Tag Archives: family cruising

Updates from Crete

Arriving i Crete_317The biggest common trait I get from people new to yoga asking how to become a teacher, and lovely mails from wanna-be sailors is a huge distortion of reality. Thinking that a mere few months, or even years, of attending weekly asana classes give you the knowledge, understanding and experience necessary to pass on a thousand year old philosophy and life science is equally erroneous as thinking that by moving on a boat all your life’s problems will be solved.

Yes, our blog pics are beautiful and yes, all I write here is most true and honest, and yes, I do also write when the sun is not shining. But during the latter, writing often feels much harder and isn’t attacked as enthusiastically as when all goes well and our life is paradise on earth.

Living on a boat with your family can be the most fulfilling thing, but it can also be the hardest. There’s very little personal space and this is probably the challenge most dreamers (including us before we left) don’t give sufficient attention and thought to. There’s no friends to vent off, there’s no weekly schedule distracting from what’s going on… there’s just you, your family and your boat in a foreign country.

Add the fact that on the boat things break, ’cause that’s what stuff does when you put it in such a hostile environment as is saltwater. Whilst I have come to enjoy repairs and maintenance and especially the learning that comes with it (honestly, I think I learnt more in the past two years than if I had done a phd, and certainly more practical stuff!), it can all get too much when breakages come in a Murphy’s Law roll of three and more. On top of that, of course, the kids need their usual attention because this is how we’ve brought them up.

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Every day kids ask in a million different ways, am I important? What am I worth? Where is my place in this world? Generally our reactions are reflected in their actions.

In other words, the past few weeks, despite many highlights, namely friends left, right & centre, have been quite a journey and challenging on all sorts of levels. To start with, we were super sad to leave Turkey for Greece, but heading West towards the Atlantic there’s no other way. Thanks to all the readers who pointed out that our YellowBrick still had us in Turkey – we’ve now turned it on properly and once we sail again it will start showing our progress every 12 hours. We had another few nice one to two day passages with friends on board and friends expecting us in the harbour – a real treat as the lack of having friends around every day is for me THE biggest pay-off of this whole ‘Cruising the world with kids’ business. Whilst sailing to Crete, Pablo caught another massive tuna and the kids especially loved sushi for breakfast, lunch and dinner two days in a row while most of the rest of the crew fought with seasickness.

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After a couple of days at Marina of Ay Nikolao – by far the best, friendliest and most well thought-through marina in Greece (amazing bbq and stone-oven facilities, cheap laundry, big book exchange, working hot showers, a welcome pack for visiting yachts including a bottle of local wine, protected, responsive, smiling…) we are now anchored in Spinalonga Bay. The budget doesn’t allow for longer marina stays, yet the water-maker failure (new membrane has arrived in Malta waiting for us to get there) requests it.

Anyway, the bay is perfect and just what we needed to re-gather our energies: Beach in swimming distance, cute village inviting for the occasional stroll, playground near by, no swell whatsoever, nice promenade to run in the morning before my yoga practice and only one other yacht. Contrary to the Ionian, in Crete you don’t meet the clueless charter boats which make for after-noon entertainment and annoyance. To get here, you need to sail either a long or a tricky stretch of Sea, so those who make it generally know a good bit of their boats and sailing. Tomorrow we’ll rent a car for an excursion to some Myonian ruins, a gorge, a supposedly beautiful plateau and maybe a few traditional mountain villages. Then we’ll sail on 30 miles to Heraklion to hopefully get our main sail fixed (CANNOT recommend the UK Sailmaker guys in Fethiye whatsoever – they gave us the heads up on our sail in Turkey and less than ten days later, with a mere 25 knots of wind the clew ripped out!).

Bueno, finally the blog is up to date again and we are loving the first rain in months. Gentle welcomingly cooling drops amidst Crete’s humid summer heat.

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I know I’ve mentioned it already, but I just can’t get enough of the magic of the Lycian ruins all around us, mixed with Romans, ancient Greece and sometimes more. Each new rock tomb, each expected and unexpected ruin city we stumble across, takes my breath away anew.

After every proper ruin exploration, follows a proper lunch, like this one in our favourite spots by the Dalyan River with the fresh and organic eggs in your omelette brought to you by the chickens themselves, an old lady with ancient wisdom (alas I spoke Turkish…) running the show and the hammock gently swaying in a summer breeze.

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Haul-out summary

A week of haul-out went and passed with LOTS of sweat shed during 15 hour days in the boatyard. Funnily, I enjoyed the whole thing – all but the missing pin in the sledge which put us back in the water on six attempts after which we had finally resolved the drip of water that kept on coming in through different parts of the engine and shaft. All good now and gosh it felt good to be back in the water without knowing bills and expenses growing exponentially over night. The main things that have showed up on the boatyard bill include (disclaimer – if you own a boat or are planning to do so in the near future, always count at least double for a haul-out than what you’d anticipate, just because boat well and truly stand for Bring On Another Thousand!):

  • lift and high pressure hull clean,
  • reconditioning and refitting prop shaft, including new coupling, bearing and flexible bearing,
  • stuffing box strip out and clean
  • new rope cutter, new anodes,
  • a few new sea-cocks and one new thru-hull
  • grit blasting of emergency tiller,
  • new anti-foul meant to last us at least two years,
  • stainless steel bow protection near anchor,
  • reinforcement of mainsail leech.

There’s probably a few bits and piece I’ve missed out, but it was enough to make us wanna reach out to our savings back in OZ – only to realize that we have no access to our bank account. Vodafone kindly let us top up my phone continuously over the past two years, but still closed down my number. Friends, whose address we used in conjunction with the bank, just moved house. In order to change the account’s related phone number we need the address. In order to change the address, we need a valid phone number… See the problem. Australia, will you see us much earlier than expected? Just what you need to wonder about on a beautiful full moon night and our last so here in Turkey.

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Fethiye Town (Turkey) – we came, we liked it, we stayed (for a bit longer)

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Weeks came and went. We got to Fethiye Town for a night and stayed for a couple of weeks. First friends arrived – more than that, our cruising parents, mentors and guides, if you wish. It was a very special moment for us as Sea Topaz moored next to Happy Dancer at Fethiye’s Yes Marina (Because the watermaker is still broken, we had to dock into a marina for water.). She just returned from a ten year circumnavigation. Duncan and Ria, the parents from a sustainability friend we made back in Sydney many moons ago (who’s now, btw, building his own eco house – super cool project if you want to check it out!), met us when we had just started to be real about going on this voyage and were looking for a suitable boat – about five years ago. Back then we probably seemed even loomier than today, but today the dream has come real. Seeing them, hearing their words of praise and encouragement, listening to their stories from the different oceans, seas, the Suez Canal crossing (!) and common cruiser friends, and not even to mention their invaluable tips and tricks which can help improve those little things aboard. The three days with them went ways too fast, but because of new regulations you are only to stay three months at a time in Turkey and thus, they left for Rhodes early one morning.

Our eldest turned four and we celebrated with lots of cake, cuddles, birthday pancakes, late night picnic by his favourite playground and of course a brand new yellow bike which Noah road proudly through town. Then we headed for the closest Bay past Fethiye Bay which would have water clean enough to swim and chilled out for a few nights to refresh and get our strength together for the haul-out and anti-foul the following week, that we had spontaneously decided on. I know, usually people plan these things months if not more in advance, but we generally let the seed of an idea grow in our mind – in this case we knew Happy Dancer’s bottom needed a clean before the Atlantic for the very latest – and then wait for the right place, moment and opportunity. Here it was, middle of Turkey, middle of the cruising season, good price, great people, what looks like a reliable lift, and a town we like the look and feel of. Especially the fresh produce markets leave me wandering for hours.

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7 months wintering in Malta in video review

It’s been exactly one month since we left our winter home of seven months in Malta’s Msida Creek. And what a month it’s been – following an amazing and productive winter. While mum and dad were topping up the kitty, healing Happy Dancer‘s little age-related wounds and connecting with the local yoga community, the kids had fun. LOTS of fun as this little video shows. Enjoy and remember – we always love to hear from readers!

Bye Bye Malta – this time for real

To say we had a blast over the past two weeks in the UK is a complete and utter understatement. Nourishing yummy old friendships. Teaching inspiring workshops. Soaking in creativity left, right and centre. Filling our lungs with lush green. Breathing deeply. Hugging long. Four out-of-this-world days at the Colourfest. Loving peops every where. Open hearts the norm. Dancing at the wake of dawn. Chanting ways past dusk. Meditation in movement in between. Only smiles everywhere you go and look. Healthy treats mad easy and accessible. More music and delicious yoga. Acro yoga boosters. Family fun. Arts & crafts. Reviging the inner tiger. Connecting with nature… you name it, it was there in the deepest truth and purity of your soul. Then more hugs and good friends before boarding the plane and landing harshly on Malta’s rough and rude soil.

A day of hectic but mostly efficient provisioning. So glad I managed to get 25 litres of coconut juice on board, Natto beans from the Asian supermarket and even had the time to hug and treasure some moments with a few of our dearest ones here who’ll we’ll see again when we swing by for a brief visit in September on our way out of the Med. For now, it’s only another deck wash, shower, weather forecast download, final tidy up below deck and hopefully a few hours of sleep away till we’ll sail off into the sunrise towards our next destination: Crete. On our way to my yoga retreat in Turkey later this month. I really look forward to four days without seeing land and will report back on how we go with the SSB radio when we touch Greek soil. Until then – Namaste, deep breaths trueful hugs and sincere thanks for getting inspired by our journey.

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