3 Jun 06 (Bob)
Waiting for Weather - Our motto
cruising, it can still be frustrating when we have to do it for
real. The weather in Italy for most of May had been warm and
dry with temperatures approaching the 90's F during the day but
during the last week of May the weather over much of Europe turned
nasty. There was snow in Germany, thunderstorms in Italy,
frigid temperatures in England and we were port-bound! Each
day we would eagerly download weather information from the internet,
only to find Cold fronts, 30 knot winds, rain, and thunderstorms in
our path to Sardinia. As of this writing we have been waiting 10
days, but there does appear to be light (or a headlight) at the end
of the tunnel.
- While waiting for weather we decided on a sightseeing trip to
Pompeii with an overnight stay in Naples. Pompeii is
most visited tourist attraction in Italy, and for a good reason!
This well-developed city suffered back-to-back disasters with a
destructive earthquake in 63 AD and burial by ash from Vesuvius in
79 AD. The houses, streets, gardens, and monuments were buried
and the state of society was preserved as people, food, and
belongings were locked in the ash for 18 centuries. Today one
can walk on streets and through houses as they were laid out 2000
years ago - a fascinating glimpse into the past. Denis
outlasted the rest of us by climbing Vesuvius the next day while we
relaxed on the Eurostar on our way back to Vibo.
Tropea - The weekend brought a brief break
in the weather so we did a little driving around the countryside and
visited Tropea, a cute cliff-side town with sidewalk bistros, lots
of churches, narrow alleys, and gelato stands. We walked the
town for several hours and enjoyed a warm and dry day - only at the
end did it start to spritz a little rain, but not enough to dampen
2 Weeks ending
17 Jun 06 (Denis)
For two and a half weeks the Captain and crew of
Long Passages have awaited the 'perfect' weather window to
leave port. This delay allowed for:
- a day trip
to the cliff-hugging coastal town of Tropea
- an overnight
jaunt to Naples to explore the long buried town of Pompeii
- a hike up
Mount Vesuvius and around the crater
The weather reports were all finally in our favor
(via various online services) for leaving Long Passages' home
for almost a year: Vibo Marina. On June 9th, we all watched the
hazy outline of the marina and town recede to our stern. The first
nightís weather turned menacing soon after midnight, so the decision
was made to divert course.
sun rose finding Long Passages' at an anchorage along a
beautiful beach on the tiny island of Vulcano (one guess as to what
is the centerpiece of the island). While the elders decided to
relax for the day aboard the vessel, Denis found himself itching to
visit his first 'active' volcano (and to get off the boat). After
quickly inflating a spare dingy from Long Passages' stock of
goods, he set out for the island. A pleasant hourís climb brought
him to the rim of the crater where noxious steam filled the air and
the view over the town and harbor were outstanding.
A two day passage from there mercifully brought
our vessel to Cagliari on the island of Sardinia. By
this time Denis was quite unimpressed with the motion of the seas
(although his sea legs had stabilized substantially since the first
Three days spent in Cagliari had us eating local
pizzas, drinking local beers, driving around the southern end of
Sardinia seeing coastline sights galore and suffering internet
After benign weather reports for our next passage,
we left Cagliari to our stern. A quick hop down to the south side
of the island gave us a well protected scenic cove in which to
anchor for the night before heading out on another two night jaunt
to reach our next destination. The reports were however erroneous
and led to two very uncomfortable days with higher winds and seas
than were predicted. Finally our next port came over the horizon:
Palma on the Spanish island of Mallorca.
After sending multiple SMS messages, two or three
inter-boat cell phone calls, and some close range VHF radio traffic,
we slipped into a mooring space at the
Club Nauticí SíArenal. Long lost friends of the Long
Passages crew Destiny (Don and Sandy) was already there
and another vessel, Klondike (Don and Katie) were due to
arrive later in the day.
Palma is a bustling seaside town with a hearty
tourist infrastructure. Tourism is blatantly their specialty as
evidenced by the miles and miles of beaches stretching out from the
city center. These beaches appear to be populated seven
a week, but are almost standing room only on the weekends.
Saturday began with the captains and crews of all
three boats hopping a bus together to visit the downtown area. Most
of them chose to give the cityís highlight a visit. The town center
surrounds an immense cathedral. A quick tour of the cathedral and
the members from Long Passages headed off for a pre-lunch
stroll along the city dock to scout out ferry schedules for an
upcoming mainland visit.
here, Denis split company from the group for some exploration.
Another great sight in Palma is a 14th century castle
that sits on a hill overlooking the sprawling cityscape. The castle
is surrounded by park land filled with trail and paths.
From there he returned to the boat by an extended
walk that ran well into the evening.
The next couple of days have been (and will be)
spent preparing for the ferry ride to mainland Spain. Denis is
planning on a short side trip into the Pyrenees Mountains for some
hiking while the folks collect the motor home and we all hope to
meet up within a few days and head on together to Paris.
- More from
- Trip to
24 Jun 06 (Bob)
Decision to ship rather than sail - After
14 years of cruising we decided on a different approach for the next
leg of our trip - we will put Long Passages on a ship
and give it an easy crossing of the Atlantic.
Dockwise Shipping has been shipping yachts across oceans for
several years and we have decided to trust them to handle LP
with care. We will
document the complete process for others who may be interested.
In this case we will ship from Palma, Mallorca, Spain to
Port Everglades, Florida on a ship planned to leave Palma on or
about 26 November 2006. That gives us a couple of months of
touring, a couple of months of boat preparation, and a few days to
Strange Tides in Palma - During our
first day at S'Arsenal gales were predicted offshore and heavy winds
were expected in the marina during passage of a low pressure system.
What really happened was that when the low pressure system came over
the island the water in our marina dropped three feet (3')
and we banged into the concrete bulkhead as our bows lines went
slack. We started our engine to keep us from damaging the
stern on the pier and the slack mooring line promptly found the prop
shaft and wrapped itself around it. And of course the water
then returned. Over the next 24 hours we had oscillations of
water filling and emptying the marina with currents in the 2-4 knot
range at unpredictable times - it was the strangest situation we
LP on the hardstand - Unfortunately Palma
is 'chockers' (i.e. FULL) during the Summer and no marinas had
marina space to leave Long Passages for the five
months, so we decided to haul and store her at
Club Nauticí SíArenal a marina about 10 miles from the center of
Palma. It looks secure and has yachts larger than us on the
hard. We hauled just 2 days before heading to Spain.
Denis to the Pyrenees - Denis beat us off
of Mallorca by a day - he took a ferry to Barcelona and set off for
a day of hiking and sightseeing in the Pyrenees. Nights were
sort of cramped with 14 backpackers to a room, but the views were
superb and he had a great time.
Crossing to Valencia - The next morning we
boarded the Transmediteranea ferry from Palma to Valencia and had a
comfortable ride in flat seas arriving midday, just in time to rent
a car and drive to Aguadulce to pick up our motorhome. But
wait -- there are no car rentals at the ferry terminal, in fact
there are no taxis (they were busy ferrying America's Cup racers
around town), no buses (that we could find), and we felt marooned!
We remembered a reference from friends to CarJet - we called,
booked a car and after an hour a taxi finally arrived to take us to
the airport and we were on our way. Within a couple of hours
we were in Aguadulce, had our motorhome safely on a pitch and were
having dinner with the friends who had recommended CarJet.
CarJet - As
an aside, this is a broker; they have no cars themselves but if you
contact them they contact the rental companies in the area you wish
to rent and find you a deal - our first experience was very positive
so we will try them more in the future!
1 Jul 06 (Bob)
Barcelona - Our first stop along the coast
of Spain was Barcelona - along with Denis we walked the streets and
visited the sights for 3 days. The caravan park was under the
flight path of the Barcelona airport - sometimes it seemed like only
10' under! Denis caught up with us after his hike in the
Pyrenees - and
Sagrada Familia - In Barcelona, the 'raison
d'etre' in the city is the cathedral of the
Sacred Family - a
Gothic/Modern that is probably the most bizarre structure we have
ever seen. It was designed by Gaudi and started in 1882, and by the
on-site accounts it is 50% complete. It is huge with 300' spires,
gargoyles, modern touches, and a financial drain on the Catholic
Church that continues to pour millions of Euros into it - and will
continue to do so for the next 50-100 years or so. Many times
we have visited cathedrals that had been built over hundreds of
years - well this is one that is in the middle of a 200-year
construction phase, and it already needs to be cleaned!
Avignon - We turned north towards a
rendezvous in Paris and made a stop in Avignon, a pretty and
historic city that we visited too briefly. It was the home of
the Roman Catholic Popes in the 14th century and remained their
property until the French Revolution. We had a close encounter
with the 'old city' as we made a wrong turn and squeezed the
motor-home through its narrow streets on our way to a busy caravan
park on an island in the Rhone river.