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

23 November 2013

Returning to Turkey and Greece

Goodbye Black Sea
Hello One and All

Shipping in the Bosphorus
It is Saturday 28th September and we are sitting in Poyraz Fishing Harbour at the top of the Bosphorus, Turkey.  It is time to up anchor and move on again towards our winter home in Lefkas Marina on the Island of Lefkada – Greece - in the Ionian Sea.  We still have a lot of miles to cover, but hopefully the autumn will be kind to us with warm days and good sailing conditions.  Also we have the Bosphorus, our “open air” museum, to share with Judith and Graham.  So that is just what we do – up anchor on a lovely sunny morning, cross over to the European side of the strait, and head off towards the heart of Istanbul.  Being my fourth trip along the Bosphorus I become quite the tour guide telling one and all, or whoever will listen, what we are passing!! I am not really a city person, but there is something about Istanbul that other cities don’t have.  Maybe it is because it stands at the crossroads between east and west divided by a stretch of water that has seen more historical events than most others.  But what Istanbul also has is a rich cultural heritage for being the capital of Rome, Byzantine and the Ottoman Empires, in days gone by.  I wanted Judith and Graham to see something of this.

11 November 2013

Romania and Bulgaria

Hello Again
Yacht Club, Odessa

Romania and Bulgaria were two of the countries we had not done a lot of homework on.  We had just not had the time, so we really were venturing into the unknown.  First we had to get there. 

Romania has a population of 22.2 million.  Its Communist Government was over thrown in 1989, and, they joined the E.U. in 2007.  It covers an area of 238,000 square kilometres, and its coastline is 225km’s long, from the Danube Delta in the north to the Bulgarian border in the south.  Along the coastline are miles of beautiful sandy beaches which become packed in summertime with holidaymakers.  There are no natural anchorages on its coastline, and, only four ports which yachts can use.  Still each of our stops – three in all – were interesting experiences. 
Harbour Masters Office,

Checking out of the Ukraine took a little longer than we planned, then we had some local currency we wanted to spend.  A final coffee down on the waterfront is always a nice way to say goodbye to a place and that is just what we did.  I was also able to get Alec some very yummy pastries for the trip ahead.  So it was not till mid-afternoon that we untied our lines and sailed out of Odessa Port, turned south to run down the coast towards the border with Romania.  Yes another night passage. This leg was 102nm.  It was now overcast and the temperature 19 deg. C.  At first we had to motor as once outside the port we had head winds, and that current, yet again, against us.  This part of the coastline is rather low-lying and once we had passed the large commercial port of Ilyichevsk, it becomes difficult to see much.  Just before dark we were able to raise the sails and move along a little more quickly. Then during the night it started to rain, and yes off in the distance some very active thunderstorm clouds, but this time they stayed well away.