Category Archives: Our travels

Our adventures on the high seas and ashore

Back on board Linea – June and a bit of July 2020 (Now with photos!)

21 June 2020:

We arrived back in the late evening having had a lift from our Roman friend Michele.  We were so excited to see Linea again. We took all the clutter out of the front bunk so that Erin had a sliver of space to sleep in and we all crashed out. 

Stove top pizza night.

We retrieved the bikes from their spot in the marina and began to put the boat (Bavaria Lagoon 430) back together.  Sheena came down from Rome for a night and we cycled about and swam.  We re-acquainted ourselves with Pepe from the vegetable stall and the vini sfosi (Wine on tap shop! £2.10 per litre, bring your own bottles!)  I bet his sales had gone right through the floor since our departure in November.

 

 

Dirty cockpit locker
Clean cockpit locker!
Ian goes up the mast again.
Fierce backgammon tournament commences.
Creating a new sun shade for the windscreen. (Greenhouse)

Erin was a joy to have on board.  She got stuck in to the many tasks we threw at her.  She produced some videos for her You Tube Channel The Travel Tapes, too.  We played Rummykub.  We had our own mini lock down/bubble.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These COVID times. Travel in the new normal! Thanks to Sue Browning for the funky mask.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had a day trip to Rome. Due to the Covid situation the city was virtually deserted. Here are some incredible pictures taken on the day.

Soon we were ready for a shakedown sail and this years’ blue water cruising. We decided to go to the Pontine Islands about 35miles southwest of Gaeta.  We were due to be lifted out of the water the following week to have the hull cleaned and to fit the newly refurbished and shiny Max Prop propeller and fancy new rope cutter, so a few days away would be great.  On the 1st July we headed out of the marina to the anchorage.  We finished off the remaining jobs and checked the wind.  We were off with our buddy boat TakaMaka.  Initially, we were heading for Ponza but the wind angle was better for Ventotene so we headed further south.  We anchored off between Ventotene and San Sebastion. 

The next day things had calmed enough for us to get the dinghy off and go ashore.  Ventotene was delightful. We liked the old Roman harbour hewn out of rock and the town square perched up high on the rock above.  We had a people watching coffee in the square.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Later, we sailed over to Ponza, seeing a huge pod of dolphins on the way which lifted our spirits some more. 

The anchorage in Ponza was spectacular.  Sheer cliffs line the shore.  Fallen arches remain stranded in the water.  Caves and tunnels abound.  We explored the next day and Erin and Ian bravely dived through the tunnels with the numerous jelly fish whilst Maik and I manned the dinghy.

We then moved round to the west side of the island as the wind was due to change in the middle of the night and boy were we glad we had.  By 0200h there must have been at least 20 yachts coming in to escape from the wind and the waves that must have been pounding the eastern shoreline!

Later in the morning, my friends Sheena and Cecilia came into the bay on their friend Lorenzo’s beautiful yacht which they had chartered for Cecilia’s birthday.  Erin and I paddle-boarded over and we had a lovely chat and catch up. 

Then it was time to leave again.  We went back round to the east side and anchored just north of the harbour at Ponza.  We took a trip to shore but Ponza town was nothing like as charming as Ventotene, so after having a coffee and purchasing some delicious pizzas and breads for lunch (£27!) we went back to Linea to do an hour’s bottom scraping.  Sheen arrived and came over for a chat.  It has been so nice to see more of Sheen since we have been in Italy.  It is almost 40 years since we first meet at Carnegie College of PE and HMS, Leeds.

Bob and Robin from Windarra who invited us to their 4th July celebrations.
Agriturismo up above beautiful Itri, not far from Gaeta.
A yummy selection of starters.
Bam’s gorgeous old Fiat 500.
Everyone piling into Bam’s Cinquecento

We had a lovely downwind sail with the gennaker flying all the way back to Gaeta only to be told that the lift out had been postponed.  Hey ho!

We still had things to do and soon it would be my birthday.

I had a fabulous day.  Some gorgeous pressies, a lovely lunch at Le Macellerie in Gaeta old town and then film night on board Maik’s spacious catamaran TakaMaka!

The lift out never actually happened as it was postponed again until Tuesday and we had to catch the wind for a suitable crossing to Sardinia.

We waved goodbye to Maik and the next morning at 0600h we motored out of Gaeta for possibly the last time.

Our sail across to Sardinia was fantastic and stress free.  We arrived in pitch dark and had to hove to just off the anchorage until dawn when we could safely go in to Brandinchi bay and anchor.  It is nice to be back in familiar territory.  We chilled for a few days.  Marvelled at the visiting dolphin and took a walk along the beach.  Ian and Erin practiced their SUP (stand up paddleboarding) techniques.

We moved to San Paolo bay with a stunning view of Tavolara mountain and met up with Heatwave, Heiko and Birgit, friends from MDR.

Chores to be done:  laundry, shopping and trying a Sardinian beer, Ichnusa.

We managed to get our gas bottle refilled here by the delightful Stephano who came down to the small marina to deliver it!

Next stop was Olbia Town quay where we were to pick up Josh.  All went smoothly except that I needed to go to the dentist to sort out a sore tooth after I bit on a very hard piece of dried fruit in my muesli!!

One root canal treatment later all was good.  We had re- provisioned, fuelled up, and filled up with water.  Fantastic – good to go!

Or maybe not.

During the last few days Ian had noticed that the house batteries were not keeping their charge. We really need their power to pump water to the taps, provide light and power for phones and charts etc.

So the decision was made that they needed to be replaced.  We sussed out where we could get them.  The lovely Claudio at EuroNautica organised everything and delivered them to us on the quay in Olbia.  We tested them and winched them on board.  We winched the old ones out and he took them away for disposal.  Ian connected them all up and we have full power again.

Brilliant.

Next time we head north to Corsica.

Jan 2020: Back to the UK for a while

Back in the Shire.

In mid-January, we arrived back in the UK.  We checked up on Linea in her winter berth at Base Nautica Flavia Gioia in Gaeta with our neighbours there and were assured all was well with her.

After a quick visit to Keira in Oxford and Paddy, Sarah, Sam and Louis in London it was immediately  time to sort out a house that a vacating tenant had left in disarray (to say the least!) We emptied, cleaned, re-painted, re-carpeted and cleaned some more. We were very pleased with the results; especially the kitchen units which we (well Jake!) stripped of vinyl and painted.  They look great. 

Ian delayed his departure back to Gaeta whilst I landed the plumb job of dog and house sitting for Claire and Nick in the Shire.   I was so thrilled to be home and enjoyed some great walks and catching up with people.  Although there was an incredible amount of rain in February; and snow; and wind!  But I LOVED it!

Ian set off back to Gaeta and cracked on with boat jobs.  I completed a couple of proof reading jobs and time flew by.  Most days I drove my friend Paula to Leeds for her treatment and relished the time we had together in the car to catch up and chat. 

COVID 19

On the 3rd March Ian popped back for a quick visit prior to us both returning to Italy to go to the Six Nations Rugby in Rome, and then further developments on the Covid 19 front really began to kick in.  We decided not to go back to Rome for the rugby, which was postponed soon after in any case. We phoned our winter liveaboard friend in the marina and asked them the remove the cheese, yogurt and random vegetables from our fridge!

Our friends for whom we were house sitting decided to come home early.  Over the following two weeks the situation began to worsen and it became clear to us that we needed a longer term solution for our accommodation. Whilst Nick and Claire, were incredibly kind in letting us stay on with them it wasn’t feasible for too much longer.  We started to make enquiries about renting an unoccupied holiday home.  No one seemed interested.  We put out feelers on facebook and in the post office window and finally, a landlady in Kettlewell agreed to have us to stay.

Whilst all this was on going we were concerned about Erin and Josh in India.  We knew that they had just arrived in Delhi because they were staying briefly with the son of an old family friend.  Thank you, Cam.  They then planned to take a train to Jaisalmer and other areas of Rajasthan. On the Monday 16th March they caught the night train to Jaisalmer, half way there we sent them a message to suggest they come straight back! 

They stayed long enough to complete their overnight camp in the desert and then they returned to Delhi.  The train was deserted.  Lock down was beginning in India.  In the meantime they tried to book flights.  All too quickly, they were booked by someone else prior to them getting to click the ‘book’ button themselves.  It was all quite stressful.  With some luck they did book a flight with Emirates via Bahrain and were on the last flight to leave India pre-lock down. 

So, we now had a place to live for the foreseeable, our youngest on her way home, and our eldest saying she would like to come up north for lockdown, if it happened. 

Ian drove down south.  He picked Erin and Josh up from Josh’s parents and whisked over to Oxford to pick up Keira.  They arrived back on the 23rd March about 5 mins before Boris Johnson’s lock down broadcast on TV!

It was a massive family reunion.  We had not seen Erin and Josh for 18 months as they had been travelling and working in Australia, Sri Lanka and India.  We had a wonderful time. This is all recorded for posterity on Erin and Josh’s You tube channel The Travel Tapes.

Soon Ian had secured a job with Tescos working in the on line orders team.  Erin and Josh soon followed working as pickers.  Keira was beavering away at home in the cottage in Kettlewell using the ironing board as a makeshift table!

Once Paula’s treatment was completed in April I too would begin to look for work.  I found a job in housekeeping at a local care home.  So we were all gainfully employed but found Kettlewell a little far away and so we were lucky enough to find a lovely cottage down at Linton Falls which meant that I could walk to work, and we were more back in our own welcoming community.

On our first day there I found a note stuck to the windscreen of the car demanding that we go home, as tourists and visitors were not welcome!

Needless to say we were a little shocked.

Ian found out who had written the cowardly note and gently explained our provenance and our situation but things were never overly warm and friendly between us and our new neighbours after that.

Time flew by.  The weather was amazingly good.  We had virtually no rain at all.  We missed seeing our friends but we did manage a Thursday night quiz with the Wharfedale gang and Saturday night quiz with friends and family spread around the world. 

There was talk of allowing some travel.  Josh went down south to see his parents.  We needed to get back to the boat as the prices were set to hike up to level ridiculous in July.  So we booked a flight for the 21st June.  (I was sorry to be leaving the nursing home but had been suffering from some dreadful eye and facial allergy and it was being exacerbated by the warm working conditions so it was time to say goodbye.)

It all went ahead.  We moved out of Linton Falls.  Keira packed up the little car we had bought and drove down to Oxford, re-packed and then set off to France to be with Sam, her boyfriend, who had been living there since the end of his season in Val d’Isere.

Our time together was coming to an end.  It had been such a good time; good weather; good food, good walks, games, virtual quizzes, jigsaws, cooking, sour dough, V E Day street party, neighbours, old friends.

The Dales.

Terra firma.

Bliss!

ANOTHER STINT AT CHALET L’EPERVIERE, TIGNES

Shortened ski season

Earlier in the summer, whilst we were sailing in Croatia on our Bavaria Lagoon 430, David and Lisa had contacted us to ask if we would like to complete a six week hosting stint back at their chalet in Tignes Le Chevril over Christmas and New Year. How could we refuse?  Thinking that there was a chance that Keira would be in Val d’Isere for Christmas to see Sam, we jumped at the chance to do a shortened season. 

Six weeks was perfect.  

But now we were concerned that Ian would not be well enough after his bout of sepsis or have a relapse.  We worried about the effects of altitude and consulted the medics. Suitably reassured by the consultant and doctors we set off.

We thoroughly enjoyed hosting all our guests.  We had a marvellous time; lots of snow and great skiing.  We met up with Keira and Sam, Lucy, Tracy and Lauren, Sue, Tim and Cheryl, Evie and Tom, Jon Dawes, Nigel and Berry (Yachtie friends from MDR).

THANK YOU DAVID AND LISA