Monday, December 24, 2012

frohe weihnachten - merry christmas

christmas is a wonderful time - not only because of great biscuits (which of course my mami makes the best ones of!) and holidays.

for me it is also a time to be a bit humble and grateful for my family and friends - for my fantastic mum, who came all the way to st.lucia to celebrate with us -and for many many other things, for my great brother pauli, who was the greatest support for me in the last weeks and deserves the "brother of the year award 2012", for his wife barbara and my two nephews theo and emil, who we miss dearly -they not only sing the most beautiful sailing-songs in the world, for my brother christoph, who also had a big year with lots of news and came to be with me on my wedding with his new lovely partner, - for my dad, who had a hard year, but nevertheless  breezed through it not only because of his partner astrid -
for my australian mum gerda, who is the best mother in law one girl could have, and also came to see us with pete and shannon, who i can't wait to see in fiji - for nicole and fin, my sister in law who took my lovely nephew on his first long haul flight to be the biggest surprise on our wedding and rick who made sure that she would be able to do so, as they were setting up a new business just then with lots of work involved - for terry, being a great brother in law and a great friend to mark and me, for gisi, who is a great support and my sister! and made our wedding the most special one in the world! - for sarah, nina and laura, my most beautiful nieces, whom i thank for being so nice to their weird aunty charlie! you girls are great friends:) - for mark's uncle col and aunt lynn - words can't say how thankful we are for what you've done for us!

for my friends helmut and elke, who have not forgotten me already and are always welcomed on maloo - for tobi and barbara, who themselves are about to face the biggest challenge in life, and i know you will be soooooo good in it! - for daniel, who helped me through the last years so much!  for cornelius, who writes the best letters, that read like being written on paper - all the guys at the bsh PCP/MA-DS who make me miss work every now and then - 
for all my friends like ina, ronny, christoph, chris and anke, katja, elisabeth and julian, and all of those who won't be angry, that i forgot mentioning them - for all the new friends that we made on the way from the yachts senta, fabiola, azzurro II, island lady too, chilli cat, sirius and many many more...

dieter and monika, who we think of with great admiration every day, as they gave us their wonderful adaco/maloo to take care of - and she takes great care of us!

of course and especially for my brave uncle michael, who helped us across the pond and made sure we'd have the best fish to eat when we ordered it (....I don't know of any fisherman who fishes to order :) )  -and my aunty liesi, who let him do so and who though of getting us adventskalender and especially an adventskranz! my cousin tina and her husband klaus and son killian, who let the nonno go, and will add a surley wonderful person to all our family celebrations soon! for luki - who showed his dad how the fishing is done in the med, so michael could feed us!
and for steve, who was a great help with boat jobs and doing the graveyard shift.....without you guys, we would probably still be out there!

for my friend with the rose garden - who not only inspired me but also dared me to dream of a rose garden of my own some time in the future!

my lovely buddy - behave!!!!!  - we've heard you've been a bad boy! not sure if the christkind will bring you a bone this year ;) - we miss you dearly every day and you are in our thoughts wherever we go!
and last but definitely not least my husband mark, the love of my life, my best friend and the greatest husband of all times, who not only makes sure that maloo is not sinking, but also always keeps me afloat!

to all of you  - frohe weihnachten - a merry christmas  - and thank you all for your loving and lasting support! - all your little messages make sure, we still feel safe and never lonely even when things go wrong.

lots of love,

mark and karline 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

17days 9h 34 sec

at 16:29:34 seconds maloo crossed the arc finish line in st.lucia.

apart from being happy that we are here - we are even more happy that neither crew nor boat suffered from any breakage in what would have to be renamed "the atlantic destruction derby for cruising yachts"

the conditions were rough and the crossing was fast - never ever would we have thought to do it just under 18days as we are only a 42 footer and nowhere near a racer!
a lot of boats suffered serious damages and we wish especially the yachts that are still out there all the best for the rest of the journey! were the last hours?

it started of with probably the longest 5nm in my whole life. sitting and staring on the screen, watching the "distance to waypoint" go down it felt worse that waiting for the christkind and the easter bunny all together!

i have to admit i hardly had an eye for the beauty of the island, as i was just nervously waiting to see the end.
coming into the bay, we could see the yacht that marked the finish line and with a wonderful reach doing 7,5kn i had the honor of taking us over it.

what a welcome that was from the arc (thanks for that!!!) as we opened a well deserved bottle of piper heidseck and proceeded to the marina.

to get into the marina one has to go through a rather narrow channel - with people sitting left and right and congratulating us on our trip we arrived in a totally different world than the one we left 17 days ago.

the best though was definitely all our friends from senta, fabiola, sundancer II, open blue and many more welcoming us on the jetty. (that is surely the best thing of not arriving first!;))

and here we are! it`s 29°C, the sun is shining, the water is lovely 26°C, the rum punch is on ice... and finally our world is not moving anymore. you can not believe how great it is to have a bite to eat without holding onto plate, food and cutlery, to drink a glass of water without spilling most of it....
in feels like pure heaven!

how is it to sail across the atlantic?
mark answered me the same few things that came to my mind ad hoc: blue, sometimes grey, sometimes petrol colored... but never boring.
days go by faster than imagined - the scenery of the ocean is wonderful and I really enjoyed being out there!
but it is physically also much more demanding than expected. not only because the conditions were mostly rough, you are in a 24h gym - even sleeping you are exercising. 
the result: we all lost weight! - so did everyone I have met so far! even though we ate really well, a couple of kilos were paid to neptune.
I also think that some of us underestimated what they booked in for...having had a rougher trip to lanzarote already, mark and i were pretty well prepared, and although we hoped to have a smoother one, were not that surprised (i wonder if that's purely a good thing ;)

there is no cm on my body that has not seen a bruise in the last 2 weeks...but no serious injury was done.

and even though there's no lie about that fact that some hours were just awful and I wished myself on a couch with buddy at my feet, I do not have a single doubt that I would do it a heartbeat!

and in fact, mark and i are going to to it again - even being out at sea longer: in approximately 3 months from now we are to cross the biggest ocean of our great blue planet - the pacific.

3 months is a lot of water under the keel though and before that, there is an awful lot of caribbean to be conquered!

where the hurricanes are born....becalmed on the atlantic in the first week

st.lucia ahead of us.... the last 3h that felt like 3 years

Friday, December 14, 2012

st.lucia, here we come! DAY 16 to 18

at 12:42 pm local time we have 32nm to go

and although it's not that much any more these miles seem to take for ever!
some of our friends have already made it and probably enjoy their well deserved cool drinks on I wish we'd be with them already;) - good on you, guys - congrats from the maloos!!!!!
it is time we'd arrive - with the boat rolling heavily over house-like waves (surely some over 8m) sleeping has been quite hard and doing things below like cooking is just no fun anymore.
if the distance would be any longer we'd probably try to find a nicer angle to the waves to keep the boat still for a day, but I was promised a breakfast in rodney bay on no way we can make extra "comfort-miles" ;)

the sailing has been quite good the last couple of days. with only the genoa out we managed to go pretty much straight line for st.lucia - having a record day of just over 180nm in 24h the day before yesterday

unfortunately the wind eased off (as predicted) and for the last hours we had our penta helping us on and off.

there have been the odd squalls and gusts, but I actually enjoyed riding them out. with never more than 32kn it was good fun surfing down the waves doing just over 12kn.

what turns really out to be a shocker are these flying fish! just last night again I had one hitting me from behind on my shoulder costing me at least five years of my total life expectancy.
they really seem to enjoy scaring the sh... out of us by hitting us in the middle of the night.
in fact I do believe they are drawn to the lights on the boat... still you could never be sure about a mean element in these fishy kamikazes now could you?

we are out of fresh fruit - but canned peaches and pears are just as divine! there is still fresh vegetables left - some of it I am going to cook tonight...maybe as a chinese noodle stir fry!?
yesterday we had chili con carne...still a bit of meat left too!

thank god the fridge is getting emptier now, as I had to fit in the bottle of piper heidseck for our arrival! - it is still very abstract to think that we would soon (hopefully) have crossed the atlantic and find ourselves in the caribbean...I keep staring at the chart in our salon and the reality of it still hasn't hit me....most likely it will though in a couple of days like one of these flying fish!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

st.lucia, here we come! DAY 14 to 15 - what comes after the calm?

what a night! - after having rather little to no wind the last days, the evening of day 13 started with a nice breeze and grey skies which almost had us thinking we took a wrong turn somewhere and are in the irish seas.
towards the night the wind increased to high twenties/low thirties and rain fronts (so called squalls) passed us by.

Mark had gusts up to 37kn in his shift and with only a tiny bit of sail out did over 12kn down the steep waves. I tried to get some rest in the front of the boat, but the noise of maloo running down these waves was almost deafening.

in the morning the wind was still around 27-30kn with the sea now being very messy and the rain fronts changed into walls of water coming down on us. I don't think I have ever seen so much water coming down as rain - which left me rather amazed and totally soaked. our hands swelled up from being wet constantly, making it hard to pull sheets or hold the helm.

this was probably the hardest night of our trip so far (knock on wood!!!!) for us and for our maloo, leaving me absolutely exhausted after a night without sleep and heavy conditions on watch. but luckily maloo went through it all without any damage or complaint, which is quite amazing given the fact the we were thrown around like a rubber duck.

with all that wind though our progress was fantastic....I almost saw us there in rodney bay drinking our well deserved rum punsh. but things come differently then expected - and so the wind left us for the major part of did the rum punsh in my hand! - as we want to keep the fuel for maybe the last day before st.lucia using our penta is out of option.

in the evening a steadier softer wind returned and since then we are under genoa only (rolling less than goose-winging) and making about 6,5 to 7kn straight for st.lucia.

with 587nm to go (at 5:45 UTC-2) we hope to get into rodney bay by saturday morning (if the wind god is with us even friday) - in both cases a really good result for maloo and us!

so on the menu we had potato-salmon patties (which turned our to be rather tasty but otherwise a disaster) with tomato-salad and given the fact that we were all rather tired last night, penne with pesto!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

st.lucia, here we come! DAY 10 to 13 - becalmed

after the first mahi mahi, Michael caught the next one - this time a 85cm and app.4,5kg fish - almost too pretty to be eaten, but it was very very tasty!

we had a great sail up until the night before last night. after a big rain shower the wind disappeared completely. also the swell died down a bit.
so far we tried every possible sail-setup to keep the boat moving with only 8-10kn of wind. but the rather big waves (for this light wind) cause the sails to flap heavily, because the wind just can't keep them full.
rather exhausted and frustrated we have decided to give our trustworthy volvo a go as the rolling over the waves is easier to handle when the boat is moving.
unfortunately this will mean quite a penalty for the rally across the atlantic, but as we saw the other day, also a lot of other yachts made the same decision.

it is quite an amazing sight though being in the middle of the atlantic with wonderful cloud-structures around you and a rather calm sea (I will try to post some pictures when we are in st.lucia)
however, after a couple of days we are all waiting for the wind to return which should happen some time today (sunday) according to the grib-file of our weather program.

on my night watch tonight I got almost hit by a flying fish jumping onto maloo. he only missed me by a couple of centimeters before slamming into the bimini and landing on deck. lucky I could quickly return him to the water.

at the moment we only have 889nm left till rodney bay and with the temperatures rising to 30°C (water is 26.1°C) we can feel getting closer to the caribbean.

If the wind returns we hope to arrive on the 14th/15th of december!

as promised here also our menu update: it has been fresh mahi-mahi (dolphin fish/dorade...however you want to call it) with tomato-onion sauce and couscous, chinese stir fry with gingered beef and lamb chops with tuscan string beans and gnocchi.
so - still no signs of starvation on maloo!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

st.lucia, here we come! DAY 6 to 9 - half way!

the last days were again good sailing and no breakage!

Fishing wise Michael had a few bites on the hook - one of them must have been really big as it tore the 40kg line. in the evening though, just as he was bringing in the lure for the night a wonderful mahi-mahi bit, was landed and filleted!

the weather is quite alright - probably not as hot as hoped, but the wind is good and the wind direction helps us too.
nevertheless we took it a bit easier the last 2-3 days as we all felt quite tired after nights with heavy seas (i had to put on another sea sickness patch, even though I hardly have trouble with sea sickness) - so instead of changing sails immediately we sometimes went along with lesser wind and did 6kn instead of our normal speed. unfortunately we also got overtaken by a couple of boats...but hey, we all had a great sleep!

we had small repairs like undoing the furling line on our headsail. it somehow rolled up wrong and caused the furler to block. but it was just a matter of 10min on the front of the boat getting it sorted. so "knock on wood" maloo is doing great!

it is somehow strange when you look out into the vast blue and never get bored of looking at it. the color of the sea somehow also seems to change (even though I know this is rubbish) but the light and sun angle is a different one being further south and with water temperature rising to 24,6°C I so look forward to a swim in the caribbean.

so far there has also been no way of being bored, I actually seem to have no time for reading my books I was so looking forward to.
whenever I am off shift, there is something to do like: check the veggies in their boxes and turn them around, cook, have a little rest, have a shower (which proves to be a quite sporty event with the boat moving so much)...etc.

food the last days was a chicken-curry (for me with veggies of course;)), bangers and lemon-mash (really yummy) ( i.e. bratwurst mit zitronen-kartoffel puree, for all my non aussie-slang-speakers out there) with a carrot-salad, roasted chicken legs with roasted vegetables.... so you see, we still eat fresh stuff.
cooking also is quite a difficult task to master, when the boat is heeling over 30° in one moment and then 20° on the opposite side- just yesterday I spilled a cup of dry rice. the remains we will probably find till we arrive in australia. I am proud to announce though, that I even managed to make pancakes the other day for breakfast.

today we also celebrated our half-way party! we said our good byes to spain in style with a couple of goodies we brought with from the Canaries such as iberico ham and salami, yummie goats cheese (that even mark liked) and a wonderful bottle of cava. the highlight was definitely the mahi mahi though that i did in the pan with just a little olive oil and lemon. I have to say, that was probably the best fish I ever had!
this lunch was also a little boost for the moral on board. we have been doing all right so far, still with being thrown around in the boat so much it is sometimes rather hard to keep a happy face all the time. but as we get closer and closer to the trade winds and the sea easing off, spirits rise.

if the wind-god is with us, we might arrive saturday in one week - so fingers crossed!!!!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

st.lucia, here we come! DAY 4 and 5

day 4 started with a rather annoying swell, that led to little sleep. the wind was constant ENE between 18-25kn and had us travel with good speed. maloo is currently doing around 160nm a day which is quite good for a loaded up barge like her ( I reckon we added another 1,5 tones to her 10,5 before we left!)

again we had lot of dolphins and I never get tired of looking at them...this time they were spotted like dalmatians;)

the day went by rather uneventful, which is good (because events usually mean that something is broken) - we currently try fix, what we think might be a loose rudder bearing, but nothing major to be concerned about.

the constant heavy rolling due to those messy swells is rather exhausting  - physically, because you constantly have to hold on to things and balance, and on the nerves, because simple things like poring a cup of tea turns out to be a real circus stunt!
so instead of the usual 10-12 second wave passing underneath, we have 6-8 second swells rather steep (which is a bit more mediterranean than atlantic)

night 4 was a roughy too! mark had 30kn constant on his shift and very messy seas - the wind died down on Steve's shift and started to go funny on mine - I had to dodge a couple of rain-sqalls. It was great to ride the wind behind them though with 8,5 to 9kn.

it's great though to have the wind even when it is a bit on the stronger side...sitting in these waves with no wind would be a real disaster.

slowly but surly the temperatures rise...I suppose the "Adventsengerl" had to wear a lighter outfit than back home in austria when it dropped the adventskalender off.
can't believe it's only 24 days till christmas...and hopefully only another 15 days for us to st.lucia

oh -lunch was a nice wrap with beef, avocado and mango lime chutney (without the beef for me) and last night it was x-treme bbq-ing for mark doing pork chops on the webber on high seas - and a salad.
today it will be homemade carrot-ginger-pumpkin soup with (also homemade) turkish bread for lunch and most likely roast chicken or bangers and mash for dinner (or maybe we do manage to catch a fish today!?)

st.lucia, here we come! DAY 4 and 5

day 4 started with a rather annoying swell, that led to little sleep. the wind was constant ENE between 18-25kn and had us travel with good speed. maloo is currently doing around 160nm a day which is quite good for a loaded up barge like her ( I reckon we added another 1,5 tones to her 10,5 before we left!)

again we had lot of dolphins and I never get tired of looking at them...this time they were spotted like dalmatians;)

the day went by rather uneventful, which is good (because events usually mean that something is broken) - we currently try fix, what we think might be a loose rudder bearing, but nothing major to be concerned about.

the constant heavy rolling due to those messy swells is rather exhausting - physically, because you constantly have to hold on to things and balance, and on the nerves, because simple things like poring a cup of tea turns out to be a real circus stunt!
so instead of the usual 10-12 second wave passing underneath, we have 6-8 second swells rather steep (which is a bit more mediterranean than atlantic)

night 4 was a roughy too! mark had 30kn constant on his shift and very messy seas - the wind died down on Steve's shift and started to go funny on mine - I had to dodge a couple of rain-sqalls. It was great to ride the wind behind them though with 8,5 to 9kn.

it's great though to have the wind even when it is a bit on the stronger side...sitting in these waves with no wind would be a real disaster.

slowly but surly the temperatures rise...I suppose the "Adventsengerl" had to wear a lighter outfit than back home in austria when it dropped the adventskalender off.
can't believe it's only 24 days till christmas...and hopefully only another 15 days for us to st.lucia

oh -lunch was a nice wrap with beef, avocado and mango lime chutney (without the beef for me) and last night it was x-treme bbq-ing for mark doing pork chops on the webber on high seas - and a salad.
today it will be homemade carrot-ginger-pumpkin soup with (also homemade) turkish bread for lunch and most likely roast chicken or bangers and mash for dinner (or maybe we do manage to catch a fish today!?)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

st.lucia, here we come! DAY 2 and 3

the first night was very rough. strong gusts and a very messy sea had mark and me dreaming of a nice calm anchorage on La Gomera.

day 2 also had lots of wind, but the sea calmed with every hour. we had the water alarm in the stern coming on during the night - some water found its way in through the through-hull fitting of the bilge pump. with the boat now so heavy, every now and then this fitting was half way under water. the fact that bavaria forgot to use a bit of silicone didn't help the problem either - so a bit of epoxy putty had to fix the problem...and it did!

lucky though we had to spend time back there - otherwise we would not have noticed that the top bearing of our rudder stock came lose. this could have turned into something serious...but now all bolts are tight and nothing moves that is not supposed to.

dinner the second night was a veggie-lasagne...

slowly we all seem to find our way into the routine of watch-keeping. we do 4h on 8h off (which is a real treat!) my shifts being from 4:00 -8:00 am and
pm, mark is on 8:00-12:00 - and one shift he shares with michael and steve does 12:00-4:00 twice a day.
we all seem to feel better rested and in a happier mood!

the morning watch for me was great today - the best sailing since a long time and we made good progress. with "vamipre weekend" (danke Pauli) on my headphones I just had a ball!
the wind is still blowing constant and we are goose-winging straight for our way point just 300nm north west of the cap verdes.

tonight we have steak on the menu for the meat-lovers and ratatouille with potatoes or gnocchi for me!
oh... and the lunch today will be "gröstete knedl mit salot" :)
(so no condensed milk and rice just yet ;))

st.lucia, here we come! DAY 1

at app. 11:05 maloo with us on board crossed the start line to go to st.lucia.
the morning before was all about cleaning up, getting everything tied down and being a bit nervous and excited.
the last photos were taken and good byes were said - one more phone call to families and friends.

funny how this start was something so special.
so many months and years mark and I have dreamed of this journey, and even though we started 3 months ago in turkey, this feels like a whole new start again.

so out here now we have rainy weather with more than enough wind pushing us along with 8kn. the sailing is great, just the rain is a bit annoying.
the night has already fallen and with all these clouds up unfortunately no moon is visible.
however - we covered quite a distance already and the weather forecast makes us hope we will keep on doing so the next week.

soon I will get dinner going which is Gulasch alla Mami WIchert for the meat lovers and a beautiful Paprika Kraut for meeee, also one of my mums great recipes with flown in semmelknödl!
can't wait!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Leaving Las Palmas we are!
so many months, weeks, days of preparations for our first big ocean crossing!
the last days were ....bloody hell - well, if you read our blog, you know I wrote quite often how busy we were - but compared to the last days, these days retrospectively feel like holidays.

I got all the fruit, veg and meat order delivered - our boat looks like a fruit market with all the nets up inside the salon now.
all the boat stuff is done, every corner cleaned, every pair of underpants is freshly put it in a nutshell: we are SO ready to go.

today 12:00 - skippers briefing for the trip.
the last safety instructions are given, and then: the final weather report for the next couple of days.
and the weather is looking foul - actually more than just foul! really rotten!!!! 6-8m waves and the wind from a SSW direction with 35kn - a very deep low just north of the canaries is causing all the havoc.
this was probably the first time I got physically sick when seeing a weather chart! - and looking at Mark  I could see he's not well either!
2 days of bashing into heavy weather....if we would not be in the arc, we would never go out in such a forecast!
so we made the hard decision not to. in order to protect our crew, ourselves and of course our beloved maloo and in order to have a good time and a safe crossing, this is in our case the only decision we can make!

thank god the people from the arc think so too and decided for the second time ever in the last 27 years of arc to postpone the start for those who wish to leave in better weather and strongly recommended the "cruising devision" (the one we're in) not to go out! I wrote in the begining: here we are - and we will stay here until tuesday!

finally a couple of days to catch up on sleep! - and time to celebrate my captain mark's birthday!

Friday, November 16, 2012

busy at the arc

well, after a horrible horrible horrible night sailing from lanzarote to las palmas (we were rolling so much that at one stage i flew of the couch down below...) we find ourselves in the middle of the arc-program and preparing the last things for our crossing.

find out what's going on at

so again we are busy as hell....and actually I can't wait to finally get going - so all the organizing will find it's own end ;)

still - some important things are still missing and this is why I need YOUR help!!!! - please send us some book-tips (preferably non sailing) via leaving a comment on the blog! also music-playlists will be highly appreciated :) (please leave Rod Steward out though;) )!

thanks for all your comments!!!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

good bye monkeys - hello dolphins!

after a long wait for the right weather pattern we finally had the right wind prediction to go south.
the almost 4 weeks in la linea were a mixed experience: annoying, because we couldn't go anywhere, thinking that the weather might change and we'd miss our chance - exhausting, because we tried to use the time to get some boat-things done - cold, because the weather was just awful - funny, because those monkeys are really cute and fun to watch -  great, because we made really good friends I would not want to miss anymore (Lisa, Gill, Cameron and Samuel of Fabiola took great care of us, feeding and entertaining us! thanks so much for not only that, guys! - I reckon borrowing our bikes just won't make up anymore...)

but there we are - out the strait of gibraltar we go, snug along the coast making use of a couple of back currents pushing us out. just after tarifa mark and i landed our first tuna! a wonderful fish, that would be our dinner for the next couple of nights.
with fabiola and a lot of other boats we knew around us, we went into the first night. with no moon out and clouds it was pitch dark- and very very cold. wearing two layers of everything we started our 4h watch regimen. unlike the prediction (which had a nice northeasterly along the route we plotted) the wind died off where we are. 

the night went on, the next day came and in the morning the wind slightly picked up again. but the angle was not as nice as hoped... so we tried "goose-winging" for the first time on maloo. (i.e. poling out the headsail on one side and having the mainsail on the other side - very useful to go as far down wind as possible)

the second night started rather smooth but as the hours went on, thunderclouds built and in the early morning hours I found us surrounded by massive thunderbolts hitting the water - beautiful to watch when in a nice house with a cup of tea - bloody scary when in a boat with a mast alone on sea - so we switched of every antenna (like the vhf right up the top) and took all power off the batteries only steering to the compass to make sure we attract the least attention possible to any flash up there ;)
heavy rain followed and for the next day we tried to avoid one thunder system after the other - they fortunately had little wind in them (at least where we were) - but the wind direction changed like being on some joyride.

other boats - other conditions: just 20nm away from us, other yachts had great wind or even too much and a hell of a lot of bad luck. over vhf we got news of sails being torn and another boat suffering a knock down. horrible things to hear - but thank god no one was hurt or serious damage done!

morning of day 3 had us surrounded by a massive pod of very playful dolphins which stayed with us for over an hour... funny how you feel really knackered in one moment (after two nights of very bad to no sleep), wondering what you ever thought when you decided to do this sailing thing, and the next moment you are surrounded by dolphins and you know that exactly this sailing thing has clearly been the best choice ever made!
we heard them talk to each other through the hull of the boat as they swam left and right and under our boat - just amazing.
while looking at the dolphins i noticed a bit of rope coming out the back of our boat. it was stuck so the first thought was it would be around the prop (and this was not the nicest thought!) we took our little gopro camera and put it on a pole to film under water. we were quite relived to find this rope only being stuck between the rudder and the hull. again we were incredible lucky as this string would come out just after maneuvering in the marina 2 days later without us having to dive)... check out the video below!

a few hours later we got another visitor - a little bird needed some rest and after hanging out outside in the cockpit for a while he decided it was much cozier down below... so down he went. 
he got really friendly and looked for various places to sleep (see photos), sat on my hand for a bit and tried our bed - i wonder what these birds do out there, since quite a few came to have a look if maloo would make a good rest stop.
I gave him a bit of sugared water, which he drank happily and after a short snooze he took off again.

friday the 9th we arrived in Graciosa at 10:00am planning to anchor for a couple of nights - but other yachts had the same idea so the anchorage was full and very rolly so mark and I decided to move on to rubicon marina on lanzarote, where we anyway had to go to pick up the last safety gear for crossing the big lake.
this added another 50nm to our trip - we caught another tuna, unfortunately, as after our first catch we were quite "tunaed out" and both did not fancy one more bite! (it was not wasted however: another boat in the marina was very happy to add it to their paella)
we tied off in rubicon at 17.00 - after 5 days and 4 nights on sea. 
compared to other yachts around us we were incredible lucky and had no damage done to our boat even though the conditions were nothing like expected. the wind came from every possible direction, the sea was sometimes nice, sometimes very messy - it was definitely not an easy sail down and very demanding.

after a late dinner with the fabiola crew, we had a deep sleep and found ourselves the next morning on this most amazing island of lanzarote. unfortunately we will have to explore the island some other time (which is a huge shame) but las palmas is calling and we will do the jump of 100nm on monday night hoping to arrive for breakfast.
the arc-craze will start and we have to get the last preps done before the big jump.

I tell you, it is more than strange having talked about it for such a long time and now have it finally happening!

monkey no.1

monkey no.2

monkey no. cute

catching a free ride uphill

quite scary when you throw something and all of a sudden....

Gibraltar and La Linea

probably the only runway we got to cross 100 times

the first tuna

goose-wingin' maloo

on watch

a new friend!

trying to find a nest...


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

getting lost in marrakech

a few days in gibraltar - but africa is too close and so we can't resist the calls to come over.
we board a ferry from algeciras to tanger, board a train and go south.
on the way - a different world - sometimes beautiful, sometimes sad...all this rubbish! -what did we ever think when we started wrapping our food in plastic? tonnes of plastic bags caught in kakteen, in trees (a lot of eucalypts again), just flying through the air like autumn leaves...pretty and yet so horrible.

after 10h of numbing our butts we get off in marrakech! the owner of the riad where we will stay organised a taxi to pick us up.
a near death experience is what you have to call a taxi-ride through this mess of traffic! ;)
we get off the taxi to be taken by another guy to our riad which is right in the medina. we walk past little shops, people screaming selling fruit and handbags...faces smiling at us (probably welcoming their new pray...i get to that later!) and smells of food and urine...crazy - another magic planet!

the riad was just phantastic and i can only recommend it to everyone going to marrakech! it was simply a calm oasis in all the bubbling and brothing turmoil of marrakech.

the city, especially the medina forces you to a balancing act between positive and negative. one one side there would be a wonderful spice shop, or coran school right next to a spot that has been used as dump/public toilet, followed by a butcher that has the alive chicken in the back and when you choose yours, makes it "table ready" right in front of you. the smells are sometimes overpowering, the poverty of the people is always heartbreaking and the way some of the donkeys (who are still a very common means of transport) are treated is excruciating.
seeing the monkeys on the main square is a reminder that animal welfare is a luxury good.
people are generally friendly - but never make the mistake of pulling a map out in the middle of the street. our experience in short:

us: "where the heck are we? - let's have a look on the map!"
some guy: "you need direction? go to tannery! fest of the colors, my brother work there! you go tannery!!!!"
us: "oh well, why not!"
2minutes later the same guy next to us walking: " i show you way to tannery! - my brother work there - I don´t want money - you don´t pay me for showing the way!" (it is common practice to get money out of tourists when showing them their way - no matter if they want to be shown or not)

we arrive at the tannery - where leather is made under what have to be the worst circumstances (and there goes my handbag....what a shame - but after seeing people up to their waste in poison handling rotting skin...) 

after the tannery (of course) we are taken to the shop to be shown carpets and leather products. we resist - talk our way out of the showroom. outside however - the first guy and his brother aka tour guide around the tannery wait for us and ask for 200dirham (20€). being told it was all for free, we did not let them intimidate us  and gave them the amount we were told was reasonable: 15dirham and took off.

nevertheless, walking through the medina feels quite like being taken back a few centuries into tales of the book of thousand and one night.
the desires of orient are more than fulfilled and all these colors and smells and noises feel like a wild dream.

marrakech is a demanding and beautiful place...and a night train ride later, he dream of orient is over - we're back in La Linea and trapped between weather systems and lows blocking our way to the canaries.

where all the mercs go...

Saadian Tombs

Saadian Tombs

one of so many donkeys...poor beast of burden

foxy bike!

Ben Youssef Madrasa/ old islamic university

Ben Youssef Madrasa

the long jeans shall not was damn hot!

nicest colours and patterns

tiny study and dorm room at the university

the storch of thousand and one night

going home for lunch - with a live chook

one of the butchers with the alive animals in the back - and alive flies in the front

wool died in the streets

tannery - the smell is unbearable

another tannery, same smell

entry to one of the souks

jardin majorelle - yves saint laurent museum

Dar Si Said

Monday, October 8, 2012

obstacles in the way

we started in Fomentera at 06:00am in complete darkness and soon after the wind started moving us along with nice 6,5 to 7kn but the swell was just awful! very short 2-3m high waves made it impossible for us to sail directly downwind (as the course would have required) because the odd higher wave would make the sails flap with a big bang. so we gybed and gybed adding a total of app.60nm to our trip. 
the first night the rolling movement of our boat made it impossible to sleep.
pretty tired we thought, that if conditions didn't improve we´d be tired enough to fall asleep anyway and so kept going.

our decision was encouraged by lots of dolphins playing in our bow-wave and by what would have to be the most amazing and rare sight in the mediterranean: mark saw a sperm whale breeching out of the deep! (unfortunately I was off shift at that moment and got out too late, only seeing it breathing on the horizon.)

at around lunchtime the wind died off  - so did the swell soon after and thank god we got some sleep.
just one hour before midnight though in mirror like waters the odd bit of bamboo was floating on the surface. the wooden bits got bigger and bigger, leaving me with a massive "tree-paranoia" and my eyes fixed to the radar-screen.

just a couple of hours later the carpet of debris (which must have been a remain from last weeks floods in southern spain) got so thick one of us had to look out at the front of the boat with a torch. lots of lemons and oranges where floating past, making you wonder, where the tree to it would wait for you!
the debris kept reappearing for at least 150nm even though we were mostly more than 40nm off shore.

the rest of the trip was rather uneventful. as we would have arrived in Gibraltar in the dark we decided to pull up at Fuengirola just 50nm short of Gib and have a rest. our first anchorage within a break wall proved to be very rolly again, so we snuck into the marina tying off at the fuel dock for the night. a very cheap and peaceful alternative;)

the next morning we headed towards Gibraltar in very dense fog - and again the radar proved to be a great piece of equipment. I love it!!!!!!
through the fog you could hear the fog horns of hugh cargo-ships...what an orchestra!

as we got closer to Gibraltar the fog slowly started to rise and "the Rock" appeared in front of us.
surrounded by massive ships going around the rock into the bay of Gibraltar felt like going into the heart of a big machine. a very different experience from what I was imagining before we got here.

we went to the marina in La Linea which is on the spanish side and found a nice spot to prepare for the jump into atlantic. before we leave we will take a ferry across to Morocco and travel down to Marrakech. let´s see what is awaiting us there!

so after two and a half months we made our way through the mediterranean who almost gave us the feeling in the last few days it did not want us to leave with putting obstacles in our way.
I have to admit, I am a bit proud of accomplishing the first part of our trip.
we had a great time, a wonderful summer and perfect conditions to get to know our maloo (i.e. strong winds or none of it - choppy seas and short waves or none of it etc...and sometimes all of it in half a day;)). I reckon we could spend years in the med as there is so much to explore and see - and I am very sure, we will come back and do so!
she´s a great lake to be on - unfortunately she either is to be motored or sailed in rough seas ...but the places to be found, the people to be met and the food to be had make up for a lot of it.
autumn has definitely moved in though and another ocean is calling out for us! 

take care, dear mediterranean! and see you again!

spanish coast in fog

sometimes we could not see further than the boat is long

dolphins hunting for breakfast

"the rock" appearing on the horizon

europa point and it's mosque

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

a lonely beach in the mediterranean

leaving Palma we had a good sail down to Ibiza, where we spent the night anchored in front of the main habour and left the next morning to go to Formentera.
we have had enough of towns for a while and hence decided to move on to a nice quiet anchorage.
we enjoyed the last days of summer in a wonderful bay resembling what I think looks like some lonely pacific island, walked along the beach and had a very uncomfortable roly night...not so nice. we moved on to another more protected anchorage further down, took a walk through La Savina and just relaxed for a while, preparing for our last jump to the westerly end of the mediterranean.

anchorage under the cathedral of eivissa (ibiza)

salt lake on formentera

an almost australian like beach

Saturday, September 29, 2012

get out your land legs, mate!

after having done all the nescessary work to our beloved maloo, mark and i thought it was time for a little treat and time to get off the boat for a bit. so we hired a car and of we went to explore the island of mallorca - without any real plan and a rather superficial map. what a great way to go on adventure!
the first adventure was actually to pick up the car at the airport. we decided to ride our bikes out along the coast and then just to cut inland at the airport. part one( the coast) was beautiful - with a strong wind making huge seas, we fortunately didn't have to sail! - part two (cutting inland) had us going on the highway with our bikes...since then i know that what the spanish word "loco" means!

with a great new citroen berlingo we then went to port andratx, supposedly one of the nicest places in the med where all the rich and pretty are said to meet...well, not when we were there! but we saw a scary reminder of what can happen, when the seas get too high and you pull out of a bay too late. a rather new 62ft catamaran must have broken the mooring of the buoy as the swell was rocking the yacht up and down. the cat went straight on to the rocks and a couple of days of waves completely ground it to pieces.

with our heads full of horror scenarios we had to distract ourselves and went up to soller and further through some crazy winding roads full with bike riders and busses. with the roads hardly wider then our car we had a few near heart attacks there (and please mind, that this is written by an austrian girl! - so you get the picture) - bike rider meets bus meets berlingo....not good! (as mark put it)

but the landscape is breathtaking and (for me) rather unexpected to be seen on mallorca.

we went up the coast to pollenca and drove by alcudia only to find "shindig" of andrew and chele there, had a quick drink and drove back home to palma.

the next day had us explore the south west further. we drove through arenal on a rainy morning, which is a very scary thing to do! - and sat in the sun in the afternoon in calla figuera (well worth a visit) and watched the ducks.

what a great way to "waste" time!

generally mallorca is a beautiful island - even though you find those hotel-resort-bunker towns. these places however can be avoided...the only issue is: this sland is just run over by tourists!;) being part of the problem we prepare to leave!

as the winds seem to calm down and it is time to get moving, we plan to stock up on provisions and move on by sunday. at the moment we hope only to make a quick stop on ibiza, as we want to make our way down the spanish coast as fast as possible.
we hope to do a inland trip to morocco to see marrakech hence traveling fast past ibiza. at the moment we´re not sure if we travel down to rabat and leave our boat there, or maybe even leave it in gibraltar and just move over by ferry (advantage being we don't have to clear into morocco which apparently can be a bot nerve wrecking) time and winds will tell us! but till then we still have a few miles to cover!

so...sails out!

panurama tramuntana

making friends along the road....they were sooooo soft!

boats of calla figuera

in soller - a lot of flags for one country

now which one is the spicy one?

very yummy tomatos

a cat on the rocks

a scary reminder!