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Turkey to Barbados in One Season

By Sue Richards last modified Apr 30, 2010 09:58 PM

Published: 2010-04-30 21:58:29
Topics: Atlantic Crossing
Countries: Barbados , Canary Islands , Croatia , Gibraltar , Greece , Italy , Morocco , Spain , Turkey

Sarah and GB Bucknell, Djarrka, Norseman 447, KD6SAE and KD6SIY

The locals told us we spent the stormiest, rainiest winter in Turkey in 20 years during the winter of 2008-9. It was extremely wet and awfully cold. There were bright moments, we played dominoes with a fun group on Sundays, a movie theater was a short bike ride away. Netsel Marina is very convenient to the pleasant town of Marmaris for tasty meals out, shopping, marine suppliers etc.

We entertained the idea of another season in the Mediterranean, but week after week of unpleasant weather during the winter caused our decision to move through the Med in one season and head home to the Caribbean.

We set out from Turkey on April 27th and our first anchorage was Pedi Harbor in Simi where we checked into Greece. We were ready to leave Turkey since we spent 5 leisurely and enjoyable months along its beautiful coast the previous summer and fall. Our goal for the single season was to get a good look at Greece, Croatia, Italy, Sicily, Sardinia, the Balearic Islands, Morocco and the Canary Islands, saving France, Spain and Portugal for a return trip via 747. Our sister in laws mother has a place on the Algarve in Portugal so we foresee basing ourselves there to see the parts of Europe we missed.

We ended up spending about a month in each of Greece, Croatia, Italy, Balearics, Morocco and the Canary Islands. Since we enjoy a degree of flexibility we had no set itinerary at the onset, but we were mindful that there was alot to see, a fact that was hard to forget. We needlessly worried that we would never see everything and that there wasn’t enough time for it all. Moving on and putting a few miles behind us always put our minds at ease. Even though we had a little trouble understanding the weather in the Mediterranean, we experienced very few hold ups due to the weather until the Canary Islands. Ordinarily we wait for weather systems to go by, but last summer we were inclined to jump in front of bad weather to avoid delays due to weather. It was quite alot of work and stressful at times to see so much in such a short amount of time, but now we are sitting at anchor in the Caribbean and we are so happy to be here, it was worth it. We are warm and there are no slip fees. This is where we started 15 years ago and we are feeling very at home.

COMMUNICATIONS

Phone

We bought 2 Gymsim cards for our phones. It stands for global yacht mobile. Visit www.gymsim.com to check it out. Gymsim claims global coverage in 215 countries. We are happy with the service, it is a luxury to be free of shopping for sim cards upon arrival in each new country and having service immediately upon arrival is very handy too. We have them set up to top-up automatically.

Internet

We found enough unlocked wifi signals throughout Turkey, Greece and Croatia with our high gain wifi antenna, to keep us reasonable happy. Not so in Italy, we purchased a Sony MD300 Wireless Broadband Connector with a Vodaphone Sim card in Syracusa, Italy. The promotional cost there was 25€ for a month of service with an allowance of 5 hours per day and unlimited downloads. It worked in most places. What a fantastic deal. We purchased a new Vodaphone Sim in Mahon on Menorca in Spain and it was more expensive but worked very well in Spain and the Canary Islands. Digicel offers wireless broadband in many of the islands in the Caribbean, we set it up in Grenada, it is 46EC (17usd) per month.

Shipments

We had a package sent to us in Gibraltar with great success. More information under Gibraltar. We had a package sent to us in Morocco, we got it after 16 days of haggling. More information under Morocco.

HF Radio

A morning 4 kHz net was set up prior to our leaving Turkey and we had more than a dozen participants. It was fun to talk to our friends everyday, since our schedule was very ambitious there were many times when we were cruising alone. It was a controlled net but very informal. We also checked into the Mediterranean Cruisers Net at 0530utc on 8122 kHz alternate 8131 kHz. It gives the weather.

Guide Books

We used Lonely Planets guides for all the countries we visited.

Greek Waters Pilot by Rod Heikell.

Adriatic Pilot by Trevor Thompson and Dinah Thompson.

Harbours and Anchorages (777) of Croatia and Eastern Adriatic Coast.

Italian Waters Pilot by Rod Heikell.

Islas Baleares by Graham Hutt.

Mediterranean Spain, Costa Del Sol & Blanca by RCC Pilotage Foundation.

North Africa: Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia Including Gibraltar, Pantelleria and the Pelagie Islands and Malta by Graham Hutt.

The Atlantic Islands: Azores, Canaries, Madeira and Cape Verde Islands by RCC Pilotage Foundation, R C C Pilotage Foundation, and Anne Hammick.

Lots of entertaining and good information on http://www.boatus.com/cruising/feelfree.

Propane

We topped up our tanks in Turkey. We made up fittings to be able to gravity fill our own tanks. Propane can be an ordeal to obtain in Spain, regulations regarding its dispensing are tough because there was a fatal accident in the past. More on that under Gibraltar.

Diesel

Split - 6.69 Kuna / liter June 2009
Agropoli - 1.12 € / liter July 2009
Soller - 0.99 € / liter August 2009
Gibraltar - 0.42 Pence / liter September 2009 the best deal in the Med
Morocco - 7.12 Dirham / liter October 2009 (3.84usd/gallon)
Lanzarote, Rubicon Marina - 0.71 € / liter November 2009
Las Palmas Canaries - 0.66 € / liter November 2009
Barbados - 5usd gallon December 2009
Bequia - 5usd gallon December 2009
Trinidad - 1.50 TT / liter on the street, 4.50 TT / liter at the fuel dock March 2010

GREECE

Santorini, Mikonos, Athens, and Delphi were high on our list for Greece.

Nisyros
From Pedi we went to Nisyros. We Med moored with no fees at 36°37.12N x 27°10.24E in 18’. The harbor has been improved and now opens to the east. We rented a scooter to see the island and enjoyed a meal ashore.

Astypalaia
We spent one night anchored in the much protected Vathi Bay on Astypalaia on the way to Santorini.

Santorini
We tied up in the marina on the south shore of Santorini at 36°20.19N x 25°26.04E. We touched bottom on the way in, we draw 1.9 meters. They are doing some dredging with a clam shell so the depth should improve. Since we arrived on May 2nd 2009, after the end of April, the fee of 20€ per night was in place. There is excellent wifi and free power and water if your hose and power cable are long enough. We enjoyed our time here, we sat out a big blow. The marina is very basic with friendly staff and we were able to walk off the boat and do the sight seeing we intended. Santorini is beautiful and well worth a visit.

Paros
Paros was a fun stop, 37°05.56N x 25°09.10E in 21’; we rented a car with friends and were amazed at the difference in topography and vegetation from Santorini only a few miles away.

Mikonos
Mikonos was next and it is very touristy, but worth a look and a few photos. We anchored in Ormos Ornos for a night and went around to the free tie up at the cruise ship dock at 37°27.88N x 25°19.51E the next day.

Kithnos
We stopped at Kithnos for a night on the way to Zea Marina in Athens.

Athens
It is easy to tour Athens from Zea Marina, so we enjoyed our stay. Reservations are needed, call them or reserve online. The marina cost was 48€ per day and we elected not to take water or power because we did not like their fee system. We picked up an unlocked wifi signal with our invaluable high gain antenna.

Corinth Canal
The very narrow Corinth Canal was next. We anchored in front of it for the evening and transited the next day, no drama except the 203€ fee.

Itea and a visit to Delphi
We tied to the dock at the pleasant town of Itea, 38°25.79N x 22°25.29E. The customs official found us and asked us to check in, we were charged about 8€ a day. It was a nice secure place to leave the boat for the day to visit Delphi.

Ionian
We stopped in at Missalongi for a night on the way to Vathy Bay on Ithaca, which is a very pretty spot. Then on to Lefkas where we anchored in Tranquility Bay, a crowded and noisy place but we did get our laundry washed. Our next anchorage in Mongonisi (on Paxos) made up for it, it was lovely. We set the hook and backed in, tied to a tree at 39°10.93N x 20°12.17E. It was a great spot and a short dinghy ride to lovely Gaios where we stocked up on olive oil at an ancient establishment offering olive oil tasting in tiny tea cups. The forecast predicted southerlies for a few days so on May 27th we checked out for Croatia, 240nm away.

CROATIA

The guides for Croatia were almost sold at a boat jumble. We weren’t going to include its long coast line up the Adriatic in our mad dash through the Med, but it sounded terribly appealing to arrive in Venice on our own boat. It was very easy and enjoyable traveling through Croatia to get to Venice. Croatia is a beautiful country with friendly people. The Medieval towns are very handsome and there are many suitable anchorages. I was amazed that the wind was behind us so much of the time, the sailing was terrific. We did not pay a single anchoring fee since we cruised Croatia very early in the season. Cruising friends weeks and months behind us paid anchoring fees in many places.

Dubrovnik
We arrived in Dubrovnik on May 28th 2009. The check in was straight forward and easy, 1805 Kuna for our 44’ boat. Everyone was friendly and helpful. We moved around to Zaton Bay, anchored at 42°41.9N x 18°02.5E in 40’. We took the bus to Dubrovnik for the day (13 kuna) which goes infrequently, but workable, 4 or 5 times a day to the main terminal, the schedule is posted at the bus stops. It is the Slano-Dub run. One must take another bus to the Old Town (10 kuna). We highly recommend the wall walk. It is a beautiful city. Very well worth the visit. Anchoring in the river just short of the ACI marina is a place where one can also take the bus to Dubrovnik, but take in Dubrovnik shortly after your arrival, the Coast Guard have asked vessels to leave this spot. We heard good reports on checking in at Cavtat.

Kolocep
Anchored in Donje Celo on Kolocep, 4 miles from Zaton. One could visit Dubrovnik via the ferry service from this anchorage. We enjoyed a 40 minute walk to a restaurant on the other side at U Gornje Celo. We certainly had trouble with some of the names in Croatia.

Okuklje
From there we went to Okuklje, 15 miles. Here we tied to a dock (slim lines included) so we were committed to eat at the restaurant. Nice for both the cook and washer upper. There are many restaurants here, just flip a coin and pick one. Ours was Maran.

Polace
Polace was next, June 2nd, it is in the Mljet Park, pronounced millyet. We backed in and tied to a tree at 42°47.44N x 17°22.75E in 45’. The park fee is 90 Kuna and includes a delightful day of nature walks, boat rides and swimming in the park. We included a walk to Pomena for lunch.

Korcula
Korcula next stop. We anchored in Luka, south east of Korcula and took the dinghy a half a mile to Korcula and tied up right across from Konzum, a well stocked grocery store. It is also enjoyable to walk there from the anchorage. This town is adorable, it is a must-see on foot and it is very picturesque from the sea.

Hvar
Hvar was next, we anchored right in the thick of things at 43°10.23N x 16°26.38E in 40’and it was a little crazy but entertaining watching all the charter boat action - since we got out of there without any damage! The walk up the hill to the fortress is very scenic, outstanding actually.

Split
Split is a good stop if you need fuel, water, a washing machine or a sail repaired. There is an Elvstrom sailmaker in Split. Laundry is located in Sperun behind the church near the anchorage. Self service at 50 kuna a load wash and dry. Fuel dock is trouble-free and they have water. Fuel was 6.69 Kuna per liter on June 9, 2009. Numerous ferry wakes cause discomfort here, but the services are good quality and it is quite charming ashore.

Trogir
Trogir was next and is another delightful medieval town. Anchorage is next to the town and a ship yard.

Skradin
Skradin, Krka National Park. Anchored 3 nights next to Skradin w/o any problem even though the guide says it can't be done. No fees were paid to anchor but there is 95 kuna park fee, it includes a boat trip up to the falls area in the park. It is lovely to see all that fresh water and it is quite beautiful. We swam in front of the falls and we walked around the area on the pleasant nature trails, it was a welcome change from the enchanting medieval towns. We used the wash down hose to give Djarrka a bath, the water is mostly fresh!

Uvala Prtljug & Losinj
From Skradin we went to Uvala Prtljug, then on to Krivica on Losinj where we anchored with a line tied to a tree at 44°30.01N x 14°29.68E. The hiking was good here and we ventured through the forest to find a nice meal at Balvanida restaurant.

Pula
Pula, 44°52.69N x 13°50.61E was our next stop, it looked dirty and industrial from the boat but ashore it was another charming town. June 18rd we checked out for Venice.

ITALY

Venice
It is 72 nautical miles from Pula to Venice. We motored over, it was that or wait for a week, a large system of high winds and rain was predicted. Immediately after we entered the channel we spotted a Gondola and gondolier, he was a regular guy just going along on a Friday morning.

Our GymSim phone came in so handy to call the St. Elena Yacht Club, +39 0415231927, for our slip assignment. We had inquired of Guiseppe (or Bepe is his nickname) a week before to make sure there would be room for us. They don't take reservations but were very happy to find us a spot. We had laid lines between a fixed dock and posts, med style. It is a 20 minute walk to town. We found the ferry pass was a great way to see Venice and all those dashingly handsome gondoliers. The 5 days we spent here were absolutely packed with sightseeing, walking, ferry riding and soaking up the truly amazing atmosphere of Venice. We treated ourselves to a 1st class train ride to Milan for a day. It was incredible, the Duomo and the Galleria are spectacular. In Italy on Monday a good many of the museums are closed. The church is truly amazing since it seats 40,000 people and took almost 500 years to build.

We were falling in love with Italy, so on to the next anchorage. We set out for Vieste on the east coat, 270 nm away but the conditions were favorable to keep on going to Brindisi, a little over 100 nm further. Making some tracks felt good. The wind and healthy current were with us. Keep a sharp lookout on the route through the Offshore Platforms, there are unlit platforms. One came up on radar and certainly got our attention.

Brindisi
We tied up in the free section in Brindisi at 40°38.53N x 17°56.71E. Every afternoon the street sellers set up their wares and the locals and a few tourists strolled by our boat. We loved it there. Parmesan was 10€/kilo in Italy and it lasts, wish I had more.

Passage to Sicily
On our way to Sicily we stopped at Santa Maria de Luca and then Crotone.

Sicily
We arrived in the protected scenic anchorage of Syracusa on July 2nd and we put the hook down at 37°03.53N x 15°17.08E in 30’. We could have stayed here a while but we would have gotten fat as pigs because we fell in love with the cannoli sold at the local market at the end on the left, don’t miss it. Laundry here too. We bought our Sony Wireless Broadband Connector and Vodaphone Sim card for the internet here.

July in Italy requires patience and staying power. August is worse. We really wanted to see Italy so we put up with discomfort in swell ridden anchorages and masses of boats with interesting anchoring techniques. Taormina on Sicily is a beautiful place. We rented a car through George who oversees the moorings to tour Sicily. Mount Aetna was a highlight. He allowed us to tie our dinghy to his dock even though we anchored, the moorings were 40€/night.

A little planning and luck are needed to transit the Straits of Messina. The wind and currents are fickle through the straits and both can be strong. We made it through in very favorable conditions on our first try, we don’t have enough local knowledge to give you much help except to say just follow the instructions in the guide and pick a time of very light winds and motor on through. We did not stop at Reggio de Calabria, it can be very windy in there so we kept right on going to Bagnara Calabra.

Bagnara Calabra
This is a fishing harbor with interesting docking facilities. We put our anchor down and backed in along the south side. It was free.

Vulcano
The next day we went to Vulcano and anchored at 34°24.94N x 14°57.87E in 55’. It is very deep and crowded here. We thought we would do the mud bath but the smell was too disgusting and we were too lazy to do the hike up the volcano. We did walk around the island and it is pretty.

Panarea
Next, we went to Panarea, it is a lovely island. We anchored in a little bay on the south coast and took the dinghy over to the main town. Later we moved over to Dattilo at 38°38.16N x 15°05.97E for a view of Stromboli. Settled weather is needed.

We took in the sight of erupting Stromboli on our night passage from Dattilo to Agropoli. It is a must see at night. We stood by for an hour mesmerized by the lava flowing down the mountain. It was hard to carry on. But we had a good sail to the pleasing town of Agropoli and were very happy to pull into a calm harbor.

Agropoli
The free 48 hour tie up is on the right just inside the breakwater south of the club at the end. There is room for about 5 boats. If you are very early in the season you may be able to stay longer. We visited Pompeii on the train from there. Agropoli was a very good stop.

Salerno
Salerno was next. A mistral was forecast so we decided to go in and tie up. We called in at Amalfi first and we were turned away, no room. Then we tried the Salerno Marina, no room there either. Here we were ready to spend the big bucks in a marina and it was not to be, we ended up anchoring at 40°40.44N x 14°54.36E in 21’. We saw 30 knots and we were pretty sheltered and comfortable. After the blow we picked it up and moved over to Amalfi to do some more sightseeing.

Amalfi
The harbor was still full so we anchored outside at 40°37.29N x 14°35.05E in 35’. It was rolly and uncomfortable here but we had the pleasure of seeing the entire Amalfi coast including Positano and Ravello by bus and it was worth it. What an extraordinary place. On to Capri.

Capri
Talk about discomfort, my gosh, what troopers we were. We lasted a day off Marina Piccola on the south shore but there was no place to get ashore so we moved over to north shore and anchored at 40°33.54N x 14°14.16E in 54’. It was a little uncomfortable here too but at least we could find a place to tie the dinghy in at the marina. We took the tram up to the town for lunch and sightseeing and t. shirt shopping.

On the way to Rome we stopped at Procida and Ishia, we considered stopping at Ponza but we had reached island burn out. We bypassed Gaeta too, even though reports on it were very favorable. The winds were behind us and we had a brilliant sail to Rome, we arrived on July 25th.

Rome
We went up the Fiumicino River and left our boat at a little “marina” called Cantiere Nautico Albula on the left side after the foot bridge. Max runs the place. He is a gentleman. We paid about 20€ a day, power and non potable water were included. There are many other small marina facilities in the area. It is very easy to get into Rome on the train. We visited Florence from there too, it is a 3 hr train ride. We had some of the best pizza in Fiumicino right by the bridge. There is laundry nearby. This was a very good 10 day stop.

SARDINIA

On to Olbia in Sardinia next. We caught 2 fabulous tasting albacore tunas on the way, so get those lines in the water. We anchored in the harbor but the coast guard asked us to move so we went into the free dock. It was very nice to tie up since we had to take the engine apart for repairs. Olbia is quite a nice town with a walking street and well stocked grocery stores.

We were very pleased to meet up with Ian and Wendy on Remedy in Golfo Di Arzachena on our next stop. We anchored at 15°41.46N x 9°26.55E in 15’. Our trip in the dinghy up the river at the head of the gulf was enjoyable. On August 12th we were on our way to Menorca, 266 nautical miles. There were lots of interesting anchorages to check out in Sardinia but the wind was right for going west.

BALEARICS

We took great pleasure in our 3 weeks in the Balearics. There are some fine anchorages and the weather was kind, even though it doesn’t have to be. occasionally the strong winds from the Gulf de Leon work their way down to the Balearics. We only had one windy period where we needed to find proper shelter.

Menorca
We entered the Balearics on Menorca at Cala Taulera. It is a wonderful bay protected from most swell, read, not all swell - it can get rolly. We loved it there, plus, Stewart, Kylie and Sami on Clementine were there and after speaking on the radio all season we had the great enjoyment of meeting up with Pam and Dick on Aliesha. Friends really make a nice place grand. It is a long dinghy ride into Mahon from the anchorage but worth it to go to the pleasant town. We bought a Sim for our Sony Wireless Broadband Connector for internet connection from the Vodaphone shop here. Friends Ginny and Gord on Ascension really enjoyed The Festival of St Joan, which takes place in the outlying towns on Menorca.

There are many nice coves with beautiful beaches and clean clear water on the south coast of Menorca. We stopped in Mitjana and Son Saura. Swell came in on the second night and we high tailed out of that area for more protected waters at Pollensa on Mallorca.

Mallorca
In Pollensa we picked up a free park mooring. Soller was our next stop on Mallorca, we were very lucky there concerning the swell. And we bought diesel for .99€ a liter. We took the ancient train over to Palma for the day, it was pretty relaxing and very scenic. Laundry and supplies are available here, as in most places. Ponsa was another really good stop. It is reasonably protected, we anchored at 39°30.86N x 02°28.20E in 15’ and we finally met up with the sailing vessel Grace, with Nicole, Shane, Niesha, Jessica and Jack aboard and Ginny and Gord on Ascension. We spent almost a week there.

Ibiza
On August 30th we had the hook down at Cala Portinatx on Ibiza at 39°06.62N x 01°30.89E in 16’. It was pretty nice here. We did not experience the noisy discos that others reported. Still, we were off the next day to Puerto San Antonio, where we spent a few days even though it is a busy and uninspiring anchorage. We were going to sit out a blow there but a local informed us it could be quite uncomfortable so we moved around to Port Roig. We spent one night on the outside and one night anchored in the more protected harbor. By September 6th we had picked up a park mooring in Espalmadore. It is a beautiful spot, the beach is fabulous, and there are mud baths. We enjoyed it all, 3 days was not enough but Gibraltar, almost 400 miles away, was calling, after all it was September and the wind was right.

GIBRALTAR

Djarrka and Ascension sailed right on through to Gibraltar. There were many places to stop and sightsee or rest, but the wind was behind us and we were making good time so on we went. Pam and Dick on Aleisha had just completed their circumnavigation in Gibraltar, so we were anxious to get there to help them celebrate.

We anchored in La Linea in Spain in the middle of the night at 36°09.73N x 05°22.05W. It is an adequate anchorage. Dinghy thefts are frequent so lift the dingy out of the water at night and lock it. For 5€ a day one can leave the dinghy at the yacht club. When the wind switched to the west we moved in behind the breakwater for a little better protection.

Take your passports with you when you go ashore so you can go over to Gibraltar. It is easy to walk across the border for a whole other world. We did alot of shopping in this region. Morrisons in Gib has products not available elsewhere. We stocked up on Cadbury candy bars, Patak sauce and a ton of other stuff. But first we shopped in La Linea at Carrefour and Mercadona because prices are lower in La Linea. Both La Linea and Gibraltar are very pleasant places in which to have a meal or a wander around. A trip up the rock in Gibraltar is a must.

We had a package sent to Gibraltar addressed to us at Marina Bay Marina which was full so we could not go in. We tracked it and took our boat papers to the DHL facility and cleared it in, easy and pain free, we had no fees.

Propane can be an ordeal to obtain in Spain, regulations regarding dispensing are tough because there was an fatal accident in the past. There is a man named Dirk in Estapona, an hour drive from La Linea who fills tanks.

The morning of September 21st we left Gibraltar 2.5 hours after high water. We had a very good trip out the Straits. We did not have the gusty wind at Tarifa that others reported. We turned left and headed to Morocco. Aliesha, Ascension and Grace went to Cadiz. They had a wonderful time there and experienced an outstanding Flamenco performance at La Cava, a Tapas bars in Cadiz.

MOROCCO

Rabat
We arrived in Rabat Morocco the next day and called Bouregreg Marina on VHF 10 to be led over the bar. The swell was small so we had a very easy crossing of the bar. There are many crab pots a few miles out from the entrance. We had a very brief reading of a depth of 10’ one hour before low tide. A few weeks later a 40 foot sail boat arrived before opening hours and crossed the bar unassisted. There was a very large swell, the boat rolled and all hands were washed overboard. Miraculously no one was hurt, just shaken.

After checking in at the customs dock we went to our slip. The slip fees were very reasonable especially after the end of high season on September 15th. Since we were there a month we were able to catch up on a few jobs involving free water, unlimited power and the security of a dock. The wifi worked very well too.

We did a small amount of provisioning in Rabat. I was awfully disappointed to find moths and other bugs in the walnuts and figs.

The staff in the office at Bouregreg are wonderful, they displayed their lovely good manners when we had a DHL package nightmare. They helped us very much. I cannot recommend sending anything in via DHL, who held our package in Casablanca and wanted more duty than the value of the item.

Excursions Ashore
We were back in Africa. The train is the way to travel in Morocco. There is a station in Sale and it is an easy walk or taxi from the marina. Our first trip was to Marrakech and then on to Imlil by bus to trek for 4 days in the High Atlas mountains, where we stayed in the basic Gits along the trekking trail. We ended our hike in Seti Fatma and took a taxi back to Marrakech where we stayed for a few days. Great fun.

Our next trip included Fez but first we took a bus to Chefchaouen for trekking in the Rif Mountains. Chefchaouen is a very pretty little town. We took a bus to Fez and then we took the train back to Rabat. Lots of really interesting sights in Morocco. Well worth a visit and our dollar went much farther than it did in the Med.

We really enjoyed our time in Morocco. There was a congenial group in the marina and we had a few dock parties since there were too many of us to fit on one boat. I celebrated my birthday there so Tom and Liz on Feel Free organized a fun dinner out at a nice restaurant in Sale. The proprietor even had a gift for me.

ISLAS CANARIAS

Right on our vague schedule, we left October 24th 2009 for the Canary Islands.

Graciosa
We arrived at Isla Graciosa a few days later where we anchored at 29°13.10N x 13°31.75W in 25’. We were cruising again, it was very nice to be in an anchorage with a pretty beach and clean water after noisy Morocco. We had a fun group here so there were lots of beach parties. It was a 40 minute easy walk to town for a restaurant fix or supplies. We stayed here over a week.

Lanzarote
Strong north winds were forecast and we wanted a little civilization so we decided to move around to Naos on Lanzarote. We put the hook down at 28°58.31N x 31°13.87W in 16’. The dinghy ride to town is a little over half a mile. We tied it up along side the coast guard boat on the west side of the harbor where there is a significant tide. Plenty of supplies here, there are well stocked marine stores and grocery stores. We rented a car for a tour of the barren rocky and moonlike island. And then the blow came, what a pain, it blew for a week, but we sat tight and held fine in 40 knots. The anchorage of Naos enjoying southerly protection is very full of moorings and local boats.

South winds were predicted so we decided to go into Rubicon Marina on the south shore. We didn’t want to spend the 34€ a day but anchorages protected from the south are difficult to find in the Canaries. The southerly didn’t amount to much and those who stayed in Naos were fine. But the Rubicon Marina is very nice and we enjoyed ourselves. And, oh joy, we got to take the engine apart in a secure place.

Gran Canaria
It was 96 miles to Las Palmas on Grand Canaria, so on November 22nd we anchored at 28°07.82N x 15°25.33W in 45’. We watched the 215 ARC boats leave and we hopped into the marina there, it was 12€ / day plus a few minor fees for a dock and not much else.

Shop shop shop, holy cow. There is fantastic provisioning in Las Palmas, all those ARC boats left tons of stuff for us to buy. We bought some really practical passage food. I was going to buy whole roasted chickens, but I found vacuum packed whole chickens and smaller ones without any bones that took up less room and lasted weeks. And, no sense in littering the deck with bones that don’t make it overboard. We shopped at Hyper Dino, Mercadona, Carrefour, and El Corte Inglés, which is both a department store and a grocery store. My gosh, if you can’t find it there you have no business buying it.

Let me just say there is food in Barbados. But beyond Barbados in Bequia and in the Grenadines and Grenada until Trinidad the quality of meat and chicken is a wee bit dodgy. So you can’t go wrong on stocking up on boneless skinless chicken breast. All the stores in Las Palmas are anywhere from an easy to a long walk to the marina and are a 5€ cab ride back. Some will deliver. Everyone had deliveries from El Corte Inglés.

Grand Canaria is a beautiful island and so we rented a car for a day in the country.

ACROSS THE ATLANTIC TO BARBADOS

November 29th we departed Grand Canaria for Barbados. We picked Barbados because we spent quite a few years in the Caribbean and had not been to Barbados since it is so far to windward of the island chain.

Our 2800 nautical mile trip across the Atlantic was uneventful. We had a squall or 2 but nothing extreme. When the trades pick up, squalls are naturally formed. Boats that left after us and ran out of wind did not experience squalls. It took us 17 days and it was very dead down wind so we jibed the boat 9 times. We set up a 4 kHz net, we looked forward to our morning and evening chats with the fleet.

BARBADOS

On December 16th 2009 we dropped the hook in Barbados at 13°05.44N x 59°36.78W in 20’. Great joy was experienced. It was rolly but we were attached to the bottom, free to sleep and eat in comfort. The beach at Carlisle Bay is beautiful, more beach parties were in order.

Clearing in:
Call Bridgetown Signal Station on vhf 16 to announce your arrival. They will require you to bring your vessel into the cruise ship dock when space is available. If there is a large swell running it is wise to make it known that you are concerned for your vessels safety at the dock. Vessels suffered some minimal damage there last year, broken dock lines and a broken cleats were reported. If you are persuasive, you may be able to get permission to anchor the big boat in Carlisle and clear in by dinghy. Two persons should go, one to clear in and one to insure the safety of the dinghy.

One boat was partially successful clearing at Pt. Charles. Immigration wasn't on the site so when they arrived in Carlisle Bay they had to walk over and clear in with immigration. They reported it was very rolly at Pt. Charles.

Bridgetown
The people of Barbados are among the friendliest we have seen anywhere, one could not stand on a street with a map in hand without an offer of help from a local. Bridgetown is a bustling and prosperous place, plenty of establishments for Christmas shopping and meals out. I loved the roti and ice cream at the local fast food joint called Chefette. The Yacht Club hosted a barbeque and provided wifi, tho, we did find an unlocked access point from our boat. We took an enjoyable tour of the island with a local taxi cab driver. 10 dollar tours of the Mount Gay distillery are available but free to those wearing a Mount Gay hat.

We spent a relaxing week in Barbados and so on December 23rd we sailed down wind to Bequia where we completed our circumnavigation of the globe on Christmas Eve.

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