world
25 October 2015 | Mooloolaba - Valiam's home port
If you click on the position map on the left you should get something like this. The yellow squares are all the blog posts. Valiam's route around the world went as far north as Carriacou, Grenada. Lati's route begins in the US Virgin Islands across to Europe. One day I will add up all the nautical miles we have sailed. A bloody lot really! No wonder we want to put our feet up for a bit.
If coffee cups could talk
25 October 2015 | Kawana Waters Marina, Mooloolaba, Qld, Australia
Valiam and her crew are enjoying the peaceful and friendly surroundings of Kawana Waters Marina ( locally known as Lawries). As I enjoy my morning coffee, I reflect on my immediate surroundings. Yes it is man-made but it's still on the water and we are connected to the ocean. My coffee cup has travelled many 1000s of miles where I have enjoyed my morning cuppa is beautiful anchorages as well as at sea.
We haven't sailed much this year apart from a trip to Sydney last December - January. But we have been rather busy selling our house and moving. It is a luxury for us to be able to step on and off the boat with all the facilities nearby. Restaurants and a shopping mall are just across the road. The beach isn't far either.
If you click on the map on the left you can see where Valiam has been. Lati's route in the northern hemisphere should be there too.
Valiam at Lawries marina
30 September 2015
Now that the house is sold, we moved our home we've had the longest (21 years) to a marina with the help of Craig our son in law. Valiam will receive some TLC here while we have the facilities. I love being able to step on board for a while and enjoy the camaraderie of other yachties. We have had some much nicer lettering for her bow to apply so here the job will be easier than bobbing around in the dinghy. Valiam will go back to her pile berth mooring in the river sometime in November.
From Sicily to Mooloolaba - Welcome Anastasia!
16 September 2015 | Mooloolaba, Qld Australia
Two years ago we were on board Lati berthed in a smelly but character filled port called Porto Empledocle in Sicily stuck for 3 weeks waiting for engine repairs. Swedish yacht Anastasia came alongside and we got to know Anna and Thomas over a few wines.
They had already sailed through Patagonia eastwards so we were inspired by their stories as we hope to do the same on Valiam one day. Anna and Linda had kept in touch through Facebook and via email as they sailed closer towards Australia. Anastasia arrived in Bundaberg last week and with a stop over in Garry's anchorage Fraser Island, arrived in Mooloolaba a couple of days ago.
Three miles out Anna phoned for the marina's details. We pedalled our bicycles down to the breakwater to watch them come in, wave with big grins and take photos. The feeling of seeing this beautiful yacht again on the other side of the world is indescribable. The same sort of feeling when I think about Valiam circling the globe. Immense pride and awe or something similar.
We joined Anna and Thomas for a delicious Greek meal on board Anastasia accompanied by Aussie champagne. Hopefully we will see each other again. Yesterday they sailed to Scarborough, their temporary home port whilst they explore Australia.
Valiam on her mooring in Mooloolaba
16 September 2015
Anna (SV Anastasia) took this shot coming in to Mooloolaba
16 September 2015
Swedish yacht Anastasia arriving in Mooloolaba. We rode our bicycles to the breakwater to take photos and wave to Anna and Thomas
16 September 2015 | Porto Empledocle, Sicily, Italy 2013
Lati and Anastasia side by side in Porto Empledocle, Sicily in June 2013.
13 September 2015
Valiam motoring down Mooloolah river.
Valiam will be snuggled into Kawana Waters Marina
13 September 2015 | Mooloolaba, Qld, Australia
Kawana Waters Marina, locally known as 'Lauries' will become Valiam's home for a while after we move out of our house in Point Cartwright. This will give us somewhere to stay on the coast.
I have fond memories of staying at Lawries in 2007 for a few months when we were preparing for our circumnavigation. A very friendly marina, very protected up one of the canals and very handy to the boatyard, Kawana Shopping world, Dan Murphys as well as Kawana beach. A small yacht called Shanty was in the berth next to Valiam. Shanty later became 'Pink Lady', Jessica Watson's famous boat to circumnavigate non stop around the world by the youngest solo skipper. So two Mooloolaba yachts berthed next to each other sailed around the world.
The photo above was taken when Valiam was first launched in 1994. Look how bare she was! No life lines , wooden mast and her old colour scheme white and purple.
Valiam will stay in Mooloolaba
28 July 2015
Everyone is wondering where Valiam will be moored when we sell our house in Pt Cartwright. She will stay in Mooloolaba. It's a good all weather port for us to plan any future voyages and close to family and friends. This photo was taken when we sailed to Hobart 2 years ago.
Bye Bye suburbia
28 July 2015
The house is sold and settles in late September. In the meantime we have 11 years of stuff to sort through! Our son in law has kindly offered to look after the cruise craft. He is looking forward to taking the grandchildren out in it.
My cousin finds Lati's sign in Horta, in the Azores
20 July 2015
Imagine my surprise to find photos of my cousin Hans and his wife Liesbeth posed next to the sign I painted for Lati in Horta exactly 3 years ago on my facebook page. They are on holiday from Holland enjoying these beautiful Portuguese islands in the middle of the North Atlantic.
Such a lot has happened since we took 25 days to reach the Azores from the Caribbean on 31ft Lati. We've had 3 wonderful summers cruising the Med and undergoing boat repairs in exotic locations. Now she is being enjoyed by her new owner currently in Sardinia about to head for France.
'Memories are better than things' said a cruising friend once and this I believe is true. Our memories and pictures of Lati's adventures will all be in a beautiful book soon. So stay tuned.
A new sailing dinghy
17 July 2015
This is the sailing dinghy Bill is building to take the grandchildren sailing.
Women Who Sail Australia Facebook group
27 June 2015
Although land based at present, we have and continue to enjoy the company of yachties sailing north to warmer climes. I have been a member of the closed Facebook group Women Who Sail Australia for several years now. No matter where I am, I have a like minded soul to chat to on line.
When cruising the women in this group connect with one and other and their partners not only for social catch ups but for info on anchorages, weather, boat parts etc etc. Often someone is on line when on night watch or if just having to hastily leave an anchorage due to unexpected nasty weather.
Lately we have been catching up with yachtie friends either at the Mooloolaba yacht club or at our place (just across the river from the marina) Its still cool winter days in south east Queensland but usually sunny. This is our first winter since 2011 as we have been flying to the northern hemisphere to enjoy our adventures on board Lati.
Lati is now heading west out of Greece with her new owner.Click here for the link
Above is a photo taken at Mooloolaba Yacht Club of Linda with two WWSA members Penny and Kim. Note my warm jacket!
Yes Valiam is waiting patiently for a sail sometime soon!
25 June 2015 | Mooloolaba
This shot of Valiam was taken from the Mooloolaba side of river by Steve Roach. Such a famous boat!
Lati sailing the Greek Islands once again with her new owners
13 June 2015 | Kythnos island, Greece
Lati is sitting pretty in an anchorage off Kythnos Island with her new owners. I fell in love with Kythnos on our first visit in 2013. Lati has just undergone her second renovation in 3 years so she is looking very fine.
First with us when we bought her in 2012 as a shabby neglected thing in the US Virgin islands, we worked on her for 3 exhausting months then sailed across the north Atlantic to the Azores (25 days) and Portugal (13 days). She was put up in a boatyard in Ria Formosa, Algarve in Portugal and waited for our return in 2013. When we flew back to Portugal from Australia, she had been broken into and a few items were stolen - the brass foghorn and handheld vhf. After a few minor repairs we were off to the Med.
It was a long trip that year via Gibraltar to Sicily. Sadly the engine died outside Porto Empledocle, Sicily where we had to get towed in after anchoring for the night outside. A month later and 1000s of euros gone the engine was supposed to have been repaired.... Despite a few problems, Lati got us to Greece via the delightful Ionian islands and Gulf of Corinthe. At this time we delivered another yacht from Croatia to Greece via Bari, Italy where we bought a whole lot of new parts including a crankshaft from the Perkins dealer there. What is the definition of BOAT? Bring on another thousand...and more!
But despite the repairs in exotic locations, we enjoyed each harbour and island eating and drinking the local fare, enjoying the sights and making so many friends. We are especially fond of Greece and hope to return one day.
In 2013 we left Lati up on the hard again in a boatyard on the island of Aigina, Greece. In 2014, Bill flew back a few weeks before me to completely rebuild the engine again. Now she was reliable. Our last summer on Lati was wonderful as we did not cross any major oceans and hopped from one island to the next to Turkey and back. We left her in her 4th boatyard since 2012 in Lavrion, Greece. She was now for sale so it was an emotional farewell as we weren't sure we would see her again.
But now she is with her new Australian owner who has lavished more attention on her and with the help of his Dad (a good friend of ours) they have worked hard to make Lati very fine indeed.
It's not easy taking on major work on boats in foreign countries. It is difficult to know where to buy parts, materials and get work done without spending a fortune. But nevertheless the work usually takes longer and costs more than anticipated. And you are at the mercy of the boatyard. It's always good to get local advice. Fortunately we had good friends in St John, US Virgin Islands who helped us. We couldn't have done it without them. And again our Greek friend has assisted Lati's new owners to ease the transition.
We will be watching Lati's 2015 adventures with interest as she eventually heads for Norway. What a great boat she is.
Glorious winter days
05 June 2015 | Mooloolaba Harbour, Qld, Australia
Cool and sunny
June is the coldest month in southeast Queensland but has the most glorious sunny days. The weather is stable and perfect for sailing north with light south westerlies.
This is my first winter since 2011 as we have been flying back and forth to the northern hemisphere to be on board Lati. So its warm thick dressing gown and ugg boots and a light jumper during the day. Its been getting down to 9 degrees C st night but still mostly in the low 20s during the day.
Here's a gorgeous shot of the Etchells sailing past Valiam yesterday taken by Ann Robertson who has this wonderful view from her apartment.
Happy Winter days for writing Lati's story - so many adventures!
Lots of yachties heading to north Queensland
05 June 2015 | Mooloolaba Yacht Club
As we are having a rest from sailing long trips this year, we are able to welcome friends to our home port. There is a little envy I must admit as I read my friends' blogs and posts on facebook with stunning photos.... Here I'm enjoying a drink with a couple of friends from the Women Who Sail Australia group - Deb and Erica.
The latest on Lati
27 May 2015 | Lavrion, Greece
Lati's latest restoration by her new owners is almost complete. I posted this on our 'Sailing in my Sarong' Facebook page. We look forward to seeing her sailing again,with beautiful new sails.
I am aiming to get Lati's story published by September. The working title is 'Salvage in my Sarong' so we are open to any suggestions by those who know Lati's story.
Projects and plans
18 May 2015 | Mooloolah river, Mooloolaba, Qld, Australia
photo above : another of Bill's projects : the Cruise Craft he rescued from the tip. She's a real goer now. This was taken on grandson Joe's 7th birthday
So, what sailing plans do we have for the remainder of 2015?
Not a lot really. It has been a huge 3 years for us since 2012 flying back and forth to Lati in the northern hemisphere with thousands of sailing miles between Lati, Valiam in Oz and a couple of delivery trips. Here's a run down:
2012 : Restored Lati in US Virgin islands, crossed the North Atlantic to Azores and Portugal.
2013 : Jan - March - sailed Valiam from Mooloolaba to Tasmania and back
April- September - sailed Lati from Portugal to Greece
July - sailed Pave from Croatia to Greece
Dec - sailed Foxy Lady from Brisbane to Western Port, Victoria
2014 : Jan - sailed to Tangalooma with grandson Joe
March - Bill flew to Greece to rebuild Lati's engine for the 3rd time
April - July , we sailed through the Aegean to Turkey and back to Greece
August - October, Bill sailed Fourth Dimension with Peter and Garry from Canary Islands to Turkey
Early December - grandkids Joe and Tahlia sailed to Tangalooma with us to celebrate Valiam's 20th birthday
Late December - left to sail south on Valiam. Celebrated NYE on board Sydney harbour
2015: Jan - sailed Sydney to Mooloolaba
So now it's May and we have been housebound, doing lots of maintenance and tidying readying our house for sale. I've also been doing some part time teaching both at uni and in kindergartens. ) While we wait for our house to sell, we may take Valiam out for a spin in Moreton Bay.
Here's the ad for our house
But Bill has another project in the shed - a sailing dinghy for the grandkids. Oh yes and the rescued Cruise Craft from the tip is a beauty. Now registered and going and we've enjoyed Few spins up the Mooloolah river.
I have begun writing my 2nd book of Lati's adventures. Current working title 'Salvage in my Sarong' but this may change....
18 May 2015
With a few of the women who bought a copy of my book.
Women Who Sail Australia Meet-up
18 May 2015 | Manly, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Recently a most wonderful get-together was organised by my friend Deb who sails Matilda with her partner Bruce. We just missed meeting up with Deb and Bruce when we sailed down to Sydney in January. But we have kept in touch via the Facebook group Women Who Sail Australia. This is a wonderful group for me (and when Bill looks over my shoulder!) as I have been in touch with so many women no matter where I am. The Australian group started a few years ago as a sub group of the much bigger group Women Who Sail (worldwide)
When I was in little ports in the Mediterranean on Lati, I would send photos and share our adventures. And it's my favourite group when back in Australia. I have talked on line with many of sailing friends as we share, encourage and help each other. One instance stands out when we were sailing back from Sydney to Mooloolaba. Caught in the midst of electrical storms off the coast of Ballina, my sailing friends shared the night with me, sent information and were such a wonderful emotional support. I was quite frightened that night. The next day as we pulled into Southport all the women had a drink to celebrate our safe arrival posting pictures with a glass in hand.
So when Deb organised a get together in Brisbane recently, I was so excited to meet many of my friends face to face. The feelings of warmth and friendship continued for the whole afternoon as we shared laughs and stories. Our partners came along and also enjoyed the camaraderie. A truly unforgettable afternoon and I look forward to the next one.
Lati's new makeover to become a Norwegian princess
03 May 2015 | Lavrion, Greece
Today we saw the first pictures of Lati since the new owners have taken her over. A good friend of ours has flown over to Greece to assist. Her hull has been sandblasted and re-glassed. Bill is pleased to see this as he would have done the same if we had decided not to sell her. She really has lovely lines and we look forward to seeing her new makeover. She will be a Norwegian princess! This is such a lovely ending to my second book due to be published in September 2015. You can follow Lati's progress on Instagram 'sailinglati'
Lati's Atlantic Crossing in April's Cruising Helmsman magazine
20 March 2015 | Mooloolaba, Qld, Australia
The article I wrote a year ago has just been published in the April edition of Australia's sailing magazine Cruising Helmsman. So proud of our fine little ship. 2600 nautical miles to the Azores from the Caribbean then a further 1000 nautical miles to Portugal. 31 ft , a timber boat built in 1967 with no refrigeration and limited water and fuel we were at sea for 25 days.
The article is 10 pages and this is the first page. Cruising Helmsman is available in Australian newsagents and electronically. It's a great magazine, full of info, handy hints and gorgeous colour photos.
I am sure Lati's new owner will enjoy many more miles of fabulous cruising in the Mediterranean and beyond. And yes, Lati's story 'Salvage in my Sarong' is being written and should be published later in 2015.
PS :It took me a while to notice a spelling error. Can you see it?
Lati has a new owner
12 March 2015 | Lavrion, Greece
Captain Bill has accepted an offer for Lati. It is with some sadness that I write this but also happiness for the new owner. We have had 3 incredibly adventurous years on board Lati. From her makeover and restoration in the US Virgin islands to our 25 day north Atlantic crossing to the Azores then on to Portugal, Spain, Gibraltar, Tunisia, Sicily, Greece and Turkey. What a wondrous ride filled with adventures, repairs in exotic locations and making lifelong friends. Especially the Greeks. We will be back in Greece one day that's a promise!
When the new owner arrives in Greece, he has promised to send a photo of Lati back in the water ready for her next adventure through Greece, the Med and possibly Norway! I am sure Lati will take them there with grace and style as she has always done for us.
A quiet retreat for writing
10 February 2015 | Tasmania
I have chosen this rotunda on our friends property to get on with my next book.
Captain Underpants goes bush
10 February 2015 | Tasmania
Bill, Adam (ex La Barca) and Adam's brother have gone on a boys camping fishing trip. They look so funny in their hats!
Going bush in Tassie
10 February 2015 | Near St Mary's, Tasmania
Many sailors I know love living in the bush. I think it's the space, no neighbours and enjoying some level of independence and self sufficiency. Our good friends almost family Adam and Bronwyn and their 2 children Jack and Amy sailed their 35ft yacht La Barca around the world. We met up in Bonaire in 2009 and sailed most of the way back to Australia meeting up in many ports along the way. Since then we have supported each other in our endeavours on land whether it be publishing a book, exhibiting artwork or sharing ideas about building houses and boats.
So now we are ensconced in a gorgeous cottage surrounded by 50 acres of bush and gardens full of flowers. I am hoping to find the peace and tranquility required to write some more of my next book 'Salvage in my Sarong' and perhaps do a bit of sketching.
Women Who Sail Australia catch up
10 February 2015 | Grape Wine Bar, Salamanca place, Hobart
The Women Who Sail Australia on line Facebook group is a wonderful source of support and friendship. Gail contacted me about getting together for a glass of bubbles when I arrived in Hobart. Not one to knock back such a lovely social occasion I enthusiastically invited any other women who happened to be around in Hobart. I was quite jealous not to have sailed down in Valiam this year.
In this photo I am with Bronwyn (ex La Barca), Gail (Southern Belle), Jude (Bayandah), Juliana (Sans Souci) and crew Judy. It's so lovely to meet the girls I've been chatting to on line
The Wooden Boat Festival in Hobart
10 February 2015 | Tasmania
Valiam was left safely tied to her pile berth mooring when we took the big flying metal ship Jetstar to Melbourne and Hobart. We were dressed in jeans, jackets, socks and shoes prepared for cooler climes. Saturday the 7th February was actually quite warm!
We've caught with so many lovely friends from yachties to my old playgroup mums from when we lived here in the early 80s. We've been so lucky to be offered beds, transport and guided tours.
Here's a pic of the boat festival in full swing.
Is it really 5 years since we circumnavigated the world?
05 February 2015 | Mooloolaba, QLD, Australia
Is it really 5 years since we circumnavigated the world?
Today is our youngest grandaughter's 5th birthday. On route to Galapagos in 2009, we received an email via our sat phone from our daughter Vashti that another grandchild was on the way. We were sailing to windward eager to reach the Galapagos so this piece of news was very exciting and an excuse for a little celebration on board Valiam.
After returning to our home port in Mooloolaba, we flew to Townsville to join Vashti and family. We hadn't seen them for 13 months! Joe who was born 2 years prior was no longer a tiny baby and Caylan was a big school girl. We all hung out together in the middle of summer in Townsville eagerly waiting for the new arrival. The day Tahlia was born, Bill and I had taken the other 2 children to the water park on the Strand to cool down. How excited were we to receive the call that the new baby girl had arrived!
We all rushed to the birthing centre and cuddled the new little girl with lustrous black hair. She was to be named Tahlia but second names hadn't been decided. Lily Rose is Bill's grandmother's name and as we all left the birthing centre there were 2 doors in front of us with flower names. You guessed it - Lily and Rose. So it was decided. Tahlia Lily Rose and what a beautiful spunky little chick she has turned out to be.
She adores going out on Valiam and is so keen, loving the title 'cabin girl'. She and her brother Joe are inseparable. This is the pair of them last December on route to Tangalooma. Definitely our future crew when we are old and doddery!
If you are wondering what we are up to - We are flying to Tasmania tomorrow for a couple of weeks to enjoy the last 2 days of the Wooden Boat Festival and catching up with lots of sailing friends. After the festival we will be enjoying 50 beautiful acres on the east coast of Tassie with our wonderful sailing buddies (ex-La Barca) Can't wait. Ugg boots are packed!
Dont forget to let everyone know our gorgeous Lati aka Cinderella is for sale in Greece. A bargain at $19,950. Looking for the right person or couple to adopt her. See the post below and link to her on line advertisement.
Home sweet home. Back in Mooloolaba
25 January 2015
Home sweet home. Back in Mooloolaba
24 January 2015
Two days to sail down to Pittwater and 3 weeks to get back! But we got to see some harbours and anchorages we hadn't been to before, meeting new friends along the way. I could have done without the storms though. A southeasterly helped us home from Moreton Island but lessened during the afternoon. I was pleased to be nearly home and felt the need to be in a house with all these summer storms about. Just as well the wind was light as we had to manoevre Valiam into a different pile berth mooring. While we were away the Mooloolah river was dredged and the harbour master put a boat in our space. ' Will there be enough depth for us?' Bill asked him on the phone. He assured us there was as it had all been dredged.
Turning into our home port as Valiam has done for 20 years now, we entered 2 hours before low tide. The entrance went down to 3.3m. It seems I am obsessed with depths lately! As we slowly motored up to a berth we were given, I had no idea how to extract the coils of ropes from around the pole. I managed to grab one and secure it to the Sampson post. '2.2 metres' says Bill. 'That will be interesting right on low tide ,' I replied.
After securing Valiam, we enjoyed a cold beverage and all I wanted to do was go to sleep. Somehow I managed to pack up most of our belongings, dirty washing and food. Two hours later Bill had stowed away the jib and we were ready to dinghy everything ashore. At low tide the depth read 2.1m. Valiam seemed to be floating but her keel could also be making a hollow in the sand beneath her. On Tuesday we will be moving her back to her usual pile berth mooring. But not at low tide!
We staggered home wheeling the dinghy to our house dumping everything inside. A nice long hot shower, a glass of wine on our deck and nice clean sheets to crawl into. It's good to be home.
Valiam's home : Mooloolah river
25 January 2015 | Mooloolaba, Qld, Australia
Just in time to enjoy sunset.
Mini cyclone at The Sand Hills, Moreton Bay
23 January 2015 | Sand Hills, Moreton Island, QLD, Australia
Mini cyclone at The Sand Hills, Moreton Bay
24 January 2015
Looking at weather reports and watching the rain radar again, we decided to head off around 11am for further north in the bay. With southeasterlies expected Bill chose the Sand Hills, 10 miles south of Tangalooma. Valiam powered along with her iron sail and the jib reaching the Sand Hills just after the rain storm started that afternoon. This rain storm was just gathering momentum and I was glad we were anchored and there were only 2 boats in the bay. Lots of room, the way we like it. Now this rain storm grew bigger and bigger and it rained and rained. I could barely see the beautiful Sandhills behind the beach. After dark the wind became stronger and we watched the wind gauge reach 37 knots. The wind howled in the rigging. Valiam bobbed from side to side and the rain bucketed down. This went on for hours and I couldn't relax or eat any dinner except for steamed potatoes. It was like a mini cyclone! What a fun trip we've been having lately! After the strong wind occurred, bom.gov put out a strong wind warning. A bit late!
Later that evening the winds abated and we managed to sleep. So now we are nearly back home in Mooloolaba after a month of sailing adventures to Sydney and back. The sky is now blue and I can see some sun. Yay! Our next adventure will be a road trip to Victoria and Tasmania in a week's time. We are planning to catch up with friends in Tasmania as well as visit the Wooden Boat Festival.
23 January 2015
Dusk at Karragarra. Back to the boat and light citronella candles! Those sandflies and mozzies!
Return to Karragarra Island
23 January 2015 | Moreton Bay, QLD Australia
Return to Karragarra Island
22 January 2015
It was great to have a lazy departure from Southport for Moreton Bay as high tide wasn't until 11. 56 am. It was a very high tide too - 2.69m. No worries says the captain. We followed the beacons into the deepest channel and just before high tide we reached 'the shallows' just before Jacobs Well. The trees and mangroves were half submerged and water skiers took advantage of the large expanses of water.
As we approached the narrowest bit 'the dogs leg', my job was to watch the depth sounder. And would you believe right at the narrowest shallowest bit a racing yacht came directly towards us. The helmsman was also glued to the IPad in the cockpit. 3.3, 3.2, 3.00, ooohhh 2.9..... 2.8 I shouted! We passed the racing yacht with centremetres to spare. 'They probably draw 2.4,' said Bill.
Phew! Glad that was over.... Looking at the radar we were in for some more heavy rain. And down it came filling the dinghy which we were towing. I insisted we stop somewhere sheltered. Karragarra was suggested by friends and we had been there before. There are a few issues anchoring in the channel between Karragarra and Lamb islands namely : wind against tide so Valiam turns and dances all over the place and submarine cables. There are several submarine cables marked on the electronic chart but are in a different positions to the sign on the shore. You aren't allowed to anchor on them for obvious reasons.
There are many boats on moorings here so finding a spot with enough swing room is tricky. We settled on a spot not far from another unoccupied yacht that was anchored. We spent the afternoon on board while it rained outside reading and looking on the Internet.
Several years ago we had considered buying a house at Karragarra. It's so pretty, quiet and affordable. The only problem and it's a big problem are the sandflies and mozzies. They eat you alive at dusk. We were keen to get off the boat and go for a wander. During the afternoon we also had visitors - Sue from the Women who sail Australia group and her partner Peter. They were anchored nearby on their lovely big schooner Argos complete with carved figurehead. We swapped tales of the recent storms. They ran aground near Russell island which was no fun for them waiting for the high tide in storm conditions to get off. I can see why people like catamarans in Moreton Bay!
So we enjoyed a quick walk along the foreshore and past several houses still for sale on Karragarra. It really is a pity about the sandflies as it is so tranquil and lush. That night we went to sleep listening to the curlews. But....at 2am the tide and wind made us move about and when we went to check, the neighboring unoccupied boat was about to plough into us with its bow sprit! Fending off and watching both boats dance around in circles at that time was annoying. So another night of broken sleep. Bill chose to stay on anchor watch. By 6am we were sick of it so we decided to grab a nearby mooring. A blue dept of transport one. It looked ok and we wouldn't be on it long.
A girl in every port
23 January 2015 | Karragarra Island, Moreton Bay
There is a joke going around that I have a girl in every port. And this is true. In almost every harbour on this trip I have met lovely women through the Women Who Sail Australia group. Another shout out to Shelley and Kim our founders and moderators. It's such a great support group for advice and connecting.
Here's Sue from Argos on board Valiam on a rainy afternoon purchasing a copy of my book to share with her family.
23 January 2015
Revival of the Gold Coasts meter maids!
Bums Bay, Southport
23 January 2015 | Southport, QLD, Australia
Bums Bay, Southport
20 January 2015
I felt shell shocked the next day and we both agreed that it was the worst storm we have been in. That's in more than 40,000 nautical miles of sailing around the world. Summer cruising in the northern part of Australia even as south as Coffs Harbour is fraught with storm activity. The forecast did say a chance of thunderstorms but it has said that every second day since we left a month ago. No-one could have predicted the intensity of those electrical storms we experienced. And I'm not happy with Hughie at all. 12 hours was far too long.
Bill decided we needed an outing so we took the dinghy right up the canals to Surfers Paradise. There is a public pontoon right down the bottom of Cavill ave. It was a fun excursion observing all the different types of people. A couple of pretty meter maids in gold lame bikinis headed up the stairs to an Irish pub. Bill had no hesitation in deciding that's where we would have lunch! After lunch we wandered slowly back, while I poked about in shops. Retail is always good therapy and I came away with a tie dyed dress sold to me by a vivacious transvestite sporting make up applied with a shovel. I noticed a couple of other older men wearing women's clothes sitting on park benches. Teenage girls wearing the skimpiest of cheeky bikinis and pale skinned tourists make the 'Goldie' for what it is. A bit out there and anything goes.
On the way back in the dinghy we were totally drenched by a rain squall. Luckily I had my phone and purse in a plastic bag. So to continue our passage north we had to time our entrance into Moreton Bay at high tide at the shallows. Always a bit stressful for me with our 2.1m draft. My two fears - hitting the bottom or bumping into things and .....storms. Now when people ask me 'Were you ever in scary storms ?' I will say 'Yes- in Australia.'
The night was dark and stormy and the lightning scary as hell
23 January 2015 | Ballina - Byron Bay
The night was dark and stormy and the lightning scary as hell
The feeling of foreboding wouldn't go away on the morning of the 19th January in Coffs Harbour as we prepared to depart. (I had this feeling once before before on a horrible trip on Lati in the Med when the gearbox blue up in strong winds. ) At 6am we woke our neighbours on Zefr who had offered to help us untie Valiam. As Bill reversed out of the pen the bow line became tangled on the cleat on the dock. 'Wait! ' I called out. But we couldn't.
'Release the line!' called out Gary. I had no choice but to throw the line to Anna, leaving it behind. Valiam wasn't sure about leaving that day either.
As we headed out to sea turning our nose north towards Southport, a nice southwesterly had us sailing at 7.5 knots. We reached Ballina by 7pm and we began talking about sailing all night to Mooloolaba. Until we looked at the rain radar.
There were heavy rain squalls and storms to the northwest of us.
' Looks like there's some lightning in that,' said Bill thoughtfully looking into the gloomy darkness.
' Let's turn around! We always do that at sea to run away from storms,' I replied panicking and continually looking at the nasty looking orange blotches on the radar.
At 7.54pm we turned south again. The conditions weren't very pleasant heading into the wind. After 2 hours at 9.23 we could see the storm was north of Byron and looked like it was heading away from us. We messaged our son Liam and he thought so too.
We were wrong. A small storm near Mullimbimby became bigger and joined forces with the Cape Byron one. By this time the sky was becoming a light show. I felt sick. So at 17 mins past midnight Bill had to turn Valiam south again. We were running the engine, the autopilot and kept up the reefed mainsail. I put all our devices - IPad, sat phone, my phone in the oven and kept out Bill's phone for navigation . (Metal box is supposed to protect these things from lightning) As we headed south again into the choppy waves, rain and lightning seeming so close, I felt the fear making my mouth dry. As I remarked on this Bill said, 'Yeah my mouth feels dry too..'
There was to be no sleep for either of us that night. By 2.35am, there appeared to be a gap in the storms on the radar so we turned north again. I was not so confident and we really didn't know which was the best direction to head other than AWAY from these awful monsters. Going north was with the wind but against the current so it was slower. 45 minutes later at 3.13am the Cape Byron storm began moving towards us. So we turned south again. The sky was an electric light show. Thunder rumbled loudly and the waves began to build. I felt sea sick despite the medication.
Occasionally I would grab my iPhone out of the oven and check the radar. The Mullimbimby storm had joined forces with the Byron storm and was growing in intensity. The Ballina storm began moving Southeast off Ballina where we were. Bill turned the boat more east. It was becoming so scary. In some ways I was like an ostrich denying what was happening. How did we get ourselves in this predicament? Bill was out in the cockpit harnessed, wet and exhausted. He decided to crawl out to the stern to drop the metal windvane paddle into the water to hopefully act as a lightning conductor. When the lightning flashed all around us it was blindingly bright.
' I can see giant forks of lightning hitting the sea,' Bill said
' I don't want to see them. I don't want to go sailing anymore,' I moaned miserably.
At 4.04 am we were on the edge of the storm off Ballina. Scared shitless. We were a sitting duck. I was too scared to touch anything made of metal even a drinking cup. But when you are in it what can you do? We just kept going steering more north east now as another storm was heading southwards close to land. Out to sea. Out to sea felt safer. The Internet became weaker but we used our eyes to determine where the least lightning was.
By 7.18am, the skies finally began to clear. Dolphins came to cheer us up and a ship passed by. A flying fish lay on the deck and we talked jokingly about having it for breakfast as we hadn't eaten anything except biscuits. Shattered and exhausted we continued back towards Byron Bay. We lost 12 hours of passage making north due to the electrical storms. The skies and ocean were a steely grey. Mutton birds flew around us.
By 1pm we could sit in the cockpit and eat a sandwich. There was enough wind to turn the motor off. Once things settled, Bill fell into bed exhausted and I kept watch.
During the night and in the morning my Women who Sail Australia Facebook friends kept in touch with me lending moral support. They planned to have a glass of champers as soon as we arrived safely in Southport. We also received advice about the most sheltered anchorage. We decided to go to 'Bums bay', the Marine stadium anchorage.
At 4pm we anchored at the entrance of bums bay near the Aquaduck boat ramp and Marine Rescue building. This was after a cranky old man on a schooner told us we were stupid to anchor near some blue plastic buoys. They are markers for jetski races. How were we to know?
Finally settled, we watched the passing scenery and the sun set behind the high rise with a glass in hand. Once I posted my pic of me on the WWSA site, women from around Australia and overseas did the same. It's such a great support group so another thank you girls!
These pics were taken the next morning. No photos of the storms
23 January 2015
Our night of electrical storms
Enjoying Coffs Harbour
17 January 2015
'Me at' Mutton Bird Island with the harbour below.
17 January 2015
Happy days - bubbly with Anna
Strong adverse current - SLOW trip to Coffs Harbour
17 January 2015 | Coffs Harbour, NSW, Australia
Coffs Harbour Marina
Position : 30 18.23'S:153 09.789'E
The morning we left Port Stephens was lovely. Blue skies and sailing along beautifully at 7-8 knots. Perhaps we shouldn't have been so smug because later that night the trip became agonizingly slow. Most of the night we did not exceed 3 knots. This is because the East Australian Current is very strong at the moment and we had 4 knots of current against us. Great for when we had the sleigh ride down to Sydney a few weeks ago but not good for going north. Not at all.
Due to the strong adverse current , and yes we were very close to shore where you are supposed to avoid it, we had to increase the motor speed and burn lots of diesel to get to Coffs. It was a tiring night also due to lots of fishing boats about and a few yachts to avoid. Coastal sailing is harder than ocean passages for this reason. Someone has to be constantly on watch. Instead of a morning arrival our ETA was then 7pm at night. I was concerned about a north easterly predicted for the afternoon at 20 knots. And it did come in after lunch disturbing my nap as suddenly we were heeled over sailing to windward. Now Valiam was powering along at 6.5 knots even against the current. Our new ETA was now around 3pm. Hooray!
The WWSA group followed our slow trip with me complaining about the current. Another member Anna on Zefr sent me a message saying she had champagne on ice and the berth next her at the marina was free. I wasted no time emailing the marina to book that berth. We hadn't used a marina all summer so we thought it would be a nice break.
The marina staff were helpful in assisting us tie up and I really notice the difference between Valiam and much smaller Lati in the Med. I need a stool on the pontoon to climb down from Valiam! After nice big long showers we were feeling much better. We like Coffs Harbour. It's small and friendly and feels like a real harbour with its fishing boats, beach nearby and breakwater rock and concrete walls. Anna invited us over to Zefr for the promised champagne for sundowners followed by a walk to the yacht club for dinner. All yummy and fun. We slept well last night.
Overlooking the harbour at Coffs is Mutton Bird Island. Mutton birds which are protected nest there and there are signs explaining the life cycle as well as Aboriginal stories about the area. Such a beautiful day today and fun being tourists on land. Another night here and then we will anchor in the bay tomorrow ready for an early departure for Southport on Monday.
Leaving Port Stephens
17 January 2015
A beautiful morning departure
17 January 2015
Black Swans of Fame Cove. I didn't know they had white feathers under their wings
Getting along famously in Fame Cove
17 January 2015 | Port Stephens, NSW, Australia
Getting along famously in Fame Cove,
Pos: 32 41.044'S:152 03.745'E
Fame Cove lived up to its name as being a protected spot. Instead of getting our anchor chain all muddy we were able to pick up a mooring - 1 of 5 available. A pretty spot surrounded by bush and mangroves. Dolphins came in each sundown to say hello and a large group of black swans call it home. There is a creek that goes for miles which we enjoyed exploring with the dinghy.
The same day we arrived I received a message via the Women who Sail Australia Facebook group from Marie who had arrived after us in their catamaran Swaggy. 'Come over for a sundowner' and so we did. Marie lives on board Swaggy with her husband Rick and their cute little dog Pebbles. We all got along so well we met up again the next day. Bill and Rick took a 'boy trip' in our big dinghy to Lemon tree passage for essential supplies such as beer. That night we dined on board Valiam with caparinhas (Brazilian rum drinks) as aperatifs. With a gorgeous sunset and a visit by dolphins who would want to be anywhere else?
But we had to get going so early next morning we set off for Coffs Harbour planning to be there in around 24 hours.
Relaxing at Fame Cove
17 January 2015 | Port Stephens, NSW, Australia
So easy picking up a mooring in this protected bay
Port Stephens - on the way north
11 January 2015 | Shoal Bay, Port Stephens, NSW, Australia
Position : 32 43.001'S:152 10.386'E
12 January 2015
It's blowing quite strongly from the southwest today at well over 20 knots. The wind is howling in the rigging during the gusts but we are secure and hardly moving at all with the swell. Tomorrow we will head to another anchorage maybe Fame Cove which would be sheltered from the northerly due sometime during the day. Anchoring always involves finding somewhere protected in whatever direction the wind is blowing.
11 January 2015
Webcam pic taken by Shelley Wright of us just before we crossed the Swansea bar
Running Aground Swansea channel, Lake Macquarie
11 January 2015
Smiling after we were off the sandbar
Leaving Lake Macquarie yesterday was rather eventful getting through the channel. Grey and drizzling with rain, we left protected Styles Point around 10.30am. Bill phoned and spoke to Peter at the Swansea bridge who is also one of the local marine rescue people. Yachts have to be booked in on the hour to open the bridge, stopping the traffic. At least 1 hour notice has to be given. Bill decided to leave an hour before high tide and asked if we would be ok with our draft of 2.1m. He was told it would be fine as the channel had been dredged to at least 3 metres. Remembering the 2.4 depth sounding entering Lake Macquarie near the drop over, I was watching the sounder like a hawk. Motoring along into the incoming tide gave the captain more control and we carefully headed through between the red and green markers. All was going well until just after where the dredges were parked. A large motor boat came towards us in his right hand side of the channel which is correct. We then had to steer towards our right hand side near the red marker. Thud! Stop...
'Were stuck! It's reading 1.9m!' I called out in a panic.
Cool calm and collected Captain Bill increased the throttle and continued to steer Valiam back towards the green marker. She wasn't moving forward. With lots of engine noise and Valiam tipping slightly, we were blocking the channel.
' Should I call Marine Rescue?' I asked. 'No, I'll get us off,' he replied concentrating on pushing Valiam off the sand bar. The engine was loud and the water whooshed along with the tide under the keel swirling the sand out. 2 metres, 2.1m... We were off! Hooray!
' At least we know the depth sounder is right,' said the captain.
'Keep next to the green markers no matter who comes along!' I said. Arriving at the bridge right on 12.00 we motored through after it opened for us. With a wave to the bridge guys we then studied the electronic charts and leads to cross the bar. All went well.
There wasn't much wind so we rolled around motoring in the grey seas all the way to Port Stephens arriving at 7pm. At least now we can leave at any time not having to wait for tides or bridges to let us out. We will relax here for a few days before heading off to our next northerly port, most likely Coffs Harbour.
Meeting sailing friends at Lake Macquarie
10 January 2015 | Styles Point, Lake Macquarie, NSW, Australia
Linda and Shelley celebrating our first face to face meeting on board Valiam
Position : 33 01.992'S:151 35.343'E
11 January 2015
Hitting the bottom in shallow water has always been a fear of mine. Give me open ocean any time with nothing to hit. After negotiating our way into Lake Macquarie we have spent several very relaxing days on anchor at Green Point. Green Point anchorage has a small beach backed by a grassy mound and bush. You can almost be tricked into thinking you are away from civilization until joggers with ear phones run past and people pushing prams. Nevertheless the outlook from Valiam was lovely looking right across the lake to the waterfront houses and hills in the distance. Sunsets are superb there.
The other day we took our big dinghy around to Belmont. Our friend Shelley recommended the yacht club for lunch so we zoomed over there and tied up to their jetty. Bill chose a burger and I fish and chips accompanied by bubbles and beer. A very relaxing place with a nice view over the yachts and harbour. As our larder needed stocking Bill drove us over to Belmont wharf walking distance to Coles. This is a very good place to provision and in fact we saw a yacht tied up there but there is a 2 hour limit. There is also a park with a tap which is handy to fill up jerry cans.
Back on Valiam with lots of fresh goodies including meat and vegetables we had steak for dinner that night. Lake Macquarie is a very friendly place and we received visits from local yachties including Watershed and Orac. For a while now, even when I was in Greece, I have been talking to many women on line on the Facebook group Women Who Sail Australia founded by Shelley Wright.
Shelley first contacted me 3 years ago after reading my book and following Lati's voyage across the North Atlantic. Since then we have been modern day penfriends talking to each other on line. We have sailed past Lake Macquarie 3 times as we were usually traveling too fast to stop or it was the wrong conditions to enter. So finally Valiam made it in so Shelley and I were able to meet face to face for the first time yesterday. Such a lovely person committed to looking after our natural environment having had many articles published in Scientific and sailing journals. Shelley and Steve sailed their gorgeous Endurance 35 yacht Orac into the harbour with her splendid tan sails. After the obligatory photos and champagne we enjoyed a Greek lunch on board Valiam. The afternoon went very quickly and I was very sad to say good bye.
This morning we woke up to grey skies and drizzly rain. At least it's not cold. We will try and escape from Lake Macquarie at high tide today. We have to phone the Swansea bridge at least an hour before to book an opening on the hour at 1pm. First we have to enter Swansea channel via the 'drop-over' which we found to be very shallow when we arrived. Our depth sounder recorded 2.4m and Valiam draws 2.1m. The bar won't have as much water over it either as it did the other day even at high tide. So here's crossing fingers.
There's a bit of a southerly which we hope will get us to Port Stephens a short 39 miles away. There are many photos of Valiam's voyage down to Sydney and back on our Facebook page 'Sailing in my Sarong'. Please 'LIKE' as 500 is the next target for our readership!
Swansea channel, Lake Macquarie
10 January 2015 | NSW, Australia
Aerial shot of what we have to negotiate to get in and out with Valiam's deep draft
Styles Point, Lake Macquarie
10 January 2015
photo taken by Shelley Wright
Peaceful Lake Macquarie
10 January 2015 | Green Point, Lake Macquarie, NSW, Australia
photo by Sue Linton
06 January 2015 | Lake Macquarie, NSW, Australia
Lake Macquarie NSW
7th January 2015
Position : 33 01.76'S:151 37.64'E
Valiam wont be going to Tasmania this summer. We decided to head north again back to Queensland. Sometimes sailors change their mind and that is what has happened. Instead, in a couple of weeks we will drive down to Victoria to see Bill's folks and catch a plane across to Hobart in time for the Wooden Boat Festival. We've done a lot of sailing recently, especially Bill so weve decided to take it easy and have a relaxing sail along the NSW coast instead. We have crossed Bass Strait 3 times before waiting for weather windows in harbours and we will do it again. But just not this summer.
The New Years Eve fireworks were spectacular and we enjoyed Sydney very much. On Monday we did actually begin heading south sailing to windward in a southerly but out there we just decided to turn around and aim for our favourite spot in Pittwater. Just in time for sundowners after picking up a mooring in Refuge Bay. Soon we had visitors : Jan and David Parks on SV Alegria del Mar. It turned out they were Lake Macquarie locals heading there the next day. As Tuesday was the last morning before the strong northerlies would be beating down the east coast for days, we decided we would tag along.
And tag along we did. We have always wanted to sail into Lake Macquarie but each time we have been rushing past at the wrong time. The timing of the tides to cross the bar in the right conditions, shallow channel and booking the Swansea bridge means you have to plan it and stay more than a night. Willy weather showed that high tide would be at 12.35pm at Swansea, NSW so we were all good to go by 6.45am. With a light east to southeasterly we motor sailed keeping our speed to at least 7 knots to get there in time. It is 37 nautical miles from Pittwater.
With Alegria in front taking the lead, we communicated by mobile phone. Later in the morning David phoned and said that according to his navionics charts, high tide was at 9.56am. What?!! I checked with bom.gov.au and yes high tide at Swansea bar was 9.56, two and a half hours earlier than we planned. What was it with Willy weather?? It seems there are 2 tide readings for lake Macquarie.....Would there be enough water for Valiam to cross at half tide with her 2.1m draft? Hurried messages to a couple of local women sailors I knew from the Women Who Sail Australia group had them scrambing for information for us. Calculating the tide height of that morning, the conclusion was that there would be around 2.4 metres at the shallow point at 1pm. Bill also spoke to Marine Rescue and they were confident we would get through. The seas were calm and as we turned around Moon island the wind just started kicking in from the northeast.
Following Alegria, Jan phoned to say it was 9 ft at the shallow point. When we went past it at 12.30pm, it was 3.3 metres. Huge sigh of relief. Alegria and Valiam drifted around in circles waiting for the bridge to open at 1pm. With the tide coming out, Bill said it was easier to control steering Valiam through the narrow gap without getting her rigging caught. So we chug chugged along the winding channel. Near the end called the 'drop -off' into the lake looked quite shallow. I had a quick look at the depth sounder - 2.4 m!!!! What?!! But soon we were in deep water following Alegria down to Murrays Beach.
After picking up a mooring, David and Jan picked us up in their dinghy to go up to the café. Celebratory drinks all round. Valiam is now in Lake Macquarie! My other good sailing friend Shelley who has a yacht Orac in Lake Macquarie has been encouraging us to stop here for years. It really is lovely here. Flat water, native bush down to the water in many places and one of the local dolphins came to say hello to us today.
Now we are anchored off a pretty headland called Green Point. Its quite windy outside but protected here. Another couple of local sailors Sue and G will be popping over later anchoring nearby to meet up. Lake Macquarie is a very friendly place and it looks like we will be here a while, until Monday at least waiting for the northerlies to die down.
Valiam coming through the Swansea bridge. photo by Jan Parks
Peaceful Bantry Bay Sydney
03 January 2015 | Bantry Bay Sydney NSW AUSTRALIA
The northerly was quite strong yesterday in excess of 20 knots. Valiam 's Manson supreme anchor held firm as it always does. Lots of boats coming and going here and quite a few raft-ups of up to 3 on one anchor. It is the holiday season and weekend after all. Hot and sweaty and my sarongs are being used constantly even pegged up to make shade in the cockpit.
I remembered about the Glad ice bags yesterday and after filling one up and placing it next to the evaporator in the fridge, I had ice cubes within a few hours. What luxury! Ice and cold drinks powered by the sun. Around the corner in the next inlet is a small marina and fuel pump. After filling up the dinghy with empty fuel drums and water containers we were able to fill up. It was an automatic machine that took $200 off our credit card and even though we only spent $143 we are hoping we will get credit. Like hire cars I suppose....
We still haven't been to a supermarket for 12 days but we are eating well and being quite creative with our meals. We haven't run out of wine and cheese so that's the main thing!
The first Spit Bridge opening is at 10.15am tomorrow so we will probably head out to sea then. Tonight's southerly would have died down then to a light northeasterly to get us down to Eden. It's predicted to be fairly light tomorrow night so I imagine we will burn some diesel.
With access to Internet with our Telstra 3G it's easy to get weather forecasts and news. I hope the fires down south do not bring too much devastation and I hope everyone is safe.
HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM SYDNEY
02 January 2015 | Bantry Bay, Sydney, NSW , Australia
Valiam to Tassie 2014
3 January 2015
Currently anchored in calm protected Bantry Bay,
Middle Harbour, Sydney
33 46.80'S:151 13.88'E
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL! We survived the jostling of boats and craziness crammed into Athol Bay on New Years Eve. Not the most relaxing night as boats anchored within metres and bumping each other. It was the crisscross of anchors that was a bit of a worry and reminded me of some places in the Med. Extrication would be the interesting part! Nevertheless the view was superb with the opera house and the Sydney Harbour Bridge right there in front of us.
The kiddies fireworks were pretty good at 9pm so we were really looking forward to the midnight ones. Wow and wow! 7.5 million dollars worth I've been told...... The colours exploded all around us and danced around the bridge. The famous waterfall fireworks down the bridge almost had me in tears. Bill and I were perched on Valiam's bow sitting on the dinghy in beanies and coats juggling cameras and champagne. What an exciting start to 2015. And I wonder what adventures will unfold for us this year.... As long as they don't start with a successful bid on eBay.....
Ready for New Years Eve Fireworks, Sydney Harbour
30 December 2014 | Bradley's Head, Arhol Bay, Sydney Harbour, NSW, Australia
33 51.157'S:151 14.562'E
Well we're 'ere! Last night we anchored off Balmoral Beach at the advice of our good friend Bronnie ex La Barca, a true Sydney sailing girl. Protected from most winds with a southerly change at midnight clocking 25 knots we didn't move or bump at all. It didn't stop me being awake checking everything though. So disregard Lucas' advice, Balmoral is an excellent Sydney anchorage. Straight in from the Heads too.
Now we are front row of the mayhem to watch the fireworks. This has been on my bucket list for some time and I am absolutely thrilled to be here. There are boats anchoring very close to one another and a big. 3 storey motor boat is now blocking some of our view of Sydney Harbour Bridge. Never mind I can see it all from the cabin top. It's a bit rolly and marine rescue boats, helicopters etc add to the atmosphere. We are behind the important yellow buoys so won't be asked to move as some other boats have. Bill took this one of me when we first arrived this morning so you can see the Opera House.
I hope to take some fab photos with my big camera tonight.
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!
Cruising around Pittwater in the big dinghy
27 December 2014 | Refuge Bay, Hawksbury river, Pittwater, NSW, Australia
Even though the bay is crowded with boats it is relaxing. The water is calm and it's fairly quiet considering the number of people here. At night it is very very quiet. We've been taking it easy reading, eating and enjoying some extended Christmas cheer. Yacht Red October turned up yesterday with Kim and Steve. I had been chatting to Kim on Women who Sail Australia Facebook group so it was lovely to meet face to face. Sundowners on board Red October was a nice diversion from each other's company. Their Tonkinese kittens were very cute! Kim and Steve left for Lake Macquarie today while we explored around in the dinghy.
It was providence that we were forced to fit the new 12ft plywood dinghy on board Valiam. With the bigger outboard we zoom around in no time at all. Except I don't like it when the front bashes the waves so I scream at Bill to slow down! Today we took a look at a beach on the other side. The bush is dense and dark and the rock formations interesting. I was going to go for a swim but the water was a bit murky there.
New Years Eve fireworks in Sydney harbour has been on my bucket list for some time. So we will probably head down to Sydney harbour to find a good spot. There's a whole site on the Internet explaining the exclusion zone and where boats can anchor. I think it will be exciting and lots of fun.
26 December 2014
Linda and Kim on board Red October
Arrived Pittwater after 62.5 hours
25 December 2014 | Refuge Bay, Hawksbury river, Pittwater, NSW
Refuge Bay, Hawksbury River near Pittwater, north of Sydney
Position 33 35.811'S:151 15.020'E
It took us 62.5 hours to sail here from Mooloolaba, around 480 nautical miles. The favorable EAC for much of the way certainly helped. It's so lovely to be here! A tranquil sheltered spot with just a mooring to pick up. Just as well as it was 11.30 pm last night in the rain. Lucky we had been here a few times before.
The northerly picked up yesterday but as it was straight behind, to stop the sail flapping about, Bill poled out the jib. On Valiam he has to wrestle with it to get it in position and when taking it down. As the waves and wind increased we were flying along at more than 10 knots. Thunder head clouds loomed in the distance. Visibility was poor as ships appeared around us. Luckily most of the ships were anchored, no doubt the crew enjoying Christmas dinner.
I was becoming increasingly anxious as the radar showed storms ahead of us. I pleaded with the captain to take down the poled out jib. After watching him wrestle with the pole again on the bouncing foredeck, I was happier with just the reefed mainsail. Motoring at first to keep our speed up, the wind increased enough to turn it off. We were still doing 8 knots without a current. It was a grey whipped up sea with thunder in the distance. The rain started slowly and the sky gradually became darker. The radar on bom.gov showed several storms around us. Oh well we were in it now. A packet of crisps and another stugeron pill.
30 miles from Pittwater we couldn't see a thing except for the lights of another yacht. Baranjoey light didn't appear until about 3-4 miles away. Then luckily for us the rain cleared a bit and we could see the shoreline. Using our electronic chart on the IPad we aimed for the middle of the channel, took down the mainsail and slowly motored in. It was lovely and calm in there. Raincoat on, a head torch and boathook in hand I stood at the bow peering into the rainy gloom. The droplets looked beautiful reflected in my head torch beam. Slowly slowly we motored towards where we knew there were mooring buoys among the outer yachts in Refuge Bay. The first one I saw we grabbed. It was a private yacht club mooring but we were tired. In the morning we would shift if we had to.
Just before midnight we celebrated our arrival and Christmas with champagne, beer, a heated up Thai noodle packet ,fruitcake and custard. Our heads hit the pillow and we slept very soundly indeed.
It's our Christmas Day today and we are baking roast lamb with potatoes and beans. It smells divine and my glass of cold champagne is delicious. I have some supermarket eggnog we could add a little whiskey to. A southerly has just come in and we don't care. It's secure and protected in here with an afternoon nap to look forward to.
Merry Christmas from out at sea
24 December 2014 | Somewhere past Port Stephens
Merry Christmas all. Valiam is still racing along at 10 knots last I looked. 20-25 knot NE with the jib poled out. About to pass lots of ships outside Newcastle. Can't wait to stop when we get to Pittwater probably around midnight. Then tomorrow we will eat drink and be merry! This is my changing colour Christmas tree on our saloon table.
Scooting down the NSW coast
24 December 2014 | Off Coffs Harbour, NSW, Australia
Valiam is big beautiful comfy and fast. After tootling about on Lati on the Med it's lovely to be back on our mother ship. And refrigeration! Happy happy happy.
Scooting along at around 9 knots we are making good time after leaving Mooloolaba at 8am yesterday. And the big new dinghy fits on board. Just. Such a relief after the dramas with the inflatable. You can trust wood any time!
We are just off Coffs Harbour with the jib poled out catching a nice 15 knot northerly. We've been getting some of the East Australian current too which is getting us south even more quickly. It's hard to stop with a northerly like this behind us.
Tomorrow will be our 2 nd Christmas sailing on the sea. We will postpone roasting the lamb for when we stop. We are hoping to make Pittwater by Boxing Day. If we keep up the speed we may get there Christmas night. I hope Santa finds us!
19 December 2014 | Mooloolaba, Qld, Australia
Lots to do today before our departure on our beautiful Valiam - shopping, provisioning, packing and going back and forth across the river in the dinghy. Hopefully we will be all ready by 6.30pm sitting in the cockpit with a glass in hand watching the Christmas Boat parade go past us!
ESE winds of less than 15 knots are predicted so I'm hoping it's not too bumpy when we head out. I will be taking stugeron to prevent seasickness as I always do. Stay tuned for updates and photos as we head down the New South Wales coast hopefully towards Tasmania for the summer. Our Facebook page 'Sailing in my Sarong' will have more regular on the spot pics and updates. Please 'LIKE' if you haven't already! Cheers all!
This is us last year rounding Wilson's Prom in Foxy Lady. Happy holidays!
NEWS FLASH: Departure delayed due to our inflatable dinghy not functioning. So it will be another day or two before we can leave....
Grey skies - southerly weather
12 December 2014 | Mooloolaba, Qld, Australia
Grey skies - southerly weather
Our view from the verandah Point Cartwright
Southerly weather is dominating our coastline at the moment, not good for going south. The rain and almost daily thunderstorms in southern Queensland are not inspiring me to want to go sailing either! Sometimes being tucked up nice and warm in a house that doesn't move feels safe and I don't want to be out there! Grey skies always make me feel reflective and not bouncy and happy as blue skies and sun do.
The sad news received via the cruising community of 2 yachts coming to grief within 24 hours of each other also makes me want to be even more careful. Yacht Red Sky hit an unidentified submerged object off Evans Head and had to be rescued. Yacht Seaspirit ended up on the rocks at Pancake Creek and also had to be rescued. We are currently updating our equipment on Valiam including new batteries and a new Epirb. We are also looking at possibly a new chart plotter. Our Raymarine chart plotter purchased in 2007 has died. We have been using the IPad which is fine but a chart plotter may be good to have again.
The biggest issue is the weather so I have been researching once again good 'bolt holes' down the east coast of Australia. The trouble with river entrances is the tides. With a draft of 2.1m we always have to time our entrance into a river. And if we've had strong winds and following seas, the bars can be dangerous without local knowledge. My captain tends to go for roadstead anchorages. These are easy to get to any time but are exposed to the ocean and are only any good for certain wind directions. We have sailed up and down the east coast between Tasmania, Victoria and Queensland a few times and have learned to WAIT and time our hops down the coast. Sailing south we have twice had strong northerlies and favorable current that got us to Pittwater from Southport in 2 days or so. This time I would like to go more slowly and enjoy places such as Iluka and Lake Macquarie along the way. So it's all about timing and watching the weather.
These are some of our possible stops down the coast, depending on the weather and if we want to keep going:
Southport : anchor Wavebreak Island or Currigee, South Stradbroke
Coffs Harbour : anchor ( no good in an easterly)
Camden Haven : river entry. We've always wanted to go back there after we had a nice time at Laurieton on our first boat in the early 80s
Port Stephens : anchor
Newcastle : marina we can get to in any weather. $55 a night for Valiam.
Lake Macquarie : river entry and have to wait for the bridge to open at Swansea
Pittwater : my favourite relaxing entry in any weather and pick up a mooring ball Refuge/American bay. Best sleep ever
Sydney : Blackwattle was crowded last time we were there and Manly is ok in a northerly
Jibbon Beach, Port Hacking. Mooring and quite protected
Jervis Bay : Mooring at Hole in the wall
Batemans Bay : river entry and sandbars. Haven't tried it yet but would like to in the right weather
Eden : Enter in any weather. Two anchorages Snug Bay near town but not good in southerlies. East Boyd Bay on the other side is a good place to wait for the weather to cross Bass Strait
Babel island, TAS : a bit exposed but ok in a southerly and a shorter distance from Eden
Binalong Bay : a bit rolly but ok to anchor in a southerly
St Helen's : we would like to get in here to see friends but will have to rely on local advice with the depths
Chinamans Bay, Maria Island is quite protected. You need to time the tides if going through Denison canal
Hobart : Elizabeth st pier is close to town and quite cheap to tie up.
Weather, weather, weather! I stare at grib files and forecasts till I almost go stir crazy! I'm not going by Bill's method 'Just look out the window'....
So it looks like we may not be leaving any earlier than the end of this week. Who knows where we will spend Christmas?
Tangalooma at its best
03 December 2014 | Moreton Island, Qld, Australia
Dugongs, turtles, dolphins, clear water, gentle seas and magical sunsets. Two nights away was enough to feel totally relaxed. Our grandchildren Joe almost 7 and Tahlia 4.5 years, were like little learning sponges and an absolute delight to have them on board, seeing the world through their eyes.
03 December 2014 | Tangalooma Wrecks, Moreton Island, Queensland Australia
Valiam's get away anchorage 6 hours from Mooloolaba. We took our grandchildren Joe and Tahlia - both fantastic crew and fearless! They found lots of starfish near the shore.Natures classroom.
Yipee - Tangers tomorrow
29 November 2014 | Mooloolah river, Mooloolaba, QLD, Australia
The Aussie yachtie's weather bible 'bom' (www.bom.gov.au) is predicting strong northerlies next weekend in Moreton Bay with 100% cloud cover. The weather is beautiful today right through until Thursday - light E-NE and sunshine so we are going tomorrow. We will return on Wednesday. So here's to a couple of lovely nights on anchor at Valiam's favourite anchorage at Tangalooma. And we might have a couple of midget crew with us - Joe and Tahlia (aged 6 and 4).
Tangalooma is looming
29 November 2014 | Pt Cartwright, Buddina, QLD, Australia
Summer is here
Tangalooma visit looming
Plans are often broken because of the weather but I am really hoping this will not be the case next weekend. I want to take friends and family to Tangalooma next weekend to have a celebration for Valiam's 20th birthday as well as my 39th (ha ha).
Looking at the long range forecast a strong northerly is predicted for Friday - not the best for anchoring at Tangalooma unless it's a northeaster. Last January we were there in a strong northerly one night which was a bit uncomfortable but it was ok. We will see! This is a photo of when we took our grandson Joe to Tangalooma in January
It's 5 years to the day since we completed our Circumnavigation!
22 November 2014 | Mooloolaba, Qld, Australia
Today I received this lovely message from Heather:
"Just finished your book for the second time and enjoyed it again. I took it slow this time to appreciate it more. I then looked at the date and realized it is 5 years today when you sailed back into Brisbane. Think that deserves a champagne this afternoon for you and Bill if you need an excuse. Have a good day."
Wow! 5 years to the day since we completed our circumnavigation! Yes we will have to celebrate tonight that's for sure. I remember powering along at 9 knots in a strong northerly, exactly the same weather as we are having today. And as a yachtie said to me in South Africa as we were observing gorgeous animals in the wild - "Memories are better than things."
So here are some memories taken from an excerpt from our blog 5 years ago:
COMPLETED WORLD CIRCUMNAVIGATION!
24th November 2009
The Captain and crew wish to announce that Valiam has circumnavigated the world.
Valiam has flown around the world in 2 years!
Australia departure passport stamp on board sailing vessel Valiam - Townsville: 23.11.2007
Australia arrival passport stamp on board sailing vessel Valiam - Brisbane 23.11.2009
Departure home port Mooloolaba: 5 November 2007
Due to arrive back in home port Mooloolaba: 26 November
28,350 nautical miles
"How do you feel?" "What are you going to do now?" are the main questions asked by family and friends.
I feel tired today from the last few days! On Sunday 22nd the wind picked up considerably blowing at a good 25 knots from the northeast.
"She's sniffed the home paddock" says the captain
Valiam was doing 8-9 knots. We could see the hazy outline of land through the spray.
"Is it really Australia? It feels like when we saw Africa!"
We were buzzing with elation.
"We did it!"
The extra speed got us into Moreton Bay by about 4pm. As Moreton Bay is quite shallow the wind wave made for rough conditions. I sent sms message to family and friends near the Sunshine coast. We took the mainsail down to slow Valiam down. She continued galloping past Caloundra. Our friend Jackie and son Sean drove down from the Glasshouse Mountains to watch us sail past. It was lovely knowing someone was there to welcome us!! A dolphin also leapt around in the waves behind us.
The ship plotter was working so we could work out which way the ships were going as it got dark. In the old days when we used to sail Valiam in Moreton Bay we had no electronic gadgetry - not even a depth sounder! The chart plotter and electric autopilot made it so much easier to negotiate the channels when we were so tired.
Next morning we were at the Rivergate Marina quarantine dock (behind a locked cage!) in the Brisbane River. As we pulled up a young woman named Clare was there to catch our lines.
Elated and tired I said
"We've just circumnavigated the world!"
"If I had known I would have worn my good clothes!" she said.
It wasn't long before Customs and immigration officials turned up followed immediately by Quarantine officials. Everything went well. They were pleased with our prepared paperwork and all the 'quarantine items' that had been sprayed in garbage bags. Not one live insect could be found. I was happy that none of my wooden items or baskets had to be taken away.
"You did a good job on the spraying" she said.
So the only thing they took away were 6 knobs of garlic, a cucumber, 2 onions, a piece of ginger and the spice necklace that was hanging in the cabin. ( and a $340 quarantine fee)
Our last week on Lati in Greece
11 November 2014 | July 2014 (Poros, Greece)
I am posting this photo taken by our friend Elizabeth on Swedish yacht Aquarella as we pulled into our last anchorage in Greece on the island of Poros in July. We had such a great trip to Turkey and back visiting around 14 islands along the way no more than a day sail. Such bliss to not have to do long ocean passages and anchor or tie up in quaint harbours with friendly Greeks and yummy food and wine.
I miss our good times on board Lati already but look forward to our next trip down to Tasmania on our mother ship Valiam next month.
Lati's blogs are further down this page or you can click on 'contents' to find them. (March to July 2014, April - October 2013, March - October 2012)
And now she is for sale. We are looking for someone who will love and care for her as much as we do! Here's her listing on yachthub
Valiam is back in the water!
10 November 2014 | Mooloolah river, Mooloolaba, QLD, Australia (GPS position is actually our house a couple of streets away from the river)
Well she's back in. And Bill did an amazing job while I fought a horrible virus having coughing fits. Brilliant Bill aka Captain Underpants pulled the prop apart and repaired it. Its one of those feathering ones and now we dont have to buy a new one. Fantastic.
On the weekend I began ruthlessly pulling out junk, filling up garbage bags and threw them in the skip at the boatyard. I will continue to clear Valiam out and make her homey for our trip south to Tasmania next month.
It's good that her bottom is slick again ready for sailing. Bill is looking at her suite of sails and determining which ones are the best before committing to any new ones. Thanks to Kieren at Lawries. Ive lost count how many times Valiam has been in and out over the last 20 years! I grabbed Jen my neighbour to help with Valiam. Craig was waiting at the other end with the dinghy and to complete the VIP service, Steve was waiting at our mooring with Valiam's ropes in his dinghy! Anyway our big girl looks beautiful . And I have 2 boxes of champagne ready to celebrate her 20th birthday in about 3 weeks.
09 November 2014
dinghy meet up at our mooring.
Fellow Aussie circumnavigator's book 'Of Foreign Build' has arrived!
07 November 2014 | Mooloolaba, QLD, Australia
I can't wait to get stuck into Jackie Parry's memoir 'Of Foreign Build' where she writes about her life at sea sailing around the world and falling in love. Bill and I were excited to meet Jackie and her husband Noel on board their gorgeous Dutch barge Rouge Corsair in Besancon, in the middle of France last July. Well done Jackie and congratulations on the publication of what I know is going to be a fantastic book.
Valiam on the hard at Lawries Boatyard
04 November 2014 | Kawana Waters, Sunshine Coast, QLD
It was time. Valiam hasn't been out of the water for 2 years. She is moored in Mooloolah river on a pile berth close to the entrance. The water often flows quickly past and is tidal. Bill used our onboard diving hookah to scrape and bash the barrier reef off her hull, rudder and keel. This took a number of days! The prop of course also needed to be cleaned.
She was booked in for 8.45am Tuesday morning at Lawries, Kawana Waters, her home port launching pad 20 years ago. She's been in and out many times here and the guys know her well. As I was on Nanny duty, our son in law Craig was happy to help Bill and be a bit late for work. The children were super excited as we watched Valiam motor majestically up the river. I had a lump in my throat as she just looked so beautiful. We haven't sailed her since January as we have been in Greece and Turkey playing with her grandmother Lati.
But we have plans. We haven't celebrated her 20th birthday yet. We began building her in 1991 with the help of our mate Steve and she was launched at Lawries in April 1994. Her hull paint, rig and motor were replaced in 2005 so she still looks good and performs well. She does need new sails and we are looking into that. We hope to do a little shakedown cruise/party to Tangalooma in early December if any of you are about. Then if no other projects come up, we will south down the NSW coast and down to Tasmania for the summer. We enjoyed our trip there 2 years ago and love the pristine bays and coastline. So different to the crowded and busy Mediterranean.
Bill has done some research on which is the best antifouling paint and is busy sanding and scraping as I type. (I'm on Nanny duty!) Soon I will clear out years of unwanted junk as we have been provided with a marvelous ladder on her stern. I've been back living in our house since August and can't wait to be back on the water again! I think I will get more writing done on my 2nd book without all the distractions of family and neighbourhood living.
Sailing in my Sarong is still going strong so if you would like a signed copy, email Linda direct or order through this website. Boatbooks and Amazon will also look after you but they wont be signed copies unless you bump into us! (oops - meet in harbour I should have said!)
04 November 2014
Can I help?
Well she has the sailor dress on!
Out she goes!
04 November 2014
Not too many barnacles now....
Valiam being hauled out
04 November 2014 | Lawries, Kawana Waters, QLD, Australia
Joe and Tahlia loved the spectacle!
04 November 2014
Here's the gorgeous Valiam motoring up the river with Bill and Craig on board, on the way to Lawries boatyard
Closing review by our dear friend Fred Lane who passed away.
04 November 2014 | Brisbane, QLD, Australia
Fred was a colleague of Bill's working together for a plywood factory and a good friend to our family since 1984, when we moved to QLD and Liam was a newly born baby. Vashti and his son Matthew are the same age. Fred loved travel and followed our adventures over the years, often sending supportive emails and phoning us to see how we were.
He and his lovely wife Kathy were there when we celebrated our circumnavigation homecoming. (They are in the photo above, 4th and 5th from the back). Sadly Fred died of cancer in April this year after Bill had arrived back in Greece. He did not have a chance to say goodbye. Fred knew us very well as can be seen in his thoughtful words written in his review of my book. I feel honoured and blessed to have his words on the last page:
Monday 23 May, 2011
What happens when a free spirited, sunny, people minded soul meets a pragmatic, resourceful partner with an equally unfettered approach to life? One outcome is revealed in the pages of this book.
Bill and Linda Anderson have in some ways lived with convention by raising a family in modern Australian tradition, but when the surface is scratched, the unshakeable thirst for adventure and experience is clearly evident. To date, their circumnavigation of the globe has been the highlight.
This was no act of spontaneity, but the fruits of a 30 year dream which took 16 years of preparation. With few resources, they built a 13.7 metre plywood yacht in their back garden; launched it in Mooloolaba, Queensland, Australia; and embarked on a two year odyssey.
The author writes with a love of the moment. They meet lifestyles far different to the Australian norm, and she absorbs the experiences with a passion, free from prejudice or judgment. They go to places not favored by cruise ships and live life in sympathy with their host countries. The book is characterized by additions of her artwork and warm quotes which sum up her zest for life experience.
Friendships made along the way include those with fellow yachties, who share the common dream. We are given insight into how such adventurers eat, sleep, and enjoy a party. They always seem to have something to celebrate.
Life is not always rosy. In order to fulfill the dream, she has to live with separation from her family, including grandchildren, which are always in her thoughts. She is also proof that you can never conquer sea sickness. It may be kept under control - and the author is an authority on how to do this - but sometimes you just live with it.
She has left us at the end with the fire still burning. Throwing the next log is not too far away
Valiam will be hauled out soon
27 October 2014 | Mooloolaba, Sunshine Coast, QLD, AUSTRALIA
Windy but sunny
A strong wind warning today and will be again for another couple of days. Not the sort of wind we want to untie Valiam from her mooring poles in the river. Bill was busy for a while measuring up for a new headsail. Steve and Su came by in their dinghy with a bottle of red. And as we wiled away the afternoon catching up our family called us from the beach. Bill picked up all 5 of them comfortably in our new big dinghy. Our grandchildren love being on board, the younger two know exactly where I keep my wooden African animals and the chocolate milk!
A very pleasant afternoon indeed. We hope to haul out in a few days after Bill scrapes a few barnacles off the prop and rudder. We always haul out for antifouling at Lawries marina a few miles up the river and canal, where Valiam was launched 20 years ago. Hopefully we will have Valiam ready by December for a trip down south for the summer.
Valiam is 20 years old!
13 October 2014 | Mooloolaba, QLD , Australia
Our beautiful number 1 ship Valiam was launched in 1994 after 3 years of building her.(built by Captain a Underpants himself and mate Steve). A strong plywood yacht designed by Gary Lidgard and safely got us around the world. She's been waiting patiently while we restored and sailed Lati across the North Atlantic and the Med. But it's Valiam's turn now. And we have plans. Stay tuned. Clue : going SOUTH!
Here she is in all her glory anchored at Tangalooma, her turquoise hull matching the clear aquamarine water perfectly.
Reunion with La Barcans
12 October 2014 | Mooloolaba, QLD, Australia
Our beautiful friends just about family Bronwyn, Adam and their children Jack and Amy came to visit. With their new edition to the family Smokey the blue heeler pup they blended beautifully with our crew. ( daughter Vashti hubby Craig and grandchildren Caylan, Joe and Tahlia and let's not forget their dog Sheila). Crikey! 11 people and 2 dogs! I'm not sure how many bottles of champagne were consumed but we all got along famously.
Valiam's new big dinghy motored happily back up the Mooloolah river with some us with a short relaxing stop past Valiam on the way. The ex La Barcans now live in Tasmania. I reckon we might go and visit. Valiam would love that.
Here's Bronnie and I xx
Beautiful Mooloolah river
07 October 2014 | Sunshine Coast, Qld, Australia
What a surprise this river was as we motored further and further up stream.
Somewhere up a crazy river
07 October 2014 | Mooloolah river, Sunshine Coast, QLD, AUSTRALIA
'C'mon lets go up the river!' Suggested Bill grabbing a couple of liquid refreshments. Not one to say no to a bit of spontaneous fun in the late afternoon, off we went.
I had no idea the Mooloolah river was so beautiful further up. We motored around 3.3 nautical miles upstream. The reflections of the trees, many of which were eucalypts looked stunning with the sun low in the sky. The further we traveled, the more lovely the scenery and more vocal the bird life, especially the whip birds.
We must return for a longer visit with a fishing line and picnic.
Valiam's new you beaut dinghy
07 October 2014 | Mooloolah river, Mooloolaba, qld
Plenty of room for the family in the new dinghy built by Bill and Craig from plywood.
The Captain of Valiam is back in Australia
07 October 2014 | Mooloolaba, QLD, AUSTRALIA
It is so good to have my captain home! He has been away most of the year since March so a visit to Valiam moored in the river was imperative. She looked homely and lovely as she always does but unfortunately there is quite a bit of growth on her bottom that needs to be removed as soon as possible. Last weekend we enjoyed a number of visitors including Garry who was the other crew member on Fourth Dimension. The family also came out for a picnic while we watched the busy boat activities on the river due to the long weekend.
Soon we will take Valiam up to Lawries boatyard for haulout and antifouling.
Was it really only a couple of months ago we were in Turkey on Lati?
29 September 2014
As I look at photos of Bill in Turkey on board 4D, I reminisce of our time there sailing Lati from Greece and back. While anchored in Kuci Buku, just over the hill from Marmaris my friend Sarah on board Cockatoo took me to a Turkish carpet seller. Oh what fun we had watching the carpet sellers perform, drink cups of tea and finally make a choice. The small carpet I chose is beautiful, lay on the floor of Lati and is now on the floor in our bedroom at home in Australia. So au revoir once again to beautiful Turkey.
Bill says see ya later Fourth Dimension and Turkey
29 September 2014 | Gocek , Turkey
After 6 weeks on board Fourth Dimension, Bill is packing his bag to catch a taxi to Dalaman airport to catch a plane to Istanbul, then Singapore to Brisbane. I think he will be happy in Oz after being in the Med most of the year.
Fourth Dimension has arrived in Turkey
24 September 2014 | Marmaris, Turkey
Well they have arrived. After 2,500 nautical miles, quite a few tuna and not many stop overs in the last 4 weeks since they left Lanzarote, Canary Islands. Well done boys - Captain Peter Moor on his new ship with my wonderful husband Bill as well as Garry as crew. So glad you made it and now can I have my husband back?!! Valiam is waiting and so am I. Next trip - maybe Tasmania?
4 D Almost in Turkey - woohoo!
22 September 2014 | Aegean sea
Pete and Bill have been sailing non stop across the Aegean with a westerly behind them. A Meltemi is forecast for Wednesday ( strong northerly) so they plan to be in Turkey by then. So this passage that started in the Canaries on the 27th August is almost over. I will be glad to see my captain home again in a week's time. Extracts from Bill's recent emails ( great phone signal near the Greek islands! No sat phone needed)
Nearly in Turkey
We've gone past Nisiros and will be in Tilos which is closer to Turkey be there in a couple of hrs. Will be less than 50nm to Marmaris for tomorrow about 9 hours. Should be able to get from Marmaris to the airport regardless of weather.
Not long now...
Hi, we'll probably get to Marmaris Tues pm at the rate we're going we need to call in there to clear in, don't think Gocek is a port of entry. We will anchor if not confident about tying up. We might stop for tonight at Nisiros if conditions are ok for tying up then it's a day trip to Marmaris. Going past Astipalia now 5 am and not light for two more hours. Wind now 6kt west no use so we're motoring.
Morning, it's about 930 pm and we're motoring past Santorini, lots of lights and a cruise ship came straight out at us as we went past. The wind died at sunset so motoring now, may stop at Astipalia in the morning but will probably have already gone past. Had Tuna risotto for dinner.
Less than 180 miles to go only 140 by morning so it's not far now. Peter wants to stop in Marmaris for a couple of days. We will then go on to Gocek which is only about 20 miles further. It's close to the airport for my connection to Istanbul.
Very looking forward to coming home.....
Sent from my iPhone
Across the Aegean
Good afternoon, it's 7 am here and the sun hasn't come up, we're heading south of Milo's towards Santorini and will gybe soon and head towards Ios. Don't know whether we'll stop or keep going anyway it's good to be moving.
We decided to head in the direction of. Milo's, anchored at Elefano....? for the afternoon which was nice but s westerly is forecast for tonight do decided to leave at dusk to take advantage of it, not sure how far we'll get. Will let you know by sat phone. It feels good to be moving
Fourth Dimension day hopping around the Pelopponese
20 September 2014 | Greece
4 D is going well with just 2 crew now (Pete and Bill) soon they will be in the Aegean! Bill's recent emails
We will soon head for the next anchorage probably the island Elafonisos between Kythera and the mainland. Expecting light headwinds at first then a westerly.
Crossing the Aegean
We will probably stay here tomorrow then depending on weather take a few days stopping in suitable anchorages. Will work out the details as we go. Don't want any strong winds and have enough supplies to avoid tying up in town.
Fourth Dimension arrived in Methoni, Greece
16 September 2014 | Pelopponese, Greece
As the reluctant armchair sailor while my captain sails the Med with Captain Peter Moor on board Fourth Dimension, I report that they have safely arrived in Greece. I am probably just a wee bit jealous as I adore Greece, having spent the last 2 European summers there on board Lati. Was that only less than 2 months ago? Back in Australia, it seems much longer....
I spoke to Bill yesterday not long after they arrived in Methoni. He said it's a quiet pretty harbour and had this to say in his first message :
Kalimera, we're anchored in the bay at Methoni, windy but calm in here. Have had brekky and will all have a little nap before going ashore in the dinghy. Looks like a small village, about the size of Loutra. No jetty just anchoring, there's about 8 other yachts here, private not charter boats very quiet.
Googling Methoni, I found this description :
Methoni (Μεθώνη) is the site of a large Venetian castle and has a large natural harbor surrounded by the castle on one side and large sandy beaches on the other. The bay is only exposed to the SE winds. It is a spectacular site. It is believed that Cervantes was imprisoned by the Ottomans in the castle.
The image above is the track since 4D left the Canary Islands on the 27th August. It's not that far to Turkey, their destination, but there is a Meltemi (strong northerly) blowing over the next week through the middle of the Aegean so they may have to island hop.
15 September 2014
Peaceful harbour of Methoni, Pelopponese, Greece
Valiam waits for her captain
14 September 2014 | Mooloolah river, Mooloolaba harbour, Qld Australia
Our youngest granddaughter on our walk around Point Cartwright. We can't wait to be on board again.
Fourth Dimension off to Greece
13 September 2014 | Mediterranean
The boys have had a rest and a productive time at the marina in Licata. It's been great to see some of Pete's fabulous photos. In 3 days they should be in Greece where Garry jumps off. The winds are certainly favorable by the look of the speed they are doing down the coast of Sicily - 7.6 knots on Vesselfinder this morning.
It must be strange for Bill to be going back to Greece where we were just over a month ago. I can't help thinking of Lati propped up in a dusty boatyard in Lavrion, near Athens. He will be miles south of her as they make their way towards Turkey.
Bits of Bill's emails:
Off to Greece
Just about to head off to Greece, the wind is blowing our way so it should be a good trip, will keep you informed as we go xxxxxxx
Just getting some jobs done before we leave, filling tanks groceries etc. should be able to talk before we go.
Plans currently are to leave here tomorrow afternoon and head for Greece, possibly Methoni or Kalamata.The others, P particularly have spent a long time today struggling with the pathetic wifi at this marina and have more to do tomorrow, so we'll leave late in the day . Should take 2to 3 days to get to Greece and still give Garry time to catch his flight from Rome. The winds are likely to be favourable.
It's good Garry wants to go to Greece, it will be an easier passage with 3 of us.
Had a very nice Italian seafood meal tonight , Gsrry shouted.
I washed all of my clothes today so don't stink any more.
18 days to go
12 September 2014 | Mediterranean
Here's a pic captain Peter Moor posted today on Facebook of himself and Bill on board Fourth Dimension. After they leave Sicily, they will sail around the bottom of the Greek Pelopponese through the Aegean to Fineke, Turkey.
I miss my captain Underpants as it's the first ocean voyage we haven't done together in more than 40,000 nautical miles. But the boys are enjoying themselves and Bill will be home soon enough after he catches a plane from Istanbul back to Brisbane.
Fourth Dimension : Trapini to Licata
12 September 2014 | Licata Marina, Sicily
Here's excerpts from emails received from Bill on this last leg around Sicily. They are now in their first marina stop since they left the Canary Islands more than 2 weeks ago. Photo by Captain Peter.
Just tied up at Licata marina, will stay here one night to get fuel water etc and go to town tonight. Might get wifi here so Peter will probably post some better pics.
Passing Porto Empledocle
Just took down the spinnaker and started the engine, the wind has died away and the sail was too wet from dew to keep flying. We're just about to go past Porto Empedocle and should be at Licata by dawn. Been a pleasant sail so far with just the purple spinnaker by itself like we did near Palawan. We had pasta with spicy tomato sauce hopped with the last of the tuna pan seared on top.
Sailing around Sicily
Thanks for the pics of PE, we will probably pass by in the night at the rate we are going might stop at Licata for fuel.
It feels good to be moving, we had plans of going into town again this morning but we all just wanted to get going again. We've now cut the engine and are sailing along at a pleasant 5+ kts in 8kts of wind. Currently just off Marsala which looks like a big city.
We've decided to leave here without going ashore again, fuel too difficult, and haven't found gas or a bakery so we'll head off to the south of Sicily and probably stop in PE for fuel. Will pass Sciacca in the dark. Going south cos more wind that way. Garry has to catch plane in Rome on 19 so still has plenty of time to leave from Sicily.
Didn't catch up with Aisling, they had visitors yesterday, they're heading for monastir in Tunisia then back to
Sicily. Had shouted conversation over the water.
Sashimi on Fourth Dimension
12 September 2014
Bill, Garry and Peter enjoying one of many Japanese meals
Memories of Sicily - traditional cooking
10 September 2014 | Porto Empledocle
Just over a year ago we were stuck in Porto Empledocle, Sicily undergoing 'boat repairs in an exotic location ' ( definition of cruising) Lati was undergoing her first engine rebuild. We got to know the locals very well. Alfonzo invited us to his home for a traditional meal. This is me assisting his wife in the kitchen.
Now that Bill is back in Sicily on another boat, I can't help but reminisce.
4D in Trapini
10 September 2014 | Sicily
Bonnie on board Aisling took this shot when in the same anchorage. Looks like a gorgeous city behind them
Fourth Dimension: Arriving Trapini, Sicily tonight
09 September 2014 | Sicily, Italy
4D is about to arrive in Trapini, Sicily as I type this from my van in the mountains! I received a message from Canadian sailing friends Bonnie and Rick on board Aisling11 saying they had just arrived in Trapini and wondered where 4D was landing. I let Bill know this. Trapini is the closest port to Sardinia. I bet Bill is keen to get off the boat after 2 weeks! Here are his latest emails :
Heading to Trapini
We're now headed for Trapani, will arrive about mid night so will probably anchor outside the harbour until morning, it's calm and there's a full moon so should be ok. Will top up with fuel and then decide whether we want to stay for longer either anchored, at a berth or on a mooring. May see Aisling if we decide to dally. We probably will go around the north of Sicily it seems more interesting with the volcanos etc. So far the passage weather I got in Sardinia had been OK
Slow boat to Sicily
This leg of the journey has been pretty boring, not much wind so motoring, no fish caught we already have plenty on the fridge. The wind has just now swung around to south after wafting from all directions all night so were now sailing at just under 6kts. P is now playing with the generator and water maker. We've used 300l water I'm nearly 2 weeks which is ok when you consider we've been doing dishes, washing clothes and having hot shower
Fourth Dimension Day 15: Soon in Sicily
08 September 2014 | Mediterranean Sea
The photo above was taken last year when we were sailing along the Sicilian coast on Lati.
4D should arrive in Sicily in the next day or so for a rest. The winds are predicted to be light so I imagine the iron sail is assisting. I had a long conversation with Bill close to the coast of Sardinia where he had a phone signal. He has a phone with an auspost travel sim. Very handy. I'm visiting friends in an isolated spot in the mountains in NSW so talking to my husband on a yacht sailing along the coast of Italy seems amazing really.
Parts of Bills sat emails:
Bye bye Sardinia
just a quick one so I can read your emails. We're now bashing south to wind ward waiting for the wind to ease off as predicted.
Motoring to Sardinia
We managed to sail all day on smooth seas and only started motoring at dark when the wind turned east. Been a very pleasant couple of days from the Balearics sailing in less than 10 kts of wind at about 6kts. Had another gourmet tuna dinner with sashimi followed by pan seared tuna steaks on giant penne with tomato salsa ( it was my turn to cook). We're about 25 miles from Sardinia and are hoping to get a phone signal to get a forecast to decide whether to go north of Sicily via Messina strait or south.
Fourth Dimension Days 12-14: More Tuna
07 September 2014 | Mediterranean Sea
4D is getting close to Sardinia now and should be stopping in Sicily in a few days. Bill hasn't been off the boat yet! Garry will be flying out from Rome so it will just be the 2 of them Peter and Bill sailing the rest of the way to Turkey.
Here are the latest bits of satellite emails from Bill. Garry is a keen Geelong AFL supporter so I was given the task of forwarding the details of their loss.
Garry says thanks for the bad news. We have had another night of easy sailing, hard to believe for the Med. caught another tuna this morning about 6 kg this time, probably another 3 or 4 meals. Did not put the lines out again, will wait till we've eaten most of it. If the wind stays similar we should be near Sardinia in 24 hours and will then decide whether to north or south of Sicily.
I'm on the midnight to three shift sailing along at 8kts in 10kts of wind. The last 24 hours has been a very comfortable ride, we've had light winds but they've been at just the right direction to move along smoothly, a few hours motoring but mostly just perfect sailing conditions. Pete cooked a tuna risotto which was preceded by sashimi. There's still one more tuna dinner left. Need to catch another one tomorrow.
we're now sailing in light S to SE winds In a easterly direction sailing, motor sailing and motoring averaging about 5.5 knots. If we end up motoring a lot we can pull into Sardinia for more fuel.
Special project for you from Garry, apparently it's an important time of year in AFL football and he would like an update with particular emphasis on the fortunes of Geelong (Cats). Who played who and who won. Abc news will have it. Not much to report otherwise.
LATI IS FOR SALE!
07 September 2014 | Lavrion, near Athens, Greece
Yes our beloved Mediterranean yacht Lati is for sale. Ever dreamed of sailing the Med? Well now is your chance and it won't break the bank. Bill is in the Med at the moment if you would like to view her.
Here's all the details:
Read all about it! Click here
Or in euros
Email us if you are keen :
Lati will is on the hardstand in Lavrion, 1 hour from Athens. I'm sure she would rather be sailing!
Fourth Dimension: Day 11 On their way again towards Sicily
05 September 2014 | Mediterranean Sea
There's not much wind the next few days so the fuel stop at Formentera was essential. Their track on Vesselfinder shows them tacking in the light SE wind. I had 2 lovely long conversations with Bill before they left. They were anchored most of the day after filling up with fuel.
05 September 2014
Water looks nice from Fourth Dimension. Bill took these shots on his iPhone and with telstras international data deal emailed them to me. $29 for 100mg - worth ever cent!
05 September 2014
Peter and Garry taking the dinghy into to town to buy more fishing lures and other essential items in Formentera
05 September 2014
Bill on anchor watch Formentera
Fourth Dimension Day 10: Stop for fuel in Formentera
05 September 2014 | Formentera, Baleriacs, Spain
To Formentera for fuel
I just got off the phone to Bill as they were about to head into harbour on the island of Formentera, south of Ibiza for fuel. He said they are not stopping long, just enough time to get fuel and more fishing lures. They will have a longer stop over in Sicily, maybe Porto Empledocle where we were broken down for a month last year with Lati. Anyway here's Bills email when they decided to turn north:
"We've decided that there will be a lot of motor sailing involved in the light winds that are coming so we are now heading north to top up with fuel. Won't be stopping except to fill up with diesel. 4D seems to use about 3l per hr but the fuel gauge is inaccurate so we need to fill up to check it. Should be more favourable wind direction if not strength if we head to Sicily vis south of Sardinia. Had a lazy day, out of ship lanes and tuna curry for dinner."
Their track is :HERE
Fourth Dimension Day 9: still eating tuna
04 September 2014 | Mediterranean Sea
Light winds predicted ahead for them. Still a long way from Turkey. ( about 1200 nautical miles) Bill's satellite email said :
Into the Med
We're now about 70 miles east of Cabo d Gata, a very busy night where the wind direction kept us in the middle of the main shipping lane but sailing at upto 10 kts. The westerly has died now so were motoring slightly north of east to get into ship free sea. Still about 600 to go to Sicily. We've got plenty of good tuna to eat now. Had tuna steaks last night.
Fourth Dimension Day 8 : In the Med
03 September 2014 | Spanish waters, Mediterranean
The boys are doing well. I got to talk to Bill yesterday when he got a phone signal near Gibraltar. They are heading for Sicily. Approximately another 5 days passage.
Here's part or Bills sat email:
In the Med
Well we got through Gib ok, had the current with us the whole way, got a bit busy for a while dodging fast ferries and turning tankers. We've been doing about 6 kt all night with the jib poled out in the 10 15k westerly. It's stopped now and only 5 to 10 so we will play with spinnakers etc for a while. I also got a weeks worth of passage weather with the phone signal.We're about 15 miles south of the coast and 75 to go to Cabo de Gata. No ph signal here.
Fourth Dimension : Sashimi and Through Gibraltar Strait!
02 September 2014 | Gibraltar Strait, Mediterranean
This is hot off the IPad and satellite communication with my lovely man. ( left the mushy bits out!) Hope to talk to him soon when he gets a phone signal. If you are wondering what data he is talking about, it's prepaid international data on roam with telstra. ($29 for 100mg for 30 days - enough for weather forecasts and non satellite emails.)
I cheated with the sashimi pic from Google :)
Anyway here's to the 3 Qld boys! I'll just have to have another glass of wine!
Bill's satellite email :
We're now starting to go through the strait, wind is very light , tide ok weather cloudy& haze, motoring at 7+ , all good. No Spanish ph sig yet, tried to SMS with Maroc one but won't go. Yesterday had good sail caught 3 small tuna which we had last night Japanese style and this am for brekky on rice with ginger and soy. Probably going to continue without stopping to Sicily weather permitting, will try to get data of passage weather when Spanish signal comes in. Will send this now
Fourth Dimension : close to Gibraltar
01 September 2014 | North Atlantic heading towards Gibraltar straits
Bill's last satellite email received 1 Sept later in the day:
160 to go
Been going at 7 to 8 kts all morning, slowed to 6 now cos winds lighter. No fish caught but a squid landed on deck so P cooked it and presented it on avocado biscuits. P has been adjusting the water maker all day and it now seems to be working. It runs off the generator so that's going as well, maybe hot showers later.
It's a bit tricky transiting Gibraltar Straits. With only 9 nautical miles at the two closest points and the Atlantic meeting the Mediterranean Sea, it's no wonder there are strong currents. Luckily the winds are predicted to be light the next couple of days, but it would be best if the boys transit at high water. They might even get a bit of a sleigh ride at 3 knots with them! The above chart shows the currents and shipping lanes of Gibraltar Strait. I am assuming Fourth Dimension will be transiting on the African side. When we went through with Lati last year, we were on the Spanish side. We stopped in Barbate and timed our transit with high water which meant we were going quite fast!
Here's an excerpt from this blog describing our experience on Lati. She is 31ft. Fourth Dimension is 50ft. It will be a different experience for Bill.
Position : 36 08 91 'N 05 21.23'W
22 May 2013
In order to catch the favorable currents in Gibraltar Straits, we had to leave Barbate , on the Spanish Andalucian coast by 9am. We managed to untie Lati without scratching her. We really need lots of practice. Because she is a long keel boat, she is difficult to manoever especially in reverse. No matter what Bill does she is not predictable. This makes life a bit exciting in tight spaces. A little stressful to say the least.
As we made our way through the Gibraltar Straits, we enjoyed an extra 3 knots of current with us. There wasn't much wind so we motor sailed all the way. Coming closer to Gibraltar the AIS went berserk with ships everywhere. Most were anchored but we had to keep a sharp look out for the ones that were moving. I couldn't tell easily which ship was which on the AIS, so eyeball navigation it had to be. We tried to keep out of the way of 2 ships coming near us and I did hear one of them talking about a sailboat that could have been us. It reminded me of Singapore but none of them blasted their horn at
Fourth Dimension Day 6 : Flying along
01 September 2014
Bill's satellite email received yesterday. They are doing well! No headwinds or adverse current now.
We're finally sailing quickly towards Gib. Yesterday the wind died down to 5 kts so we motored for about 8 hrs then late in the pm the wind came in at 12 to 15kts just west of north and we put up the big genoa, we've been doing 7knots since and right on course. No more fish so it was sardine pasta for dinner. Less than 200 miles to Gib now probably lots of ships tomorrow night.
Fourth Dimension Day 5: Fish Brunch
31 August 2014 | North Atlantic
I can see on the tracker they're getting closer to Gibraltar. The winds have eased making it more comfortable on board. Parts of Bills 2 emails today: Gotta love satellite phones and satellites! (Photo of the mahi mahi by Constantine Alexander)
Well about half an hour after the one that got away we caught another small to medium mahi mahi which eventually became a very piggy brunch. Yesterday was a pleasant sail on smooth seas into a 10 to 15 kt north north westerly. Typical Atlantic sailing, blue water , a few puffy clouds and not much else, we saw one turtle swimming along. We're outside the shipping lanes and there hasn't been a ship within 20 miles. This morning the wind has gone a bit northeast and got lighter so were now motor sailing and charging the batteries with the main engine, were hoping the wind goes back to NNW soon.
We've tacked again and are motor sailing into a light NE which will turn into N later so we can tack again and hopefully sail. I don't mind the early shift I get 2 sleeps and always sleep well on the second one.
Fourth Dimension Day 4 : Lost a mahi mahi
30 August 2014 | North Atlantic heading for Gibraltar
The latest satellite email from Bill:
30 August 2014
Well we've just tacked and are now heading straight for Gib, still hard on the wind but now well offshore and the conditions are more steady. Have 15 to 18 kt northerly and are outside the shipping lanes. Lost a mid sized mahi mahi this am as we tried to get it on board, muesli again for brekky. Prob 3 more days to go as on this tack were fighting a 1 to 2 knot current but well get there. There's just enough splashes coming on board to keep the cockpit wet and down below all is sloping so its climbing like a monkey to do anything.
Fourth Dimension Day 3
29 August 2014 | North Atlantic just off the coast of Morocco
The boys are doing well considering the wind and current is against them. I'm the armchair sailor now. I watch the yellow brick tracker, look at weather forecasts, wait for Bill's daily satellite email and email him back with family news and weather updates as I see it. Captain Pete's partner Anne is the designated shore forecaster sending daily forecasts via the yellow brick tracker. They've basically had NE-N winds all the way. It's a bit stronger now off the Moroccan coast so you can see in the image from the tracker where they have tacked. I've pasted a link on the right hand side of this blog. But here it is again:
I miss my captain Underpants and hang out for his daily emails. Here are his reports from the first 2 days.
About 430 miles to Gib, sailing at about 4kts because of current and waves. Not the most comfortable trip, heeled right over all the time but we're getting used to it, just typical windward sailing. Plenty of ships to avoid but AIS picks them up from 20miles away. Wind behaving as predicted. We decided to go direct because the boat could point nearly straight there and at 20kt or less is easy enough to handle. Will possibly make one big tack offshore in the next day or so.
28 August 2014
Hi, going well about 24m north of canaries wind 15n course 56m doing 6kt but have 1kt current against us so only making 5kt . Tacking a bit at night but wind now steady. All well on board
And they're off!
27 August 2014 | north of Canary Islands , North Atlantic Ocean
And they're off!
Fourth Dimension the beautiful 50ft Bennateau left Lanzarote, Canary Islands yesterday. I spoke to Bill just before they left and the 3 of them including Captain Peter Moor and Garry are all in fine form. The wind had abated and their sea trial went well. 'She sails beautifully. Even into the wind and easily reaches 8 knots,' reported Bill.
It feels strange not to be with him on this voyage and now I know how it feels for loved ones back home when we are out there sailing the oceans. 4D (Fourth Dimension) will be heading more north west to start with as the winds are consistently north east off the coast of Morocco. As they head closer towards Portugal and Spain in a few days, the winds will change. I am hoping they will get close enough to the coast to pick up a phone signal. The auspost travel sim we purchased for the Med is quite good. I can phone Bill for free on my plan from Australia and it costs him 47c a minute to phone me. In the meantime while they are in the North Atlantic, Bill has the satellite phone for messages and emails. I'm not expecting a lot of communication from him! I'm hoping once a day......
Peter is sailing his boat to Turkey fairly quickly and is only stopping at a few places to rest. I will let you all know how they progress over the next few weeks. I'm not sure if there will be many photos but here's a few of the boys prior to departure. It must be hotter there than here as none of them are wearing shirts. So here's to the 3 of them - I hope they have a marvelous time sailing this gorgeous boat.
27 August 2014
Captain Peter Moor, Bill (my captain Underpants) and Garry Robinson - all Queenslanders!
A new adventure for Captain Underpants
18 August 2014 | Lanzarote, Canary Islands, North Atlantic
A new adventure for Captain Underpants
Our return to Australia from Greece was timed to be able to participate in our son's wedding. And what a beautiful occasion it was. Despite monsoonal rain and fighting the flu, we were so proud to see our son beaming on his wedding day as his bride walked up the aisle. So with barely a day to recover from the weekend festivities, Bill was packing his bag for a new adventure.
When Bill's old friend Peter Moor (They've known each other since they were Boy Scouts), found the boat of his dreams, he asked Bill if he would like to help sail her to Turkey. Peter's new boat is a 50ft Beneteau called Fourth Dimension currently berthed in the Canary Islands.
So this morning my captain left our cosy family nest on the Sunshine Coast to board yet more aeroplanes to cross over to Europe once again. From the Canary Islands to south of Portugal consistent northerlies have been blowing and will continue so they will have headwinds for a couple of days. Many sailors voyaging north from there head for Madeira to make the sailing angle more comfortable. Fourth Dimension should sail well and the boys should be reasonably comfortable even if sailing to windward.
I look forward to their updates and will document their progress as best I can. No sarongs on this trip I don't think with 3 guys! But I'm sure they will have a great time. ( Link to Fourth Dimension over on the right)
Captain Underpants should be back in Australia on the 1st October to attend to our beautiful Valiam. She needs to be hauled out and antifouled before we can sail here anywhere.
In the meantime I have Lati's story to write! I'm still working on a title....
Glammed up for the wedding
18 August 2014 | Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
A bit of a change from our usual attire!
18 August 2014
Wedding bliss with our son Liam marrying Kath and our daughter Vashti as one of the bridesmaids
Back home again
09 August 2014 | Mooloolaba , QLD Australia
Several aeroplanes and security checks later we are back home after 36 hours in Athens. Only allowed 30kg each, we left a bag of stuff behind in our friend Christos' apartment.
Barely over the jetlag , we thought we would go out and check Valiam moored in the river. Joe and Tahlia were keen to come in the new roomy plywood dinghy. Happy little vegemites consuming tinned spaghetti, tuna and chocolate milk on board , while the captain checked the engine, batteries etc. All is well after a 4 month absence.
Valiam feels like a ship with tons of room after Lati!
WRITERS BLOG TOUR – July / Aug 2014
08 August 2014 | Athens Greece to Sunshine Coast Australia
Writer's Blog Tour - July 2014
Thanks to fellow author and blogging buddy Jackie Parry
who invited me to join this blog tour. I have to answer four questions posed by her, and tag two more writers to answer the same questions on their blog or FB page.
What are you working on?
which hasn't an official title as yet. There are a few favourites such as:
Love is a Recycled Boat
Salvage in my Sarong
A Little Latitude
Boat repairs in exotic locations
What sarong with this boat?
And a suggested blurb by Steve Allen:
An Atlantic crossing and a Mediterranean cruise on a boat bought by accident (almost) online.
Join the latest adventures of Linda and Captain Underpants when Bill's half-joking bid on a wreck in the USVI, wins. Follow the highs and lows as they ready the little "Lati" for sea and their Atlantic crossing to the romantic Med for a cruising season.
A must-read adventure that makes anything seem possible.
My new book is about how my husband surprised me (and himself ) on winning a bid on eBay for a 45 year old wooden boat half way across the world in the Caribbean. She was abandoned, had been robbed and almost stolen by pirates and a total mess when we arrived from Australia. Lati required all our stamina, devotion and funds to make her seaworthy. It's a story of love, faith and determination.
Initially I was horrified and reluctant to become involved in my husband's crazy scheme. But somehow this gallant little 31ft ship emerged like Cinderella taking us 3500 nautical miles to Portugal, the gateway of the Mediterranean. For three summers she took us on a romantic cruise to Italy, Greece and Turkey fitting easily into quaint harbours among the local fishing boats.
The voyage was not without drama as we continued to repair her engine in exotic locations. We certainly got to know the locals that way!
It's a story about a small yacht that despite being on the brink of the scrap heap, showed her strength and grace sailing across oceans keeping us safe.
How does your work feel different to others in its genre?
I write with honesty but also try to see the funny side of life. I believe that taking such a huge risk by resurrecting this abandoned boat and taking off across the world is something many people dream of. I also express myself through drawing so my artwork is an integral part of the story.
Why do you write what you do?
I write about life and have this innate desire to record, to share with others as well as make sense of the world. It's like my drawing and comes from the heart. I'm becoming more and more comfortable with sharing my thoughts and feelings with the reader.
How does your writing process work?
A lot of it is in my head and I often think long and hard about how I want to write something. But when I start it often flows in a different direction. Once it's down, it's already in the past and I have to keep moving on. Like my drawings, I try not to overwork my manuscript to keep the flow and retain what I was feeling and thinking at the time. Photos, my journal and blog entries trigger memories and feelings. I am quite undisciplined really and do need deadlines to get my writing finished.
Once the creative part is done, the other side of my brain kicks in and I go about editing and getting the manuscript ready in a hugely methodical way. I am fussy about details especially visually from the font to the images.
Thanks for visiting, now the baton goes to .......
Sarah Elizabeth Edwards
'East or West, Med's Best'
Roy and Sarah Edwards have enjoyed a dramatically different lifestyle from the majority of us. For more than thirty years they lived full time aboard their cruising home, Cockatoo, which Roy first purchased back in the swinging 60's. Cockatoo, built for the British Admiralty in 1943 as a steam pinnace, was sold out of service and converted to a yacht before Roy found her in his quest for a craft which would allow him to fulfil his dream. Sarah, too, had a passion for the sea and used to gaze wistfully out over it as a child admiring its ever changing moods. "Sometimes so calm and peaceful, sometimes so rough and angry."
"East or West, Med's Best" covers the mad, glorious days of the heady 1980's before technology ruled the world as we now know it. Roy and Sarah were a couple who knew what they wanted and where they were going, who worked together with a common bond and natural understanding of what was needed and when. 'You don't have to be mad but it helps,' became another seasoned saying, always expressed with a laugh, aboard 'Cockatoo'. The tales Sarah has to tell about their experiences and the people they have met along the way make sometimes for exciting, sometimes humorous, sometimes poignant reading but always, at the back of it all is that taste for adventure which brings its own understanding and compassion.
'Adios Bondi Noir'
This novel is an intelligent, fast-paced crime drama infused with humour, snappy dialogue and compelling characters. The story is set in and around Sydney's iconic Bondi Beach.
The story's main character, Kris Lowry, is a surgeon and life-long surfer. His orderly everyday life is turned inside out when a childhood friend shows up at his door with half a million bucks in cash and disaster not far behind.
The cast of characters includes shady politicians, a surf-loving attorney with a taste for peyote, the Elvis Presley of hitmen, vintage Lambrettas, Berettas and baristas, as well as a very cool surfing grandma. With clever dialogue and finely woven plot, the story moves along at a pace that makes this a novel that readers will find hard to put down.
Au revoir France
03 August 2014 | Martigues, France
Au revoir France!
3 August 2014
The day we extricated ourselves from the compelling view of Mt Blanc in Chamonix also happened to be the busiest day on the roads in summer. As we sat in traffic jams, a Dutch friend informed me on Facbook that that day on the highway going south in France is called Black Saturday. It did take us longer than we thought but we arrived in Martigues at very modern and comfy hotel for only 49euros.
03 August 2014
Walking distance from the hotel was the old city where artists Dufy and Derain painted the 'little Venice' scenes 100 years ago. A Swedish yachtie friend had recommended Martigues as a good place to stay. The marinas and boatyard looked very good. And I loved the fact they weren't in the middle of nowhere and close to an interesting town.
Moules and frites were the go for economical local fare. (Mussels and chips) so this is what we enjoyed to end our 2 weeks in France of feasting constantly. Bon apetite!
Just before we had to drive the hire car to the airport, we walked to Ziem Musee. What a wonderful gallery with beautiful works by Dufy, Derain, Ziem and some Rembrandt sketches. If we do manage to sail Lati to France next year, Martigues looks perfect to me.
Dufy's painting of Martigues
Snow, Ice and magnificent Mountains
01 August 2014
Snow, ice and magnificent mountains
Chamonix, French Alps
1 August 2014
Mountains are as intriguing as oceans. Adventurers want to conquer them or at least want to get a thrill out of being right up there. When Bill said he would like to see Chamonix because he heard there was good climbing there, I was more than happy to see somewhere I had never been. Mount Blanc is just a bit ( well quite a bit!) higher than our Australian mountains with its peaks constantly covered in snow.
As soon as we arrived at our hotel room I was enthralled. The booking agency promised views of Mt Blanc but I had no idea how magnificent. The clouds and different light during the day continually change our view. Magnifique.....superb... Any superlatives are not enough. When I first met Bill he was right into rock climbing and would go off with a bunch of mates with camping gear and ropes to climb Australia's best mountains. But yesterday we joined throngs and ques of tourists and took cable cars up to Aiguille du Midi, 3842 metres high.
for more PHOTOS checkout our Sailing in my Sarong Facebook page. 'Like' and I will be excited to reach 500 'likes' Enjoy :)
01 August 2014
On top of the world mastered by man
01 August 2014
The cable cars swung and jolted zooming to the top making my ears pop as I tried to take photos of the glaciers, jutting rocks and swirling clouds below us. Stepping gingerly out of the swinging cable car and out on to various platforms I was overwhelmed by the magnificence of our surroundings. I also experienced altitude sickness climbing the steps to the highest point. A strange feeling and quite different to sea sickness. Dizziness, feeling weak and slightly nauseous. Bill says its because my ancestors are Dutch and never went near any mountains, living on the flat land in Holland!
01 August 2014
Once we stopped for a while at the top platform I couldn't get enough of the view and I felt better. Many people had all the right gear including snow boots and sticks to walk along the snow slopes. I was happy where I was. There was even a kiosk selling baguettes and beer or wine. So we enjoyed a picnic swathed in jackets and scarves admiring the incredible scenery around us. I didn't want to leave natures magical castle. I can see why mountaineers want to be up there. I know Bill's desire for climbing has been rekindled.
01 August 2014
Part of our 'multi pass' ticket was for a train trip to a glacier and ice cave. Queuing up again we joined milling crowds of families, dogs and couples of all ages from all over the world. Part of the glacier experience at Montenvers was a gondola (small cable car) ride part of the way down to the glacier. The rest of the way was a spiraling set of stairs of 400 steps. On the way down signs had been placed at various intervals where the glacier used to reach. Since 1985 the retreat of the glacier is more than 800 metres. This is in your face evidence of global warming.
The caves inside the glacier are a fairyland. Special lighting and ice carvings made for a special magical experience. No bear skins though. Just someone dressed as the abominable snowman for the tourists. All part of the fun. So up up up again climbing the stairs to wait in another queu for the train back to Chamonix.
01 August 2014
Wandering back to our hotel we came upon jazz musicians playing in cafes. Spotting an empty table we sat in the sun enjoying tapas and the earthy sounds of a tiny woman in black singing her heart out. We decided then and there we loved Chamonix and decided to stay another night.
One of the regions specialities on the menu is fondue. So last night we enjoyed one with 3 different cheeses and cubed baguette. It's been a long time since I have enjoyed a fondue and this was the real thing.
As we only have one more night before we catch our flight back to Athens from Marseilles, we have decided to go to Martigues. A Swedish yachtie we met in Greece said this is a good place to take a boat so we will check it out for Lati. We miss the convenience and cheapness of living aboard. I'm glad we won't have to pay for too many more hotels! But - Oh the luxury of unlimited hot water, white fluffy towels, and a fairy who comes to clean the room.Good old Visa card.... We will have to find jobs when we get home.
On a Dutch barge in France
29 July 2014 | Besancon, France
On a Dutch barge in France
I was so looking forward to meeting Jackie Parry
and her husband Noel on board their Dutch barge they bought in France recently. I had been corresponding with Jackie via the Internet for quite some time discussing sailing and writing. What wonderful support it is to have a friend who understands and is just a tap away on the keyboard wherever we are in the world.
29 July 2014
Originally we were hoping to sail Lati to France from Greece but with delays caused by the replacement of her gear box, the timing was too tight. I remember when Jackie and I first started talking about the possibilities of meeting she said! 'Let's point our bows towards one another.' So instead we arrived in a small silver hire car.
As we drove around France this past week, we kept up with where they were on the map. So finally the distance between us became closer and closer. At last we caught up with them motoring up the river in Beure near Besancon. It was difficult to find a road near the river but finally we saw them. A beautiful big green and red traditional Dutch barge in all her glory. I jumped out of the car and ran towards the bushes on the river bank and yelled out to them as they motored by. They had to keep going towards the lock. Somehow navigating along the back roads, we managed to find the lock. I had time to see them come towards us, taking photos and waving and smiling.
Once in the lock we could step down to them briefly. A quick first hug and working out where we would meet in Besancon. It was interesting for us to see how the barges tie up alongside in the river. Besancon has a new marina with power and water located in the heart of town. Bill and I spent a couple of days chatting, eating and drinking and relaxed strolls with Jackie and Noel and their extended family Val, Roy and Kieren. The architecture around Besancon and along the river reminded me of Paris.
It has been raining since yesterday and the temperatures have been a lot cooler. I will be dragging my jeans, sand shoes and jacket out as we have planned to head for the Alps to visit Chamonix. So from the rivers of France we will feast our eyes on snow capped mountains. Hopefully the rain will ease.