Saturday, November 14, 2009

Going Home

4th June 2009


We haven't really done too much since we arrived here, just pottered really. Fliss has finished her underwear shopping and has made a few forays as far as Morrisons. We went to the chandlers and looked for engine mounts and turning blocks for the headsail sheets (ours are well past their prime) and were met with no success. I did however splash out on grease for the stern-bearing (to go in the greasing 'gun') and a new stern light since, when I bought Naz, the survey indicated that I needed a new one. It has taken me 7 years to get around to it!

These items now fitted, I have washed, polished and cleaned Naz who deserves it for taking us around the world and I am now half way through re-fixing the puncture in the dinghy floor - my original attempt being unsuccessful.

Yesterday, we were invited for a cuppa by a couple of chaps on a boat a few places further down the pontoon. They are out for the week and have not managed to get sailing due to strong winds in the Gibraltar Straits. We went aboard their rather fancy Jeanneau (or however you spell it) and the owner showed off all his whizzy kit including his AIS that Fliss is keen for us to have. Only after some slightly criminal activity of supplying him with unlicensed software did I learned that he was a judge and his friend was a solicitor. However, he was thrilled with the goods and we celebrated with a few too many drinks followed by a barbeque on the pontoon with a number of others moored here.

The likely Lads

Today is another lazy day and the weather forecast is telling us to stay put for a good while yet. It may be possible to do some overnighters once the wind eases a bit but there appears to be no let-up in the WNW airflow over the whole region. Night sailing will reduce the effect against us and it looks as though we will be burning a lot of fuel to get as far as Cabo de Sao Vincente and probably further. The fuel here will be a little more expensive than Tunisia but otherwise is said to be the cheapest in the Med.

We learned that the ship that is pressed hard against the cliffs at Europa point came to grief in October when they had hurricane force winds here. It had engine trouble at the time but fortunately no one was killed.

We will be here for a while and might therefore eventually summon up the energy to go for a walk around the rock. There-again, we might just sit and idle our time away. I could always sit on deck and slowly sand back the grab rails prior to another few coats of varnish.

6th June 2009

We have had another lazy day reading and wandering around the town. Tomorrow, we will re-provision and get ready to move. We need to get out of the marina just to even pretend that we might go! It has been too good being landbound for a while with all the necessary and luxury items easy to hand.

The dinghy floor seems to have stopped leaking and so the repair, although not pretty, seems to have worked. I will leave it inflated until we leave and see if it slowly deflates. With it inflated outside of the dinghy, I have worked out that it could have many other uses...A blow-up bed, Li-Lo and surfboard.

This is the last stop for cheap fuel and alcohol. When we leave the marina, we will top up with diesel and tonight at 6pm we go to the booze shop and hopefully have our order fulfilled and delivered. The really cheap stuff comes in plastic bottles which is just what we want onboard.

8th June 2009

We paid up at the marina and then moved to the fuelling dock where we re-filled with fuel (284 litres for 196 GBP). The fuel is now leaking profusely into the bilges from the port tank (air breather pipe, inspection hatch and taps) . Something that has needed fixing for a year now but we need to stop, get to chandlers strip Naz down before we can effect a fix - therefore impossible whilst always on the move. We shall run on the port tank until it stops and then mix the bilges with soap and pump more pollution overboard.

After re-fuelling, we moved to the anchorage and had a chill-out afternoon. The plans are to move the 12 miles to Tarifa tomorrow and then push onwards to Faro on Wednesday when we might get some favourable winds. We would try the run to Faro tomorrow but the tidal streams will not allow us past Cape Trafalgar before they turn against us and, being Springs, we would have to battle against 4 knots at worst. So, Leave tomorrow at 8am and then Wednesday at 8:30am to be in Faro sometime Thursday. The weather down the Atlantic coast looks pretty nasty until Sunday and so there is no rush to get to Cabo Sao Vincente.

We are back onto our old Imray charts and have already rubbed-out pencil marks from three years ago. We are now re-tracing old steps but in the difficult direction. It is funny that I cannot remember winds from directly astern when we came down here but the weather at the moment is certainly bang on the nose at the moment!?!?

10th June 2009

We managed to sail yesterday for about 15 minutes until the wind died and then headed us as we entered the Straits. The wind was so flukey that it tacked the boat automatically every 15 minutes or so and we therefore kept the engine on for the whole run. We started off with about a knot of tide with us but soon lost it to about 2.5 knots against us. The advice that we had been given was to hug the Spanish coast and to sniff out the Westbound current by moving towards or away from the shore - apparently a couple of hundred yards may be all that is needed. We moved quite close to shore and spotted the shear-line between the currents and soon had 1-2 knots in our favour that we kept all the way to Tarifa. We anchored on the Eastern side in calms and had a look around the town which is quite pleasant if you find yourself into the older backstreets. Whilst there, a whale watching tout caught us and told us that the weather will be good today (and also calm) but poor on Thursday when the Levanter blows through. The Levanter is the Easterly that we wanted and so we have stayed today. We had another wander around the town this morning looking at all the windsurfing and kitesurfing shops (Tarifa has a reputation for strong winds) and then returned to Naz as the wind had already turned Easterly and was picking up. We motored around the Southernmost tip of Europe and dropped the hook around the other side of Tarifa where we are no longer on a lee shore.

Playing with the Locals - Tarifa


11th June 2009

We awoke at 7:30 with the wind blowing hard outside. We were glad that we had moved around Cape Tarifa yesterday.

With just the reefed headsail set, we set off at 6-7 knots with a load of current against us creating wind over tide conditions that were a bit messy. The forecast from Tarifa gave F7 at Tarifa but significantly less elsewhere and we slowly lost the wind and passed Cape Trafalgar with light airs dead downwind at 4.5 - 5.5 knots under full sail.

12th June 2009

We lost the wind somewhere just past Cape Trafalgar yesterday afternoon and had to motor all night. I thought that we would start getting headwinds since we had wave action against us but they failed to materialise and the sunrise brought light breezes that we managed to sail for a couple of hours today before it died again. We arrived at the anchorage at about 10:30 after surging against the rapids and overfalls at the entrance to the Faro lagoon at half-ebb tide.

We are having Bolognese tonight made with bacon since it is the only meat that we have on board and has managed to survive the warm fridge conditions. Tomorrow, we will head to Olhao in the dinghy to get some more provisions and have a look around. Now, it's time for a chill-out and early night since we have the usual problem of single-overnighter fatigue.

13th June 2009

The forecast has changed its mind and it might be possible to start heading North on Tuesday. So we upped the hook this morning and started heading Westwards in preparation. We are heading towards Portimao at the moment (8 degrees 32' West) where we will try to find a sheltered spot to anchor and will then head West again to give us good proximity to C de S Vincente. No wind to speak of and so we have been motoring again although there is a swell from the SE that could make anchoring a pain.

Somewhere along the route, we will need to re-provision and that will probably be at Baleeira (8 degrees 55' west) since the shops will close for Sunday tomorrow.

14th June 2009

We anchored inside the moles that form the entrance to Portimao yesterday and the surroundings are quite pleasant except for the Grand Prix Jet Ski championships going on here all day long. We went into town to get some shopping in and that is all we have done. The skies are cloudy and it is hot and sultry.

The weather keeps changing its mind about next week but we may have the opportunity to run North around about Wednesday so we shall head West tomorrow in preparation.

15th June 2009

After a struggle with some ropes caught around our chain, we got the anchor up and started to leave only to find someone on a nearby boat jumping up and down and waving furiously. We motored over to see what the fuss was all about. It was John Owen from the Emsworth Cruising Association (to which we belong). We chatted for a while whilst holding station and then sailed off towards Baleeira. After not very long, we decided that we really should go back and invite this him for dinner and so we returned and dropped the hook again.

It was a very slim chance that we met up since he has only just returned from England after having to attend a funeral there. What a small world it is.

16th June 2009

37 degrees 01' North, 8 degrees 55' West

We motored with a very light Southerly past Lagos and then the wind did a complete flip and started blowing from the North North West. A reef was quickly put in the main and then we started putting a few rolls in the headsail. With the wind hard from this direction we instantly decided that it would be unwise to poke our heads around Cabo De Sao Vincente and made for Baleeira. Eventually, we decided to do away with the headsail altogether as we were screaming along at over 8 knots and could not be bothered to put the second reef in the main with just a short distance to go.

So, we have dropped the hook in the same spot that we did on the 29th July 2006 and it is blowing just as hard now as it was then. The good thing about this anchorage as opposed to the one round the next headland is that you can feel the full force of the wind here and therefore can tell when it eases up. If it does ease overnight then we will get going again and head for Sines.

17th June 2009

We found the wind abating at Baleeira and set off again only to be caught in more strong winds just around the corner. The wind was a straight Northerly and we thought that heading into it and the Ocean swell would be very uncomfortable so we dropped the hook again just inside Cabo De Sao Vincente with the view of leaving at midnight if things abated. At midnight, the wind was still howling in the rigging and so we went back to bed again.

At 04:30, we were awoken by the Portugese Navy - 4 men in a RIB from their mother ship. We had forgotten to put out our anchor light (oops!) and they wanted to know who we were and why we did not have a light on. They were pleasant but checked all our paperwork etc etc. They also checked the date on our flares and found them out of date as of Dec last year (oops again!) and then checked my ICC certificate that was also out of date (oops, oops!). I did not realise that the ICC ran out.

The winds had abated and turned Easterly and so we decided to lift the hook and set off. We had a good sail around CDSV at 7+ knots and then it all petered out again so we put the engine on again. It was still playing up and having serious problems with higher revs. After a while of fretting and fiddling with the throttle, I decided to turn it of and wallow whilst I changed the filters. They were changed back in Simi and the sight glass was clean as a whistle and the filter does not look clogged but the change seems to have done the trick. Now I just need to find somewhere that sells filters for the D2-55 since I have no more secondary filters left.

We have 37 miles to go to Sines and the time is 11:00, we are hoping for some wind that we can use to get us there.

18th June 2009

we anchored next to a German sailing boat last night and he gave us a wave and seemed to be wanting to tell us something. Since neither of us had our dinghies launched, I called him on the VHF and found out that, just outside the harbour, his engine had failed and he had to have a tow into the small inner harbour where we are anchored. It turned out that his filters were blocked and the local police had told him that another yacht has had the same problem only a couple of days ago. He had filled up in Almeira just up the Med side of the Spanish coastline. I told him that we had the same problem and that we were going to get more filters today on the assumption that we would need one set for every 30 hours running until we replaced our fuel.

This morning we all took a taxi to the local engineering outlet and I got 5 primary and 5 secondary filters and the Germans were less lucky with filters for their Nanni diesel but did get secondary filters.

20th June 2009

Yesterday Evening, we picked the hook up and headed off in light airs Northwards. The Germans (Klaus & Brigetta on 'Santa Maria II') had left half an hour before us and radioed to say the seas were calm. We thought about going all the way to Peniche but decided to call it a day at Cascais and arrived there at 5am and went back to bed. Santa Maria II only motors at 3 knots and so we had passed them relatively quickly but we were surprised when they arrired at Cascais 5 hours behind us. It turned out that they had opted for Peniche but found 20 knot headwinds, rough seas and fog past Cabo Resa and Cabo Roca and had decided to turn back.

We went into town - which is very nice and chic, bought some supplies and then invited Klaus & Brigetta over for drinks and snacks before getting to bed early.

This morning, we set off at 7am in flat calm seas and followed 3 other yachts that were headed North. As we approached Cabo Raso, we watched as one yacht with sails up heeled over hard and the other started hobby-horsing in the swell. A bank of fog ran all the way down the coastline and the white water was quite visible - it was still blowing hard from the North. We did not particularly want to bash hard to windward for the next 40 miles to Peniche and so did a prompt about-turn and headed back to the anchorage. On the way in, we met Santa Maria II and they also turned around. The forecast for tomorrow is for lighter winds in a more useful direction and we shall have another go then. Of course, the strong winds and fog could just be a local phenomenon but we did not want to test out that theory! Maybe tomorrow?

So we are having a rest day today and then tomorrow, hopefully, we will get as far as Bayona or even beyond. What we don't want is a NEasterly breeze since we will be headed East of North!

22nd June 2009

05:30. 40 degrees 47' North, 9 degrees 20' West

Yesterday, we have had very little in the way of wind since leaving Cascais and the bit we have had has not been of much use. Fliss managed to squeeze some power out of the sails whilst I was off watch but the sails would not play properly for me later on. Sunday was very foggy and I spent the whole day staring at the radar. The sea was flat apart from a gentle swell and I kept staring at weak images on the screen and trying to see them in real life by peering through the mist. I eventually worked out that most of the images were fishing pots that gave an echo almost as strong as the small plastic day-fisherboats that tie up to buoys whilst the men drink beer and play with their rods.

However, the mist eventually cleared as we passed Berlenga Island and we had a good view of that beautiful island that we visited 3 years ago. We were sorely tempted to stop but we really must get the miles under our belts whilst the conditions are not trying to push us the wrong way. Ho Hum!

At 01:10, I was playing with the laptop when there was a thunk followed by a barely discernable change in engine noise. I moved around listening to the engine and could not work out whether I was just hearing things. I then noticed that our speed had dropped over half a knot but the engine was still revving at the same speed. I checked the Aries rudder with a torch but nothing had snagged on it. We were still going too slowly so I put the engine in neutral, waited until we stopped and peered over the side - surely enough, there was a bundle of orange rope hanging off the prop. Putting in reverse did not clear it and so I had to wake Fliss who held the torch and assited whilst I climbed down the rudder with a bread knife tied to a stick to cut it free. I am glad that the water is not too cold in these parts and that there was no wind and no sea running.

At 04:30, a bit of breeze picked up on the beam and we managed to turn the engine off. It increased a few knots and had us yomping along at over 7 knots for some time but is slowly dying now even though we are still maintaining 6.5 knots. Let's hope it continues as it is for the rest of the day.

41 degrees 33 North, 9 degrees 13 West @ 14:30

We made good progress last night and have sailed well until now. The wind is dying a bit but we are still getting along. The forecast for Finisterre is 'Rough to Very Rough', seas 2.5 to 3m coming from the East and, although the wind is set to die off by tonight, we don't want to poke our noses around the cape to meet the mess coming at us. So, we are now headed for Bayona and hope to be there before dark although the entrance is lit and we remember the layout from being there last time so I don't suppose it matters if we arrive in the dark. Hopefully we will be able to sail all the way and find a suitable spot to drop the hook just past the marina.

If the forecast bodes well tomorrow than we will set off mid morning and head straight for La Coruna on an overnight passage that gets us around the cape in daylight.

23rd June 2009

We arrived in Bayona at about 9:30pm with grey overcast skies and dropped the hook outside the marina. We decided not to move on today as I have had a bit of a cold and was a little tired as a result. Since we have stopped here and can re provision here, we have decided not to go to La Coruna but to go to Camarinas and wait there for a suitable time to cross the Biscay.

We went into town and did some shopping and then I did 2 runs with jerry cans for refuelling and that has been the sum total of the day except for another dinghy repair. We found that the dinghy was soft and then heard a hissing coming from the rear of one of the tubes. The engine to the dinghy was scratched-up in Cascais as the tide rose and jammed it under the concrete pier but we thought the dinghy was ok. Not so. There is a small scatch but enough to leak air so I have added another patch - we need to get somewhere to buy more glue - Falmouth here we come!

Off tomorrow to Camarinas (70 miles) and then wait and hopefully get on with some boat jobs.

24th June 2009

We left Bayona at 5am and have had very little wind but what there was has been from the South. Even so, we have had to keep the engine on to make good progress so that we cover the 70 miles to Camarinas. So far, an uneventful journey and we hope to get in by 6 or 7pm. We now have tide with us giving 0.8 of a knot which is certainly helping and a very welcome rarity.

The weather pattern over the next 3 days is very good for crossing the Biscay but we are not mentally prepared for the run and want a few days relaxation instead. So, we shall stop at Camarinas and hope that the sun breaks out (it has been grey and cool the last couple of days). Looking forwards, Sunday might be a good day to leave but we shall see how the patterns emerge over the next few days.

No wind at sunset

25th June 2009

The final leg into Camarinas was perfect as the wind increased enough and we also bore away from dead downwind enough to get the engine off and have a pleasant sail with up to a knot of current in our favour. It is windy cold and grey this morning and we are anchored just North of the harbour. Last time we were here, boats anchored inside the harbour but there are a number of pontoons now available for yachts and the only anchored boats are where we have now dropped the hook. I assume that anchoring in the harbour is now discouraged but we shall take the dinghy in and find out.

The weather is looking fine for a Saturday departure but we shall keep our eyes on it tomorrow since there is a nasty low pressure just West of the Azores. The view is that it will curve North and not affect us but we shall see.

26th June 2009

Looks like a F6 or 7 tomorrow and, although it is in a good direction, we have decided that the low pressure system driving it (990mb) is a bit too close for comfort and will wait an extra day before departing so we can see where it is really headed. So, currently it looks as if we shall attempt the Biscay on Sunday.

We have done a few minor boat jobs this morning, went into town again this afternoon and also sneaked into the marina showers when no-one was looking and are feeling beautifully clean and fresh. We cannot remember the last time we had a shower.

We are glad to hear that warm weather is now with you. We were getting worried that you might not be able to sort out the damp and cold before we arrived back but we are feeling as though you are now making a real effort - thanks for that!

There was a new looking steel boat in the marina and the captain and crew were all gathered around the front looking at a big scrape up the bow. They had come into the marina, put it hard in reverse and shot forwards quickly into the pontoon. It was failure of the gear cable like you have had once.

We are trying to get Naz all clean and tidy before our arrival back. Unfortunately the water here is green and murky and Naz has a green and slimy skirt growing that is difficult to get off without erasing the antifouling. Never mind, she should look presentable for aour homecoming.

27th June 2009

43 degrees 06' North, 9 degrees 12.7' West

we decided to move across to the South end of the bay opposite Mugia since the forecast is for strong winds tonight from the South. With luck, they will ease by the time we plan to leave tomorrow morning and we shall not leave until we get the latest forecast tomorrow to ensure that the F9 severe gales blowing in all areas around us are heading North and away.....

WARNING NR 331 , FRIDAY 26 JUNE 2009 AT 2045 UTC


LOW 1003 38N23W EXPECTED 992 46N17W BY 27/12UTC THEN 985 50N20W BY



FROM 27/18UTC TO 28/12UTC









FROM 27/15UTC TO 28/06UTC


Not exactly an Azores high going on out there. However, the winds are set to be no more than F4/5 in our direction and we shall again check tomorrow to see how things are shaping up.

From the sea, Mugia looks like it was designed in the 1960s with old-style mid-rise apartments - not very pretty. However, once you walk into the centre it is very pleasant with old granite stone buildings and a nice atmosphere. The local church on the headland is very pretty and there was a wedding taking place. We stood and watched the bride arrive with her long flowing dress and veil billowing in the wind.

We went wild and crazy and had a beer at one of the seafront cafes to say 'Goodbye' to the continent and are now back on Naz with Fliss preparing a pizza for later. A British boat is anchored inside the harbour and they have invited us for sundowners at 6pm so we shall go for an hour and then get to bed early ready for our next passage. The harbour has quite a few mooring bouys inside and we did not want to drop our hook in there amongst the inevitable anchor-fouling concrete blocks that will be scattered on the bottom.

28th June 2009

43 degrees 18' North, 9 degrees 09' West, 12:00 BST

we had a nice drink with Colin and Annie on their Warrior 40 and managed to leave after an hour so that we could get some shut-eye. Not so! The wind picked up as the predicted front went through and it gusted fiercly off the land making Naz dance backwards and forwards with the end of the harbour wall only 500m behind us. Fliss went to bed but I stayed up on anchor watch as the rain fell in curtains (very nice as it will have cleaned the Red Sea muck off the rigging).

The wind veered at 4am and I went to bed having only snatched snoozes for the previous 6 hours.

This morning, all was calm and the sun was shining. We picked up the forecast again and decided to leave for England - 460 miles to Falmouth. We are now goosewinged with just enough wind to keep the sails set and with the engine on. The forecast is for calm weather today and tonight with 15-20 knots tomorrow and the day after Southerly or South Easterly. Let's hope the forecast is correct since it is still kicking up a stink to the West. Colin had the 500mb weather charts and he said that the reason these lows are not running up the English channel is due to a static high (at high level) that has killed the jetstreams that drive these systems. He suggested that this phenomenon will remain for the forseeable future and we hope it does.

Colin and Annie left England in April and are heading for the Med. They have no plans except that they will sail to wherever for the next 11 years by which time they will have reached the age of 70. Now that's the way to do it!

29th June 2009

45 degrees 30' North, 7 degrees 55' West

We had some motoring yesterday followed by a bit of gentle sailing and then back to motoring as the wind eased off last night. This morning, the breeze slowly filled in and we turned the engine off just before dawn. I went to bed at 7am and when I awoke, we were storming along at over 7 knots on a broad reach with full sail. It has continued in this way so far and is due to remain like this until tomorrow morning when we expect to lose the wind again. So we are eating up the miles whilst we can and now have only 297 miles to go to our waypoint at the Manacles.

30th June 2009

47 degrees 02' North, 6 degrees 59' West 03:30 BST

A good days sailing but the breeze departed at about 9pm and we have been motorsailing since. It is a pitch black cloudy night with some rain which makes life a bit tedious especially as there is a bit of shipping to look out for. We are thinking of turning around and heading back to the warm and dry.

We were going to meet up with Ian and Kathy in Falmouth. Ian left the Azores singlehanded on Saturday and his wife Kathy is in Falmouth with a bad back - I think we mentioned them earlier. We don't think that Ian will get to Falmouth before we need to leave and so, unfortunately, we will probably miss him.

We saw, and almost ran-down a huge whale this evening. It was black, had a stubby head and old-ladies gill-like neck. It was acting very strangely on the surface and there appeared to be what looked like blood in the water. After we had passed, we watched it spouting again and again as though it was exerting itself at the surface. We looked in our identification book and decided that it may have been a Long-finned Pilot Whale. Fliss suggested that it may have been giving berth - we could not otherwise account for the strange behaviour since it has no predators.

We had instant noodles for dinner last night which is a far cry from the delicacies that you were tucking into. Both of us were hungry again by midnight and had mustard sandwiches with ham garnish. We are looking forward to getting to Falmouth and having Cornish pasties and chips.

1st July 2009

As we approached Falmouth we were stopped by Her Majesty's Customs who gave Nadezhda a serious checkover. They must have been on Nadezhda for well over an hour looking for drugs & people. Naz has been swabbed for traces of Class A drugs and finally we were given a clean bill of health. They found our tobacco supplies which was ok as it wasn't duty free but they didn't comment of the 70 odd litres of booze stashed in the bilges.

Friendly people & it's good to know that they check long distance boats. The reason we were checked wasn't that they tracked us in but the amount of sailing paraphernalia on the back of Naz.

6th July 2009

We have been utterly lazy over the last few days and have not moved from the anchorage in Falmouth. Having said that, the weather has been gusty, cold and rainy since we arrived and has not encouraged us at all. It is now blowing F8 and the showers, when they arrive, are heavy and merciless.

It is promised to be down to a F7 and reducing tomorrow and so we will probably go as far as Fowey.

Today, I have been updating my CV and logging my presence on the internet jobsites. I also called up some people from Fujitsu and found out who was the latest director of the Post Office Account. It turns out to be an ex-boss of mine and so I called and re-introduced myself. Alan D'Alvarez knows me and said he would call back in the next few days - if there was anything suitable he would recommend me. Let's hope.

We are hoping that Ian on Ariel finds his way in today. It is about time that he got here from the Azores since the wind has been behind him for most of the way. Still, if he does arrive today, I would imagine that all he will want to do is sleep.

Yesterday, we managed to find about 2 hours to go for a walk around Pendennis Head. The rain held off apart from some light spitting and we got back to Naz just before the heavens opened.

9th July 2009

The day before yesterday, Ian arrived back in Falmouth after having a bit of a wild time in the Biscay with waves breaking into the back of the boat. When he arrived, he had not slept for 48 hours and his eyes were glowing red. We spent the evening with him and Kathy and left early yesterday for a good sail to Salcombe to meet Bobs and her Friend who arrived an hour before us. They spent the evening on the boat and we all had pizza for dinner. They went back to their tent by taxi at about 11:30 (late for us!).

Today, we met up with the girls again and had a nosy around Salcombe. We were just starting out for a walk and looked down at the river to see two boats alongside Naz and people running on deck. I ran down, got in the dinghy and powered over to find a gaggle of harbourmasters. Apparently we had been reported as dragging and the guys on board had just lifted our anchor. Someone doesn't know the difference between swinging and dragging since there was no wind, the tide was fairly slack and, with the hook up, we did not move from our position (40 metres of chain in 5 metres of water!!). I picked up a buoy and when we went back to the boat, we re-anchored and I put one upstream and one downstream so we hope that we will not be confusing people in future.

Saturday looks grim in terms of weather and so we shall leave here on Sunday, stop at Studland and then leave Studland at about 10:00 to go to back to our old mooring.

13th July 2009

Welcome Home!

Mum & Dad met us at our old mooring and we tied up and celebrated with a bottle of champagne.

Entering the River Hamble

Can someone take our lines?

Flying our 'Brag Flags' of visted countries

14th July 2009

A telephone call came from Fujitsu. The day after arriving home it seems that a budget has been approved for me to start work. The words “We want you to start as soon as possible” gave me the willies since even the concept of working seemed remote after 3 years on a boat. We needed somewhere to live, suits to buy, transport to arrange et etc.

Still it was very, very welcome news.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Tunisia to Gibraltar

24th May 2009

Yesterday, the winds appeared in our favor and were set to be at least favorable or calm. There is a big high appearing over Europe with a low over North Africa that is set to produce strong NEasters by early Wednesday morning all the way through Friday to the South West of the Balearic's. We were hoping that we might manage 5.5 to 6 knots if we kept going with engine and then only catch part of the strong winds as they build behind us.

Not so. This morning, the current built to over a knot against us and the wind has headed us such that we are only doing 4 knots. I dialed a higher resolution GRIB for the area affected by the strong winds and it confirmed 30-35 knots in a swath between Cartagena, Africa and Ibiza. Knowing the Gribs, you can always add a few knots to the forecast and we don't want to go there (I checked an old GRIB against the recorded windspeed for our trip across to NZ as a little exercise - for 30 knots please read 35 gusting 40+). So, after much umming and ahhing, we have decided to set a course for Majorca and keep an eye on things. This decision started to materialize when we read Jimmy Cornel's routing guide that suggests keeping off the Algerian coast to keep away from the worst of the Eastbound current. So, hopefully, we will start to lose the current against us and will be snugged in an anchorage waiting to catch the tail-end of whatever is blowing towards the West once it has abated a bit.

It will be a bit of a battle up to Majorca for the next couple of days and we will probably use a lot of that diesel that we bought. Never mind, a bit disappointing but par for the course. Having got rid of the Red Sea, we really want to get the Med over and done with. It is not enjoyable for those on a tight schedule. Then it will only be headwinds and adverse current up the Portuguese coast and we will then be able to get more favorable conditions!!

The Aries seems to have responded to my repairs. I had to hang over the back of Naz after we had got under way to re-mesh the cogs more accurately but it now seems to be working ok. The wooden bit that allows the tiller pilot to operate the aries has been glued together with securing pieces of plywood and also seems ok.

25th May 2009

The weather does not know what it is doing. Or maybe it does and we are the ones who haven't got a clue.

There was no wind to speak of last night and we motored NW to get some Northing in away from the African coast currents and to line ourselves up for a better angle for the next leg. Our destination is still dependent on the winds and we have very mixed information on that front. The GRIB Files show light Westerlies tonight and light Northerlies tomorrow followed by breezy NE Tuesday night. Just right for heading West and aiming for Ibiza and on to the Spanish coastline where we would stop to let the gales die out that are predicted further West.

Navtex has a different spin on things. South of the Balearic's shows NW 4-5 and the outlook says that there is a threat of Gale or severe gale from the NW from Gulf of Lyon to the Balearic. This must be the Mistral effect, a build up of high pressure releasing over the mountains of Europe and flushing into the Med. We are hoping that this threat does not materialize since we would be catching the bottom end of it.

So our plans are changing by the minute and we have a number of options from Mallorca (couple of likely looking anchorages there), Ibiza (some good protection from any direction) and Spain (not many great anchorages but well endowed with marinas). We do not want to go South since we cannot stop in Algeria and we do not want to get into the gales that are forecast to the West of us. These have increased in the GRIB forecast to 35 knots (read 40++).

26th May 2009

Thankfully the gales didn't reach us but it's kicking off in Menorca. Thank god we didn't go there as it's forecast for gale 9 till tomorrow at the least.

At the moment we have light'ish headwinds but it is slowing us down. Thoughts for the moment...

We have 34 miles till a small island South of Mallorca where we could drop the hook & wait for the winds to come around which are due later on today or carry on burning fuel to Ibiza. It's all dependent what the weather forecast says which is due in 50 minutes.

We motored hard all yesterday and today with light winds that were not really sufficient to even motor sail with. So, we bashed the oncoming swell that always seems to be our fate and managed 4-5 knots with loads of revs. Luckily, the current in this part of the world is about 0.3 of a knot in our favour and we felt truly blessed.

We have just arrived at Isla De Cabrera and have decided that it is not worth pushing on until the winds that are promised to us actually arrive. We will pick up a new GRIB file this afternoon and decide how soon we can leave here without running into the back of the severe gales that are forecast towards Gibraltar. With any luck, we MIGHT be able to ride into the back of the strong winds and carry the lessening winds all the way to Gib before it all turns into a Westerly (probably around Sunday Lunch). The threat of gale from the Gulf of Lyons has been lifted but we pretty well know for sure that conditions where we are headed will be rough - The GRIBS have been forecasting it for about 4 days.

We have been trying to avoid marina's and we would rather not use them since anchoring is much easier especially when we may want to leave at short notice and in the middle of the night. Also, in the Med, they Med-moor - this is very dangerous:

  • Damage to rear nav light and banged Aries when a boat hit us in Gib.

  • Damage to Cap rail when a boat hit us in Turkey

  • Damage to Aries when a policeman hit us in Tunisia

Plus the hassle of trying to maneuver and trying to get on and off Naz plus the extortionate charges for zero service

And, we have only Med moored seven times!!

Unfortunately, there are only a few anchorages along the Spanish coastline so we might have to do it again.

It is nice to stop and turn the engine off. The island here is quite pretty and is a local nature reserve - no other boats or signs of life but the bay is full of mooring buoys and we have attached to one of these. I think that we must have motored most of the way from Suez and a bit of sailing would be a blessed relief if we can find the right conditions that take us where we want to go. We hate motoring but love the engine!

27th May 2009

We did not stay long at Cabrera. We had dinner (Pizza again) and, by 20:00, the wind was coming from the East with enough to get us along and so we dropped the mooring and set off towards Ibiza. For a few hours, the going was good but eventually, the wind died and, when we got down to 2.5 knots, I turned the engine on again and it has been on ever since. We got a new weather forecast this morning and decided to carry on past Formetera and Ibiza towards a little anchorage just past Cartegena . The plan is to stop there overnight on Thursday and leave Friday morning to ride the back of the gales towards Gibraltar. If we are lucky, we will get into Gib on Sunday morning just before the forecast tells us of a switch to Westerlies. All great in the planning and we shall see what transpires. If the weather is not too strong when we arrive at the anchorage, then we might plough on regardless just to make sure we cover the distance.


We only stayed at Cabrera for 3 hours in the end. The wind changed to the North East so Pete suddenly wanted to leave just after dinner. I must admit to being totally fed up. I was looking forward to a nights sleep then going again.

We are now 25 miles from Ibiza and we'll have a look at the weather forecast as to what we do, we don't want to go too far west as it's kicking up a right pong, 33 - 40 knots of wind, so it's either stay here for 12hours & then carry on to Carteghena or just carry on straight there. It's another overnighter if we carry on. Today is 10 days at sea with a 36 hour break in Tunisia. So I'm very tired.

But from here it's only 380 miles to Gib and it looks like maybe, maybe subject to the weather we might get to Gib Sunday or Monday.

It's about 760 miles after Gib to the UK and we're planning on slow hopping it back so it's still scheduled for arrival in the UK, 7th July'ish.

28th May 2009

Welcome to the Western Hemisphere!!!!

Formentera as we breeze past

We had light winds coming away from Ibiza but the wind picked up a a bit around midnight and we were able to set sail properly and turn the engine off. Overnight, we varied between 3.5 and 6 knots and the breeze properly kicked in this morning giving a good speed of about 6-7 knots. Fliss got me up to put a reef in at about 09:00 and we stormed along towards the Spanish coast. At about 11:00, I got up and we reviewed the looks as though the wind is in our favour for a good three days and so we decided that, since the weather was starting to get a bit frisky, we would head for shelter in a likely looking bay. We saw three boats going the opposite direction, either they are completely mad or we are getting very soft. The first one had only headsail out, a very nice scimitar-style piece of kit and was trying to tack. Each time he tried, he either did not make it, or he had his sail so pressed against his rigging that he could not budge the sail onto the opposite side. We watched as he attempted this 3 times and then he was over the horizon bound, unintentionally, for Africa.

We are glad to have a brief rest and will probably set sail for Gib at 02:00 tomorrow morning to catch the rest of the Easterlies. Hopefully we will have not lost the wind (it was about F7+ when we came in here).

If we get to Gib on Sunday morning, then we are 12 days ahead of schedule and we can relax a little bit. Not too long in Gib but we can at least release the pressure of "Go, Go, Go...." all the time and maybe save some fuel as a result. It will be nice to have a holiday for a while!!

29th May 2009

We set off this morning at 05:00 and motored for a short while until the wind assisted. It died off again later and we had to double reef the main to stop the flapping from shaking Naz to bits. At about 10:00 the wind returned and has been steadily picking up again so that we are now back to two reefs and are just thinking about furling a bit of jib.

The wind is behind us and the current is giving us almost a knot of lift in the right direction as we head for Cabo de Gata. I assume that it will die off after the cape but it is giving us a welcome speed of 8 knots SOG.

We are hoping that the winds decrease a bit as well so that we can have a more peaceful night, the increase is probably afternoon breezes plus a bit of acceleration from the steep coastline. Still, no complaints!

The weather looks like it will calm down over the next couple of days but remaining in the right direction. Landfall in Gib will hopefully be late tomorrow night or early Sunday morning and we will drop the hook there and wait until daylight to see if we can get a berth in a marina.

I am not sure where any adverse current might get us. The predominant current is Easterly but there is a West going stream along the coast of Spain. As we approach Gib, we are going to keep North and hopefully catch an eddying current there to carry us to Europa Point at the tip of the Rock. With our current speed, we will hit the tide in the wrong direction but only for a short distance we hope. We are hoping that the winds have eased there because we don't want a lot of wind over tide as we arrive. The weather files suggest 10-15 knots which would be fine.

Later that day..........................

I did have to go and reef the headsail. After that, we reefed it still further and we prepared to gybe past Cabo de Gato onto our direct course to Gibraltar. By the time we had .... headed towards the wind, taken off the gybe preventer, moved it to the other side, gybed, reconnected the gybe preventer, corrected course, furled in the headsail and disconnected the jib pole ...... we decided that it was now blowing so hard that we did not need the jib and so I was spared the effort of having to pole it out the other side.

We careered off on our new course at 7.5 knots (8.5 over ground) and it was not too long before we decided that 2 reefs in the main and no headsail was a bit unbalancing for Naz, especially as the waves were short and steep. Moments later, I was back on deck fighting to put the third reef in the main which is not that simple when you are blasting along downwind at speed and trying to pull the third reefing clew in against the strength of the wind. So, by the time I had spent 15 more minutes messing around on deck and had returned to the cockpit, the wind had increased and we were still doing 7-8 knots boatspeed. Luckily, by this time, the waves had been blown flat and the ride through the water was relatively smooth.

It was not long before we decided that the mainsail was a little too much for the conditions so we pulled a small amount of jib out and dropped and secured the mainsail. This had the desired effect of slowing us down but the little hankie of jib was snatching backwards and forwards and shaking the forestay too much. More deckwork later and we had the scrap of jib poled out, pulled taut and unshakable. Fliss told me that, whilst I was messing with the jib pole, we were doing 4.5 knots boatspeed without any sail - I'm glad that we had been slowing down a little over the last couple of days to allow the gales in this area to pass by!!.


It ended up quite comfortable and stable even though we reckon that we were having the strongest winds we had ever encountered (with the exception of Cape Melville). This morning it was very quiet then about an hour or so later the wind picked up. The weather forecast was force 4-6 so we weren't worried actually what it turned into was a severe gale 9 with short & steep waves. We took in our headsail & took in even more main sail. We ended up with a scrap of main out & we're still going too fast. Jesus we thought what do we do next? the only options available was to take all the sail down & get blown by the wind or chuck a drouge out the back to slow us down. We don't think we've ever seen conditions as bad as it was today.

I called up Almeria Traffic on the VHF to ask if the forecast had changed and they were brilliant. The guy told me that conditions were due to ease & that we must contact them immediately if there was a problem, It's comforting to know that someone knows were out here.

Bloody hell this place packs a punch! Anyway it's 11pm and the wind switched itself like a light bulb, we've still got left over seas but no wind, thank the lord for small mercy's. Tomorrow's set to be light, here's hoping as we don't want to go around Europa Point in screaming winds which will be against the tide, it would be nasty!

You can't fault the Spanish marine support, they broadcast forecasts every two hours. Pete reckons that it's better for a women to call them up than a male as they are more sympathic. It has been proven.

So we are set to get to Gib either late tomorrow night or1st thing Sunday...


Fliss went off watch and I kept an eye on things. It wasn't too long before I was able to unfurl another scrap of jib, and then another, and then another until we had full jib and were being picked up by short, steep tumbling waves and being surged forwards erratically whilst dipping alternate gunnels. Why is it that, when the wind is blowing furiously, the seas are blown flat and then when it calms down a bit, they rear up short, steep and breaking??

By 10:30, the sea had calmed a bit and we were only managing 1-2 knots with full jib so we stowed the jib pole and turned the engine on. Back to motoring AGAIN.

So the old saying is true...In the Med, there is either no wind or too much.

30th May 2009

Gib is now beckoning enticingly with the thoughts of re provisioning. No more tomatoes left on board, a few slices of dried bread, mustard running low, cheese sparse, no salad or greens and the last carton of milk. We are down to dried foods, canned foods, potatoes and onions - not a lime in sight! Morrison's awaits with fresh veg and salad cream, cold meats and mustard, Stilton and Hovis biscuits, gin and limes and much, much more. Unfortunately, the chips that we had the last time that we were in Gib were greasy, soft and tepid and turned into a homogeneous grey sludge in the paper wrapping before we even attempted to eat them - we threw them away. However, this time we will go on a hunt for decent chips with Egon Ronay avarice.

31st May 2009

After yesterdays fun & games we motored gently towards Gib. At approximately 6:30pm we spotted Europa Point! What a great sight! We've done it... circumnavigation complete. Mixed feeling really, we are excited about getting to Gib but now it's all down hill to England and we both feel a certain amount of anti-climax.

We are totally exhausted and looking forward to hitting the supermarkets to pick up all the foods we have been lusting over but tonight we'll crack open a bottle (or two) of fine wines given to us by generous cruisers to toast our completion.

Nothing like a pint of English Real Ale

Monday, August 31, 2009

Greece to Tunisia

17th May 2009

Westward Ho! Goodbye Greece.

We headed off today in a Westerly direction. The wind is supposed to be from the South but there is very little that we can see here. Unfortunately, the steep swell remains from the previous days and we are motoring with a cross swell that is having us over from gunnel to gunnel and probably not doing the engine mounts any good at all nor is it any good for the rigging as we have the mainsail up with one reef to try and remain more upright. Very uncomfortable and we hope it settles down soon. We seem to have had no good sailing for months and both of us will be glad to get all these miserable passages over and done with - it has been a slow and arduous slog and is set to remain that way until La Coruna in Northern Spain. Therefore, we will keep an eye on the weather and simply slog it out as far as we can whilst we can make progress Westwards - The forecast looks ok for the moment but means that we will be motoring until we run out of fuel. Options are; Malta, Carthage (Tunisia), Tabarka (Tunisia), Sardinia, Balearic's, Spain and Gibraltar. Very Very unlikely we will get to Gib before the next bout of strong Westerlies arrives to halt our progress.

18th May 2009

We had a decent bit of sailing for about 5 hours yesterday after my griping and then the wind died and we motored all night with a swell still coming from the South. The light breeze headed us just before dawn and slowed the boat speed with some weird chop but later this morning it veered and we were able to get the head-sail out but still with the motor on. At 11am the wind picked up a bit and we got sailing proper until we were reefing the main and jib in a NNW F5-6. It has calmed a bit and the reefs are now out again with the wind at 60 degrees to the starboard. We are keeping a Westbound track to keep some degrees of leeway in the bag for when the wind starts to head us, theoretically, we now have 13 degrees that we can pay off if we need to.

A few ships were sighted last night and came fairly close, one was a tug with badly lit tow but I remember the light signals from the Malacca Straits and managed to pick out the tow with the binoculars.

Fliss wants to stop at Carthage because it is supposed to be an interesting place and I just want to keep going whilst the weather allows us to. I think that we will have to flip a coin for it and, even if I win, we might end up in Carthage anyway! Problem solved.

The forecast is looking not too bad at the moment although it may be breezy tonight and we might have to use those spare degrees but the weather on Tuesday night, Wednesday morning looks ok for a transit of the Malta/Sicilian channel which normally has strong Nor'Westerlies blowing down it.

19th May 2009

A little bit of sailing was done yesterday and we managed about an hour at 5am and a couple of half-hour stints since. Other than that, it has been motor-sailing to keep us going. Unfortunately, the sea here is nothing like the English Channel and sometimes is lumpy and confused even when there is little wind. Therefore, when you feel that there is enough wind to get you going, the sea stops you dead in the water. The sea is now calm with a gentle swell but no wind to speak of and so we are motoring again.

Malta is 70 miles away and we have about 200 miles to go before we are out of the Sicilian Strait. It looks as though the winds will head us a bit there but it is to be expected since the geography of the place enhances the general trend of NWesterlies. Also, we are expecting stronger currents against us here as the land squeezes and accelerates the Eastbound trend.

20th May 2009

Last night was dead calm as we rounded the bottom of Sicily and took on the rest of the shipping that was doing the same thing. There are no separation zones here and that made life interesting for Fliss who did the first dark watch. After my watch started, we hugged the coastline and most of the big ships stayed to seaward where I could see them clearly without the backlighting of the towns/villages. However, this meant that we were in the firing line of the fishermen whose paths are more erratic. Still, with the engine going, we had radar on which makes life so much easier since it sees boats that are almost invisible to the naked eye.

It's a lovely day today and the sea is calm for a change. Usually, even though there is no wind, there are waves around that slow us down. Here in the shelter of the Strait of Sardinia it must be sheltered since we are close to land and the strait is only 150 miles across so no mush coming from distant winds. The wind is light at about a F3 and it is perfect sailing weather if only we had the time for it. Unfortunately the wind is coming directly from where we want to go and we are passage making rather than sailing. We stayed close to Sicily hoping that the NWester would curve around enough with onshore breezes to get us along. Unfortunately that is not the case, it curved enough to be useless in any direction and therefore we are now motoring offshore to see if we can make a more-or-less direct run to Cape Bon (on the African Coast) once the land-effect reduces. It will be nice to go sailing again without the pressure of needing to be somewhere sometime.

It looks like we will have to stop before Gibraltar as we have just finished one tank of fuel and have started the second. That's 200 litres used which is Eu200 (Greek prices) and much more will used by the time we get to re-fill. So, the plan is to go to Tunisia to top up and then that should get us to Gibraltar where fuel should be duty free (or at least a bit cheaper than Spain). The port in Tunisia that we have earmarked is Tabarka which is the Westernmost port of entry/exit almost on the border with Algeria. They have a fuel dock there and we hope that we can re-fill directly from the bowser. We are not sure how long we will stop there, it depends on weather and how long it takes to check-in/out.

21st May 2009

We motored up the side of Sardinia and then cut across towards Africa. The wind picked up a bit but, for some reason, the sea became very choppy and heading into wind was too difficult and we kept the engine on to keep boat speed up. Eventually, we decided that it was too mucky to keep heading in the direction we wanted and we decided to head to Pantelleria Island where we could make the decision to anchor or keep going. I went to bed leaving Fliss as decision maker and soon the seas eased and we were again able to make a decent heading and turn the engine off. At about 04:00, the wind died altogether and we are now motoring.

The forecast is for no wind for a couple of days and then for some Easterlies. The long term forecast (1 week, and therefore probably fairytales) is that a big fat high pressure is going to run across Europe giving Easterlies in the Med by Wednesday. We have decided that we can therefore stop in Carthage for two days to re-fuel, re-water, re-provision and still see the old city and ruins there. The marina is Sidi Bou Said and a port of entry. The thought is to then leave on Monday and run for Cartagena in Spain as long as the weather keeps promising favorable winds.

We arrived in Sid Bou Said at 20:00 our time and 18:00 their time. They have done without daylight savings this year and are therefore the same as BST. They gave us a berth about as far into the winding marina as possible and we reversed up the line of boats and got in no problem since it was dead calm with no currents. The lazy lines that they use to Med moor were absolutely filthy and dripped muddy gooey goop all over us and the boats sandwiched in beside us. The harbourmaster and police were still open and so we managed to clear in without fuss except that they rushed me so much that I forgot my glasses and therefore had difficulty not only with the French language but actually seeing the forms to fill them in. Afterwards the police wanted to come to check the boat. They did not even look at it but were saying something along the lines of "Un Petit Cadeau" - we gave them a few euros and they were happy with that.


Last night just before it went dark I either saw a shark or a sun fish, there was this dorsal fin swimming by the side of Naz for ages. I also saw a great shooting star which went on for ages, they really are fantastic to watch especially if the burn out slowly.

22nd May 2009

We decided to do the whole of Tunis and Carthage in one go and hired a taxi for the day. We decided that we could therefore have a guided tour and also save on one nights marina fee. It was about 55 euros for 2 nights stay. The driver spoke English well enough and we set off for the Tunisia museum first. Lots of statues and mosaics later, we went to the centre of Old Tunis - Medina. This is an area of winding souks dating back hundreds of years and full of gold and carpet shops. The driver had organized a guide who would walk us through and describe the area - he really just wanted to take us to his mates shop where he could earn commission on what we bought but he was sorely disappointed with the way we held onto our money. The whole place is a maze of alleyways covered along most of their length with a long stone arch making a covered tunnel - very nice and we could have spent much longer there browsing if the guide hadn't decided to drag us back to the taxi.

From there, we went to Carthage and another museum (yawn) and then onto a variety of the old ruins. The size of the town over 2000 years ago was enormous with pillars and carvings from rock brought from across the Med in Greece and other places. However, eventually we got over-ruined and we asked our guide to take us to Carrefour for some re-stocking. My credit card did not work at the checkout which was a bit embarrassing but a cashpoint nearby sorted the problem out.

23rd May 2009

This morning, we checked out with the police and they again wanted to come and look at the boat. We assume that they wanted another lump of baksheesh. I had found a plank and rigged it from the quay to the back of Naz so that we could get on and off and it worked even it it was a bit wobbly. I walked across and turned to give the policeman a steadying hand. He was not shy of large dinner portions and halfway across there was a large CRACK and he plummeted into the stinky water with a big splash. It was lucky that he was not hurt since he collided with the Aries breaking my wooden tillerpilot attachment and completely dislocating the main gearing. The problem was getting him out of the water again but two locals managed to drag him up the quayside. All credit to him that he held onto our passports and they are ok but a bit smudged. Not so lucky was his mobile phone. After he had got over the shock he started demanding that we replace his mobile phone and cigarettes. We said that the boarding plank belonged to the marina and he should talk to them an I got on with fixing the Aries. The poor guy will now be the butt of the police and marina staff jokes about the size of his belly and other things.

We motored around to the fuel quay and paid 0.91 Dinars per litre (1.8 Dinars to the Euro) and therefore had a saving equivalent to the cost of our stay. After refueling we set off at 8:30 local time and are now motoring with a light breeze just aft of the beam. Maybe I can get the cruising chute out and we can sail later. We are hoping to get all the way to Gibraltar on this leg but it is going to get breezy sometime between Tuesday and Thursday so we shall have to keep an eye on it (not that we can stop anywhere along the Algerian coastline since they make life difficult for unannounced yacht arrivals).

Friday, August 07, 2009


5th - 8th May 2009

We arrived at Simi in Greece yesterday and the small town is absolutely beautiful nestled around a small bay and stone harbour. The pastel coloured houses and small churches cling to the steep sides of the surrounding hills and many of the dwellings are only accessible by foot.

I managed to get on with a few maintenance jobs such as winch maintenance, rigging check and engine service. Re-fuelling was a simple operation since the local garage has a fuel tanker that drives along the quayside and blocks the traffic whilst the driver passes a bowser across and we re-fill. No messing around with moving the boat – great service!

The harbour is also very cheap. We tried the tricky Med-Mooring again yesterday and had two local guys take our lines ashore for us and tie us off. One of them asked for 5 Euros for berthing and we expected that this cheap sum was for one night only. It now appears as though the 5 Euros is the fixed price for a stay here as long as we want to. We are loving Greece already!

The people that we had drinks with during our stay in Datca (Turkey) turned up. Morris sails single handed but has his ex-wife over for a holiday at the moment. She likes the luxuries of life but 40 foot boats do not offer what she expected. Their toilet blocked the day after her arrival and had not been fixed since and so a bucket was the order of the day. Morris spent much time trying to fix the blockage and eventually took all the piping out and purged it by poking a boathook down it. At the same time, there was a long local procession going on that was celebrating Greek independence from Turkey and they marched grim-faced past the stinky operation.

Our time spent in Simi was a great rest from our recent long-hauls and we really enjoyed our time there.

9th May 2009

We had a relaxed departure from Simi at about 08:00 after getting the dinghy on board but after I let go the stern lines, we found that a mooring line on a small dinghy next door had wrapped itself around the Aries rudder and we were stuck. Morris from the boat next door came to the rescue and got aboard the dinghy and freed us.

Our aim is to cross the Aegean sea and get as far as possible towards the Southern tip of Peloponnisos where we will eventually head to Malta. Unfortunately, the forecast of NW-N winds did not materialise and we were headed with a wind direction of 280-290 degrees which was much too bothersome and had us over on our ear blowing F4-5 with choppy sea so we have decided to call it a day having only made it to Knidos in Turkey (36 degrees 41' North, 27 degrees 22.5' East). We shall see what the wind is going to do early tomorrow morning and try again.

10th May 2009

The night at anchor was gusty with the wind blowing through a gap produced by the isthmus between the mainland and the headland. Our anchor alarm went off twice as the wind moved us one way and then the other. On the second occasion, I found that a charter boat was much closer than it previously was and appeared to be getting closer still as it hunted wildly around its chain. The people were in the cockpit but not doing anything constructive and so I thought it best to get our hook up before our chains got tangled and we both ended up on the breakwater. It was a vain attempt because they were too close but our motoring forwards and calling to them seemed to gird them into action and they upped their hook and re-placed it where it stayed put.

We left early bound Westwards. The first hour was a good sail followed by about 2 hours of motoring. The wind picked up again giving us a close haul and we soon had one, then two reefs in the main. With a general plan to be heading to the Southern tip of Peloponnisos, we wanted to go over the top of Nisos Astipalaia but were making hard work of it so we decided to stop there and leave again very early morning. Plans then changed as the wind eased a bit and we motored hard to get over the top of the island and then bore away for some good sailing Westwards again.

If we had time to read the Pilot book, it mentions gusty conditions around the South of Amorgis Island - up to F7/8. We already had 2 reefs in the main when the wind started to pick up and head us again so we rolled more and more of the jib away and pounded away towards the setting sun with spray covering Naz from stem to stern - yuk! Our destination was now Nisos Milos and we managed a heading that took us over the top of Nisos Ios. As quickly as the wind begins, so it stops. Suddenly the winds died and I had not even got around to unfurling all the headsail by the time I had to furl it fully and turn the engine on.

11th May 2009

This morning before sunrise, the breeze came back at a respectible 60 degrees off the nose and we made good progress to our new anchorage. It would have been quite nice to keep going with the current conditions but we tried that yesterday and it all turned to Poo. So, we are happy to stop at Nisos Milos for a rest - Malta is out of the question until the weather settles in that direction so we can afford a short stop.

The anchorage is quite pleasant but the cliffs of the surrounding islands are white/yellow/red and look like a quarry. Oh, there is also a quarry here as well. 36 degrees, 46.5 North, 24 degrees 33.5 East.


Tempers are a bit fraught on Nadezhda at the moment, it seems that what ever we do we get a smack. Yesterday we had force 7 headwinds all day & most of the night. We stopped for a rest at 9:30 this morning and are off again. 12 hours rest then back out to sea. Excuse my French but it I'm bloody fed up with it.

Unfortunately Pete and I have different wish lists. I want to stop at night whilst we can before we have to head off on long passages and Pete wants to carry on doing overnight sails. I really don't like being out at night if I don't have to due to it being bloody cold, dark and loads of shipping. Yesterday was the icing on the cake for me. Anyway I can understand why he wants to keep going. We're both dreading the passage home as it's going to be really hard work, especially if we just keep going. I'm all for doing it the easy way, running over to Tunisia, Algiers & Morocco and Pete is more of the opinion to just make a dead run to Gibraltar. We have to get across the Bay of Biscay before Mid August as gales kick in then. Anyway enough moaning!

Not sure what happens next as the weather is set to go against us for a few days so we can't stop unless we carry on up the Greek Coastline & then run up to Sicily.


So, just to keep the pressure up, we had a few hours sleep and then upped anchor at 8pm for another westwards hop to the bottom of Peloponnissos. There was absolutely no wind and the seas were glassy all night so we motored along until morning brought us between Maleas Pt and Nisos Kithera.

12th May 2009


We are heading for an anchorage on the Peleponnisos Islands and then we'll move again tomorrow slightly further up the coast ready for the jump across to Malta. By going slightly further up it cuts half a day of the passage time to Malta which is only about 3-4 days.

Calm Night and Moonlight

Moonlight Reflected in Calm Morning Sea

It is a busy stretch of water here. This morning I slowed down to let a super tanker go past me as we were both going around the same headland and cutting in close to the shore. Anyway as I watched him go past and around the headland a yacht appeared going in the opposite direction. They hadn't seen each other as the land was in the way. Huge puff of smoke as the supertanker & the yacht were on a collision course. The tanker must have put his engines hard in reverse to miss the yacht. Both Captains must have had brown pants as they nearly hit, they were so close.


From Maleas Point, we had a light breeze close-hauled on the Port Tack that increased enough for us to turn the engine off and pinch up to our desired course. We arrived at Porto Kayio (36 degrees 26'N, 22 degrees 29'E) and we will stop for a day and then move on tomorrow to Methoni (45 miles West) which is about as close as we can get to Malta without actually going there. There we will wait for the weather to settle before we move on.

13th May 2009

This morning was very peaceful and we relaxed reading in bed. We had a restful day yesterday and visited a tiny chapel on the headland nearby. The Greeks seem to have a habit of building churches in the most inaccessible places on headlands or steep sided mountains well away from habitation. I cannot understand why since the building of them must have been exceptionally difficult and visiting them a real chore. Still, I suppose that the road to God must be made difficult or it's not worth it!?

The afternoon was very gusty and a single hander came in late in the afternoon and plonked his hook right in front of us. Since the holding in the anchorage was not the best due to sea grass, we decided to move along a bit and probably put ourselves in a windier spot for the night. Fliss had little sleep as a result.

14th May 2009

This morning, the winds had died and we motored hard against the leftover little waves that have a wavelength too short to ride over and so we ploughed a course to Methoni. We rounded Ak Tainaron which, withstanding Tarifa near Gibraltar, is the Southernmost cape in mainland Europe and, looking up the cape, you can see the snow capped mountains of the Taiyetos which rise to 7500 ft.

The wind came fairly light and we close-hauled our way to our destination with glorious sunshine.

Having motored quite a bit recently, we had quick look around and a walk to the Diesel station. It ended up a long way but a kind hotel owner was going that way and gave us a lift at least one way. We don't exactly need diesel but we are just keeping things topped up.

15th May 2009

This morning, we took a walk into the old ruins of the castle at Methoni. They are quite grand and at one time had a small town within the walls until the French eventually razed the houses and settled the people outside the walls due to sanitary problems. The castle obviously did no good whatsoever since it was built by the Venetians, then occupied by the Turks (Ottomans) 1500-1686 before being retaken by the Venetians again 1686-1715. The Ottomans eventually retook the castle in 1715 before giving up to the French in 1828. So much for fortifications.

We returned to Naz as the wind started increasing from the SE. This had been forecast and we took the breeze up to Pilos (36 degrees 55'N, 21 degrees 41'E) where there is good protection from the SE Gales that are forecast (Methoni is open to the SE). The marina was full when we arrived and so we tied up to the ferry quay where we were being blown off the hard concrete and visited the town. Later, we moved off to anchor where we felt a little safer given the expected increase in wind speed.

16th May 2009

We have been into Pilos town again today. It is quite quaint and packed with locals sitting outside the numerous cafes drinking beer or fancy coffee at xx Euros a throw. I don't know where they find the money considering that they are not working whilst they are lounging around. At 2pm the whole place shuts down until 6pm so the cafes should be even more busy right now. We threw our mouldy veg away hoping for some fresh replacement but will now have to wait until gone bedtime before the shops re-open.

17th May 2009

Goodbye Greece!