Saturday, December 26, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
Historic and great Anchorage at English Harbour and no shortage of waterside pubs to sample the local Wadadli Beer, Red Stripe the well know Jamaican brand is brewed and bottle here also very good. Also had a chance to sample the "Carib Beer" a few times although flavourless, does have good tasteless ads, the type with hot models, bikini clad, plastic boobs and all holding/grasping and clinging all over their bottles, I digress.. We are now in Jolly Harbour, a marine suburban neighbourhood where all the houses and villas have their own dock. Suspect they spent millions in dredging this all out.
Ton of Canadian flags here there and everywhere, met a neat couple from South Coast of Nova Scotia in their very classy classic schooner, one of the gals on board was Chief Officer
of our Bluenose II. Yesterday it was a couple from Sidney with their boat Registered also in Victoria. Two of us were moored side by side here in Jolly Harbour. They had just purchased one of the Villa here, dock included, so unlikely the will see Victoria for sometime.
Well I have to go and try and find space for all the Xmas stuff (small made in China tree included) Vicky picked up today.
Off tomorrow to Barbuda, apparently nothing but beeches and crystal clear water, no Internet or phones....should be good, we really haven't had the classic sit on the beech and swim all day since we left on this trip..
Monday, December 7, 2009
Everyone has the Channels this evening.....We have great winds now which are pushing us along at over 8 knots, so the miles are just going fast. We are about to arrive in English Harbour, Landfall early tomorrow morning (with luck). I suppose this will concludes our sail across the Atlantic for this year. Essentially take out our stop over in Cape Verde's It took 17 days to cross from The Gambia in Africa to Antigua in the Caribbean, a distance of about 2,800 nautical miles as the crow flies. All down-wind with the current to our back. Our average speed over ground was about 6. 5 knots so we traveled about 165 miles per day. Our best day was 201 miles. We used the engine a little too much during our last week racking up almost a 100 hours, alot considering most will not use their engines at all.....plus we have only 900 hrs total on our engine.
Average wind speed was 10 knots (kind of light), and the winds seldom exceeded 20 knots or dipped below 6 knots. After almost six months without rain, we were delighted to get a few pours offered on by Mother Nature as we approached Antigua. Kids really enjoyed the colorful double rainbows.
Fishing would have been good, but without our reel, I settled with just teasing the kids with the flying fish that landed on our decks, cockpit, and head on an almost daily basis.
Friday, December 4, 2009
17° 10.13' N
51° 13.18' W
0200hrs Nothing Happens, 0300hrs nothing happening. 0400hrs still nothing happening. If we kept an hourly log it would read something like that, the days melting into each other. Although we did see a couple of boat or at least their lights, was almost going to call them on the radio but chicken out at the last moment realizing I really didn't have anything to say. More flying fishing, the coolest creatures this side of the Arctic Circle, one flew into our shower last night through an open port, didn't discover it till the morning however. We also had some dolphins with us, which kept the kids busy for a whole two minutes before they got bored watching them. I guess they didn't talk or weren't on a rescue mission with Dora the explorer.
Well e probably have less than 4 days left to cover off the remaining 578 miles. Unfortunately there remains very little wind, the boss even agreed to flying the spinnaker provided 1) it was taken down for her watch and 2) I stop using the blogs to communicate with her ,3) no more poop stories.
Well had everything set up yesterday, then the wind decided to shift on the nose, making it impossible to fly,thus we have decided to keep the engine going anytime the sails start flogging, which has practically been for the last three days. Although expensive and not so eco friendly we do have enough fuel to keep motoring the rest of the way and then some.
It's time to check the forecast, see how long or where we can find some wind.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
17° 08.51' N
45° 00.93' W
We passed the half way point earlier today. We are now just 7 days away from Antigua. The last few days from an emergency/safety point of view are always a little scarey, especially when your looking at 1400nm (10 days) to get nearest Carrib port or 800nm against wind and current to get back to closest African port. Georgetown Barbados is now within 6 days and if one of the kids got sick Vicky would let fly the Spinnaker and we could do it in less than 5 days.
Spoke too soon yesterday, about the wind.. despite the forecast and trends we are in a big windless hole. Presently the winds have died below 6 knots which (without a spinnaker flying) if difficult to sail in without flogging our stiff full batten main and rigging to death. Spent the morning playing with the lines and sails to absorb the flogging as best we can. We are now motoring charging the batteries and helping our movement forward. Was hoping we'd get across without any motoring at all.
Vicky is refreshed having her first shower this trip and now battling Nyah in some school work, it's a even tie so far... Rogan is building the new world with help of the Lego corporation and his fathers occasional direction.
Well better go.... working SPINNAKER on my subtle SPINNAKER subliminal messages SPINNAKER about SPINNAKER what sail SPINNAKER we need to fly.
This is all just as well as Vicky and I both lost a day or so laid up in the bunk, sick.
We thought maybe food poisioning or bad water but after some reflection we now suspect Rogan. Well if we were looking where to point the finger, it would probably start at Nyah, she wouldn't want to be left out of any story!
Nyah lately hasn't been happy with all the attention Rogan has been getting for using the potty, so she started to show Rogan (and us) that she can poop better, in number of times a day and quantity. We have been trying to ignore this, as they spend time aurguing who has gone the most today or their favourite topic which includes stairing sp? into the bowl discussing log counts.
Well should have cut it off immediately as Rogan now spend the best part of his day on and off the potty in an effort to claim the title to the Throne, plus the side benifit of one gummie bear each time he goes.
This process in itself didn't seem to be a problem, however where we did start having trouble was a few days ago and trying to catch Rogan everytime he did go. He really hasn't mastered the concept of wiping or even putting on underwear after his business... it's a mom and dad job at best, but for the most part he considers it optional. The other day we totally missed poop no. 10+ and by the time I could smell something was wrong, it was smeared everywhere, beds, countertops, decks and bulkheads, it amazing how much stuff that tactile kid of ours touches in a run of 30 minutes.
We thought we got it all but we suspect we may have missed some and contact was made starting our Mal de Rogan.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
16° 59.09' N
34° 06.52' W
It's another perfect evening, Winds still behind us pushing us at about 6.5 knots combined with the north equatorial current we are 7.5 knots over the ground not bad for just 12 knots of wind. Still have one marriage reef in the main and full Genoa winged out on the pole. Still thinking about the flying the spinnaker, but I know I can't afford the it,... only the lawyers get rich. Just off the SSB radio, listening to all the chit chat on Wx among the hundred plus boats which are within 1000nm of us. We saw our first commercial traffic for this trip, last night. A VLCC tanker heading North to the East Coast, but that has been it since we left. Just us and a thousand flying fish,which are still routinely committing suicide on our decks. Landed a big one the other night, it was almost 10 inches long and would have made a good meal, if it wasn't so bony.
The departure from The Gambia waters was very exciting, and damaging. About 8 to 10 miles off-shore a 25 foot white wood/fiberglass boat with 2 small Yamaha outboards on it started heading our way. Only one of the twenty something hp motors was working, and the boat didn't look like the typical local fishing boat. The boat had five or six African guys in it, in the 18 to 28 age range. No name on the boat. No number, No signage, No life preservers, horn, lights, flags, or radio. We were doing about six knots under sail only, joe at the helm. The boat appeared shortly after we passed three small fishing boats. The big guy on the bow kept yelling, "turn off your engine and stop your boat." He and four other crew members we wearing third world hand-me-down T shirts and shorts with no footwear. The leader of the ocean going Thugs was in the middle of the boat and was wearing a well worn World War I jacket with home-made epaulets on his shoulders. The leader kept yelling, "Stop for Senegal Customs inspection." Needless to say we didn't stop, and yelled back that we weren't using a motor and we were NOT in Senegal waters. This pissed them off, yet the guy seated in the boat with a vintage machine gun (or set of pipes welded together to look like a gun) didn't move. We stayed our course, yet they got too close and hit Vision Quest in the rear quarter. Minor damage, we think. The big bow guy grabbed our toe-rail. Jim pushed him away and off balance. More yelling and excitement... I started the motor and headed west at over 10 knots while our crew went below to prepare other defensive steps. The BS Thugs motored a short distance away for awhile, then made the wise choice to turn towards shore.
We are just north of Boa-Vista island, Cape Verde. Hope to make Mindelo by sunset. Winds have been close to 16 to 24 knots just off the beam so far.
Friday, November 27, 2009
We were also going to be missing our Gambia dutch partners who would have been alot of fun to be with in Mindelo. These thoughts combined with the confirmation we rec'd that work awaits come this Feb were all very sobering.... We did however get to see a bit of Mindelo, which again was much more like Europe than Africa it is buildings roads and other infastructure. The Harbour has one small shipyard with two rail ways and a larger one with a working syncro lift good for vessels upto 300 foot, both busy with fishing vessels. The skyline around our anchorage was very impressive with high jagged volcanic cliffs to the North and South, hopefully some of those pictures turned out. Food and beer were good, I think the local beer was called Estrella (portuguese roots) a little stronger than most at almost 6%, always refreshing. Day time tempertures here are a pleasent 30 during the day and 25 at night with water temps almost the same.
We departed Tuesday afternoon (24th) with the routine of Vicky singing that Trews song "i"m not ready to go" .
That's a going to be the name for our next boat "Not Ready to go".... however as it will probably be a dingy for the kids and I, it may not have the same affect, however in Memory of.....
The GPS states we have 2130nm to English Harbour in Antigua, and the forecast is the same... NE 15 to 20. If the trades hold, (which they may not as it's still early) we should be there in two weeks, a few days longer than our last crossing.
We'll keep the same watch schedule with Vicky doing one night watch from 12-3, there won't be much traffic and non of the usual coastal activity, thus anticipating peaceful evening with lots of time for star and navel gazing...until the little loud ones awake. A few years older and we could have Nyah doing her own watch! In the mean time I'm estatic that Rogan is on now one week without diapers!
Monday, November 23, 2009
the Five star Lamin Lodge. Monkey would be all over the roofs in the evening, while the slightly more advanced ones were eating meals and telling sea stories down below.
After a hard day fishing, Jan bart 50th B day gift.
Cool Jubrews at Lamin Lodge
Saturday, November 21, 2009
24* 59.74 W
Anchored 6m sandy bottom.
Makin our way Westard, and quickly...taking three day to cover the 500nm trip here. It's funny as 15km/hr may not seem fast... but at nighttime when the knot meter is bumping from 8 to 10 knots, it feels as if your going a hundred miles an hour, your just blasting through the waves, ready to take flight. There are few feelings of speed that come close to this.....Vicky's great too, she always confirms my go fast feeling...... usually by screaming at me while she's in bed from the center cabin..."take down some sails, put a reef in"
My ansawers is always the same I read her off the wind speed and tell her I already have two reefs in, and ok I agree I won't put the spinnaker up... only because it is too windy and I can't. Every now and then, Vic (never being satisfied with my lame responces) will fly out into the cockpit to check the wind and boat speed and verfiy that I have a couple of reefs in the main, all the time mumbling and wondering why sailboats have to heel, kids have to sleep, sea are too big, and ending with why did I ever agree to this, before she'll return back down below. One of small and simple things I learned on our last trip was to ensure the instruments are set up properly, ie that the anometer reads about 5 knots lower than it's actually blowin, ensure when sailing up wind you are reading true wind speed and down wind you are reading apparent wind speed. It makes an incredile difference....mind over matter... ..
I suppose when Vic reads this we will be across the Atlantic and It will be ok that I can confess that yes we need to properly calibrate our instruments. Ahh I'm feeling better already.
Oh ya ...Yes the kids and one loving parent are doing very well, they went on tour today by Ferry and taxi to another island... not sure of the name, looks the same as this one, although I'm sure to be told otherwise.
Today I'm getting a chance perform some TLC on our watermaker and batteries and chargers, the later despite spending 1000's on before we left are starting act up.
As always I've said too much and should go back to bilges.. :)
After a good trip to the Village and a few tourist camps in Georgetown, we are now heading back to Banjul, we sail/motor for about 14 hrs a day leaving before before sun up and stopping after we run out of light and more importantly before million plus insects come looking for blood. In the morning there are hundreds of dead bug and bat poop all over the deck. With our mast head anchor light on, we are the center of activity. It was little freeky the first time we had the bats visit, thinking they were after more than just the bugs. Some landed on deck as their navigation system sometimes screwed up hitting our wire rigging temporary stunning them to the deck.
Tonight we anchored in the middle of the river to try and be less attractive, only shipping activity we had seen on this river was dugouts and small fishboats. Should be in Banjul tomorrow if we can make another 80nm/day.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Four boats, Pjotter, Victory, Silverrmale, Tangaroa, and ourselves, move from Half Die, Lamin Lodge, which is about 15 nm up Lamin Bolon. We stuck ourselves in the mud just off the lodge and dropped the hook, not thinking too much about digging it in, after all you could almost touch the mangroves from either side of the boat. Of course that was a mistake as I found on later that night when the tide and wind came up and we connected with Tangaroa our closest neighbour, luckily no damage. The Lodge has no electricity or running water, like most of the rural area's, this didn't stop them from having good food and cool refreshments, including the local beer Julbrew, a light lager which tasted as good as any. Best of all the Monkeys came down from the trees in the evening to play with the tourists, they were particularly interested in the Kids but could not coax Rogan or Nyah to run away with them
Monday, November 16, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
13° 26.26' N
16° 31.08' W
two near misses with powerless and unlit fish boats (drifting 50 miles off shore) but all is now well, with a little over 900nm in 6 days which enabled us to arrive at the same time as the other dutch families who had left La Gomera a day earlier. s/y "Pjotter" and "Tangaroa" Now in Banjul Harbour, anchored off of Half Die (fitting name) in 5 m of mud (sludge) Just finished all our clearance detials, which despite some stories was easy, especially with the help from another dutch boat Jerome from "Silvermail" sp? (Seagull in dutch) who had cleared a week before us. We were told that we were the 6, 7, 8th yachts to clear into the country this year and the only Canadian boat this one official could remember in his 10 years of working with Customs.
The minute we step ashore it was easy to tell we weren't in Kanas anymore. Feels good........
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
21° 05.21' N
18° 00.50' W
Wind drops less than 10 knots, motoring sailing, fishing line rigged with hybrd warning and tension relief system consisting of shock cord and water bottles. No fish however, other 4 Dutch boats in our group all within 100nm of each other are filling their fridges with fresh fish. We are doing call in at 0600hrs and 2100hrs on 4146MHZ SSB. i
Vicky does school with Kids today, I played hookey sp? taking inventory of forward locker & taking naps.
oh ya it's getting hotter up to 35 to day, no wind chill factor...
24° 05.21' N
17° 49.50' W
Caught a big one today, so big infact that it took our newly purchased reel and old rod out from it's secure spot inbetween our steering wheel and through the life lines, into the big blue sea. Expensive catch and release program. if anyone finds a large tuna complete with tackle rod and reel, please return.
Winds still NE, but reduced and seas starting to subside.
almost a full moon this morning, thus little difference from day and night in regards to visibiiity, with the added advantage of no sun block, (I think)
Rogan pees on his bed, claims he was watering the garden.
Stinkin hot here,38*C like being back in the middleeast.
14° 34.00' N
17° 30.02' W
Its Dan (of Dan, Lise & Ben) I am just updating a few post that da Boags have sent.
27° 10.43' N
17° 05.48' W
NE Winds 20 knots, Gusting to 25, great way to start off the trip covering almost 200 nm in a day, unfortunately left head window open, during one roll off irregular wave, flooded the entire space and lone occupant in a matter of seconds, Vicky would have been even less impressed if I's suggested shower wasn't wasted, have learned (the hard way) not to talk for the first few days into any of our longer trips. Slow day however for activites, Too rough to fish, kids doing well ......pulling out every one of the 100 plus toys and activiites to play in the pilot house, if they could only learn that putting aways is almost as fun (even if it's not), ya ok it's only a dream I have.....
Saturday, October 31, 2009
No, Gambia doesn't have Pirates. We are also planning to meet a few other boats which all have Families, most have younger kids than us. (Tangaroa, Victory, Mjolner and PJotter) the latter having a native from Fredericton, NB who married her Dutch husband a few years ago. and is now raising their family as they travel around the world. There are also some more Dutch even a lone American and no doubt a few other Nationalities that are already down there.
Forecast is good so we are leaving in a few hours but will try and update our blog through our Sat email system along the way.
Olous & Crew ( yes Vicky is still onboard)
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Well, after spending the last 10 days in Tenerifie, much of it in Santa Cruz de Tenerfie, it's good to be back in a smaller town. Funny that as big as the City and Marina's were, there was poor or no Internet connections around the docks, which in it's self is not a bad thing....... too much time at the terminal when we should be exploring, breaking out of our bubbles, not to mention that I wasn't able to scroll on this blog. Pressure is starting to mount as I had one good friend just write me to say that I was only proving to him that I was an overblown wind bag and that Vicky should be controlling more of what I say (so true) . He also asked "when you said you were returning to work on the East Coast, I hope you mean of Africa, and not Canada" ah ...Well Jim, it's Canada and I'm going to look for a house to live in on your street! Actually come to think of it we won't be able to afford that, so it's gonna have tobe the land yacht, a stinkin old Winnebago parked in your driveway ..... seem to work for the Griswold family! Nothing like good friends to be honest, must give the sister in law some credit on the softer approach, suggesting a good nap prior to reading and simple scanning looking for details.
Well some details to follow as we did Accomplish one of our (ok mine) main goals and finding and visiting Bobbins Pub, finding it on the other side of the Island, dab in the middle of resort ville, "Los Americas" a place which makes the Florida beaches look underdeveloped....."Bobbins" had no pictures of Loraine or body parts (maybe that was the Bobbits?), instead we found a small Scottish pub, full of Scot expats and vacationers, Although it is about as far away from Gibson, BC as you can possible get, both in distance and atmosphere, we did however have a very warm reception (and cool beers) with Auntie Margret, a wonderful lady with the same earthy kind qualities as her relatives on the West Coast. Vicky wanted me to add she cooks the best Yorkshire Mince Puddings.
Our other days on Tenerife were spent doing the standard drive around the Island and up the 3000 m volcanic peak called Mount Teide, well almost all the way, I opted out of the cable car ride to the peak, like getting a lift ticket and not being able to ski down the sloop!
We spent a day in San Cristobal de la Lagua, an inland town which managed to retain some it's historic values, also had an awesome Kebab shop. Down on the docks at the Marina de Santa Cruz it was very social, reconnecting with other boats that we met with on mainland Spain and Portugal, also met a few new families which we are sure to meet again. Only one Local Brewing company on Tenerife, they make Dorada and Tropical, same beer with different bottles as near as I can tell, both served cold which is getting more important as the daily highs are reaching well over 30*c . The wine market is different however with several producers coming from all parts of the island. Many of the vineyard are totally incased in what looks like burlap sack material, there are literally hundreds of square Kilometers of these cloth building, I was told it was retain the moisture, as area is so dry. We purchased a selection of them, but unfortunately without Mary here I have only managed to taste a few.
Well kids bed time and and world war three is erupting...again. I have to go but need to talk more about Relationships (our fisherman friend from Louisbourg, Cape Breton), Equipment what works and what doesn't, the sealife (the kind in the water), stars ( the kind in the sky), meeting other Canadians (which is now happening more frequently) and most importantly the banning of Frenchman with Speedo's.
Adios O and crew
Sunday, October 18, 2009
.......actually anyone with a bit of rope and a few empty oil drums and a 24 pack , could have made this trip. It was dead down wind, even a slight current taking us all due south, given time you'd eventually hit one of the Island, ourselves we managed to hit (ever so softly) Tenerfie the largest of Canary Islands (go figure) and after a day/night anchored in a picture postcard perfect cove, (black sandy beech included) we are now in city of Santa Cruz de Ternerfie. I thought Funchal was big...
As for my two cents worth, well, it is known I do like to complain and tell "Mother-in - law" stories, For this visit I even had a few options including finding or purchasing of a few local pets to take up temporary residence in our forward guest cabin, Geco's grow quite big here or maybe some the wharf rats/cats (not much difference that I can see between them) , these pets would I`m sure assist in the reductions of one's stay on board? My first plan was to take the boat to a rolling anchorage for a few nights, but that became obvious it wasn't going to work as we did Sail with Mary the first day in fairly rough conditions and she really enjoyed it, stating that her kids didn't get any of their seasickness from her. The final fall back plan if all else failed, was to start walking and work around on the boat in the buck, this should be enough to scare anyone. I heard somewhere that this also works for getting your kids out of the house after they have finished school and are too comfortable to leave home. Any how I digress, as non of this was at all necessary, I think a good time was had by all. I also really enjoyed having a wine tasting partner as Vicky had seem to gone off wine, stating it isn't strong enough to help her deal with me.
The above being said, I do have few stories saved for a later date, and although there is a code of sorts, in that "what happens on the boat stays on the boat".........but when Mary fell off the boat a few days before leaving, ... that could be fair, no? ..... I also figure within code was Mary's beach incident. One inwhich I never did work out if Mary was showing off her former days as a synchronized swimmer and forgetting about the large waves or showing us she knew how to Body Surf landing in style with a twist or two. Regardless it was keeping the kids and the rest of the beach entertained. Will save the details of these off boat stories for a later date.
I suppose I'll hear more from the Admiral on the above, she has already told me my comments on my last posting about the "kids being bait" is going to eliminate me all together from the "Daddy of the Year" award. phew...Thank goodness for that.. What's the winning prize ? another kid? Personally if I can avoid being a ward of the State, be it Jail or a nut house, in raising our two kids, that in itself will be the reward. Speaking of which, I have finally figure out (being as slow as I am) why Schools were invented, it certianly wasn't for education, that at best must be a distant second to their primary goal of getting the kids out of the house (or boat).
Well at least in all my rambblings those of you who don't know me, can now sympathise with Vicky and more importantly Nyah and Rogan.
Well we also did find the location of the bar we going to visit. We apparently can't get the boat into the local harbour where "Bobbins Bar" is located, thus will take kids on the bus trip across the island over the next couple of days. Vicky of course has other plans (maybe even more worthwhile?) one that does sound interesting is a trip to the snow capped mountain here, hard to beleive in this heat, and the on going boat maintenance in exoctic sp? places, as this is our last big stop (via Cape Verde Islands) before heading off over to the Carrib´s .
Well got to go, It's time to get back to Spannish Siesta's, tapa bars, and topless beaches.
still Livin the dream and now looking for Private Schools (the boarding type).. because our kids education is worth it!
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Sad goodbyes this morn, mum flew back to Lisboa and on to Maine. We had alot of fun while she was here. (I'm sure Olous will give his two cents worth on that later:)
Olous has taken to his new hobbie of updating the blog. This seems to keep him out of the aluminum shops and no chipping and painting. We will see how this goes while we are away from the wifi zone..
Hope everyone enjoyed their turkey holiday...we had cod in a cream sauce. Yum
It's back to speaking Spanish...well our 5 words.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Not only did they help us with the inside scoop on the local Marina's and Funchal, they also invited us to their home for a fantastic dinner. Started with Coral beer, Fresh local vegetable soup, then a cod cream dish and a dessert of Madeira Wine(s) I did ask ( after my third helping of the cod) if they had stolen it from the Grand Banks but Phillip assured me it was Cod from Norway.
On top of the great company and food we were eating on their patio which had a fantastic vista view of the main harbour and old part of the city. Being both local arctitecks we had an inside look at the how the city is growing and where it came from.
There are few advantages of travelling with kids......They are great bait... unlikely we would have had the same opportunity to connect like this without them .
These moments are truly part of liven the dream.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Hey I'm on a roll here, three entries in as many days,
Well we had a car rental today, it was to explore the North side of the Island, It was a late model Mitsubishi Colt diesel hatchback I don't think I ever got it out of third gear, if it wasn't the 20% grade hills or single lane (make one wrong turn and drop a 1000 foot) roads, it was Vicky screaming to myself and Jesus (I think) to slow down then Mary telling me their are children in the car, ya as if I didn't figure that one out after two minutes of driving without DVD entertainment. Not that any secondary entertainment was needed, there was no more than 500 meters of straight pavement, it was all switchbacks, hair pin turns, vertical rises and descents well over a 1500 meters and tunnels...... the tunnel contractors must have really like this island. there must more kilometer in tunnels per capita or square area than any place in the world? We went through three different tunnels over a one hour period which were over 3km each in length and we lost count of the smaller 500 and 1000 meter tunnels in the same time.
The Guidebook was right about flora and fauna of the much wetter North coast but didn't mention much about the roads and tunnels. Was thinking about a business opportunity, renting Honda motorcycles (CBR600RR's) and doing time trails and daily awards for those who had the fastest time on the 56 km trip across the Island, we would also sell life insurance and provide accommodation for the loved ones, if needed.
The Airport here is another interesting engineering project. Wasn't kidding about hard to find 500m of straight pavement on this island, however nothing that lots of concrete pillars and platforms can't cure. however you'll need a parachute however if you plane is lucky enough to skid off the runway, and Vicky thinks my Motorcycle idea crazy.
It's Church tomorrow with Grammy Clause and the kids,... we've been kicked out of better places.
Hey are you Bored? or at working reading this mess? Google "Sailing Yacht Meteor" this new 163 foot Mega Super schooner just pulled in behind us today. The real thing is better looking that the pics they show on web. $125,000.00 per week you can charter her and the 12 person crew. or if you don't mind slumming it alittle and can change a poopy bum and cook now and then, you can spend a week with us...?
Olous Standing by 2182.
Friday, October 9, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Well we are secured three abreast with an American boat "Resolution" a Tartan 37 from New Jersey. I was surprised that It has only be in the last few weeks that we have starting seeing other boats from North America, one being a friendly couple from San Francisco, and another Canadian guy from Ottawa, both of whom have been sailing for many years and have no end date to their travels. Speaking of end dates it looks like our end is coming this spring, as we have accepted an offer to work back on the East Coast.
Too our surprise Funchal is a huge city in comparison to most of the places we have been. With a population of over 125k with at least another 100k of visitors flying in or on board one of the many large cruise liners coming in every day. With all the noise, people and big city lights, we almost retreated back to the solitude of Porto Santo, Madeira 's smaller Northern Island that we had just spent the last week at.
However we needed to stick around to pick up Mary aka "Grammy Clause" aptly named by the kids, who is visiting for a week, thus we decided (ok I was ordered) to stay put for a few days.
Having arrived in the Madeira's, it does truly feels that we have arrived in the tropics, the sea and air temps are almost the same, being in the mid 20*c.
Northern Spain and Portugal have great beeches and hot air temperatures but you wouldn't stay in the sea for too long without having a wet suit.
Also changing is the culture, history, arcitechture and of course the people as we move away from the main land Europe into Atlantic Islands .
This last trip to Coastal Europe has really firmed up for us, just how young North America is. History has a whole new meaning, something along with languages I regret not paying enough attention too back in school. When we arrive in Spain there was lighthouse restored from 200 AD and many of the building from even earlier, most dating a few hundred year before Christ. As a side note I wonder just how boring our world history would be without religion and conflict.
You also realize just how much importance the Europeans place on their ports and shipping in general. It is refreshing especially as many in marine business in Canada have to fight with the various governments and public opinion just to maintain existing marine infrastructure we have. Even our larger ports are all too quickly receding into condo ville.
The Port Offices and captains houses here are second only to the churches in statue. Even with the newer deep draft Container ports deflecting the traditional traffic away from the historic downtown locations, the ports have quickly expanded the tourist and pleasure boats markets along with the short sea shipping trades. It has been over 10 years since we last in Portugal and Spain and in that time Vicky and I have read and seen expansion of existing marinas and a huge growth of new Marina's, EU monies taking credit for much of this.
While I'm on a little rant, lets talk about wine prices. How is it that you can go to any supermarket in Spain and/or Portugal, fill your cart up with various bottles of wines, local, regional and international, go to the check out and be shocked at how low your bill was. like 20 Euro's? Impossible, it must be a mistake I have a dozen bottle of wine, some beer and even some food for the kids... " Ah yes the teller sayes I forgot to charge you for the 15 cents for the plastic bags.
Most of the wines are only a few eruos with some under one euro, that's less than $1.40 Canadian. It works out that if you want to go with the 10 liter box wine, (the cheap stuff) it is than 30 cents Canadian a liter! how is that possible, water is more expensive. Even beer was working out too less than 25 cents for a 330 ml can. For some reason the exported German beer in Spain won the cheapest award, not bad tasting either, a pilsner called Finkbrau..... Hey it noon time, taste test time for a cold Finkbrau ...back later. (ya I know I shouldn't complain about twitter/facebook people)
ahh that was dam good, I'm not sure what it is, maybe it's the heat, or the sun's reflections off the water, or just the fact I don't have to go to work this afternoon.... 9 out of 10 for the German Finkbrau. Anyhow even if us Canadians pay double the wine prices here, ( to pay for the valuable shipment, tug and port services,) we are still being raped, the booze boards and commissions are a total scam, I suspect left over from the probation era. why do we have restricted outlet stores? Distribution is heavy controlled and I suspect everything is heavily taxed and regulations beyond belief.
We need some good old fashion hangings to deliver the that much need message. we pay way too much. The nation as a whole needs to raise up and revolt on Parliament Hill, a few swinging senators and mps should get the message(S) out... let the market dictate what and how much is brought in and make the tax reasonable on this important staple of life.
Our leaders need to take some of our tax money and travel more, not only within our country but aboard, (limited to non tourist locations) , get them off the beaches, and out of the hotel lobby bars and into the towns and city centers. Outside of the wine, they would also see that on environmental issues we in Canada are far from leading the way, infact we have a long way to go. Even some of the town which appeared to be lost in time here in Spain have things like new generation hybd electrical bus services. Mass transit is just a way of life and done well. Electical cars and bikes of every descriptions are permitted to use the roads or have specials lanes, although not an green move, it interesting that four wheelers and off road trikes are permitted on the roads. I know a few people in New Brunswick and NL would welcomed this move, (although your still not allowed to shoot anything that moves)
Walkways and bike lanes are made everywhere, some towns like La Coruna have public bike system you can rent form one location (an automated bike rack) and drop off at another. This not a tourist thing, Wind Generator are standard everywhere, Garbage and recycling almost every location, even things like oil recycling and batteries. Coming form BC which I believe is leading most of the country, but they are still way behind Portugal (not a rich nation in comparison) It more than just the recycling, small thing such almost all public lights being motion activated, in washrooms, sidewalks and street lighting, Water conservation projects, sewage plants and recycling water, (Vicky has a story about this back in Australia) also being tough on plastic bags, they are taxing plastic bags (even in Ireland) ,....Canada should do this instead of our wine.
European Public works and projects in general seem to be significantly different, when they build something, they build it to last for generation to come. Simple things such as bench seats can be solid stone, common hand rails almost exclusively made of stainless steel. Construction of walkways which have point loading I'm sure in excess of 10 tonnes per square meter and never of wood or prefab sheet metal. Formed engineered Concrete and stone with structure steel and stainless everywhere. Dock and wharf construction is also well done, although I must say I've seen similar good work at some of BC ferries major facilities, it's not your typical wood piling with a poured concrete cap which dominates the east coast.
Well I'd better stop ranting and go with promises to talk more about the travels, maybe beeches, palm trees and those who inhabit them, as this I suspect will become more and more prevalent with our Island hoping ahead.
All is well with family and boat, we are here in Madeira till Mary flies out on the 12/13th of this month. We are then off to the Canary Islands. Not sure where we are going to go yet however a friend I worked with at the Ferries has relatives that own a bar in Tenerife, thus we have a mission.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
We had an over nite downwind sail from Leixoes and anchored our tired bones outside the breakwater at 4am. We awoke to a Scottish lilt paging us on the VHF. It was our shetlander friends informing us it was safe at the dock. It is a small marina and boats have to raft up 3-4 along side but being there at 8am we tied to the dock (amongst lots of excited girl screaming) and now have two boats attached to us. This could be our last stop with the Linda, Ali and the girls and we sure are going too miss them. We are taking a right turn and they are taking a left (med).
So back tracking a bit....Viana do Castelo
I loved it, we spent a week and had a grand time. It was a lovely old, historic, alley permeated place with lots too see and do. We spent one day zipping up the funicular to a 1940ish St. Lucia Basilica. Wow what a view to the river, sea and town below. We then ventured up behind to the 500BC year pre-roman old citania (old town ruins). We followed a steel walkway over the top of...piles of rock that apparent were houses, bread ovens, toilets...even one of those send in the lions type stadiums.
We had lots of good run arounds, hang out time with the shetlanders, even made it to the international folk festival for some Angolan tunes. A small beach on the river Lima was close by but I'm not sure if our(my) skin has thinned but man was it cold. Kids loved it of course and splashed around with the water wings.
One day we wandered ( i pushed the buggie) out to the praia norte. Alittle more gusty on the coast. There were two cement pools that basically were filled by the ocean. Nyah of course got in until one to many pieces of seaweed hit her in the head...There we met a friendly local man with his two children. As kids do they played and laughed together ours in English and the other in Portuguese. It turned out the dad spoke English and very kindly invited to his town of ponte de lima. So on Tuesday we hopped a bus for the town about 45min inland. Wow was it stiffling hot. We headed to the cafe for a meia de leite (latte), cerveja, agua con gas, called our hosts and Alvina and Sofia came and met with us. We spent a leisurely day walking around the historic town while getting history and Portuguese lingo lessons. The kids had fun at the playground. We meandered across the roman bridge across the picturesque town. Before we knew it we had to catch the bus back to the marina . We said fond farewells, and Alvine owning two local papers ran to the office and gave us a much treasured black and white photo of the bridge and town.
On to Leixoes port town of Pelma de Leca and Matosinhos and metro connection to Porto the second city in Portugal and origin of port. It was a bit of a motor but thats okay charged up the fridge so lots of cold beer for when we got in. I know the shetlanders are starting to wonder if we are stalking them...but we pulled in almost next door in the marina and got the lay of the land.
The marina was next to a huge beach where loads of people were riding the waves ( i know that is probably outdated surfer talk). We spent about a week here. After alittle organizing we managed to locate babysitting at of all places the mall. (norte shopping). So Ali, Linda and us decided to drop off the kids and sight see porto....And somehow it all worked out. The kids loved the idea of daycare (play land) and the adults loved the idea of being kids free for a few (actually 6) hours.
Porto is a hilly historic town with 6 bridges. The metro basically lets you off at the top of the hill and you wander downhill to the river. It happened the day we were there it was an airshow so it seemed the whole of the city was down at the river watching the sights. Once again we nabbed the funicular up hill and found a football/pub open to the public half way up to sit, drink and watch.
We managed to climb the 200something stairs to Igreja and Torre dos Clerigos (oh the things you can do kidfree). In all that we didn't make it for a port tour...next time. Back to collect the kids who seemed to be having a great time, although pretty exhausted.
Next day we ventured out to the pristine salt water pools on the ocean. This one had an entry fee but was worth it. The kids splashed about and played in the sand. Rogan had one incident with swallowing a tad bit too much salt water and threw up in the pool....Oops luckily it floated to the far end where no one swam. Sorry unedited version have to run more later and spell check
Monday, September 14, 2009
Viana do Castelo has come and gone ( i stand corrected:) You have to remember I usually write this with two screaming children on top of me)
We have now just spent a week in Leixoes, again two doors down from Ali, Linda and girls. We had a grand time metroing into Porto and watching a bit of the airshow from an outdoor bar on the side of a hill.
Off to Peniche tomorrow, which will be an overnight sail. It's been awhile since we've done that one...where is Colin and Tara when you need them! Honest pictures coming.....
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
We are in Viana do Castelo, Portugal and loving it. Actually starting to grow algae on the bottom again so Olous wants to get moving. It is a quaint unpolished old town oosing in history. We are off today on a bus trip to Ponte Lima, apparently the oldest town in Portugal.
Well off to do the dishes...next boat is definetely having a dishwasher.....
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Viana do Castelo, Portugal next on the list. Hope too meet our friends from the shetlands with two girls. Only a hop skip and a jump down the coast...I hope. Lets hope those atlantic rollers are more like pancakes today..
Monday, August 31, 2009
I have been asked (held ransom) to contribute, so here goes....... first in true "Olous fashion" I will cheat (cut and paste) from some earlier emails I had sent to friends starting from when we first arrived into Ireland.
"............over a week ago now after a relatively smooth crossing. After departing St. John's at noon on the 17th of last month, we anchored off the Village of Baltimore in 4 m of water, the morning of July 29th. Much quicker than anticipated.
We picked up two extra crew for the trip, ..My father Colin, who is hard of hearing and knew we wouldn't let the kids out on deck in the North Atlantic so he could escape the inevitable family drama, and Tara my 16 year old my niece, who simply didn't know the difference, but turn out to be a real tropper and a great help, although I fear for any future roommates she will have.
Having the extra crew allowed us to push the boat a little harder than if I have been by myself/family, we managed to cover off the rhum line distance of 1640 nm in 11 days 9 hrs (corrected time)> Due to the one Gale which gave us some head winds we actually covered off almost 1900nm through the water as we headed North for almost two days, this gave us an average speed of 7 knots, which is good timing, considering our last boat we would be luck to average 4-5 knots over that sort of distance. We had a total of 23 hours of steaming (with the engine on a little above idle) at 4-5 knots, this included motoring out and into harbour and time we were totally becalmed and I got orders from the Admiral to "hurry the hell up , (this was a few days after leaving Newfoundland).
Our little single banger Kubota Generator was on for a total of 22 hours for charging batteries and keeping the watermaker working. We arrived in port still holding some 1600 liters of fuel and our water tanks full at 1200 liters.
Looking back through the log our strongest wind gust was a little over 40 knots and we had sustained winds of 35 knots for over 18 hours. Sea state I find are always hard to estimate pending the size of boat you are on, the forecasted average waves of 5-6m during the gale, which seemed to be accurate with peak waves a little over 8-9 meters. Highest pressure system was 1015mb and lowest low was 994 mb. Experienced alot of RDF, rain drizzle and fog, and our temperatures were consistently between 12 and 15*C most days with the sun only make a brief appearance one of our 12 days.
Top boat speed 14 knots through the water and 14.4 over the ground due to Atlantic current we had with us. (this was during the gale as it clocked around giving some winds and waves on our stern. Slowest speed was minus 1 knot just before getting the order to put the engine on, Our first point of land was Fastnet Rock at 0600hr morning of our landfall at Baltimore and our First but not last Guinness was at 1230hrs later that day....... That pretty much it for the stats.
For those that don't know "Atmosphere" she is 53 LOA and 50 waterline lenght. She has a 14 foot beam and draws a little over 2 meters. She originally was very light at just over 22,000 lbs, but today she is probably closer to 30,000lbs or more with all the modifications and junk onboard. Our aft swim platform (stern scoop) which was above the water a few years ago is now 2 inches below water
On the trip across we started with a 4 hour modified watch system with Dad and Tara opposite watch to myself this would be done around the clock. They hand steered for all their watches, however I used our auto helm for assistance in all but the heavy weather conditions...at which time we shortened sails and watches going to a three hours.
Upon arrival here in Baltimore I have continued with a few boat projects with Vicky and crew getting out to explore around the area and get supplies and laundry done in Skibereen the closest town which has facility.
We proudly flying our Canadian and SJPBC bur gee in good holding mud about 300 meters (2 mins by tender) away from the Center of the Universe (Bushes Pub).
Not only can you catch up on all the latest dock talk and rehydrate yourself, the place provides showers (much needed for the visitors) and this can all be done while the kids play under your bar stool! I have been told this isn't quality time with your children, but I'm sure it's not that far off in the grand scheme of things. I think in fact I'll ponder that question a few more times before we leave.
Speaking of which, the rain and cool temperatures seem to have followed us, thus we have decided to sail directly across the Bay of Biscay to Northern Spain (La Corona sp?) this upcoming Tuesday when our extra crew fly home........."
As commented earlier the Sail across of the Biscay was more of a motoring event, however the wind did pipe up on the last day which gave us a good ride into A Coruna
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Sorry we are not great at updating this sailing life is busy stuff so much too see and by the time we get back to the boat, socialize with other boaters, learn some spanish, settle the crew down, have a night cap...it's pretty much time for bed. We will aim to get better! In the meantime hasta leugo until camarinas
Saturday, August 15, 2009
A coruna is quite the city..lots of interesing statues, old architecture, neat curvy alleyways, loads of cervasa and we even tried the local delicacy ..octopus..Nyah liked it, Rogan could leave it.
Maybe off to santiago de la compestello tomorrow via train we'll see manana....
Monday, August 10, 2009
On to new frontiers...
Friday, August 7, 2009
Monday, August 3, 2009
Tara starts irish sailing school tomorrow, so she definetely is going to be a pro by the end of the end of the trip. It's raining here again and about 15..I think this is as good as it gets here.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Well off to bed to catch up on some much needed sleep and plan for the next move.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Just a quick intro to the trip...
The Boat: Atmosphere
The Crew: Olous
Tommorow we're setting off on a trans-atlantic voyage from St John's, Newfoundland, to Baltimore, Ireland... it could take any where from 15 days to 3 weeks, depending on the wind. Anyways, there isn't much to blog about right now, since we've just been working on supplies and a few important renovations, but there should be lots to tell about in Ireland.... assuming we remember we have a blog at all....
Descent into hell....
1 locker cleaned out, one to go...