Thursday, November 1, 2018

Winter Berth 2018

Hi all Sue here

Well we are back in our winter berth in Roccella Ionica. Our summer season is over for another year. Time to change the boat over to winter mode, bikinis away and heaters out!! The last few weeks weather has been very unpredictable but I think it has been the same all over Europe.

Continuing from our last blog, we met Joe and Heather in Pula where they spent a very hot 4 days with us. Chris had to rig up our tent to go across the front of the boat to give them some shade. Joe brought his drone camera out with him and got some really good shots of Nimrod from above. Four days wasn’t long but they crammed a lot in!! we visited Pula Amphitheatre on day one, it is the only remaining Roman Arena to have four side towers with all three Roman architectural orders entirely preserved. The rest of their holiday was spent trying to cool off in the sea whilst trying out the Tribord snorkelling masks.

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We now had 2 weeks to get back down to Split for my daughter and grandaughters arrival at the end of August. There were some running repairs to do along the way. First was the dinghy engine that died when we were within sight of the supermarket at Rogoznica. It was a very long row back to the anchorage and ours is a very big and heavy dinghy!! Never fear the Captain soon had it sorted, well actually bodged up enough to hold out until my daughter arrived with spare parts. Such a clever little chappy. Then we had a tear in our main sail after a feisty sail a few days later, so out comes the old singer sewing machine. I did get pictures this time and I assisted with the sail repair!!

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We had some really good sails and many beautiful sunrise and sunset pictures taken along the way but I am sure you are all fed up with seeing them!! The Spinnaker came out to play a lot and I think I have made friends with it now. Well just one little sunset.

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Having my grandaughter onboard there is never any quiet times, she does everything at 100 miles an hour and never ever stops chatting, can’t imagine who she takes after!!. We decided to base ourselves at Vinisce for their stay and it was perfect. Every morning we loaded the Kayak up with all our beach stuff, then Vikki used to get on first, followed by Courtney. I used to then pass them the surf board and paddles and then got on myself and Dobbin the inflateable unicorn used to be tied on the back. It was a skilled operation to get us all on!! We used to then head for the beach with many people smiling and waving at us, I wonder why?? It was all done in reverse at lunchtime to head back to Nimrod for lunch and a little vino and then the process was all repeated in the afternoon!! But we had a great time. Even managed to fit in a little Yoga with my new Yogi buddy.

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After they went back on the 1st September we had a week until my sister and Richard returned. We had agreed that we would make our way down the coast a bit towards Dubrovnik and they would get a ferry from Split to wherever we got to. We ended up meeting up with them in Korcula and had a full on 10 days planned to end up in Montenegro. First stop were the Walls of Ston, we did this last year but it is such a beautiful place and didnt want Caroline and Richard to miss it. Well worth the climb up and over all those steps. Then it was onto Dubrovnik for some more steps!! Dubrovnik is much busier and expensive compared to Ston but it’s another must do if you get the chance. Of couse being a Game of Thrones fan I had to walk the steps of Shame!!

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On our way to Cavtat to check out of Croatia we called in at The Abandoned Hotels of Kupari. There are 5 Hotels here built in the 1960s and once frequented by Yugoslavia’s military elite and where President Tito used to holiday. Very sad place with a lot of History, rumour has it that a developer has bought it but nothing has changed since we visited it last year.

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Beautiful, beautiful Montenegro has got to be one of my favourite places and I think Caroline and Richard and Gaynor and Alec who visited us later will both agree. Every day was something different we did several hikes up to an abandoned fort, a Dam and the Castle and Church above Kotor. Then we hired a car and went up into the mountains to Lovcen National Park where Njegos Mauseleum is situated. It is 1657m up and you climb 461 steps to the entry where two granite giantesses guard the tomb of Montenegros greatest hero. Inside under a golden mosaic canopy, a 28 ton Petar II Petrovic Njegos rests in the wings of an eagle, carved from a single block of black granite. The actual tomb is below.

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We then drove to Lake Skradar where we had a boat trip booked, tourists for a day. It was a lovely trip to go on and we saw so many beautiful birds but my photos don’t do any of them justice really.

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After Caroline and Richard went home and whilst we were waiting for Gaynor and Alec to arrive, a week later, we met up with two couples who are going the same way as us next year. So we had a great time with them, intoducing them to Nimrods parties!! Well it would have been very rude not to!! We did a couple of hikes with Gaynor and Alec and they also went on a days bus tour to see some of what we had done when we had a car. Very lucky with the weather, the sun shone every day bar one and the water was not too cold. Which was just as well as Alec took a litte dunk getting into the Kayak one day. Of course we didn’t laugh much!!!

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So it’s good bye Montenegro from us for a few years at least.

Now it was time to start our journey back to Rocella Ionica to our winter berth. These summers just seem to fly by, especially this one as we have been so busy with visitors which has been lovely.

On our crossing to Crotone we caught two 6 kilo Tuna and then on our passage to Roccella we caught another three, all around 6 kilos. We could have caught more but as we were sailing in a very confused sea and our freezer was filling up nicely we decided to call it a day!!

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When we reached Roccella we gave some Tuna to the Marineros and provided Tuna for everyone at our first Sunday BBQ in the Marina. Our freezer is still full of Tuna!! Think we will be donating some more to the Sunday BBQs. So that’s us for this year. We have great plans for next year but they are still in the making and lots of work to be done on Nimrod to get her ready.

Ciao for now everyone, the blog will resume next Spring xx

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Back in Croatia

Hi all Sue here

Cant believe we are now in August!! Time flies when you are having fun and we are certainly doing that this year with lots of visits from family.

Gaynor and Alec arrived 7th June for a week and as it was their first visit onboard Nimrod we decided to have an easy week. We idled up the Krka river to the magnificent waterfalls and although we visited them last year they were still just as stunning second time around

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Krka Falls Family of swans visiting us

After visiting the falls and chilling around the river for a few days we then sailed to Ostrica to spend the last two days of their holiday. We all had such a great time that they have now rebooked to come back and join us in Montenegro in September. I think rations need to be reduced and beatings increased!! As promised they are now going to feature on “The Blog” Look forward to seeing Gaynor & Alec again soon.

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Great fun up the Krka river Chilling on Nimrod

We now had 2 weeks to chill and catch up with some jobs. Chris got busy on the sewing machine, making a cover for the BBQ, a toiletery bag for the shower on back steps and a big cushion for moi. We had the most idyllic spot in a little bay in Necujam. Tied back to the rocks we had our own little swimmimg pool behind Nimrod. Bliss

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Necujam Sewing time

Time to move on towards Split to meet up with Caroline & Rich who arrived on 28th June for 3 weeks. Several trips to Lidl to stock up, thank heaven for Dolly Trolley and my trusty steed Chris!! Shopping is a major excursion and can take all day especially when you get back to boat and then have to find homes for it all!! What fun!!

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Trusty steed Chris Dolly Trolley and her mates

First sail with Caroline & Rich was across to Vis. A long day sail and not a particularly nice one but had to be done as the weather was about to turn against us. Anchored in a very safe bay Rogacic, not far from Vis. The next day we hiked over to Vis, taking one of Chris shortcuts that was supposedly a path!! I was great fun exploring Vis by jeep. Hiking down to remote coves and visiting a winery.

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There is a path through that hole in the bushes!! Exploring Vis

After Vis we decided to head North up as far as Telasicia National Park. We had some good sailing days including getting the beast out!! Richard was our Captain for 3 weeks and although I think he loved it maybe his crew were a bit of a challenge at times!! Its not that easy planning a passage when you have weather, food shops, chill days and just to add a bit more of a challenge, The Football!! to consider.

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The Beast Best inflateable ever

The National Parks are very beautiful but at 400kn to 600kn a day to visit they are very expensive. Glad we did it though as we probably wont be in Croatia again. We hiked all over Telasicia and the paths are very few and far between but that didn’t stop us intrepid explorers, we just went off road!! We all had the war wounds to prove it!! Kornati was beautiful and the snorkelling there was really good but you could just sail through the islands without paying, as long as you didn’t stop. We spent one night there and went out to a very nice restaurant to eat and we also watched the Croatia/France final there.

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                The Bare Karst   Taking a break in the olive groves

All too soon it was time for us to be back in Rogogniza to drop Caroline & Richard off, catchup on chores again and head to Pula ready for my son and girlfriend coming out on 2nd August. We spent a few days on Ist as the winds were all in the wrong direction. So we managed to get a hike in to a little church on top of a hill. Why do they always build churches so high up!! It was worth the climb though as the views were amazing. Next stop was Veruda, where we anchored waiting to go around into Pula harbour. The sunsets here were beautiful, very busy with day boats but quiet in the evening.

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Ist Sunset and Prosecco, perfect

Now in Pula Harbour waiting for Joe & Heather. I am still trying to keep up with my Yoga but it gets a bit challenging in this heat, my downward dog looks very floppy some days!! When passing pedalos and day boats stop to watch as well it can also be very off putting!! I will keep at it though.


Well Sue makes it all sound like sunshine and roses but it is not always like that – there is always maintenance to do and repairs to things that break, so what has gone wrong lately?

Our anchor windlass has a nice controller that counts the amount of chain we let out so it is really easy for Sue to get the right length of chain – the counting is done by a little magnetic switch that counts the number of turns of the gypsy (chain wheel). It all works very well until it is dark and windy and we need to re-anchor and the counting system decides to fail!! Now this might not be such a big deal if the windlass would just carry on working even if it is not counting but some designer decided it would be better if the lack of counting caused an error and stopped the controller working – not the brightest idea to my mind. Anyway once we had worked out why the windlass kept stopping we could just use the buttons on the helm that are independent of the counter and we could get the anchor up and get re-anchored. These things always happen in the middle of the night.

So next day I had to remove the windlass to get to the magnetic switch to find one of the wires broken, some filing, soldering and heatshrink tubing got it all fixed and ready to go back in place. Only about 4 hrs work to repair the fault.

Next one of our alternators decided to stop charging so had to take it off the engine, strip it down and check it over with the test meter. Found the problem to be a failed diode but luckily we had a spare diode plate in the stores so some more soldering meant we had a working alternator again and this time only a couple of hours work!!

Then our port engine decided to start making some strange noises – turn it off and use the other engine until we get to a good anchorage for some investigation. After taking lots of bits off the engine I finally find the problem to be a failed head gasket, didn’t have one in the stores so had to make a temporary repair with some kitchen foil so I could put it all back together and at least have the engine working for emergency use while we waited to get a new gasket. Fortunately Joe was able to bring a gasket kit with him and after stripping the engine again and putting in the new gasket we now have a happy engine again. This little bit of fun meant two engine strip downs and rebuilds at around 5 hrs each time.

Probably had a good few other minor things to deal with along the way but maybe you can see that it can be a bit of challenge keeping everything working 100%. You can blame Sue for the lack of pictures of all this work, Chris was a bit too busy with the spanners to hold the camera as well.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Winter in Roccella and Start of 2018 Cruising

Hi all Sue here

Well we are on our way again, back to anchoring and tatty hair!! Our winter in Roccella was a lot quieter than previous ones but don’t worry we still managed to party and have lots of fun with old friends and new. The good thing about it being quieter was I had time to take up Yoga, something I have tried many times and given up with!! I now find I love it and am continuing to do it on the boat, although it can be a bit precarious when the boat is moving!! Calm anchorages are best.

In January we went on a trip to Spain to visit Claire and Eddie, sailing friends who have decided to settle down up The Guadiana. They have bought a beautiful property there with some land and it keeps them very busy. We had a great week with them and will visit again next year.

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View of the Guadiana River form Claire and Eddies House Milan Natural History Museum 

On our way back we had a cultural stop over in Milan just for one day, owing to Ryanair cancelling flights!!, and visited the National History Museum. It is huge and well worth a visit if you have the time.

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Culture Around Milan

Girls On The Plane

I then visited Milan again in March on a ladies trip and had a completely different experience, lots of silliness and Prosecco!! We did actually fit in a walking tour of Milan which included The Duomo, Sforza Castle and the best bit was the Last Supper painting by Leonardo da Vinci. It was a very wet 3 days but it didn't stop us ladies enjoying it!!

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Standing Rigging Replacement New Cover for the Dinghy

Over to Chris for some technical stuff

As usual there were plenty of winter jobs to do to keep Nimrod in tip-top condition. Our insurers decided that since our standing rigging was now 15 years old it needed replacing so that was a major job that needed to be done. We got the new stainless wire from the UK with one end already swaged onto the wire, the other end has self-assembly re-usable fittings that you can see in the photo above. We needed to take down the old rigging a couple of pieces at a time then carefully measure the lengths before cutting the new wire to length and then assembling the end fitting onto the wire ready to put the new wire back onto the mast. The total job took a good bit of time but everything went to plan and we also put new bearings and seals in the headsail furlers while they were on the floor.

Our dinghy has a canvas cover to protect it from the sun and after 6 years the original was looking pretty tatty but it had certainly done it’s job since the dinghy tubes etc are still in great condition even though the dinghy is now nearly 15 years old. A new cover was made from acrylic canvas with extra patches around all the holes and where the dinghy meets the davits. A major job of measuring, cutting and stitching that took the best part of 2 weeks overall but the end result looks pretty good and should last another 5 or 6 years. The loops on the side are to hold foam “noodle” tubes to act as fenders and give even more protection.

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Something We Caught On The Way Turned Into This

We left the Marina on April 22nd and headed to Crotone, a pretty calm day with hardly any wind so we motored all the way. Next day was an early start to cover the 73nm to Santa Maria di Luca and this time we had a nice friendly 10-12knt breeze on the beam so we managed to sail for about 8hrs of the trip.

Fishing lines were out and early afternoon a couple of the reels zipped out at a rapid rate, reeled the first one in with a nice 9kg tuna, the second one took a lot more effort but unfortunately the bigger fish escaped about 30m away from the boat – probably a good job since the freezer was filled up with just the one fish.

We caught a smaller tuna later in the day and had a great BBQ with Hami and Lisbeth when we got to Santa Maria di Luca. That was our only fishing success all the way from Roccella to Croatia but it will keep us in tuna for a couple of months.

The weather was all very calm and settled so we really had no wind for sailing meaning lots of motoring. From Santa Maria we motored 65nm to an anchorage at the end of Brindisi Airport runway followed by another 45nm to Mola di Bari with a safe anchorage inside the harbour and Lidl only a few minutes walk away to spend the last of our Euros on Italian goodies.

Next day was a very early start to cover the 105nm to Lastovo, Croatia. We had just enough breeze to motorsail and gain 1 – 2 knts speed so we arrived in Lastovo just before 7pm in time to check-in with Police and Harbourmaster so we were all legal.

Then we could slow down and relax since we have no urgent deadlines now we are in Croatia so we have been cruising around very slowly from Lastovo to Hvar, Vis, Solta and the Krka River.

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Mussolini Steps, Santa Maria Di Luca Submarine Pen and underground bunkers, Vis

On Vis we did a tour of some submarine pens and underground bunkers. All very interesting and amazing how they built them. We also had a walk around Vis Town, very pretty and a favourite spot in the summer months with charter boats. Best time to see it is in May.

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Lost in the Woods Uvala Stoncica, Vis

It’s obligatory to go on one of Chris hikes and end up on paths that are supposedly meant to be there!! I should be used to it by now but somehow I always follow and have faith in him finding the way out!!

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a well looked after Unimog Geo Caching around Solta

We have started Geocaching again this year, it adds some entertainment to our walks, as if we need any!! There were a few to be found around Solta, which is surprising as its only a small quiet place.

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Rogoznica has the best looked after Marina I have ever seen, very expensive to stay there but we anchored in a bay and dinghied across. The park and lake around the Marina are beautiful and its a really nice place and town to walk around.

Now we are anchored in the Krka River with just some friendly swans for company, very peaceful. Just waiting for Chris’ sister Gaynor and her husband Alec to arrive in Split in a weeks time. Time to chill and spruce Nimrod up ready for their arrival. Will be the first time they have been onboard so we are really looking forward to welcoming them.