15
Feb
10

2009 -Venezuela -Panama

2009:

We flew from LAX to Fort Lauderdale to spend a couple of days with friends, Linda and Neal.

On the 2nd February we flew from Miami to Caracas, Venezuela.

Miami

Miami

Flying over Miami Coast

Flying Over The Islands

Due to land in Caracas

What a culture shock, after spending 2 months in the States and along the Pacific coast, we found all the countries coastal areas to be clean, the people very friendly and helpful.  Venezuela might be oil wealthy, but the coastal areas here appear to be the poorest and dirtiest.

We had left our boat in the water on a finger-dock, and after unpacking we checked to see if everything was o.k. with the boat and found some scratches on our newly painted hull.  They had some very high tides and someone had taken one of our fenders which we found on a dock further down.

It was back to work and finishing the top deck, removing all the teak and laying the fiberglass panels.  Dave finished fitting the panels by the end of April and sanded and sanded the deck and then painted the deck with a white undercoat.  The plan was then to start making a mold for the non-slip sections, but with all this work in the baking hot sun we agreed to put that on hold for a while and decided to leave Venezuela for Panama.

We had a few farewells, and Noeline brought us a huge bag of her delicious oranges and 2 legs of lamb, sure going to miss them and the farm.

Noeline & Tony

Staff  at TMO Marina

Mariangel

We left the marina on the 7th May 2009.  Suzy & David came to see us leave in their dinghy, and Francina.  We sailed  to Tortuga and anchored off Cayo Herradura.  For the first time in many years of going to Tortuga we were the only sail boat in the anchorage, usually there are about 14 yachts anchored in Herradura.

Cayo Herradura

Cayo Elbert- Los Roques

On the 11th May,  we sailed to Los Roques under main with 2 reefs and genoa, the wind was blowing 15-20 knots doing 5-6 knots overnight to Los Roques,  and anchored off Playa Edmund.

On the  14th May we sailed to Los Aves, 30 miles, 2 other yachts at anchor.  This anchorage was very protected by the mangroves and  anchored in 5.5 mtrs.  We caught a small barracuda on the way. The following day we went to the beach and walked to the north side where we collected many allekrik and got rather wet from the seas pounding on the rocks, but we enjoyed that.

We went by dinghy over to the other anchorage and pulled the dinghy into a gap in the mangrove, and walked along a path to an area where  Yachties had made a nice stone marker area with their boat names painted on, like in the Azores.

On the 17th  we decided to dinghy over to the outlying islands, about 5 miles, and went ashore where we found a lovely huge lagoon.  We then went to the small island and walked round the island.  There were hundreds of birds with many baby chicks.

Lagoon!

Many birds on small Island!!

Mother with Chick!!!

 

On the 18th May, we sailed to Bonaire, 57 Miles, and  picked up a mooring off the town. We went ashore to check in and found the dinghy dock at  Karels bar and restaurant all broken from the storm last October, so went to Henks marina and left the dinghy there.  We walked to Customs which was closed so we walked to the Police station to check-in.  Unfortunately they now have an Immigration 0fficer working there, so had to wait due to a power failure, took about 1 hour and they told us we could stay for 24 hours and then leave as we did not have a Visa.

Downtown Bonaire

          Anchorage in Bonaire

At about 7pm we went ashore again and looked for a restaurant with a generator as the power was still off.   We found a restaurant, ¨Mona Lisa¨, on the back street which was very busy and had dinner there.

Karels Bar and Downtown  Bonaire church

Downtown Shopping centre and waterfront restaurant

Dave enjoying the lunch!!!

 Following day we new we would have a very busy day, so up early and I swam off the boat and then we went ashore.  We walked to the laundry, to be ready at 5pm then to internet, and then to Budget Marine to buy a globe for the navigation lights which hadn’t worked since leaving Tortuga.  We also bought stuffing and a few other things and got the weather report for the Columbian coast which  predicted 20 knots till Cartegena.  We walked back to the centre and had lunch, Beef wrap and chips.  We went back to the boat and Dave first checked the wiring and found it broken, so I did not have to winch him up the mast, thank goodness, lights now work.  We went back ashore to buy groceries and returned to the boat and stowed everything.  Dave took me ashore again to get the laundry, while he went to the marina to pay for the mooring and buy some fuel and water.   It was already 6pm and we had to leave by 7pm so we put the dinghy back on board, very tired and decided to sleep overnight and leave very early in the morning.

We sailed  along the Curacao coast and the sea was a mess and sailed past Aruba on the inside during the night,  and during the following morning off   Los Monjes Rocks, the Venezuela coast guard called us and invited us to visit with them and to tie up to the dock!!!, but Dave declined.

Los Monjes Rocks -Venezuela Coastguard

Cabo de Vella – Columbia

Cabo de Vella anchorage

 During the night the wind dropped and the seas smaller so Dave put up the spinnaker pole to stop the Genoa flapping.  The 22nd May we still had light wind and anchored off Cabo de Vella, 240 miles.  The following morning we left the anchorage and motor sailed all day and night and on the 24th  still had to motor sail most of the day and night , we were worried that we may run out of fuel.  On the 25th   we  motor sailed past the 5 Bays, very beautiful high mountains and flat calm water, had  some wind during the evening, so sail and gave the motor a little rest.  On the 27th same conditions only did  3-4 knots.

A very tired passenger!!!!

On Thursday 28th, still motor sailing slowly and arrived in Porto Bello at 3pm., 480 miles, and anchored off  the hill.

From Anchorage

We went ashore and walked to the supermarket and bought diesel, only just made it to Porto Bello.  We stayed a few days, enjoyed swimming in the warm water and the peaceful anchorage..

On the 31st May, we motored to Colon and went to Shelter Bay marina.

Shelter Bay Marina

Total Distance Venezuela to Panama was 1009 miles.

 We have now sailed 35,000 miles on Dignity and  7,000 miles doing deliveries.

I unpacked my bicycle and cycled to the Fort San Lorenzo and Chagres river mouth.

The Chagres River

          Chagres River entrance   –  and Diablo Beach

Tortuga Beach

We went to Panama city a few times to buy things for the boat etc. and stayed overnight at the Milan Hotel.

The Cathedral in Panama City

Inside the  Cathedral

Panama Cathedral

The Milan Hotel   –  Room

We went to the Veneto Hotel & Casino     –  the drive back to the marina

Dave & I drove to the Gatun Lake

                We drove to Escobal town  –  views to Gatun Lake, then along Costa Abajo

The road ends at Miguel de la Borda,  one has to have a boat to continue up the coast or drive via Panama City to go to Bocas del Toro

Cattle farm lands  etc  –

Return view to Chagres river bridge-sleuce gates.

I went with Jennifer, Nellie and Judy to Panama City to visit the Old Town.

Old City –  Panama Viejo  –

Jennifer & Judy    –  Souvenir shops

We first had a coffee and then walked around the place.

  They were still busy renovating the old buildings and it was a pleasure to walk round and admire the buildings which were renovated, also many tourist shops etc.

We walked to Plaza de Francia   –  views to old city

Views to Panama City

Calle Oeste  Artisans Market

Ministerio de Gobierno y Justicia   and  Palacio Bolivar

Plaza de la Independencia   &  Government Offices

Presidents House      and  Independence Square

Old  Town  Cathedral

We then got a taxi to Flamenco Yacht club and went to Alfredo’s for a delicious lunch.  We walked round the area, a huge complex, hotels and restaurants etc.

Enjoyed a good lunch and the day in Panama City!!

Flamenco Marina on the Amador  Causeway

We hired another taxi back to the Allbrook Mall,  a big, clean shopping mall and spent about an hour there then got the bus back to Colon.

     The first week in December we flew to Fort Lauderdale.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Walked to the Riverside Shopping centre,  the Riverside Park and Las Olas Blvd.

Waterfront Pub and Restaurant and went to the Fort Lauderdale Art  Museum

Walked down Las Olas Boulevard and visit  Stranahan House Museum

 Stroll along Fort Lauderdale Beach  –  Avalon Inn where we stayed

View from Avalon Inn  and Pool area

17th  Bridge Causeway      and the Intercoastal Waterway

Flight back to Panama

Balboa Panama  and Allbrook Mall  –  Panama City

Panama Canal – Balboa Moorings and the Americas Highway

              Balboa Yacht Club  –  Moorings

           Amador Causeway  –  Panama City

Flamenco Marina   –  Amador Causeway

On the 27th December we sailed to Porto Bello for a week

The Port Bello Fort at the top of hill  –  Views to the Bay

                         Views across the bay|

Views

We walked about 6km along the road that goes to Colon, many restaurants, dive shops and hotels along the way

We stopped for coffee at the Coco Plum restaurant

Restaurant Gardens

Lovely Flowers

The restaurant has a lovely garden

Closed restaurant on the way back to Porto Bello

View from Fort on town side of the bay – toward anchorage

  Full moon  at  anchor!!

 Back to the Shelter Bay Marina:

Flora and Fauna seen in the San Lorenzo Park

 

Flowers growing in the jungle

  Birds seen in jungle

Toucan

The Three Toed Sloth

SLOTH

  There are many Howler Monkeys

Howler Monkeys

Howler Monkey

 

 

  Cappuccino Monkey  -(White Face Monkey)

The Coatimundi –  Raccoon family  –

I have seen many coatimundi whilst cycling and they seem to be slightly deaf and blind as I have been quite close to them before they notice me, and seem to have a shocked look on their face, do a double look and then rush off into the bush

Ant-Eater

During the dry season there isn´t much fruit or food for them, so they will eat anything given to them, the locals sometime leave scraps for them

Coatimundi

Coatimundi

My Pet Coati

  

// //

14
Jan
10

2007-08 -Curacao – Venezuela.

 On the 6th Jan.  we left Spaansewater anchorage and after a  couple of hours the wind increased again and we sailed and tacked twice and then headed for the Venezuelan coast and motor sailed for the following 2 nights  to Tortuga and  anchored off Little Tortuga.

Venezuela Coast

The following days we  had perfect weather and on the 13th  we motored to Cayo Herradura.  Went ashore and walked and swam  and gave the fisherman cooldrinks etc. in exchange for 3 crayfish.

   On the 17th we left Tortuga  for Little Tortuga,  spent the day there and  sailed overnight to Puerto La Cruz.

TMO Marina

Marinas in Puerto La Cruz

Aerial View of waterway and marinas in Puerto La Cruz

Aqua Vi Marina

Bahia Redonda marina

El Morro marinas and hotels

Waterway – Marina and Golf course

Waterway -Marinas & Shopping Centre

Dinghy along waterway to Plaza Major Shopping Centre

Plaza Major Shopping Mall

I was not doing another book, so had time to go shopping with Suzie on ‘Ariel’ and then Heather arrived on ‘Argonauta 1’, after completing their round the world trip here in Venezuela,  and we went out a few times.  Dave helped Nick and Danielle on ‘Sea Quest’ which he later re-named ‘Colibri’.   On the 15th April, Dave had to take the owner of the marina and his family on the Beneteau  which we had delivered here,  to Los Roques for 2 weeks.

On the 7th April, Janine, Nick’s sister, Danielle and myself took a bus to Cumana, had lunch at the Marina and walked round till 3pm. then had a 3 hour bus ride to Curipe.  A lovely drive along the coast of Gulf de Carriacou and then inland, mountains, clean a pretty countryside to the town of Curipe.  The bus driver took us to the hotel where we stayed overnight.

                   The town was  clean compared to Puerto La Cruz and the people very friendly.  High mountains surround the town.

The following morning we walked downtown to

a Panadaria for breakfast, then got a taxi to the Guaracha Caves where we joined a group of about 13 people with a guide, who took us through the caves which was a 3 hour tour.

Entrance to Caves

There were many birds in the cave, a very interesting tour of the cave. (Danielle & Janine)

       We walked round the garden and got a taxi to town, where we had delicious  strawberries and cream.

Main Street-Curipe – Guaracho Bird

Janine & Daniella

On the  30th April, we left the marina  for Tortuga, clear and no wind so motor sailed, 10 miles from Tortuga we had wind and sailed to Cayo Herradura.     Went ashore and  collected many  ‘Alekrik’ shell fish for supper,  done in loads of garlic and butter, delicious.   Swam ashore and back to the boat everyday.  We went over to Little Tortuga for the weekend with Argonauta 1.

We returned to Cayo Herradura for another few perfect days.  There was some unusual sea life floating in the water.   We sailed back to the marina in Puerto La Cruz on the 15th May.

I went with Suzi & David on the ferry to Margarita and stayed overnight.

Hotel Colibri -Margarita Island

Santiago Av. Margarita

We went to do some shopping etc. and I took a taxi over to the North side of the Island.

Playa Puerto Cruz

Puerto Cruz

We decided to do a re-fit on our boat, so on the 1st August we went to  Tortuga again for a couple of weeks before starting the work on our boat.  Hurricane season being the best time of the year at these islands.  So we had perfect weather, good for snorkeling, swimming and just relaxing and enjoying the peaceful, beautiful anchorage.

On the 5th September we hauled the boat and took the boom and mast off, peeled the bottom due to osmosis, and then sanded the topsides.

TMO boatyard

Bottom to dry – Spray topsides

Sanded boom and mast and put anti-corrosion on.

Spray painted the boom and mast – Spray painters – Ephraim & Jose

Spray paint hull and stripes

Paint job done and bottom painted,  put mast back on and went back in the water on 12th December.

We then started on the deck, removed all the teak on the lower deck, and Dave made fibreglass panels which he then placed on the deck using epoxy.  We removed and cleaned all the deck fittings and re-fitted everything.

We had a few barbeques at TMO with Lorraine and Roland.

On Christmas Day we went to El Saco beach by dinghy and spent a lovely, relaxing day on the beach.

View to Puerto La Cruz and downtown.

Downtown Puerto La Cruz

Downtown Fruit Vendor               

 After the holidays we continued working on the deck.  During January 2008, Nick off ‘Colibri’  contacted us from the States where he has a Veterinary practice and asked us if we would like to deliver his boat which was in Curacao to California.  We decided we would do the delivery so continued working on the deck and finished fitting the glass panels and painted the lower deck in March and just wanted to get away from boats for a short while.

  We went by bus to Caracas and then to Colonia Tovar, a German Village in the mountains and stayed at the Frankfurt Hotel.

The Frankfurt Hotel- Colonia Tovar

Tourist shops and restaurants.

We enjoyed walking in the surrounding hills and the Village area.

Village Shops & Restaurants

Colonia Tovar

After enjoying our stay in Colonia Tovar we returned to Caracas and Puerto La Cruz.

                        Back a  TMO Marina – Restaurant and Staff.

We hauled the boat again, stowed things and just prepared the boat for an absense of at least 3 months.

(The trip from Curacao to California is in the yacht delivery section).

 

 On 29th Aug.  we left  for Tortuga Island and had a perfect sail to Playa Caldera.  Went ashore and walked over to the lagoon, posada and landing strip for small planes.

Tortuga Main Island-Caldera Anchorage

Caldera Lagoon

Landing strip!!!

Main beach and Anchorage

We spent a few days in this anchorage and then went down to Cayo  Herradura.    Spent 10 days here and then went to Little Tortuga for a couple of days, more fish in this area so

Dave did a lot of spearfishing,  and then returned to Cayo Herradura.

Tortuga:

Fisherman- Conche     –    Dolphin Fish

Sunset

25
Dec
09

2005-06 Venezuela-Curacao

We went to Little Tortuga again with Roland and Lorraine and anchored off the Eastern Island in front of a reef. Dave went to Spearfish and he caught a huge Crayfish.

By 7pm it was blowing strong from the South East and this was not a nice anchorage to be in due to a  fetch and reefs.  At midnight the wind was blowing about 25 knots     and there was a big  fetch which ripped the anchor chain out of the windlass twice, so we decided to leave and go back to Playa Herradura.  Lorraine and Roland watched us lift anchor, it was wild and scary.  We motored out past the reefs, and saw the powerboat lights at the other anchorage in Herradura.  After watching our wild time Lorraine decided to stay there the night, and keep anchor watch.  We eventually got back to Playa Herradura at 2 a.m.   Following day, the wind was still blowing strong.   We stayed another few days then sailed back to Playa Faro and overnight there, and returned to the marina the following morning.

Easter Weekend:  23.03 – 28.03.   We sailed to Isla Caracas for 2 days then went to El Oculto for 4 days.

  We walked up into the hills and just enjoyed the week at this anchorage and returned to the marina on the 28th.

  

There were a few parties at the marina and barbeques.

Ken & Audrey, Nick, Roland

Sophie’s 50th

Sophie and Jean Mark,  Iris and Pilar, Twins who worked at the Marina.

Local dancers for the Semana Santa Fiesta- at the Marina Restaurant.

Party-Party

All  trying on the Wig!!!

And the marina dog – Merle -CMO   with wig!!!

On the 15th,  we left the marina and  motored to El Oculto, 18 miles.  and Pisces 111 arrived 2 hours later.

Following day, we went across the bay in the dinghy and walked up the hill.

 

      On Monday 19th,   we motor sailed to Gulfo Carriacou, and then to Laguna Grande with Pisces 111.   25 miles to the  Lagoon.

Entrance to Lagoon

Amazing Colours

We anchored near a small island and the colours of the surrounding hills were beautiful.

 Following morning  Roland and Lorraine came over and I went ashore with them, and we walked up the hill then walked along the river bed.

On 21st December we motored to Medregal Village in the Gulfo.

Early Morning – Laguna Grande

We went ashore to check out the premises, a new boat yard, the hotel, swimming pool area, and restaurant and bar.  Had a few beers and went back to boat.

Medregal Village

The New Boatyard area

We drove for 2 hours to the town of  Carriacou, to the market for fresh fruit and veg.  We all went ashore in the evening and had dinner at the restaurant.

Met some local people on the beach and were invited to their home.

On the 23rd December, we left Medregal Village and motor sailed all day and night to Blanquilla Island.

We met Georgina and Boo on ‘Morning Star’.

Georgina and I went for a walk to Playa Americano, beautiful white beaches and 2 caves.

We walked to the abandoned house and swam.   Decided to walk back on a different path and along the beach.

Went to Georgina and Boo for Christmas supper, and they left 2 days later for Virgen Islands, St Croix.

 On the 28th,  we motor sailed to Los Testigos and anchored.

Los Testigos

Margarita Island

On Dec. 30th, we left Los Testigos for Grenada, there was a very strong current and  we motor sailed about 50 miles and went nowhere so we turned back and sailed downwind overnight to Margarita island.

Porlamar-Margarita Island

We got a taxi to Rattan in Pampatar,  the town was very busy, many tourists.   Lovely fireworks for the new year’s eve.         We stayed till the 5th January, then left with Pisces 111 for Trinidad.  We motor sailed for about 4 miles when the engine stopped and Dave found the Fuel Filter glass had shattered, so we had to return to Porlamar and sailed into the anchorage.  As our dinghy was on deck we called ‘Kamy Too’ and Lorne came and fetched Dave and they went to Vamasca  chandlery to buy a new filter and Lorne brought Dave back to the boat.  Dave fitted the new filter and the engine was good, so we just relaxed  the rest of the day and left the following morning with Pisces 111.   We headed for the Venezuelan mainland, not much wind overnight,  and arrived off San Francisco Bay in the morning, 1 mile off shore, then to Chagaramus to the Customs dock,  checked in and  had to pay overtime as it was a  Saturday.  We then went to Crews Inn Marina,  and Pisces 111 went to anchor in Scotland Bay.

Chaguaramas – Trinidad

Crews Inn Marina

Went to Budget Marine, Peake Marine and to customs to collect a parcel.

I got a bus to  Independence square, Porto Spain, some shopping along  Frederick street, then a taxi to the Botanic Gardens, and  to the Zoo .

I then walked round Queens Park Savannah to the ‘Magnificent Seven’, a group of ostentatious residences, built in the early 1900’s.

Lorraine and Roland came over and we went to the Crews Inn restaurant and met Shaym, a local businessman whom we met on our first visit to Trinidid, and ended the evening on Picses 111.

On Saturday 14th January we left for Los Testigos, then overnight to Tortuga .   Dave caught 2 mackeral on the way.

Cayo Herradura- Tortuga

Tortuga

We stayed another 2 weeks and on the 28th January, we sailed to Playa Farro for 2 days then   returned to the Marina. Johan and Kenwyn were also there.

El Saco Beach

Kenwyn & Di

Kenwyn, Di and myself  went to Bahia Redonda and got the Pinero to El Saco Beach for the day.    Clear lovely day, we snorkeled to the next beach and back, went for walks, lunch and enjoyed the day.

      El Saco

On February 17th, Di, Kenwyn and myself took a bus to town and then another bus to Playa Colorada.

We then went by  pinero over to Isla Arapo, where we spent 3 hours, swam walked around, saw a Toucan in the tree.

Toucan

Abandoned Hotel-Arapos Isl

Returned to Playa Colorada, had a beer and then got a bus back to PLC.

Playa Colorado

Kenwyn & Di

Kenwyn was getting their boat ready to leave for Panama, so we had a lunch on board.

Farewell Party -Di & Les

Also Wendy & Lorne Farewell!!

Michelle & Roy

Wendy & Lorne – ¨Kamytoo¨

Di & Les leaving for Panama and New Zealand.

On the 8th April, we had a lovely sail to Tortuga and anchored in Playa Herradura.   By the 4th day the anchorage was packed with power boats so we motored to little Tortuga.

Spent our days snorkeling and Dave spearfished, with the result we had many fish barbeques and just enjoyed the perfect weather.

 

 

Returned to the marina on the 18th.  I decided to do another book, the 5th edition, which was completed in August.

The 5th & Final Directory

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the 4th October we decided to go to the ABC islands, so we first went to El Oculto our favourite anchorage just to overnight.  Left the following morning for Cumana marina to take on fuel and decided to stay for 1 night in the marina.

We motor sailed to Cubagua,  overnight, then  to Tortuga Island, to the main anchorage of Caldera for a few days then sailed to Cayo Herradura and stayed 10 days.

Caldera – Tortuga

On 23rd,  we set sail for Los Roques and anchored in Cayo Elbert for 3 days then sailed 30 miles to Los Aves,  Buenovento islands.   Dinghy down waterway to see the baby terns.

Dave went trawling and caught 3 fish, and a huge Pompano.

On 30th,  we sailed 20 miles to Sotovento Los Aves, overnight and then sailed to the Bonaire  moorings.  Once again enjoyed our weeks stay in Bonaire, walking round the clean town, going to a couple of restaurants and swimming off the boat in the crystal clear water.

Bonaire

Bonaire Beach road

We went to Klein Bonaire by dinghy, round the island and  snorkeled  in a few places.  On the 6th Nov. sailed to Curacao 35 miles, continued past Spanish Water anchorage to Piscadera bay, which was very protected and lovely, but after being there a couple of weeks we realised why people don’t anchor there for long, depending on the wind direction, the oil refinery spews out yellow sulphor and pollution, and the smell is awfull.   There was a small boatyard, and the bay was surrounded by bush and hills.

Entrance to Piscadera Bay

Piscadera anchorage

We went over to Spanish Water to visit Kenwyn & (Johan was in S.A) on Saraband and we were all invited to  Savannah Blue, Rolf and Brigitte for lunch.

We went to Willemstad many times and just walked round the town, tourist shops and visited a few museums and also went to the Casinos a few times.

       I went to the zoo.

Toucan

Downtown Curacao

We left Piscadera Bay and motored to Spanish Water where it seems to blow 25-30knots everyday and a crowded anchorage,  and anchored near the fishing marina.  We went ashore and walked up the hill, where we had good views from the top overlooking Spanish Water bay area.

View Across Spanish Water Anchorage

We also went to the Royal Sea Aquarium Resort.

Resort

//

21
Dec
09

2003-04 Spain – Venezuela

  The first week of January was very windy and cold, we had force 10 winds with rain during the night, resulting in plenty of snow on the mountains. These conditions continued throughout the month. We went with Eric to the town of Almeria, about 30 miles, to a very nice shopping centre, and returned  via Roquetas town where we stopped for Tapas at a small pub.    We spoke to Eric about hiring a car to go to the Sierra Nevada mountains to see the snow.

 On the 23rd January,  we packed thick jerseys and jackets and boots etc., and drove in a Ford Escort diesel.  We drove through El Ejido town and  Adra to get to the highway. Turned off at Motril to go to Granada,   to the Alhambra Palace where we walked round the gardens and the old buildings.

 Alhambra Palace – View to Granada

We spent 2 hours walking round the property, then drove to the mountains to the ski resort and went to the Ziryab Hotel for the night, bed and breakfast.

Hotel Ziryab

We walked round the resort, very cold and slippery under foot. We climbed up the stairs to a higher level, where we found more shops and went to the information centre.  At night this was like a winter wonderland.

Ski Resort

Sierra Nevada Ski Resort

This was our first time at seeing so much snow and being in a ski-resort, it was awesome.

The following morning after breakfast we once again walked round the resort and went up to the higher levels where we had wonderful views over the resort.

Ski Resort

This was an unforgettable experience!

We left at 11am and drove back to Granada, and then took  a different route through the mountains.

Old Olive Tree

We drove through many villages,  Alpujarca, Capeceira, and Trevelez, where we stopped for a  late lunch.

Trevelez Village

Then continued higher up, deep gorges, to Ugijar, Berja and Adra, El Ejido, and back to the marina.  Very tired of driving on the narrow winding roads, but had a wonderful, unforgettable 2 days.    We spent  75 days in Almerimar Marina, Spain,  from 29-11-02 – 11-02-2003.

On 12th February, we left the marina and anchored in Motril Harbour and the following morning, had East wind Force 3-4 and a lovely sail to Gibraltar, 96 miles,  and went to Queensway Quay Marina. 

 

Captains Chapel

Spent most days walking round the town, going to the Trafalgar Pub to watch the cricket and rugby, and had  lovely roast buffet lunches.   This time we spent 40 days on Gibraltar, of which 12 days we had good weather, the rest was overcast, windy and raining and enjoyed our stay once again.

Dave had the emergency tiller repaired with thick stainless steel tubing and repaired the auto-pilot.  We walked up the Mediterranean Steps, many wild flowers and enjoyed the hike.

Views from the Mediterranean Steps – Hike

We were waiting for weather, but had a Gale warning again, East wind 50 knots and many dock lines broke on boats as the surge was terrible.  On the 26th March we left the marina and  flew down the Straits to Tarifa.   The Auto-pilot was still not working and the following day the wind went into the S-west, just our luck, and started to rain and the wind increased, we went nowhere and on the 29th we decided to return to Gibraltar.  Downwind sailing with 3 reefs in the main and half Genoa, and wonderful fast sailing, we arrived in the marina in time to watch a rugby match.   On Thursday 3rd, East wind blowing, drop lines and go out, but still S.West wind so we returned once again to the marina.  Marina staff had a good chuckle, and said it happens to many people as the wind circles the rock, so one can’t tell the true direction of the wind.

On the 4th April, East wind blowing 10-15 knots and increasing, we left the Marina again.  The winds increased to 40knots and we had 3 reefs in the main and rough seas off Tarifas.  The Auto-Pilot wasn’t working and Dave had to steer all day and most of the night, directly down wind. During the early hours of the morning in big seas we were pooped, surfing down the big swells doing 10-12knots.

Dave re-fitted the old small auto-pilot which worked for 1 hour then also broke.  Dave took it off and  made pins, then re-fitted it and it worked.  During the following days we had light winds to zero wind.  We tried to start the engine and found the fuel pump wasn’t pumping so had a jerry-can of fuel next to the engine and fed fuel down into engine.

THE CANARY ISLANDS:

There are 7 islands, namely: Lanzarote in the North, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Tenerife, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro, and we visited 3 islands.

LANZAROTE:

Distance from North to South is 60Km and from East to West is 20Km.  It is 100Km off the coast of Morocco. Main town  Arrecife  is the Capital.

Puerto Calera Marina-Lanzarotte

On the 12th April, we motored  along the coast of Lanzarotte and went to the Puerto Calero marina at 27Eu a day.  Many shops and restaurants and a small supermarket in the marina area.  Sail from Gibraltar to Lanzarote, Puerto Calero Marina, 696 miles.

We walked up the hill which overlooked the marina.  All homes are white with either blue or black stripes, and all buildings are no higher than 3 levels.  Land is very baron, volcanic, but where villages or homes are, we saw many lovely plants, palm trees etc.  We swam off the boat in the very clean marina.   Dave tried to buy a switch for the autopilot, also a fuel pump, then the electric water pump started to leek, needed a new kit or a new pump and  Dave ordered a new electric water pump.   Dave changed the rubber seals again on the coupling and found 2 mountings were also shot.

On 1st May we motor sailed to Playa Blanca – Papagayo beach area, about 15 miles, on the South side of the island, and anchored.  On the 3rd., we sailed to Gran Canaria, 135 miles to the South end of the Island and went into PuertoMogan marina.

Grand Canary Island:

The third largest island, an area of 1,500sq km., it is almost cone shaped with verdant mountain slopes rising to 1932 metres on the peak El Poszo de las Nieves.  The capital is Las Palmas.

The West is the least densely populated part and San Nicolas is the main town.  The coastal area between Maspalomas and Mogan, is the Port of Arguineguin, Anfi, Puerto Rico, Amadores and Taurito.

This marina is also surrounded by shops, restaurants and apartments with flowering plants growing everywhere, a very pretty marina and village.   Very touristy and every Friday they had a market in the marina along the breakwater wall, where one could buy African, Moroccan and locally made craft work.

The weather was perfect everyday, clear blue skies and light to no wind, but 5 miles off shore the wind was blowing 40 –50 knots.  Part of the village is built in an old river bed and surrounded by hills, so we decided to walk up the hill and found many different trails to do, with beautiful views

We wanted to stay longer but we had decided to cross the Atlantic, so on the 8th May, we left in light winds. During the 2nd night out,  I was on watch and heard what sounded like a gun shot, but could not see anything wrong, except the genoa was flapping a  bit so I half furled it and when Dave came on watch at one in the morning and saw the stays were very loose.  He went to the bows and found the toggle at the top was broken.  We wrapped the genoa and used the storm jib and sailed with 3 reefs in main.  We made the decision to rather return to Mogan and make the repairs.

We beat most of the way in 20-30 knot winds, big swells and were worried about the rig.  We sailed past El Hierro, the most westerly island, sailed down the coast, and then overnight to La Gomera, then to Tenerife and anchored.  The following day we motored out past the point and got to the Wind zone where it was blowing a gale, 3 reefs in the main and storm jib, wind increased to about 40 knots and huge swells.

 

On the 15th, we arrived off Puerto Mogan and went to the marina.  Dave went to the chandlery for spares for a fuel pump, 1st one wouldn’t pump, so returned it, got another and tried that, also would not pump, so returned that.  I winched Dave up the mast, and  took the roller furler down on to the dock and Dave worked on the roller furler.  The following day Dave took the engine mountings off and both disintegrated.  Dave & Neels went to Las Palmas and bought engine mountings, fuel pump and toggle for the fore-stay.  Dave fitted the new engine mountings, no more noises, and cleaned the engine area.   On the 25th, winched Dave up the mast  again, and he connected everything on the fores-tay and tightened the fore-stay. We had decided to stay the season as it was too late to do the crossing, so on the 30th, we went out to anchor and put out a stern anchor to lie into the swells, stern to the rocks.  We went by bus a couple of time to Puerto Rico , which has many hotels, shopping centres, and a marina.

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Beach

After being at anchor for a month we were a bit fed-up with all the tourist activity, jet-skis etc., so  we went back to the marina, and got a berth  along the sea wall away from the tourists and restaurants.  Did our usual hike a couple of times, walked as far as the banana plantation, about 12km.

We decided to hire a car for 2 days, and see a bit of the island, and drove to San Nicolas over mountains to Artenara.  Drove to Cruz de Tejeda then to the beautiful village of Tejeda, where we stopped for lunch.

San Nicolas

Then drove to San Bartolome, here the river bed is an oasis of lush palm trees etc, then to Fataga and to Playa Ingles.

Tejeda

The following day  we drove to the Puerto Rico Chandlery for Volvo spares etc.  and then to the   CarreFour Atlantic centre.    Dave repaired the engine, the glow plugs etc.   repaired and fitted the cockpit table.  We went to the Irish Pub  for lunch and watched  South Africa vs. Australia Rugby, good game and we won.

On the 13th the festival started here, and dozens of boats from Arguineguin arrived with flags and loud music, filled all the open spaces in the marina. The festival lasted for 2 weeks, also a live jazz band playing every night, on the waterfront.  On the 26th, the festival ended with a big party and at midnight a lovely fireworks display.

We went with Neels to  Las Palmas, where we  bought some spares,  then down to the waterfront to a restaurant in the marina area.  Nice clean city, overcast weather here, and cool compared to Mogan.

We started hiking 2-3 times a week, doing the same hike each time up the hill and then finding different paths and returning to the viewsite overlooking the harbour.

The bus ride to Puerto Rico was quite nerve wracking, narrow roads and blind bends.

We spent a couple of weeks in the marina and then went back out to anchor, to get away from all the tourists and also to swim off the boat.

View to Anchorage -Dignity

On the 13th October, we hauled  the boat to anti-foul and do a few other jobs and on the 17th  we went  back in the water, to our berth in the marina for a week and then went back out to anchor.  We went to the Irish sports pub many times to watch the world rugby games and final.

During November the weather seemed to change, we had more wind and was quite rolly at the anchorage so on the 25th, we got a berth on the East wall, so tourists again and difficult to get on and off.

Had East winds blowing  and a lot of dust in the air.

Enjoyed Christmas with a few friends  and also New Years eve.   A Live band started playing lovely music, and at midnight they had fireworks and the band played till 3am

While staying in the Marina I met Claudia who owned a restaurant, ‘Cocina Creativo’, and she asked me if I would like to work in the restaurant.  She  did exclusive Tapas dishes, and very expensive.   So on Friday I worked in the restaurant from 1pm till 3pm and then back again from 8-12pm.  I worked there till just before leaving the island and enjoyed it.

Cocina Creativo Restaurant

For about 2 weeks in February we had East winds blowing and a lot of Sahara dust, so had to wash the boat off regularly

We took a day trip to visit a few of the other harbours and villages on the coast, we went to Arginiguin, Playa Engles, walked round shopping malls and along the beach front, and up the hill overlooking the famous Maspalomas sand Dunes.  

Playa Engles

On 19th February, expected stormy conditions to last at least 48 hours.  60 knot winds during the night and rain.  Our first big storm in the Canaries, which  happens every year, only 1 storm a year.  Following day still windy and raining, the high tide was pushing the seas over the sea wall, spectacular, washed through the restaurants, over the showers,  and broke holes in the road and some damage to the docks on the sea wall.

 

 On the 3rd March the easterly winds arrived again, bringing thick Sahara dust, couldn’t see  for dust, these conditions continued for the following 4 days.  On the 11th March  we went out to anchor again for 2 weeks and then returned to the marina on the sea wall side.   In April we decided to go to Las Palmas to visit some of the old sites and explore the city.  We went by bus which  took 1 ½ hours to get there.

Downtown Las Palmas:

We also visited the Botanical Gardens.

Las Palmas Gardens

Views over Puerto Mogan

We enjoyed everyday of our 11 months stay in Puerto Mogan, and on the 12th April we set sail for La Gomera Island, with 2 reefs in the main and ½ Genoa, and enjoyed a good sail doing  5-6 knots.   Off Tenerife  the wind was North West, so we motor sailed for about  4 hours to La Gomera., 72 miles.

The island is 375sqkm., shaped like a rock bun, with deep ravines and fertile green valleys and dense forests surrounding the almost central peak of Montana Garajonay at 1,487mts.  The capital is San Sabastian and has a very good marina, harbour and ferry service to all the islands.

We went into the Marina in San Sebastian.   Cloudy, windy and cold, not like in Mogan, and we had rain for a couple of days.  On the 15th, Dave & I walked to the bus station and got the bus to Agulo, and  from there we hiked straight up a steep high mountain.  Beautiful wild flowers and a lovely view from the top.  We walked past a lake etc, to the visitors office for information and had lunch there.    After lunch we walked down to  San Pedro, where we got the bus back to San Sebastian.

We explored the town of San Sebastian, and walked up the hill to a hotel, where we had a good view down to the marina and across to Tenerife Island.

La Gomera

We got the bus to Alto Del Contadero – El Cedro, the highest  point on the island, and had to walk about 3 miles to the start of this hike, and it was raining up there.   At the start of the hike, one goes into a dense rain forest.

This hike was down hill all the way.  The path from Contadero to Las Mimbreras offers  diverse nature.  The Vegetation starts at the summit with “Brezil” (Erica arborea – Heath Trees), followed deeper down by the the laurel forest, all along the river bed.    The next stage in the forest is the “Brezo”  heath tree, which reaches a height of 20mtrs.,  The 3rd stage of the hike is  the Laurel tree and the  Canary holly)., big hairy leaves.  Continuing down, there is a Barranco ( a fresh water stream, one of 5 in the Park.

From Las Mimbreras, we walked to El Cedro, a recreation area, had lunch there, and then continued down to  Monteforte – Barranco, then down to Hermigua town.   From El Cedro it was mostly steep down hill, still some rain and slippery.

Arrived at the road just in time to get the bus back to San Sebastian. The 12 Km hike was wonderful, but very tough on the knees.

We went for a walk up the  hill on a clear day and could see the snow on the Tenerife Peak,  and went to the bar – restaurant in the old Tunnel.

Restaurant in old Tunnel

We also walked to  a statue at the top of a hill on the outskirts of  San Sebastian with great views of the town.

On 21st April we left the wonderful Canary Islands and set sail for Cabo Verde Islands, downwind sailing, ROCK & ROLL.!!!

We had nice winds day and night,  very cold during the night and sailing  6-8 knots.  On the 28th April,  we arrived off the islands in the early morning, strong wind down the channel, about 30 knots.  We had 1 reef in the main and storm jib, doing  6-8 knots.  We sailed past the Santo Antao island and turned towards Sao Vincente, Mindelo harbour, we surfed  down the waves.  We dropped the  main at the entrance and motored to the anchorage.  Distance made was 820 miles,  Very windy, gusts 30-40 knots, but a protected anchorage.

Cape Verde Islands Lies just over 800 miles South West of the Canary Islands and is separated from the West African Coast by a channel some 325 miles wide.  Made up of ten larger and four smaller islands, which form a horseshoe open to the west.

Following day, Dave took the Genoa down and repaired the swivel which kept jamming.

Mindelo Town Square

We went ashore and found our way round the town and walked up the hill for a view to the otherside across to  Santo Antao island, and also overlook the harbour area.

We tried to hoist the Genoa and it caught on a sharp end and tore, too windy, so  we repaired the tear and tried again to hoist the sail  between gusts and  finally got the genoa up and quickly furled it.  Lift anchor at 4pm., on the 5th May and head for Barbados.   The wind was blowing  30-40-knots,  main with 2 reefs and ¼ genoa and we flew down the channel past Santo Antao island.  Once again we had good winds day and night and did 144 miles,   following day did 152 miles, same conditions.  By the 11th, it was cool during the night and the days warmer and  same sailing conditions, wind just off the stern.  The  15th we started getting lighter winds  and hotter during the days.   On  21st   we motor sailed all day and arrived off Barbados at 7am with no chart and called the harbour on the radio for directions to the harbour entrance.    We went alongside a very high wall inside the harbour.   Distance sailed was 2,187 miles, we had a pleasant trip, no bad weather for a change.   Dave went to check-in, took about 1 hour. We left the wall, and went out to the Carlile Bay anchorage, very clean water , lovely bay.

 We were only going to stay a week, but our credit card had expired and the bank said they would send a new card.   We  got a bus to the West coast of the island and went to the Port Charles Marina.

We walked to   The Garrison – in Hastings, near Bridgetown the capital, has the largest military Garrison in the Caribbean, the buildings are over 130 years old.

On the 5th June we got a bus to St. John on the East coast, drove through sugar cane fields.  We  walked  round a village and went to the old church and gardens.

St James

On the 14th we went to check if our card had arrived, still nothing, so we got a bus to the North end of the Island, about 2 hours, mostly farm land and very narrow roads and returned to Speightown.

Dave phoned the States again, and they cancelled the 2nd card, and said they would send another card, and could take  2 weeks. On the 21st,  Fedex delivered the card.  We enjoyed the 33 days in Barbados.

On the 24th June, we left Barbados for Grenada, just genoa and we were doing 6-8 knots,  and arrived off Grenada the following day and anchored in Prickly Bay.    I went ashore and walked  to the lighthouse.

then up the hill above the boatyard, and across to True Blue Bay hotel, and marina.

True Blue Bay

On 6th July we sailed to Margarita, and anchored in Porlamar.  Met other S.A. on ‘Saraband’ alongside us, Kenwyn & Johan, and  ‘Kamytoo’ was also there and we all met for lunch at Jackies.  On 11th July,we left for Cubagua. Spoke to the local kids and fisherman’s wife who asked us to bring them food etc. so the following day we went ashore and gave her cans of food, milk, clothes, paper and pencils and anti-biotics.  She gave us about 3 doz. fresh oysters which we had for dinner.

 On the 13th July, we motor sailed to Chimani SegundaWe walked on the beach and up the hill to the light house.

Playo Faro –  Chimani Segundo

Views from Hill!!

Stayed overnight and motor to Puerto La Cruz the following morning.   Bahia Redonda marina was full so we had to go to CMO.   On the 31st July, Tony and Noeline invited us to spend the weekend on their farm.

Back at the marina, “Saraband’ , ‘Watercress’,  then Roland and Lorraine on “Pisces 3” ,  ‘Double Dutch”,  and, “Fast Forward”, Audrey and Ken, arrived so we had a nice S.A. braai at the marina restaurant.

On 14th December,  we left the dock  and motored to La Borracha island for the day and the following morning we sailed to Piritu islands for the day then left for Tortuga, overnight sail and anchored in Cayo Herradura.  Kenwyn called us on the radio and they arrived about 2 hours later and anchored near us. Then Pisces 111 arrived, followed by  ‘Fast Forward’, and  ‘Philani’, 5  S.A. yachts and  ‘Wombat of Sydney’ also arrived, Mike and Lyn, Americans.  We went to them for diner, a delicious  curry.   On the 24th , we all went ashore for sundowners and snacks, a perfect  evening on the beach and a full moon.

 On 25th we decided to get away from the crowd for a while, and motored to Little Torgtuga islands.  The most perfect, windless day.

 We did a lot of snorkeling and Dave speared some fish, stayed 2 days and returned to Cayo Herradura.

Little Tortuga

Little Tortuga

Most days we swam to the  beach, walked on the beach and swam  back to the boat.  Evenings, we went ashore again with everyone else for drinks and snacks.

 On the 31st. Jan, we all made snacks for a beach party,  and many locals  on powerboats from Caracas  joined in the fun and watched the fireworks at midnight.

  Mike on Wombat took photos of S.A: yahts in Cayo Herradura anchorage from the top of  his mast.

//

15
Nov
09

2002 – Ft.Lauderdale – Spain

Barbara and I went to visit a small game park, where we were lucky enough to get close to a     Florida Panther.

Beautiful  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.

0118a  Mike & Jeans place - Pivate Dock - braai - Mark & Janic.tif

0120  The Weding

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.

0117  Private dock - use of Garden & Pool

0116  Squirels in Garden - I Tamed & Hand Fed

Squirels

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

0127   Fort Lauderdale - 2001

New River

0128

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!!!

Downtown St George - Bermuda

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.

012  Ferry to            Little Girl Playing the Violin

Ferry - Little girl playing the Violin

Visited the glassblower building, Rum Café and book store, many shops here and a museum.

Sonesta Beach Resort

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.

View of Horta and Marina

We put the dinghy in the water and Dave went ashore to check-in. The marina was full but  they had 1 space along the wall where we would have to raft up to another boat.  Dave asked if someone could help tow us in.  The following morning a local guy came to our boat, we gave him a line and we lifted anchor.  He drove a bit fast and we were quite nervous going in to a full marina at that speed, but he sure knew what he was doing, took us down the inside wall, and parked our boat, just changed lines, and pushed, and we were rafted alongside a 60’ ferro, charter boat.

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.

Scrimshaw - Whale Tooth

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.

Caldeira Festival

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.

Walkabout - Painting

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.

Our Painting - Table mountain

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.

Terceira Island - Marina

             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.

Terceira  Marina

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.

Queensway Quay Marina

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 Tunnels

The Moorish castle, was rebuilt in 1333 and is situated on the North-western slope.

The Gibraltar Botanic Garden was opened in 1816 and contains some 600 species of tree, shrubs and flowering plants. 

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.

Parsons Lodge

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.