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Oct 14 2016
Day 3 (Tuesday)
Franco says: “Kids Make Trouble” (= when preparing to hoist the mainsail, it means: Kids = open the Kicker/vang / Make = adjust the Main sheet / Trouble = check the Topping lift)
Off to Gozo today! After breakfast (at the “Fifteen 37”) Patrik and I had the task to do the passage plan for the route to that neighboring isle – passing Comino on the way there. New stuff to me, but Patrik knew how to do, since he did the theoretical day skipper course earlier this year. So I assisted him and found it (unexpectedly) very interesting!
The weather forecast was ok: Sunny and warm – although, some rough gusts of wind could be possible. Which became true, once we left the safety of the harbor. Therefore, Franco decided to travel by engine for a while and see how the winds are developing.
Suddenly, Michaela got all excited and shouted, “dolphins, dolphins!” Since I was the helms(wo-)man, I couldn’t see much until Franco came and started the autopilot. Thanks, Franco!!
Oh, and there they were! About three or four animals were darting from one side to the other under the boat. Everyone got really excited and happy! Well, Franco took it coolly, of course, he had seen many dolphins before. Sadly, after a few minutes they were gone and we wouldn’t meet any of these wonderful creatures for the rest of the week again….We didn’t even have the time to take a picture *sigh*
Well, just around the “corner”, the next surprise was awaiting us! Patrik and I were downstairs in the salon to correct our passage plan (we could not reach our starting point…) and it took us a while to realize what Michael was shouting outside: “Smoke, there is smoke coming from inside!!”
Patrik and I looked up and saw that there WAS smoke coming out the engine room, slipping outside through a gap just beside the stairs! GREAT!! Of course we went outside as quick as possible and Franco turned off the engine, then he went carefully downstairs to see what happened. After a minute he came up again and announced there was no fire – lucky us! But he asked, who the mechanic was on board. It was Patrik, so both disappeared downstairs again.
After a while they came up to the cockpit again and said, that apparently the engine got too hot. Somehow it didn’t get enough cooling water and got overheated. Maybe the lid wasn’t properly screwed on, after the “WOBBLE” this morning? *gulp*…it was me, who did the check this morning….
Anyway, we decided to wait for a while, let the engine cool down and see what will happen, when starting it again. Meanwhile, discussions got hot, how that happened – at least there were some other possibilities, than just me being guilty…. Patrik was sure he checked the cooling water lid after me, so the chance was high, it was something else. Maybe the high waves, which lifted “Felicity” half the time out of the water and, therefore, she couldn’t get cooling water? After considering that possibility and seen air bubbles in the raw water cooling hoses, we all agreed, it seemed the most logical explanation! What a relieve for me, I didn’t become fish bait!!
About an hour later Franco tried the engine again and we continued heading for Gozo (apparently there was a mechanic near the harbor, who Franco knew, in case we needed one. The only problem was, that the next day was Malta’s National Holiday and most shops were closed).
It seemed that the engine was working again, after filling up the cooling water. No leaks, no cooking anymore…everything worked just fine. Yiipiiieeeee !! So we sat sail now, since the winds were on our side – perfect!
Before the little island Comino we started the engine again to check, if it was still ok – it seemed to work as it should. Luckily, we still were in time and Franco told us about the beautiful and famous “Blue Lagoon” at Comino and we could go for a swim there! Yes, course – what an excellent idea. But when we arrived there the bay was crowded with other boats, jet-skis, bigger boats who came and went with loads of tourists. So being in the water was quite a challenge, trying not to get run over by someone. Therefore, we didn’t stay too long and soon hoist the anchor. Mgarr – the central harbor of Gozo was in viewing distance and after about 15 minutes we arrived there. It’s quite a busy harbor, with the big ferries from “Gozo Channel Line” leaving and arriving almost non-stop.
Franco called the harbor in order to register us and to get a mooring spot. That was the last challenge of the day: Our spot was too tight and hardly long enough, so all in all it was not an easy maneuver and to top it, the guy, working at the harbor and who was supposed to help us, was in a terrible mood and we suspected, he must have had a real crappy day today.….anyway, finally, we did it and slowly started joking again – of course we deserved a drink first, before doing much else!
Then it was shower time and we decided to eat in a restaurant tonight. We forgot the National Holiday the next day, though, which meant the restaurants were pretty busy and we were lucky, to find a table. But we managed and finally enjoyed a delicious meal, talking about the exciting day we’ve had!
Everyone was tired so after we came back, we soon went to bed – tomorrow we would sail around the whole island and the weather promised to be perfect again! Sweet dreams everyone J
Day 4 (Wednesday)
Franco says: “Remember, the jib is your best friend when sailing dead run”
The sun woke us the next morning, as promised and soon everyone was ready for a new adventurous day! Briefing first and off we went, leaving the harbor behind us quickly and exploring Gozo from the coastal side! We were surprised that almost no one was sailing, so it seemed we had the whole sea for ourselves and our sailing practice!
And it really was fun – we took turns with steering our “Felicity” and were thrilled about the fantastic view at the coast with its fascinating colors of blues, turquoise and the almost orange sandstone.
Before lunch Franco told us about a beautiful place called “Id-Dwejra Bay”. So he took over the helm and steered us safely through the narrow passage into the circular bay. Well, it didn’t look that narrow, but apparently there is only a small passage in, which is deep enough for a boat with keel, the sides are dangerous riffs and hard to see.
Once inside – we even were the only yacht – we were overwhelmed about the beauty and we admired he mighty “Fungus Rock” with its hole. Unfortunately, the sea wasn’t calm enough to anchor or to swim. So after taking lots of pictures we left “Id-Dwerja Bay”. Just around the corner we met the famous “Azure Window” and decided then to sail to “Ramla Bay”, anchor there and eat some lunch. So we did, but the sea there wasn’t any calmer, so no swimming again….
After cleaning up and some theory lessons with Franco. We left the red colored beach and its visitors and continued our journey around Gozo. The sea was lovely and it seemed, we did good. Franco looked pleased. Soon Mgarr came in sight and this time we got a much better mooring place. Which Franco requested by radio, early in the afternoon (the super grumpy guy from yesterday wasn’t working today – lucky us!!)
Everyone was very happy with the day. We treated ourselves with some Guinness and cocktails at the “Gleneagles Bar” in Mgarr. Went for a shower at the marina and soon started our cooking. A Tomato sauce and penne with some green salad – it tasted LOVELY !
After tidying up the galley, we talked for a while, enjoyed a Whisky and looked forward to the remaining days. Franco said that – according to the weather forecast – tomorrow would be the last day with some fair winds. Friday supposed to be very calm with hardly 5 knots of wind….definitely not enough to go sailing. So tomorrow would be a packed day for us!
Suddenly, we realized how fast time went by and that we only had two days left. On Saturday morning we would be leaving Franco and “Felicity”….too soon, we all agreed….Good night, everyone!
To be continued…….
Oct 07 2016
As promised in our last post, here we are again, with a report, decorated with some pictures!
We hope, you enjoy reading it – cheers ?
On Saturday, 17 September we flew from a rainy Zurich to a dry and warm Malta and landed – a wee bit too late – just after eight o’clock in the evening. Luckily, we arranged earlier with Anna Maria from Salana Sailing that a taxi would pick us up and drive us to the Msida Creek Harbor, Valletta.
Half an hour later we finally arrived at our destination – tired but thrilled. We were warmly greeted by Anna Maria at the gate to the pontoon H and a few minutes later we stood in front of the lovely “Felicity”, our home for the coming week. Gareth – Anna Maria’s husband -, their fluffy dog (sorry, I can’t remember the name…) and Franco – our instructor and skipper, originally from Rome – were onboard and welcomed us. After introducing oneself and a little talk, Anna Maria and Gareth wished us a wonderful and successful week and said their “Good Byes”.
While we enjoyed our “welcoming packet”- some beer and wine – Franco explained us how everything worked at the marina, for example one could only leave/enter the pontoon’s with a batch and it was the same with the facilities, which were in a building, just across the road. Unfortunately, there were not many toilets and just one shower (one was out of order…..since March, as we found out a few days later), but VERY clean.
The three cabins on board were quickly allocated, Michaela and Michael took the one on the bow, with their own toilet/shower. Patrik and I took one of the two stern cabins. Since we were only five people, Franco was happy to get his own private cabin as well, which usually isn’t the case, with six guests on board. We also had a toilet/shower, to share with Franco and he explained that we use the toilet only in “emergency cases”, otherwise showers and toilets should kindly be used at the marina. Well, no problem for us, of course!
Time went quick and soon everyone was tired and ready for bed! We agreed with Franco that breakfast will be at eight o’clock, briefing at nine and then we would be ready for our first sailing lesson! “Wo-hoooo, how exciting!!
Day 1 (Sunday)
Franco says: “WOBBLE” (daily engine check, meaning: Water / Oil / Belt / Bilge / Look around / Exhaust)
The next morning, everyone was up and ready in good time. Apparently, everyone slept very well, except for me. I guess it was the excitement, the unknown and too many thoughts. Annoyingly, it didn’t get better during the week….
Unfortunately, the promised coffee machine was missing, so we had some tea instead. Anyway, Franco told us about an Italian coffee shop nearby, so that would be our destination for the next morning!
Soon we were ready and left the harbor for the first time. How exciting!!
Our first lesson was parking the boat (backwards) nicely, which looked incredibly easy when watching Franco, but we quickly learned how wrong we were, especially with a mean wind coming from the side. After that we definitely left the harbor and learned how to steer “our” yacht – with the motor, not under sail. Franco showed us quickly Valletta’s Grand Harbour on the way out, with its impressive visitors: Two or three huge cruising vessels were moored there! Very impressive!
Outside again, the wind was still there of course, but now it was accompanied by waves. Well, in my opinion we managed quite good and enjoyed the fine weather and each other’s company!
Next thing to learn was how to anchor, since we became a little hungry. Again, everything went smooth, thanks to Franco’s patience and calmness. It was also the first time I saw a hand-bearing compass, what it’s for and how to use it. Funny little “thing” J. After swimming, eating and tidying up, it was Patrik’s and my turn for some theory lessons with our instructor. And then it was already time to hoist the anchor (learning by doing, of course) and we were heading back to our harbor again.
After a successful mooring, we allowed us a drink and talked excitedly about our first day at sea! Then we showered and Michaela and I inspected the galley and its fridge in order to cook some dinner. In the end we managed to do some kind of ratatouille with pasta – it tasted surprisingly good and apparently, everyone was happy with it.
Unfortunately, Michael didn’t feel too well, after we came back and his slight headache developed to a terrible migraine. It might have been the sun, the warmth, being outside all day long…or a combination of everything! In any case, while we were eating, he was “ten and out”, sleeping in the cabin – poor him! Later on, while everyone else was already in bed, he luckily felt better and even became hungry – we heard him, eating the rest of the dinner! So that was good news!
Day 2 (Monday)
Franco says: “A flappy sail is an unhappy sail”
A sunny morning again and breakfast at eight o’clock, only with the slight difference that this time we went to the Italian coffee shop, called “Fifteen 37 Cafe”, and enjoyed fresh orange juice, smoothies, and lovely, lovely coffee! Fabulous!!
After the briefing at nine, we were ready and headed for the sea. The waves were a bit bigger than yesterday and the winds a bit stronger and Franco announced that we would be sailing today!
And so we did, with the jib first and practicing to gybe a few times – which went OK – and then trying with the mainsail, until the halyard got stuck somehow. Nevertheless, it was lunchtime and we anchored in a lovely bay called “Il-Ħofra l-Kbira”. There, we relaxed a little, went swimming and snorkeling (M&M’s), eating (all), fixing the halyard and had some sailing theory (Patrik and me with Franco). Too soon it was over and time to head slowly home again.
We used a partly reefed-in mainsail and the jib for a while. Until the wind became much stronger and the waves higher than expected. Finally, Franco took over the helm and ordered us to take down the mainsail, then Patrik was in charge again. A few miles from the inlet to the harbor the jib was furled in. Which was just in time, because the waves washed now over our brave “Felicity”. Within a very short time, we all were soaked – and soon shivering (me at least). It seemed the harbor never came closer and I think – meanwhile – everyone longed to be in the safe harbor again….
Later than planned we finally arrived at our pontoon. Mercifully, the sun was shining again (or still?) and warmed us up! Now we really deserved our beer/wine. Before we went for a shower and decided to have dinner at the close-by pizzeria “Bella Venezia”. Franco stayed at the boat, probably wanted to talk to his girlfriend in Sicily in peace. Before we left and wished him a nice evening. He promised that we would sail to Gozo tomorrow and stay there for two days! *Jiiihhaaaa* , that sounded fantastic!!
Dinner was great, we all enjoyed our meal with a bottle of Italian red wine. Talked about our adventurous day and what to expect in Gozo. Needless to say, that everyone slept sound….except me…
To be continued…….
Sep 28 2016
Last Sunday afternoon we came back from Malta, after an awesome week sailing around these small, but stunning islands!
All of us – Michaela, Michael, Patrik and me – agree. We truly had a fantastic week on “our” Bavaria 39’ cruiser, called S/V “Felicity”! Not least because of Franco, our Italian skipper and instructor, who patiently taught us how to sail safely in theory and practice and gave us lots of precious tips! We really enjoyed each other’s company, also in the evenings, when we had a drink, discussed the day, cooked dinner and ate together. In my opinion we all fitted together perfectly!
Everyone had its tasks on the yacht! So no, M&M’s haven’t done “bugger all” during the week, but “worked” as much and hard as Patrik and I have (except the swotting for our practical education).
The weather was just perfect: Warm and sunny with nice winds, which suited us just fine, as “greenhorns”
Last but not least, we proudly announce that. Patrik and even myself received the “Day Skipper” (practical) certificate by the end of the week! It was clear that Patrik would make it – Franco was more than happy with his skills. For me it was a big surprise. Since my aim was the “Competent Crew” + benefit as much as possible from Patrik’s day skipper education. So, I’m overjoyed!
That’s a quick overview. To keep you entertained and get you to look forward for more!
Soon we will meet M&M’s to sort out the 400+ photos and a couple of films, which will be displayed on our blog. So, stay tuned !
Here below are the routes day by day that we did during the week. Are not the exact course or routes but close to it.
Aug 29 2016
Last Saturday we met M&M’s at 10 o’clock in the morning in Uesslingen (where Patrik and I live – they live in Schaffhausen), ‘cos we wanted to do a motorbike tour around Switzerland. The weather was already quite warm and sunny and the forecast said it would be up to 32 degrees C today…. Well, better than freezing (or so we thought)!
Michael planned the whole trip so he was our leader with his Triumph Speed Triple, then came Michaela with her rented Triumph Street Twin and the tail light formed Patrik and me with our Harley Softail.
After lunch the temperatures were (almost) beyond “being comfortable” with over 30 deg. C and we looked longingly at people we were passing, going in shorts and flip flops, or even more cruel: Those who were swimming in lakes and rivers…..
After 5 pm we said good bye to each other and took our last bit homeward.
I really must say, I can’t remember sweating so much, in my whole life. I could literally wring my t’shirt out when we came home just after 6 pm. Just for the record: Usually, I am the one freezing in 22 deg. C and complaining about being cold, while everyone else I sweating…..
The remaining Saturday evening was lazy and we didn’t do much more than sitting in our garden, enjoyed our cold beer / white wine and talked about the fantastic day we’ve had!
On the enclosed maps you get an idea where we drove and at this point we would like to give a big compliment to Michael – it was a beautifully chosen route with a nice break every now and then. Just perfect!
Aug 15 2016
Just another month and Patrik, me and our friends M&M’s are off to Malta, to spend one week on a sailing boat – yeah!! We are so excited and nearly can’t wait to start our adventure!
After having passed the sailing theory this summer, Patrik will continue and do the “Day Skipper” practical course, while I’ll do the “Competent Crew” training.
We decided to book with “Salana Sailing” because they offer various courses, plus our main wish was to sail around Malta – which they do. Certainly, we were also looking for a competent, English speaking, fun-loving provider and so far we haven’t been disappointed. The email contact we’ve had so far was very promising and professional. So we look really forward to meet our skipper and instructor and “our” boat, which will either be a Bavaria 39 or 46 Cruiser – we don’t know yet, which one will be our home for the week.
Since Patrik and I mainly want to do our practical sailing education, we figured that chartering a boat only for us might be the best thing to do. I’m sure, that way we will gain most of our training. Having M&M’s also on board is of course the icing on the cake – we’ll have so much fun together!
So, while Michaela and Michael will enjoy one week of getting “chauffeured” around the Malta islands, enjoy the (hopefully sunny and warm) weather, swimming, sun- bathing and being busy with doing next to nothing, Patrik and I will be working and learning and hopefully pass the course by the end of the week – fingers crossed!
Jul 01 2016
If you followed our recipes, you most certainly realized that we enjoy a vegetarian kitchen. We have plenty of tasty ideas and only wish sometimes, we had a bit more time to cook them and write them down.
Nevertheless, I’m more and more interested and tempted by vegan food. I find it fascinating to turn a known (or unknown) menu not only into a vegetarian version but also into a vegan. Which ingredients have to be changed or replaced (and through what?) to get a satisfactorily result? How do I get the right consistence, taste or color, and how do I do scrambled eggs without eggs?
Since I like the “easy-peasy” recipes, I mainly try to use common ingredients, which can be bought in shops near us. I don’t like ingredients which I have to look up in the dictionary, to understand what it is.
And last but not least it’s a challenge for me to see, if I can satisfy Patrik’s taste. I mean, he is not even a 100% vegetarian, so of course, he was very skeptical at the beginning. But luckily he is open for new things and so far, his comments were benevolent. Meanwhile, I’m able to cook again, without him behind my back…watching
So, if you see recipes marked like that ? , these are the vegan ones. I hope some of you get inspired and I would be happy to receive some comments and/or ideas.
Jun 06 2016
It’s quite a while ago since Patrik and I, together with good friends of us, decided to take a trip to Innsbruck/Tyrol in Austria, mainly to visit the “Swarovski Crystal Worlds”. Michaela and Michael – who call themselves “M&M’s” – know the surrounding area and its places of interest very well, since Michaela is Austrian and has been living in Innsbruck for a few years. So that was quite handy, of course!
On Friday, May 20th, after work, M&M’s picked us up and exuberantly happy we started our upcoming weekend! Even the weather gods were on our side: The forecast for the weekend was sunny and warm!
The driving alone was impressive, over the “Voralberg” massif, which starts shortly after the Swiss border – there were still some snowy patches lying around on top of the pass.
After three hours we arrived at the hotel, enjoyed a lovely dinner and and planned the day after.
At eight o’clock on Saturday morning we had our breakfast and after nine we drove good-humored to the Swarovski world. It’s recommended to arrive there early, since there are busloads of tourists arriving during the day…. When we saw the huge parking lot (which was still almost empty), we thought it must be true!
Well, once inside……but look for yourself, I guess the pictures don’t need any comments…..
It truly was worth the visit, and – at least for me – it wasn’t easy to leave this wonderful, kitschy fantasy world behind!
After a cool drink we went to Innsbruck which is famous for its beautiful picturesque old town – especially “Das Goldene Dachl” = The Golden Roof.
Together with quite a lot of other tourists from all over the world, we really had a great time strolling around, went for a couple of drinks, sitting in the “promised-and-came-true” sunshine and had dinner in a typical Tyrol restaurant, which specialty is leather trousers, meat, potatoes and “sauerkraut”…. Not the place to be for a vegetarian, really, hahaha…. Anyway, I survived with a salad and some bread!
Finally, back at the hotel, we had a last drink together, before we went to bed and slept soundly and perfectly satisfied!
On Sunday morning, after breakfast and check-out we drove a little detour to the next village called “Hall”, had a look around at this lovely place and finally started our trip home, where we arrived in the afternoon – sun still shining and around 30 deg. ! After saying good bye to M&M’s and assuring each other what a great weekend it was, Patrik and I soon started our barbecue and we finished the evening with a tasty dinner. What a perfect ending after a fantastic weekend.
One more thing: Our neighbor looked after Odin again – so, NO, he neither had to fight dogs off our property, nor was he starving……