Barcelona to Gibraltar to Las Palmas and the End of the Summer Travels

In the last post, I introduced you to Paul and Emmy, our “crew” for the final legs of the trip to Las Palmas, Grand Canaria.  The word “crew” refers to people who work on a ship (or train, or airplane, etc.).  That hardly constitutes the relationship to be had among the four of us on this trip.   It was a great time of working together and playing together rather than a “skipper/crew” hierarchy.

Emmy making repairs from the bosuns chair

Emmy making repairs from the bosuns chair

We had Emmy in the bosun’s chair to work on the SSB antenna before we headed out for our last meal in Barcelona for paella at the Barceloneta Restaurant at the end of the marina.  To get to the restaurant, we had to wear these lovely orange safety vests because the marina is being remodeled.  Dinner was exceptional, and with that we were ready to head off for Gibraltar.

Dressed for dinner at Port Vell Marina

Dressed for dinner at Port Vell Marina

Our last meal in Barcelona

Our last meal in Barcelona

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sailing was not be be had on the way to Gibraltar. The wind was at our nose, so we motored or motor sailed the five days, 550 miles to Gibraltar with a stop in Valencia for fuel and a quick trip to the Oceanographic museum (the largest aquarium in Europe) for Thane and Emmy and me.

Valencia and the Oceanographic Museum

Valencia and the Oceanographic Museum

Giant Spider Crab

Giant Spider Crab

The tunnel at the aquarium in Valencia

The tunnel at the aquarium in Valencia

An ocean reef at the aquarium in Valencia

An ocean reef at the aquarium in Valencia

The dolphin show at the aquarium in Valencia

The dolphin show at the aquarium in Valencia

On the way to Gibraltar, we did have a bit of excitement when the mainsail was stuck at the top and Thane had to be hoisted in the bosun’s chair to get it unstuck! A bit hairy while aloft, but he said he wished he had taken the camera with him because the view was fantastic!

Thane fixing the mainsail

Thane fixing the mainsail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paul and I were on watch when we arrived at the rock of Gibraltar. It was 2:00 am with a half moon setting behind the rock. Unfortunately, the camera would not capture it, but it was magical.  The trick to approaching Gibraltar is to avoid all of the large ships in the area waiting to move one direction or the other. At night, it was a bit trickier trying to distinguish which lights were on ships and which were on shore.

We had two short days in Gibraltar to make repairs and more maintenance items like washing the lines and sheets (the “ropes” that are used to direct the sails and to tie the boat to the dock for you land lubbers!) Emmy took the job on with enthusiasm!! But it was one of the more gross jobs to be done.

The Rock of Gibraltar

The Rock of Gibraltar

Emmy cleaning the sheets in Gibraltar

Emmy cleaning the sheets in Gibraltar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our favorite eating spot and our last meal before we left for Las Palmas was at a small Indian restaurant right at the marina. So delicious that we had dinner there both nights.

Raj's Curry House in Gibraltar

Raj’s Curry House in Gibraltar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We left Gibraltar for our final passage together to Las Palmas, Grand Canaria on Friday, Aug. 8th making sure to cross perpendicular to the big boats. We motored close to Morocco at a half knot with the current coming into the strait!

The coast of Morocco in the Strait of Gibraltar

The coast of Morocco in the Strait of Gibraltar

Sunset in the Strait of Gibraltar

Sunset in the Strait of Gibraltar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paul organized the watch schedule for the both passages. It was very helpful to know when a person should be sleeping–which is whenever possible–but hard to do when a person is not tired and wants to enjoy the sun.

The watch schedule to Gibraltar

The watch schedule to Gibraltar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The most exciting part of the day when on a passage is meal time. Emmy took on the cooking because she loves it not because she was forced to as crew!! We ate very well. Here’s a shot of our first meal out of Gibraltar–swordfish with asparagus.

Swordfish and veggies ready for the oven.

Swordfish and veggies ready for the oven.

There was curry one night and delicious sauces and vegetables and anything else that would go in a bowl, which is the easiest way to eat while underway.

Emmy "trying" to cook while underway

Emmy “trying” to cook while underway

Emmy did a great job and kept us all quite full and content.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were able to use our new parasailor for one lovely day of sailing. She has been named the “Emmy Sail” because Emmy drooled at the sight of her unfurling. Emmy is an accomplished skydiver and now an ardent sailor, which is what the Emmy Sail is: a combination of the parachute and the sail.

The Emmy Sail

The Emmy Sail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And of course, there are the sunsets and sunrises and moonrises while on the water 24/7. Here are a few.

Sunset August 2, 2014

Sunset August 2, 2014

Sunset over the Atlantic Ocean,  Aug. 10, 2014

Sunset over the Atlantic Ocean, Aug. 10, 2014

Sunset over the Atlantic Ocean, Aug. 12, 2014

Sunset over the Atlantic Ocean, Aug. 12, 2014

After the placid days beginning this passage, the seas grew to 3 meters (approx. 9 feet between the trough and the crest of the wave), so we used jack lines whenever we were in the cockpit to secure us to the boat. A bit difficult to sleep, but we managed to keep our wits about us.

Thane with a "wave" on the passage to Las Palmas

Thane with a “wave” on the passage to Las Palmas

Paul keeping us on track to Las Palmas

Paul keeping us on track to Las Palmas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We arrived in Las Palmas, Grand Canaria around midnight on Thursday, August 14 after 6 days at sea and 700 miles.

The oil drill platforms at the Las Palmas harbor

The oil drill platforms at the Las Palmas harbor

The salty crew in Las Palmas

The salty crew in Las Palmas

The rested crew in Las Palmas, Grand Canaria

The rested crew in Las Palmas, Grand Canaria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our time in Las Palmas has been busy again with projects and maintenance, but Thane, Emmy, and I did manage to take a day and drive to the highest point on the island–Roque Nublo–nearly 6,000 feet.

Roque Nublo on Grand Canaria

Roque Nublo on Grand Canaria

The view from Roque Nublo looking toward the island of Tenerife

The view from Roque Nublo looking toward the island of Tenerife

We called this the castle rock.  Another view from Roque Nublo

We called this the castle rock. Another view from Roque Nublo

The drive up was manageable and only took a couple of hours, but we took the long route to try to get to the shore for sunset. All of those peaks and valleys in the photos of Tenerife and the castle rock, well, we took that route to the sea and were in the cliffs of insanity for two hours, did not pass one other car, and we only covered 20 miles! So many switchbacks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thane was concerned about gas, but the station was closed when we arrived at the closest town. Rather than staying at the one hotel in town because Thane was sure we could make the next town, Agaete, we traveled on–another 20 miles away and another route filled with switchbacks. At least there was traffic on this route and there were not as many switchbacks.  The added obstacle to this route was the falling rocks along the road.  We managed to hit one and, as a result, had a flat tire to change in the dark along the switchbacks.

Changing a tire on the road to Agaete, Grand Canaria

Changing a tire on the road to Agaete, Grand Canaria

But, the stars were magnificent, and all of the piece parts to change the tire were in the rental car. The spare was a bit low on air, but drivable. We did locate gas in Agaete and were on our way. The last twenty miles were on freeway with just three attempts to try to locate the underpass to get into the marina parking lot! It was midnight by the time we arrived–only 5 hours to get back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emmy knows a lot about plants and herbs and food  and introduced us to the lovely dragon fruit!

Emmy and "DRA-GON" fruit

Emmy and “DRA-GON” fruit

 

The yummy inside of the dragon fruit

The yummy inside of the dragon fruit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emmy left us on Tuesday, August 19.

Emmy is off for the next adventure

Emmy is off for the next adventure

That must mean it is time for us to get packed and ready to leave on the 21st. Paul will be staying on the boat until we return on October 28th. He’ll be making sure everything is “ship shape” and ready, and we can’t thank him enough. He’s a bit of an angel–not crew–but he won’t admit to that!

These are the adventures of Asylum, star date May 22, 2014 to August 21, 2014. When we return in October, we will be part of the ARC+ leaving November 9th for the Cape Verde Islands and then crossing to St. Lucia.That means it is time for us to get ready to leave on the 21st.

Thank you to all who have followed us on this adventure and for reading these posts! It has been a good summer, and we are excited to return to family and friends for more adventures!

Until next time,
Adios

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Marseille to Barcelona

The next round of adventures on Asylum included Bill and Ceca Cooper and their daughter Camille (Yazy for this post) and her husband Miguel.  We arrived in Marseille on July 15th and commenced to getting the boat ready for guests.  All was ready when we took the dingy to pick up the group at the Metro stop at Vieux Port .

Back Berth ready

Back Berth ready

Asylum is ready for Ceca and Bill and Yazy and Miguel!

Asylum is ready for Ceca and Bill and Yazy and Miguel!

Here they are fresh from Bastille Day in Paris!

Here they are fresh from Bastille Day in Paris!

All aboard the Looney Bin

All aboard the Looney Bin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had a great meal out and set off in the morning for an island called Frioul.
Here are a few parting shots of Marseille. Yazy had her turn at the Thane School of Sailing.

The cathedral in Marseille

The cathedral in Marseille

Notre Dame de la Garde is on the hill top and  dedicated to sailors

Notre Dame de la Garde is on the hill top and dedicated to sailors

Yazy at the wheel

Yazy at the wheel for her Mediterranean sea school.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were able to swim and hike and had a great meal of foccacia bread on the grill, salad, lupe (wolf fish–or Mediterranean sea bass–whatever the name, Miguel grilled it to perfection), and apple tartan on the grill. After breakfast the next morning, the winds were favorable and we were ready to cross the Gulf de Lyon to make landfall in the north of Spain.

This is what we do at anchor in Frioul

This is what we do at anchor in Frioul

The anchorage at Frioul

The anchorage at Frioul

The rock climber Miguel

The rock climber Miguel

Miguel and Yazy on Frioul

Miguel and Yazy on Frioul

No swimming in the morning

No swimming in the morning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had a picture perfect day sailing across the Gulf de Lyon. Dolphin spotting was the major effort of the day. We thought we saw them, but, upon closer inspection through the binoculars, we discovered they were a group of some type of tuna having a feast. We saw several groups, but no dolphins.

Tuna feeding in the Gulf de Lyon

Tuna feeding in the Gulf de Lyon

Of course sunset is one of the best times of the day.

Yazy and Miguel at sunset during the crossing

Yazy and Miguel at sunset during the crossing

Bill and Ceca at sunset during the crossing

Bill and Ceca at sunset during the crossing

Sunset on the Gulf de Lyon

Sunset on the Gulf de Lyon

The night sail was rougher and consequently not a lot of sleep for most–except Ceca who was most afraid of being seasick had the best night’s sleep.

Our first anchorage in Spain was in Empuries. Without much down time, we were off to explore the Greek and Roman ruins. The ruins are well preserved and are still being excavated. They were only discovered in 1908, so a lot of work has been done to reveal the massive size of the Roman settlement which overlooks the earlier Greek settlement.

One of the many beaches of Empuries  at the town harbor

One of the many beaches of Empuries at the town harbor

Roman mosaic floors with Ceca and Bill at Empuries

Roman mosaic floors with Ceca and Bill at Empuries

The Greek ruins at Empuries

The Greek ruins at Empuries

The Roman wall in Empuries with the Coopers

The Roman wall in Empuries with the Coopers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And just in case there was any question of who is allowed on this little street coming down from the ruins, this sign should clarify.

Street sign in Empuries

Street sign in Empuries

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Costa Brava (The Brave Coast) is beautiful. We had some bouncy waves, but everyone managed well. Yazy had the best bruises of the group. This beauty is from stumbling through the open galley window. Yikes! Sailing can be a contact sport at times. Here is the coast and the sea state.

Costa Brava

Costa Brava

The medieval tower of Tossa along the Costa Brava

The medieval tower of Tossa along the Costa Brava

The crew hanging out--or hanging on!

The crew hanging out–or hanging on!

Ceca at the wheel

Ceca at the wheel

The bouncy sea state

The bouncy sea state

Skipper Bill

Skipper Bill

Yazy's badge of courage!

Yazy’s badge of courage!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our second night in Spain was spent in the marina at Blanes. A great beach and the fun of a carnival. We even witnessed country line-dancing–evidently country music is big in Spain.

The beach at Blanes

The beach at Blanes

Carnival ride at Blanes.  Nice consideration to have chairs for the parents as they watch their children.

Carnival ride at Blanes. Nice consideration to have chairs for the parents as they watch their children.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next stop: Barcelona. We arrived in Port Vell marina on the July 18th. We have had a great time of seeing the city, and the new, 130 year old flat that Miguel has been remodeling for Bill and Ceca. On our last night with the Coopers in town, we had dinner at the Attic and then to the Liceu Opera House for a production of Los Miserables.

The two towers at the Olympic village area of Barcelona

The two towers at the Olympic village area of Barcelona

The cathedral in Barcelona

The cathedral in Barcelona

One of the many narrow streets in the Gothic area near the cathedral in Barcelona

One of the many narrow streets in the Gothic area near the cathedral in Barcelona

Modern sculpture is also prevalent in Barcelona

Modern sculpture is also prevalent in Barcelona

Face of Barcelona in the Moll de la Fusta-right outside our marina

Face of Barcelona in the Moll de la Fusta-right outside our marina

Ceca outside the door to their new flat in Barcelona

Ceca outside the door to their new flat in Barcelona

Bill and Thane checking out the view from the apartment

Bill and Thane checking out the view from the apartment

Yazy and Ceca having sailing flashbacks at the tapas place we went to after attending a Spanish guitar concert

Yazy and Ceca having sailing flashbacks at the tapas place we went to after attending a Spanish guitar concert

Random parade down Las Rambla in Barcelona

Random parade down Las Rambla in Barcelona

Great dinner at the Attic before Los Miserables

Great dinner at the Attic before Los Miserables

The Liceu Opera House In Barcelona

The Liceu Opera House In Barcelona

The stage at Los Miserables

The stage at Los Miserables

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was time to say good-bye to the Coopers and hello to our new crew for the trip to Gibraltar and the Canary Islands.

Iman-”Emmy” arrived on the 29th and we had a chance to see the Maritime Museum, the Picasso Museum and Basilica de la Sagrada Familia.

 

One of the beaches of Barcelona

One of the beaches of Barcelona

The galley of John of Austria at the Maritime museum.  Too large for one photo

The galley of John of Austria at the Maritime museum. Too large for one photo

Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia

The interior of the Sagrada Familia

The interior of the Sagrada Familia

One of our "boat" neighbors in Port Vell--Nice helicopter!

One of our “boat” neighbors in Port Vell–Nice helicopter!

 

Paul Rjickmans and Iman "Emmy" Alsharkawi on Asylum for the next adventure

Paul Rjickmans and Iman “Emmy” Alsharkawi on Asylum for the next adventure

After provisioning and making sure water is full and diesel is full, we are ready for the next adventures.And the SailAsylum blog is up to date. We set sail August 1 for Gibraltar with the final destination of Las Palmas, Grand Canaria–and then home.

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From Villefranche to Marseille

We left the loveliness of Monaco and continued just a few miles down the south coast of France to another point of loveliness– Villefranche.  We walked through the fortification on the hill and began looking for the covered narrow streets that have been there since the 1200′s.   They are located on Avenue Obscure.

An evening photo of Villefranche

An evening photo of Villefranche

The covered streets on Avenue Obscure in Villefranche

The covered streets on Avenue Obscure in Villefranche

Thane at the castle wall in Villefranche

Thane at the castle wall in Villefranche

After a late breakfast, it was time to move on. We made our way to Antibes–a bit larger city with a fairly large British ex-pat community. we were still have trouble with the motor, and hoped to find someone who could answer the problem there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Antibes is home to a beautiful beach, and a Picasso museum.  Picasso stayed there for a couple of months at the chateau once owned by the monarchy. He donated quite a collection upon his leaving.

Picasso Museum in Antibes

Picasso Museum in Antibes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The beach at Antibes

The beach at Antibes

A close up of what was happening on the beach in Antibes

A close up of what was happening on the beach in Antibes

There is a great medieval walled city in Antibes and our boat neighbors, Mark and Chris, recommended a restaurant called Le Brulot–all meals cooked in a wood-fired oven. It was a very old establishment with every possible space used for serving. Mark and Chris recommended the duck, which was more like “duck steak” served with peppercorn sauce. It was fantastic. Thane ordered the fish special and we shared a pitcher of wine. After cafes, they brought out a shot of lemon cello for the ladies and a shot of calvados for the gentlemen.

The walled city of Antibes

The walled city of Antibes

Just one of the interesting buildings in Antibes

Just one of the interesting buildings in Antibes

 

 

 

Our chef at Le Brulot in Antibes

Our chef at Le Brulot in Antibes

 

My duck "steak" at Le Brulot

My duck “steak” at Le Brulot

Thane's fish of the day at Le Brulot

Thane’s fish of the day at Le Brulot

After dinner, we walked through the many artists and vendors set up inside the wall. We passed by a piece we needed to bring home with us! I did not snap a picture before she began rolling it up, but you get the general impression from what is visible. Now, where to hang it?!

Our new piece from Antibes

Our new piece from Antibes

Brenda with the artist Tronet Marcel and his wife

Brenda with the artist Tronet Marcel and his wife

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s not all fun and sun when traveling on a boat. I have mentioned several times that we had trouble with the engine sputtering and quitting on us. Not a comfortable feeling. We had a couple of surface scratches that were causing the dinghy to deflate, so we needed to take care of that as well. Some other cruiser has said “sailing is just making boat repairs in exotic places.” (or something like that!) Thane called a mechanic recommended to us by Stephen and Christine from our time in Civitevecchia. He came and watched as Thane explained the situation–the Racor filters were always empty when the engine would die. The mechanic tightened a few hose clamps and we ran the engine for a while and everything ran as it should. So no real answers.

The dinghy patching, however, was successful. One thing crossed off the list.

Patching the dinghy in Antibes

Patching the dinghy in Antibes

 

 

 

We were grateful for Mark and Chris on the power yacht next to us, Ocean Spirit, for their advice on where to go and what to see in the area. We returned the favor by teaching them how to play Pirate’s Dice (liars dice). Thanks for a great time in Antibes Chris and Mark. Once the winds calmed down, it was time to leave Antibes.

Mark, Chris, and Oscar the dog in Antibes

Mark, Chris, and Oscar the dog in Antibes

Sunrise in the marina at Antibes

Sunrise in the marina at Antibes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Antibes, we sailed to Ile de Porquerolles and were able to use our new Parasailor sail. We were so glad to be “on a hook” anchored that we did not explore the area on foot. Also, the little 2.5hp Honda was not working either. Thane spent some time trying to get it running, but without success.

Parasailor

Parasailor

At Ile de Porquerolles

At Ile de Porquerolles

We only had a day at the island because we knew the winds were going to pick up again. In Europe, they name the winds coming from the different directions. Wind from the NNW in France whips down the Rhone valley and is called the Mistral wind. It can blow from 3 days to a week and are generally 35 mph or more. We were in store for the week long Mistral. Gabrielle from Galileo and our time in Capraia suggested Sanary, France as a great place of “asylum” if the winds were strong. This was great advice because the harbor town is beautiful and full of activity. Each night the street vendors set up and families and people young and old are strolling along the harbor. Here are a few of the sights we experienced during the week.

Overlooking the harbor in Sanary, France

Overlooking the harbor in Sanary, France

Sailing school taking off outside our boat in Sanary

Sailing school taking off outside our boat in Sanary

Modern day troubadours--pirate style in Sanary

Modern day troubadours–pirate style in Sanary

The carousel in Sanary

The carousel in Sanary

Hubert on Papato, our boat neighbor from Ivory Coast

Hubert on Papato, our boat neighbor from the Ivory Coast

Evening chess along the Sanary harbor

Evening chess along the Sanary harbor

Street performer in Sanary

Street performer in Sanary

Men playing petanque in Sanary

Men playing petanque in Sanary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the jobs to be taken care of in Sanary was to get the Honda 2.5hp motor going again. The tourist information office was most helpful in making calls for us and located someone who could fix the motor who was just a kilometer away. Rather than try to load the motor into a cab, we opted for the walk.

Thane with the Honda motor on our way to the repair shop in Sanary

Thane with the Honda motor on our way to the repair shop in Sanary

There was a friendly young cat on the property who found a perch on my back at one point. It has been a few years since I had a cat on my shoulders! I’m not sure he has a name. He was a stray that took up residence at the boat yard and has taken control.

At the boat yard to fix the Honda

At the boat yard to fix the Honda

The Honda problem was a piece of sand in the carburetor that was quickly fixed and we were on our way.

Another mystery was solved in Sanary.  We had the same engine trouble with the 55 hp Volvo stopping on us as we headed into Sanary. We had enough engine power to get us into the slip, thankfully.   After much dwelling and deliberation, Thane had us trace the fuel lines again.  The fuel line that was to come from the tank through the filters and into the engine was not where it should be.  Instead the return fuel line from the engine to the tank was in its place.  Why?  It finally dawned on Thane that when we had work done over the winter to replace the diaphragm that seats the sail drive in the boat, the mechanics would have had to move the engine and probably took off the fuel lines–and mixed them up in replacing them.  Thane changed the lines and, I am happy to report, we have not had an issue since then (as of July 20)

While we were in Sanary, we were close to Aix en Provence and l’Orange. I wanted to see the Roman theatre in l’Orange, so we rented a car and drove two hours to see the site after a quick lunch stop in Aix en Provence.

Crepes-a-Go Go--best crepe in Aix en Provence!

Crepes-a-Go Go–best crepe in Aix en Provence!

At the Rotunda fountain in Aix en Provence

At the Rotunda fountain in Aix en Provence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We met Brian and Margaret from Scotland while at the Roman Theatre and enjoyed the self-guided walking tour.

Ancient Roman Theatre in l'Orange

Ancient Roman Theatre in l’Orange

Brian and Margaret from Scotland at the Roman theatre

Brian and Margaret from Scotland at the Roman theatre

Posing in front of the stage at the Ancient Roman theatre

Posing in front of the stage at the Ancient Roman theatre. There was to be an opera performed that night–if the winds allowed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Between Aix en Provence and l’Orange is a little area called Chateauneuf de Pape–full of wineries and vines. We stopped on our way back to Sanary and had just a short time to sample a couple of wines. The area is famous for being the summer palace of the Popes when the Popes were situated in France. There is only one wall left of the Palace, but the views of the Rhone valley and the vineyards was terrific.

Too many to choose from in Chateauneuf de Pape

Too many to choose from in Chateauneuf de Pape

The vines in Chateauneuf de Pape

The vines in Chateauneuf de Pape

 

Danielle-3rd generation vintner. Her son will become the 4th generation

Danielle-3rd generation vintner. Her son will become the 4th generation

The remaining wall of the summer palace of the Popes

The remaining wall of the summer palace of the Popes

View of the Rhone valley from Chateauneuf de Pape

View of the Rhone valley from Chateauneuf de Pape

Of course we had to purchase one bottle

Of course we had to purchase one bottle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time to say good-bye to our week in Sanary with a new color and cut. We will miss the daily fresh market and lovely harbor filled with handmade wooden boats.

Cut and color before leaving Sanary!

Cut and color before leaving Sanary!

Daily morning market in Sanary

Daily morning market in Sanary

Handmade wooden boats in Sanary

Handmade wooden boats in Sanary

Sanary Harbor at night

Sanary Harbor at night

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have just a couple of days before we need to be in Marseille to meet Bill and Ceca Cooper and their daughter Camille-”Yazi”, and her husband Miguel. One stop was at Port Mieu in the calanque near Cassis. Lovely narrow gorge filled with boats!

Port Mieu calanque

Port Mieu calanque

Us in front of Asylum at Port Mieu

Asylum above our heads at Port Mieu

Our last stop before Marseille was to check out our first possible stop with the Coopers. We stayed at Isle du Frioul, an island right next to the infamous Ile ‘dif–from The Count of Monte Cristo fame.

Ile de Frioul

Ile de Frioul

Next stop Marseille!

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Hello France and Monaco!

We arrived in Menton, France around 7:30 am and dropped our hook in the anchorage outside the harbor and promptly went to bed! The night’s passage was unpredictable wind wise, so not much sleep for either of us. After a shower and breakfast, we took the dingy to the marina to check out the town.

Menton is the first city in France and at one time was part of Monaco. The city rises up from the sea with steep inclines for streets. A lovely (there’s that word again) place to explore. We walked up the ramps to the view at the top and enjoyed our first crepe—pizza style with an egg on top! Thane was a bit tired, so he took a rest while I went shopping. In France, the gelato is called glacier, so, when in France…a stroll along the streets with a glacier and postcards from the citrus festival that takes place here. Think Rose Bowl parade with fruit instead of flowers!

We left in the late afternoon and made our way to the smaller marina in Monaco. On my walk the next morning, I found Princess Grace’s rose garden complete with a computer kiosk to locate your favorite variety. (Makes me think of the wonderful women at Reardon Dental in Sioux Falls–Here is your shout out Kris and Donna!) Monaco is very clean and relaxed. Later we made the walk up to the palace, the cathedral, and the aquarium and museum. We did not take the palace tour but did find our boat down below us. The cathedral is also the burial place of the heads of state, including Princess Grace. The marine aquarium and museum originated with Albert I of Monaco in the early 1900s. He devoted his time to exploring the sea and preserving specimens. The aquarium pulls water from the sea and they have successfully transplanted part of a coral reef from the Red Sea.

In the evening, we walked to the casino Monte Carlo. Thane found his next car—not. We walked into the casino and were told we needed a ticket to enter. We paid 10 Euros each to enter and when the man taking the tickets looked down, he saw Thane was wearing sandals and told us he could not come in. I was fine with my flip flops on, but he was not. They graciously gave us our money back. The guide books say, “remember the house always makes money at Monte Carlo.” While walking out, I looked down and found a 10 Euro bill on the floor, so guess who is one of the few to “make” money at Monte Carlo? This girl! Our walk back to the boat was the end of our 12 mile walking day! Uff da!

Thane likes to be helpful when he can, so while I was out buying a few groceries the next morning, I returned to the marina and could hear Thane’s voice but he was not on our boat. He was in the engine compartment of a boat near us. The engine compartment could house a small family—except for the smell and the noise! Mike, from upstate NY, had a generator problem and Thane was trying to help diagnose it if he could. Derrick was also on board and between the three of them, could not get it running. They were very appreciative of the help, though, considering there were other power yachts nearby with people working on them, but no one offered to help. We told them that’s what we do in South Dakota. It makes us realize the responsibility we have as ambassadors of the U. S. as we travel.

Next stop—Antibes.

The harbor at Menton, France

The ramped walkway to the heights of Menton.

Laundry on the balcony and the view of the bay at Menton

The view from the top of Menton

Ready for our first crepe in France! Savory. Complete with egg on top.

Thane needed a break after that crepe!

Brenda enjoying a glacier and a look around Menton and the Citrus Festival cards

Hello Monaco!

Princess Grace's roses in Monaco

Another view of the rose garden in Monaco. Too large to capture it all.

A statue of Princess Grace overlooking the rose garden in Monaco. The paths are made from dried almond pods.

The view of Asylum from the Palace walls in Monaco

The cathedral in Monaco

The aquarium and marine museum in Monaco

Fish friends at the aquarium

The coral reef transplanted from the Red Sea

The lovely octopus

This is a view from the floor of the museum to the sea!

Thane demonstrating an early submersible. It was actually used at one time!

Thane at Monte Carlo

Thane's new ride! Not!

We must be in France. This whole aisle is just Rose wine.

Derrick helped us leave the dock. Mike was still working on the generator.

The "rock" of Monaco! We certainly enjoyed our stay!

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From Civitavecchia, Italy to France

From Civitavecchia to France

Amanda and Austin and Sylas left on June 12th and it was time for us to make our way out of Rome for the last time. We moved north along the coastline 30 miles to Civitavecchia and took a spot in the marina. We thought we would only be here for a couple of days, but, as the Caribbean cruisers remind us, “plans are written in the sand at low tide.” We had some trouble with the watermaker–again—and this marina had many services available, so Thane was able to contact someone to come and check it out. Claudio diagnosed the problem and ordered parts for us, but he would not be able to install them until Friday. This was Saturday. So, this week was the week of three couples.

Couple # 1 was really 2 + 1. We met Tony and Angela from the UK across the dock from us in their 46 ft. Bavaria—we have 6 ft-itis now! Tony had purchased the boat in Croatia after the boat came out of charter use. It was in fantastic shape and condition. He and Angela are on their way to Spain going from port to port along the Italian and French coasts. Their friend, Paul, came to help them along. We had a most enjoyable gin and tonic time talking about boats and ports of call along the way. Sadly, they were leaving the next morning, so a short time with some great people.

Couple # 2 arrived the same day we did and Thane met Peter when they were checking in to the port with the port Capitan. Peter and his wife Pat and dog Elisse are from the UK and have retired to the French Alps. They gave us great advice on places along the French coast to visit. We brought a bottle of prosecco to share to their boat and invited them to our boat before they left for all places Italian. Again, lovely people—most boaters are.

Couple #3 arrived a day later, again across the dock from us. We had the longest time with Stephen and Christine and their dog Kobe with multiple visits and adventures eating out at the marina. Also from the UK, they have been on their power yacht several years and cruise extensively along the French and Italian coast. They are planning to get to a harbor in the “arch” of the boot of Italy for the winter.

The watermaker was fixed on Friday, and, after final provisioning, we were off on Saturday or Sunday—the days get very confusing after awhile on a boat.

Our first stop was to a small island called Isola del Giglio part of the Tuscan Islands group. It was a lovely harbor and we enjoyed the saxophone talent of the man in the boat next to us playing along with the songs on his recorded tracks. He even donned a hat!
Early the next morning we awoke to a “bang” outside the port side of the boat. Another boat was dragging on their anchor and hit us—hit the board we use to get on and off the boat mounted on the rail. No damage for us—not sure for him, but he started his motor and went back to his spot to re-anchor!

Next stop: Isola d’Elba, the largest of the Tuscan Islands group and made famous as a place of exile for Napoleon Bonaparte for 8 months. If a person is “exiled” on Elba—it is no exile. Elba is also beautiful! (Do you catch the overall theme—every place is beautiful!). We made landfall at Porto Azzuro, a small port with meandering, narrow streets. We only stayed one night before we moved to the north side of the island to Portoferraio, the largest city on the island. Napoleon lived here amidst castles built by the Medicis in the 16th century. Spectacular views and steep streets. Thane was in desperate need of a new polo shirt, and lucky for us we met Marco selling Thane a needed polo shirt. When Marco heard our American accents he told us that “the West is his passion!” He has traveled to the U.S. seven times and loves the west. On his last trip he drove from Tiajuana, Mexico to Alaska. He knew where South Dakota was. He has been to Mt Rushmore, and in South Dakota, he had the biggest steak in his life! He is working to make another trip. He loves Yellowstone and the west–it is his passion!

From Elba, our next stop was 30 miles to the north tip of Corsica. “Was” is the operative word in the previous sentence. The wind was forecast for mild, but began picking up quickly along with swell and waves and whitecaps. And, at that moment when we were motoring into the waves, the engine faltered and stopped. Thane changed the filter configuration, and we had a bit more propulsion, but then it stopped all together. We were only 4 miles from Isola di Capraia, so we turned off the wind and sailed as best we could to the harbor there. Once we were in cell phone signal, I called the only number I had in the guidebook which happened to be for the National Park on the island. She gave me the emergency number for all boats on the Mediterranean. I called them and gave them our latitude and longitude and they called the Coast Guard for us. Soon, a large inflatable boat came out of the harbor and tied up to us as we took down the sails. Our boat proved to be a bit too much for the smaller boat, so they called in the local, large fishing boat to come out and tie up to us and take us in. We tied up safely and started trying to diagnose the problem. After clearing the fuel line, we ran the engine for an hour and everything seemed to be working well (stay tuned for more to the engine trouble store in future posts).

Capraia’s major town is located on the top of the hill. We walked the road to the top, and the views were beautiful! We stayed two nights because of weather—thunder, lightening, and rain. The night before we left, a boat with a French couple slipped next to us. Gabriel and Christine are on their way to Italy, but will be crossing to the Caribbean in February and will eventually get to Florida and take the Inter-coastal Waterway all the way to New York City. So this is our fourth couple for this post!

I will finish this post with our trip to France. We had to leave Gabriel and Christine (who were encouraging us to stay—what was the hurry!) because the weather was going to be good to make the 24 hour passage to Menton, France (the first harbor in France from Italy). We love the overnights until it gets really dark and we have no moon to see the wave patterns! But sunsets are always special on the water, and this was another lovely one.

Arrivederci, Italy!
Bonjour, France!


Peter and Pat and rescued dog Elisse on Asylum in Civitavecchia

Isola del Giglio

Sax player in Isola del Giglio

Porto Azzuro, Isola d' Elba

The narrow streets of Porto Azzuro

The beach at Porto Azzuro

A small tavern in Porto Azzuro serving Elba Bierre

Portoferraio, Elba

The steep streets of Portoferraio, Elba

Beautiful Elba from Portoferraio

Another beautiful view of Elba from Portoferraio

Marco with Thane in Portoferraio

Thane at the bow with the Coast Guard boat outside the harbor of Capraia

The rescue Coast Guard squad outside the harbor of Capraia. Photos are fuzzy because I was steering and trying to snap pictures at the same time!

The fishing boat towing us in to Capraia

A better shot of Fabio's rescue boat in Capraia

Isola di Capraia

Asylum in Capraia

Lovely Capraia

Happy hour in Capraia comes with a free plateful of snacks!


My handsome captain at the mast on the overnight to France

Sunset at the bow on the overnight to France

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Time with the Hahns

Continuing on from the last post, after our days in Rome, the Hahns had to decide where their one night getaway was going to be. The decision was for them to take the fast train to Florence, and Thane and I and Sylas would drive there the next day. Getting on the internet to secure train tickets and lodging takes time at McDonald’s! The only place with reliable wi-fi in the marina is at McDonald’s, and fortunately there is plenty of space to sprawl out and spend time. McDonald’s in Italy does not smell like the McDonald’s in the US. We did not try anything, but they did have bread sticks for Sylas! A couple from Britain that we met later were quite grateful for McDonald’s for the same reasons people in the US like the food chain–reliable that the same product is produced and for the drive through aspect. They claim McDonald’s has the best coffee!

Now, on to Florence! We booked a spot right on the Arno River through AirBnB. Great way to book lodging. Amanda and Austin were able to guide us through the city and the beautiful squares including David watching over the government building. We did not know until later that the “real” statue of David is in the museum in another part of the city. (And if you haven’t read The Agony and the Ecstacy, it is a must before traveling to Florence! I had just started it and wished I had read more before attempting to understand all that Florence has to offer!) We loved the streets and the artists working at the Ubizza and in the square next to the Duomo. Amanda purchased a great piece of art to take home and I looked for much smaller pieces that can live on a boat for awhile!

From Florence we drove to Pisa and had the best calzones for a late lunch, and, of course pictures of us trying to hold up the structure. It was a bit of a long drive back to Ostia and the boat, but just in time for gelato!

Next, we took the boat down to Nettuno for a few days on the water. Because we had been here last year, we were able to show the Hahns around a bit. They visited the US cemetery located in the city while we went to the store for provisions. Sylas did well with sailing. Austin tried his best to catch a fish on the way down to Nettuno and the way back, but not luck–this time!

One last night in Porto di Roma marina–packing for the Hahns and a wonderful last look at our week together with a slideshow put together by Amanda and Austin. Liquid love for all of the wonderful time together. A wonderful gift.

The week was full of some firsts–especially for Sylas:
1. First time to Italy for the Hahns
2. First time on the sand and in the sea for Sylas
3. First time sailing a boat for Sylas!
4. First time up the mast for Austin!
5. First encounter with “cream” cones and gelato for Sylas.
6. First carousel ride for Sylas in Florence.
7. First nighttime visit by the Guardia di Finanza outside Nettuno–and 12 hours later–and 12 hours after that~! (They were checking to make sure we were not smuggling in whiskey and cigarettes!)
8. First Konopizza for all of us!
9. First wonderful trip with now that Amanda and Austin have Sylas!

Ciao!
Brenda

Sylas and his breadstick!

Sylas's first time at the beach!

Gelato? Yes! Everyday!

Austin the fisherman!

Sylas' very own cream cone! He loved every bit!

The first carousel ride in Florence!

David, symbol of Florence!

Ponte Vecchio Bridge in Florence on the Arno River near our apartment.

Outside the apartment door in Florence! Ready to shop for some art!

Sylas in the care of his grandparents on a boat!

Konopizza! Just what it says! Pizza in a cone!

Two cuties on Asylum

So sweet! Sylas after his nap in the V-berth!

Sylas at the wheel! It won't be long :-)

They tried their best! In Pisa

Art purchase accomplished in Florence!

Austin's view from the top of the mast!

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Asylum Adventures—Summer 2014

NOTE: Due to horrible Internet connections, we are only able to post the pictures in the post that we have so far. The post has been ready for at least a week, but we cannot get the Internet strength we need to finish integrating the pictures. Ah, technology! We will try again. In Italy, the ex-pats say it takes at least three tries to complete a transaction!
Enjoy what we have so far.
T&B
*****
The summer began on May 21st when we left Sioux Falls for Rome with our four loaded bags of some clothes but mostly boat stuff and four carry on bags. Lots of things to bring to the boat this year, and Thane sent two boxes ahead as well.

Asylum on the hard next to the Tiber River outside of Rome

Before! We had our work cut out for us!

We arrived in the afternoon on the 22nd, rented a car and found our B&B, the Luana Inn, for the next few days. We were trying to meet up with the USF choir in Rome for their 4:00 concert but did not make it in time. We joined them instead for dinner and had a great time hearing about their experiences so far. The choir traveled through Assisi and Bologna and Verona and Florence before we catch up with them again in Venice.

The before picture of Asylum is what greets us each time we arrive to put the boat back in the water.
Much to do, so we are appreciating the B&B at night. The boat yard does not have any shower facilities, only a porta- potty, so we need the B&B at night! The weather is unexpectedly cool, but we are assured it will warm up in the next weeks.

Our “next door” neighbors are from Denmark—Claus and Karen on Mor Karen.

Our "next boat neighbors on the hard" at Natura Navigando

They have been waiting “on the hard” (the boat is in a cradle on land) three weeks for the mechanic to fix their engine. Fortunately they have bikes with them and can make trips to the store when needed. We had delightful conversations and they had a bottle of prosecco to help us celebrate our 35th anniversary. They celebrated their 40th anniversary the week before. We had dinner together at the Luana Restaurant, the parents of the B&B proprietor. The restaurant is owned and run by Magdi and Marcella. Magdi specializes in gluten free pizza and dishes because his daughter Luana is celiac. Another night of great conversation with Claus and Karen.

Brenda with Magdi and Marcella at Luana's Restaurant in Ostia

After a few days working on the boat, we made our way to Rome for the fast train to Venice to meet the choir. We managed to locate a hotel near the place the USF group was staying at—ours was a little more subdued! We enjoyed learning about Venice and our gondola ride and the choir’s contribution to the small chapel service at St. Mark’s Cathedral.

On our way to Venice via the fast train

Doesn't she look grand? The girl on the train is cute, too!

The Italian countryside on the way to Venice

Ahhh! Venice!

Space is precious in Venice. Here is our alley way to our hotel room.

Hotel Moderno was not easy to find!!!

"What is the news from Rialto?" The market bridge in Venice.

A quick trip to Murano for a look at the glass pieces.

Thane likes the larger sizes in Murano!!

St Mark's Cathedral in Venice. The USF choir sang at an evening mass.

The final dinner with the USF group was delightful with the choir singing after dinner to the small group of college students left in the restaurant. The waiters were video taping the group and enjoying the experience as well. Thane and I were privileged to be at “the Special Table” with three from the choir.

Final goodbyes in the morning to the USF group before we took the train back to Rome in the afternoon. Trains are a great way to travel! I wish we had more access in the U.S. to travel by train. No stress travel until the employees for the train post a strike on the day you want to leave.
We waited 90 minutes for our turn to learn if our travel plans were still in place. The fast trains were unaffected by the strike, but perhaps posting that information would have saved a lot of people a lot of time!

Our gondola ride in Venice


Brenda with Fabio, the 16th generation gondolier!

Back at the boatyard, Claus and Karen had had one visit from the mechanic and were hopeful to see him the next day for the boat trial—the only way the mechanic would receive payment! We finished what we could and were ready to be put back in the water on Friday. Simone and Francisco have been great to work with and timely with the work we needed done over the winter including new bottom paint and a great wax job on the hull that should last two years!

Asylum ready to launch with the crane

On Saturday we made our way to the Porto di Roma Marina just outside the mouth of the Tiber river on the sea. We tied up and made ourselves ready to pick up Amanda and Austin and Sylas at the airport for the next adventure.

Yeah! Amanda and Austin and Sylas finally arrive!


Sylas and Papa on Asylum--both a little bit crazy!


They will be with us until June 12th. So great to see them finally arrive! Their flight was delayed a couple of hours, but when they did not come through the doors for over an hour, we were a bit concerned. One of the bags was coming later in the day, so that was the hang up.

We sent Amanda and Austin to Rome on Sunday to see the Colosseum and have their own adventure while we had some Sylas time. Papa Thane has taught Sylas how to take off Papa’s hat! It is a good game for the two of them and keeps Thane just as entertained as Sylas!

On Monday, we all went to Rome and started at St. Peter’s Basilica. Lunch at Piazza Navona, then the Spanish Steps and shopping. Sylas has adjusted well and is learning to eat bread sticks like the Italian bambinos!

The Hahn family at St. Peter's Square, Rome.


Sylas and Grammy at St. Peter's


Finally! Amanda's first slice of pizza at the Piazza Navona!


Sylas learning how to eat the Italian way--with a bread stick!

Off for more adventures with the Hahns! Til next time…
Arrivederci!

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We’re home, but here is the last portion of the trip!

(Thane here) When we last left you, we were in Nettuno about to voyage to the islands to the south and to Amalfi coast. Our first stop was Ponza, a crowded island that was obviously a vacation stop for half of Italy. Tons of ferries coming and going right by our anchored boat. Argh. Pretty town, though.

Ponza

Our boat at Ponza

Ventotene

Then we ventured on to Venotene, a cool little island that the Romans used for boat maintenance. They actually CARVED a marina out of the rock.. and two thousand years later, it is still being used… and costs $100 a night to stay in. We anchored out for free. Interestingly, there is a penal island (Stefano) about a mile away. Naturally, we ignored the no trespassing signs (couldn’t decipher them anyway) and checked it out.

Roman version of Alcatraz

A marina carved out of rock by the Romans in Ventotene

Originally carved to repair Roman Ships

Then it was on to Procida, a lovely town but not very friendly.

Procida

We left early the following morning.. no wind.. and motored about 8 hours all the way to Positano.. a town on a steep hillside that Jimmie Rysdon said we shouldn’t miss. We were glad we didn’t.

Lovely Positano

A bit of a blow at the Positano anchorage

View of the beach umbrellas at Positano

Thane goes wild during a full moon! Positano

The full moon at Positano

The covered street in Positano

Brenda at Positano

We stayed in Positano two nights.. when we arrived there was a chance of thunderstorms so we took a mooring ball.. at 60 euros it was the most expensive mooring ball in our lives, but in an hour the wind had piped up to 35 gusting to 40. We saw lightning in the south, but it barely rained on us. The next morning we moved closer to shore and dropped our anchor in 20 feet of sand. Safe and secure. And free. We found a good eating spot right on the beach.. Chez Black.. where we ended up eating dinner both nights we were there.

The following morning we motored to Capri, and checked out the arches in the rock formations prior to heading to the marina. A fun island, but again, packed with tourists and ferry boats which tried to slam our sailboat into the dock in front if it.

Just a couple of "small" boats at the Faraglioni Arches at Capri

A view through the Faraglioni arches at Capri

The red tram to get to the top of the hill in Capri

Capri

The marina we stayed in at Capri--Naples is in the background

We left the marina early the next morning and circled to the south side of the island to an anchorage. Beautiful.

Our anchorage at Capri

There we met the one celebrity we saw on the trip.. our American flag on the transom our boat attracted the attention of Shawn Marion, an NBA forward with the Dallas Mavs, who came by to say hi..! We we happy just to speak English! He had chartered a sailboat with a captain, a cook, (and of course his girlfriend) and he was impressed with our story of coming from America to sail. We encouraged him to learn to sail to discover the freedom that comes from Bareboating. I hope he does it.

Our famous person encounter--Shawn Marion plays for the Dallas Mavericks

The walking path from the top of the hill to the beach in Capri

(Brenda here) We had bypassed the island of Ischia on our way to Positano, and we were glad to have made the effort to stop on our way back to Rome.

The Castle at Ischia

It was Sant Anna day–the day honoring the patron saint of the island. The major event is the retelling of the time the island was ruled by the French and the English attacked the castle with bombs destroying the church among other things. Prior to the fireworks beginning that night, the castle was “afire” from the “bombs” (aka fireworks) to this effect.

The reenactment of the British bombing the castle in Ischia

At the castle on Ischia

The view of Naples from Ischia castle

One unusual thing we learned about was the Nun’s Cemetery (spoiler alert–this may be gross) which did not look like a cemetery at all. At first we thought these were unusual latrine chairs with crosses above them. A blessed bathroom with bowls in the seats of the chairs. Actually, when the nuns died, they were seated on the chairs and the fluids from their bodies seeped into the bowls in the the seats. They remained there until they were bones. The gross part is that the living nuns were brought here to pray in order to be mindful of their own mortality. Some died from exposure to the process. Strange practice.

The Nuns Cemetery at Ischia

The way out of the castle at Ischia

The causeway approach to the castle at Ischia

Time to head back to Anzio and begin the process of getting the boat ready for storage.

High speed ferry near Anzio. We did not travel this fast!!!

Our final marina was Porto di Roma, close to the mouth of the Tiber river. I’ll let the pictures tell the details.

Sunset at Porto di Roma Marina

The process of putting the boat away for the season

Yummy mussels and rosemary foccacia bread at Porto di Roma

The inside of the boat for awhile!

Our final mooring--right next to the sewage plant discharge!

A tight fit on the last mooring. All along the river, boats are tied up 3 deep.

Greeted by swans at our final mooring in the Tiber River by Rome

Getting ready to lift the boat out of the water

Our boat's a swinger! Crane lifted!

A nifty remote controlled unit moves the boat to its place in the yard

Patrizka was a great help and knew where to find stuffed pizza!

Asylum's spot for the next 9 months

Patrizka has an office at the boat yard and is a boat broker. The two brothers who own the yard and work the crane are Simone and Frederico. Great people. We feel really good about where the boat is staying for the winter.

After the exhausting days of getting everything buttoned up for the winter, it was nice to have a few days to relax–or at least try to relax. Touring in Rome in 90 degree weather is not very relaxing, but it is worth it. We made it to the Coliseum this time and toured a few of the Vatican museums, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica where the picture of Michaelangelo’s Pieta was taken. I was also able to take in the Keats/Shelley House Museum next to the Spanish Steps. We finished our shopping in Rome including two roller cases for the airplane!

The Coliseum

The underground rooms for the gladiators at the Coliseum

Michelangelo's Pieta in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome

Rome to Home in 24 hours!!!

Every corner of our bags was filled, and we were, too, with wonderful new memories. But new adventures await us at home as we anticipate the arrival of our first grandson! As Ellie from UP says: “Adventure is out there!” Yes, it is. And as the movie reminds us, adventure happens wherever you are–if you look for it.

Thanks for following us on this journey. We’ll be back in the Mediterranean next summer making our way to Gibraltar.

Thane and Brenda

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Levezza, Corsica to Anzio and Nettuno, Italy

When we left Bonifacio, we went to “The Baths” of the Mediterranean. If you’ve been to the British Virgin Islands and visited “The Baths,” you’ll recognize a similar phenomenon. (If you haven’t been to “The Baths,” give yourself a treat with Google Images.) We did a little exploring and basically read and swam and ate! Pretty much what we have done every day when we’re on a hook!

Our anchorage at Levezza

Sailing bums! Happy hour on the water--literally!

The island group with Levezza in the center

The rocks and the lighthouse at Levezza. Where's Brenda?

Sunset at Levezza with a seagull friend posing.

We left the islands for an overnight crossing to Italy. Brenda finished the Italian flag while we were at Levezza.

Brenda finishing the Italian flag on the boat!

Sailed about 6 hours of the 28 hours with a placid sea at night. We arrived at Anzio and could not get the harbormaster to answer us. Finally, someone came on the radio and told us he was at lunch. Lunch in Italy is from 1:00 to 3:30. Most businesses are closed–except the restaurants! Dinner is the big meal of the day in Italy, and takes place during the heat of the day! The man on the radio told us to go to Nettuno, which was a good idea!

The Nettuno marina was much larger and had better accommodations. We settled in and began exploring.
One of the reasons we chose to arrive at Anzio stems from something my dad told me about my Uncle Jack. Jack was at the battle of Anzio–which lasted 5 months–and survived. We did not know it at the time, but the American WWII Cemetery is located at Nettuno while the British cemetery is located at Anzio. We spent a morning at the cemetery and met Tina who is the American in charge of the cemetery. She told us that there is an Italian man–in his 80′s now–who brings flowers to the cemetery every Monday. As a young man, he was “adopted” by American soldiers during the Anzio campaign, and honors their memory every week. A military cemetery is a sobering reminder of the cost of war.

The entrance to the American Cemetery in Nettuno

The names of the missing American soldiers from WWII battles at Anzio and Sicily

Brothers memorial at American cemetery at Nettuno

The American Cemetery at Nettuno

One of the maps in the chapel area at the American Cemetery in Nettuno

The WWII marker at Anzio harbor

At the WWII marker in Anzio

Anzio harbor is located next to the Roman remains of Nero’s harbor. Now it is beach front property! Thane tried to take the dinghy in to sit on the beach, but was unable to land the dinghy. So, he made the best of the situation and put up the umbrella on the dinghy and read for a spell!

A view of Anzio from the marina

Thane enjoying the dinghy at Nero's beach!

Remnants of Nero's harbor at Anzio

One of the things we have enjoyed the most about our time in Europe this summer has been the old medieval streets associated with most ports of call. Nettuno has a great old walled city area with a lovely piazza. Here’s our favorite.

One of our favorite piazza's! This is in Nettuno.

Our favorite piazza at night!

Every night ends with a triple flavor gelato in Nettuno

Another pleasure of being in port is the sound of the bells announcing the times of the day to all. Some places peal the bells by hand at noon and 6:00 pm. Other places peal single tones on the hour and the three quarter hours. Handy when you don’t wear a watch or a phone!

We rented a car to check on locations to possibly leave the boat for the time we are home, and Brenda thought it would be a good idea to take the coast road to the Tiber River leading to Rome. It was Sunday. EVERYONE went to the beach! And there is beach front the whole 26 miles to Rome! It was a bit slow! People parked in every possible place, and Thane’s excitement was shifting from second to third gear! We spent the morning checking places and then the afternoon and part of the evening in Rome!

The drive to Rome on a Sunday! Lots of people head to the beach!

Just to tease you for the next post!

We found a place to haul out the boat near Rome and will be completing that task by Aug. 9th with flights home on Aug. 13th! We plan on spending our last two days roaming Rome!

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Adjaccio to Bonifacio

(this is the third of three posts made today. You may want to scroll down to “Crossing to Calvi” and work your way back to here….)

On July 1 we left Adjaccio to cross the bay to anse St. Barbara.. a short hop but nice to get out on our own again. A boat likes to shake loose those restraining dock lines now and again. Rum and coke on the bow, anyone?  The following day we sailed to Campomoro bay in a very picturesque anchorage.  We went ashore for a dinner of Corsican meats and wine.  The sunset was shot from the dink as we returned to the boat. Amazing.

Sunset at Campomoro

On July 3rd we sailed halfway, then motored the final two hours to Bonifacio.. the southern tip of the island. Wow. The photos begin to tell the story, but don’t do it justice….

Approaching Bonifacio Harbor

Asylum in Bonifacio

The oldest Tower in Bonifacio

The beginning of the pathway to the city on the hill

Happy Fourth of July from Bonifacio

Panorama of Bonifacio Harbor

Brenda had read about a tunnel that was hand dug prior to the occupation of the island in WWII. We took steps down and down and there are still “tracks” where a big gun wheeled into position looking out over the sea. Quite amazing.

The hand dug WWII tunnel to the sea

The rail to the opening in the cliff

WWII Tunnel to the channel

The french know how to celebrate Happy Hour.. with Ice Cream!

Thane's Happy Hour!

An anchorage in Bonifacio Harbor framed by the ramparts of the fortification

187 steps--or more!! King Aragon tried to take the city by building a staircase from the sea to the town in the 1500s. The effort failed. But the staircase is cut into the limestone still today.

Tomorrow morning we will leave Bonifacio and head to small islands between Corsica and Sardinia. The adventure continues….

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