23 September 2014

Sardinia and Corsica

Lost at Sea !!
Hello Again

 We left Monastir, Tunisia for Sardinia late afternoon on Thursday 24th July and covered the 240nm in two nights and a day.  Our second night was an interesting one avoiding thunderstorms for a time, so by the time we arrived outside Villasimus Marina, which is situated on the bottom south east side of Sardinia, we were tired, and after dropping anchor went to bed for some catch up sleep.  Early afternoon and it is hot.  Our anchorage is another gorgeous one with clean clear waters, so I decide on going for a swim.  Oh help, we have a MAJOR problem !!!!!!!!  As I was swimming around the boat I noticed we had lost, yes bloody well lost, our port prop !!!!  HOW – we have no idea.  WHY – we still have no idea.  WHEN –  Saturday 26th July.  WHERE - we think somewhere between 3 and 38nm off the southern coast of Sardinia as we were using the port engine before that. Alec thought our speed was a little slow once we had dropped the sails to motor into the bay, but put it down to the sea conditions as we were motoring straight into the wind with a bit of a sea running.  Then, when we dropped anchor he had trouble keeping the boat straight as he reversed to dig the anchor in.  The port prop was last removed 14 months ago and has done over 5,000nm since.  This time in the boat yard in Tunisia we did not have to touch it apart from giving it a clean and painting on another coat of prop speed to help stop the growth of barnacles.

South side Arbatax
We spent a couple of hours in the water looking around just where we had anchored just in case it had fallen off there, but no luck.  So the following morning after searching through the cruising guide for a marina that had a travel lift big enough to lift a catamaran, we upped anchor and headed on up the east coast 56nm to a place called Arbatax. We contacted our Insurance Company who came to the party thank goodness.  It was then a matter of just waiting for the replacement prop to be shipped down from Denmark.  We were told it could take up to 11 days.  In this day and age with express mail delivery etc. we found that quite absurd,  but there was nothing we could do about it but wait.  Emails went back and forth between us, the Insurance Company and the Italian agent who we had to go through.  We thought the guy must be bringing it down on the back of his bicycle from Denmark !!!!

18 September 2014

Sicily, Malta, Lampedusa, Tunisia

Evening Drinks, Sicily
Yes we have moved on again

 Our stay in Marina di Ragusa was only a brief stopover of two days and two nights.  We sent Simon and Kay into the old city to do some sightseeing, while Alec and I attended to some ‘boat’ jobs and provisioning.  We met up again with Sam, the young English guy who did a bit of a botch up job on repairing our sails and side clears last season, but all is forgiven and he came and had lunch with us on-board. We ate gelato – Italian ice-cream of which there are so many wonderful flavours, sampled the local wines, and had dinner out where I ordered my usual calamari.  Alec ordered fish, something that has so far evaded our lines this season, even though we have had a couple of strikes!!!!

Local Fishing Boat, Malta
 Then it came time to untie the mooring lines and set sail for Malta.  We decided on a night passage for this leg as the winds were going to be more favourable for us.  And they were.  We managed to sail the whole way arriving just after 0700.  Kay stayed up to help me with my watch, but with only one eye open !!! On arriving into Sliema Creek, Malta we once again tied up to our mooring – the free, three mast 100 ft. blue yacht which has sadly been tied up to huge mooring blocks and left to ‘die’ there. One morning as we were going ashore, the South African Captain from an Italian owned Super Yacht, but registered in Nigeria - Now that all sounds dubious for a start, but we actually saw the yacht he was on and went over to say hello - was giving the blue boat the once over.  He recognised her from earlier days.  Some general info for all of you that have used this mooring – He told us she was once painted black, built in the 70’s, been around the world about 6 times as a training vessel, very fast (which is easy to see by her lines), and was called SUNSET 77.  He had worked on her in the 1980’s. At some stage she was sold to the owner of Captain Morgan Cruise Boats in Malta, and has gone nowhere since.

24 July 2014

Sicily 2014

Hello Again. 
Leaving Lefkada

Yes sorry I am very late with our updates.

So time again for another newsletter from SHAMAL.  Well Levkas just seemed to keep us in her grips, but with the arrival of all the spare parts, and son Murray acting as Dad’s “Agent” handling his pension review, we did the rounds saying good-bye to old friends and new, with a couple more dinners out, drinks, and a nice cappuccino at our favourite waterfront cafĂ© to download the latest weather onto the iPad.  On Tuesday 27th May we pulled up the anchor for the final time from Levkas town and motored down the canal which has been cut through the salt marshes between the mainland and the island.  We motor sailed back into Vlikho Bay for a final night there where we went ashore to a delightful Taverna (restaurant) right on the water for a meal and another weather check on the iPad.


25 May 2014


Hello Again
William and Matthew Abu Dhabi
It is with some sad news that we open this newsletter.  Our first crew members who were to join us for leg one from The Bay of Islands in New Zealand to Noumea and Vanuatu were Kathy and Dave. They had pervious yachting experience having owned a catamaran, and were so much fun and truly made that leg a memorable one.  Dave even offered to dive overboard to help clear a blocked loo mid ocean.  Most people would leave the skipper to do that. Sadly Dave died in a tramping accident on the west coast of the South Island earlier this year.  He was right into the outdoors. Dave you are sadly missed. Kathy our love and prayers stay with you.

House of Flowers, Miracle Gardens
Well we finished off our last newsletter in Abu Dhabi.  We were to spend another week there before departing.  It was sad for us when the time came to say goodbye to family, particularly the boys whom we had been with for the last five months. We are not sure when we will catch up with them again.  But as I keep saying, thank goodness for Skype.

Alec and I spent the last couple of nights in Dubai with our good friends Judith and Graham who are fast becoming our competent crew members.  They took us out to visit ‘Miracle Gardens’.  Help you would only see something as weird and ‘over the top’ as far as gardens go, in Dubai.  Anything out of the ordinary had (mainly petunias)) growing in or out of it.  I will explain no further, just look at the photos.  This place is only open in their winter months as summer would get too hot for the poor plants to be maintained on the grand scale of planting that there is. It was evening when we visited, and the strong smell of the flowers was quite overwhelming.  My favourite was the peacock.

10 April 2014

The Approaching 2014 Sailing Season

Christmas in Dubai with the twins
Hello Everyone

This is more of a ‘TEST’ letter to see if I have set up my new computer correctly – well more like seeing if I can use it correctly.  Brigitte did all the setting up for me, and Dan has been great in helping me navigate around the thing.

Our sailing season is fast approaching again.  At this moment Alec and I are back in Abu Dhabi staying with family on our way back to Athens.  We fly out of Dubai on the 15th April  and then catch the bus back to SHAMAL which has spent the winter parked up in Lefkada, Greece.
William in the Christmas Spirit

As you know we left Lefkada in late November and came to Abu Dhabi where we spent Christmas and New Year with daughter Brigitte, Dan and the boys.  Son Murray flew up here from New Zealand to join us.  We did a road trip down to Oman to catch up with friends which is always fun.  We also visited friends in Dubai.  Brigitte and Dan have been great putting up with us for so long.

Matthew with Great Uncle John
By mid-January we were all down in New Zealand.  Murray arrived first followed a week later by Alec and I, then Brigitte, Dan and family a week after us, which gave us time to get Murray’s tiny little Unit ready to fit the seven of us in!!  Brigitte took Dan to the south Island for five days and left Nana, Poppa and Murray to look after the boys.  They were so good for us.  Then we all headed off to the Coromandel for a lovely beach holiday at Hahei for a week. It is one of our favourite beach holiday sites.

We had family come and visit and we travelled around different parts of the North Island visiting family and friends.  One of the highlights was the Art Deco Weekend in Napier where my brother John and his wife Noelene live.  Alec and I did this trip.  This is commemorated each year at the anniversary of the 1931 Napier earthquake which nearly destroyed the old town, and out of the ashes rose the new town with its wonderful buildings in the Art Deco period, which today are beautifully preserved.  The whole town comes out to celebrate in real style many dressing in the period. There are dinners, bands playing, a ball, a vintage car parade, air displays, and then to round it off on the Sunday a picnic along the Marine Parade which was great.  The weather was perfect for the weekend.
Art Deco Weekend, Napier

Dan returned to Abu Dhabi after three weeks as work was beckoning, and Brigitte had arranged to travel back with us as with the twins being under two years of age she cannot travel alone with them.  Plan ‘A’ was for us all to fly out on the 27th March, BUT, Alec had to remain in New Zealand for another week to wait for results on a sunspot biopsy. Thank goodness it came through negative or he would have needed surgery.  The downfall of our sailing adventures with a fair skin !!  But we do keep a close eye on things and he has regular check-ups.
Boys at Cathedral Cove, Coromandel

So Brigitte and I looking like a small band of pilgrims moving country with our 11 pieces luggage, (it is amazing how much stuff one needs with when travelling with toddlers) flew out here without Alec.  I have to admit the boys were very good, but Brigitte and I got no sleep. We put the headsets on them and put on Micky Mouse which kept them occupied for ages.
Ann and Judith, Dubai

When we arrived back in Dubai I said good-bye to Brigitte and the boys for a few days and Dan took them home to Abu Dhabi, and I went and stayed with our boating buddies Judith and Graham.  Judith had taken a couple of days off work and we did some site seeing together including a boat trip along the coast and up into Dubai Creek.
Opito Bay, Coromandel

We hope this finds our readers all fit and well and with Adventures of your own to for full this year.

Opoutere Beach, Coromandel
We will give you updates where and when we can

Much love from

The Admiral and the Commander