Barbara and I went to visit a small game park, where we were lucky enough to get close to a Florida Panther.
Jan 1st. Barbara & Stuart returned from Atlanta and we went out to the Red Lobster for a farewell dinner with them as they were leaving for Key West. Barbara and Stuart wanted us to go with them to the Mediterranean and this planning went on till 4.30am
I started to sand the cockpit area, paint and varnish work. We had now done 22,000 miles, and were planning to go to the Mediterranean, and so Dave fitted an Auto pilot.
We went to the New River shopping centre where Dave got to hang a Boa Constrictor round his neck. In April we had a barbeque with, Mike, the owner of the property where our boat was and invited friends. Mike was returning to his house in Carolina and we were getting ready to leave. We were also invited to Mikes granddaughters garden wedding.
Dave checked the water inlet on the engine and found it to be rusted through, so ordered a new one from Volvo, also had to buy a gear lever.
We started to use the pool again, warmer weather.
Took me 7 months to tame the squirrels so they would take the nuts from my hand
We will miss our friends very much, had a wonderful 9 months in Fort Lauderdale.
On May 1st, we motored down the New River behind the River queen, then sailed to the Palm Beach anchorage to overnight.
The following morning we left for Bermuda, 3 reefs in the main and full Genoa, and once we got to the gulf stream and with current we were doing 6-7 knots, lovely sailing conditions and just incredible having an auto-pilot. We did 80 miles in 7 hours and the first 24 hours we did 190 miles and slept most of the days and most of the nights, did not see ships, but we did check now and then. Couple of days with no wind so I went over board for a swim, the water was cold but refreshing.
On the 13 May, we arrived in Bermuda, 900 miles, and motored through the narrow cut and went alongside the customs dock. Dave went to check-in and Barbara and Stuart came over in their dinghy. We went out to anchor near ‘Walkabout’ and had dinner with them, ate, talked and drank till SUNRISE - CRAZY!!!
The following day we went ashore to the gardens, and walked round the pretty town.
We walked up the hill - lovely views over the bay.
On Saturday, Stuart & Barbara fetched us and we went ashore, and bought bus tickets for a 1 day pass $25, and went to Hamilton. Walked round the town then went by ferry across to the Dockyard which took 1 hour to the North West end of the island.
Visited the glassblower building, Rum Café and book store, many shops here and a museum.
Got a bus to Sonesta beach hotel, walked round there, and returned to St. George’s.
Following day we went ashore for a late breakfast, then went to watch the locals play cricket. Had a few days with strong wind and rain and we were waiting for good weather to leave, so we all went ashore and walked to the otherside of the island, to Tobacco Bay and to Catherine Fort.
We also walked up to the radio station, the highest point on the island, they don’t allow people inside anymore since Sept. 11, but Barbara asked and they let us inside the building. They had cameras zoomed in on the yachts at anchor, could see our boat clearly, also the entrance to the bay and very powerful radio equipment.
On the 30th, we left for the Azores, with full Genoa and did 6-7 knots, lovely sailing. We had an SSB Radio receiver and Barbara contacted us with weather updates and according to Herb, advised us to stay south of 34deg., so we changed course and for the following days had lousy weather and sea conditions.
On the 13th day, no wind but still big swells all day and we saw 5 whales. The wind swung to the S.West, and we did 190 miles in 36 hours and the wind increased to 45 knots with big swells, Dave had to switch the auto-pilot off and steer the boat for 6 hours. We were doing 7-8 knots, and 11-12 knots surfing down the swells. We went up to 13 knots and Dave said he had to stop the boat, also tired of helming. So we heaved too, and just then the steering cable broke, and we still had 150 miles to go.
We took the emergency tiller out and fitted that, and steered for about 1 hour, just with 3 reefs in the main, then the tiller also broke. The tiller was made of thin tube stainless steel. Dave knocked a piece of an old wooden paddle into the stainless steel shaft, and had to use a wrench to hold the wood and steel, which kept slipping off. Dave tied the steering sheef to the steps. The wind peaked at 50 knots.
On 17th June, in light wind we approached Horta, the seas were flatter and doing only 2-3 knots and still steering with a wrench, we managed to go into the bay and anchor just inside the breakwater. Bermuda – Azores- Faial Island -Horta- we did 2,250 miles, over 18 days.
The Azores is a Volcanic archipelago of nine islands, Flores, Corvo, Faial, and Pico belong to the Western group, and S. Jorge, Graciosa, Terceira islands, the central group, and Sao Miguel and Santa Maria islands form the Eastern group.
Faial island is at 38deg. N and 28deg.30 West, 4.5 miles from Pico island. The island is 21km long and 14 km wide. The first settlers were Portuguese in 1460. The killing of whales was a big thing here in the early days, now only ‘whale watching’ which is very popular for the tourists, Scrimshaw is a very special handicraft (whale’s teeth and bones) with beautiful artwork.
We were very worried about ‘Walkabout’ as they weren’t in the marina, and should have arrived before us, we then heard 2 days later that they had gone to Flores island.
We went ashore for a welcome hot shower which cost $1.50 and they gave a bar of soap and a warm bath towel, then Lunch at the marina restaurant, a cheese burger and chips for $2.30.
We walked along the waterfront and admired all the paintings done by previous yachts. We went to Peter’s place, which is a bar restaurant, gift shop and e-mail centre. Most days were overcast, rainy and very cold. We needed some exercise, so the walk up the steep hill to the supermarket was most enjoyable. Eventually we had sunny weather and I was able to dry cushions etc., and Dave started doing the repairs. Barbara and Stuart arrived and had to go alongside the marina wall on the outside and wait for a berth. We spent all afternoon in the restaurant chatting about the lousy trip.
We got a taxi to Caldeira, where the annual festival was, and walked round and stayed for about 2 hours, then returned to town for super.
Dave re-fitted the steering pulley and glassed all in again and the steering cable. Barbara went to hire a car and we drove to Ponto dos Capelinhos, on the western tip. Then we drove over the mountain, to the centre of the island, very pretty, all along the roadside were wild pink roses and Hydrangeas, to Caldeira, an enormous crater, about 2km in diameter and 400m deep, surrounded by hydrangeas and lush vegetation, ferns and other flora.
By now it was 2pm and all very hungry, so we drove to the North West of the island looking for a good restaurant, and luckily spotted a sign, Nick’s Hideaway, in Cedros. I ordered lamb chops and veg. and the others ordered the pork and veg. $7, very good meal. Ordered coffee with fresh cream, and had about 3, then pancakes and fresh cream, all very delicious. Drove along the coast and back to Horta. Still had cold, overcast weather, no summer yet.
On Sunday 30th June, we got up early, to overcast and cloudy weather, and decided it’s now or never, so we went to get the 9am ferry, $2.50 each to Pico island, which took 20 min.
Pico is 8km from Faial, 42km long and 15km wide and Pico mountain is 2,351mts., high, and is the highest mountain in Portugal.
We got a taxi to the start of the walk . Very steep climbing and Barbara found it quite tough going, but soon got used to it. The flowers are very similar to the Cape, ericas etc. Walked to the cave, had a little rest and water and continued, walked through the clouds to a beautiful, clear blue sky, and very hot.
We climbed about 2/3 of the way, and Stuart did not want to go any further, so we stopped for lunch. No point really on going to the top, as the cloud cover was thick below us and all round the island, so no view over the sea to the other islands.
Way above the clouds!!
Walked back down to the cave where we stopped for nice cold water, continued down to the road and waited for the taxi. We enjoyed the day.
A fantastic Hike!!
We had to wait for the 9.15pm ferry back to Horta so found a bar and had some nice cold beers and a meal.
I went to paint a white background on a space on the wall. Everyone has to make a painting before leaving, for good luck.
Dave started the painting and Barbara gave us all her left over paint as she had already finished her painting and Dave completed our painting.
It was time to leave as our spares for the auto-pilot had arrived.
Lovely views over Horta at night.
On the 5th July, we left Horta for Sao Jorge and had to motor sail the 22 miles. It was festival time there, so many small local boats in the anchorage and loud live music all night.
Sao Jorge Festival
We went ashore and walked round the small town, and flea-market. At 4.30 the bull run started. They let the bull run along the harbour wall, and crowds of people sat on the higher wall, or on the edge and when the bull ran towards them, they would jump into the water. ‘Walkabout’ left at 8pm for Terceira island and we left the following morning.
Sao Jorge to Terceira island is 65 miles and on 9th July we left for Terceira Island. On arrival we called ‘Walkabout’ to see where they were anchored, and said they went into the marina, and said it was all free, couldn’t believe it, so we also went to the marina. Dave went to check in at the office, and they said it was all free, laundry, water, power, showers, dock, until they say we would have to pay, as the opening of the marina was going to be on the 20th July.
We walked through the town, many shops and bars, coffee bars etc. I went for a walk in the late afternoon, and climbed up the steep hill, good views from there.
On Thurs., we all went to town and got a bus to the north side of the island. Terceira island is 29km long and 17.5 km wide. We were in the town of Vitoria on the East coast, and the main old city is Angra do Heroismo on the South end.
We got the bus to the small town of Biscoitos on the North side, which is the wine zone and went to visit the small wine museum, bought some wine, then went by bus to the city of Angra. Walked round the town, and to the botanic gardens, then returned to Vitoria.
On the 15th, we left the marina for an over night sail to Sao Miguel, 95 Miles. The marina was full, so we picked up a mooring bouy, but the following day a yacht left and ‘Walkabout’ went to their place along the wall, and we went and rafted up to them. Following day we went to walk round the town, to the Gardens and the Palace. Sao Miguel is the largest island in the group of 9, 65 km long and 14 km wide. We hired a car again and drove to Sete Cidades, high up in the hills and the roads were lined with hydrangeas.
This is where the big lake is, one side is blue with a strip of land between, and the other side is green, but in the mist, could not see the colours.
Then drove over to the North side and along the coast, lovely tree lined roads, to the town of Ribeira Grande, Porto Formoso, and down to the town of Furnas.
There are hot water springs, many pools with steam coming off. We drove past the Furnas Lagoon to the Terra Nostra Park where we saw a variety of exotic trees and plants and a big open-air warm water swimming pool.
The gardens were beautiful. Then drove back to the south coast, Aua de Alto, Santa Cruz, Lagoa and back to Ponta Delgada. We visited 5 of the islands, enjoyed Faial, Terceira and Sao Miguel, and spent 36 days in the Azores. Azores – Gibraltar - 1,050 Miles. 24th July – 3rd August 2002.
On 24th July, we left the marina with ‘Walkabout’, flat seas, a light breeze and very cold weather again. We had a few days of windlass conditions, and the 5th day out the wind was N.East 10-15 and lovely sailing, and later the wind increased to 40knots. We kept heading more to the North and ‘Walkabout’ headed south, so we lost contact with them by the 3rd day out. Nearing the straits we had no wind again, very misty in the early hours, so with these conditions we motored, had little current and made our way to the customs dock. We went out to anchor as the 2 marinas here were full. The airfield astride the isthmus with the road to Spain running through the middle, the runway was built out into the Bay on reclaimed ground.
Following day we managed to get a berth at the Queensway Quay Marina, right in town, and amazingly alongside ‘Walkabout’. We sailed 1,048 miles.
Lovely weather, clear blue skies, about 30-32 deg., during the day and a light breeze from every which way.
The marina was $16 a day plus water & power. Stuart flew out to Columbia to go and work for an oil company for 6 weeks, so Barbara had a car as Stuart flew from Malaga. We drove round Gibraltar, and up part of the mountain. The price to enter the tourist part of the mountain was £7 p.p., and £1.50 for the car. We went to the Caves, the Great Siege Tunnels and the Moorish Castle.
The Moorish castle, was rebuilt in 1333 and is situated on the North-western slope.
The city centre is long and narrow, main street, and Irish town, and at the North end is Casemates Square which is surrounded by restaurants and shops.
The Rock of Gibraltar owes its fame and its place in history to two features. It rises directly from the sea to a height of 450 mtrs., and is connected to the mainland by a long low isthmus which makes it look like an island, its position at the eastern entrance of the narrow strait. Its total area is only 2sq., miles and has a history of 3,000 years. Population app. 30,000, Spanish, English ex pats, (native Gibs., 20,000) and the rest Moroccans
On 12th August, Dave flew from Gibraltar to Gatwick, then bus to Heathrow and flew home to JHB, and planned to return about the 13th September. From home, Dave was able to get us a 6 month Shengen visa, so this was going to be a major problem for us as one can’t tour Europe in 6 months.
Barbara and I got our bikes out and cycled or walked everywhere. Walked from shop to shop, lovely town. We went to the Botanic Gardens a couple of times, also cycled round to the beaches on the Med. side.
We had done miles of walking and miles of cycling, seen most of the shops, and tourist attractions, went to the square on Thursday nights for live music, tried a few restaurants, roast beef & Veg.
Parson’s Lodge, once housed three, 18 ton ten inch rifled muzzled loaders during the 2nd world war. Europa Point lighthouse is the only one regulated by Trinity House outside the U.K., it dates back to 1841, 49 mtrs., above sea level and a range of 37 km.
We cycled to the South end, road past the Parson’s Lodge, through 2 tunnels, and down to the waters edge, 2 swimming pools and I went in for a quick cool-off. We also cycled to the lighthouse point.
The Rock includes the St. Michael’s Cave, situated 300m above sea level. A sound and light system has been installed that enhances the cave’s natural features, underground lake and a multitude of stalactites and stalagmites. The Rock Apes are tailless monkeys, known as Barbary Macaques, imported as pets in the early days of the British garrison.
The great Siege Tunnels, excavated by the British army during the great siege of 1779-93, about 30km of tunnels.
To get to the upper rock, one can hire a taxi, a car, use the cable car or walk up. The hike starts from the Elliot hotel, meandering path up and then the last third, up steps to the cable car station and restaurant.
Walk along the rock down to the Caves and back down to town. The other route, is to go to the entrance at Jews gate and walk up the Mediterranean steps to O’Hara Battery, on the southern peak of the Rock and go round the east side, past the huge 9.2 inch Guns which dominate the Straits.
Native pines and wild olives, many wild flowers, namely, brooms, dwarf Fan or Palmetto Palm, Jasmine and wild asparagus etc. On the edge walking with views to Spain, Morocco and Tarifa.
On September 10th, Gibraltar Day, everyone dressed in Red and White. There was a huge crowd in Casemates square, for speeches and then the release of thousands of balloons at 12.15pm.
On Friday 13th, Dave returned from South Africa, said he enjoyed his stay very much. It rained all day on Sunday so Dave did repairs on the Alternator, had a bush made, checked the steering and batteries. Just before leaving Gibraltar Dave and I hiked up the Rock. We spent 50 days in Gibraltar.
On 25th we left for Spain, no wind and motored to Marbella and anchored overnight. Following day we motor sailed all day to Malaga – Velez, 50 miles. We made overnight stops in La Rabita, Cabo De Gata, to Cartagena, 90 miles and went to the marina. This city gives the impression it is built in a big circle, we walked to the hypermarket, and chandlery etc. We Spent 4 nights here, due to the North East winds. We went to look at some ruins, and just enjoyed the few days in the city.
On the 4th October we left the marina, wind blowing 15-20knots North East and motor sailed all day to Puerto de Tomas Maetre, Marmenor and anchored just inside a reef in a protected lagoon. Following morning, we motorsailed all day to Isla Tabarca, and overnight, a bit rolly and during the early hours of the morning the wind swung to the West, so we were on a lee shore and left at 7.30am. and had a good sail for a few hours to Cabo Negro, to Ensonade de los Palles. We went to the entrance to the lagoon and anchored off the town with mountains in the back ground.
On the 7th October, we motor sailed all day to Ibiza to San Antonio bay. This anchorage is open to the West, and the bottom was thick grass. The wind increased and we dragged and a couple of other boats also dragged. We then went to a mooring bouy, but there was a big fetch coming into the bay, not a good anchorage. We went ashore and had a bit of a look round and only stayed a few days.
We motor sailed to San Miguel anchorage and as we approached the anchorage it opened up into a lovely bay, with hotel on one side and a nice beach, with high rock cliffs on both sides. Protected, except from the North – N.West. On the 14th, we motor sailed to Mallorca, Santa Ponsa Bay where we stayed overnight and in the morning we sailed to Palma. They said the marina was full, only one berth for a smaller boat, but they let us squeeze ourselves into this berth. Spent 10 nights in the Marina Club Real at 30Eu per night.
This is a huge marina, so the walk to town was quite a distance. We went out nearly every day to explore the very clean city with old and new buildings, parks etc. We went to Plaza Major and Plaza Oliver, visited the beautiful Cathedral ‘La Seu’, also Plaza Gomida and walked up to the Castle Bellver surrounded by lovely gardens, overlooking Palma.
On Sunday, Jessie & Dion invited us to go for a drive to Puerto Portals, then to Puerto Andraiz, Palma Nova, back to Palma and onto the highway and across the island to the North side to Porto Pollenca. Farmlands and lots of open space, and mountains. Drove to Alcudia, mountains all round a big bay, then to Bonaire and Port Alcudia. Drove back through Inca, nut groves and olive groves, to Palma.
A cold front came through with Gale force S-West 80 km winds. While waiting for good weather we went by train to Soller, about 1 hour, through the many mountain tunnels.
We walked to the town and harbour area.
On the 25th, we returned to Santa Ponsa bay and anchored. For the following few days we had lovely weather and enjoyed walking to the town and round the bay area.
The weather was very cold at night and on the 6th Nov. there was a Gale warning, and people advised us not to stay at anchor. Dave went to the Marina to check for a berth and we left the anchorage for the marina and the full Gale arrived at 3am, force 9, then dropped to force 6. Being the first dock, we had a lot of surge and the lines took great strain, and the one fur-lead bent. Once again, on the 9th, another Gale warning, West wind and by evening blowing force 10.
Apart from the weather I enjoyed Mallorca very much, Palma and Santa Ponsa.
On the 10th November we left the marina for Cartagena, we decided we had had enough of the cold lousy weather. Just arrived in the marina and there was another gale warning, and for the following 2 days, 50knot winds and rain,with another gale warning, so had to sit and wait. Spent 13 days in Cartegena.
Going to downtown Cartegena
On the 26th Nov. we left Cartegena for Agua Dulce marina and stayed 2 nights. Nice town and marina.
On the 29th November we motor sailed to Almerimar Marina. This very big marina has 1,000 berths, and is surrounded by apartments and restaurants, supermarkets etc. We had lovely views across to the Sierra Nevada mountains from our boat.
Very cold at night and some days also cold. We got the bus to El Ejido, the nearest town, has a shopping centre, and supermarket. I also walked to the castle which was 6km from the marina.
We unpacked my bicycle again and I rode to the castle along the beach, also cycled to the bird reserve and lagoon, to the lighthouse, and cycled a few times to the shopping centre. This route had a very steep long hill after leaving the marina, cycled along the road next to the highway, greenhouse plastic all the way to the centre.
On December 25th, we went to the Cubano restaurant for Christmas lunch and a party. About 40 people, each person got 2 bottles of wine, choice of 3 dishes, I had fish, Dave had the pork, and sweets. A great party.