Shakedown passage to Canary Islands

Passage to Canary Islands-3

It was still dark when the alarm sounded early Saturday morning. Heavy rain was rapping on our cabin roof four feet above my head and the room periodically glowed with lightning. For the first leg of our transatlantic passage, it wasn’t feeling like an ideal send-off to me. Winter can bring turbulent weather to the region, so after one near-start followed by another patient week of waiting at ... Continue Reading

Marina life in Gibraltar

La Linea Marina, near Gibraltar

Arriving at Gibraltar marked the official start of our preparations to cross the Atlantic. After a leisurely two-summer cruise around the magnificent Mediterranean, everything from this point forward is focused on readying the boat for the crossing. (OK apart from a sweet side-trip to Morocco, but more on that in a later post!) The guys have been busy fixing and fitting new gear such as wiring ... Continue Reading

Buzzing along Spain’s South Coast

Dolphins off Costa Blanca, Spain

Spain’s southern Mediterranean coast has been a magnet for British and northern European holidaymakers since the 1960 and 70s. Temperatures stay warmer longer and when the north of the continent is plunging into a dark, wet winter, promise of beaches, sunshine and a cheap holiday attracts them in droves. Alas, this migration of visitors and ex-pats has also resulted in the worst kind of mass ... Continue Reading

Late summer in the Balearic Islands

swordfish enroute to Ibiza

When yachts cruise Spain they are likely to spend majority of time in the Balearic Islands. Excluding a 100 kilometre stretch around Valencia, we’ve now sailed the entire length of the Spanish Mediterranean coast. Barring a few gems on the mainland such as the Costa Brava region, a mandatory Barcelona stop and Peniscola, we found the east and south coast to be largely uninspiring and uninviting ... Continue Reading

Final months in the Mediterranean: Barcelona and the Costa Brava

Calella de Palafrugell

Electrical storms – when observed from the safety of your balcony or through windows and behind solid walls – are an awe-inspiring spectacle. Though traversing a lumpy sea in the notorious Gulf de Leon, 25-knot winds blowing out of the inky darkness; exhilaration rockets to a new level when encircled by storms throwing charged bolts to the ocean surface or splintering across the night sky. ... Continue Reading

Countdown to our Atlantic Ocean crossing

Parasailing, Mallorca

Our itinerary this year and last has been a constantly moving target. This summer in particular it has changed more times than I can count. Whilst the wind is the ultimate dictator, we have been fortunate to keep plans loose and research a few weeks ahead. Effectively we’ve crossed the Mediterranean from east to west – Turkey to Spain – signifying that our departure from this enclosed sea and ... Continue Reading

Glitz and glamour along the Cote d’Azur

Menton, Cote d'Azur, France-4

For two summers we have been collecting books; gathering a small library of Imray’s hard covered Pilot Guides. Our collection currently stands at seven for regions we’ve sailed or are yet to sail. And despite the fact they aren’t always updated frequently (sometimes the latest edition is six years old), they are a comprehensive yachtie bible and have helped us find many a safe anchorage, to learn ... Continue Reading

Sardinia, with love

La Maddalena, Sardinia, Italy-27

Sardinia will forever hold special memories for us. The second largest island in the Mediterranean after Sicily, Sardinia is blessed with some of the finest cruising coastline and heavenly turquoise coves to be found this side of the Med. Though specifically, it was here that we’d share part of the adventure with two dear members of the Darling family – sister Bree and brother-in-law Brett. The ... Continue Reading

Whistle-stop tour of Sicily and the Italian west coast

Syracuse, Sicily-5

Ola! Finally my darling is today cruising Spain’s Costa Brava. Without regular internet access in France the blog updates have slipped further behind – though I’m pleased to finally share some words and pictures from our time in Italy last month: Departing Malta, we steamed 15 hours north to Syracuse's deep harbour on Sicily’s south eastern quarter. Arriving after midnight required navigating a ... Continue Reading

Magnificent Malta

DCIM100GOPRO

“… Under repeated fire from the skies, Malta stood alone but unafraid in the centre of the sea, one tiny bright flame in the darkness – a beacon of hope for the clearer days which have come. Malta’s bright story of human fortitude and courage will be read by posterity with wonder and with gratitude through all the ages. What was done in this island maintains the highest traditions of gallant ... Continue Reading