Adventures of Berkeley East

31 October 2019 | Barcelona, Spain
30 September 2019 | Mallorca, Spain
15 September 2019 | Sardinia, Italy
08 September 2019 | Pantelleria, Italy
31 August 2019 | Favignana, Italy
22 August 2019 | Vulcano, Italy
17 August 2019 | Charlotte, NC and Gaeta, Italy
12 July 2019
12 September 2018 | Cala del Core Ponza, Italy
22 August 2018 | North East Sardinia
13 August 2018 | Northern Sardinia, Italy
10 August 2018 | La Maddalenas, Sardinia Italy
30 July 2018 | South West Corsica, France
19 July 2018 | North West Corsica, France
12 July 2018 | Saint-Tropez, France
07 July 2018 | The French Riviera
25 June 2018 | Nice, France
22 June 2018 | Cap Ferrat, France
15 June 2018 | Lake Como, Italy
10 June 2018 | Bolgheri and Piedmonte, Italy

From rocky horror to dead calm

12 May 2018

During our college days, we were fans of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Actually, we still are. We own the DVD and soundtrack of this musical-comedy about transvestites from Transylvania. We know the words to all the songs and can't help but jump to our feet to dance "The Time Warp," which is what we were doing seven years ago on Berkeley East when our peaceful anchorage in Ponza turned into a true rocky horror.

That dark August night, a violent, unexpected swell developed so quickly that we could not move BE out of the anchorage away from the crashing waves. Instead, we had to endure constant pounding that would have been more comfortable at sea than at anchor just a few yards from land. All we could do was hang on, hope that the anchor chain didn't break, and distract ourselves with the quirky songs of the cult classic film. Later, we would learn that this is a common occurrence in Ponza, so much so that coastal restaurants close and boats are removed from the harbor at the first inkling of trouble.

So one might wonder why, after spending one of the worst nights of our cruising life in Ponza, would we risk a return to the island? There really was some logic to the madness. First, Ponza was the perfect distance and direction for our initial shakedown move of the season. Over the winter, a lot of work had been done on Berkeley East's engine, and adjustments had been made to her sails. Ponza offered the opportunity to test everything without getting too far away in the event of a problem. The weather was also forecast to be mild, plus we were armed with local knowledge that we didn't have that fateful night seven years ago, so we were smarter. Lastly, Ponza is one of the most beautiful islands we have ever seen and we wanted to visit in the offseason, with fewer boats and fewer people.

With our fears dissuaded, off we went to the Pontine Islands. BE performed beautifully on the passage; her engine purred, the sails looked great, a new coat of bottom paint increased her speed and we were in Ponza in record time. The forecast was accurate; conditions were calm, dead calm, giving us three days of relaxation. While the temperature was cold (no swimming) the skies were clear and unlike our last visit during the peak of summer, there were very few boats.

Ponza is the largest of the Pontine Island archipelago just three hours west of Rome. A cluster of former prison islands, the five volcanic Pontine islands are shrouded in history and encircled by pristine water. Dramatic rock cliffs, secluded white beaches and hidden sea grottos make it a popular Italian tourist destination; when Romans need a break, they sail to the Pontines.

We took the dinghy around the coast, hiked the interior, had leisurely lunches ashore, and sailed to neighboring Palmarola. And we constantly, religiously, incessantly, checked the weather. Nights were so still; it was eerie. But we still slept with one foot on the floor, ready to move, just in case.

Vessel Name: Berkeley East
Vessel Make/Model: Hylas 54
Hailing Port: San Diego, CA
Crew: Larry & Mary Ivins
About: We quit our jobs in July of 2007 and began our adventure, sailing the US east coast in the summers and then spending our winters in the Caribbean. In 2010 we sailed across the Atlantic and will be cruising the Med for the next few years.
FAQ Q: Did you go to UC Berkeley?

A: No. The name Berkeley East came from a ferry boat, "the Berkeley", that we met on over 30 years ago in San Diego. The East came as a result of seeing the boat being built in Taiwan. There was 30-foot Chinese symbol on the wall behind her during [...]
Berkeley East's Photos - Caribbean 1500 2008 (Main)
Street art from our 2019 stay in Barcelona
25 Photos
Created 7 November 2019
Photos for blog post
15 Photos
Created 2 August 2016
18 Photos
Created 17 May 2013
Extra pictures for Croatia
12 Photos
Created 5 September 2012
Venice June 2012
20 Photos
Created 12 July 2012
Tuscany trip summer 2011
30 Photos
Created 18 July 2011
Pictures from June 2011 - The Ligurian Coast of Italy
29 Photos
Created 29 June 2011
Wardrick Wells - Exuma Land and Sea Park May 2009
11 Photos
Created 4 May 2009
6 Photos
Created 22 April 2009
20 Photos
Created 21 April 2009
24 Photos
Created 19 April 2009
Pictures from our trip to Los Testigos, Venezuela - March 2009
5 Photos
Created 11 April 2009
4 Photos
Created 28 March 2009
Pics form the 2008 Caribbean 1500
No Photos
Created 26 November 2008
Octopuses Garden – Highborne, Exuma Cay, Bahamas
15 Photos
Created 22 May 2008
4 Photos
Created 22 April 2008
13 Photos
Created 28 January 2008
Chistmas 2007 in St Maarten with other crusiers and Mike and Linda (frends & meighbors from CA)
6 Photos
Created 28 January 2008
5 Photos
Created 23 December 2007
5 Photos
Created 21 November 2007
3 Photos
Created 5 September 2007
4 Photos
Created 28 August 2007
7 Photos
Created 28 August 2007
6 Photos
Created 22 July 2007
10 Photos
Created 22 July 2007
In early July 2006 we made a quick from Sydney, Australia to Kaohsiung, Taiwan to check on the construction of our Hylas 54. She was a little behind schedule, but the build quality was excellent.
4 Photos
Created 22 July 2007
4 Photos
Created 17 July 2007
After 28 days aboard Sigrun Bolten from Taiwan, Berkeley East arrived in Port Everglades Florida. Mary and I helped unload her and motored up the river to be hauled and rigged. We where joined by our friends and next door neighbors (from CA), who were in Florida cruising from California to the Caribbean.
5 Photos
Created 17 July 2007

Profile & FAQs

Who: Larry & Mary Ivins
Port: San Diego, CA

Our travels


July 2019- Return to Gaeta, Italy

August 2019 - Gaeta to Sicily, Tunisia and Sardinia

September 2019 - The Spanish Balearic Islands

October 2019 -Barcelona Spain

November 2019 - Charlotte, NC