Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Puerto Calero

We have moved onto Puerto Calero in Lanzarote which we are thoroughly enjoying. It is a well run Marina and whilst it is not the cheapest the internet is quite good and free and you do not have to pay for water or electricity. It was also a safe place to leave the boat and catch the ferry to Tenerife to meet some old friends of Johns.... Bill and Margy. The marina has brass bollards which are shined with love and care each week and takes recycling very seriously. It is owned as I understand by Mr. Calero who also owns a couple of hotels in the town. When we arrived there was a lot of racing going on and in this coming week there is also some sort of world championships going on. There are also lots of boats preparing for the Arc and to cross the pond like ourselves so lots of like minded people around. We have been doing repairs to our wind generator which got bent in the storm and going through the endless lists of jobs to do! Our trip to Tenerife came as a relaxing few days when we stayed in the luxury of a beautiful villa owned by Bill's son. It really was such a complete change to the boat and we had a really good time.

Puerto Calero is currently hosting the LR 44 World Championships so it has been quite interesting watching the scrutineers check over the boats and sails. Today is the first day and there is limited wind but these boats are so light I'm sure that they will still get quite a speed. 

We have been impressed by the yard here. John went to enquire about some new Jack Stays yesterday and within 2 hours they had been made up and fitted! No Greek maybe time here it would seem!!

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Graciocsa

We left Gibraltar on the 26th October... we had been there seven weeks by the time we left and would have left earlier but were waiting for the right weather window. When it arrived there was a mass exodus of yachts leaving on the same day. You have to get the time just right or the current will slow you down ....get it right and it's in your favour for 4/5 hours. We stopped off at the fuel quay having decided to fill up in Gib ... a good price 70p a litre! You get a better deal if you put over 100 litres in ..... we put 410 litres in so it was a good saving.

The wind was as predicted once we got out the Straits from the NE from behind us and good downwind sailing practice. No my favourite point of sail I have to say but John got the pole out and over the first two days we sailed for a good two thirds of the time. However the wind got up and as we got past Casablanca making our way South we put a reef in the main. The wind continued to increase and the 25 knots forecast turned into 45 knots ... we had to get the main down .... not an easy task in that wind and to be honest we left it too late really we struggled to get it down but finally succeeded. By this time we were tired, wet and not relishing the thought of carrying on with a reefed headsail in the heavy seas. John decided to deploy the sea anchor which we did no problem. By the time we had done this we both just zonked out asleep regardless of the rocking and rolling motion we had to contend with. We were perfectly safe and we got a passing ship to contact Tarifa traffic to warn other vessels in the area. One thing we did not think about when deploying the sea anchor was when the sea state would be calm enough for us to retrieve it. The wind was a consistent 35-45 knots for two days we could have sailed but with just the two of us we really did not think that we could safely get back our sea anchor. 54 hours passed before we decided to go for it and we got the parachute safely back on the boat. We had just one one minor problem... we cut through one of the lines... but we have learnt from the experience. We sailed onto Playa Francesca a nice anchorage on Graciocsa, north of Lanzarote. There are no roads on Graciocsa and just one town which is around 3kms from the anchorage. The wind was still strong, the predominantly NE wind whips down the channel to the anchorage and we were there three nights and the wind did not let up one night we had 45 knots! We put on a new anchor in GreecG .....the Manson Supreme... this was rock solid and we had no problems. It was just a shame really that we could not explore the island as much as we would have liked. 
We met First Lady a German flagged yacht who were next to us in Marina Bay in the anchorage which was good as we had both been concerned about the whereabouts of Frank, a Swiss guy on Kyory who had also been with us in Marina Bay. We had been trying to call him on VHF for a while and had no response so we were both hoping that perhaps he had gone into one of the Morrocan ports on the way over as the wind got a bit lively.


                                             Playa Francesca on Graciosa

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Gibraltar



We are now nearly ready to set sail for the Canaries. Everyone we have met here in Gibraltar seems to be doing the same! We have set about working our way down the endless lists of work to be done and we are nearly at the bottom with most of the jobs ticked off….yippee!! The bottom of the boat has been checked over, the sails repaired, the window leak we had repaired and we have managed to source a few spare parts… to name just a few of the jobs sorted. Marina Bay can hardly be called a quiet marina at the moment with the runway on one side and some major works going on on the other. They are putting in extensions to the pontoons in order that a boat hotel… a very large boat hotel can be moored and we have been woken today to the sound of them pounding in the piles! However it is a friendly place and our time here has been productive.
We have also popped over the border to La Linea to source a new mattress for our bunk and it is sad to see so many empty shops and buildings due to Spain’s current economic problems. It took a long while to find the shop but we refused to be beaten asking in various shops in a good version of Spanglish for its location and finally coming up trumps in a hardware store where the proprietor pointed to a garage about 4 shops down! John went back to collect the mattress the following week armed with a couple of ropes to make it easier to transport. He then made his way back to Gibraltar doing an admiral impression of Sherpa Tensing. The journey back was particularly testing when he came to cross the runway after trying to explain to Gibraltar customs exactly what he was carrying. The wind got up on the runway and…. he very nearly took off!!
We have also had an excursion to Algerceras to see our good friend Peter who we met the very first time we came to Gibraltar. Peter is currently doing major works to his yacht in preparation for a trip to Brazil. We took the bus which was very good value and having arrived at the bus station John was gagging for a pint. It was a hot day. He strode into a café not able to hear me say as I looked round ‘ don’t think you’ll get one here’. There was a look of surprise on his face when he realised that the majority of café’s were run by Moslems so no alcohol there!! However we did manage to eventually find one where we could get a beer so panic over!


Monday, 23 September 2013

On our way!

Sivota to Syracusa
It has been some time since I have had the opportunity to update the blog primarily because we have been at Sea!
We left Sivota on the 31st July bound for Syracusa in Sicily. The forecast was for Force 3/4  which would have been perfect and it was for a short while we were sailing nicely. We had two visitors on board Sean, who has sailed with us before and Jim who had never sailed in his life. It has been some time since we have done a long passage and typically everyone was feeling a little queasy. I had just finished reading a book by Pete Goss who confesses to feeling a little green every time he has started a long passage, so this is perfectly normal. I find the best thing is to stay up on deck and after about 12 hours or so I have found my sea legs again! Jim however was really feeling rough and to add to our woes the so called F3/4 forecast turned out to be F6/7 with gusts of 40 knots. Not a problem.. we reefed down early and were sailing nicely but Jim was feeling worse for wear and even John was poorly! So our watch system went out the window and we just concentrated on sailing through the night with those feeling up to it. We have an alternator attached to our prop so when we are sailing over 5 knots it is able to add power to our batteries but John does not like to run it for extended periods without giving it a rest so come five o clock in the morning we decided to run the engine for an hour or so. However after 30 minutes the engine (affectionately named Dorothy… it is a Perkins engine) decided to stop! We decided it was a fuel issue and as we could sail we figured we would sail on and investigate when the sea state and the wind had abated.
As soon as possible John changed the fuel filter which was dirty and I began to worry that the 370litres of diesel that I had put in a few days earlier was dirty fuel! We got the engine started for it to last 10 minutes or so before it stopped again. John checked the new filter it seemed fine but he surmised that air must be getting into the system so changed the seal on the filter but we decided to take no chances we would sail into Syracusa which is a lovely anchorage and not start the engine until we were ready to lay the anchor.
By this time the wind had dropped and the last 20 miles were slow and laborious we spent those eight hours going through the routine to anchor under sail in our heads. It went like clockwork and we arrived in the Bay around 19.30 on the 2nd of August … John’s birthday!
Syracusa to Malta
Sean and Jim were still with us for the trip over to Malta. There was little wind so we had to resort to ‘Dorothy’ which was a shame but gave us a chance to ensure that the work John did on her in Syracusa had fixed the problem. Finally after five or six hours the wind veered and we were able to sail .. Whoopee! We slowed down as we got closer to Valetta and drifted for a few hours to enable us to get in at a decent time for customs etc. We finally tied up in Msida Marina at around 13.00. As we came in stern to I threw a line to the guy on the quay who I thought was there to help us come in. I was a little taken aback when he said ‘what do you want me to do with it?!’. John was shouting from the cockpit ‘are we tied on yet?’ and I had to leap ashore with no shoes onto a boiling quay and sort out the lines and lazy line. The guy explained that he was just security he knew nothing about boats!
We enjoyed Malta we stayed at Msida Marina for a week. Sean and Jim were with us for a couple of days before returning to Ireland. It was roasting hot but lots of history attached to the Island and John and I went to the Naval museum and something called the Malta Experience where a guide took us to the hospital founded by the knights Templars. The guide was excellent and I would recommend it. We also hired a car went to Medina the old capital which again is worth a visit. Malta is only a small island so it was quite easy to get around. It also helps that everyone speaks English. We met up with Pat and Mario, sister and brother in law of our good friends Eddie and Yvonne from Greece and had a really good evening with them. Outside Valetta the price of a drink was very reasonable though we found Malta in general to be quite good value. You don’t go there for a beach holiday though … there are very few beaches and I heard on British family bemoaning this fact. They really should have done their homework before booking their holiday!

                                         Knocking on the door in Malta
Malta to Cagliari
We left Malta on the 12th August and were bound for Favignana Sicily. There was very little wind so we had to motor. After a couple of hours I noticed we were overheating so we stopped and John checked the impellor …. It was knackered. We have a Garoni water pump and it seems to eat impellors …we always carry a three or four spares. Problem sorted we were on our way ..still no wind. We motored for 30 hours before finally anchoring in Punta ta Longa, Favignana, a nice anchorage.
I had been telling John for a while I thought the stern heads were getting a little smelly. John has no sense of smell so is oblivious to such things! Sure enough the holding tank was blocked ..not a pleasant job but probably more out of frustration and the thought of how he was going to unblock the damn thing he gave the holding tank a couple of wacks with a hammer and it was sorted. That was a relief!
We set off for Cagliari with still no sign of wind just the familiar drone of ‘Dorothy’ who was behaving beautifully now. We tried sailing off the wind but made no headway so it was back to the engine. After 30 hours we dropped anchor in Cap Carbonara a nice anchorage in Sardinia. It was busy and as we dropped anchor and put up our anchor ball we noticed we had started a trend and several boats around us were searching for their anchor balls and putting them up! Whilst it was busy when we arrived a lot of the smaller boats all disappear before dark so it was quiet and we could amuse ourselves by watching the yachts come in and discuss their anchor technique. One yacht sent down a diver to check the anchor and he was a good hour in the water! We have a new anchor, the Manson Supreme, and we are very pleased with it. We set an anchor watch program on the tablet for overnight and you are able to see exactly where the anchor swung and it will alert you if you drag. The system seems to work well. The water in this anchorage was so clear that you could see the anchor and the chain.
We arrived at the Marina Del Sole in Cagliari on the 16th and were not surprised to see that nothing had changed. We have been to this Marina now on three occasions. They are very laid back and it is run by Massimo and his Dad Antonello. You can hire a car there for 7 euros an hour so we were able to provision up. It was quite nice just to chill for a couple of days. However having done so much motoring we were forced to make use of the fuel quay. Fuel in Italy is not cheap 270 litres cost 502 euros!! OUCH!!
Sardinia to Menorca
As we left Cagliari we looked for an anchorage in Southern Sardinia and eventually settled on Teulada Bay. We stayed there two days hoping for favourable wind and finally set off for Mahon on 21st August early in the morning. We motored out for an hour then set sail but with NW4/5 it was difficult to hold our course for Mahon this was not the wind that had been forecast! Eventually the wind veered on course for Mahon. Menorca is an expensive place to stay and we decided to give Mahon a miss.. we have been there before and we were not sure that we would get an anchorage in La Mola at the time we were due to arrive. We eventually arrived at Cala Porto Addaya  at dawn. It was a tricky place to enter and there seemed to be a lot of red buoys dotted about the channel entrance so we turned around found a spot to anchor and to get our head down for a couple of hours. When we woke up a little bit more refreshed and tried the entrance a second time we realised the red buoys that had caused us the worry were in fact placed to stop people anchoring and the channel was quite easy to pick out. We have friends in Addaya, Jeff and Anne Cook and we were lucky that they were just arriving so we treated ourselves to a couple of days in the Marina at a cost of 85 euros a day it is the cheapest marina in Menorca. The people are very friendly and we enjoyed our stay there. It was good to see Jeff and Anne again after such a long time.
We left Addaya and had a good sail to the South West tip of Menorca, Cala de Son Saura. When we left we sailing along when we saw what we thought at first were fishing nets but on closer inspection we discovered they were pot plants and over the course of about 4 miles we came across 12 plants. I think they must have fallen off a cargo ship but it was a bit of a weird sight!


Ibiza to Cartegena
We anchored in several Cala’s off Ibiza. Anchoring in Spain is not as easy as it used to be, several bays have put moorings in and they like you to anchor in sand if you anchor in weed you could be liable for a fine. We found several though:
Cala around the back of Isla Moltana
Cala Horts
We heard a Mayday whilst negotiating our way past Mallorca to Ibiza. A fishing boat had caught fire and a British yacht, Endeavour, had gone to their assistance taking on board eleven persons. John and I listened to the skipper of the yacht talking to the Rescue Services. He was sailing just off Formentara and the rescue services asked him to bring his eleven fishermen to Ibiza Town to drop them off which he duly did. I hope they waived his mooring fees in light of how accommodating he had been! We did hear the Head of Rescue Services radio him personally and thank him for his help which was good to hear.
We passed by loads of big ships on AIS through the night and some more helpful than others. John radioed one Tanker to ask him if he could alter course so that he would pass on our port side and not hit us! His response was ‘what is your problem?’ John’s reply was ’if you keep on your present course you will hit us!!’ After checking his AIS he did agree to alter course but it seemed like he was not really keeping a good watch. We finally arrived in Cartegena on Sept 1st

                                                This is what we look like on AIS!



Cartegena to Gibraltar
We liked Cartegena it is a real Spanish town packed full of history. We found a fish restaurant where the locals ate although we had to have two ‘goes’ at getting any fish. We went there on a Monday and the waitress immediately came up to us and tried to explain ‘ lunes ‘ after much waving of hands and gesticulation the penny dropped. It was Monday … no fishing on Sunday so no fish Monday! We went back on Tuesday and had a good fish meal at a reasonable price it was also good to watch the fishermen go out. Many of them tow a smaller boat behind them that has numerous halogen lights on board that they put on to attract the fish. These can be a real pain when you sail at night all you can see is what looks like Blackpool illuminations bobbing about in the water and you have great difficulty working out where they are going. A lot more fishermen have AIS now which has made it easier!
Whilst we have been away relations between Spain and Gibraltar have soured so when we left Categena we were a little perturbed to find that we were being followed by not one but five navy boats all seemingly going our way!! It turned out to be a training exercise …. I think!
We are now in Gibraltar in Marina Bay and so close to the runway you can nearly touch it! When you come in here you are told that if the lights are flashing you must not enter the Marina… easy to see why! We arrived on the 7th September and Gibraltar National Day is on the 10th. A national holiday and we were woken up to the sound of one of the guys on a different pontoon playing reggae and wishing everyone a ‘Happy National Day’ . Everyone wears red and white and a good day is had by all partying well into the early hours. There was a free concert in Casements Square with some good music. The place is still adorned with flags and union jacks and there is a very strong feeling that they are Gibraltarian not Spanish.


Leaving Cartegena we were followed by five Spanish navy vessels!

Friday, 5 July 2013

Preparations

Preparations
I have been very bad updating the blog since we have been in the water. My excuse is that we have been mainly concerned with getting the boat ready for the Atlantic. We seem to have made endless lists which we are slowly ploughing our way through. The installation of the watermaker has been slow and sourcing things like saddle clamps to attach the filters has been difficult to say the least. In Levkas there is a large DIY store which we refer to as B&Q that seems to have most things but clamps …no. There is a really nice Australian Greek lady that works there that seems to know where everything is and what’s really good is that she speaks English so you don’t have to resort to gestures, pointing and playing charades to try to get your needs understood! When we tackled her about clamps she told us ..’The Greeks don’t really do tidy they are more concerned with if it works not with how it looks’ We will get our clamps off e bay and get the next person coming out to bring them with them we are not going to commission the watermaker til we get to Gibraltar and beyond as we don’t really need it till then.
We have been on the Olive Press pontoon in Sivota for quite some time now beavering away at our ‘lists’ but whilst we have been here we have experienced strange weather for the time of year. The winds have been strong making it hard for people to moor. We will always offer our assistance but sometimes that is not enough! Incidents tend to occur on Sunday or Monday when people have just picked up their charter boat and if the winds pick up. On one occasion a 53ft charter boat full of American Greeks was making preparations to come in outside the Olive Press…John and I were sitting having a sundowner.. this bar is a great place for that.George the bar man/DJ is so helpful and he laughed when John made the error of calling him Spiro calmly explaining the difference between Spiro and Spiros but then saying with a smile but my name is George!! Anyway I digress back to the charter boat.... The man at the helm was struggling to control the boat as he reversed in and the the man on anchor put the anchor down but then proceeded to lift it again there was no communication between the two guys and the boat was all over the place he took out the guy on port sides anchor but the wind was a strong north westerly and took the bow to starboard where he wedged himself alongside the quay and the pontoon gouging large amounts of gelcoat and grp at the same time. Fortunately there was no one alongside the pontoon and we were able to move the boat to moor him alongside the pontoon where we knew he would be safe. There were 10 people on board the boat. This was their first day out and the women were traumatised! Not a great start to your holiday. I think you could safely say he lost his deposit with the charter company! The Port Police now ask to seek the documents and qualifications for all the charter boats and so on Monday the first day for many the morning is spent being bussed by the charter companies to the local Port Police for this process to take place. However having a day skipper certificate and chartering a 46ft yacht that requires stern to mooring are two very different things. We have heard one skipper ask the flotilla leader as he brought in the 45ft brand new flagship Bavaria ‘now let me just clarify if I want the yacht to turn that way I turn the wheel this way!!’ Scary stuff!

I must just recall one last incident involving a very large wooden yacht that had a number of paying guests on board. They came into Sivota when strong F6 north westerlies were forecast in the afternoon. John helped them in and they assured him they were only going to be there for five minutes. The wind at that time was southerly. Two hours later they asked John for his help leaving. The wind had now turned and was blowing strong. This boat must have weighed 150/200 tons and they had put on an extra line to prevent the bow blowing to starboard. They had tied the line with a bowline a knot impossible to undo under pressure particularly 200 tons worth of pressure! The skipper was adamant though that the two other lines must be undone first so John obliged but he told the skipper that there was no way that the bowline would be undone so the instruction from the skipper was I will slacken the line then you undo the bowline as quick as you can. It is not easy to undo a very thick line let alone when it’s got that much pressure on it! It took John about 15 seconds and in the meantime the boat swung towards the pontoon in the wind the passarelle took out the newly painted lamp post outside the Olive Press and ended up in the sea! The boat continued to lurch towards a boat moored alongside on the pontoon. There were a number of young girls sunbathing on the boat who jumped and started to grab fenders to fend off the beast but I shouted them to get off the boat if the thing hit the boat a fender would be useless against that sort of tonnage! Fortunately the skipper put it full throttle forward once free and missed the yacht by a few metres. Phew that was close!! A testimony to how well the local council works here the lamppost was retrieved from the sea and reinstated on the quay within three days. I do not think that that would have been the case in the UK!

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Life in the boatyard


We have been in Greece for over a month now and we’re not out of the boatyard yet! The trip over from UK was good we didn’t rush and stopped over in three separate countries… Germany, Austria and Italy. By the time we reached Padua, just outside Venice it was snowing!. The ferry over from Venice was virtually empty which made a nice change and was a stark contrast to the Hull - Rotterdam Ferry.  We made the mistake of booking a Friday crossing and the Ferry was full of idiots pissed as rats and keeping every one… well us at least awake all night. I think this must be a regular Friday night occurrence as the staff were very apologetic and patrolling the corridors. It’s only fair as they sold them the alcohol in the first place! They were all on buses bound for a weekend in Amsterdam so goodness knows what the Sunday return must be like!!
The weather when we arrived was certainly warmer than UK but wet  and everyone here was bemoaning what a wet winter it had been but within a week it had cheered up and I am now writing this in 27 degrees of warm sunshine and no rain for nearly 2 weeks.
We have been busy working on the boat and tend to forget all the jobs we have done. Our take on it is it might be quite some time before we are out of the water again so now is the time to get the engine purring and double check that everything is hunky dory.

We have replaced our windscreens. They were beginning to craze with the sun so we have replaced them with UV Makralon which John tells me is bullet proof!! Not quite sure what he is expecting in our travels!
We had to order and replace our bow thruster props. To our horror the nuts we used to service the bow thruster last year could not have been 316 stainless so they had been eaten away. This was not made any better by the anode that John made from what he thought was a zinc anode could not have been as it was pristine. Anodes are placed on the bottom of the boat to prevent electrolysis eating away all the important bits like your prop and your keel and anything else metal….. the idea being the zinc anodes are eaten away rather than your prop! So the anodes have to be checked regularly. Well as the result of us not using 316 stainless we paid the price and our good friend Dave helped us to locate and purchase new props. These took five days to get from England … one day to get to Athens and another four days to find their way to Vonitsa.
We have replaced the Lofrans anchor winch with a nice new shiny one and John has also upgraded the wiring so that the winch can now use all our batteries and I have to say in the test run it was so much quicker and more powerful.
We have painted the decks with Protecta Kote which John says is good enough to allow helicopters to land on it!! We won’t be allowing that! It is a polyurethane paint that is infused with lots of little rubber balls to make it non slip.
And finally our good friend Simon who hopes to come with us on our journey across the pond came to make a hole in the hull for the water intake for our water maker when it finally arrives! He looked at the engine and commented ‘that looks a bit dodgy mate!’ pointing at the propshaft seal and as much as John did not want to agree with him (he knew it was going to be a swine of a job)….he was right. So John spent seven hours getting drive shaft coupler free before we could remove the old seal as we had trouble removing the coupling on the shaft. A very large beer was the order of the day when he finished that job! We now sit and wait for parts … again!!

We have seen boats launch from the boat yard wondering when we are going to make it but there have been moments of amusement too. A boat next to us was ready to launch went into the water and then out again …. When we enquired what the problem was we were told they could not find the keys!! So John and I shot off into Lefkas to see if we could find a new key fitting for him we found one that might have worked but bumped into Simon on the way back… who told us Bosch only use three different keys and he gave us a slack handful of old keys he had to try. We got back tried the keys he had given us … no success but the John said’ let’s try our boat keys’ it was a bit of a long shot but Wolfgang the owner of the boat put the key in the ignition turned it and yes you’ve guessed it …. It worked!!  Lucky Man!
Another observation since we have been back…. When you go anywhere now there are signs up saying  IF YOU DO NOT GET A RECIEPT YOU ARE NOT OBLIGED TO PAY so most shopkeepers we have encountered have told us on leaving their shop ‘Please don’t forget your Angela’  or ‘here is your Merkel’ It made us smile the first time we were told this.

I do hope to put a few pics in this post but they will have to come along later when we have better internet connection

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Back on the move again

Two days now till we leave to return to Greece. John and I went to the Liverpool Hospital for tropical diseases to have our jabs we both left feeling like pin cushions but agreeing that the clinic was very well run and the nurse really knew her stuff.
We are going over the M62 to Hull then over to Rotterdam  through Germany, Austria and Italy to Venice. The weather forecast is not great but it is good to think we are on our way back to the Med.
This year we are on our way out of the Med and are looking to be in the Canaries for Christmas in preparation for our trip across the Atlantic to the Caribbean. 

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

New Zealand

Both John and I loved New Zealand. Coming from an overcrowded island as we do it was so refreshing to drive our campervan around both North and South Island without so much of a hint of a traffic jam! We flew from Sydney to Christchurch where we picked up our campervan ... our home for the next three weeks. Our plan was to travel around the South Island and then catch the InterIslander ferry at Picton over to Wellington and the North Island for a while.


                                                Pancake Rocks  on the way to Picton



We were able to find some quiet,pretty areas where we were able to park up for the night and enjoy. Though here at Nelson Lakes the midges were a bit of a nuisance!




Both John and I had a go at a range of outdoor activities that were once in a life time gigs. John completed his bungee jump at Queenstown and he bought me a zip wire trip over a gorge for my birthday. I also went on a helicopter ride landing on the Franz Joseph Glacier.... wonderful! John chose not to go having worked on helicopters for years it was not a first for him as it was for me...... Up Up and Away!!







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                                                 You can walk to the head of the Glacier

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We also went went white water rafting in Rotorua which was great fun!




We even managed to stay in the dinghy!



We went to hot springs around Rotorua.

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 We finished off our exploits with a kayak trip to Cathedral Cove in the Coromandel.... that was hard work!
Hopefully we will return to NZ in Orion ..... I can recommend it highly to others.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Tasmania

John and I are now back in the UK with our passage booked on the ferry to take us back to Greece on the 22nd March.

                                                            Square Rigger in Hobart



We had a great time in both Australia and New Zealand. We loved Tasmania we spent just over a week there  and were grateful that we managed to travel around the island before it was gripped by horrendous forest fires. The beaches were spectacular and everyone was very friendly. One of the things that impressed us was the way so many people volunteered to work keeping museums and general services running. There are only half a million or so people there and without the volunteers life would be a little more difficult for everyone. We went on a square rigger out of Hobart and it was crewed entirely from volunteers. I tried my hand at the helm!!





Fortunately we only came across Tasmanian Devils in the safety of a very good wildlife park. Jaws of steel but apparently they mainly feed on carrion which surprised both of us!




We stayed for a couple of days at a lovely little bay called Strahan ... really enjoyed the place and it is a place we would both like to return to on Orion.




We went on a jet boat up the river and there is a steam train that leaves the town once a day. It also looked like it would be an interesting navigation to get there.

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