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.