I - 2021 On board Sailaway in Carloforte.
Well with Christmas and New Year over, it is time for us to focus on 2021, we do not anticipate it being significantly different to 2020 but we do hope so? Even with vaccinations one is still advised to wear masks and social distance as the vaccination does not protect you fully, just reduce the symptoms, therefore reducing the number of deaths from it! Our task now is to return to the UK for the shortest possible period, then get back to Sailaway and have her lifted out in Cagliari on the south coast of Sardinia. She is tired and in need of a lot of cosmetic work after a number of years of neglect, for a number of good reasons. We now have our Italian Residency so there is no limit as to how long we can visit Sailaway without having to return to the UK. Our biggest issue now is to research and develop the requirements needed to get to the UK and return, the need for "Covid Test Certificates", "Self Declarations" and whatever else needed, or is now required?
Mid January we decided to change our plans and delay our return back to the UK. Our return trip would have required us to drive through the most heavily infected country in Europe, France, and then of coarse back into the UK with it's approaching 95,000 deaths recorded at this point in time - we decided against that risk for now! The French closed their boarders to "non EU residents" in December, Italy now in January - our Italian Residency at least ensures that we will be able to return when we do finally decide to return to the UK.
Please read on:-
To view our previous log entries please use the following link:
II - Sailaway Logbook 2020 - Christmas on Sailaway!
To view our next log entries please use the following link:
II - Sailaway Logbook 2021 - Sailaway's lift out in Cagliari.
Log Entry - Monday 15th February - At last the day arrives, we are finally leaving for Cagliari!
The package we have been waiting for arrives eventually thanks to Brexit, our package with a nominal value of £25 cost us €6 tax plus €18 administration (€24 in total) effectively doubling it's cost - still worth it to us. So, off we go to Cagliari and the yard, spending a few nights at anchor on the way!
We unfortunately have picked the coldest nights of the year according to the forecast, dropping to 4C at times over night. Still during the day there is to be little cloud or wind unfortunately, so we will wrap up, absorb the heat from the sunshine and use our heating over night, no problem. We have a stiff easterly wind to leave our berth in, our dear friend helps us out and bids us farewell!
We are soon tidied up, and around the ferries out into the channel, heading initially south with mainsail and genoa making 5 knots, with that we are happy. On the autopilot Sailaway goes and we being to enjoy the long awaited trip - hot coffee first of coarse! We soon put Carloforte in the distance, we are unsure as to where we will spend the first evening at anchor all will depend on progress?
Log Entry - Wednesday 10th February - Another day, but a lovely sunset.
We are now in "Cagliari mode" there is a package due from the UK, it's essential to us after being stuck in customs until we paid the now due duty due to Brexit. It's coming tomorrow, after that we are off to Cagliari at last!
The temps are very mid too, usually around 15C - 16C, it's pleasant sitting with a "tipple" in the cockpit and watch the sunset happen - quite spectacular in colour.
Log Entry - Monday 8th February - We keep ourselves busy around the local area.
There are plenty of walks and areas to look at, and that's just around town, we head up to the very north of the town, there is a small, pretty bay we often look at the few properties and it's quiet setting. There are a few small hamlets around the coastline, all worth a wander round, not even supported by a tarmac road, more of a dirt track.
As we walk back down to the town for our daily coffee there is always some form of entertainment in the form of something floating? The small fishing boats are common but today a sailboat makes a change, a sign of the start of the sailing season perhaps?
As we join the main-street we see the truck that visits weekly selling most forms of greenery needed for the local gardens, we have a browse, within a few minutes he takes five sales, so quite a busy mobile shop.
What we find fascinating is the trucks location, in the past we have seen the guy arrive and leave the position where he parks up the truck. A tremendous factor in parking the vehicle up is the fact that he has to remove a "no parking" sign from its position for the truck to squeeze in. He literally pulls out a pin from the base of the municipal sign post, pulls out the post from the footing and lies it down on the kerb and pulls the truck in! Obviously when he leaves he replaces the no parking sign once the truck is clear - amazing, it could only happen in Carloforte!
After our daily coffee, we walk down the south of the town, around the nature reserve, it's later in the day than normal, better as the flamingos carry more colour following their daily feed.
Log Entry - Tuesday 2nd February - We have run out to the northwest of the island, "Spiaggia di Cala Fico".
We drive out to Capo Sandalo and it's lighthouse on the most westerly out crop of the Isola San Pietro, not our first visit by any means but this time we take a picnic lunch with us and decide to walk some of the local area. The area is supposedly acclaimed for the "Eleonora Eagle" we have not been fortunate enough to ever see one.
Log Entry - Wednesday 27th January - We have to replace our car battery - modern cars, who would have one!
Our car stands idle for a week or more at a time now, we have a small trickle charge solar panel fitted to keep the battery topped up. It has meant in previous years that we could leave our 20 year old VW parked for months and the battery was maintained continuously. Upon our return months later, the VW would then start straight away, the battery fully charged, we assumed it would be the same for our relatively modern Ford?
We had begun to get "message alerts" ref. "low battery voltage, refer to the manual." when going to start the vehicle, it would always start but we clearly needed to resolve this issue before we left it for any prolonged period of time. I monitored the battery voltage over a period of days, helps to keep my mind occupied! It was seen to be dropping below 12.0V at times, especially in the cooler mornings, which is what you would expect to see from a failing battery. We have a full service history, the battery was replaced only 3 years ago but the car has extremely low mileage so frequently unused, this may have been the cause of a short life span than expected?
I source a new battery locally, removed the old unit and replace it with the new, a mere 2 hours it took me, I was amazed? I had to remove the air intake filter assemble, air intake hose assembly and a couple of other pieces of plastic relating to the battery box, before I could disconnect the battery. I then needed double acting wrists and elbows to get the battery out/in! I checked "Halfords" in the UK, they boasted that they could replace the battery in 15 minutes - I thought it would take me, as a novice, an hour max - that was my goal! But I had not factored in the fact that I needed an extended 10mm socket, obviously not available on the island? I bought a 10mm old fashioned, "box spanner" the early equivalent of an extended socket. It was too long to get into the restricted area so I had to cut it short enough to get in. I do appreciate than many of you will be too young to know what a box spanner is - a long tube of steel with a nut shape forged at each end - never mind!
Good on "Halfords" I know they could do it in 15 minutes, must remember never to apply for a job there!
As I do, I also checked into the "standby power consumption" of modern cars, that being the consumption used by todays vehicles whilst idle, alarms, monitoring systems etc. It must be higher on these vehicles than our old VW surely? It was difficult to gain any understanding, very little data available anywhere? I returned to the "Halfords UK" website where I had initially purchased our solar trickle charge panel for the VW. The panels now being sold were now 10 watts, five times more than our old panel - that answered my question. Clearly the more modern cars use a significantly higher amount of power sitting idle, a new panel was essential to correctly support our newer, more modern car and new battery. One was secured via our "Amazon.it" account - we could now rest easy, or I could at least!
Log Entry - Friday 22nd January - Keeping ourselves busy around the weather.
We have had an exceptionally wet and windy few months now, broken occasionally with pleasant days. The temperatures appear cold to us, but usually hit 14C - 15C around mid afternoon, a lot of the "feel" to the temperatures relates to the wind which varies daily. Even the weather forecasts, well at least the two sites I view are to be used as a guide only and are seldom accurate at all? It appears to be almost a global issue, friends all over Europe and further are complaining of extreme temperatures, rainfall, snow and strong winds.
Still, the weather is "what the weather is" and, as at sea you have to live your life around it. Carloforte is a small town, on a small island but, we are fortunate, at the moment even with Covid restrictions we can walk out, have a coffee or a snack - that has become almost our daily "must do!" I (Kevin) have a daily hour learning Italian religiously for over 110 days with my "Duolingo App." I have recently began purchasing the "L'UNIONE SARDA" the daily Sardinian newspaper - saying that it takes me about three days to get through it? Then there is Sailaway, always jobs to do, things to fix or fit, we long to get her into the yard where the real work will be done and it's well over due.
Ann has intensified her reading, and walking covering a good three miles, or so many thousand steps depending on the weather. Ann has also began to take an interest in the local wildlife too, the local reserve "Saline di Carloforte" the old salt works is a haven for many varieties.
The recent winds have created a beach of froth where there has been exposure to the wind, lapping the dense, salt water onto the shoreline.
Some of the wildlife appear almost "human friendly" bread is laid out by locals, with many of the various wildlife taking advantage of that fact. A pleasant and rewarding way to pass the day.
Log Entry - Sunday 10th January - A new friend, eventually!
There is a one eyed cat that lives on a sailboat with an Italian couple just down from us - sounds a little like the beginning of a children's story? The cat's name is unknown, I often chat to the owners but forget to inquire of it's name. But, only a couple of weeks ago as I tried to pass it on the pontoon, it's fear of me caused it to "back away" and she actually fell into the water! I was unable to pull it out as she continued to swim away from me, eventually climbing onto the back of a motor boat, then jumping back onto the pontoon and headed home wet and probably very cold. Since that time I have worked hard, to gain it's friendship, or at least acceptance so there should be no further plunges into the water. It has taken a couple of weeks but at last we are now friends, she loves her stomach tickled!
Log Entry - Thursday 7th January - We take a look back at "Plant" the only English cactus in Italy.
This time of the year we would normally be planning the year ahead of us, the last few spring periods have been spent touring through Europe in our car. The previous 3 years, heading eventually, for Sailaway in Carloforte in Sardinia, taking a month or two to get there? Covid has changed everyones lives, certainly for the last 12 months, realistically for a number of years ahead perhaps? The frightening fact remains, even with the vaccines being "rolled out" nobody knows what lies ahead - the key objective for all being, "staying safe!" With that thought in mind and the second wave of the virus hitting Europe and the UK extremely hard, we have decided to postpone our trip back to the UK in January for an unknown period. Our return trip would require us to drive through the most heavily infected country in Europe, France, and then of coarse back into the UK with it's approaching 95,000 deaths recorded - we decide against that risk for now! The French closed their boarders to "non EU residents" in December, Italy now in January - our Italian Residency at least ensures that we will be able to return when we do finally decide to return to the UK.
With time on our hands, like many others in the world today we look for things to keep the mind occupied? We need a boat yard for Sailaway, the weather is against that at the moment - too wet, hopefully towards the end of February?
Every day we pass our "Plant" now fixed firmly outside the Marina Office, she traveled for about 6-7 years with us throughout Europe an the Mediterranean Sea. I thought it time to actually take a look back at what she had achieved over the years?
"Plant" began life with us in the winter of 2012, initially bought as "joke" in Asda in Watford, North London with Ann's mum - I would joke about her traveling the world with us on board Sailaway. No one took me seriously then either? She stood proud it a large "cup and saucer" decorative pot standing about 10cm high, at that time a mix of four different cacti, as they grew, only the strong survived which is part of life I guess?
In April 2013 we packed her into the rear of our trusty old VW Golf and headed for Sailaway, at that time sitting in Kas, on the south coast of Turkey. It was to be a 3 week, 2000 mile direct trip, but we had flexibility which extended the trip to about 12 weeks and 3000 miles, clearly we got lost several times? With our car packed to the roof, Plant had company, two dogs, Kevin & Rosie and a meercat called Baylis. Kevin can be seen to the right of plant above, both Rosie, Kevin and Baylis are still with us today - never any trouble! We headed for Dover, Ann had always wanted to visit the Italian Lakes, that was Plants first destination, where we spent a week or so? We then made for Venice, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia before entering Turkey and completing the 800 mile across Turkish soil though the center to the south coast and Sailaway.
The above picture, taken in December of 2014 showed how Plant had adapted to the much milder climate here than that of the UK quite well, we cruelly kept her almost "pot bound" for fear of her growing too large to remain on board - apologies! Plant enjoyed the Turkish coast, as well as many of the local Greek Islands, we also visited amongst which were Rhodes and separately, Cyprus.
We eventually gave in and re-potted her, the above picture taken in December 2015, showing her almost doubling in size very quickly. Baylis, standing next to her is approximately 25cm tall. Baylis too, is quite a character. Since his arrival to our team with car insurance in 2012 I have not driven a car without him, be it ours or rental, he seems to enjoy life with us. We all then sailed from Turkey, through the central Greek Islands, eventually arriving in Sicily for the winter of 2015.
I the February, 2016 we had to go through a major refit in Marina-da-Ragusa, unfortunately Plant was injured during that period but recovered really well without any long lasting effects. We left Marina-da-Ragusa in the spring, continued north up the Sicilian east coast up to the Italian Volcanic Islands. After completing our visit we sailed for 5 days continuously straight across open sea to Sardinia, up the Sardinian east coast, across to Balearics over to mainland Spain to participate in a family holiday. After 3 weeks we headed back originally heading for Sicily but "issues" forced us to cut our trip short and winter here in Carloforte. Our first visit to Carloforte being in 2008 as we headed east through the Mediterranean, we new it and some of the people well..
In September 2016 we decided for a couple of reasons to make Carloforte our base for a number of reasons, the next couple of years would see us spending more time in the UK than on board Sailaway. With that in mind we decided to finally give Plant a permanent home and re-potted her in one of the Marina tubs - she could now grow at will!
This picture was sent to us in the May of 2017, Plant had flowered for the first time and now does so every spring, she grows at her leisure which is also a please to see. There are only two of the original four cacti survived, but that's fine too. She has covered many thousands of nautical miles with us, and like us benefits from many adventures to share with her growing "stumps". With Brexit we have secured her future here with Italian Residency as we have, she proudly displays her flag.
This picture taken in January 2021 shows how Plant has flourished and gained size, we built a frame around her after gales snapped a section off. She is clearly very happy here, proud of her new nationality and home.
Just in case people are concerned about our wellbeing, tracking back over years for Plant - we are fine, nothing wrong with us, many would argue that point? It was a worthwhile exercise, brought back some memories perhaps forgotten? Thanks for reading.
Log Entry - Wednesday 6th - Epiphany, a day of celebration of many different names around the world.January 6, which is 12 days after Christmas in the Gregorian calendar, marks not only the end of the Christmas holidays but also the start of the Carnival season, which climaxes with Mardi Gras. In some European countries, such as the Czech Republic and Slovakia, children dress as the three kings and visit houses. In their roles as the kings, or wise men, they sing about the Jesus’ birth and pay homage to the “king of kings”. They are rewarded with praise and cookies.
Dia de los Reyes Magos is the Latin American celebration of Epiphany, in many Latin American countries, it is the three wise men and not Santa Claus who bring gifts for children. Children write letters to the wise men telling them how good they were and what gifts they want. In France Le Jour des Rois (the Day of Kings), sometimes called the Fête des Rois, is celebrated with parties for children and adults, the galette des rois, or “cake of kings”, highlights these celebrations. This cake is round and flat, cut in the pantry, covered with a white napkin and carried into a dining room.
Children in Spain fill their shoes with straw or grain for the three kings horses to eat and place them on balconies or by the front door on Epiphany Eve, we are used to leaving treats for Santa. The “three kings” make an entry in many cities in Spain and Spain, on Epiphany Eve, accompanied by military bands and drummers in medieval dress, we have seen the islands event in the past.
Many European families that we know have adopted both Christmas Day as well a "Epiphany" both days being of significant important to the whole family. Covid 19 has ceased all external celebrations around the would, the previously witness parades here will obviously not take place. The Island spends the day as its final day of "lock-down" our Covid status returns to "Yellow" in the morning - back to "normal" in the morning, well as normal as we can be?
Log Entry - Sunday 2nd January - Our first Log Entry of 2021 must be!
It has to be, without a doubt:
"Happy New Year & a prosperous 2021!"