Casting Off

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

10 August 2014 | Nerzine - Premuda - Nerezine!
10 August 2014 | Nerezine
10 August 2014 | Nerezine
05 August 2014 | Nerezine
05 August 2014 | Nerezine - Rjeka!
05 August 2014 | Nerezine
31 July 2014 | Still Nerezine!
29 July 2014 | Nerezine
29 July 2014 | Nerezine yacht yard
29 July 2014 | Nerezine
29 July 2014 | Mali Losinj
29 July 2014 | Mali Losinj
18 July 2014
16 July 2014 | VENICE
14 July 2014 | Malta
12 July 2014 | Malta
02 July 2014 | Malta
01 July 2014 | Malta

casting off the bowlines again!

10 August 2014 | Nerzine - Premuda - Nerezine!
The following morning (Friday) was a busy one Ervino our mechanic was hastily trying to repair the engine so that we would finally be able to leave Nerezine. By five in the evening we sailed away from Nerezine for the second time with less pomp and ceremony but a lot more zeal to cover as many miles as possible as we inched our way towards Malta. A mere 20 miles south we were three islands closer to home but it was dark by then and we somewhat anxiously anchored in a cove on the island or Premuda. In the dark we were not sure of the coastline so we decided to keep a two hourly watch and after a glass of wine we started our night vigil. The night was uneventful but what the night was lacking was made up for during the morning hours. We started with a hearty breakfast of eggs and sausages followed by an energising swim ashore and some adventure time exploring the wild looking coast. The boys were convinced that they had found treasure as the rocks were littered with numerous crystals of different shapes and colours. There were also huge logs and differently contorted bits of drift wood which went from being huge dinosaur bones to derelict Indian canoes 
Eventually we swam back to Aigle D'Or and got ready to set sail for the Kornati Islands. The engine hummed into the background as we all found our posts to execute the delicate manoeuvre of lifting the anchor. However as Michael switched the hydraulic windless on nothing happened. Two hours later the three men had successfully heave-hoed the anchor and 30metres of chain back into the anchor well and with heavy hearts we surrendered and retraced our course back to Nerezine.
As we limped back into our berth we had all resigned to fly home and then return for our injured bird at a later date. We were upset but not defeated. The past four weeks aboard Aigle D'Or were tough and presented us with challenges that we never expected to face. We have had disheartening moments and even a few tantrums however every minute aboard is confirming that she is the perfect home for our family and both Michael and I as well the boys are more determined than ever to live our dream aboard our little ship.

casting off the bowlines

10 August 2014 | Nerezine
Back to the past week. We were port bound till Wednesday because of the strong Bora but by Wednesday evening we felt confident enough to 'cast off our bowlines' and so we planned to leave the following day. We stocked up on provisions and made sure that all was secure then we went out to enjoy our last Porchetta in Nerezine together with Ivan and his family - Rafaela his wife and Paola his 11 year old daughter. We had a lovely evening which added to the bitter sweet feeling which made sailing out of Nerezine the following day all the harder. As Michael headed Aigle D'or's bows towards the mouth of the small port a huge gust of wind hit me in the face and the exhilaration of that much anticipated moment took my breath away. I stood on deck with the wind in my face, bringing tears to my eyes and I tried to swallow the huge lump in my throat as the reality of the moment hit me... this was the moment we had been planning and preparing for. This was the moment we had waited for. This was our dream. And then reality hit... the chugging of the engine seemed a little more distant and knock by knock it grew weaker until it stopped completely and we were floating at the mercy of the wind and currents. We rushed to make sense of what was happening. We hoisted the mizzen and foresail and tried sailing though at that point we seemed to lose steerage. We attempted to connect the emergency tiller but the rudder would not respond so we had no choice but to drop anchor just outside Nerezine and call for help. All this seems smooth and simple enough but it was not so, as one must bear in mind that it was the first time we were out at sea, the first time we put the sails up, the first time we dropped anchor... all those firsts and the fast encroaching rocks together with the ever building bora were a huge reality check and had a knack of bringing us down to size against the vast backdrop of the Croatian mountains. Once we were safe we called Ivan and waited to be rescued. Two fishermen from Zadar came to our aid. We were towed alongside their huge fishing boat and eventually chatted over a couple of glasses of wine and a plate of pasta. Just as we were rounding off Ivan and his family turned up so we opened another bottle of wine!

in the Nerezine Yacht yard

10 August 2014 | Nerezine
Another week's gone by. What a week! On Monday we spent the day doing a lot of what the riggers did not do or redoing that which they did badly! I believe this was our first taste of the much feared Bora wind! It blew and howled and bared it's ugly teeth and all the while we made the necessary preparations to set sail. In my haste to keep abreast of all that is going on aboard, I missed out on sharing about life in the Nerezine yacht yard. We've been comfortably moored alongside the main quay in the yacht yard. In mentioning the Nerezine yacht yard we have to mention our main contact who we inherited from the previous owner - Ivan. Way back in February when we first visited Nerezine we were introduced to Ivan. On being introduced, and once we overcame the initial language barrier, we took an instant liking to him. In the months that followed there were points of intense frustration when communication between Malta and Croatia was very poor however we persevered and since our arrival in Nerezine three weeks ago we have found a great and loyal friend in Ivan. He has stood by us and stuck his neck out and has been our support against all the odds which have been flying at us even when they were not really his responsibility.

post in progress

05 August 2014 | Nerezine
Saturday 2nd August
The day that our 'barge' was to earn her masts back and return to the status of sailing vessel had finally arrived. We woke up early and waited. And waited. And waited. At midday Ivan announced the arrival of the much anticipated 'riggers' . They did not make it to the boat. Michael was summoned and informed that the best way to kickstart a days' work was by having a beer. Finally, yet another hour later 3 very branded, fully kitted men donning Gill hats and gear started working to set up the rigging of SV Aigle D'Or but it was more than 24hours later that the crane launched the mizzen into place unceremoniously. The main mast on the other hand presented more of a problem and we damaged our newly varnished mast base. With the masts and basic rigging in place the riggers vanished as quickly as they had appeared...once again in another swirling storm... more details soon.... Baba's up and needs his breakfast! Pancakes with Nutella.... If you please!

So it turns out that the riggers were in too much of a rush to actually complete our rig so we have spent the past two days since they left trying to complete the job and actually redo some of what they did. It seems like we have finally got our heads around it and planned to set sail but once again Aeolus intervened... seems like he didn't like the fact that we laughed off his Borino on Saturday so Today(5/8/14) he's worked up a full Bora in our honour and once again we are Port bound! It's blowing a steady Force 7 and we have no choice but to sit and wait... so in the meantime we are keeping busy completing odd jobs and piecing together bits of the puzzle that we are living aboard, whilst trying desperately to keep our spirits up.

crew casualty

05 August 2014 | Nerezine - Rjeka!
We have now been aboard Aigle D'or for over a week and have already formed a few patterns and routines in behaviour. The most predictable is without a doubt the super witching hour which we experience daily between approx 7- 9pm when the boys absolutely lose control because they are either too tired or too hungry or simply just because they are Tom and Seb! By that point Mike and I are also at a low point usually because we are hungry, tired and in need of a glass of wine... Last Monday at exactly this witching hour we were expecting our first guests aboard Aigle D'or. Darek and Anja arrived at 8pm but within 10 minutes of their arrival all hell broke loose! I was in the galley preparing some starters when Seb came to help me but in his usual style he opted not to walk down but to swing down... He missed the step and fell into the cabin on his back. He got totally winded and wouldn't stand up. He was evidently in pain so thanks to Darek and Ivan we rushed him to the nearest emergency room in Mali Losinj (25 mins away) The doctor there wanted to do an x ray just to double check that his back was ok since he was in a lot of pain. The radiographer who was on call did not answer his phone so we were literally packed into an ambulance and shipped over to the next hospital in Rijeka by ambulance. 2 ½ hours of driving, one ferry ride, 2 ambulances, many winding turns and three islands later we reached the paediatric hospital on mainland Croatia. We arrived at the dead of night so everything looked just that little bit worse... We were met in the ambulance by Doran who ushered us in to the pitch black reception area, switching on a couple of lights as we went. We got to the registration cubicle and again Doran was there to get us into the system. He then stepped back into the corridor as our porter and wheeled Seb who at that point was still strapped to a stretcher into a lift which had to be closed manually and we squeaked our way to the 2nd floor where Doran again became the radiology nurse and helped the radiologist get the necessary images... to cut a very long and tedious story short Seb was unscathed by his fall and the main thing he was suffering from was shock and by that point exhaustion! The surgeon who finally saw us admitted us for the night since by that point we must have looked like homeless vagabonds... Seb in underpants and a t-shirt with no shoes and myself wearing shorts, flip flops and a paramedic's jumper since the extremely kind paramedic on our first ambulance lent me her top when she saw that I was freezing and green with carsickness and worry! Whilst we were being attended to in hospital Michael had hired a car and was retracing our footsteps. The only problem is that he missed the 11pm ferry which is the one we caught with the ambulance and therefore had to sleep in the car so as to catch the 5am ferry. The following day was a waiting game... Seb needed to have an ultra sound done and it took practically the whole day to do it. We finally got back to Nerezine in yet another massive storm at 7pm!

All hands on deck

05 August 2014 | Nerezine
1ST August 2014

The rain finally stopped. But for good measure old Aeolus threw in a Bora just to test our determination to sit this whole dream thing out without quitting! Well actually it was not a full scale Bora but a mere 'Borino' as the locals refer to it. It was an invigorating breeze but nothing too impressive considering that we are well accustomed to a few Grigallati every year! At least the sun was shining and the decks were dry so our morale was raised a few notches together with the amount of work that needed to be done. Early this morning Seb and I attacked the anchor well and the mass of rusty chain within. We started transferring the chain to the quayside (this has become a glorified extension of Aigle D'or... our storage barge of sorts.... What we thought was going to a quick and easy bit of morning exercise evolved into an 'All hands on deck- tackle the rusty chain- operation!
We've also decided to give the deck a fresh coat of paint which should superficially help to slow some of the many leaks down below but is really a matter of pride, in that white decks look so much better than the scratched greyness that is currently our deck! The boys and I started painting somewhat unsuccessfully, as by the end of the evening we did not have a brilliant white deck but a very patchy marked surface unwittingly embossed with footprints , handprints and elbow prints Oh well! The sun set over the hill and Ivan advised that we should stop painting... so we sat on deck for supper instead! Manana... we'll deal with the whiteness of the decks (or lack of it)
Vessel Name: Aigle D'Or
Vessel Make/Model: Formosa 51
Hailing Port: Malta
Crew: Mike, Liza, Tom and Seb
About: Mike and Liza together with Tom and Seb aged 5 and 6 take to the high seas to follow their dream:)
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain And so we will.... Now that we have [...]
Aigle D'Or 's Photos - Main
Our first week in Croatia was focused on getting Aigle D'Or ship shape in order to start our trip home to Malta... obviously this was punctuated with moments of fun and magical scenic beauty!
14 Photos
Created 21 July 2014
On our way to Croatia we stopped in Venice for a couple of nights...enough time to show the boys the magic that surrounds the canals and bridges of this enchanting City.
40 Photos
Created 21 July 2014

Following our dream

Who: Mike, Liza, Tom and Seb
Port: Malta