Cruising in 2019
28 January 2019
Dream On is wintering in Marina Di Ragusa, southern Sicily, and we are preparing her for the 2019 cruising season - new Solar Charging system, Generator, Watermaker, Refrigeration upgrade, other smaller projects - the list goes on.
However, we now have a plan for our 2019 cruise - we’re heading for Greece (well, the Greek Islands that is). So for those who want to cruise with us this year, here is our (rough) itinerary to help you get to us;
We will leave Marina Di Ragusa and sail to Crotone, southern Italy at the beginning of April to lift Dream On out of the water for bottom painting and the fridge upgrade - should be done in 2 weeks?
End of April, we will sail to the Ionian Islands of Kefalonia and Zakinthos, and cruise this area for the whole of May.
June - we will sail through the Corinth Canal into the Aegean Sea, and then will head as far North through the Islands as we can before the North Easterly winds arrive.
July & August, we will meander through the Islands in a SouthWesterly direction, visiting as many of the islands as we can on the way.....
September, we will sail around the southern Peleponese and then return to Sicily, possibly calling in at Malta “on the way.”
If you would like to join us, please let us know where and when you are thinking of and we’ll work something out!
26 August 2018 | Bonifacio
It's been a while since we posted anything here, so we thought it was time to give a short update of where we've been and what we've been up to;
1st July, we sailed from Cassis to The Porquerolles islands, very beautiful and very busy, crowded anchorages.
Then we made the 100 mile crossing to Calvi, Corsica to await the arrival of Keith. Arrived to find there was a week-long "drum n base" music festival taking place in Calvi - music 'till 5am! We escaped the so called music and spent a week sailing and chilling with Keith on the North coast of Corsica.
9th July, Facebook reminded Beryl it was 4 years since her last shift at work. The same day, she was in action trying to save the life of an Italian man from a neighbouring boat, with CPR and mouth to mouth. Sadly, despite her efforts and those of the medical team at the harbour, he did not survive. Very proud of her!
After Keith left, we sailed down the West coast to a beautiful bay, Girolata to celebrate Nigel's Birthday. Nice restaurants, scenery and cows on the beach?
18th July, we sailed further South and spent 5 days of rest and recovery for Nigel - a bad back from pulling the casualty from the water, and diarrhoea from the pain killers.
28th July, all fit and well, we crossed the Bonifacio Straits to Sardinia, to meet up with Mark & Hannah in Olbia (the most expensive marina berth so far at 160 Euro per night!). Had a lovely week sailing and relaxing, swimming and kayaking in crystal clear waters of the Maddalena marine park.
Next, we had 2 weeks to make it to the East coast of Sardinia, from Olbia to Alghero where our next visiting crew would arrive. We stayed in another marine park, Asinara on the way. A former prison island, now inhabited by goats, donkeys and wild boar. A beautiful place we would return to.
Jack & Gina arrived after a short delay, and after a night on the Town Quay in Alghero, we explored a couple of the local anchorages, the town itself and took a boat trip (?!?) to visit Neptune's Grotto, a system of caves in the cliff face.
21st August, we said goodbye to the visitors, and had decided to travel back to Corsica and visit Bonifacio, a very spectacular harbour and a safe place to hide from strong winds that were coming. It would also be a good place to celebrate our 30th Wedding Anniversary.
And that's where we are now. The strong winds are here and will be gone by tomorrow. We will also leave here to meander back to Olbia in Sardinia over the next 3 weeks or so, before we come back to the UK for a week at the end of September.
Where is Dream On?
02 July 2018
A Whale of a tale.....
02 July 2018 | Mediterranean Sea
Dream On was safely moored in the middle of Mahon harbour on a small floating “island”, with water and electricity, and around 15 other boats not wanting to pay the extortionate price for the main marina. This was ideal, the only negative was the need to use the dinghy to go ashore for restaurants, provisions and proper toilets.
Tom and Anders were first to arrive at the Mermaid statue, and we soon had them aboard and installed in their bunks for a short nap after an early start. The rest of the day was spent provisioning, eating and drinking. Stuart and Rob arrived the next day bang on schedule, and the crew for crossing from Menorca to France was complete. After a surprisingly good tapas lunch, we got everyone back to the boat and more sleeping was done before heading out to eat our last shore meal for a couple of days. The meal was pretty average and the service was poor, but Rob and Tom found something really special to entertain them in the bunk room they were sharing!
It was Sunday morning, and after a night of extreme snoring competitions (which Stuart won), it was time to set off for the 230Nm crossing, destination - somewhere close to Marseille. The weather forecast was OK, no strong winds or big seas expected, and we would be in France on Tuesday morning. So the sea sickness patches were stuck on and the lines were cast off.
The crossing was fairly uneventful in sailing terms, we managed to sail half of the time, motor the rest in mostly flat calm seas, and we ended up having to slow down for the last few hours so we could arrive in daylight. We had spectacular sunsets, moonsets and sunrises, and the stars were very clear, with Jupiter and Venus being the first to appear. The SkyGuide iPad app went down a treat!
Within the first few miles we were joined by Dolphin, swimming in our bow wave, and we would see lots more during the crossing, as well as 1 sunfish and what appeared to be tuna jumping. However, the main event of the journey was the sighting of whales. Anders spotted a large plume about 1/2 mile from the boat, in glassy conditions, and we went to get a closer look. There were two of these creatures swimming and diving together, staying on the surface for 2 or 3 minutes then diving for 5 or 6 minutes, presumably to feed. They were at least as long as the boat (15m), probably longer and very wide - later research led us to believe they were Fin Whales (thanks Rob), not common in the Mediterranean.
On Monday evening, we saw a large ship which did not appear on our AIS system. As it got closer, it became clear it was an Aircraft Carrier, and the decks were covered in aircraft. Not an everyday sight! Then, on the VHF we heard the announcement of a “live firing with tracer visible” planned for that evening, and instructions to keep away from a particular area of sea. Fortunately we were not too close, and didn’t hear or see anything, other than the call of a helicopter pilot warning someone that they were sailing into the designated firing area - fortunately not us!
The same evening we also saw a ship named Wind Surf, a cruise ship with five 220ft masts with sails. Not your everyday sailboat.
We arrived in the bay of Cassis early on Tuesday morning and headed for Port Miou, a crevice in the cliff faced shoreline and an amazing place to moor the boat. After a swim and some sleeping, we had breakfast and then headed ashore to explore the area. It is located in the Calanques Nature Reserve, and is a very barren and rugged landscape. We walked to the closest town, Cassis and found an absolute gem. The town and port are on the boundary between Provence and Cote D’Azure, and is full of bars and restaurants surrounding a small harbour, with a ‘castle’ (now a hotel) on the cliffs above looking down on the masses. This would be a great place to spend the night and ideal for the crew to make their escape from, so we booked into the harbour and after a hearty lunch (mussels and chips for three) we headed back and moved Dream On into the porthole.
We enjoyed the delights of Cassis that evening, then the following morning the crew made their escape; a bus to the train station, a train to Nice, a taxi to the airport and then a drive home at the other end.
The same morning a large Catamaran (Lagoon 620) came into the port and moored up. Until then, Dream On had the tallest mast in the harbour, but there is always one bigger! Later that day, in the middle of washing down the decks, the port officials arrived and told me the owner of our slip was coming back and we (or rather I, as my crew had left and Beryl was not back from Spain) needed to move to another. And you can guess where they wanted me to go, alongside the Catamaran in a really tight gap!
Next morning, I needed to pick up a rental car to get Beryl from the airport. The car was in Ciotat, only 12km away, and I could do that on the bike and then fold it away in the car. The problem was that hotel, or rather the hill it was built on was in my way. What a climb. Six km uphill, followed by another 6km down again, in 30+ degrees. Not sure that what those little folding bikes are made for?
After picking Beryl up at the airport, we were lost in Marseille for an hour or so as the tunnel we were supposed to take was closed, but all the signs and the satnav were taking us back to it. We got back to Cassis eventually and settled in for another day and night to enjoy the town, and then headed out to the Calanques to spend a night in a beautiful anchorage, before leaving this area for the Porquerolles, another French delight.
Thanks to Rob, Stuart, Anders and Tom for helping with the crossing and making it an enjoyable and memorable trip, and thanks to Beryl for coming back!
02 July 2018 | Fornells
So, despite not seeing hide nor hare of the Posidonia police, we found ourselves having to move numerous times due to the poor holding and wind. We found a spot just off the town just in time for Nigel’s mam(Mary), sister and brother-in-law(Heather and Eric) to arrive. They settled into their apartment and as they’d had an early start, they rested and we all met later for dinner.
All was good!
Mam was wanting to visit Dream On to see what all the fuss was about, so she gamely boarded the dinghy and our new day crew arrived on board. We raised the anchor (big mistake!) and took them for a jollie (another big mistake) The swell outside the inlet was as big as I’d seen since the start of this adventure and consequently 2/3rds of the new crew were sick! Quick turnaround saw us back on dry land sharpish. However we didn’t find similar good holding and we were off on our wanders again. Needless to say we’re sick of the sight of Posidonia grass!
Lisa was arriving the following day, unfortunately so was the Tramontana (seasonal big wind!) Thankfully Heather and Eric picked Lisa up from the airport as we basically sat on Dream On in 20+ knt winds with the engine in forwards just to keep still!! Not ideal.
And then it was gone......no wind, calm waters, beautiful evening, lovely family meal (excellent paella) Mam, Heather and Eric left the following morning, it had been so good to see them, despite the added hassle.
Lisa was with us for 8 days. We moved from Fornells and sailed anti-clockwise visiting Cala Algayerens again, Cuitadella, Son Saura where we saw lots of rays resting under the sand and Cala Galdana. Cala Galdana is really special to us as it’s where the dream really began. 20+ years ago we were on a family holiday here and Nigel sat on the beach everyday watching the yachts come and go. It was then he decided to learn to sail and it was pretty amazing being able to return on our own boat. That called for a bottle of bubbly!!
We ended the trip in Mahon on a floating pontoon getting Dream On ready for a change of crew.
Lisa and I headed for the airport, Lisa to go home and me to join friends for a girlie week in Spain. Thank you Kay, what luxury, a spectacular home, a bed that doesn’t move, a shower you can let run, and great friends Kay, Karen and Morven (missed you Bev, Jos and Jackie!)
Meanwhile all our guys flew to Mahon to sail Dream On to either Corsica or Marseille depending on the wind.
Have a safe trip guys, see you in a week!!
Not all fun in the sun!
10 June 2018 | Fornells
Spent 2 nights in Porto Cristo marina after being directed to a VERY tight berth with £million+ motor yachts either side. Not stressful at all! Getting out was a lot easier thank goodness.
Headed north to Cala Pi, Formentor for 2 nights on a mooring buoy (1 for free again!) Absolutely stunning anchorage, you can see why it's so popular.
We left early for our crossing to Menorca and had to motor initially but the wind picked up for a lovely 35 mile sail in the sunshine. Found a fabulous anchorage (Cala Algayerens), 2 beaches only accessible by track or boat, such clear water and sandy seabed so no anchoring problems. Spent 3 nights there, the days mostly fixing issues with the wind generator which now spins freely..free power!!
Moved to Cala Tirant, 12 miles to the east, a very open Cala with a small holiday resort. Anchored in what we thought was sand, had a bit of a rolly night with swell, and the anchor never budged. However, we awoke to discover we had our chain stuck in rocks. So after some careful (haha) manoeuvring we freed ourselves, moved slightly to lie in sand just in time for the Posidonia Police to come visit. (Protected sea grass you're not allowed to anchor in) He just motored up, looked at us, gave us a reluctant wave and went away.
As family were coming to stay we moved round the next bay to Fornells, a very pretty place known to be very sheltered. It's very restricted anchoring here due to the sea grass so made great efforts to find sand. Not easy in murky water! Given a hint by a fellow Brit, anchored and everything looked ship shape.....until the following morning.
We found ourselves in rather shallow water having drifted and the wind was blowing hard. No gentle morning coffee, it was time to up anchor.
2-3 hrs and a few attempts later, we eventually found some holding however we are in the dreaded grass (as are all the other boats near us) We spent the rest of the day watching boats drift and attempting to anchor numerous times so we were not alone. All in all a pretty stressful day!!
Despite the grass, we've stayed put and will probably have to do it all again tomorrow when the Posidonia Police turn up. Mind, if all the boats get moved, it will be like the M25 in here!!
Update next time.....
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