From the Bridge - Captain Michael D Hutton
December 11th: Left Opua Thursday 05/12 after getting the bits we needed to install the new tv. Went out and anchored in a bay at Robbies island and installed the new tv in the saloon and started to sand the upper deck teak as it had never been done. Friday was more sanding and then we moved to Urupukapuka island for the night. Saturday morning we moved round to Whangamumu, was a nice morning and we had a look at the hole then in to anchor. The bay was full of what looked like an algae bloom. Anchored and then more sanding on deck, it’s a slow job and hard on the back but we are getting there. Sunday morning finished the sanding and left for Whangarei, wind was behind and got to 16 - 18 knots, tied up at Port Nikau around 1900. Monday we got water and then scrubbed and cleaned all the sawdust that was around and acided the top deck and then on to the lower decks, had people to look at jobs. Tuesday we got on a coat of Semco and more people in. It’s windy here and was going to try and replace hoses on platform but the hydraulic guys can’t do anything until Friday, guess they all busy with xmas rush so we will look at it later. We have got all the visits in so will head down to Gulf Harbour today and get the boat ready to go out Saturday.
December 03rd: Still tied up in Opua, sorting things out with customs, meanwhile we have been catching up with maintenance, thorough wash down as there is great water pressure here and then polishing the stainless. Spot painting and sorting stuff. Had the electric medical and found one socket that had no earth connection, took quite a few hours of crawling throughout bilges to find that earth wire but got there. Scrubbing and acid on the fore deck and fly deck then sealing them, once we are tied up in Gulf Harbour we will lightly sand and do the same for the top deck which is going to be quite a few days work as it’s quite a large area and then we can do the aft deck. Serviced generator and have now connected it to our day tank as I got 10 mm brass tees here so no joins. Got the dishwasher out so painting all the wood in behind it and water proofing the area. We have permission to leave now so will go out to anchor on Thursday and turn up in Whangarei Monday morning to get quotes for the works we want to do.
November 23rd: We went into marina Tuesday and took on 2000 litres of fuel as we could not get it Wednesday, went shopping and James and Sam arrived. Thursday morning the diver came and cleaned around the anodes and hull fittings as we had done all the rest before, issued us a cert and all was good. Weather forecast was ok but with a doubt in a week. Cleared customs and immigration and left at 1145. Headed out and into the 20 knot SW trades which was just fwd of the beam so not to bad, just lots of spray, caught a nice skipjack tuna around 12 kilos. Had those conditions for 48 hrs and then it slowly eased off and by day 4 was pleasant and day 5 nice until 1500 when we go 20 knots on the nose which lasted about 15 hours and was uncomfortable and had to slow down a bit, day 6 was ok as the wind shifted round to the west as it was supposed to do and was about 12 knots as we closed in on North Cape and by the evening we had altered course to run down the coast. We caught a fish a day which was nice and the last evening 4 albacore in about one hour all about 10 kilos so we have a freezer full of fish. Tied up in Opua at 0645 and were cleared by 1000 and shifted into our berth. Welcome to cold NZ. Well at least for us.
November 13th: Dropped Paul and guest of on the 07/11 and anchored off marina. Next day windy and wet so moved across bay and anchored in the lee of the tank farm, stayed there 4 days with lots of rain and wind but was good holding and flat. Back in marina and taken on 2000 litres of fuel, divers in to check bottom and get a certificate to show it’s been cleaned, crew arrived and customs and immigration due at 1100 on the 14/11 to clear us out of Fiji. Weather looks ok but there is a small low forming of north west NZ next Wednesday which hopefully will stay small so will check info tomorrow and make the decision then. Should take 7 days to get there .
November 06th: Picked up a guest and headed out to Muscat cove, not to windy so Paul and guest went snorkelling on the sand spit. The 30/10 was very windy so went round and anchored behind Castaway in the lee, a snorkel then ashore for a walk and a drink, stayed the night and was woken at 0500 by a sea snake slithering across me which was a bit frightening, it must have come in thru the laz door and then thru the hatch into our room, got rid of him over the side. Moved up to Licki Licki lagoon which was very sheltered from the wind and stayed overnight there. Next morning early start to Denarau so guest could leave. Anchored off until the 04/11 when next lot arrived. Wind had eased by now so again out to Musket cove and anchored off sand spit for snorkelling and then into marina for the night, nice little place and quiet, guests all ashore for a walk before dinner. Next day up to Castaway and ashore to the pool, Rachel and I scrubbed the bottom of the boat in preparation for our arrival in to NZ with a clean hull. 06/11 back to Denarau to drop of guests and then the rest tomorrow and then we will get prepared for the trip and wait for a weather window.
October 29th: We stayed in the marina evening of the 21/10 and collected up our guests, Next morning after breakfast a walk ashore and some last minute shopping before heading out. Anchored off musket cove and guests went over to sand cay for a swim. Next day we had no wind and was hot. Guests ashore for a while on sand cay then lunch and the afternoon in by a pool at the resort. 23/10 we shifted out to cloud 9 barge for a drink and then up to Castaways, anchored and all ashore for drinks and pool. Next day quite windy but we were in the lee so ok. 25/10 we left Castaway and headed back to Muscat cove as it was windy, anchored in the middle and all was good. 26/10 we left and headed back to Denarau into a 30 knot wind which was ok, one guest a bit queasy but ok. Tied up in marina at midday and guests all left at 1600 for airport, started the cleanup and washing machine. Went out for dinner then rugby then bed. Next day left with Paul on and went out to check on more islands, firstly Vomo for the night but not the easiest place to anchor with deepish water and lots of bommies around. Next day across to the northern Mamunccas which was nice but again not the easiest anchoring as there was two swell directions because the outer reef has large gaps in it there. Afternoon back into anchor of Denarau where we will pick up a guest on the 29/10.
October 21st: Stayed anchored overnight and then guests snorkelled. A sea snake was found on the stern platform in the morning. We cruised up to Mana island and made our way into the channel, anchored off the jetty and guests went snorkelling. Ashore a bit then dinner. Snorkelling again next morning before ashore and a walk around the resort. Afternoon cruise back to Castaway island where more snorkelling and paddle boarding was done. Next day out to cloud 9 barge for a drink then into Musket Cove anchorage. 12th back into Denarau to drop off guests. Stayed anchored and the next day shopping and storing up. 14th we went back out to Musket Cove and anchored for two days before coming back in to pick up a guest and then back out to Musket Cove anchorage where we sat for 3 days. Back into Denarau marina to pick up guests and drop one off.
October 09th: Paul arrived and we steamed out to Malolo island, nice flat day and anchored. Next day steamed inside the reef to the top corner of the island and anchored for lunch as the wind picked up. After lunch moved as it was quite windy now and anchored behind the next island off the Castaway resort in the calm lee. Next morning Paul went ashore and had a drink and look at the resort, there was also a nice beach and snorkelling. Returned to Denarau marina and got a berth for the night as we had two guests arriving, big shop and clean up, all out to dinner. Next day girls into the spa for a massage and a day at resorts. Headed out and went straight out to Castaways where we anchored off, swim and then the girls ashore for some r and r. Next day was calm until the afternoon then the wind picked up a bit and dropped of as was the forecast but then picked up early in the morning so shifted round to the other side. Up at 0700 to head back to Denarau in the rain and wind. Anchored and the guests went ashore as one was flying out and another in, all arrived back and we left for Musket Cove anchorage in better although overcast conditions.
September 29th: On the 03/09 we left our anchorage on Beqa and anchored off the marina so we could go in on the full tide tomorrow. During the night the wind turned 180 degrees and blew quite hard and we dragged anchor twice before we got a good hold. Come morning it had died down but was pouring with rain as we went in, turned and dropped an anchor before reversing into the berth. Got her tied up and then we gave Olive a good wash. Had quite a swell coming in and during the next 48 hours got her settled in nicely with all the lines tight. We showed the manager what he had to do to watch her and gave him a key, left on the 06/09 for the U.K, it’s a three hour drive to the airport from Pacific Harbour and it was nice to see some of the island. We got back to Olive to a dead ship, they had called on the 22nd and said they couldn’t get power to work even with the generator, so we cleaned out the stern freezer and I tried to get the chargers working but nothing. We had our first night back with no lights or power or water, lucky for us we had just done a 36 hour travel stint so just went to sleep. Had an Electrican come in and try to get it going but the unit just kept stopping so we took it out and he got it checked and it was ok, what was happening was the voltage was to low for it to excite the circuits, I had borrowed a small charger and had been charging since the morning of the 25th and the voltage had got up to 3 volts and when we reinstalled the charger it was enough to excite the system so we were good. Left the marina the morning of the 27th at 0600 for the tide. There was a small sea running but we were rolling around as it was from aft and no stabilisers, caught a big MahiMahi which is good as we had lost all the food in the freezer, anchored off Likura island for the night and then on around to Molo Molo island the next day. Today the 29/09 we will anchor of Denarau and get the boat ready for when Paul arrives on the 1st.
August 30th: Had 5 days around the island of Malolo, weather was very changeable but a good time had by our guests, in fact it’s very nice to be going slowly for a while after our hectic last few months. Back in and anchored off Denarau marina and guests ashore for dinner for their last night here. Next morning they left around noon and I went into the marina office and booked us in for two nights in October for when we pick up Lucy and baby and co. It seems to be very hard to get a berth here as it’s always busy but I got them. Wash down and clean and dry cushions as we have 5 weeks before more guests. Monday I went into the airport to see immigration to get a letter for Paul and us to allow us to fly back into Fiji on a one way ticket which took a while, had to return the next day to collect them then as the forecast was good we left and headed out to anchor by the main entrance to the reef so we could leave early in the morning. Anchored for the night and as I turned everything off, noticed an alarm message on the stabilisers so looked into it and ended up sending a message to the makers who got back to me as soon as they were at work and spent two hours going through all the settings and systems to check them and it looks like it’s the motion sensor that’s at fault, they are going to be in nz mid to late September so will bring one out and give it to Paul to bring with him when he returns. Next morning up early and tie everything down as no stabs and we were off out into the ocean as we headed round island to Pacific Harbour, got out and it was ok, about a meter chop on top of a swell but both from ahead so we steamed around and anchored late afternoon of the resort. Next morning went in and looked at it and it was ok to leave the boat there from a safety angle so confirmed the booking and told them we will be back in on the 04/09. We then went out and anchored in the lee of Beqia island as it’s blowing a bit and constant rain showers coming thru and will sit here until the 04.
August 21st: It took 4 days to get to Denarau, we stopped each afternoon at a reef and swam, on the last evening we came inside the coastal reef and anchored after having seen two whales cruising thru and giving a great tail display as they dived, the next morning we set out for Denarau, steamed past the commercial port of Lautoka and anchored in a bay just around the corner from Vuda marina, woke up to a very flat morning and went round to Denarau and anchored off, Paul went ashore and we started cleaning the boat, wash down and polish the stainless, picked Paul up after he had dinner ashore. Same again the next day and by the afternoon we were ready for our guest on Tuesday. Picked up and left to head out to Malolo island and Muscot cove for the night, quite a bit of wind but ok. Wednesday and a bit overcast and windy but nice.
August 14th: Cleared in to Tonga and then anchored in the bay. A very nice peaceful place, got onto a few jobs as it was so calm, main one was to try and square up the platform but could not shift the bolts which I thought might have loosened but obviously not them, we also have a bit of water coming in around them but couldn’t find it from outside so will try and get in to the back and see if I can find it, we will be taking it off in NZ and setting it up properly. Got duty free fuel at a very good price then cleared out and cruised out thru the islands looking for whales of which none could be seen so laced a course for Duff reef 300 miles out before turning in towards Savu Savu. At about 70 miles out from Tonga we ran into a huge area of pumice and being night we were in it before we knew what was happening, slowed down and crawled thru it for an hour or so, once out had to clean the cooling water sea strainers and then we were off. Arrived Savu Savu Monday morning and tied up to the copra shed and cleared in, looked at the paint around the water line and it’s quite badly scratched so there’s another job on the list for NZ, we have patched the worst area round the bow. At least it cleaned all the weed off. Leaving today to cruise down to Denarau to pick up a guest on the 20th for a few days.
August 06th: Had a nice overnight trip to Raiatea and anchored off the town on Sunday morning, in the afternoon I went to the gendarmerie and started the clearing out process. I had already emailed the forms 6 days before as they requested but it made no difference as it would take two days to get our exit papers. Monday morning went into the fuel place and was told they can’t give me 10000 litres in spite of being told a week earlier it was no problem so went to the shell wharf and they could but not before the clearance papers had been issued. Tuesday and the gendarmes had Olive's papers so after getting stamped out went to the shell wharf and they said now is ok and the wind had died right off so in we went. Took 5.5 hours to fill up and then we went to the bank to get our flight bond money back which took a while but we got there. Left around 15:00 and motored round the corner thru the lagoon until we found the Chanel out through the reef and headed off to Rarotonga. 3.5 days later arrived early Saturday morning off Avatiu and no reply on the radio so went in and tied up, took about 3 hours to clear in and then welcomed by maritime Cook Islands. Anchor dragged and we tied up alongside a local ship for the duration of our stay, it got quite rough in the harbour for the rest of our stay. All out for drinks and dinner on Saturday night with maritime Cook Islands and the commodore of the yacht club and a good evening was had by all. Sunday Rachel and I went off for the day with friends who were on the island for a nice island style lunch and a drive around before heading back to Olive in the early evening. We left Monday early afternoon for Tonga and it was nice being out of the harbour as it was so bouncy in there, stopped at Beveridge reef which is in the middle of nowhere for 36 hrs, very nice and unbelievably clear water. Arrived Tuesday morning in Neiaflu in northern Tonga and cleared in after crossing the date line and jumping a day.
July 20th: Arrived Saturday evening in Tahiti, chilled for a bit and all out for dinner to celebrate arriving safely and birthdays as we had four all at sea on the trip. Sunday washed boat from top to bottom and then went and watched the road show in the afternoon, lots of Harley Davidson bikes and noisy pick ups burning rubber and making lots of noise. The 3 extra crew all flew out early Monday morning and we had to wait for a yacht to leave so we could shift into the marina which happened around 11, tied up and got our bent anchor off and onto the aft deck. Went of that afternoon hunting out a place to get the dish washer looked at and found one, the guy showed me the pump he had and how it came off so back to the boat and took ours off and it was the same so got a new one and all going good now. Next morning off to find a place to straighten the anchor, found a ship yard and they weren’t sure so kept looking, they got back to me later and said no so more walking and found a guy in a shed that was welding so asked him and he said yes, so dropped it of with the dinghy as he was by the harbour and three days later picked it up, also got a joining shackle and rejoined the broken chain. We have been cleaning and cleaning, fixing things and getting Olive ready for our next trip as she needs it after 56 days at sea and 6300 miles. Saturday and Sunday took a drive round the island which was nice and a break off the boat. Paul arrived Thursday night and we left Papeete Friday morning heading for Moorea where we are anchored in the lagoon and will leave late afternoon to sail over night to Raiatea where we will clear out and take on Fuel.
July 08th: Left Nuku Hiva late afternoon and out into a not to bad sea, weather forecast was easing weather for a couple of days before swinging to the SSE. Last night before arrival we got the change but only a couple of hrs on the nose before swinging more E, arrived at Takaroa atoll at 0900 in 25 kts of wind and a lot of rain so just hung around outside for a few hrs until it eased so we could get in thru the pass. The currant was with us and we fair flew in and anchored of the town with wind and rain and a slight lee from the waves, stayed one night and moved across lagoon to the other side where we had a great anchorage in the lee. Next morning raining and as the crew had flights booked out of Tahiti on the 08/07 we decided to leave for Rangiroa as it’s bigger and more flights to Tahiti each day in case we could not make it, as with all the outer islands the Internet is very slow and we had a lot of trouble trying to get a good weather forecast, we left Takaroa around 1100 with rain and 25 knots on our aft beam and a good swell and chop running, arrived Rangiroa the following morning and entered the lagoon with a 7 knot current running out so slowly in, the resident pod of dolphins playing around the bow and jumping in the tidal chop which was a meter so quite a great entrance. Anchored up and dug in well as wind was forecast, rain and wind slowly picked up and was blowing a steady 30 knots by dark, at 2100 we had a 40 knot squall come thru and dragged, hooked again on a coral bommy and held for a bit before letting go, picked it up and the anchor shaft had bent badly so no good to us, by now the wind was between 30 and 40 knots steady with at least a meter sea rolling thru anchorage so we spent the night steaming slowly up and down the clear area of the lagoon, dawn arrived and we anchored with our second anchor which got a good hold and so we sat there on edge. About two hrs in we had quite a jerk and snapped the anchor chain so out we went again and steamed around and got our spare anchor out and shackled it on and anchored once again, held and we sat there for two more days in rain and wind with a shitty chop on edge waiting for it to go as we had yachts not far astern, so 24 hr watch keeping routine. Decided that there was a small weather window coming for us to leave for Tahiti so dived and found the anchor and chain we lost and buoyed it, picked our anchor up and then recovered the anchor and chain and left, got round the corner of the reef and there was a 5 meter swell with a chop on top and not much wind so we kept going, just fwd of the beam so not to bad, 24 hr run and the window was good, arrived Tahiti in the sunshine and tied up to welcome quay. Going to be a busy week ahead to clean up and fix the anchor. We did 6380 miles in the last two months to get here so looking fwd to a stop.
June 26th: Arrived in Baltra, Marquesas and anchored for a few hours until we could get fuel, around two we went stern too and took on 6950 litres and then back out to anchor, had the customs onboard with a dog to check we had no wildlife on and then waited for our clearance papers which arrived around 1700, had dinner and left at 2000. First day out saw a tuna trawler on the horizon and then just on dark a 20 ft dingy with one outboard fishing with a longline about 70 miles out, next day the tuna boat again on the horizon, wind about 10 knots aft of beam. First week was pleasant with sun and not much wind but a confused sea, caught a few fish. About midway the wind started picking up as we got more into the trades and quite a good sea running, saw a yacht for a few hours about midway, passed a dead whale and caught two mahimahi near it. Had the wind and sea all the way into Nuku Hiva where we arrived late afternoon on the 24/06, so a 16 day crossing which was fast as we had a current with us most of the way. Saw a few pods of dolphins and two whales during the trip. Tried to clear in the afternoon we arrived but they only clear boats in during the morning so went back the next morning and I had to get a flight bond from the bank which took an hour and when we got back to police station they couldn’t clear us in as there had been an incident and had to go, so we have to stay another day here, going to Takaroa next then thru the Touamotos to Tahiti.
June 07th: Left Golfito, Costa Rica Wednesday afternoon and headed quests out into a not so nice head wind and sea, weather forecast was for 5 knots but 15 out side. Slogged it out there for 3 days and not so nice and the last day dawned with almost no wind and a much flatter sea for the run into the island of San Cristobal where we had to clear into the Galápagos. Caught 4 small tuna so now have a freezer full of fillets. The last night out we had a heap of birds with us so the boat was covered in bird shit so that was our job Sunday to clean. Arrived just on dark Sunday evening and anchored, next morning 10 people including agent descended on us, two divers to check the hull for growth and the rest to check everything, they have high bio security here, we have signs posted up all over the place about where what rubbish goes etc. Got cleared in and the crew all went ashore to look around. Crew went diving and saw hammerhead sharks and met a lot of the wild life. Early Thursday we shifted over to the main town on Santa Cruz Island where we got in the fresh food for the crossing, went to the Darwin institute and saw the giant tortoise. It’s Friday morning and we left at 0600 to steam 40 miles around the island to Baltra island which is where we get fuel. Taking 7000L and clearing out ... Marquesas here we come... see you in 20 days we hope.
May 28th: Left Playita marina, Panama at 10:45 on the 24th and headed out to fuel barge 103. Anchored out in the ship anchorage area, alongside at 11:30 and took on fuel, we only took on enough to top the tanks up and we will fill the drums up in Galápagos as the fuel is 30 cents a gallon cheaper. Left the barge around 13:00 and headed out and towards Costa Rica, not much wind on the coast but definitely windy further out as we had quite a swell running. 45 hours later and a nice wahoo in the fridge we arrived in Golfito, Costa Rica, Sunday and everything closed so couldn’t leave the boat, Monday cleared immigration but harbour master and customs closed on a Monday but at least we could go ashore. Very nice here with mile after mile of jungle. We are definitely in the rainy season here now. Looking to leave here for the Galápagos Wednesday evening or Thursday as there’s a bit of a weather window to get out offshore. AIS is working fine but Marine traffic doesn’t work in Costa Rica area. We see other boats on the system and they see us. It shows boats based on satellite based AIS systems not VHF systems. It is probably because there are not enough coast radio stations.
May 20th: Left Cartagena and steamed slowly towards Colon. Caught a nice sailfish on trip which gave us 20 kg of nice steaks. Arrived Colon mid morning and tied up in shelter bay marina, cleared customs and immigration and started the waiting process for the canal. First we had to get the measurement people before anything else can be done, we were told it would be the next day but nothing. Then the following day they turned up, that done we waited for our transit date, got that and was told we would transit thru in one hop. Pilot arrived and promptly informed us it would be two days transit, so off we went and all went to plan in the locks, steamed to our stop about midway and moored up and pilot left, next morning a new pilot and off we went, all went to plan again and we entered the Pacific around 15:30 hrs. Dropped pilot off and tried to get to the marina we had booked but there was too much surge in it so left and anchored out in the bay. Will try the other marina today for a place. Weather over the next week does not look to good to head out to Galápagos as there’s a low pressure system building of the Mexican coast so will keep an eye on it and do what we can, might shift up to Golfito in Costa Rica towards the end of the week. Still very hot and humid here.
May 10th: Took on 8500 litres of fuel and left Jolly harbour at 1400 and motored down to Carlisle bay and anchored. Had a look for some crayfish but nothing, rested up, had dinner and left at around 2100 out into a 20 knot tradewind and not to bad a sea. Passed north of Montserrat and laid a course for Panama, next two days reasonable weather and settling back into the watch regime, weather picked up a bit and very hazy and fourth day a really shitty sea because of currents so we decided to stop in Cartagena as it’s on our course. Caught a nice little yellow fin tuna as we passed through a patch of sea roiling with fish. Arrived mid morning and tied up and cleared in and now just organising the canal and paper work before leaving on Sunday. Cartagena old town is great and is worth visiting.
May 01st: Hauled out Wednesday morning, all very easy, hull quite dirty. Once water blasted they put us down and we started to clean the barnacles off that the water blaster didn’t move. Extra crew for the trip to Tahiti arrived Thursday afternoon and they were straight into work. We got most of the stuff done that I wanted to do. Back into the water Monday morning and steamed back to Jolly Harbour. We gained a knot of speed and dropped the fuel consumption by 4 litres an hour at our cruising speed solely from a clean bottom. Got all the work here in Jolly Harbour done so a tidy up and then Thursday morning clear customs and immigration then go to fuel dock to fill up with duty free fuel and leave for Panama in the evening after a last stop and swim in Carlisle bay.
April 22nd: Paul and Bella arrived 24 hrs late due to fog at JFK. We left for deep bay that afternoon and anchored just by the wreck so they could snorkel on it. Quite good visibility as well which was nice for them. Next day back to Jolly Harbour and tied up to fuel dock where Bella and Paul went of looking around and we took 500 litres of fuel on. The other guests arrived and we left again and anchored off Sheer Rocks. They all went in for sundowners and to look for the green flash. Got them back to Olive around 20:00 for dinner. Next day we anchored out at Cades reef for a few hours to snorkel, quite windy and we got our anchor caught and bent it a little while getting it back, left there for Carlisle bay and stayed the night. Up to Green Island next day with a bit of sea running but not too bad, anchored and tied the stern to the bouy and was really tucked in there, snorkelling and relaxing was the name of the game while there. Following day down to Mamora Bay and anchored of the St James club where they all went ashore for drinks before returning for dinner. Next morning off to English Harbour and stern to there for the night, out for dinner. Next morning out for a walk then brunch before the taxi picked them up for the airport, Olive left as well and went round and anchored in Carlisle bay for two days and will head into Jolly harbour Tuesday morning for a bit more work, then up to North Sound on Wednesday morning to haul out.
April 09th: Dropped Paul at airport and then off to supermarket to start restocking. Monday got two contractors down for revised quotes for anchor rollers due to short time frame. While they were figuring out a price and start time we went back out to anchor. Accepted one quote and was asked to come alongside shipyard jetty on the Wednesday to start. Work progressing slowly, (island time) with no sense of urgency as the 14 th approaches which is when Paul returns. Just getting on with all the small jobs and maintenance as well as organising our canal transit and stop in the Galapagos as these need a lead in time of at least a month.
March 21st: Moved up and anchored off Rodney bay marina and all the guests ashore for shopping, hair work and eating, picked them up 1900 and back to boat for dinner. Next morning left for Marin on the SE corner of Martinique, quite a nice day with not too bad a sea and wind, arrived in Marin early afternoon and cleared in then all went ashore to look, Rachel got a bit of food. Next morning Rachel and I went in early for bread, post guest mail and to get a SIM card for data, fuel in the tender and back out to boat. We then moved along the coast and anchored behind the reef for lunch and the moved on as it was a bit rolly. Ended up anchored in the bay we had been last time with all the turtles where we stayed two nights before moving across the bay and anchoring off Fort du France, all guests ashore for shopping and lunch before picking them up and moving across the bay to anchor of Tois Ilets for the night. Next morning back to Fort du France to drop two guests ashore for taxis to the airport and we left to anchor on the north of Martinique for our crossing the next day. Left early and had 4 hours ok weather and sea across to Dominica where we again anchored in the north before crossing over to Guadeloupe and anchoring in the north, cleared in and out and left early the next morning for Antigua, just out of the bay we saw two whales and one did the classic dive with the tail high out of the water which was great to see, we arrived at English Harbour around 1400 and tied up stern too. Guests ashore and we rinsed the boat off. All out for dinner. Next day cruised along coast towards Jolly harbour and stopped in a nice bay. Today into Jolly harbour to drop a guest and then Paul tomorrow, and then onto the work list.
March 11th: Tuesday we followed the coast down to Fort des France where we anchored and Paul, Diane and Rachel went ashore to get food and a SIM card but seeing it was carnival time, day of the devil and everyone dressed in Red Devil costumes everything was closed including the customs so no checking in which in any case is already a very laissez faire thing in the first place, fill a form in on a computer in the designated shop in the area and print and get it signed and that’s it, very French. Decided to go across the bay and anchor for the night in a nice cove with swimming and snorkelling and lots of turtles, next morning across to St Lucia where we cleared in and went shopping, I washed the boat down in preparation for our guests, wine and food topped up and a hair dresser for Diane only to get the job rained on during the return trip to Olive. Next morning off along the St Lucian coast to the very southern tip where the airport is to get our guests in the late afternoon, anchored in the lee of the headland and had a very quiet night. Next morning a late breakfast and then a short trip back towards the north got us to the Pitons which are two very conical mountains about 740 meters tall and where we moored in the shadow of them, very impressive, all the guests ashore for evening drinks before returning for dinner. Left around 1100 and cruised quietly past Soufrier town and on along the coast and then anchored off a very nice beach and restaurant where all went ashore for lunch. After a swim back to the boat we shifted up to Marigot bay where we had a berth for the night, this is where the original Dr Doolittle was filmed and is really a beautiful spot, nice night was had and after we had finished there dinner and cleaned up Rachel and I went for a drink and a game of pool. Mon 11th we left Marigot bay and are now anchored off Rodney bay marina in the north with our customs clearance and will leave for Martinique in the morning.
March 04th: Went back into marina Saturday lunchtime and washed down. Sunday washed the hull and Monday hired a car to go to English Harbour to pick up the antenna switch and then to St Johns to food shop. Paul and Diane arrived Tuesday late afternoon. Wednesday they went off sightseeing while we got ready to go, pay the marina, clear customs and then shift to the fuel quay to get fuel, took on 2000 litres, Paul and Diane got back and off we went. Headed to Dickinson Bay and anchored for the night, lots of turtles and the pelicans fishing in the morning. Left for Guadeloupe around 1000 and around 15 knots of wind just forward of the beam so quite nice until a rain squall went thru and there was around 35 knots for an hour or so in the middle, anchored in Deshaeis around 1600 and settled in for a nice evening. Next morning left around 0800 and sailed along the coast of Guadeloupe to the Isle Des Saints on the southern corner of Guadeloupe and anchored and cleared in, this is where the tv series Death in Paradise was filmed and is a great spot. Paul and Diane went ashore for a wander around. Drooped them back in next morning and we shifted around behind another little island for the night. Left next morning for Dominica and again 15 to 20 on the beam so not to bad, anchored in a bay at the very north of the island and it was blowing 40 as the wind came down the hills, it is carnival time in the Caribbean at the moment so we had very loud music all night. Monday the 04 and we left the anchorage at 0800 to steam down the coast and then across to Martinique, about 50 miles and very windy coming off the mountains of Dominica, up to 45 knots in the gusts and not to bad across the channel to Martinique where we have anchored in the north for the night and then tomorrow we will go into Fort des France to clear in.
February 19th: Stayed two days in Jumby Bay, Paul went ashore for a drink and was escorted the whole time and no drink, so much security. Wind has now picked up and we head out to Bird Island where we drop anchor in 3 meters of water off the reefs, windy now so we sat there and enjoyed the view. Next morning we put the tender in and Rachel and Paul went off for a reef dive, still windy, I think the trades are back up and blowing a steady 15 knots. Next day we left the eastern side and headed round to Dickinson bay and a lot of hotels on the beach front, anchored and watched the comings and goings, had Caribbean music live over the water for dinner. Paul ashore in the morning for a wander and lunch on the beach at a beach bar. Next day round to Deep bay and anchored next to the wreck where Paul spent an hour watching all the fish around it. Lots of turtles everywhere . Next morning into five islands bay and anchored of a small white sandy beach for the snorkelling run. Sunday we left there and into the marina around lunch time. I had to go get another months cruising permit and some food shopping. Paul left around 1800 for the airport. Monday shopping for parts and ordering parts, I gave the main engines an oil and oil filter change as well as new raw water impellers. Tuesday shifted the shower sump tank under the vip so it’s now sitting over the bilge. We have now gone back out to anchor for the rest of the week.
February 09th: Paul arrived eventually after being caught up by the English cricket team and supporters at the airport causing an hour and a half delay on getting thru. Spent the next day looking around and then we left on the 31/01 and headed out into a calm sea and little wind bound for Carlisle Bay on the South Coast. Nice slow trip down in the sunshine and anchored up just off the beach. Swimming and snorkelling on the reef. Also the super yacht regatta was on and one of the marks was just out in the bay so nice to watch them rounding the mark. 02/02 left for English Harbour and arrived but to many boats and no place to anchor so we went a bit further round to Indian creek which is a great little gunk hole. Off snorkelling and both Rachel and Paul found crayfish of which we got one and it was a big one, maybe two and half kilos so into the pot and on the evening menu. Next day moved on up to Green island and got ourselves tucked right up into a corner with two anchors out and a stern bouy and sat there for two days with half a meter of water to spare, again they found crays but no success this time. Went further into Nonsuch bay and anchored in the rain. Stayed the day there then headed out and anchored on the reef for more snorkelling and then back into the bay for the night. Paul and I went in for a beer and the place was very quiet. Next day back out to the reef and snorkelling on some Bommies and we stayed overnight there. We got two crays. We have been very lucky with the wind, nothing over 10 knots when we usually have the trades around 14 to 20. Got up this morning and once the sun was high enough we left and exited the reef and headed along the north coast to Parham harbour where we anchored off and Paul and I went ashore for a grocery shop and a drink in the bar. Got a few things and went out and anchored in Jumby Bay off Long Island where all the film stars have villas. Still have very little wind but I think that’s changing tomorrow.
January 31st: Moved back into the marina on the 26th so we could get boat washed and the hull and water line cleaned up as we had owner arriving on the 29th. Water line was a hard job as it hadn’t been done for a while. Lots of cleaning and shopping and then Paul arrived in the evening. Have had quite a few showers coming thru. Last day at anchor before coming in as we picked up the tender there was a different noise in the crane so had a look and have had to re route the hydraulic lines and hold them in place better. Left the marina today on a 10 day cruise around Antigua and are presently anchored off Carlisle bay, it’s calm and quiet for now and water temperature 27C so very pleasant for swimming.
January 15th: Olive and her crew are still in Antigua, anchored off the north coast and having lots of wind and the heavy showers each day. We are staying around the Jolly harbour area and busy doing lots of jobs. Have installed new blue under lights on the fly bridge and blue and white ones over the upper deck table. All the daily stuff and weekly stuff as well. We go into the marina every now and then for a day to get stuff and get a full nights sleep.
December 31st: Christmas Day was great, had a few drinks then off to the dockyard in English Harbour for a few more and food, they have quite a big party there. Met up with Olls and Lucy and friends of theirs for the rest of the day. Keone, Rachel’s daughter arrived just before Christmas and stayed a week with us which was really nice for Rachel as it had been a year since seeing her. Left Falmouth harbour and headed up the coast to anchor off Jolly harbour on the 27th where Keone left us and now it’s just the two off us, nice to have the boat back, nice weather and wind although the forecast for the next few days looked wet and windy. 28th dawned wet and windy and we moved around to five islands bay and anchored in 3 meters of water and let out 50 meters of chain. Still here but the rain has gone and now only windy, maybe move round to next bay on the last day of the year. It’s been a very busy 8 months with Olive having logged just over 10000 miles and visiting 10 countries and some of those a couple of times. With the new year arriving very soon I guess we will be off on more adventures. So a happy new year to all from Olive and her crew.
December 25th: Had a couple of days in Martinique, snorkelling with turtles. Moved up the coast and anchored in a nice spot to swim and have dinner as we were leaving around midnight to move north. Left and it was quite rough on the beam as we crossed over the channel to Dominica and ran up the inside, daylight and we were just clearing the northern end of Dominica put the line out and got a nice barracuda, a lot calmer across the next channel before anchoring in the isle des saints and clearing in. Nice spot, stayed a couple of days as was very windy. Left and cruised up coast of Guadeloupe and stopped for night in a bay at the very NW corner for the night. Left early next morning for Antigua and had a very nice crossing over. Tied up in Jolly harbour and cleared in and took a berth for 3 days to clean up and do stuff. Olly and Lucy shifted ashore with friends of theirs on the island and will be staying with them for 10 days before heading off back to France. We have been out at anchor again for a few days and will move into a berth on the 24/12 in Falmouth harbour so we can go and have Christmas Day with our friends on the island.
December 12th: Well the visas were granted, asked for b1/b2 and got them as well as c1/d which was good. Had an extra day in Barbados courtesy of mr Bush as embassy was closed on the Wednesday out of respect. Had a small problem with port exhaust which we fixed and caught up with some jobs while here. Took 4 hours to clear out and we left around 2000 to head for St Lucia, not a strong trade wind so an easy trip across arriving mid morning and cruising up the coast past the Pitons and on to Marigot bay where we stopped for the night. Next day up the coast 10 miles to Rodney Bay and anchored off, quite windy and watched some of the yachts participating in the ARC race across the Atlantic arriving, got a few bits and pieces here as there was a very good hardware shop just behind the marina. Left 0500 on the 11/12 to head up to Martinique, 15 kts of wind and a nice trip arriving lunch time and clearing in and now of shopping for Xmas presents.
December 01st: We left Santa Cruz on Tenerife at 1300 on a sunny warm afternoon and headed south along the coast with a small swell and flat sea and settled into our watch keeping routines. Had a few pilot whales for company and dolphins as well. We passed Hiero island early the following morning and as it fell beneath the horizon we were well and truly on the way, weather forecast was for a bit of westerly in two days so we just headed on our route until we got it, then steamed south for 24 hours and gradually came back on course as the wind shifted back to the north, we had the next few days with an ocean swell of around 5 meters rolling thru, wind shifted round to the north east and stayed there. Had a trimaran come past us and the guy told us he was participating in the route de rum race which is a single handed race from France to Guadeloupe. Caught a few dorado and had fresh fish every other day, wind was light and sea relatively flat all thru the middle part and then we got a few days of trades from the east at about 15 knots with a chop on top and rolled our ways along, all the while it was getting warmer, we all had a swim at the mid way point as it was a nice day. We saw whales 3 times and had regular visits of dolphins. Around mid way we got into a few days of almost no wind and could turn the stabilisers of which helped us along. Second half has been quite a lot more wind and sea but very pleasant all from the east to south east so we have just done the great circle route. We saw a ship on day 9 and then another one on day 14 and day 15 heard people on the Vhf. Last day at sea we had a couple of yachts around and a bit of wind, saw the light glow of Barbados in the distant sky. As dawn broke we made landfall on the northern end and came round to anchor of Port St Charles and turn the engines off, very weird having a very quiet boat that was not rolling around. Had breakfast and went ashore to clear in, had to wait for an hour as there was no one there, Caribbean time!!!!!, eventually did it all then we steamed down and anchored in Carlisle Bay off Bridge Town. Crew went ashore to get SIM cards and then a few drinks on the beach while they caught up with the world. We will be here a few days as we have appointments with the US embassy for visas on Wednesday and as soon as that’s finished we will be off to St Lucia. Each day on the crossing we would get 3 or 4 flying fish onboard but on the last night we got 37 so must have gone thru a large school of them so lots of scales all round the boat to clean up.
November 13th: We left La Linnea marina at 0900 on the 06/11 and headed out into the Atlantic once again with a flat sea and very little wind. Steamed out the Spanish side of the straits past Tarifa and then turned across the traffic separation zone to head on down the African coast. Wind was about 08 knots on the nose and a very small head sea along with a head current we were only doing about 5 knots over the ground, hooked a nice little bonito late in the afternoon so a bit of sushi was on the table for dinner. 07 dawned nice but still a head wind which didn’t change until the 3rd day out when it went to the north at about 10 knots and stayed that way till we arrived, getting warmer now. Late on in the day we passed a whale going north so Lucy was happy as she had not seen one, also lots of dolphins on a regular basis thruout the trip. Last 15 hrs we slowed down as to arrive at dawn and go in to the Port on Tenerife which we did at 0730, tied up and had a nice breakfast with a flat boat and quiet. Changed engine oil and filters and greased all the steering gear, got in 40 litres of engine oil, got a few spare filters and ordered fuel. Took onboard 3770 litres 13/11 and are now ready to leave today around lunch time 14/11.
November 05th: We had three very windy days with lots of snow on the hill behind the marina so needless to say it was cold, hired a car and drove Paul to Malaga airport at 0200 on the 01/11, a two hour drive away. We had the car for the day so did a bit of shopping for the boat. Olly my son and his girlfriend who are crewing for the Atlantic turned up at about 2200. 02/11 we had a nice day and so washed the boat from top to bottom as it was covered in salt spay from the waves crashing onto the marina wall. Had another day waiting for weather and oiled the top deck. We left late in the afternoon of the 03/11 for Gibraltar with a very smooth sea. Had lots of dolphins with us overnight and lots of phosphorescence with them glowing in the dark. Arrived around 10:30 on the 04/11 and anchored off for a while before going into La Linnea marina in Spain after 1200 hours. The marina is just across the border from Gibraltar. Tied up and washed the boat clean before walking into town for a look and a beer. 05/11 woke up to wind and rain and as it cleared we walked into Gibraltar which involves walking across the airport runway which is a novelty, got a few bits and pieces, had a nice lunch and back to boat. Late afternoon steamed Olive over to Gibraltar and tied up to Fuel dock, took on 8125 litres and then back to Spain and our little marina. We are intending to leave around 0900 tomorrow the 06/11 for Tenerife in the Canary Islands as the weather looks ok, should take about 5 days.
October 28th: Woke up next morning to anchor alarm going off, moved over to the next island and went in and tied up at the marina where the customs and police were. Went and saw them and they were not interested so that was ok, Calasetta was the town we were in and was a very nice place. Stayed the night and left next afternoon, round behind the island and anchored and had a swim, left early evening for Ibiza. Pleasant trip over and anchored in a bay late in the day, had numerous land birds landing and flying around the boat for the trip, none died this time so that’s good. Next day motored round and anchored of Ibiza town where Paul (owner) went ashore for a few hours. Next day left and found a nice place to anchor stern to in a little cove on one of the islands which was a bit like a volcanic crater for a swim. Left late afternoon so we could watch the sunset in the hope of seeing a green flash but too much smog on the horizon, very pleasant early evening but the wind started to pick up along with the head sea and was not very comfortable so altered course for Javea arriving 0130 and anchoring in the lee. Next morning shifted in closer to the harbour where Paul went ashore for the day. He returned and we went ashore to have a drink with good friends who had only shifted there 4 days before. Next morning a 0430 start as we were headed for Cartagena and it was a great day, very little wind and flat sea. As we were going into the anchorage after looking at the forecast decided to keep going but this time it was wrong and we had a bit of upwind work with a nice head sea but we slowed a little and it was ok arriving in Almerimar marina mid afternoon, tied up and settled in as the wind really picked up and blew all night. Woke up to a cold morning with wind and a sprinkling of snow on the hills behind us. We have decided to stay here until Paul leaves on the 01/11 and will get all the stuff we need for the crossing here over the next few days. The wind has died down this evening but will be back tomorrow.
October 17th: Had a rushing round day, picked up stainless steel parts we had made, shopping, Rachel to see doctor. Early afternoon round to hand in cruising permit at port police to check out, bit of a problem with not checking in at harbours and getting stamps but sorted, then in a taxi to Piraeus to hand it in, close call as they close early and heavy traffic but made it. Back to marina to pay then we left about 1600, cruised down to Poros and anchored for the night. Got away in the morning and had a 12 hour steam to the bottom of the Peloponnese peninsula with quite a sea running on our Port aft quarter. Turned the corner just on dark and laid the course for Malta. Very busy shipping lanes for the first 5 hours. The run to Malta was flat calm with quite a few dolphins and turtles. Arrived in Malta in the rain and tied up, cleared customs and then tidied up. All out for dinner, the owner one way with a friend who happened to be there and us to catch up on friends we hadn’t seen for 23 years. Left Malta on Monday the 15 around 1400 and headed off (after removing a Lampuki float from the shaft and propellor we picked up just as we entered the harbour) towards the western end of Sicily where we were going to stop but lots of rain and decided to keep going to the southern corner of Sardinia while we had a good easterly chasing us. Lots of rain with thunder and lightning. We picked up a small hitchhiker in the form of a small bird who spent all afternoon going all round the boat, ate some food, unfortunately today was so wet he passed away and we buried him at sea. Arrived on the SW corner of Sardinia this evening and anchored still in the rain, let’s hope tomorrow is nicer.
October 08th: Had the night and next day anchored in Russian bay outside Poros town and then moved in stern too. Great place to be right in town, all liked it and lots of strolling along the little streets. Next day we traveled about 20 miles to Ermioni where we anchored off, after dinner went ashore for a walk, nice spot. All the guests went ashore next morning and spent a few hours walking and drinking before returning for a very late lunch and then we left for Portohelli about 15 miles away. The weather forecast was looking bad so we had to get in the shelter some where. Anchored in a bay just outside Portohelli for the night. All went swimming including baby and he enjoyed it so much he went every day after that. Wind was picking up so we moved north to a large bay and anchored, very windy by the time we got there and also very gusty, up to 40 knots, after about 4 hrs we shifted out a bit and then dragged anchor so then had to re anchor and this time got a good hold, blew very hard thru the night but held. We then cruised back to Portohelli and anchored off the town with a strong wind and a little rain, guests ashore for dinner. Next morning ashore for a long walk. Wind was supposed to drop next day but didn’t so we left and headed for Hydra, was a bit rough and no good there so we went back to Poros and tied up there, lots and lots of rain all thru the night. Next morning left early to beat the wind for Athens but still rough out there, bumpy trip but ok, arrived Athens midday and still raining. Guests ashore for lunch and we rinsed all the areas the rain missed. Next morning guests off into Athens to sight see and we were busy restocking boat, rain nearly stopped. Guests left on the 1st and I washed boat as the rain had a lot of pollution in it and left black marks every where and Rachel stocked up for owner as we were leaving next morning for a weeks break from the boat. Returned onboard at 2200 hrs on the 08/10 and all was well.
September 21st: Left paxoi and headed of towards Levkas, arrived late avo and had to wait for 10 mins before bridge opened, steamed slowly thru the canal and out the other side and anchored in a small cove for the night. Next day on across to Ithaca where we anchored in the bay for two days, quite windy but very good holding, lovely little town for walking and drinking. Early start from there into the gulf of Corinth and stopping after 70 miles at a lovely little island called Trizona, old marina and a few little tavernas. Another early start and off towards the canal we went, arrived around 1700 and was going to anchor for the night but were informed canal not open the next day until 1500 so decided to go thru now, waited 30 minutes for a ship to come thru then off we went, 4 miles long and 24 meters wide so lots of concentration on the wheel, thru and tied up to pay, this is the most expensive canal in cost per mile than any other in the world. Went and anchored off for the night. Next day along the coast to Paci, nice walk ashore and climbed up the hill to the little church and watched the sun set. Next day we cruised towards Athens thru the inner harbour and past all the wharves and shipping, quite a windy day but flat seas. Entered into Piraeus around 1300, tied up and plugged in and started washing boat down. Out for dinner the next day back on it, washing, shopping cleaning etc. Lucy and family arrived at 22:30 all ok and settled in. We left Zea marina at 1200 and are now anchored in a small cove just outside of Poros town.
September 12th: Took on 9901 litres of fuel, cleared customs and immigration and left by lunchtime. Steamed out to a flat sea but with showers of rain around, set course for the corner of Albania 130 miles away, had a small amount of rain but not enough to wash anything. Turned the corner of Albania at 0600 and headed in towards Corfu, passed thru the narrows between Corfu and Albania around lunch time and arrived at the marina and anchored off. I went in and met Harry the agent who cleared us in and then we went back out and found a nice anchorage for the next three days. Moved back in to the little marina that is with no power or water but a safe place to tie up on Saturday afternoon. Got the boat all settled down for my absence and then went for a walk into the old town which I must say is great. I left Sunday morning to fly to France for three days. Back now and left our bolt hole today at 1200 and cruised across to Paxoi where we have anchored for the night.
September 03rd: Left Hvar and steamed south quickly over the next two days so guests could visit Dubrovnik. Anchored of marina and they bussed in. They flew out and we moved out, sailed past the old city and on down to Cavtat. Had a nice meal ashore and dropped the boss of next morning while we steamed around and tied up at the customs quay. Cleared out and spent the last of the kunas we had. Arrived in Montenegro at 1600 and cleared in and then steamed up into the harbour. Anchored off the nice little village of Risan which has a very long history and some fine examples of roman mosaics and after dinner all went in for a walk and coffee. Next day moved around to Kotor where we anchored off. Spent two days there and looked around, had a good thunderstorm go thru at 0400 which gave the boat a good wash down. We have now moved down and anchored off Porto Montenegro where we will take on fuel tomorrow morning before clearing out and heading towards Corfu.
August 26th: Made our way north to Pula stopping in some nice bays. Had the afternoon in Pula and then moved over to the customs quay to clear out at 2300 hrs, cleared out and left at 0030 hrs. After getting thru all the squid fishing boats we had a flat trip across to Venice, made our way up the canal slowly thru a myriad of boats to have a look at St Marco square where Julian proposed to Bella. We steamed back down and went into the marina, tied up and got all connected. The three guests all headed into Venice and we washed down. Late afternoon went to the border police at the far end of town and checked us in, was hoping seeing we were leaving in 3 days they might of checked us out as well but no. Rachel and I took most of Sunday off and spent a few hrs cruising all the back streets of Venice then back to boat where the others had got back and were waiting for their guests to arrive. Monday morning was an early start as we had to get guests off and then take the boat up thru the canals to the commercial Port so we could service the engines and get all the systems matched and working properly. All that went well and we got back to the marina round 1900. Tuesday, went and cleared out and left at 1900 for Pula, flat, flat calm and visited by dolphins late at night for an hour, arrived Pula at 0600 and cleared customs and the left to go south, found a nice bay and stayed there over night. Moving along quite fast as we need to get south stopping for the nights. At the moment in Hvar for two nights and all good.
August 15th: While anchored off Dubrovnik we scrubbed and sealed the side and stern decks, got lots of little jobs done and provisioned for the arrival of owner and guest. Back into marina after owner arrived and washed down, went into Dubrovnik for another walk around and then dinner. Guest arrived next morning and we left, shifted up the coast a ways and stopped in a lovely bay for the night. Next day moved up to Korcula and anchored only to shift again as was told to move on, eventually anchoring in a nice bay just north and taking tender in to town. Weather is very hot and humid so not so nice. I have a small Fuel issue with air and trying to find it, starting to think it’s closer to the engine as I have redone all the fittings I did, time will tell and I will find it. Another day and another nice anchorage as this place has 1000s of them. Eventually finished up in Split and dropped off at lunch time, wash down and polish as we have two arriving the next day, had a nice walk into town and it is an amazing place, I think in its own way it’s as good as Dubrovnik to walk around, only smaller. Guests arrived and settled in. Next day as we were leaving we had a major thunderstorm come thru which has knocked the temperature. We are currently heading north quite quickly as we need to be in Pula to clear out of Croatia to go to Venice on the evening of the 17th.
August 04th: Left Ponza and headed to Ischia with no wind and no sea, stopped at Ventotene for lunch and a swim then off to our next stop which eventually was the bay on the back of Procida for the night. Nice spot with a very old castle on the top, Paul went ashore for a while and then we did after dinner for a walk and coffee. Next morning off to Napoli to shop and get ready for guests. Hot and dusty and we got all done. Guest duly arrived and we settled in for the night. Next morning across to Stabia so all could catch a taxi into Pompeii for a walk around. I stayed on boat and caught up with a few jobs. On their return we steamed out to Sorrento and anchored off the harbour. Paul and guest were out to dinner so we went in for a look around before them. Very nice. Next day out to Capri where we again anchored off and they went ashore for lunch and a look around. After dinner that night we went in and watched the lunar eclipse then had coffee in the piazza watching all the beautiful people doing all the beautiful promenading. Headed down to Amalfie for the afternoon and evening. Following morning early start as guests had to catch a taxi to Naples airport at 0730, a couple of little problems onboard as they were leaving but fixed it all. We left about an hour later to go to, first day and evening great with the moon up and passed a very lazy mount Stromboli in the early hours of the morning, thru the straits of Messina at dawn and a left hand down turn to run along the bottom of Italy, very nice weather, by now I have got my day tank up and running which is great. Got a bit of air getting in somewhere so will work thru it all. Stopped on the instep of Italy for the night to catch up on a bit of sleep before heading over to heel of Italy where we stayed again. Arrived in Dubrovnik late afternoon and cleared into country and on up the river to marina. Tied up the first night and we headed into town to look and eat. Next morning into the job list which is very long as we get very little down time, fortunately the first two days of the trip round were flat calm so we knocked off a couple of jobs then. At present anchored off the marina in the river watching the yachts as it’s change over time for the charter fleet.
July 22nd: Arrived in Ajaccio and cleaned boat, last minute shopping and getting ready for guests. Watched the 14 of July fireworks which was very nice. Guests duly arrived and then went off to the markets with Rachel for cheeses and fruit and veg. We left around 1300 with quite a windy forecast and headed 20 miles down the coast and anchored in Compomoro bay. Swimming was on as it was hot. Next day an excursion to the shore for a walk and a coffee before a early afternoon departure, wind had dropped but there was a 3 to 4 meter swell left over which we had to have head on to get out of the bay then beam on down the coast which Olive handled well. Next night we anchored in Figari which is a really nice little inlet with little beach’s round the shore. Wednesday saw us heading into Bonifacio which is always a wonderful sight, never mind how many times you do it. Tied up and guests all off walking the streets up in the old town. Wash down and shops for us. Next day out and anchor off the very SE corner of Corsica, quite windy, shifted in very close once all the day boats had gone home. Next day cruised slowly around Levezzi islands then across to Sardinia where we anchored for the night, guests ashore for a bit. Next day cruised down thru the Madelinea group slowly so guests could see into Porto Cervo then past Cala de Volpe and a nice spot to anchor for lunch. After lunch into Olbia to drop guests of for their flight and for us to head off to Ponza which is 160 miles away. Wind had just turned to the west which was good but still quite a swell coming up from the south, ie on the nose a bit. Arrived Ponza at 1430 and went ashore for a look and grocery shopping. Will be in Naples soon to pick up more guests.
July 13th: The wind did come and we made our way into Antibes. Washed down and then started the work and shopping spree. We had lots to do and stuff to get. Our new day tank arrived Tuesday and fitted so it went off again to have all its fittings welded in place. Went out and caught up with friends which is always nice. Saturday we went out and down to Monaco and anchored off St Jean Cap Ferratt for the night and then around to Villefrance for Sunday night. Back into Antibes and long days again but it was all coming together. The engines guys couldn’t do the Thursday meet in Italy so had an extra day which was needed. We changed the Port anchor for one we found that was much bigger and heavier and then left the marina and anchored off Antibes and were going to leave late evening but the wind didn’t die down so left early this morning for Corsica, lovely trip across and saw two whales. At present anchored of a little place called Girolatta on the west coast of Corsica and going into Porto Ajacio tomorrow evening.
June 30th: Well we sat in Sóller for three days and thoroughly enjoyed it. Brought a couple of masks and fins so now set up for a bit of snorkelling. I even had a couple of swims. Left there and cruised south east along the coast and found a little bay for lunch and were going to stop the night but became a bit rolling so left and anchored right on the bottom corner of Mallorca, lovely little town, got told in the morning to move so went round the corner and anchored in sand about 20 meters from the rocks, Paul and Diane are ashore walking or drinking and enjoying the place. All back onboard and we moved around to the next bay and anchored in 20 meters under a very large cliff for the night, very calm. Next day moved round to Andratx and anchored of the harbour. Usual jolly ashore for guests looking for the next wonderful bottle of cheap red and magazines. During the day heard that there was going to be a air traffic controllers strike so after a few frantic phone calls got an earlier flight for our guest so then booked another night in Palma and headed off for the marina. Tied up and of they went for the afternoon for hair and drinks while we washed down. Great chandlery so we got bits and bobs and then got a few more jobs done. Brought a SUP and a little table for upstairs. Caught up with a few friends in Palma and had a couple of very nice meals out then left Friday midday. Weather forecast was generally good except for the first fifty miles and we had 15 knots on the Stb bow with a one meter chop so a bit lumpy and wet until about midnight then it calmed down, until the gulf of Lyon was the flattest I have ever seen it, like glass. We will anchor in the Porquerolls for the night and move on in the morning up the coast so we don’t have to far to go on Monday morning to get into Antibes.
June 21st: Three days in Barcelona getting boat cleaned and ready for her first guest, washing and polishing, food shopping and the engine diagnostic guys to check engines. No faults found on engines but read outs still had them, we were suspecting interference from other cables but eventually the Italians decided it my be an analog to digital problem so we bridged two cables in the e/r and viola, it all worked, 4 hrs to find it and 30 seconds to fix it. Another job done. Left late evening for an overnight run across to Mallorca, flat, flat, flat and arrived and anchored of the town of Sollor on the NW coast, lovely and have decided to sit for a couple of days so some polishing, getting the tender in and running it and other little jobs.
June 16th: We left Gibraltar at 10:00 and headed out round the rock along the coast towards Barcelona, wind and sea picked up slowly all day but behind us so no worries. Forgot to mention as we came past Cadiz on our way to Gibraltar we passed our exact opposite to Auckland which was nice. Engines running sweetly and all ok, did a 28 hr run and anchored in a very nice bay just outside Cartagena for the night. On the road (sea) again next morning on up the coast to another anchorage and then another 28 hr run up to Barcelona, flat sea all the way so a great trip. Tied up in Port Vell in Barcelona harbour and started cleaning Olive. Getting ready for her first guest so a little bit special.
June 12th: We had the steering guys onboard to exchange the power controller box and get the auto pilot working and it all works!!!! Got some covers made and then we were off, sailed up the river and under the red bridge at Lisbon then turned around and left for Gibraltar. Flat sea and little wind, dolphins in their hundreds and a few birds. Had engine problems again after 8 hrs and talked about stopping but decided to persevere over night towards Gib. Turned the corner at the S West corner of Portugal and was immediately in flat calm sea and no wind as the sun came up. After thinking about our problem I decided to change the primary fuel filters so stopped one engine and changed it, ran it up and then did the other, altered course for Gib and waited to see what happened... problem of stopping engines sorted, the filters had only done 200 hrs but were blocked enough for the electronics to shut the engines down so the only thing I can think of is they ran the engine up and then left them a long time and maybe a bit dry and the old fuel blocked them although they looked clean, any way no more problem. Arrived Gibraltar early Monday morning and took on 8015 litres of fuel then across to marina to clear immigration so shopping could be done. Bank holiday so some shops closed including the chandlery, had a nice snooze in the afternoon then out for dinner and an early night with silence to sleep. Tuesday morning... Just left Gibraltar, heading towards Barcelona, next stop some where on the way.
June 05th: We left Jersey around midday on the 30th, with flat seas and no wind. The power steering was turned on and amazingly started with no problem. Steamed along the Brittany coast towards the dreaded Bay of Biscay with flat conditions. After entering Biscay the wind slowly picked up and a lumpy sea developed which made it a bit rough over the next 24 hrs. Next day as it was calming down we saw whales and lots of dolphins. Made land fall off northern Spain and followed coast towards Portugal with large numbers of birds obviously thinking we were a fishing boat so needless to say we had a lot shite over our clean boat. Our last night at sea was passing by quietly until we had one engine decide to just stop, no apparent reason so started again and 8 hrs later same thing. Arrived in Cascais, Portugal early evening and anchored for the night then moved into the marina the following day where we are waiting for the builders to arrive and sort our little problems out. Great chance to have a few days to try and get a few jobs ticked of the list and being here a few days means we can get our covers made for all the cushions.
May 28th: Well we finally left Holland. The steering guys arrived late afternoon on the 25th and spent 5 hrs trying to find the problem, they couldn’t so they left us with half a system and an auto pilot. All that day we had fog with vis down to 30 meters at times. We decided to make the leaving call at 0500 the next morning. Dawn broke with no fog so we went thru the last lock and left, we had made it to the sea, no wind and flat sea. Off we went and guess what, the auto pilot worked but the yaw was to large and slowly went of course until the alarms went of. So hand steering was the call of the day, also after a few hours the main unit decided to alarm, so off it went and hand steering with no power steering was the only option. Had to turn the wheel a lot. Luckily the weather was great so all good. Followed the coast down and got thru the straights of Dover before dark so that was good, we made great time and caught all the tide currents at the right times. As we came thru the Alderney channel we hit 14 knots so that was a 7 knot current pushing us. Arrived in Jersey and anchored of for the night before entering the harbour and clearing in to Jersey. Bank holiday so no Garmin man to fix things so now waiting for Tuesday.
May 25th: We finally left our little Port after a last minute dash for a cover that had not arrived but was found and installed onboard. We had the typical teething problems and tried sorting them with phone calls etc and arrived in Stellendam late in the afternoon. The North Sea is two hundred meters away thru lock gates so we are nearly in saltwater. We are now getting a person from the yard to fix a steering problem tomorrow so will have to wait one more day. We hope to go thru the locks into the sea very early Saturday morning.
May 24th: Well we are nearly there, had the yard workers onboard fixing all the little things that need doing yesterday. Paperwork nearly completed, 8000 litres of fuel onboard and god willing we will be out of here mid day today. Drove Olive for the first time yesterday and it’s a big change from my last drive where I had 3000 hp instead of 600 but she handled ok.
May 21st: Somewhere east of Rotterdam. Well after two very hectic weeks we are nearing take over date and leaving, it has been very busy, let’s go back. We had our tickets booked to fly in and stay one night in Waalwijk and leave our bags at the hotel and go to Amsterdam for two nights when we got the message from James that Olive was being launched early. Needless to say we weren’t going to Amsterdam. Flew in, checked in then met James. Off to the fine vessel Olive we went. She was alongside a quay next to a garbage recycling site. Looked around and then off for dinner. Olive was shifted a couple of days later to a lovely little marina a couple of miles up the canal at a place called Heusden, very quiet, historic and rural, surrounded by farmland, windmills , dykes and tulips... quintessentially Dutch. Bella launched the boat with a splash of Paul Henry Pinot Noir and a fine speech. Our days have been spent buying, buying and yet more buying to try and create a new home onboard, and watching what the yard workers were up to. Well we are nearly there, we will go up the canal on Wednesday and fill up with fuel and as soon after that as the weather allows, we will be leaving this small town bound for the med.