We left NZ with “Stormvogel” and “Oda” and crossed the Pacific to Vanuatu where we cruised together for 4 weeks. We then departed Vanuatu for Australia, crossing the Coral Sea, where “Stormvogel” had the incident with their boat nearly sinking and Oda and Southern Star helped rescue her. You can read about the rescue here: http://www.pendanablog.com/Pendana-Nordhavn-62-blog/2014/06/30/Rescue-on-The-High-Seas
After arriving in Australia “Stormvogel” underwent repairs and we cruised far north Queensland and re-joined with “Stormvogel” and “Oda” to sail to Indonesia where we cruised for 4 months. Oda then departed a month earlier than us. We sailed to Singapore with Stormvogel, where Peter and Heidi returned to Germany for Christmas 2014. We continued through Malaysia and met again in Thailand (we did briefly see “ Oda” again here, they were in a rush to return home to Norway) where we cruised until May 2015 and then our boats were put on a big ship which took them through the Suez Canal/Red Sea to Turkey. We then sailed together through Turkey, Greece, Italy, France and Spain.
So, it was a very emotional day for we know that the two boats will not ever cruise together again. However, the upside is that Peter and Heidi will join us as our crew for our Atlantic crossing from the Canary Islands, to the Caribbean in January 2016. We will be travelling alongside “Starlet” a Nordhavn 46’ with Mark and Jennifer for the crossing to the Caribbean.
We travelled quite quickly through mainland Spain as winter is here and we are keen to get to Gibraltar and get organised for our Atlantic crossing. The marina at Agua Dulce is great, really reasonably priced at 18 euro per night including power and water, and the staff in the office Jessica and Alberto, have gone above and beyond the call of duty assisting us. Most importantly they arranged for us to be able to watch New Zealand beat Australia in the Rugby World Cup in one of the bars in the marina. We cannot speak highly enough of their friendliness and willingness to help us with anything we needed. Including interpreting with tradesmen for quotes. Robbie was able to get 2 raw water pumps for our generator serviced with Jessica translating for him.
It has basically taken us just over two weeks, with me mainly doing the stainless steel polishing and Robbie doing the majority of the gel coat. It was a lot of time, hard work and pain but at the end of the day Southern Star looks amazing, we saved a lot of $ and we are pretty sure it did our bodies some good – although the aches and pains are still making themselves known!!
We did take a break and spent the day touring the mountains with Peter and Heidi before they flew home to Germany for Christmas. (Stormvogel is now on the hardstand for the winter) We had a great day exploring the mountain villages and countryside. We were amazed at how many plastic greenhouses there are around Agua Dulce. They are large flimsy looking structures covered in plastic around 350 metres x 100 metres and there are thousands of them. The land is very barren in this area, it’s basically desert and they grow tomatoes and other crops in these plastic structures hydroponically.
We are working our way through a 2 full page list of “to do jobs”. Robbie has checked every mechanical aspect on the boat including checking the fuel tanks – this involved pumping the diesel from one tank to the other to empty the tanks, which made the boat lean severely. The marina staff came and saw us as they were concerned she was sinking! Steering, stabilisers, engines, generators, safety equipment, updating charts, basically a thorough check of everything on the boat in readiness for the Atlantic crossing. I have checked our extensive medical kit which contains lots of medications and drugs and first aid equipment which will hopefully cover any medical problem we may encounter on the 18 day passage. Robbie won’t let me practice my stitches (sutures) on him so let’s hope I never need to do it!! I could perhaps practice on a roast pork but I reckon that’s a bit of a waste of a good roast!
We hired a car for 3 days and did a lot of provisioning of non- perishables as it will be very expensive in the Caribbean and we were advised to stock up, so we did.
On Tuesday Jennifer and I went and had haircuts while the boys drove into Almeria to go shopping in the chandleries. They picked us up in town and we went and had lunch in the marina. We then went and did more provisioning in a supermarket called Consum. We were so excited to find Dusty Sound Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough New Zealand!! This is my home town where I was born and we love the Marlborough wines so it was a real thrill to find. We paid 6 euro per bottle which is pretty good. We also brought some Spanish Sauvignon Blanc for 3 euro a bottle.
November 18: We departed the marina around 9am today. The weather is so good we are doing a 40 mile run to La Rijana. We have around 150 miles to get to Gibraltar so will take about 3 days to get there. Hopefully the good weather lasts for us!