Sunday, October 26, 2014

Next Stop Barcelona!

Winds are very light and fhe forecast is perfect for an easy trip from Majorca to Barcelona.
We are off!!

Friday, October 24, 2014

2014 Summer Highlights

Here is an initial attempt to put something together covering the entire Summer.  I'm not sure I'm happy with it, will probably make some changes but it is a good start!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Timing is Everything!!


Ok, those of you that know how to read this, know just how happy Deb and I are that we made this trip over the previous 3-4 days rather than today!!  We averaged 6 knots of wind and burned many gallons of diesel.

Today it would be like another world out there.

And, the Rolex  Middle Sea Race is going on out there right now!! 

I’m happy in Palma!

It's was only a matter of time!

Jim Gregory 

Monday, October 20, 2014

This is why you never put 100% trust in your electronic charts!!


Above is the entrance to the harbor of Mahon, Menorca.  The colored track is our actual lat/lon path into the harbor.  As you can see the charts are shifted right a few hundred yards.

Looking at this now, its easy to understand why Deb was below looking at this and screaming at me to turn HARD RIGHT NOW!!

Good think I brought along my eyeballs!!


PS>  Reminds me of a similar situation when we first had the boat and were entering a harbor in Tonga.  Patrick was below yelling at me saying that we were sailing over the cemetery!!

Famous Quotes

Today while on passage to Majorca, Debbie and I remembered one of our favorite quotes. 

It came from my brother-in-law Scott Humphrey during a delivery home from Hawaii and was...

Today we did nothing. Absolutely nothing!

And all was good with the world. 

Jim Gregory 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Ground Control to Major Tom...

Wow! Once again, I am blown away by how unique the experience of being at sea overnight can be.

We are on our way from Corsica to Majorca and last night was unreal. The seas were flat calm, as in "like a mirror", the skies were very clear as we had just had three very windy days that left behind clear skies with zero clouds and millions and millions of stars. There was no moon until about 0300, so on my midnight watch it was as dark as dark can be.

I think I now know what it feels like or at least looks like to be in a spacecraft floating in space. There was a slight haze/mist just above the water last night, so no visible horizon. Just lots of blackness filled with stars. Stars in the sky, stars reflected off the surface of the water, stars in a very vivid Milky Way. Sitting in the cockpit looking around it just felt as though you were suspended in space, floating through a sea of stars. It has to have been very close to what astronauts see when they look out their windows in space. Very very cool. One to remember....

We are currently racing the sunset. If all works out, we will reach Mahon, Menorca this evening right about sundown. We hope to get in the harbor and put our anchor down for the night, before getting up early tomorrow and finishing our trip to Palma, Majorca.

Hope all is well.

-Jim and Deb

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Friday, October 17, 2014

Re: Anchor Watch and The Naked French Men

Well I think you should get a stronger/brighter flashlight!

Sally Schweitzer

Anchor Watch and The Naked French Men

Debbie Here…

Jim and I have been holed up in a very nice, small, narrow Corsican (french) island anchorage for the past few days waiting for a weather window to cross to Mallorca.  There is room for about 3 boats in this anchorage, in a line, one in front of the other.  October is an "if-y" month with regards to weather in the Med, and as St. Martin and Bermuda can tell you, it can get really bad!  Our weather has been nothing compared to the what the Caribbean is experiencing, only 25-30 knots here at night, but it seems to be a challenge for the other cruising and charter boats in our area.  (As I've mentioned in previous posts, they anchor too close and do NOT put out enough scope! ) This has resulted in boats dragging down on us in the middle of the night for the last two nights.  

Two nights ago, a boat anchored too close and at about 2am in 20 knots of breeze, I happened to wake up and check on the other boat, and found them dragging their anchor, rapidly approaching us, but thankfully off to the side a little bit.  A yell to Jim, and then to them, and all was well.  They had figured out they were dragging about the same time I did, so they started their engine, motored behind us, dropped their anchor again, and all was well for the rest of the night.  Even if they dragged again, they couldn't hit us.

Last night's adventure was a classic.  Jim and I had the anchorage to ourselves yesterday, until a large catamaran came in just about dusk, pulled in front of us, and anchored a close, but respectable distance to windward of us.  I had been looking forward to a relatively good night's sleep, but now with someone in front of us and the wind at 25 knots, I knew I was going to be up at least a few times during the night, just to make sure they too were not dragging down into us.  About 3 am, the breeze picked up to about 28 knots, so I got up (for about the 4th time) and checked on the boat in front of us.  Low and behold, he was dragging straight down on us.  I woke Jim up and both of us start yelling at the boat, flashing flash lights at it.  When this didn't work, Jim had me jump in the dingy to go knock on their boat and make sure they were awake, while he got the fenders out to brace for impact.  I started my infamous McCoy whistle at them as I jumped into the dingy, which finally woke the skipper up.  The french captain started his engine and moved away a bit, so disaster was (narrowly) averted.  Jim told me to continue on and talk to the catermaran  skipper and let him know that the holding was very poor in front of us and that boats had been dragging down onto us.  So, I did just that, with my little flashlight very politely pointed at the bottom of the dingy so I wouldn't blind him….

In the dark, Can't see anyone on the boat, but I know there is someone steering…  So, I go about 4 feet away from his boat, about where the wheel should be...

Me:  "Excuse me….???"

Dis-embodied Voice:  "Yes??"

Me:  "Excuse me, do you speak english?" 

Whereupon, a naked frenchman skipper comes out of the dark, into my very dim (flash) light, and crouches down to speak with me.  I'm in the dingy about 3 feet below him.  Pretty much a straight shot.  I'm thinkin' to myself, "Self, is this guy naked???"  Yep…  Even in the dark, I can pretty much tell, he's 'necked!

Me:  "Ummm, we just wanted to let you know that the holding here is really bad, and lots of boats have been dragging down onto us, and we would appreciate it if you would go behind us to re-anchor."

Naked French Skipper:  "Thank You.  We'll see."

Me:  "."   I left.  When I relay the conversation back to Jim, without the necked' parts, he asks, "Why didn't you REALLY explain to him he should go behind us?"  I then explained why I didn't really want to extend the conversation with the Naked French Skipper, and suggested that maybe he wanted to go have that conversation.

The end result was that the NFS pulls WAY up into the anchorage and re-anchors.  Jim watches him for about an hour to make sure he doesn't drag, then comes to bed.  I can't sleep, so I stay up on anchor watch until sunrise.

Moral 1 of the story:  There is no way anyone is anchoring in front of me tonight.

Moral 2:  Always wear clean underwear to bed.  Please.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

My Aunt and Uncle Come to Sardinia!

It was a short visit, but a good one.  Willie and Terry Thurlow have been touring Europe for the past six weeks.  We had been trying to schedule a way to cross paths since last April without luck, but just over a week ago we both found ourselves with an open window on the schedule and within range of one another.  Not easy range mind you as flights from France to Sardinia are becoming less frequent now that the holiday season is over, and in order for them to return they needed to take a cab, a flight, a train, stay overnight in a small town, and then hop on another train!!

Well, we all had a great time with them onboard and hopefully they will feel the effort was worthwhile after their adventure of a return journey.  I can’t wait to hear the details!!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Another experiment. Google is doing some...

Another experiment.  Google is doing some interesting things with my photos in the background.
Friday afternoon in Amalfi
Oct 3 · 19 moments
View story

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Monday, October 06, 2014

Ponza – The Water is so clean!!

I spent some time in the water with my camera the past couple of days and the water is just phenomenal.  It helps that the bottom is pure sand, but when I’m swimming I have to think this water is clearer than my swimming pool at home!
I’ve been so impressed that I played with a couple of different ways of presenting the same footage.  Ultimately, I could not choose between the results so you get to see them both.

Two Days on the Island of Ponza

Our anchorage in Ponza

Ponza, Italy??  Who has ever heard of Ponza? Well, until a few weeks ago, neither Deb nor I had heard of it. 
But, as we spoke with people about our plans to sail between Sardinia and Naples, those that had done the trip in the past all tried to convince us to stop in Ponza.  So, we put it on our list.
On the way to Naples, Gibb Kane and I were hoping to stop, have lunch and then keep going, but timing didn’t favor that strategy, and keeping our wives happy by showing up before dark seemed to be the thing to do.

With a bit of a more flexible schedule, Debbie and I decided to split our trip back to Sardinia up into two sections with a brief stop in Ponza.  That “brief” stop has now turned in to two of the nicest most relaxing days of this year!!  This place is really really nice!!  Just far way from the coast to keep the numbers under control and the water as clear as any that I have ever seen.

We are anchored right now (alone) in the bay pictured to the left!!  Tomorrow, we will head for Sardinia.  Maybe…
Click on the “Wikipedia Ponza” link just below if you are interested in more info on the island and its history.  Like everything else around here, there is plenty of history and its interesting.

From Wikipedia Ponza
Ponza is also suspected to be the island of Aeaea in Homer's Odyssey, as the island of the Circe the sorceress, where her cave or grotto was. She was said to have lived in this cave in the winter months, spending the summer atop nearby Mount Circe on the mainland of Italy. This is where the Circe turned Odysseus' men into animals and cast her spell on and seduced him and lived with him for over a year. Archaeologists are now investigating Ponza in search of evidence of Homer's Odyssey.
During Roman times, Nero Caesar, eldest brother of Caligula, was deported to Ponza in AD 29, where in 30 AD he was put to death. Two of his sisters, Agrippina the Younger (mother of the emperor Nero) and Julia Livilla, were exiled to Ponza in AD 39 for their complicity in a plot to overthrow Caligula.