Adventures of Berkeley East

05 June 2022
30 January 2022 | Ft. Lauderdale, FL
16 November 2021
21 October 2021
05 October 2021 | Genoa, Italy
15 September 2021
26 July 2021 | Caprera, Italy
22 July 2021 | Balearic Islands, Spain
01 July 2021
09 August 2020
30 March 2020 | Lake Norman, NC
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

Chasing the internet, and insurance

31 August 2019 | Favignana, Italy
When we first began cruising, 12 years ago, we had to put our computers in watertight bags and take them to shore to access the internet at a local coffee shop, or bar. Boat to boat communication was done via VHF or SSB radio; calls were made with a satellite phone, or more often, from an old fashioned pay phone on land. Today, we are spoiled, and blessed, with many technological conveniences on Berkeley East. While access is still not as simple as it is at home, we have local sim cards in our mobile phones, international calling and texting capabilities, and modems on BE for surfing the web in nearly every country we visit, although finding good coverage is often challenging. This is the situation we found ourselves in while waiting for documents from our insurance company.

We had just, reluctantly, left Italy to begin the trek to Tunisia in order to clear Berkeley East's European Union VAT (Value Added Tax) clock. After 2015 terrorist attacks in Tunisia, our insurance company removed Tunisia from BE's usual approved navigation zone, so we had to get a special rider for the trip. It would be understandable if the reasoning to omit the African country were the turbulent weather in the south, or even perhaps the extensive freighter traffic in the crossing, but Berkeley East could still transit in France, Spain, Turkey, the United States, all of which have been victims of ugly assaults by radicals, so the reluctance of our company to provide insurance coverage was frustrating. What should have been a simple process to allow BE to sail to Tunisia, turned into weeks of emails, calls and texts, therefore, we had to make sure we were always near a cell tower for communication.

We had planned to make haste through Sicily and get in position to cross to Tunisia; a few nights at anchor on Sicily's north coast, a stop in Trapani for fuel. While Sicily is technically Italy, the huge island and its people are very different from mainland Italia; more like distance cousins, as opposed to intimate family. So while we have toured, and thoroughly enjoyed, Sicilia many times, our hearts didn't break at the thought of moving through quickly, especially given that the need to clear Berkeley East's VAT was nearing a critical point.

The days of travel were long and hot. When afternoons faded to twilight, when we thought we had gone as far as we could, we would dip BE's bow close to shore while holding the cell phone high in search of a signal, then drop the hook to wait for news from our insurance agent.

We connected to the net easily in Cefalu, and the anchorage had the added advantage of being peaceful and protected from the August sun. Beautiful music wafted to Berkeley East from a hotel, an agreeable accompaniment to our dinner of Lipari pork involtinis and Caprice salad. No call about insurance ever came, but a good nights sleep did.

The next evening, we were thrilled with even faster internet response, but not so much with the tunes from the beach, broadcast over loud speakers in the manner a Spanish soccer announcer might call the plays of a rousing match. Nice sunset, no positive insurance news.

On our way to Trapani, we were clearly in close proximity to a cell tower, as we heard the familiar sound of our doorbell, our "Ring" doorbell, at our house in North Carolina. We love these "Ring" camera doorbells. While on Berkeley East, our cell phones often tinkle with the motion of the gardeners, wind, rain, birds, even insects; we can access live images from the cameras to get a glimpse of the lake if we are homesick; and our friends occasionally come by to leave us a message, or sing Happy Birthday.

So when we answered the "Ring" of our front door at home, from the deck of Berkeley East in Sicily, we fully expected to see a familiar smiling face ready to share neighborhood news. Instead, there was a stranger at the door trying to deliver our new shuffleboard table. We could see a large van backed down the driveway and tools spread out on the concrete, men beginning to work. The man at our front door seemed surprised at the voice booming from the doorbell telling him he had the wrong house, although the address he had was ours. We watched as the men slowly loaded the truck and drove away and we wondered, had we not answered the "Ring," if they would have just assembled the table and left it on the patio, a nice surprise on our return.

Trapani is an important fishing port in Sicily and gateway to the Egadi Islands. We had visited the large town years before, exploring the surrounding historical sites. There was no question if Trapani would have good internet coverage, we would appreciate a night onshore, and Berkeley East could use some fuel for the passage to Tunisia.

The stop in Trapani was entertaining, watching the fishermen sew, and launch, their enormous nets, taking long walks to stem the land sickness, and visiting Trapani's beautiful old town.

When it became clear that the insurance rider was imminent we left Trapani and positioned Berkeley East in the Egadis to be closer to our next stop, the island of Pantilleria. The Egadi Archipelago consists of three islands and two small islets a short distance from Trapani. While the islands offer activities on land, most people come for the crystalline waters of the Egadi Island Marine Reserve, the largest protected marine area in Europe. The weather was becoming unsettled, so finding protected anchorages with consistent cell coverage to manage our insurance situation required moving two and three times a day. But we knew it wouldn't be long.

After another week of emails, texts and discussions with our soon-to-be-replaced insurance agent, after constantly moving BE around the islands for comfort and connections, after making multiple plans of alternatives if the insurance coverage didn't materialize, we received the document we needed to go to Tunisia; just in time for a weather system to develop that would bring storms and high winds for at least a week, preventing us from making the trip.
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