s/v Charabia

20 July 2019 | North Atlantic
19 July 2019 | Reykjavik
18 July 2019 | North Atlantic
17 July 2019 | North Sea
16 July 2019 | Mersey River
15 July 2019 | St George's Channel
15 July 2019 | English Channel
13 July 2019 | Forest of Arden, England
12 July 2019 | Leicestershire, England
11 July 2019 | Leicestershire, England
10 July 2019 | Waltham Abbey
09 July 2019 | Dover, UK
08 July 2019 | North Sea
07 July 2019 | kattegat Strait
06 July 2019 | Baltic Sea
05 July 2019 | Baltic Sea
04 July 2019 | Baltic Sea
03 July 2019 | Gulf of Finland
02 July 2019 | St. Petersburg, Russia
01 July 2019 | Gulf of Finland

Reykjavik Day 2 - 07/20/19

20 July 2019 | North Atlantic
Helen
Woke up early and finally convinced Mark to get up. Watched some tv. We were at the dock as we stayed overnight in Reykjavik. Got dressed and headed to Deck 7, Lido for breakfast. Decided to eat some fruit, cereal and yogurt today. Mark had an omelet with some sides. Headed back to our room. Started watching the Dumbo movie. It was entertaining. By 10, we decided to get off the ship and take the shuttle bus into downtown Reykjavik. No line up to get off today. We walked over to the bus and it left right away. It was sunny today. The breeze is still a bit cold. We had our jackets with us, so that helped when the wind piped up. Not sure what the building was called, but it had an unusual all-glass shape right on the water. We could have paid money to take the tour, but we rode up to the 5th floor and was able to get a great view of the city from there. They also had free wifi, so we got caught up on emails and Facebook and made some calls. It was early, so many of your phones were off. There was a great view of the sailboats in a marina in behind it. While catching up on the internet, a young couple came over to tell us that they both attended Rice University and were thrilled to see us wearing Rice caps! I asked them if they were on one of the two ships in port. They were enjoying a vacation in Iceland with families. We thanked them for coming over! By lunch time, we walked over a few blocks to the downtown area. They had a Flea Market and tented shops on the street. Checked out many of the shops. Things are expensive in Iceland. Took pictures of some of the beautiful unique buildings. Some were obviously built hundreds of years ago, but the rest of the downtown was very modern. The population was around 600,000. We walked back to the shuttle drop off. Mark thought we waited for about 15 minutes but I thought it was not a long wait before we headed to the dock. It was after 1pm when we got back to the ship. The lineup to board was horrendous. We were told that because the tide had dropped, they had to dismantle the lower boarding ramp. I have to think that the staff on the Queen Mary II knew what the tide situation would be at any hour of the day. They could have planned our timing a bit better so everyone did not need to queue up yet again. We finally boarded the Queen Mary II and headed to our cabin. Dropped off our jackets, hats and sun glasses and then headed up for a late lunch on Deck 7, Lido. I had some cooked veggies and a very tasty chicken fajita. Mark had some beef and a few sides. We each had some self-serve ice cream with a piece of cake. Then we took a glass of water back to our cabin. Our daily schedule highlighted a live band, Purple Haze, would be playing for our sail away. It was after 2 pm when we left the dock. Lots of people were out on deck. We took pictures along with everyone else, as we worked out way to Deck 13. Just as the ship motored thru the harbor, it started to rain lightly. So, we ended up heading back to our covered balcony. With the rain came some much colder winds out on deck. We showered and planned to take a nap, or at least we tried to take a nap. Instead, we got interested in the movie, Mr. Church. We didn't get to see the end as it was time to head to dinner. The good thing is that our tv channels run the same movies over thru the day, so we will watch the end tonight. Met up with Terry, Sheila, John and Nancy for dinner tonight. Our dining service is still very slow. I ordered the chicken and asked for extra vegetables. The chicken dinner came with rice and spinach and it was just warm, not hot. Then I ate some of the vegetables and they were cold. I was not thrilled. I did not want to put in another order to get hotter food. I mixed the vegetables under my rice and it warmed them up some. Mark had the beef dinner. The show tonight is with some singers and the ship's band. We missed the first show at 7, since we were still at dinner. Decided to skip the show. We tried our luck at the casino, but neither of our numbers were selected. We headed up to Deck 13, once again, to the protected area at the front of the ship, and Mark got an updated position on our Garmin. Sent out a few text messages. We are saving our expensive wifi minutes for the blog updates. The seas are relatively flat. When we were leaving, we could see a mountain in the distance that was ice capped. Such beautiful scenic views in this country. Thanks for your emails and messages. We have three days at sea before arriving in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, Canada. Enjoy the weekend!

Ashore in Reykjavik

19 July 2019 | Reykjavik
Helen
Mark set the alarm to 7 am. We stayed up way too late knowing that we had an extra hour of sleep last night as our time fell back one hour. We are now only 4 hours ahead of EST. I woke up before 6 am and it was bright and sunny and I could see the mountainous shoreline in the distance. Tried to go back to sleep but could not fall asleep. Decided to get dressed. Opened our sliding door and stepped out to take a few pictures. It was cold outside and the breeze was stiff as we motored towards shore. I didn't stay outside very long. I came back in and waited for Mark to wake up. Eventually, he got up and got dressed. We headed up to Deck 7, Lido, for breakfast. Then came back to our cabin and packed up a bag to take to shore. Our ship docked and the Captain announced that everyone was cleared for getting off the ship. We decided to head over early as the port terminal offered free wifi. Our rental vehicle was available from 10 am. We could see the Enterprise shop from our ship, so it was an easy walk for us. There was no line up getting off the ship. However, the few people in the Port Terminal building were tying up the wifi or the connection was pretty weak. Mark loaded Google Maps Iceland on his phone and notebook. Then we walked over to the Rental shop. There were a lot of people sitting in their waiting room, but they were very well organized. So, it didn't take too long. Our car was a 5-speed. It did not have any special features like air conditioning or cruise control. It was cold enough that we should not have needed any air conditioning. The good news, too, was that they drive on the right side of the road. It's been a while, and I only remember Mark turning on the windshield wipers, once, when changing lanes. Our first stop was at the Great Geysir which was 70 miles away. It took us around 1 ¾ hour to drive there. The different hiways were in good shape, with a couple of places under construction. The speed limit was 90 kilometers. The hot springs were still active. They had a number of restaurants where we parked the car. We walked over to the many smalls geysers before waiting for the large one to spray. We didn't have to wait long. Mark didn't get the camera turned on before it shot up the hot water spray. It was impressive but happened too fast. By this time, the wind speed increased and it started raining some. Thankfully, I wore two sweaters plus a jacket. Still, I was cold. It did not take more than a couple of minutes for the next eruption. This time we were ready. Took lots of pictures. Then headed to the restaurant area and had some very expensive burgers for lunch. We headed back to the car and drove about 5 miles to the Gullfoss Waterfalls. Again, it was raining or the huge gusty winds were pushing the spray off the falls in our direction. There was a walkway at the top level, plus a very long staircase down to the lower path. We bundled up and climbed down the stairs. The falls view was stunning! It was much bigger than I thought it would be. There were several flows of water falling in-between the huge rock walls. We were getting soaked from the spray, was the only down side. It was not easy to take pictures when the wind was so strong. Mark almost lost his hat. Good thing I had a hood on my jacket as it kept my hat on my head. Our next stop was the Blue Lagoon. It took us 2 ½ hours to drive there as it was just on the other side of Reykjavik. We spoke with a couple in the parking lot. They said they booked their reservation a couple of days ago. We didn't know we had to have a reservation. We checked when we got there and the earliest time available was 9 pm or tomorrow morning. We bought a drink in their cafe area which had glassed walls looking out on the lagoon. The lava rocky edges and very pale blue waters were amazing. I didn't think there were too many people in the many pools. Mark noticed that they had a bar set up in a few places. Most people in the water, were standing with a cocktail in one hand. So, we decided we would not come back later tonight. It was too cold for me and it would be even colder as the day progressed. I didn't think we would have enough time in the morning, either. So, we enjoyed their free wifi where I posted many Iceland pictures on Facebook. We found a shopping mall on the way to returning our rental car. However, there was not very many stores and most of them were closed since it was after 5:30. Mark located a gas station to top up our fuel and we headed in that direction. The gas station was close by and it was totally automated. Mark could not get it to take his credit card without entering a pin. So, we checked for another gas station. It was a few miles away, but at least it was a regular one. We filled up and headed back to Enterprise to return our car. We walked back to the Port Terminal. However, by this time, Mark phone was in need of a charge. We had my phone and the tablet on charge while we drove. So, we ended up heading back to our ship. It was around 7 pm. We dropped off our bags to our cabin. Then headed up to Deck 7, Lido, for dinner tonight. There are not as many choices as on the Sea Princess. However, there is plenty of food for us. There were lots of people eating there so it took a while to find an open table. We knew there was only one show tonight at 7:45, so we headed down to the theater. Mark decided he was gong to skip the show and headed back to our cabin. I watched the show with my fellow passengers. There were two local actors, presenting the Icelandic Theatre show. It was supposed to a spoof on their history. It was okay until they selected some people out of the audience and named one of them Donald Trump. I didn't think it was entertaining. Mark ended up going back off the ship to the port terminal. I decided that I didn't want to go. Mark couldn't get the internet to work for him, so he came right back. Watching our tv. I think we're both tired from our day at shore. We have tomorrow morning thru 2 pm to re-visit Reykjavik. There are shuttle buses to the downtown area, so we may do that in the morning. Thanks for the many emails and messages received today. Enjoy your day!

Queen Mary 2 - Sea Day - 09/18/19

18 July 2019 | North Atlantic
Helen
Up around 7:30. Watched some tv and took our time getting dressed. Decided to try out the dining room for breakfast today. Headed to Deck 2 and got a seat at a table with 6 other passengers, all from the UK. Enjoyed our breakfast, although they did not scramble my eggs long enough for my liking. By this time, I was not wanting to eat anything else. Lots of good conversations from everyone. After breakfast was over, we tried to walk around outside, but it was too cold and wet. The high today was only 14C. It was raining lightly when we were up on Deck 13. We did not stay very long. None of the deck chairs were out. The seas were very lumpy. Mark guessed that the waves were around 8 foot. It was definitely a choppy sea day. I was ever so glad that we were not sailing in Charabia. We are getting much closer to Iceland, having just passed thru the Iceland Basin area of the North Atlantic. The depths here are well over a mile. No, we have not seen any ice bergs. Apparently, when we stay overnight in Reykjavik, we then depart around 2 pm. That is earlier than scheduled due to ice berg sightings on our original route to Canada. We walked around more of the ship today. I am still not finding my way around very well. We didn't walk the deck as it was raining and much too cold here. We attended today's lecture from Margaret Gilmore on Reporting Terrorism, Writing History. It was most interesting as she documented a lot of the terrorist acts especially in London back in July 7, 2005. There was Britain's version of 9/11. We decided to have lunch in an alternate restaurant so we selected the pub called the Golden Lion. The tables were full but there were a few chairs at the bar, so we took a seat. Mark ordered the fish and chips and I had a chicken dish. Then we shared a dessert. Mark tried one of the drafts they had on tap. There was someone playing songs on the piano, which were all familiar songs. They asked if we had any requests to write them on a paper. I asked Mark to suggest the theme for the Titanic movie by Celine Dion, but he wouldn't. After lunch, we headed back to our cabin. Watched some tv and then took a nap. Mark was complaining that his sinus were bothering him today. We both slept soundly. I actually had a dream where Mark and I were competing against each other and he went in one direction and I went in another. I was the winner. He didn't care for my dream. We showered and got ready for tonight's dinner at 6 pm in the Britannia Restaurant. Terry and Sheila were already at the table when we got there. John and Nancy arrived after soon after. We had a lovely dinner together. I selected the vegetable entree while Mark had veal entree. After dinner, we went back to our cabin since it was too early for tonight's show. The sun was finally shining and the seas looked much calmer than during the day. At least it was clearer on the horizon. We headed down to the Royal Court Theater for the Duo Bolshakov 'In Above The Sky' performance. Alexey and Anastasia, from Moscow, entertained us and received a lot of standing ovations for their brilliant acrobatic duo show. After the show, we visited Deck 7 for some self serve ice cream and a hot drink. Mark had coffee and I found some hot chocolate. We stopped by the Queens Room to watch the ship's orchestra playing ball room dancing music. They added a singer when we got there. Lots of people on the dance floor. They have several paid dancers to keep the ladies on the dance floor. It was interesting to see. We stopped briefly at the roulette wheel but my numbers did not get selected. Headed back to our cabin and am working on today's blog entry. We are watching a movie. It's plenty light outside. No land in sight yet. The sun sets late in this part of the world. Mark thinks it will be light all night long. Thanks to everyone for your emails and messages. Our ship will be docked in Iceland when we wake up. Mark is setting the alarm to get up early. We fall back one hour with tonight's time change. We are looking forward to our time ashore.

Queen Mary 2 - Sea Day - 07/17/19

17 July 2019 | North Sea
Helen
We actually slept in today. We woke up around 8:30. I do believe we both slept better. Watched some news. Mark was able to get some cell coverage off our close proximity to Ireland. I was trying to send a photo with an email, last night, but there was no signal. That email finally sent this morning. Headed to Deck 7, Lido, for breakfast today. We each had an omelet with veggies, bacon and a muffin. The roaming waiters took our drink order for orange juice and water. Then we got some tea and water to take back to our cabin. Our cabin steward had not yet cleaned our cabin, so we went for a walk around the ship. It was cold and rainy outside, so we stayed indoors. It was only 16C today. The seas were up to 10 foot and we could feel a bit of motion at times. The strong breeze, kept me indoors today. My sinus cold was so much better today. So, thanks to all of you that were sending me healing. Mark and I stopped at the many game tables and played scrabble. Most of the other games were taken. I was the winner when we finally gave up. By this time it was well after lunch. We decided to go to the dining room for lunch today, just to try it out. It was one of the best meals I have had. Mark enjoyed his too. We shared our table with a couple from Pennsylvania and two ladies from the UK. We had a lovely conversation. After lunch was over, we headed to the Royal Court Theater with the Celebrity Lecturer, Margaret Gilmore on Superpowers And Spies. It was very interesting. She drew a huge crowd. After it was over, we walked around some of the other decks. We walked outside briefly, but it was still very windy. The sun shone briefly as the rains stopped. We came back to our cabin and rested. Actually, we watched a movie. We received a call reminding us of our Kings Court Alternative dining scheduled for 7pm tonight. We showered and got ready for the 5:15 pm cocktails in the Queens Room. The line up to greet the captain was too long, so we went in the second entrance. We met the Vice Captain, Carl, and enjoyed a lovely chat with him. He was very interested in our sailing adventure. Mark gave him one of our boat cards. The waiters greeted us with full trays of assorted beverages. We both selected a fruity rum drink. We were invited to join a table of Canadians from Toronto. We had a lovely chat with them. The Cruise Director introduced the Captain, who gave a short speech welcoming everyone on board. He mentioned there were 81 passengers from Canada and over 800 from the US. Most passengers were from the UK. Then he introduced his Senior Officers. Decided to head to the casino and play some roulette. We each started with $20 and had incredible luck today. I decided to cash out as I had tripled my initial stake. Mark played a few more rounds and had two additional hits. We cleared $100. We happily headed back to our cabin, as our dinner was at a later time tonight. We arrived at the Kings Court dining room at 7pm. We were seated at a table for 2 right in front of a window. It was cloudy outside and the waves were still quite sizable. The restaurant was on Deck 7, which is also the walking deck. We got to see a few people getting some exercise while we ate. Most of what we ordered was very good. However, they did not cook my beef enough, plus it was not very tender. We each had too much food, so I was not going to replace it with anything else. Plus, we wanted to be done in time to get a seat at the tonight's Singer and Dancing show called Apassionata. It was an extravaganza of exciting styles of dances from around the world. They did a great job. We headed back to our cabin. The ship has a lot more motion as we head much further north in the North Sea. Created the blog which Mark will post shortly. We bought some Wifi minutes. Thanks to all for your emails and messages. We will have limited wifi going forward, but we will continue to post the blog each night. Enjoy your day.

Ashore in Liverpool - 07/16/19

16 July 2019 | Mersey River
Helen
We woke up around 7:30 but tried to sleep a bit more. We could get off the ship any time, but most of the tourist places would not open early. So, we took our time. Got up and dressed and headed to Deck 7, Lido, for breakfast. We each had omelets. Drank lots of orange juice today, trying to fight off my sinus cold. We vacated our cabin just after 9 am. The cabin staff was ready to let in the maintenance staff to repair the flooring in our cabin. There was a noticeable dip and I was afraid of tripping and falling. We walked down to Deck 2, but still had to go one more deck down in order to get to the gang plank. It was a good walk to get to the floating dock and over to shore. They had a few areas with locks. We were told that the tides are around 25 feet and on both sides of the Mersey River, they built up special surfaces of rock which are recipients of the the low to high tide waves. They also protect the land from sliding away. We walked along the water front, stopping at one of the buildings. We could have taken a tour, but decided to wait till later in the day. We did visit the Maritime Museum. Lots of history and artifacts from ships along the years. There were also several memorials built to honor the fallen ones from all wars. So much history. We saw the Fab Four statue and cafe along the water. We worked our way over to the main shopping area. We stopped for a coffee and hot chocolate as I was needing something mid morning. We found a big indoor shopping mall. Mark was in search of a white shirt, since he didn't buy one along the way and he did not pack one from home. He was successful in finding a shirt and it turned out to be half price, which was even better. I visited with a local, who was also a sailor and loved to hear about our adventure. We walked around the main city area. Mark was looking for a wine store. Eventually, we found a Tesco store, which was great. Also, picked up some laundry detergent as they have a laundry room on our deck, very close to our cabin. It's probably time to run a couple of loads. We walked back to the ship around 2 pm. Dropped off our purchased in our cabin and noticed that our floor repair was complete. It's a lot better. Then we headed up to Deck 7, Lido, for lunch. I ate some cooked veggies and a slice of turkey plus a spinach crepe. Drank some more orange juice as well as some hot chamomile tea. There is a great selection of foods, hot and cold, plus a variety of desserts. Then headed back to our cabin. Caught up on our emails while we still have coverage. I posted pictures on Facebook. The took a short nap. They interrupted our sleep time with the mandatory safety drill for the passengers newly onboard. We did notice a lot of suitcases put out last night. Many people got on in Southampton and got off the ship today. That meant that many new passengers got on today. I think I had just fallen asleep. We got up and showered. Mark booked us a rental car in Iceland. That is our next stop. Our ship will remain there overnight, so we have two days of touring. Should be exciting. Got dressed up for dinner. I wore a pair of short white pants with a nice colorful top. Mark wore slacks and a golf shirt with his mandatory suit jacket. They won't allow any men in the dining room if they are not wearing a jacket. Terry and Sheila were already at our table. John & Nancy missed dinner as they had booked a length bus ride tour to Wales. Had a lovely dinner tonight. I skipped the starter, but enjoyed a dessert. Our dining time was much faster tonight. We decided to head back to our cabin and watch the send-off party from our balcony. The shore was full of Liverpool-ites. Lots of people and very crowded in places. There was a stage set up with a band and singers performing a special concert for us. We were supposed to leave around 7:30pm. They added a band with more songs and ended with some opera singers. It was fun to watch. We made a few phone calls. What a lovely way to end our stay today. They dropped the many dock lines and shot off a good amount of fireworks. We are heading out the Mersey River now. The sun has not yet set. It's 21C and very flat waters. It will take us a couple of hours to get thru to the mouth of the river. We are traveling slowly as the tide is very low. We missed our Comic Show tonight as we want to take advantage of our wifi connection as long as we can see land. Thanks for the many emails and messages. We can feel some vibrations. Not sure what that means. Our next stop will be Iceland. Our garmin will be working and marking out our course. Please send us a message, if you can. Would love to hear from you.

Queen Mary 2 Sea Day - 07/15/19

15 July 2019 | St George's Channel
Helen
Woke up late today. Took our time getting up. Missed the breakfast time in the main dining room, so got dressed and headed to Deck 7, Lido. We each had eggs and bacon, plus a fresh muffin. We walked around Deck 7, along with many other passengers. Some were running. One guy wore a t-shirt stating that he had run 52 marathons in 52 weeks. How incredible! The weather was warmer and sunny out. The many lounge chairs along the edge were all taken with passengers. Some were reading, some were in shorts, catching a few rays. Surprised to see so many outside. We also saw a few people in the hot tub, but no one was in the any of the pools. Maybe the water is too cold for that. The high today was just around room temperature. Light winds made it very pleasant. We discovered an elevator on each side of the ship with a glass wall so we could see the ocean on each side. We found some hallways out to the front of the ship and took some pictures. Mark noticed several dolphins off the bow. Not sure if any of them made it to our pictures. Then we headed to the Royal Court Theater for a talk on The Terrorist Hunters with a former BBC reporter named Margaret Gilmore. She will be doing more talks throughout this cruise. We then attended our first show in the Illuminations Planetarium titled 'Wildest Weather in the Solar System'. It was entertaining. We headed back to Deck 7, Lido, for a late lunch. We did some more walking before heading back to our cabin. I decided to see if I could fall asleep, as I was not feeling that well. I am coming down with a cold. Mark went to listen to a lecture from the Astronomer, Dr Johnathon Crass, on 'Our Place in the Universe'. Mark says he is trying to arrange a dark sky night, which would be great. We showered and changed for our formal dining night. Met up with Terry, Shiela, John and Nancy. We were entertained by a few string classical musicians. It seemed like our service was very slow as it took a full two hours for our dinner. We were likely the last table to leave today. Decided to try our luck at the casino, for the first time. They accept US dollars and just $1 minimum on the roulette table. Our numbers were not selected. We got to see a huge amount of very large wind mills out in the water beside our ship. Not many of them were working. The water was pretty glassy, so must have been a lack of wind to blame. We headed up to Deck 7, Lido, to pick up a hot drink. Mark enjoyed the self-serve ice cream. Catching up on wifi as it was not working thru the day. We must have been too far off shore to connect with their cell towers. It is 17C here at 10 pm. The water is very flat. Our speed is only 11 knots as we are getting closer to Liverpool. The tide will be high just after midnight which will be the correct time to enter the river or channel on route to Liverpool. We will be at the dock long before we wake up as the tv channel showing our current position is stating we will be at the dock at 1 am. Thanks for your emails and messages. Enjoy your day!
Vessel Name: Charabia
Vessel Make/Model: Fountaine Pajot / Athena
Hailing Port: Jacksonville, FL
Crew: Mark &Helen
About:
We are both computer folks that were live aboard cruisers back in the 90s. We settled in Jacksonville Florida after escaping the great white north and cruising the Bahamas, T&C, DR and points south down to Trinidad. [...]
Extra: Charabia is a French slang word for nonsense or gibberish. It derives from Arabic "sharab" which means alcohol.When you drink (too much) alcohol, you start talking Charabia. The original owners named her and Mark liked the name so it stuck.
Charabia's Photos - Main
Photos 1 to 20 of 20
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1
Nov 2017 trip south from Jacksonville
9 Photos
Created 23 August 2018
Upgrades and maintenance to Charabia
79 Photos
Created 27 June 2017
72 Photos
Created 16 May 2015
46 Photos
Created 15 May 2015
72 Photos
Created 7 April 2015
95 Photos
Created 4 April 2015
106 Photos
Created 31 March 2015
Get the boat ready to cruise.
10 Photos
Created 14 March 2015