Getting Ready For The Circumnav….

Yes Boatblog ® Fans, that is not a typo…

We are planning a full circumnav – that’s circumnavigation for you landlubbers; sailing round the world. So once we’re across the Atlantic, it’s through the Panama Canal and then to….. Infinity and Beyond. Well – Darwin anyway.

We have just signed up to do the first leg of the World ARC, which is very exciting.

We were sorry to leave Madeira, but all good things must come to an end.

GC Leaving Madiera 2  1

It’s two or three days sailing to get to Gran Canaria and we had a pretty good run, though we arrived in the middle of the night and it was quite scary manoeuvring among all the massive ships and oil rigs when we got there.

It was great to be back in Las Palmas. We’re doing the ARC+ this time which is Las Palmas to St Lucia, but it calls in at Cape Verde instead of going straight across like the regular ARC.

We spent our time there doing last minute repairs, stocking the boat up with provisions, spare parts and tools and everything else we could think of that we might need for a round the world trip.

One thing you really have to have on board is an angle grinder…

GC Angle Grinder 1

…just in case we ever need to cut away the rigging in the event of a dismasting. Now those of you who are aware of my DIY skills will probably be horrified to think that I would ever be let anywhere near such an awesome power tool.

Do not worry.

I’ve never used one before and I don’t want to use it for the first time in an angry sea and accidentally cut my leg off, so I found the time to practice.

GC Angle Grinder 2

It’s actually really good fun.

Though once you get started it’s quite hard to stop.

GC Angle Grinder 3

WARNING TO OUR YOUNGER READERS. We are trained professionals. Do not try this at home.

We also needed a new drill, which came with a fantastic selection of gadgets.

GC Drill

I wonder what they’re for.

And we had SSB installed.

GC SSB

SSB stands for Single Sideband Radio. It’s the big radio type thing with the microphone attached that you can see underneath the computer screen. It’s quite a miraculous piece of kit. By bouncing radio signals round the globe you can talk to people in Australia or Tokyo or anywhere in the world from right out in the middle of the ocean. It doesn’t use satellites or anything so fancy, but it just bounces the signal off the ionosphere, back to the ground and up again, right all the way round until it gets to where you want. It’s quite amazing.

Though it’s a bit weird because whenever I hit the transmit button, the lights come on and the electric winch goes round. But you soon get used to that. It reminded me of Nick’s house in Cape Town. The electronics were incredibly sophisticated but didn’t quite work, so every time someone rang the doorbell the toaster popped up.

But apparently that’s quite normal with SSB. The power that the transmitter puts out is massive, so its bound to interfere with the electrics. There’s not much you can do about it apart from switch everything off before you use it.

So far all I’ve really heard people say is things like…

Hiss crackle FX

“Hello this is Mike Echo India November Niner, do you read me? Over” 

More hiss crackle FX

Mike Echo India November Niner, this is Zulu Tango Yankee Bravo Fower, you are a bit faint, but I read you. Over”

Hiss crackle FX

“Thank you Zulu Tango Yankee Bravo Fower. This is Mike Echo India November Niner. I read you loud and clear. Over”

Hiss crackle FX

“Thank you, Mike Echo India November Nine. Over”

Hiss crackle FX

“Zulu Tango Yankee Bravo Fower out.”

And that’s about it. No one seems to have actual conversations; they just ask each other if they can be heard. And then move on to see if someone else can hear them as well. But I expect it will come into it’s own when we are at sea.

Jan and James (Lyn’s sister and brother-in-law) came to visit with their daughter Lizzie.

GC James  Jan

I did try to find a photo of us all that wasn’t eating, but we don’t seem to have one. I think eating was all we did.

And very nice it was too.

But enough of this messing about. We’ve got a rally to do.

GC No 338

No 338 Domini. You can track us at…

https://www.worldcruising.com/arc_plus/eventfleetviewer.aspx

Next stop, Cabo Verde.

This is Domini – Out.

Ju & Lyn

X

Madeira M’dears

Ahoy there Boatbloggers ® and welcome back to another exciting episode in the life of the good ship Domini and her good looking crew.

In the last episode we left you on the coast of Portugal in a beautiful anchorage called Culatra, somewhere near Faro.

Red Sky At Night 5

And much as we loved this little bit of the Caribbean in the middle of the Algarve, it was time to move on. Next port of call, Madeira – or more accurately Porto Santo which is a little island just to the North East of Madeira. It’s about 500 nautical miles from Culatra, so a bit of an ocean passage which took 3 or 4 days.

The weather was predicted to be good, but even so, it’s important to prepare properly for long trips…

Teatime 2  PM

and to wear a silly hat.

It was a pretty easy crossing with calm seas…

Winches

…and Homer’s clouds.

Simpsons clouds

I’d like to say they are called that because of some literary reference to the epic Greek poet, but no. It’s because they look like the opening credits of The Simpsons.

Land Ahoy!

Madeira  Land Ahoy

Eventually we arrived at Porto Santo and anchored off the beach.

PS Domini from a distance 3

Intrepid explorers that we are, we set off to discover the island…

PS Tiptoe ing thru the waves

and as luck would have it, we soon came across a delightful little Caribbean Bar.

PS The caribbean

Though we wouldn’t want you thinking it’s all boozing and enjoying ourselves.

PS It s not all boozing 2

Even if it is.

It’s all very pretty…

Madeira Hiking View

But basically it’s just a great big lump sat somewhere off the Atlantic Ocean.

PS Nice island 2

Jokes on a ten pound note please.

It was time to head off to Madeira, only about 30 miles away. There aren’t many anchorages in Madeira because it’s volcanic and the seabed tends to drop away very quickly, so we headed for a marina for the first time in months.

Madeira  marina ahead

…and for a few days it was actually quite nice to not have to get into the dinghy to go anywhere.

Madeira harbour

Legend has it that the pattern in the rocks…

Madeira  the Real Scream 2

…was the inspiration for Munch’s famous painting, “The Spaniel.”

Munch s Spaniel

Madeira is famous for it’s hiking, so we donned our boots and set off into the unknown.

Madeira Hiking 3

It’s knackering…

Madeira Hiking Ju 2

..but worth it for the views.

Madeira Hiking Ju 1

We discovered that it’s much easier to get up the mountains in a cable car.

Madeira  Up the cable car

To come down again, against all the advice, the Madeirans invented the sledge.

Madeira Sledge 1

They didn’t seem to realise that sledges need snow.

But it’s all good fun.

Madeira Sledge 4

The entries for this blog’s arty farty prize are “Cool Rocks,” by Lyn,

Cool rocks

and “Cool Cactus,” by Lyn.

PS Cool cactus 2

And the winner is…

LYN.

So that’s Madeira M’dears.

Watch out for the next installment the Boatblog ®, as we head to The Canaries and get ready to cross the Atlantic.

Hasta la pasta

Ju (Captain) & Lyn (Admiral)

X

The Boatblog Returns

Welcome back Boatbloggers ®

It finally dawned on us that…

So we decided to get one!

We found this in a field somewhere outside Canet en Roussillon…

New Boat In A Field 2

So we made an offer, and in the space of a few months the nice people at Catana turned it from this…

New Boat In a field 1

into this…

New Boat In the factory 1

and then to this…

New Boat In the factory

and this…

New Boat In the yard

And finally to this…

New Boat Bloody cold when we picked it up

It was bloody cold when we picked it up, but we still celebrated.

You’re meant to break the bottle on the side of the ship, but we didn’t want to put a dent in it so early on. Besides, why waste all that lovely French champagne?

But it’s not all just boozing and enjoying yourself. Well it is, but moving onto a boat is about the same moving into a house,

New Boat Moving Day 2

New Boat Moving Day 3

New Boat Moving Day 1

…except you have to walk the plank every time you bring something on board.

Plank

But it wasn’t long before we had everything Shipshape and Bristol Fashion, and we were off to sunnier climes…

Cap n Ju Waving

First stop down to Barcelona, then Menorca and Mallorca, up to La Grande Motte and Toulon on the South coast of France, then back down to the Balearics, over to mainland Spain and following the coast to Gibraltar, through the Strait to Cadiz, before ending up on the Algarve coast.

Lyn in Gib

Doesn’t she look great! (All together now) And the boat’s not bad either. Here we are moored up in Gibraltar.

Gib, as us sailors call it, has everything you need. Duty free fuel, duty free fags, a Morrisons selling black pudding, bacon and Melton Mowbray Pork Pies and all the other things you miss when you’re away for a long time.

And this…

Curry Sushi

What more could you want? Curry and Sushi in one place. Though it turns out it’s a bit difficult eating curry with chopsticks.

Curry Sushi Hard to eat curry with chopsticks

One of the great things about having a superyacht in the Med is that it turns out that you have a lot of friends. OK, so technically it might not be a superyacht, but we it’s pretty darn super. So we have had lot’s of visitors…

Visitors James Emma

James & Emma

Visitors Nick Shelagh

Nick & Shelagh

Visitors Paul Selina

Paul & Selina

IMG 3362

Martin

Visitors Ju Carol

Carol &

Visitors Lyn Simon

Simon

Visitors Jo

Jo

Visitors Jane Ian

Jane & Ian

And of course – this bunch…

Visitors Alice Ben Rory Joe

And Mr Nick Cursi came all the way from Cape Town to see us – but we didn’t get a picture.  Oh no! You’re just going to have to come again Nick.

When Joe arrived he had come direct from a wedding, which is why he turned up half sailor, half usher.

Joe dressed for a wedding

…But we soon got him into the proper gear.

Joe looking serious for once Rory

Rory taught us to windsurf

Joe even caught a fish…

Lyn not looking too happy about us catching a fish Rory

…though Lyn doesn’t look too impressed. We were going to use it as bait to catch something bigger, but unfortunately Joe dropped the rod over the side. Doh! However, this was not the end of our fishing triumphs. One night, a wave broke over the trampoli…sorry – I mean the nets, and we caught a squid!

Squid

Though it was a bit whiffy by the time we found it.

It’s always good to have guests, as their help is invaluable when crewing the boat.

Martin crew 1  Shelagh training

Cap n Selina PM   Martin Crew 2

Rory floating   Alice through the looking glass Rory     Visitors James       Cap n Paul

Dinghy Experts

* Editor’s Note:-Simon is rather pleased with the picture of him and Ju by the dinghy, because he thinks it makes HIS stomach looks smaller than Ju’s. Our readers can rest assured that this is in fact nothing other than a trick of the light caused by a highly unusual camera angle. For those Boatbloggers® who wish to get a more accurate impression please scroll to Appendix A at the end of this article.

One of the things that has struck me as we have sailed down from France, is how many things you aren’t meant to do. There are little signs put up all over the place banning this that and the other, so for one blog, and one blog only, please welcome…

THE BOATBLOG® SIGN COLLECTION

No driving

No Cars

No horse riding

No Horses

No walking

No People

No dog pooing or stealing trees

No Dog Poo & No Stealing Trees

No Climbing

No Climbing

No Trilbys

No Trilbys

No dog poo ing

We’ve told you about that dog before

No drowning

No Drowning

No Anything 2

No Anything

And you definitely mustn’t do this…

No poo ing

(That’s enough signs. Ed)

Ju thought it was time to get with the zeitgeist, and follow the fine example set by Ben and be a bit more vegetarian. It didn’t start well.

Ju eats vegan

TOFU

Ju eats Ribs

RIBS

It’s nice to socialise, and enjoy a few quiet sundowners in the evening. Ju and Martin went to an All You Can Eat Argentinian Steak House. Unfortunately Martin thought it was an All You Can Drink Argentinian Steak House.

It s not all boozing All you can drink

Ben struggles to reach his glass…

It s not all boozing Ben looking sozzled\

And Lyn enjoys a piscine of rosé.

It s not all boozing 1

But it’s not all just boozing and having fun. (Hmmmm. Ed) 

There’s work to be done.

Dinghy Captain

Lyn Coiling Ropes

Cap n Ju takes the helm

Lyn Hosing

Putting on the bridle

(Editor’s Note:- That’s Simon in the yellow shorts helping to put the bridle on. His stomach may be smaller, but who’s got the best bum? Answers to the usual address, and the first person with the correct answer gets to take the Captain out for dinner. )

Keeping fit is vital for the international sailor, so we have yoga…

Yoga on deck

Swimming…

Rory swims

And acrobatics…

The girl on the swing

This week’s blog competition is called, MATCH THE WALL. This is an advanced technique used by the Urban Warrior to blend into his or her surroundings.

Matching the walls 1

RORY

Matching the walls 2

LYN

Matching The Walls 4

JU

And the winner is ……Ju. With his wonderfully garish orange and black combo. He’s not called The Chameleon for nothing.

Matching The Walls 5

His “sun-bleached” hair even matches the window frame. Splendid attention to detail. Well done Ju.

And now we come to the Arty Farty Prize. And this blog has a number of very strong entries.

Arty Farty 5 Lyn

“Misty Sunrise” by Lyn

Mainsail PM

“Sails” By Paul Miller

Arty Farty 1 Ju

“Boat” by Ju

All excellent contenders, but the winner is…. Rory with “Spike Leaves.”

Arty Farty 2 Rory

And in a new category called “Sailor’s Delight,” we show off some of the Red Sky At Nights we have seen – no filters used…

Red Sky At Night 3

Red Sky At Night 2

Red Sky at Night 4 Rory

Sunset 2

And this last one – just to prove that we do use an anchor ball.

We do use an anchor ball

Sometimes.

And finally a random bunch of photos from our travels, in no particular order…

Africa in the mist

Africa Through The Mist

Caves of Drac

Cave boat – The Caves of Drac

Cool clouds 2

Exploding Clouds

Cool door

Fornells Rory

Nice Buildings

Green Flash 3

Green Flash (For James)

Lagoon 2

Lagoon

Flag PM

The Red Duster

View of boat 2

Cat in the Middle

Don t like the look of those clouds

Don’t like the look of those clouds…

View from the bridge

A View From The Bridge

Lyn

The Crew

Adios for now amigos. And thanks to all our friends who came to visit us, (and let us use their photos)

Ju & Lyn

 

APPENDIX A

Simon & Ju – The True Picture

Fat SimonNewImage

We’re On A Boat

Welcome back Boatbloggers – or should I say BoatVloggers…

We’re sorry for the long radio silence, but until recently we have been boat-less, so we haven’t had that much to Boatblog about. And The-2-Bed-Flat-In-Brentford-Blog just didn’t seem as much fun.

But that is all in the past. At last we have taken delivery of the all new improved Domini, so the Boatblog is back!

It wasn’t long before the family came to visit…

And this month’s Boatblog Competition is…

Can you name the type of boat?

Entries on a €20 note, and the winner gets to take the Captain and First Mate out for a slap-up Michelin star meal.

Hasta luego for now amigos

Ju & Lyn

Into The Med…

Hello again Boatbloggers ® , or as we say over here, Buenos Dias Barcobloggers y bienvenido a una edicion neuva del BarcoBlog,

We have at last reached The Mediterranean.

Our first stop in Spain, but still on this side of the Gibraltar Straits was…

Cadiz

Which is a beautiful old town…

IMG 3686

…with a long and proud history. Most of which seems to consist of various illustrious British sailors from Drake to Nelson, turning up and setting fire to all the Spanish ships. We decided it might be better to anchor out rather than sail straight into Cadiz Harbour in case they  held a grudge, so we dropped the hook in a place called Port Sherry. Which has to be the booziest name for a town that we’ve ever come across.

And no wonder. This is home to the “Sherry Triangle.” It is almost obligatory to take a trip round the local sherry factories. Or is that breweries? Distilleries? Sherryeries?

Anyway, we were invited to sample some of the finest vintages – although if you know about sherry, you will appreciate that they don’t actually have vintages because the way it works is that they just keep topping up the barrel when it starts getting a bit low. Well, it’s a bit more sophisticated than that, but that’s the general idea. And what that means is that some parts of the glass that you are quaffing might be hundreds of years old, while other bits are quite new.

The tasting was an elegant affair…

Sherry Tasting the beginning

but unfortunately, Ju wasn’t drinking that day…

Sherry Tasting the middle

So Lyn had to drink his.

Sherry Tasting the end

Well, it would have been rude to leave it.

Not too early the next day, and very quietly, we set off for the Gibraltar Straights. We went past another famous landmark from British naval history,

Trafalgar

…Trafalgar. And on through the Straits. It was exciting to have Europe on one side of the boat, and Africa on the other.

Port - Europe, Starboard - Africa

Eventually, we arrived at Gibraltar itself.

Gibraltar 1

The cradle of history.

Gibraltar Cradle of History

Which I guess means we went in and burnt a load more Spanish ships.

You already know about the Rock, and the monkeys and the WW2 tunnels, so here at the Boatblog® we’re not going to bore you with the usual Gibraltar photos. And that’s not just because we forgot to take our camera that day. What we can tell you is that Gibraltar is a really unique place. The locals speak a strange dialect called – you’ve guessed it – Gibberish, which is a strange half-English, half-Spanish concoction. Actually, it’s not very far off Ju’s Spanish. On this tiny strip of land, they still use pounds sterling, and there is no tax or VAT. So diesel is 44p a litre and cigarettes are £2.60. So cheap in fact that Ju, who can never resist a bargain, has decided to take up smoking.

Generally speaking, it is fair to say that the Spanish are a bit miffed that Britain still owns Gibraltar, and they make their displeasure felt at the border which can take two hours to cross if you get the wrong time of day.

Check Point Charlie 2

LYN COMING IN FROM THE COLD. CHECK POINT CHARLIE

The border guards can be quite intimidating.

Border Guard

The Rock and the views and the people of Gibraltar are all fantastic, but to be honest, quite a lot of it is like Croydon with palm trees.

Croydon Rock 1

Maybe if they paid a bit more tax they could get their pavements repaired and potholes filled in.

So think about that before you vote! What would you rather have – decent infrastructure, or cheap fags?

(Dave – don’t answer that.)

But of course the highlight of any trip to Gibraltar is this.

Morrisons

Expats, holidaymakers and sailors come from miles around to stock up on PG tips, Proper Bacon, Branston Pickle and Morrissons’ Own-Brand Oatcakes. All the things you miss about Blighty.

The other unusual feature is the airport.

Airfield Ahead

There’s not many places in the world where you have to dash across a runway to get to the supermarket.

Runway Run

And you have to wonder why they get the fire engines out every time an Easyjet flight comes in.

Fire Engines

But alas dear reader, it is time to bid you a fond adios as we head back to…

Spain

But this time by boat.

Lyn

But there is just time for this edition’s arty farty prize, which this time goes to Lyn.

IMG 3688 2

CADIZ SKYLINE

And before we go, a reminder that a lot of people in Europe still welcome foreigners – even the one’s whose ancestors kept on coming over and burning all their ships.

IMG 3684

Hasta Luego for now amigos

Ju & Lyn

Carry On Up The Guardiana

Ahoy there Boatbloggers® and welcome back to another action packed edition of The Boatblog.

We are currently anchored between Vila Real de Santa Antonio in Portugal and Ayamonte in Spain, at the mouth of the Guardiana River. We are waiting for the tide to turn so that we can get past the bar and on to Cadiz. Ju has often had difficulty getting past a bar, but in this case it is a sand bar and we need to wait for high water so that we don’t run aground. We’ve spent the morning clearing out a blockage in the holding tank, and putting in new joker valves. Those of you who are sailors will know that there is not much to laugh about changing a joker, and those of you who don’t know what it is – keep it that way.

We have spent the last ten days or so up the Guardiana (ooh Matron!) and very nice it is too. Though to get there you have to go under the bridge, which from a distance doesn’t look too bad….

Ex Lax Bridge

But in actual fact, there is only 20.5m of headroom at High Water. And Domini is 20m high. So that’s 50cm clearance. But does that include the Windex on the top of the mast? Or The VHF ariel? Hmmm…not sure…

So we waited for low water. Did our height of tide calculations. Sailed up slowly. Did our calculations again. Had another look. Checked the calculations. And then, ever so slowly…

Not for nothing is it known among the locals as The Ex Lax Bridge.

Our friends Ray & Kath on Cady waited for us to go through first and then followed on behind.

Katy Coming Through

Chickens!

Safely through, we motored up the river. And very lovely it is too.

Up the Guardiana

Though to be honest, I don’t think river cruising is for us. You have to concentrate too much! It’s not like ocean sailing where you set the sails, switch on the autopilot and go and make a cup of tea and have a kip. You actually have to steer round the bends, watch out for floating logs, keep the right side of the buoys, and all that palaver.

But at last we arrived at Alcoutim, about 20 miles up river. It is right on the Spanish/Portuguese border, so we had the dilemma of not knowing which courtesy flag to put up. But no one seems to bother too much.

Portugal  Spain

Though maybe after Brexit we’ll need to take our passports every time we get in the dinghy.

Talking of which, …there are three ways to cross the river.

The dinghy.

Dinghy Dam

But that gets clogged up with floating branches.

The ferry.

Ferry 1

But that costs a euro!…

Ferry 2

and is comfy – but dull.

Or there is always…

The death defying…

The terrifying…

The high flying…

ZIP WIRE!

The only one in the world that crosses an international border.

Zip Wire 1

It only takes a minute, and because Portugal is an hour behind Spain, you actually arrive fifty nine minutes before you leave.  At first, Lyn wasn’t too keen…

Zip Wire 2

but so long as you approach these things in a calm and professional manner, there’s nothing to worry about.

The hour time change can get pretty confusing, and plays havoc with your iPhone which keeps resetting itself every time the boat swings on the anchor. Still, on Ju’s birthday it meant that if we stayed in Portugal he was fifty four for an hour longer.

Happy Birthday Ju

Happy Birthday Ju! He’s started telling everyone he’s sixty seven, because that way at least everyone tells him he’s looking good for his age.

We were lucky because while we were in Sanlucar on the Spanish side, it happened to be the Festival de la Virgen de la Rabida. (Ju has been learning Spanish and can inform our readers that this roughly translates as The Festival of the Rabid Virgin.  Lyn checked on to Google translate and apparently Rabida means rhubarb, which seems even more unlikely.)

There was dancing.

Festival of the Rabid Virgin 2

It was a bit like Morris Dancing but without the clogs.

They threw flowers over everyone…

Confetti

But by the time the rather funereal band started up,

Festival of the Rabid Virgin 1

…it started to feel a bit like we were on the set of The Godfather.

Festival of the Rabid Virgin 3

But it was all very charming, and Spanish and lovely.

But it hasn’t all been fun and games. Ju had to go up to Lisbon to rehearse the ballet that he is writing for the Companhia Portuguesa de Bailado Contemporaneo. They needed him for the photoshoot – with celebrated photographer Rui Aguiar.

Grilhetas

Unfortunately, Ju didn’t make the final edit. He suspects that this is because since he had to take his top off,  his muscular physique was showing up the dancers.

Apparently, to keep this fit and toned, the dancers do a three hour gym session every morning. And that’s before they start dancing. (To get a physique like Ju’s, we recommend a full English, and sitting around all day on a boat in the sun.)

But now for this edition’s arty farty prize. First entry is a selection from Lyn, based on all things circular…

Round

Next is this piece, rather imaginatively called, “Old Building.”

Old Building

But it wouldn’t be a proper Boatblog® without the obligatory sunset.

Sunset

There’s no filters or anything fancy on that picture. The sky really was that red.

But now we bid a fond Tchau to Portugal, and say Hola Espana!

 

Ju & Lyn

The Boatblog® Returns

Hello there Boatbloggers®

And huge apologies for the long radio silence, but do not worry. The All New Improved Boatblog is back and here to stay! Well, the only thing that’s new and improved is that Ju has found out how to make collages out of the photos, but that’s a pretty good start.

Here at The Boatblog.com we strive never to bore our readers, which is why we haven’t been posting articles. Since our last blog we have been simply retracing our steps from Southampton to where we are now at Ayamonte, (That’s where Portugal meets Spain on The Algarve coast) so there has been nothing new to show you.

But nevertheless, let’s have a quick recap of what we have done since we arrived back in the UK on the Queen Mary, and Domini arrived back on an old tramp steamer.

Domini Delivered

See what I mean about the photo collages. Pretty good eh.

We had Domini refitted by the legendary Chris Warwick at Universal Yachting (www.universalyachting.com). While that was going on, Ju – now a qualified skipper but still modest with it – did a couple of yacht deliveries across the Bay of Biscay and beyond. As newly recruited yacht delivery crew, he is pleased to report that there actually is a job that pays less than musician. It may not be well paid, but doing a delivery can be exciting. One of our crew fell ill and we had to call out the Search & Rescue helicopter.

Delivery 2

It was like being on Blue Peter.

We’re pleased to report that our stricken shipmate made a full recovery in hospital.

Meanwhile, our exploits in the Caribbean haven’t failed to be noticed by the yachting press. Here is just one article from a selection of one.

Dispatches

Don’t worry, we’re trying not to let the fame and all the public recognition go to our heads.

As soon as Domini was all shipshape and Bristol fashion, we set off again. Across the Channel, over Biscay, down the coast of Spain and onto Portugal, where we decided to stay for the winter. In a little place called Cascais just outside Lisbon.

Portugal

We had lots of visitors…

Visitors

A new sail delivered…

New Sail

…and when you visit Cascais, the one place you have to go is Sintra. It’s like Disneyland, but for real, with lots of secret caves and tunnels, and underground gardens, and secret stairways. Perfect for big kids.

Sintra

Portugal is rightly famous for it’s fish. They eat fish with their fish. A common meal is fish soup, followed by fish, and then fish ice cream. Ok so I made the last one up, but you get the idea.

Fish

It’s a shame that Ju doesn’t really like fish.

Though he’s acquiring a taste. It’s that or piri piri chicken every day.

Could be worse.

Unless you like Iberico Ham…

Iberico ham

Now we’re talking.

Sometimes lounging around on a boat all gets a bit too much, and you need a break. We went to Oslo to see the our friends Paul Martin and Jon Ensor open their new show – “The Miracle Men.”

Miracle Men

A fantastic show. But to be honest, going straight from Portugal, Norway is a bit bloody cold.

Norway

One of the many great things about the sailing life, is that you make lots of fantastic friends, with gorgeous boats, in fabulous places. Rob and Frances Lythgoe on Alia Vita are just such a couple and they invited us out to Belize. Well…it would be rude to say no.

Belize

Of course when you visit fellow yachties, there is always something from home that they need, whether it’s a new toilet pump, a winch handle or whatever. As a guest, you are of course honour bound to bring it out with you when you visit and Rob & Frances were no exception. The thing they were missing was HP brown sauce. The problem was, we were travelling hand baggage only so we couldn’t take a bottle of supersize HP onto the plane as it was over the 100ml limit. Ju tried to decant some into one of the little travel bottles that they give you and claim it was aftershave, but it didn’t work. There was only one solution.

HP

Thank you Starbucks, Gatwick.

The diving and snorkelling in Belize is incredible. This is a feeding frenzy of sting rays and nurse sharks.

Shark  Sting Ray Feeding Frenzy

The sharks get pretty close, but Lyn managed to tip toe away to safety.

To get to Belize, we had to go via Mexico. And as it happened Alice and Ben had just started their Central American gap year, so we were able to meet up with them. And by a huge co-incidence, Rory was in Mexico doing a photo shoot – so we all met up.

Mexico

We did feel sorry for Alice and Ben. They have been saving up for years to finally get away and have their own special holiday. And two days after they arrive – we all turn up!

But it wouldn’t be a proper Boatblog ® without the Arty Farty prize, but because we have so many collected over the year, we have put them together into one.

Arty Farty

But the winner is Rachel for her spectacular, Sunset over Culatra.

IMG 1280

The prize for trying their best goes to Ben and Alice for these creations, which believe it or not they made themselves, as part of a course in Mexican art.

Mexican Animals

It’s hard to believe that they’ve never done it before.

That’s it for now Boatbloggers®.

By the time you read this we shall be in Spain and heading towards the Med, so watch out for more exciting episodes.

Obrigado, y bom dia.

Ju y Lyn

X

The Queen Mary 2

Welcome back Boatbloggers ® 

We wanted to be able to say that we had sailed back across The Atlantic from New York, and via the treacherous North Atlantic route past Newfoundland, Greenland and so on. Now clearly that would be ridiculous in little Domini  so we decided to get a bigger boat.

And here it is.

QM 2b

Yes, we know that a cruise is for retired elderly folk, and that by us being on it the average age would be brought down to 83. Yes, we know that the whole time is spent knitting, playing bowls and talking about what we did in the war. And yes we know that it’s the place to go to meet rich widows and doddering old colonels with three weeks to live.

But we thought we’d give it a go anyway.

And we couldn’t have been more wrong. It is brilliant fun.

It’s not full of old fogeys. Well, there’s a few of course, but it’s mostly people like us (That is – just incase you thought otherwise – young sophisticates). And the ones who are older are all young at heart and out for a party.

We couldn’t keep up.

Of course it’s all very stylish. We had to send back home for suits and dresses, because they wouldn’t let us on with shorts and flip flops.

Champagne anyone?

Champagne anyone

…or cocktails perhaps?

Cocktails for me

And if you’re not in the Veuve Clicqot lounge, then it must be time for afternoon tea.

Afternoon Tea

With sandwiches…

And sandwiches

And cakes…

And cakes

And sweets…

And sweets

But it’s not all eating and drinking.

Actually on second thoughts, it is all eating and drinking. 

But occasionally you do other things. Like the Masquerade Ball for example.

The Masquerade ball

All in all it’s a lot easier when someone else is doing the driving.

It s a lot easier sailing on a ship

Though it can be a bit nippy on deck.

Bit nippy on deck

Especially during the Force 11 (Yes, ELEVEN!) that we sailed through. That is called a severe storm. (The scale only goes up to 12 – and that’s a hurricane!)

F11

It doesn’t look so bad from the 8th floor, (for some reason storm photos never look as bad as they are – and it’s not just because sailors are natural exaggerators.) But if little Domini had been out in that we’d have been swamped.

It was a little disconcerting when the Captain came on the tannoy and said, “It may interest you to know that we are at this moment sailing over the final resting place of the Titanic.

“But do not worry, The Queen Mary is unsinkable.”

Hmmmm.

Ju let the captain know that he too was a sailor, and they only had to ask if they needed any help on the bridge. They seemed to manage OK without him, and even in the Force 11, the Queen Mary only rocked a little bit.

It’s all quite exhausting, what with the spa treatments, the massages, the pedicures, the steam room, and watching people working out in the gym.

And the decks are very long if you go for a walk.

On Deck

…and it takes ages to get to your room.

Long Corridor

Quick Quiz.

Do you know what these Henry Moore sculptures are of?

Are they

(A)     Waves

or

(B)     Seagulls

 

Answer below.

Eat your heart out Henry Moore

Answers to the Henry Moore Quiz.

Ha ha – fooled you. It’s actually neither. They weren’t made by Henry Moore at all, but by the shipyard. They are the spare propellor blades. Though if the propellor falls off, we’ve got no idea how they’re going to stick the new one back on. But unlike being on a little yacht – that’s not our problem!

So in eight days we went from here…

Old Cruisers 1

…to here.

England

Yes – welcome to Southampton!

And Domini isn’t far behind us. She should arrive on Sunday night, ready for offloading sometime on Monday.

And then we can start all over again.

Just time for one arty farty photo. No need to tell you who took this one. It’s called Queen Mary’s Lift.

Lift

And now….

THE DIET BEGINS!

Bye for now Boatbloggers ® 

 

Ju & Lyn

Old Cruisers

QM2

Road Trip

Welcome back Boatblog ®  fans, though perhaps this edition should be called The Car-blog, because we have temporarily abandoned the good ship Domini and for a short while have become landlubbers again.

In our last episode we left you in Los Galapagos. From there, we headed back to St Maarten, stopping briefly in Quayaquil in Ecuador, only narrowly missing the dreadful earthquake. This photo was taken about 12 hours before it hit.

Quayaquil

We rejoined Domini, and after a couple of days of re-provisioning in St Maarten we sailed north to the BVI, and finally to the US Virgins, where we either sat on the beach or went out to the floating bar that you can see in the middle of the picture.

USVI

But it wasn’t all just lazing about in the sun. We had to get Domini prepared for our next adventure. We took off the sails, the bimini, the spray hood, all the safety gear on the back rail, even the davits, and lashed the dinghy to the deck.

Naked Domini 2

By the time we’d finished, she looked quite naked.

“But why?” I hear you cry. You’ll need to get to the end to find out.

Because first, we were going on a Road Trip. We’d read about the Lincoln Highway, which was the first road that went right across the States from Times Square in New York to San Francisco. And we decided to drive it.

Lincoln Highway

Not all of it. That’s a long way. Instead we would join it about half way in Chicago, and head East towards The Big Apple.

So we flew to Chicago, where the first thing we did was…

Boat Trip

…get on a boat. 

Chicago is justly famous for its architecture, and the best way to see it is along the river.

Trump 2

It says “Trump,'” on the tower up ahead so as we went past, we did. That might be why it’s called The Windy City.

Of course Sweet Home Chicago is most famous for the Blues…

House Of Blues

We’re on a mission from God.

We re putting the band back together

You don’t see this outside many gigs.

No Guns

…but at least there was no chicken wire.

Continuing our Musical Pilgrimage, we spent Sunday in the AIC with George.

Sunday In The Park With Ju

For those of you that  didn’t get that brilliantly witty reference, this is the painting that inspired Sondheim’s masterpiece, Sunday in the Park With George, and is on display a the Art Institute of Chicago (AIC).

Once again the Boatblog ®  seeks to inform as well as entertain.

One of the great things about America, is that no matter how badly the diet is going…

Diet Not Going Well 2

…you never feel fat.

F

Chicago at night is pretty spectacular. 

Chicago

And pretty scary if you get too close to the window and look down.

We needed some kicks. So we hit the road.

Route 66

We went from Illinois, through Indiana skirting along the Southern shore of Lake Michegan. This lake is huge. Big enough for waves! 

Lake or Sea

It was hard to believe that this was lake and not sea.

Quick quiz. Is the water salty, or fresh?

Go to the top of the class if you said fresh. Of course it is – it’s a lake. But even so it’s really weird being able to drink water from what look like the sea.

We stayed off the beaten track as much as possible.

Off the beaten track 2

The distances are big in America.

Sign 1

We went through Akron, Ohio…

Count The Steps

…to Pensylvania. We stopped at Gettysburg, scene of the largest battle in the American Civil War. This was the Gettysburg Address,

The Gettysburg Address

…and a very nice motel it was too.

Gettysburg is also famous for paranormal activity. Ju decided to go Ghostbusting, and spent a night in several haunted houses. This photograph was taken with a flash when he heard something creaking…

Ghostbusters 2

Do you see those spots floating about. Is it just dust on the lens?

Or is it……???!!!!

So, from now on, if you have a problem with ghosts , Who you gonna call?

Ghostbusters

Incidentally, Lyn didn’t go because she said she thought it was all a load of old rubbish.

Or was she just frightened.

On to Philadelphia, where the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4th 1776.

Declaration of Independence

Bet they’re regretting that now. It’s also the home of the Liberty Bell.

The Liberty Bell

We carried on East into Amish country, which is quite delightful.

Amish Country

We stayed overnight with Ben & Emma who are Amish farmers. For those of you who haven’t seen Witness, the Amish still live in the traditional way without cars or electricity, making all their own clothes, and generally living a simple life without any mod cons.

A bit like sailors.

Ben offered to take us out for a spin in his buggy, pulled along by his faithful horse, Misty.

Ben

As we were guests, he took us out in the special buggy, usually reserved for Sundays.

Misty

Who needs a Porsche?

View From The Buggy

We found a space in the supermarket car park.

Tesco Car Park  Amish Style

It’s amazing that they can maintain this way of life with all the pressures of the modern world.

This diner was great. 

Egg in Egg 2

We half expected the Fonz to turn up.

Our next stop was Atlantic City, a big casino town, which after the simple world of the Amish people seemed a little crazy.

Atlantic City

But it was kinda fun. 

Next stop, New York…

Into New York

..where we met up with Rory and Zoe who are currently living in the Bronx.

We went to see the Yankees play.Watching the Yankees

L to R:-  Lyn, Rory, Zoe & Greg (Zoe’s brother)

And went on a tour of the vintage clothes stores, called “thrift shops,” to get things for the next stage of the adventure…

(What could that be? – you’ll have to subscribe to the next instalment to find out.)

Thrift

A postcard from Brooklyn.

Greetings From Brooklyn

…which is where they buried Miles Davis.

Miles Davis

I never knew he was a Sir. It’s probably a Sir like Mr Ellington was a Duke, and the Mr Basie was a Count. Actually, Duke Ellington is buried here too, and a load of other famous jazzers.

Anyone know what that tune is? The prize for the first correct answer is a three day course in how to anti foul the bottom of a boat.

Talking of which, while we were messing about on the road, what was happening to Domini down in the USVI? And why had we stripped off all the sails and things?

She too was going on a trip.

Domini Loading 2

But where to?

Don’t miss the next exciting instalment of The Boatblog ®  to find out.

But before we go, there is just time for the Arty Farty competition. This time, all the entries are by Lyn. The first is called Buttons in a Jar.

Arty Farty 2

and the next is called Silver Bark.

Arty Farty 3

and finally…er….not sure what this is. Let’s call it Green Spotty Thing

Arty Farty 1

And of course, one last sunset – this time courtesy of the US Virgin Islands.

Sunset

We’re going to miss those.

Bye for now Boatbloggers ® 

Ju & Lyn

Los Galapagos

Bienvenidos mi amigos,

Rock

This island is called Waterfalls of the Sea, and is just one of the many wonders that makes up The Galapagos, 700 Nautical Miles off the coast of Ecuador far out in the depths of the Pacific Ocean, and just south of the Equator.

Galapagos

Yes Boatblog ® fanos, this latest edition comes to you live from The Galapagos.

Now we know what you’re thinking. “Weren’t they in the Caribbean last week? How have they got all that distance, including going through the Panama Canal, in just a couple of weeks?”

Quite simple really. We left Domini in St Maarten, and got a plane. OK – so technically it’s cheating, but what happened is this. Our good friends Stuart & Ann Letton of Time Bandit…

Time Bandit

…are sailing round the world. They’d just gone through the Panama Canal and arrived in The Galapagos, and they very kindly invited us over. Well it would be rude not to say no.

So here we are on Santa Cruz…

The Famous Four 2

..exploring the caves caused by the lava flows.

Steps Out Of The Cave

It’s a long way down.

Climbing 3

And even further back up.

Climbing 4

We met some of the locals. They’re friendly enough, but they’re a bit slow.

Tortoise

Obviously it’s quite hard to get this close to the giant tortoises, so we had to make use of a specially designed ShellCam © 

ShellCam 1

That’s actually a real tortoise shell, but surprise surprise!

ShellCam3

 It’s Stuart inside!

The tortoises live to over 150 years old, (which makes Ju about 26 in tortoise years). That is of course assuming they don’t get run over.

Tortoise Crossing

They really are enormous.

The Famous Four Go Tortoise Hunting

The number of animals that are unique to these islands is quite remarkable. These are marine iguanas. As in iguanas that go swimming in the sea.

Marine Iguana 2

There are weird looking jumping crabs,

Crabs

..and sealions everywhere.

Sealion 1

We even caught a brief glimpse of that rarest of all creatures.

David Attenburgh

A David Attenborough.

Next we went snorkelling.

Freediver Ju

It’s quite impossible to describe the sheer number of fish, and the amazing colours. It’s like swimming in an aquarium.

Fish

It’s a bit of a shock when you see your first shark and can’t get the Jaws theme out of your head.

Shark 2

There are Galapagos sharks (of course!), which are close relatives of the tiger shark, white tipped reef sharks, and  hammerheads swimming in vast numbers around the islands, and once you’ve got over the thought that you might be lunch, you appreciate just how incredible these animals are.

It seemed a bit mean, but on the way back we had a go at fishing. Now with this many fish in the water, even Ju should be able to catch something.

Fishing 1

It was quite a struggle bringing it in. The fish put up quite a fight, and it took about ten minutes to haul it in. Ju was exhausted by the struggle, and convinced he’d hooked a record breaking tuna. He was quite surprised when it was finally brought on board.

Fishing 2

Still, it’s the biggest (only) fish he’s ever caught. And couldn’t be fresher. On the table within five minutes of being pulled onto the boat.

Fishing 3

Yum yum.

The snorkelling just gave us a taste for more, so the next day we decided to go diving.

Superheroes

And this time the Superheroes were down with the Hammerheads!

Dum dum dum dum dum dum.

Hammerhead

They are the most majestic of animals.

There are giant rays…

Ray 3

…and they come in all shapes and colours.

Ray 6

Some just lurk on the bottom, waiting for the unwary diver.

Ray 1

Look at his eyes. The starfish are pretty.

Starfish 3

Apparently you shouldn’t call them starfish, because they’re not really fish. You should call them Sea Stars. (Not a lot of people know that. Here at the Boatblog ® we seek to inform as well as entertain.)

Starfish 1

The next day, we set sail (well, technically we put the motor on, but you know what I mean) for the largest of the Galapagos Islands…

Isabela

…Isabela.

This is the island that is most like how you probably imagine the Galapagos to be. This is the high street of the main town.

Isabela High Street

…and this is the pub.

The Pub

You have to step over the locals who spend all day lying around, sleeping off the effects of the night before.

Sealion 2

…and it’s not ducks in the village pond.

Flamingo 2

It’s all totally unspoilt.

Isabela Path

..which makes things like shopping much more fun than going down to Tesco’s. 

Shopping

You go to the farm, point to you what you want, and the farmer cuts it down for you there and then. And who cares if you don’t get points on your loyalty card?

It’s the same with the fishmonger. It comes straight off the boat…

Fish Market 2

…and the pelicans get the scraps.

Fish Market 1

We went to a place called The Tuneles. (Not to be confused with The Tuneless, one of Ju’s old bands). It’s Spanish for Tunnels. Really they’re underwater arches, but apparently it got mixed up in the translation.

Arch

Again, the amount of wildlife was extraordinary, and you could get right up close. This is the famous Blue Footed Booby lolloping over to see what’s going on.

Booby 2

And there’s not many places in the world you can swim with penguins without a wet suit.

Penguin 2

The rays fly round in schools…

School Of Rays

…and the turtles are bigger than Ju.

Turtle

 

And now in a brand new feature for The Boatblog ®, a little game called, “Find the Fauna!”

Round 1…

Ray 2

Can you see it?

And for round 2, have you idea what this?

Manta 2

If you said a pair of sharks, go to the bottom of the class. It is in fact a Manta Ray.

And finally, how many marine iguanas can you see in this photo?

Marine Iguana 4

Answers on a postcard please. Anyone with a correct answer gets to take the crew of Domini out for a slap up meal.

And this week’s caption competition.

Finding Nemo

 

 

Of course it wouldn’t be a Boatblog ® without an Arty Farty Prize, and in this Pacific Edition we have a number of contenders. First up is Stuart’s, “Flippers!”

Arty Farty Flippers

(Correction – that should of course read “Fins!” Sorry Stuart)

Next we have Lyn’s “Gate!”

Arty Farty Gate

And Ju’s entry is “Pelican!”

Arty Farty Pelican

 

It’s hard to believe we were only there for a week, and quite impossible to describe how incredible this place is. The pictures don’t do it justice. The Galapagos are islands of superlatives. So get out your David Attenborough box set, brush up your Spanish and come and see them for yourselves.

Muchas Gracias Stuart y Ann.

Hasta Luego.

Ju & Lyn

Whoops – almost forgot the obligatory sunset. Our first over The Pacific.

Sunset Over The Pacific