5 HOURS TO ANTIBES!

It’s hard to believe our trip to Cyprus is nearly over. St. Brendan and the Greek weather gods have blessed us truly! We’ve had incredibly good weather the whole trip with only one day on a moderate sea.

Last night we stopped in Macinaggio at the top of Corsica. What a stunning wee port town. It was delightful. Amy and I went for a walk and found a smoke grill pizza place, persuading Paul to have dinner there instead of on the ship! So she didn’t have to cook and we had a lovely relaxed evening.

The pizzas were huge and I managed, disgracefully, to eat all of mine without help! We all did. So much for keeping some for lunch today, lol.

I think it would be super awesome to hire a yacht and spend a Summer sailing round Corsica. You boys up for that next year?! Might have to do some research.

We’re having a few days in Antibes to fit out the ship for our owners arrival early next month. There’s so much still to get since we didn’t achieve much in Cyprus, in spite of being told that was where we’d be stocked up. It’s been quite disorganised really. Hopefully we’ll get day workers to help but I’m not holding my breath!

I’m hoping once we’ve got everything in order and have settled in Port Canto, the day to day on board experience will be much better, more relaxed. To date the culture has been nothing like the easy going boat to work on that we were promised! Both Amy and I feel like we have slave branded on our foreheads! The captain is SO messy and we’re constantly picking up after him. It’s really not our job. I asked him one day if he’d got too used to his mother and wife doing it! He didn’t get the hint! He’s a nice person but not the easiest crewmate!

The monitoring VHF radio stations are interesting along this coast. Marine language is supposed to be English. Everyone except the French honour this, making announcements first in English, then in their own language. But the French omit the English, lol! So if you don’t understand them, tough, you don’t know which channel to change to to hear weather warnings etc! Good job I understand!

We have tomorrow off, the first day off since driving to Italy to join the ship on April 23rd. Can’t wait. Plan to do nothing, except catch up with Ruth and Jean – Luc.

Lucky Wave

May has arrived already, which means I’ve been in Europe for a month! How time flies. We are at Rhodes Island, in Greece now, so I’ve been on board for nearly 2 weeks.Paul and I drove in a rental car to join the ship in Fano, Italy. I was a bit nervous about driving in Italy as my memories weren’t complimentary to Italian driving, but I ended up enjoying it! The motorways are good and no one takes the least notice of the speed limits! We drove between 120 and 157kmph most of the time!Our first night was in a hotel but after that, on the boat. Amy was already there and we get on really well, which is great, partners in wine crime!The boat yard did not have boat ready yet so we didn’t leave till Saturday 27th, not helped by it being public holidays on both Tuesday and Thursday that week. We did sea trials finally and she was handed over to us, still not ready in my eyes but Paul accepted it. The compass has not been swung, we have no radios to use on deck, he doesn’t know how to use the Raymarine navigation system, no EPIRB, and almost zero equipment. Any and I did a huge supermarket shop in Fano’s inadequate supermarket, trying to at least get basics like a frying pan and knives for her to cook with.We’ve put in some long days but not too hard really. I’ve done most of the Nav planning and watch keeping. I’m actually not that confident in the captain’s ability. He’s made some very odd navigation decisions and at times hasn’t been able to make a decision. I’ve made it. Even Amy said she doesn’t feel comfortable when he’s on the bridge alone. I’m acting as first officer and getting paid as a lowly deckie, lol!Paul also tends to panic over little things and only give negative feedback, but he’s not horrible about it, so I’m reserving judgement. Hopefully once our stores are complete and everyone’s got to know the boat better, it’ll all settle down. I do think there’s potential for this to be a good team without drama. She’s certainly a nice vessel to work on from my point of view, much easier to clean and run than last year’s vessel! Thank god for a decent anchor system too!So, to date we’ve done day runs from Fano to Termoli, Termoli to Brindisi, then across to Lefkas, a looong day to Athens via the Corinth Canal, then Naxos and finally to Rhodes Island, where we are now. I’ve really enjoyed it. This place is beautiful and the Greek and Italian dockies are so friendly and helpful. Rhodes Island has more than its share of hot guys too, just saying!Amy and I have jumped ashore for a short walk most nights to see a bit of the towns we’re in. After the boats refuelled, watered and washed down, of course!

CYPRUS

Today’s Wednesday 15th May and we’re 3.5 hours into a 15 hour transit from Cyprus to Rhodes again, having left at 0500! We’re missing out Kas Marina in Turkey where we had a night en route to Limassol. That was one of the more beautiful marinas I’ve seen and everyone there was super friendly and helpful. The agent for our team showed up with local food which was awesome. Amy and I found decent local wine and live music of course! So we’re quite sad to miss this stop on the way back!We arrived in Limassol, Cyprus, on the 4th so have had 10 days there. Its been very busy with guys on board almost every day, trying to sort out the ship’s dodgy electrics, amongst other things. Not altogether successfully! We still can’t use more than one appliance at a time.The Boat Show was from the 9th to the 12th inclusive. We worked our butts off and had the ship looking grand. She was the star of the show for Azimut and I think Marios, our lead agent, was very happy with us. He saw how much effort and commitment Amy and I put in. I don’t think it escaped his notice how often Paul was MIA either. Nor the workmen. They seemed very supportive of us girls. Even the guys on the ship next to us called out to Paul yesterday “Captain, why do you work your deckhand too hard? Slowly slowly!” I had to keep my chuckles to myself! But it cheered me up.In general we are working ok together. I think the stress of setting up the new boat and the show have told on the skipper but he’s certainly not trying to upset us, so I feel it will calm down once we’re organised and in France. Amy and I continue to do well together, the only problem for us being, she needs me to help her with the interior and Paul doesn’t even have it on his radar, hogging me 100% for deck. So she’s frustrated at trying to do both the cooking and the interior alone, and I feel bad not being there for her! Not to mention she has barely been able to get in the galley with workmen in there most days. I really hope she doesn’t get so pissed off she leaves coz I’d miss her company. She’s bloody good at this job, all of it.I didn’t get much chance to get ashore and explore unfortunately. Not that that’s unusual. We are, after all, working! But the little forays I did manage promised an interesting and diverse culture I’d like a chance to see more of sometime. The local church is rich and beautifully bestowed. Good local wine in friendly wee caf├ęs were a favourite with us girls. We also indulged in a massage to ease the achy unfit muscles, not long after arriving! That lack of fitness is already a thing of the past. I’m used to the work now and enjoying it, as ever.One thing I’ve noticed again is the lack of marine life. We seen dolphins twice our whole time on board so far. Nothing else other than heaps of mullet. Seems very sad. Though perhaps more disheartening is the volume of plastic we see floating in the sea. It’s no exaggeration those photos you see in the media. The sea is such a gorgeous clear blue this side of the Mediterranean, and here we are spoiling such a wonderful environment.Well, its now 1600 so we’ve been going 10.5 hours. Amy did a delicious brunch of bacon, eggs, tomatoes and avocado for the two of us, and similar sans avo but plus baked beans for Paul. He’s a very traditional British food kind of guy, while we ladies love salads and more exotic fare! I’m back on watch. Paul and I do two hours about. Had a very smooth crossing so far, with the sea state only just starting to chop up a bit now. I’m watching a massive ship pass down our port side about 3nm off, with what looks like an equally big vessel rafted alongside her. Interesting.

2123 – stern to in Mandraki Marina, Rhodes Island