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

2020 Hindsight

09 August 2020

As we stared at the photo of Berkeley East being towed out of the berth she had occupied for the past 10 months, we whispered in unison, "this was a bad year to have the boat in Barcelona."

But when we made the decision, last summer, to return to Port Vell, no one could have predicted that COVID-19 would turn the world upside down. When we left BE for the winter, we never imagined that the European Union would block our return. As we flew across the Atlantic from Spain to North Carolina, pandemic, lockdowns, financial crisis, death, destruction, at no time entered our minds. We will think differently in the future.

We were so excited to sail Berkeley East into Barcelona last September. BE spent her first Mediterranean winter in Port Vell, 10 years ago, and it was a fantastic experience. We had been planning another visit from the moment we sailed away. One of the few marinas located in the heart of a bustling city, Port Vell provided us the opportunity to use Berkeley East as a hotel while we explored Barcelona and the surrounding areas. And that is exactly what we did in 2010, and again in 2019. Our plan was to go back to Spain in late March to visit other areas of the country. But when our flights to Barcelona were cancelled due to the Coronavirus, so were our travels.

It turns out 2020 is a bad year to have a boat stranded anywhere, let alone Barcelona. In April, May and June, most marinas were closed and boating was actually banned in many European Union countries. Over the past months, stories have emerged of cruisers stuck on their boats around the world, quarantined, unable to enter ports, living at the mercy of local officials; not the free and easy lifestyle typically associated with cruising.

For the past seven years, BE has sat on land over winter (a preferred position), but in Barcelona, she stays in the water, in one of the most expensive marinas in the Med.

We never intended for Berkeley East to live in Port Vell indefinitely, so with the European Union closed to Americans, we began considering our options. We could apply for an exception to the travel ban, although we didn't have a reason that was deemed acceptable. We could try to skirt the rules and find a way into Spain, but Barcelona is just one of many stops we would need to make, not to mention that we prefer to respect the requests/laws of the countries we visit. We could sit tight and hope the EU would let us in before the end of the cruising season. We could suck up the expense of Port Vell and leave Berkeley East in the water for another nine months, perhaps more. Or, we could have BE moved to a dry dock and hauled for the short, possibly long, term.

In the past 13 years, we have had delayed starts to the cruising season, but never a total miss. But as we entered August 2020, we were seeing the writing on the wall. COVID-19 cases were rising in the US and Spain; there was no sign that the EU would open up to Americans any time soon, and even if they did, we weren't certain that we wanted to travel thousands of miles to Spain and move Berkeley East through multiple countries in the middle of a pandemic. Boats aren't meant to just sit in the water; movement keeps the bottom clean and the systems engaged, so a move to dry dock was the obvious choice. And it needed to be done while there was space available.

It was a very tough decision because no one has ever moved BE without us on board. We have always overseen hauling, and personally prepared and pampered Berkeley East for winters, walking away knowing she was safe and secure. But thanks to the "Boat Doctor" the process went smoothly, with the exception of an engine malfunction that required Berkeley East to be towed out of Port Vell. She is now sitting comfortably on land less than a mile from her previous home. And as luck would have it, the timing was perfect given that all the zincs (protective anodes) on BE had completely disintegrated.

We feel very fortunate that we had choices for BE, and the means to execute them. And we are thankful that to this point, we have avoided the virus, which has harmed so many. Hopefully there will soon be treatments and a vaccine for COVID-19 so the world can return to normal, or perhaps a new normal. Until then, we will continue to do all that we can to be part of the solution, while embracing every day and appreciating every sunset.

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