Pembroke Haven Yacht Club

Hobbs Point, Pembroke Dock

Our Last Week of 2020 10/10/2021–21/10/2021

Having made our way through the Lefkas Canal we headed for an anchorage and enjoyed the rest of the morning paddle boarding and also, sadly, collecting plastic from the beach! The temperature was 30 degrees C!   We then received a call from Anthea to let us know they had arrived in Little Vathy.   We ‘uped’ anchor and headed across the bay to meet them. 


We spent 2 nights in Little Vathi, one of the main villages on the northeast coast of Meganisi.  Vathi has a charming harbour, town quay and a new marina.  Bars & tavernas surround the quay.  There are a vast number of olive groves on Meganisi and locals are also involved in farming and fishing.

 20201011_083143The Harbour at Vathi

During our time here we cycled across to Spartochori, a beautiful hilltop village with the most amazing views.   The village, surrounded by pine forests and stone built cottages and traditional tavernas,  lies around a natural port which has a couple of small tavernas where we stopped on route for lunch and refreshment.


Having enjoyed our last ‘meet up’ with Anthea & Paul, on the 13th October we were finally on our way to meet up with Alistair’s childhood friend Tim.  Kioni had now recovered from the Medicane and was accepting visiting yachts again.  Kioni is one of my favourite places in the Ionian.  It is on the southeast of the island of Ithaca north of ‘big’ Vathy where we had spent the Medicane.  The village was built by the inhabitants of the mountainous village of Anogi at the end of the 16th century.  Very few houses survived the earthquakes of 1953 but those that did are very interesting with renaissance architecture.  Tim and his wife Sue have purchased a property and now run a holiday letting business.  There own apartment, situated at the top of the property, has the most fantastic views over the harbour of Kioni.  I must also point out that here are some beautiful craft and jewellery shops worth browsing around…..take your wallet!

IMG-20210601-WA0013IMG-20210601-WA0012IMG-20210601-WA0019Apartment View

Our time in the Ionian for this year was coming to a close so we only spent one night in Kioni.  We moved on to Vilho Bay opposite Nidri Quay – Lefkada.   Whilst in Preveza we had decided that our Passarelle had served it’s purpose.  We had had found it abandoned in a boatyard in Almerima, Southern Spain and offered the staff in the yard a small fee to take it away!  It had been too large for Money Penny from the start and as we needed a passarelle more and more in Greece it was heavy to move around and large to store.  We decided to purchase a smaller,folding, one whilst in Nidri and advertise ours on a local website.  It sold within hours of posting. 


We had intended to stay in Vilho Bay for one night but having had solid blue skies for the last week or so, heavy thunder storms were forecast, so we stayed an extra night in the shelter of the Bay.  The rain arrived and we caught up on some TV.  On leaving Vilho on the 16th October there was a raft of foul water and rubbish heading out to sea.  It was an amazing sight to see the difference as the fresh water mixed with the sea water, but sad to see how much rubbish (including plastic) was entering the eco system!


We returned through the Lefkas Canal and had a fabulous sail across to Prevaza.  Our plan was to head for the Town Quay and start to strip Money Penny of her sails in readiness of our ‘lift-out’.  Unfortunately the wind was too high for us to safely moor on the Quay so we anchored off Cleopatra until the wind decreased later that afternoon. 

3 days of cleaning and packing ensued and on the 19th October we headed across in time for our booked lift out.  The weather was still amazing and we did wonder why we were heading home.  Family was calling! This was the first year that no family or friends had been able to join us and we missed them!


Cleopatra Yard is minutes from Atiko/Preveza Airport, on the 21st October we covered Money Penny for the winter, watched our final sunset and headed off for our evening flight back to the UK.

When we left the UK in July following the Covid lockdown, we were unsure what the season would bring.  Greece had certainly met our expectations with gorgeous villages, friendly people and perfect weather ……FOR MOST OF THE TIME>    Covid had not played a huge part in our experience.  We had had to wear a mask in shops, and when in close proximity to others, but this was something we soon got used to and is now an everyday ruling in the UK too.    We had ‘survived’ the Medicane and would hopefully never make the same mistake again, spent time with old and new friends, visited historical sites, beautiful bays and enjoyed sailing on our floating home around this spectacular area.  We would return next year all being well!

NB:  We have decided to set up a Facebook page in a hope that we will ‘blog’ more often.  Moneypenny sailing   

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Lakka to Corfu & back South 2/10/2021-10/10/2021

We left Lakka and headed just 11 miles across to the mainland to reminisce.  We anchored in a sheltered inlet below the Neilson Hotel where we had ended our first holiday together in 2013, a flotilla in the Ionian.    The scene was a little different as, due to Covid, the Hotel was closed and we were totally alone at anchor until a Catamaran joined us later that evening.  We spent a relaxing afternoon swimming and also walked in to the village of Sivota Murtos closeby.  The scenery is stunning and the hotel boasts the most amazing views over towards Paxos and up towards Corfu.  When we were here in 2013 with Alison & Neil, the water was awash with small sailing dinghies and windsurfers and families enjoying themselves on the beach.

IMG-20210601-WA0001IMG-20210524-WA0013IMG-20210601-WA0007IMG-20210601-WA0008IMG-20210524-WA0014The following day we left our anchorage and motor sailed 25 miles to Corfu.  Corfu spent many years under Venetian, French & British rule and its cultural heritage reflects this.  It was united with Greece in 1864.  Corfu Town has two imposing Venetian Castles and many other historical monuments.  Corfu town is the capital of the Island and has beautiful cobblestone streets and pastel coloured architecture.  There is also a wonderful park area, Spianada, close to the venetian castle where cricket is regularly played.  The sport was imported to Corfu by the British and the first teams in the island were created after the departure of the British shortly after 1864.  The Hellenic Cricket Federation was founded in 1996, the only Greek sport federation that is not based in Athens.

20201003_114823Passing the Venetian Fortress in Corfu Town on our way to Gouvia Marina  20201004_153602

20201004_15264420201004_152638We took a berth in Gouvia Marina, the first Marina we had visited since leaving Sicily and spent  4 nights here. There are a number of options as far as marinas in Corfu but Gouvia was the most sheltered at the time we arrived there.   We hired a car and explored this lovely island.  I am sure as with many other areas we have visited this year, our experience would have been very different if Covid had not been around.  The towns and villages, beaches and tavernas were practically deserted!  We enjoyed our time on the Island and would return next year for a longer stay and to explore the beaches and coves around the coast.

20201004_12444620201004_125622On the 7th October we left Corfu and made a ‘dash’ back towards the Southern Ionian in readiness for our liftout.  A twelve hour sail of 66 miles back to the anchorage off Preveza.  We arrived at 21.45, in the dark, so the anchorage was our safest bet as we knew the area well.  We moved to the town quay early the next day.  Amanda & Jonnie had been sailing in different directions since Alistair’s birthday but they were also heading for Preveza Quay on their way to Vonitsa and then North to Corfu.  We spent the evening with them on Infinite Blue and they departed the following morning.  We were to see them again in Cardiff later in the year.


We spent 3 nights in Preveza before returning through the Lefkas Canal to spend our last few days in the South Ionian.  We were hoping to meet up with Anthea & Paul again before we left and they had offered to take some of our belongings back to Pembrokeshire for us when they returned  in their Motorhome in 2 weeks time.  Money Penny was fully ‘loaded’ as every time we return we seem bring more clothes and other items back with us!  Whilst in Preveza we had had a major clear out before filling a case to return home and also heading for the local charity shop. 

IMG-20210601-WA0009Entering the Lefkas Canal from the North 20201009_190825We were astounded by the numbers of shoes we found onboard!!!!!!

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Preveza & Vonitsa 25/9/2020

On the 25th September we left Port Athene and headed off towards the Lefkas Channel.  The Channel runs for approximately 3 miles through low lying land at the end of the island, dividing it from the Greek mainland.  It is dredged to a depth of 5-6 metres with parts that sometimes are as little as 3-4 metres.  We entered the Channel through 3 sets of port & starboard buoys and then followed the channel markers (wooden poles!) until we reached Lefkas Marina at the North end.  The Channel continues to a floating bridge where the main road passes over the Channel.  The bridge is normally opened on the hour but this changes periodically and we had to check on line before proceeding.  We were approximately 10 minutes early and a ‘tricky’ few minutes ensued as we waited with numerous boats in a turning basin.  It was like ‘follow my leader’ around a clock with the occasional boat deciding to go in a different direction.  The current at this point can be as much as 1-1.5 knots so it was ‘fun’ to say the least!

As we exited the Channel around a sandy spit, we hoisted our sails and headed off towards Preveza.  Preveza, on the north-western mainland and sitting at the mouth of the Ambracian Gulf was where we planned to leave Money Penny through the winter.  Cleopatra Marina is directly opposite the town quay and holds approximately 100 yachts and the storage yard is the largest dry dock in Greece with a capacity of over 1000 vessels.  It had been recommended by a number of people and sits within minutes of the airport. Access to Preveza is via an underwater tunnel, the only one in Greece.  We radioed the Marina and pulled up on an outside quay before visiting the Yard office to arrange a contract for the winter.  We would return on the 19th October for our liftout.

IMG-20210531-WA0000Looking across towards Cleopatra Yard and the amazing number of masts!

 IMG-20210531-WA0001The Ambracian Gulf showing Vonitsa

At 14.30 we continued into the Ambracian Gulf towards Vonitsa.  The Gulf is a 400 sq Kilometre of water, one of the largests wetlands in this region of Greece and due to two rivers, Arachthos & Louros flowing into the Gulf, makes for a very interesting biotope & ecosystem.    It has the largest reed bed in the country and reportedly over 100,000 species of fauna and flora and 250 birds (some rare), but unfortunately marine life has been reduced due to pollution from the rivers. Mussel farms line the coastline and apparently cuttlefish, shrimp, mullet, eel and sole remain.  The area offers great protection from strong winds and we had visited in September of 2013 with our friends Alison & Neil whilst on Flotilla to shelter from a storm .

A Venetian fortress dominates the hill above the town of Vonitsa and the village itself is populated mainly by locals.   We spent two nights at anchor and enjoyed walking around this quiet ‘non touristy’ town.  We also met up with Fernweh (Jeremy & Chrissy) having last seen them in the Peloponnese, before they headed for their winter lift out at Cleopatra and a flight back to New Zealand.

20200927_102548Vonitsa 20200927_100344IMG-20210524-WA0018IMG-20210524-WA0020

IMG-20210527-WA0004IMG-20210524-WA0019We were very impressed by these fantastic facilities for the less mobile.

From Vonitsa we spent a night on the town quay at Preveza and at 10.30am on the 28th September we made the 33 mile journey North from the mainland to Gaios on Paxos Island, the smallest of the Ionian Island and is the main port.  The Port is small and extremely picturesque but was the most expensive town quay that we had visited throughout the season at 27 euros for Money Penny without electricity!  We had to keep reminding ourselves that had we been charged this in Italy we would have been over the moon!  We spent two nights here enjoying the hustle and bustle of this busy town and also took a 4 kilometre bike ride to nearby Mongonissi, a small circular bay with a sandy beach and a private quay belonging to the beach bay.  We would certainly return here to spend a night later in the month or perhaps next year.

IMG-20210524-WA0017Gaios looking towards the Quay.          

20200929_160326Mongonissi Bay

After two nights at Gaios we moved on to Lakka, a small village with a deep, well protected circular bay on the North coast of Paxos. Lakka itself is situated on a hill covered with olive trees and cypresses and has spectacular views across the sea towards the mainland.  The quayside houses a number of bars and tavernas and there are also small alleyways lined with souvenir shops and more bars and tavernas.  Lakka is popular with yachts and the anchorage was extremely busy, we even ‘kissed’ another yacht during a very calm first night at anchor. 

IMG-20210524-WA001520200930_134313We decided to reseal the hatch above our berth whilst in Lakka.  Hopefully we won’t have a shower during the next downpour!

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Heading North from Vathi 21/9/2021

We remained in Vathi for another two nights following the Medicane, we needed to ‘reboot’ and ‘recharge’.  On the morning of 21st September we headed northwards.  We were aware of the fact that there had been a huge amount of damage to Cephalonia and had spoken to Amanda & Jonnie who were still shell shocked from their experience in Sami.  It would be Alistair's birthday on the 22nd so Judith had arranged with as many friends as possible to meet in Sivota on Lefkada to celebrate. It would be a happy release after the experience we had all just gone through.   In the meantime we headed towards Port Leonne for a quiet anchorage overnight.

IMG-20210524-WA0003  IMG-20200921-WA000120200921_133255Approaching Port Leonne

Port Leone is the former harbour on the small island of Kalamos, one of two islands adjacent to each other, Kastus being the other.  The port was deserted following the 1953 earthquake leaving only the church standing.    We decided to fish on route and were lucky enough to catch a beautiful Mahi Mahi, our favourite fish.  Supper was sorted!!  We also passed a huge amount of debris floating in the water.  A plastic chair was ‘rescued’ and eventually passed on to one of the restaurants in Sivota that had lost a number of theirs during the storm.


goat port leonne20200921_151912Our Anchorage for the night complete with resident goat!

After a relaxing night at anchor we departed for Sivota and a party with friends.   Sivota, on the Island of Lefkada, is a beautiful bay, with a hidden entrance, which provides safe shelter and is surrounded by numerous restaurants. It has been developed over the last few years which means it is a lot busier but it is still a pleasant place to stop.  Most of the pontoons at Sivota are managed by the restaurants and the mooring comes free with a table booking!  We had booked in advance and Miss Chips (Di & John), Infinite Blue (Amanda & Jonnie), Galene (Anthea & Paul), Caresse (Casper & Aline) were already waiting for us.  Jonnie & Amanda’s daughter had also finally managed to join them following a slight detour to Athens to await the passing storm.  We joined everyone onboard Caresse for early evening drinks plus a presentation to the Birthday Boy and then moved over to the restaurant to enjoy a fabulous meal with superb company. It was lovely to be back together.

IMG-20210527-WA0003IMG-20210527-WA0006IMG-20210527-WA0005Birthday Boy Sivota

The following day we left Sivota and headed slightly north on the island of Lefkada to Nidri.  We booked a slot on the Iris Quay belonging to a hotel run by Sailing Holidays.  When empty, the Quay is available to book and the facilities of the Hotel are free.  We had a number of items we needed to purchase from the chandlery in Nidri and we needed to stock up at the supermarket.  We had also booked an appointment with a local firm run by a British lady to try and arrange Greek Temporary Residency which we hoped would enable us to remain in Greece for longer than 90 days after Brexit.  We enjoyed an afternoon by the swimming pool and then headed to the office to attend our appointment.  It was extremely straightforward.  After we had provided financial information, photographs, our passports and other basic information we were taxied to the local police station and after a wait of 30 mins were presented with our Residency Beige Cards!! 

That night, tied to the Quay at the Iris Hotel we were ‘hit’ by a squall during a thunderstorm.  For 20 minutes we fought to keep the unmanned adjacent charter yachts that had pulled their mooring lines, away from the topsides of Money Penny.  The rain was torrential and the thunder deafening and such a short time after the Medicane our nerves were completely ‘shot’!  Judith hadn’t even had time to get dressed and sat on the topside with her waterproof jacket over her underwear.  Everyone was so busy trying to help us that no one noticed, or so she hoped!    The charter yacht owners appeared just as the wind died down.  They laid anchors to secure the boats and we eventually returned to our bed!

The following day we motored off the Idris Quay and out of the Bay of Nidri.  Port Athene, an inlet on the Island of Meganisi was our next stop.  Meganisi is separated from the Island of Lefkas by a mile wide channel.  There are three inlets, Port Athene, Kapali & Abelike and a small quay, plus  a pontoon along side a local taverna, but we decided to anchor and tie back against the shore in one of the coves along the inlet.  We had radioed Annastasia (Alex & Kuni) to find out where they were and they were also heading for Meganisi. 


Having been joined by Alex & Kuni we enjoyed the rest of the day catching up on our experiences during the Medicane, paddle boarding and swimming before settling down for a well earned calm, quiet night onboard. 

Alex & Kuni were soon to return to Germany so the following day we said our goodbyes as we headed further North towards Preveza.

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Vathi & The Medicane!

Having left Messalongi early on the 14th September, we made our way towards ‘Big’ Vathi on the island of Ithaka.  Ithaka lies off the northeast coast of Kefalonia and is 96 sq kilometres, the second smallest of the seven main Ionian Islands after Paxos.  Vathi is the capital and main harbour of the Island and is built around a deep sheltered bay with a narrow entrance.   We had both ‘sat’ out a number of storms in this bay during our times on ‘charter boats’ in the Ionian, and having seen the weather forecast for the next few days, had felt that this would be a ‘fair bet’ as far as shelter.  We had also been in contact with the ‘crew’ of Dulcinea who were making their way towards us.  We were hoping to meet up again before saying goodbye until next year.

As we have mentioned before, the yachting community is small, and Judith had been in touch with Paul and Anthea who live in Tenby and keep their boat in the Ionian on a permanent basis.  We had been hoping to catch them some time this season and sure enough they were also heading for Vathi over the next day or so.   Two of our ‘pontoon buddies’ from MDR Sicily (Di & John off Miss Chips & Catherine & Peter – Rocko) who we had last seen in Kefalonia, were at anchor off Vathi so hopefully we would be able to catch up with them too.

We were planning to spend two nights in Vathi and then head further north on the coast of Ithika to Kioni where a childhood family friend of Alistair’s, Tim & his wife Sue, now lived.

After arriving and anchoring close to Dulcinea in the bay off Vathi town, we contacted our friends from MDR, Sicily and arranged to meet at a small bar for cocktails early evening.  Dave from Dulcinea appeared in his tender on route to the supermarket and invited us for supper.  We were happy to meet up again as we had thoroughly enjoyed their company earlier on in the season.  Judith joined him on the trip to the supermarket and already we had a busy evening ahead.  Whilst returning from the shops Judith noticed Annastasia was secured to the Quay she went over to welcome them.  Alex & Kuni were spending the night here and leaving early in the morning to make their way North to try and avoid the storm.

During cocktails and supper the subject was  the approaching storm.  Dave & Carolyn had also decided that they were going to make a ‘run’ North to their home mooring at Corfu Marina.  This would be a 12 hour sail and they would leave early the following morning.  They tried their best to get us to join them but we HAD PLANS!!!  With hindsight we wish we had taken their advice but we had arranged to meet Tim & Sue and were looking forward to catching up with Anthea & Paul and also Jonnie & Amanda who were now only a few miles away in Cephalonia.  We were not ready to head North yet!  after all, the storm was somewhat unpredictable and was supposed to head slightly further North than us and then head East.  We would be safe sheltering here in Vathi!

Storm ready!

The morning after our arrival in Vathi we moved Money Penny to the Quay and began to make her ‘storm ready’.  We secured extra lines to the dock and took down our solar panels, bimini and sprayhood.  Anthea and Paul had arrived and were moored on the same quay.  As our bimini had been removed and Anthea had a sewing machine onboard, Judith took advantage and borrowed the sewing machine that afternoon to replace two of the zips.  This was a job that had been waiting since Sicily.

Sewing on a boat!Vathi waiting for the stormweather 18 September 2020

During the course of the evening a total of eight boats joined us on the quayside stern to, pointing northwards. The first element of the storm was predicted to come from the south which would in effect hold us off the quayside.  We took a walk across to the other Quay (facing east) and spoke to the skipper of a Sunsail flotilla as he attempted to secure all 16 of his boats.  He had sent all flotilla crew members to guest houses and only the skippers of each individual boat remained!   There was also an English couple close by who had chosen to secure to this quayside, they were in the process of adding a number of extra lines.  The young Sunsail skipper informed us of the VHF channel that he would be monitoring that night and kindly said that if we needed assistance we should call him.

As the wind gained in strength and the rain started we headed ‘down below’.  We sat in the saloon monitoring the building wind and the safety of Money Penny until a mayday call was heard on our radio from within the bay of Vathi. We hoped that the Coastguard would assist.  We also heard a French boat asking for assistance after loosing both anchors and being unable to dock due to the wind strength.   At this point we were unable to leave the boat as the gap between Money Penny and the quayside was too large to risk jumping.  On venturing outside the Coastguard were dealing with a tripper boat that had broken it’s moorings and was lying side on across three other boats.  The noise of the wind and lashing rain meant we were unable to draw the attention of anyone on the quay, however, Paul had also heard the call from the French boat and luckily had the phone number of someone with a car that could drive to the other side of the bay to give assistance to the yacht as it attempted to berth at the far side quay.

It is extremely difficult to express how helpless we all felt but it was just a case of keeping calm and trying to minimise damage to Money Penny and others around us.  The wind reached Storm Force 11 – 60-70 kts.  We were awake all night, at times trying to fend off the adjacent yachts and wondering how long the wind and rain would go on for!  At daylight it became apparent that we had come off lightly!  The wind was still fairly strong but as we looked across to the other quay we could see the yacht belonging to the English couple with her bow down in the water.  As we continued to watch helplessly over the next hour, the yacht sank further into the water!  We found out the following day that the stern of the yacht had been pushed up onto the quay allowing her to ‘nose dive’ into the water and slowly fill with water.  There was also a life raft floating around in front of us which was eventually picked up by the Coastguard and put in front of their office. 



As the second element of the storm began with the wind veering around to the East, it was now hitting us on the broadside so we decided to move.  The yacht to our portside had already left and in doing so had ended up broadside on to our bow missing a collision by inches and taking out the anchor of the yacht on her other side.  The charter yacht to our starboard was no longer being held by her anchor and the crew, who had spent most of the night sleeping or arguing, unaware of us fending them off, were looking like they were thinking of moving.  We decided to make a run for it as we had no faith in their seamanship and worried that they would not be able to avoid a collision if the wind caught them!

We anchored on the lee shore and settled down for another sleepless night.  Alistair went down below to catch up on some sleep and asked me to remain on watch until 9pm when he would take over for a few hours .  We would take shifts throughout the night.  By 8.30 pm it was obvious to me that the wind was decreasing.  I was now only seeing gusts of 30-35 kts and it felt positively ‘calm’ !!  I decided not to wake him and went to bed myself. confident that the anchor was secure and the yachts around us were at a safe distance.  We both woke the following morning at 9 am!!!  The sun shone and the bay was calm but as we looked over to where our friends John & Di on Miss Chips had been anchored we could no longer see them.  Miss Chips had been anchored near to the French boat that had lost both anchors and she had also pulled her anchor and had ended up on the rocks on the opposite shore to where we were anchored.  We spoke to them on the ‘phone and learned that they had left Miss Chips and had been told by the Coastguard that they could not return until they had spoken to the ‘office’.  We arranged to return to the quay and meet them to organise any help that they may need.  Luckily there was superficial cosmetic damage to the hull and we were able to help re-float and re-anchor her later that day.

IMG-20210524-WA0006cake during stormJudith baked a treat as the wind calmed down!

Once moored back on the quay we were able to take a walk to survey the damage around the town quay area. The Sunsail boats had faired well with only one yacht having a prop wrap.  The young skipper had certainly done his job.  We subsequently emailed Sunsail to express our gratitude for his offer of help and also admiration for the excellent job he had provided in keeping their clients & yachts safe.

There was no electricity throughout the village and a number of small boats had sunk on their moorings.  People walked around in shock.  The local villagers had never experienced anything like it before.  We never want to experience anything like it again!!

That afternoon we cycled to a nearby beach for a swim and looked out at the calm seas before leaving Vathi the following morning…………… it was as if nothing had happened.


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Nafpaktos & Messalongi 13/09/20–14/9/20

Our next stop was Nafpaktos, with its’ beautiful medieval harbour, fortified initially during the 5th-4th century and the fortifications were designed by the Venetians.  Nafpaktos is a beautiful town and also boasts two Blue Flag beaches, plenty of tavernas and cafes and a stunning castle overlooking everything!

We arrived after a short sail from Trizonia and anchored outside of the medieval harbour.  The harbour is extremely small and if we had attempted to enter there would have been no ‘going back’ had we found that there was no space on the Quay!  The maximum recommended length of vessel for ease of movement inside the harbour is 40ft – Money Penny was definitely safer outside on anchor! 

medieval harbour statuemedieval harbour

We took the tender into the harbour to explore.  Lunch was amazing in a side street just off the harbour area – Captain Cooks Restaurant!    We then decided to take a walk up to the Castle.

IMG-20210407-WA0005view of bridge gulf of Corinthwalk to castle or not!

We walked through cobbled streets and up narrow staircases, passing ‘interesting’ and stunning properties along the route. In the afternoon heat, the distance to the Castle was a lot further than we had estimated and we were not even sure if it would be open when we arrived.  We seemed to be the only people heading that way!  We arrived at a roadside restaurant and decided to take a coffee break and soak up the view.  During coffee we made a decision to head back to Money Penny and continue our journey instead of staying overnight in the anchorage.  The wind had increased making the sea state a ‘little rocky’, we may not have had a comfortable night. We were pleased we had stopped at this picturesque town and harbour.

anchorage NaxpaxosMoney Penny at Anchor in the distance

At 15.52 we departed the anchorage in front of the Medieval harbour of Nafpaktos and began our sail westwards to Messalongi 25 miles away.  The wind was 15kts gusting 20kts making for a wonderful sail.

The Rio-Antirion Bridge is one of the world’s longest multi-span cable stayed bridges and longest of the fully suspended type.  It crosses the Gulf of Corinth near Patras linking the town of Rio on the Peloponnese peninsula to Antirrio on mainland Greece by road.  It opened the day before the 2004 Athens Summer Olympics and was used to transport the Olympic Flame.  7,808ft long (approx 1.8 miles) it now allows direct access by car between the mainland and the Peloponnese, however, the ferries are still in use as we found out on our approach.  The waterway was extremely busy as they manoeuvred back and forth.

Under the Bridge Gulf of CorinthIMG-20210407-WA0004

Having radioed the Bridge we were given permission and instruction as to which pylons to pass between.  As always when passing under a bridge in Money Penny (even after doing our sums), we held our breath as we proceeded under this masterpiece!

Messalongi is a major fish production centre and we approached the long entrance canal to a stunning sun set.  The canal is set amid shallow salt marshes and it was important to keep to the marked channel as we made our way inwards towards the Town.  On either side of the canal there were pretty little fishermen huts/houses built on stilts, it reminded us of Florida.

The town is built between the lagoon of Messolonghi and the one of Kleisova at the estuary of Evinos and Acheloos river.  ‘Messolanghi’ meaning ‘town between two lakes’. 


There is a marina, a large town quay and a basin at the entrance to both where it is possible to anchor.  We chose the Quay but with approximately 13000 inhabitants, who all seemed to be out and about as we arrived  at 20.15,  we regreted not anchoring in the basin! There was certainly no Covid19 distancing as the nearby restaurants were packed to capacity and music and noise continued late into the night. 

The following day (14th September 2021) we departed Messalongi and headed towards ‘Big’ Vathi on Ithaca to meet up with Anthea & Paul from our home town of Tenby and rejoin Dave and Carolyn off Dulcinea.

Little did we know what lay ahead of us over the next week.

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9.9.2020-13.9.2020 Galaxidhi & The Island of Trizonia

Our next destination was Galaxidhi, a small fishing town on the Gulf of Corinth.  As we approached through a selection of small islands and a narrow navigation channel, we could see the two natural ports ahead of us.  It felt like we were approaching another island but, in fact, Galaxidhi sits on the mainland not far from Delphi and within easy reach of Athens.

Galaxidi was only accessible by boat until 1963. For many years, the town was home to Greece’s most important shipping families, and their grand houses with wrought-iron balconies, stone figureheads, pebbled courtyards and brightly painted shutters, still line the waterfront along with a choice of the many restaurants and quaint shops including a gorgeous chocolate shop which we tried to avoid but failed!!

Worth a visit is the Nautical Historical Museum, which tells the tale of the town and its role in the Greek War of Independence through a series of engaging exhibits.

Opposite the quay where we moored Money Penny was the forested headland known as Pera Panta. We took a walk out to the headland past sandy coves for swimming and areas of rocks along the waters edge suitable for sunbathing. 

20200910_12373120200910_123906IMG-20210405-WA0007Alex & Kuni joined us in Galaxidhi and we rented a car together the day after our arrival, before heading out to explore the surrounding area.  On our way to Delphi we passed  beautiful countryside, including olive groves with irrigation canals stretching for miles, and also stopped for a coffee break at a hilltop restaurant with the most amazing views. 

canal onroute to Delphicoffe on way to delphiCoffee view DelphiAccording to Greek mythology, Zeus released two eagles from either side of the ancient world and they met at Delphi, the centre of the Greek universe. Gaia, the primal Mother Earth goddess, was also said to reside here, and Delphi became one of the most sacred sites in the ancient world.

Delphi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the slopes of Mount Parnassus.  Understandably, the site would normally attract large numbers of visitors but again, due to Covid, coupled with the fact that we arrived early in the morning, we were lucky to share the site with very few other visitors.  We entered and climbed the long track, known as the Sacred Way, which lead to the Temple of Apollo at the top of the hill.

20200911_122922All that remains of the temple today are the foundations.  The stones are cut into unusual polygonal shapes and carved with inscriptions, many of which relate to the emancipation of slaves.

Above the Temple of Apollo sits the theatre, which dates from the 4th century BC. It’s still well preserved, and you can climb to the top tier of the seating for views of ancient Delphi, the surrounding mountains and the valley below.  It was amazing.  When built, the theatre had enough seating for 5,000 spectators and was used during the Pythian Games, held at Delphi every four years from 590 BC

.temple DelphiPillars DelphiDelphi viewDelphi theatreIMG-20210407-WA0001

In 2015, a replica of the Serpentine Column, a bronze pillar erected to commemorate the defeat of the Persian Empire at the Battle of Plataea in 479 BC, was added to the site.

IMG-20210407-WA0002The Stadium was built to host the athletics of the Pythian Games, it was changed by the Romans in the 2nd century and has well-preserved tiered stone seating. A running track with carved stone starting blocks is at the centre and close by is the gymnasium, which had an outside track.  Unfortunately this area is roped off but we had a clear view looking down on it from where we stood.

After walking around the impressive ruins of Delphi we visited the Archaeological Museum, this housed the most amazing collection of treasures found in ancient Delphi.  The Museum sits within the grounds of the site and displays its collection in chronological order. The highlights included a life-size bronze charioteer and the Sphinx of Naxos dating from 560 BC.  We were also ‘blown away’ by the intricacy of some of the smaller artefacts.

delphi museum horseIMG-20210407-WA0003Statue Delphi ladystatue Delphiplate delphismall statue Delphi

After our trip to the Historical site we had lunch together in the town before heading back to Galaxidhi for one more evening before moving on.  We highly recommend this area and would love to return next year.


On the 12th September we departed Galaxidhi and travelled 15 miles west to the small island of Trizonia.  The island is 2.5 sq km and has a population of only 64.  (according to the 2011 census).  We entered the marina and moored along one of the concrete quays.  The marina was rundown, full of old boats that looked like they had been abandoned and there was no office anywhere in sight.  Our overnight stay was free of charge! 

Just off the marina there was a sheltered area to take an afternoon swim and the walk around the headland took us to the pretty harbour and village.  The village was accessible directly from the marina but we chose to take a walk.    A sleepy place to just relax and chill!


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6.9.2020–9.9.2020 Vathi, Methana – Epidavros–The Corinth Canal

We departed Poros early on 6th September and made way towards Vathi, a beautiful tiny fishing harbour on the west coast of the Methana peninsula.  As we approached we passed a gorgeous chapel perched on the cliff edge.  The entrance to the harbour was very narrow and manoeuvring inside the harbour was tricky!  We had been told to arrive as early as possible because of the lack of room inside the harbour.  We were lucky and took one of three remaining spaces, closely followed by two other yachts. 

We took a swim off the end of the harbour, had a walk around the quaint village where we passed an ancient olive press, and then we joined another British couple off a neighbouring yacht for dinner in one of the few tavernas.  One part of sailing that we really enjoy is meeting people along the way.  Sometimes it feels as if you have known each other for years.  We have made many long lasting friendships in our three years of travelling so far.

chapel vathi20200907_08372220200907_083729olive press

The following day we left Vathi onroute to Epidavros.  We had been told of a ‘sunken city’  and hoped that we would be able to find it.  The Sunken City is located in the bay of Agios Vlasios on the beach just outside Epidavos and only 2 meters from the shore in 2 meters of water.  We anchored Money Penny at a safe distance from where we could see a few people snorkelling, launched the paddleboard and headed  into the water.  The water was crystal clear and there were large pots, walls,paved sections and foundations of buildings clearly visible.  We paddle boarded and snorkelled around the exciting area.  A fantastic experience that we were happy not to have missed.  Having spent the afternoon experiencing this wonderful place, we made our way in to the harbour area of Epidavros.

Epidavros 2EpidavrosEpidavros 3Epidavros sunken city beach

We anchored in the bay off Epidavros and enjoyed an evening swim before taking a trip in to explore the town.  We checked the bus times for the following day to take us up to visit the nearby Theatre.  Epidavros was believed to be the birthplace of Apollo’s son Asclepius the healer, the area was known for its sanctuary situated about five miles from the town as well as its theatre.  The sanctuary was the most celebrated healing centre of the Classical world.   The great theatre of Epidavros was built in the 4th century BC. It originally had 34 rows but these were extended in Roman times by an extra 21, seating 14,000 people and still used today.  We took a small minibus the five miles to the Theatre, sharing our experience with crew from two other yachts.  On our arrival we were the only people to enter the complex and felt privileged.  We could only imagine the crowds that would normally have flocked here prior to Covid.  There were huge car parks and facilities at the entrance and a number of closed cafes.  We walked through the wooded area to the spectacular Theatre.  The acoustics were amazing, if you stood in the centre of the stage area and whispered, anyone right at the back/top seats could hear you clearly.  I climbed to the top and Alistair stood on the ‘spot’ and started to sing.  Within a couple of seconds an official appeared from the trees and reprimanded him.  Apparently there is a ‘no singing policy’, not even in Welsh!!

theatre  Epidavros theatretheatre 2

In the same complex is the Archaeological Museum, noted for its reconstructions of temples and columns. This museum houses a display of artefacts unearthed in the site and surrounding area.  It was fascinating to see these artefacts so beautifully reconstructed.

theatre museummuseum 2

On the 9th September we departed the anchorage of Epidavros and headed out towards the epic Corinth Canal.  The Canal connects the Gulf of Corinth in the Ionian Sea with the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean Sea.  It cuts through the narrow Isthmus of Corinth and separates the Peloponnese from the Greek mainland.  It was dug through the isthmus at sea level and has no locks.  Construction first began in 1881 and the maximum boat draft is 24ft (7.3m).  The Isthmus was first crossed by boats in 600bc when a ship railway was built and small boats were carried on wheeled cradles running in grooves.  The Canal is 3.9 miles long (6,343 metres) and the earth cliffs reach a maximum height of 206 feet (63 metres).

As we sailed towards the Canal we were in the company of another yacht, Anastasia, belonging to Alex & Kuni, a German couple who we had spent the day at the Theatre with the day before.  We excitedly moored on the Quay at the entrance and Alistair headed to the office with our paperwork and credit card!  It was 216 Euros for us to cross the Canal but well worth it for the experience and also it would cut 185 miles off the return journey around the Peloponnese to the Ionian.  The payment office is only at one end so if we had been entering from the opposite side, we would be paying on exit.

Corinth Canal mapWaiting to enter Corinth Canal

The crossing of the Canal was spectacular with added excitement of a bungee jumper launching off a bridge as we passed under!  Alex & Kuni followed us in and were able to take a photograph of Money Penny as she made her way through.

Money Penny in CorinthCorinth Canal 2

Having left a fairly calm sea as we entered, we approached the exit and became away of huge waves breaking ahead of us.  To this day we are shocked that none of the staff at the payment office made us aware of the extreme weather ahead.  Had we known what was to welcome us, we would have remained the other side until the following day!

other end of the Canalsheltered bay after the Corith Canal

It took us nearly 2 hours to cover the 3 miles across the bay in 45 knots of wind and we were grateful that our anchor set first time in the shelter of the lee of the land. We were exhausted but relieved to be able to relax once again.  Anastasia joined us a short while afterwards but was unable to set their anchor so moved on to a bay further up the coast.  We swam in the clear water and then having eaten, retired early having first set our anchor alarm.  At 6.30 am the alarm sounded and it was all systems ‘go’ as we had swung around into a shallow area.  We decided to make an early start on the next part of our journey. 

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Hydra to Poros 1.9.2020-6.9.2020

On 1st September we left Hydra and motored 5 miles across the bay off Cape Skyli (south).  This quiet anchorage was beautiful with warm clear blue water.  We spent the day with four other boats but at sundown there were only two of us left.  A relaxing day paddle boarding and swimming.  There was no telephone signal and Judith had received a message from home to ‘ring’ so she went off on the paddle board to find a signal, at the same time exploring the small island that we were anchored behind (see photo of Money Penny taken from the island) and a small bay just around the point!   We will definitely use this anchorage again if we are in the area.  We do doubt whether it will be as quiet post Covid!


The following day we headed off to the Island of Poros, only a short ‘hop’ of 7 miles.  Poros is also in the southern part of the Saronic Gulf and lies about 36 miles and a 1 hr ferry trip from Athens.  It is separated from the Peloponnese by a 200m wide sea channel opposite the town of Galatas on the mainland.  We approached Poros Town via the channel where the quay is lined with shops, cafes and restaurants.  There were a number of areas to choose from but we eventually decided to anchor off the Russian Dockyard.  This is an historical site, the place where the first Russian ships docked in order to help Greek people during the Greek Revolution against the Turks.  We were able to take the tender into the shore and then walk around the perimeter of  dockyard into Poros Town.  Covid had closed Poros down 2 weeks prior to our arrival, it was extremely quiet.

File_015Approaching the channel between Poros and Galatas on the mainland.

The town itself was full of life and we enjoyed walking around the streets and along the quayside looking at the numerous boats moored alongside.  We visited the local chandlery which was well stocked and had made great use of an couple of old toilets using them as plant pots!  We had broken our spinnaker pole on our crossing from Sicily to Kefalonia and had been trying to arrange delivery of a new one for a while.  The Chandlery were extremely helpful and ordered from Athens for us with 48 hr delivery.  Perfect!

Poros Toiletsporos quiet restaurantsPoros streetIMG-20210324-WA0002

We spent the night on anchor in Navy Bay off the Dockyard where we had a great view of the town lit up during the evening. The following morning we left and headed 5 miles along the coast to Russian Bay where we anchored overnight after spending a relaxing day swimming, paddle boarding and ‘fending off’ the superyachts. 

IMG-20210324-WA0003Our anchorage in Navy Bay20200903_172404Russian Bay joined by a superyacht

20200902_20161520200902_20284920200902_212233Poros By Night  

The following day we headed for the other side of the Island, anchoring in Bistlou Bay, a long narrow bay which we shared for a while with a small speedboat and its ‘captain’ who spent a couple of hours harpoon fishing.  It was idyllic so we decided to remain there for the night.  

Just as darkness fell, the wind picked up and was funnelling into the narrow anchorage!  Should we return to Poros town or not?  We knew our main anchor was well set and we had set a stern anchor to keep us away from the sides of the bay during the day, however if the weather deteriorated, the narrow bay would provide us with no leeway. Lifting both anchors would take time and if the wind picked up or changed direction causing the stern anchor to pull out we could be pushed closer to the shallow water or small beach with very little time to react.   We decided to leave and make our way back to Poros.    The trip back to was windy with rough seas but soon enough we were anchored in the shelter of the now familiar Russian Bay.

20200903_182739Waking up in our sheltered anchorage of Russian Bay

In the morning we left the anchorage and moved to the Town Quay to attempt to complete a few ‘boat jobs’ and collect the spinnaker pole.   It’s not always play time!!  We had had replacement graphics printed before we left Milford Haven and they were still sitting in the cabin lockers.  Perhaps it was time to ‘balance’ the look of the boat.  One side had a blue stripe and one did not!!!  I think we may have been better waiting until later in the day as the mid day heat didn’t help, but we finally finished and she looked fabulous!!   The spinnaker pole had also arrived.  We had asked for 4.2 m but on arriving at the shop the pole was an ‘uncut’ 5m length!!!  There were certainly a few ‘looks’ as Alistair carried it back to the boat!

20200905_193741Poros Quayside at sunset.

spinaker pole porosWalking from the Chandlery back to Money Penny

We departed on the morning of 6th September having had a wonderful time around Poros.  We had not managed to explore the interior of the Island  but would definitely return next year if possible to continue exploring.

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28.8.2021–1.9.2020 Dokos, Ermioni & Idra (Hydra)

At 8.20 on the 28th August we left Serifos on our return passage to the east coast of the Peloponnese and into the Saronic Gulf.

The passage took us 10.5 hours of motor sailing and another 1.5 hours trying to complete the last couple of miles and find a suitable anchorage.  We finally dropped anchor off the Island of Dokos at 20.20.   Dokos is a small island situated in the Argo-Saronic Gulf, in between Hydra and the Peloponnese. It is separated from the mainland of Greece by a narrow strait which is sometimes referred to as "the Hydra Gulf".  On the eastern side of the island there is a lighthouse which was constructed in 1923 and is 9 meters tall and built in the shape of a round tower. Tourists are only able to visit the island of Dokos by water taxi from Hydra, Ermioni or Spetses as there are no ferries routes to the island.  It is therefore popular with nature lovers, hikers and with people that are looking for peace and quiet.

We approached the Island from the South and had marked out a number of possible anchorages.  The first three were not suitable and after what felt like hours we chose an anchorage to the North.  Our first attempt at anchoring in the sheltered horseshoe bay on the Northern shore was a failure!  The anchor entangled itself in an old tyre and was difficult to remove.  By the time we had freed ourselves it was dark and we were exhausted. Unfortunately we failed to get the tyre onboard and it returned to the bottom of the sea!  Hopefully it will provide a home for fish and marine growth in the future!  On our second attempt the anchor held and we were so glad to be able to tuck ourselves up in bed! 


The following morning we woke to a mirrored sea and very few neighbours so decided to spend the day and another night in this beautifully sheltered, quiet and (at last), windless bay.  We launched the paddleboard and as the water was so clear, Judith went for her morning exercise in search of the offending tyre!


During our first swim of the day we noticed a stowaway onboard Moneypenny’s rudder!  A praying mantis had decided to take a ride.  To this day we don’t know how long he had been there but we returned him to the beach by means of a ‘swim’ and a plastic tub!


Greece’s quiet anchorages had been easy to find this year due to the lack of charter boats and we regularly enjoyed the piece and quiet of our own company, however, mid morning we noticed a small motorboat entering the large bay.  They could have chosen ANYWHERE but as you can see from the photograph, they obviously preferred company!!!    I have also included a photograph to show how big the bay was and how easy it would have been for them to have found a space of there own.  We could have literally jumped onto their boat!!!  No amount of staring would move them so eventually we erected a ‘sun shade’ between us and them!!



On the 30th August we weighed anchor and motored the 5.8 miles across to Ermioni on the mainland (the Eastern Peloponnese). 

The commercial port and harbour of Limani is located on the Northern side, with the lively Mandrakia on the Southern side of the peninsula.  At the Eastern end of the town, is the archaeological pine-cladded forest area called the Bisti.  Here you can enjoy a  walk at any time of the day, as there is plenty of shade, and visit the 5th Cen. BC temple of Athena, and other Ancient, Byzantine and Medieval monuments.  You can also swim in the clear blue sea, from the rocky coves along the Southern side of the Bisti, which overlook the islands of Dokos and Hydra.  There are no beaches in Ermioni, apart from a very small stretch of sand close to the Bisti, where some local residents go to enjoy their swim.  The sea surrounds the town from three sides, giving the feel of being on an island.  

We moored on the free town quay in Limani and were soon joined by a very expensive motorboat with a very ‘smart’ Italian couple onboard.  The bathing costumes and other outfits (and there were many over the next 24 hours) were amazing.  Direct from Milan.  What a lovely couple, great company.

We settled in and then decided to explore.    The restaurants in the Port were busy serving the late lunchtime customers, but we decided to take a walk over to see what we were missing on the ‘other side’.  We made our way through the streets eventually appearing on the extremely quiet South Quay, Mandrakia.  Bars and restaurants lined the Quay but they were all quiet and most were closed.   We were shocked as the Quay side had provision for numerous yacht and motorboats.  Where were they all?  Covid certainly looked like it was having an affect on the businesses in Ermioni.

File_002File_003The South Quay

We made our way back towards the North Quay but firstly decided to continue our walk out to the headland  through the pine forest.  What a beautiful walk  passing monuments, old & new, along the way and taking in the breath-taking views. As we approached the end of the headland we noticed a little cove with a narrow staircase down to the shore.  A swim was on the cards but we had no swimming costumes, (although we did have a small towel in our backpack).  There was no one around so underwear it was!  As we approached the water, we noticed three people descending the stairway….typical!  We dived under and then turned to acknowledge them by which time they had also stripped to their underwear (minus there tops!) and were entering the water.  They say ‘what a small world’ but the two girls, Alice & Pip were from Wales and Pip’s parents even had a property within three miles of our home!  They were making their way around Greece crewing wherever they were needed.


After our swim we returned to Money Penny and ‘dressed’ for dinner (Outfits direct from ‘the wardrobe of Money Penny’ nowhere near the beauty of Milan) and headed out for an early meal in a shoreside restaurant overlooking the North Quay, followed by another walk over to the South Quay.  We were in for a shock!  This time the South Quay was lined with large charter yachts, their guests and crew filling the bustling bars and restaurants.  No Covid distancing here!  Following an after dinner drink and and some people watching in a chic cocktail bar, we headed off to bed.

File_001Topping up on the quay!

The following morning we decided to ‘flag’ down the diesel tanker and top up our tanks before heading off back across the gulf to see if we could get into the cosmopolitan town that we had heard so much about, Idra (Hydra).  The yacht that Pip and Alice were crewing on left just before us.  They had told us they were also heading for Idra.  We followed the yacht off the Quay and out of the bay. 


Throughout the 11 mile crossing we had little wind, but we hoisted the sails and attempted to sail with no luck.  Unfortunately this allowed the yacht that Pip & Alice were on to arrive in Idra before us and they took the last spot on the quay.  Normally the yachts are moored 4 or 5 deep here and we debated starting the second row, however, we didn’t want to be ‘locked’ in the following morning so decided to head back out and take a look at an adjoining bay.    We moored stern to against the rocks in Mandraki Bay and spent the next couple of hours swimming, paddle boarding and watching other boats arriving. 

We had been told that it was possible to ‘order’ a water taxi from Mandraki Bay to the Idra.  We spoke to the charter yacht moored adjacent to us and arranged to share the taxi.  At 5.30 pm (as ordered) the water taxi pulled up alongside Money Penny.  20 Euros for the trip, (10 each yacht) Well worth the experience.

IMG-20210225-WA0017Our view from our taxi!

The cosmopolitan island of Idra (Hydra) is in the Saronic Islands, located in the Aegean Sea.  It’s name references the natural springs on the island and it is only a 2hr ferry ride from Athens.  The Island is a ‘car free’ zone with people travelling either by foot, boat or donkey to get around. The small water taxis buzz in and out of the harbour taking people around the island, across the short stretch of water to the shores of the Peloponnese or even as far as Athens. There are elegant stone mansions, narrow alleyways, and a number of churches and museums to visit within the capital.  We were again lucky that we were exploring at an extremely quiet time. 


We sat and had a coffee at a small café overlooking the harbour, took a walk around the pretty narrow streets and eventually met up with Alice & Pip at a sundowner cocktail bar where we chatted and drank cocktails as the sun disappeared over the horizon. The only disappointment for Alistair was that the chips that he had noticed on the menu (and craved), turned out to be crisps! 


File_013One of the beautiful yachts that arrived while we were in Hydra.

We decided to walk the 2 miles back to Money Penny along the coast path in the dark and knowing that when we arrived we would have to swim back!  All good fun!  It was a clear night and there were great views from the path of the taxis zipping back and forth, the stars and the lights on the opposite shore.  Unfortunately our stay was spoilt by a charter boat anchored not far from us that partied all night!  We made sure that we made lots of noise before leaving the following morning! 

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Cyclades 20.8.2020

At 7.40am on the 20th August we departed Ierekas in the Peloponnese and made the 63 mile journey across to the Cyclades Island of Milos.  The first 17 miles were in 25kts of wind with the sails reefed ,but all too soon the wind dropped to 10kts and we finished the journey motor sailing the remaining 46 miles.

The Cyclades Islands comprise of a more challenging sailing area mainly due to the Meltemi, the northern wind that blows from early July through most of August. Milos is the southwestern most island in the Cyclades, from east to west and it measures about 23 km (14 mi), from north to south 13 km (8.1 mi).  Adamas is the main Port of Milos Island and sits on the North perimeter of a flooded volcanic crater.  We arrived at the entrance at sunset, and it was dark by the time we were approaching the Port.  We could see that the Quay was busy but were unable to see how much space there was in the darkness.  We decided to drop anchor and move across in the morning.


The following morning we moved to the Quay – 7.50 Euros per night plus 5 euros for water for the duration of the stay.  We had not really had to think too much about Covid 19 whilst in the Peloponnese as the area was extremely quite with very few tourists, however as we left Money Penny to explore the town and search for supplies and a laundrette, we were shocked and slightly disturbed at the number of tourists!  We would certainly have to be more Covid aware whilst on Milos Island.

We spent three nights  on the Quay at Milos during which time we hired a car to enable us to explore this extremely pretty but (at the times)windy island.  The beaches on the South side were beautiful and we stopped at Paleochori for coffee at a beachside restaurant, Sirocco, that was in the middle of placing their ‘plate of the day’ in the sand to cook.  The temperature gauge showed 80 degrees centigrade and we were unable to walk on the sand nearby.  Swimming in the sea was like taking a hot bath!


The traditional blue & white stucco houses were visible all around the Island and we saw octopus drying outside seaside restaurants, small fishing boats tied up in natural harbours and spectacular rugged coastline along the North shore.



On the 24th August we decided to move on.  We had a fantastic sail  out to the entrance of the ‘flooded crater’ but were hit by 31kts of wind as we exited.   We decided that it would be wise to find a sheltered bay on route to our intended destination.  This took us 14 miles to find!! (Kimolas) We were grateful to have our trusted Rocnor and that, eventually the wind decided to subside so that we could get some well earned sleep.

After a better than expected night we left Kimolas on route for the island of Sifnos.  We motor sailed the 15 miles to Vathi on Sifnos and anchored in the bay. Sifnos & Serifos are known for their traditional pottery and there are many small pottery  shops in both Vathi and Katarmes.  Once safely anchored in the pretty horseshoe bay, we took the dinghy ashore for a coffee, to explore the tiny village and then the obligatory lunch in a beachside taverna! Oh what a lunch!!

142802814_155292172882575_5468922365306283685_nMoney Penny anchored in Vathi

143025200_698177210848433_2401523756397098638_n143411494_3808938685834742_8052376990710313489_n143263626_199496315207311_6604498954661397802_nIMG-20200825-WA0002Exploring Vathi

The following day we decided to make our way as far north as possible to try and avoid the Melltemi which was exhausting us!  Our destination was the Island of Serifos however, as we sailed out of the bay of Vathi we were again confronted by 20-30kts of northerly wind on our bow!  We made for Katarmes, the next town up on the North West coast of Sifnos.  Anchored in the bay, we prepared lunch whilst Money Penny spun around her anchor as squalls encircled us.  After three hours (at 15.00) we upped anchor and made haste to Megalo Livadi on Serifos.

We spent two nights anchored off the beach of Livadi with an amazing view of the Chora on the overlooking hillside.  We have to confess that we caught the local bus to the top of the Chora to explore this beautiful mountain village, however, we did walk the beautiful route back down.  Due to the Covid situation the village, which is normally packed with tourists, was a treat to walk around.  Arts and craft shops lined the small narrow streets and the miniature ancient houses sat quietly among them.  Under normal circumstances these houses would have been full of August visitors.


143040912_413109573307596_9205074081855078905_nThe view from the chapel at the summit of the hillside.

The Meltemi had got the better of us.  We would return to the Cyclades early next year before she began again!   Early on the 28th August we departed Serifos on route for Hydra in the Saronic Gulf.

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Monemvasia 18.8.2020

At 7.15 am on 18th August we lifted our anchor and headed for Monemvasia.  The town and fortress of Monemvasia sits on a small island (rock)and dates back to 583 when the inhabitants of the mainland were seeking refuge from invasion.  The island has been linked to the mainland by a short causeway built in 1971.  As we approached we could see the town walls and buildings clearly but it wasn’t until we walked up to the town that we realised how stunning this town is.  It is sometimes called ‘little Gibraltar’ as the rock resembles that of Gibraltar.


We moored on the town Quay alongside Dulchinea and were met by the ‘harbour master’.  7.50 euros per night including free water.  We were finding it difficult to get used to little or no charges here in Greece having been used to being quoted prices in excess of 50-100 euros per night in Italy last year!  The harbour master was an interesting man who was originally from Athens but married ‘a local girl’ and now was harbour master and olive grower!  He explained to Alistair the difference between virgin & extra virgin olive oil which is, apparently, down to the acidity of the  oil.  Between 0.1% – 0.8% is extra virgin and 0.8%-1.6%.  Regular Olive oil is a  blend of various oils.

That evening we walked up to the walled town and explored the many passageways and shops before climbing to the top of the ‘rock’ to look down on the town. 


We then had a wonderful meal in one of the many restaurants with stunning views over the bay before walking back down to a very busy Quay.  Having left Money Penny & Dulchinea on the Quay together, they were now surrounded by a large number of extremely ‘nice’ superyachts.

IMG-20200819-WA0000IMG-20210124-WA0008You have to look carefully to find us amongst these giants!

The following morning, after a very noisy night, we said goodbye to Dulchinea again and headed 8 miles up the coast to the little village of Ierakas.  Ierakas is a small village built along a natural fjord on the south east coast of Laconia, Pelonponaise.   The small port provides perfect shelter for yachts and boats and includes a small hotel, restaurants, tavernas and cafés.  During the afternoon local families arrive in cars and boats to socialise and swim off the end of the pontoon.  We went for a small bike ride around the fjord and then spent the remainder of our day swimming and paddle boarding around the fjord and discussing whether to cross to the Cyclades the following day or continue northwards towards Athens.

Λιμάνι Γέρακα - Λακωνία (Port Ieraka -Lakonia) Photo from Gerakas in  Spetses | Greece.comPage 2       IMG-20201005-WA0003

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Navarinou Bay to Elafonisos 12.8.2020-18.8.2020

Our next stop was only five miles down the coast.  Methoni is tucked behind a small headland with a large Venetian fort and Turkish tower dominating the village.  The Venetian fort guarded the shipping route around the Peloponnisos and there is a ‘sister’ fort in nearby Koroni.   We anchored off the village in the early afternoon alongside Dulcinea, before taking a walk around, then returned ashore the following morning to visit the fort.


The Fort of Methoni dates from medieval times and is protected by the sea on three sides.  A deep moat separates it from the land and an entrance bridge stretches across the moat.  Inside the walls there are ruins of houses, a Turkish bath, a church and parts of Doric pillars including a monolithic granite pillar which is supposed to have originally supported the ‘winged lion of Saint Mark’, the symbol of Venice, or the bust of Morosini. The Lion of Saint Mark is the protector saint of the Venetian Republic and there are 15 representations that have survived in Methoni.

IMG-20201005-WA0007IMG-20201005-WA0008IMG-20201006-WA0006On the south part of the walls there is a spectacular sea gate which has recently been restored.  A paved pathway leads over a small bridge to the islet of Bourtzi and the small octangonal sea fort where the guards would survey the harbour.  This is apparently is where many soldiers and inhabitants of Methoni were slaughtered when the Turks occupied the fort in 1500.

20200817_08310820200817_083126Madness onboard! Sometimes life onboard gets to us!!!

Our next stop was Kalamata 40 miles south – yes, the olives!  We were welcomed to the Town Quay by a ‘local’, 30 yr old Yanis, who took our stern lines and helped us moor up safely.  Judith offered him a beer and he promptly replied that he would come back later.  Come back later, he certainly did!  We could not get rid of him, he even joined us for dinner! and social distancing was not in his vocabulary.   During the afternoon we mentioned to him that we needed our ‘bottom’ (& prop) cleaning and he offered to go and collect his diving equipment and do the job for us.  He asked to borrow one of our bicycles and disappeared for nearly an hour before we were able to breath a sigh of relief when he returned carrying all of his equipment.  To be fair, he carried out the job well and charged a fair price for something that we would have struggled to do ourselves.

IMG-20201005-WA0006The ‘crew’ of Dulcinea & our new friend Yannis joined us for dinner!

Kalamata is the second largest city of the Peloponnese peninsula after Patras.  It exports local products including raisins, olives and olive oil and during our stay we visited the local market where we purchased a kilo of the most beautiful olives - we have been unable to find any which taste so good since! 

Not far from the (free) Town Quay is the Municipal Railway Park.  The only open-air museum of its kind in Greece, it was founded in 1986 but due to a devastating earthquake in Kalamata in 1986, it was not completed until 1990.  It occupies a total area of 54,000 sq m  and we enjoyed riding our bikes through the park and looking at the various exhibits housed there.


We spent two nights in Kalamata before moving on 25 miles south to a very ‘rolly’ anchorage in Limeni for a night. The following morning we left early and anchored in a bay 7 miles further south where we visited the Diros Caves.  The exploration of the biggest cave, Vlychada started in 1949 and has yielded fascinating finds including a hippopotamus from around 32,000 years ago as well as evidence of panthers, lions, spotted hyenas and seals.  Exploration continues in another cave in the complex but this is not open to the public.  A couple aged 5,800 years old, locked in an embrace have been found at the entrance to this cave, their grave was part of one of the biggest Neolithic burial sites ever found in Europe.  We were first taken in a ‘punt’ like boat and then walked through the remainder of the cave with its beautiful stalactites and stalagmites   Having visited caves on the Northern coast of Spain that were carefully preserved and protected from damage from public and light, we were a little disappointed with our tour of Diros when comparing the two, but would say, ‘ it is worth a visit if you are close by’.

IMG-20201005-WA0005Money Penny IMG-20201005-WA0004Dulcinea20200816_094442IMG-20201006-WA0009

As we had visited the Caves early in the morning, we decided to try and catch up with Dulcinea who had moved ahead of us yesterday and rounded Cape Matapan.  Our original plan was to round the Cape and head slightly North for Porto Kayio for the night  before crossing the Gulf of Lakonika the following day.  The wind was perfect for us to cross the Gulf that afternoon so we set our sails and sailed the 48 miles directly to Elafonisos an island on the north side of the channel between Nisos Kithera and the Peloponnisos.  We arrived at 18.30 and dropped anchor just in front of Dulchinea, who was already there, in the most amazing clear emerald coloured water.  We could have been in the Caribbean! 


There is a sand bar between the mainland and the Island which gives two horseshoe bays.  Just before our departure from Port Napoleon, s. France, we had briefly met a New Zealand couple, Jeremy and Chrissy who were travelling on their boat Fernweh.  We had been watching them on AIS and messaged a couple of times but had not managed to catch up with them over the previous year.  Today they were anchored in the opposite ‘horseshoe’ bay.  For fear that they may leave early the following day and that we would miss them again, we swam out to Fernweh almost immediately after dropping anchor.  We were promptly invited on board for G & T’s and sat in our wet swimsuits exchanging stories from the last 14 months.  The sailing community is a very close one and friendships are made quickly and intensely with people from many walks of life that one may not always come across back at home.   We have met and still keep in touch with many wonderful likeminded people.  


We spent the next day swimming, paddle boarding and walked to the top of the small island to take in the view and after a second night in this beautiful bay we moved on.

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Our Greek Adventure (7.8.2020-12.8.2020)

Argostoli, our starting point in Greece, sits on a large sheltered bay on the south west of Kefalonia, Ionian Islands.  We spent our first 2 nights anchored in the bay alongside four other boats from Ragussa, all at the start of their 2020 Greek cruise.  We enjoyed exploring the town and also met the resident turtle who frequents the quay every morning as the fishing boats return.  The town was a great place to provision the boat ready for our next trip.  Lovely fish & fruit markets lined the streets.

At 11.30 am on 7th August we left Kefalonia originally expecting to sail west to Ithica.  As we exited the bay the wind was perfect for a sail to Zakinthos so we altered our plans and headed South arriving in the bay of Ay Nikolaos on the northern tip at 16.05.


We were welcomed on the Quay by a friendly character who informed us that he also owned the nearby taverna and we would have free use of the Quay, toilets, showers & washing machine as long as we ate in the restaurant….. Great deal as Judith had plenty of washing to catch up on and laundry can cost from between 3 & 9 euros a load!!    We spent the afternoon relaxing and swimming in this beautiful little bay, ate in the restaurant in the evening and then left the following morning to head further south.  We decided not to visit Zakinthos town as there were many tourists around and we were still a little nervous about the level of Covid in the area, so we found a sheltered bay and anchored for lunch and an afternoon swim.

IMG-20201002-WA0016 At around 16.45 the wind picked up and was perfect for a sail across to the mainland.  We headed off towards Katakolon where we planned to anchor just outside the harbour.  There was a beautiful navy hulled yacht anchored nearby and as we motored past, the guy onboard shouted that the holding wasn’t so good due to the weed.  As we had our new Rocnor anchor onboard, we ignored his advice as we were itching to try it out in this type of grounding and we are happy to report that the anchor performed ‘as advertised’ perfectly!

IMG-20201002-WA001020200810_083204Katakolon is used by cruise ships as a base to visit the famous historical site of Olympia nearby.  Normally they see up to 300 cruise ships in a season but due to Covid the only cruise ships were the ones being stored on the dockside and the town was almost completely deserted!  How would the businesses survive!?    We would have loved to have visited Olympia but Judith had broken her toe before leaving Sicily and would have been unable to walk around the site.  We would have to return another time.   We spent the second night on the Quay in the harbour, (noisy because it was Sunday and the locals all seemed to party on Sunday), topped up with ‘free’ water and departed the following morning 51 miles southwards to Bay of Navarinou.

The Bay of Navarinou is an enclosed bay where the town of Pilos sits on it’s shores.  Pilos was largely built by the French and when walking through the square you do actually feel as if you are in a French town.  We anchored in the far end of the Bay below  Ak Korifasion and it’s Palaiokastro (Castle) and took the tender ashore before walking to the summit to take in the views.  The views were certainly worth the struggle for Judith with her toe!  If you have time check out this link


On returning from our walk we noticed the beautiful blue hulled boat, Dulcinea, anchored nearby and decided to head over to explain why we had ignored their advice.  This was the start of a great friendship when, for the next few weeks, we travelled to virtually the same ports together.


We spent two nights in this Bay just enjoying the clear blue water & paddle boarding before moving Money Penny across to the town quay at Pilos to take a walk around the town and then moving on.  We must add that the Greeks are such friendly people and one experience of this in Pilos was in the local chandlery.  We called in for an extremely small purchase of only a few euros and left having been given fresh orange juice on our arrival and a free bottle of the owners home produced olive oil on departure!  Throughout our time in Greece we were to come across some wonderful local characters.

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2020 Will we return to Money Penny this year?

March 2020 saw the lockdown of the UK due to Covid 19.  We had planned to return to Sicily in February for a few weeks to do some maintenance and then again in April with Toni, Jason & Ralph, following their wedding. None of this happened. Northern Italy had an outbreak of Covid in February and there was a threat of them ‘locking down’, so we decided not to take our February Flight for fear of not being able to return to the UK for the wedding.  Unfortunately the wedding was cancelled and by the end of March we, and the rest of the UK, were in Lockdown.  The rest is history!    Would we ever return to Money Penny?

We moved our many Easy Jet flights on numerous occasions but finally we were onboard for our return flight on the 25th July 2020.  The airport had various safety systems in place and we sat in our own row with masks firmly in place.  On our arrival at Catania Airport we queued to collect our hire car (for over an hour!) and then made the 2 hour journey, with supermarket stop, back to the marina.

We found Money Penny safe and sound but extremely dirty and spent most of the first week cleaning and preparing for our departure for Greece.  Amanda & Jonnie had driven their car from Cardiff and kindly carried our new antifoul for us…..and the obligatory baked beans and marmite"!   We would lift the boat out at a later date as her antifoul was sufficient for a few more months.

Our original plan had been to leave Ragusa in June and spend the following months cruising around Greece before Wintering  in a Greek marina or yard.  Our plans had changed due to the uncertainty of Covid, with us having taken an annual contract at Ragusa allowing us to have a base if a second ‘lockdown’ occurred giving us somewhere to return to.   We made use of the hire car, stocking up on provisions and refuelling following our cleaning of the fuel tanks at the end of last season.  On 1st August we left the Marina for a short ‘shakedown’ sail before cooking and sharing G & T’s with Amanda & Jonnie following their afternoon arrival.

At 11.06am on Monday 3rd August, having paid our Greek Cruising Tax online, (104.80 Euros per month) we departed Ragusa for a 300 mile trip across to Kefalonia in the Ionian Sea.  For the first 50 miles we experienced a fantastic downwind sail.  Our Genoa was poled out and we were making an average of 6.3 knots with a maximum of 11.5 when surfing the waves!  “going great guns”!!  Our bubble soon burst when at 19.45 the spinnaker pole snapped completely in half!  Alistair went up on the foredeck and managed to release all the lines and fittings and we struggled for the next few hours with the genoa ‘flapping’ continually before finally turning on the engine at 3am.  We had averaged 4.8 since midnight and our max was now only 7.5 kts!  We motored sailed for most of the remaining journey. 


At 4.30am on the morning of the 5th August we hit a thunder storm.  Lightening flashed all around us and the crashes of thunder were sometimes directly above our heads……scary!!!   By 6am we had travelled 227.5 miles and both of us were in need of firm ground and sleep!  At 18.30 on the 5th we anchored off Argostoli and were welcomed by fellow sailors from Ragusa.   Phew!!  Just over 55 hours!


The bay at Argostoli was calm and peaceful and after a great night’s sleep, the following morning we took the dinghy ashore to ‘check in’.   We had to visit the Port Police, pay a 15 euro entry fee, fill in a Covid declaration form and show proof that we had paid our cruising tax.  All very straight forward.  Our Greek adventure had begun!

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Returning to the Italian Coast 6/10/19

On the 6th October we returned to Money Penny in the canal just outside Rome.  The bridges were not due to open until the 10th October so we had time to provision Money Penny from a choice of three supermarkets close by, in readiness for the next and final leg of our journey in 2019.

Early on the 10th we started up the engine and made our way into the middle of the canal to await the opening of the first bridge as per instructions from Errico.  Ponte 2 Giugno is a lifting bridge, the whole road lifts into the air, was it going to open?  In true Italian style, there are no telephone numbers to call to ‘book’ an opening, you just hope that operator’s morning alarm clock has gone off and that the timings on the website are correct!  Sure enough, at just after 9.30 am the roadway began to lift towards the sky. 


We negotiated the second bridge (a footbridge) and, after a month of being moored in the canal, Money Penny was sailing again.

We sailed down the coast to Anzio and spent the first night at anchor before filling up with diesel the following morning.  The filling station would not accept cards and we had already filled the tank before we were given this information!   Alistair took an early morning walk into the town to find a cashpoint!

On to Porto del Circeo where we anchored outside of the harbour and spent over an hour watching a rescue boat trying to recover a 38 ft Catamaran from the rocks…..they did not succeed!

The 12th October saw us heading for the Island of Ponza the largest island of the Pontine Islands archipelago, 33km off the Italian coast.  We spent two nights anchored in the sheltered bay off the harbour, walked around the pretty village and took a walk up to the cemetery which houses some impressive tombs and an amazing view over the bay out towards Ventotene the next island on our route.  We also took the tender out to the point below the cemetery where there are grottos and a maze of tunnels built by the Romans (blocked off for safety reasons), and a man made ‘swimming pool’ reached from above by a long staircase’tuff’  dug out of the rock (again compliments of the Romans).  On our way back from the ‘point’ we decided to take a look at a grotto on the other side of the bay.  On entering we were surprised to find a number of boats stored for the winter.  The view from inside the grotto towards the town of Ponza was beautiful.  


14/10/2019  From Ponza we headed the 20 miles to Ventotene, a smaller island in the archipelago.  The Roman harbour is spectacular with ‘tuff’ (volcanic rock) structures surrounding it.  There are also remains of a rainwater catchment system, channels and cisterns .  The island has no natural springs of fresh water and now days water is shipped in by tanker.  We decided not to enter the tiny Roman harbour, instead we headed into the newly built modern port.  As we entered, a small marina was visible to starboard and an operative came out towards us.  Judith asked what the price would be for one night… ‘80 Euros’ was the reply!!  This was October, CRAZY!  To our Port side there was a long quay with a couple of yachts moored stern to.  ‘how much to moor there?’ was our next question to the operative…..’free’ was his response….  Double CRAZY and obviously a no brainer!!!


We took an early evening walk around the small village which was ‘closed’ due to it being so late in the season and then ate onboard before departing the following morning.

15/10/2019 Next stop Ischia.  Lying at the Northern end of the Gulf of Naples, 19 miles from Naples, it measures 6 miles from east to west and 4 miles north to south.  The highest peak is Mount Epomeo at 2,585 ft.  We had been recommended a marina in Casamicciola on the north coast above the main harbour of Ischia and we were not disappointed.  We were made very welcome from the first moment we arrived and would highly recommend this Marina if you are heading to Ischia. The cost was 45 euros per night which was a bargain compared to other quotes we had received from other marinas!

During our time on Ischia we hired a car and circumnavigated the island stopping off at the hot thermal springs in the Bay of Gorgeto near Panza,  the town of Ischia and Castello Aragonese.  The spectacular Castello Aragonese was built on a rock in 474BC before being connected to the mainland in 1441.  It is privately owned but visitors are welcome after paying an entrance fee.

20191016_11354920191016_120531Views from the roadside whilst circumnavigating Ischia.

20191016_144152Castello Argonese, Ischia

17/10/2019 Capri lies on the South side of the Gulf of Naples, this was where we were heading for next.  Under a day sail away from Ischia, off the Sorrento Peninsula, we arrived mid afternoon and anchored just off Marina Grande (Capri Harbour) next to a New Zealand yacht.  Capri comprises the centre and East of the Island while the West belongs to Anacapri both are under different administrations.

20191017_151451View of our anchorage from Piazza Umberto

We decided to eat lunch onboard and then spend the afternoon exploring.  Just as we were about to leave in the dinghy for the shore, the couple off the New Zealand yacht approached to introduce themselves.  Steve, Krista, & their three sons, Noah, Roman & Mace had recently purchased ‘Wild Thing’, a Beneteau Celebration 50, in Greece, and were on their way home!! (yes, to New Zealand!).  We returned later to share a glass of wine & hear of their plans and journey so far,


We left the dinghy in a quiet area just behind the Marina and walked passed surprisingly, crowds of people, towards the funicular railway which takes visitors up to the Piazza Umberto in the centre of the Island.  The funicular railway is 670 metres long and includes a 68 metre tunnel and a 50 metre viaduct, climbing a vertical distance of 139 metres.  The line was built in 1907 and rebuilt in 1958 with a further rebuild in 1991 and upgrade in 2018.  The views from the ‘car’ and once we arrived at the top, were spectacular!  Surrounding the Piazza Umberto were the high class restaurants and shops of the historic, expensive, centre of Capri.  We walked around the area looking at the beautiful jewellery and fashion stores and then began to explore the maze of tiny streets heading out of the main town area towards the Western side of the Island. (Anacapri)   The only vehicles allowed on the island were electric powered,  excluding the small service buses and a few taxis taking people from the Port to the Piazza. 

We thoroughly enjoyed exploring the maze of streets some of which were only  6ft wide and actually reminded us of Morocco , although much cleaner!

20191018_095616Leaving Capri behind.

The following day we left Capri in bright sunshine and no wind we motored along the Amalfi Coast taking in the beautiful scenery.

20191018_12073520191018_12425320191018_130329Amalfi Coast

We anchored off Salerno in the Gulf of Salerno.  We had been told that this would be a great base to explore Pompei & Mount Vesuvius as there is a direct train service.  The city dates back to medieval times and was apparently the place of the first medical school in the world.  We went ashore and checked out the train times before deciding to book for the following day. 

20191019_104007View of Naples on our way to Mount Vesuvius

20191019_114339IMG-20200113-WA0003Mount Vesuvius


19/10/2019  The morning after our arrival in Salerno, we took the train to Pompei and from the train station took a bus trip to Mount Vesuvius, taking in the views on route and walking the last few hundred metres to the summit. We were both slightly disappointed with the experience, don’t get us wrong, the views  over Naples were spectacular but state of the crater, the commercial side and the number of visitors walking to the summit detracted from the overall experience.   In the afternoon we explored Pompei, with mixed reviews!  Judith loved it and would have stayed well into the evening….Alistair was happy to move on after an hour!  UP Pompei

Early afternoon on the 20th October we left mainland Italy and headed across the Tyrrhenian Sea towards the Aeolian Islands to the North of Sicily. We had originally planned to head further along the coast to Agropoli and leave the mainland the following day but the weather and calm seas helped us make the decision to continue towards Stomboli.  Sunday lunch was taken care of when Alistair caught a Bonito within a few hours of our departure.


During our 22 hour crossing to Stromboli we reached 5000 nautical miles since our departure from Milford Haven and also had a very near miss when we picked up an old fishing net around our keel during the night dragging it over a number of miles!  We were extremely lucky not to have found this around our propeller having motor sailed most of the journey.  


As we approached Stromboli we were joined by a number of racing yachts.  The Rolex Middle Sea Race starts and finishes in Malta and is raced  over 606 nautical miles through the Messina Straights, passed Stromboli, across the northern coast of Sicily taking in the outlying Aeolian Islands before heading back to Malta. 

There is very little shelter around the coastline of Stromboli so, after taking in the spectacular sight of the Volcano, we headed to the Island of Lipari.  Having attempted to anchor in two bays and being quoted a ‘crazy’ price for staying in the marina, we set off again towards the Island of Vulcano.  

The anchorage of Porto del Ponente is in the northwestern bay of two horseshoe bays to the North of Volcano.  The photo shows the bay, and the island of Lipari in the background, taken from the path leading up to the crater of the Volcano of Vulcano.


We spent 5 nights in Vulcano.  We hired a small ‘state of the art’ car and toured the whole island in two hours!   We spent an afternoon at the volcanic mud pools (very smelly!) and climbed to the very top of the volcano where we were able to look into the crater and take in the amazing views.



On 26/10/2019  we left the Island of Vulcano and headed towards Milazzo on the northern coast of Sicily.  We understood there was a fuel berth here and we needed fuel.  We had a fantastic sail but arrived at 1340 to find that the fuel berth was closed until 1600.  We moved on to Poseidon Marina where we took a berth for the night and arranged to fill with fuel.  Owing to the fact that the fuel berth is very shallow, fuel is delivered to your boat by tender and mobile tank, plus pump.  On the 27/10/2019 we watched the Welsh Rugby match and set off on our next leg just after mid day. 

The Messina Straights needs to be treated with respect and careful passage planning carried out and adhered to!  We had planned to arrive at the correct point of the tide but arrived early.  The weather and the sea seemed calm so unfortunately we did not adhere to our plan!  The consequence of this was that as soon as we turned into the Straights we hit the tidal race and fought for a number of hours making very little headway between 1.8 & 3.5 knots.  We had planned to sail overnight but were both extremely tired after our experience so decided to stop at the only marina available.  Nettuno Marina.  We arrived in the dark at 6.30pm and were due to depart at 6 the following morning.  We were charged 88 euros for the privilege!  No water, No Electric.   We would not make the same mistake again!

We departed Nettuno Marina at 6.30 am on the 28/10/2019 sailing the 62 miles to a small village called Busicola and anchored below the castle.  Alistair had caught a tuna enroute so this was our well earned supper.

20191028_143627Catch of the Day

We left early the following day to continue our journey to the beautiful town of Siracusa.  We contacted the Port Control and were asked to moor on the Town Quay and then report to the office.  We were the only boat and could only imagine how busy this would have been with superyachts during July, August & September.  Our trip to the office was an ‘adventure in Italian efficiency’!!  We were asked to wait in the entrance hall whilst, over a 40 minute period, we watched a number of officials running backwards and forwards, up and down, from various side offices carrying our paperwork.  No one seemed to know what was needed!  Eventually they handed us back our documents plus a sheet of paper with some sort of stamp on it!  We were free to go.  The Town Quay was free of charge perhaps it was worth the wait!


The city is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site and was the birthplace of Archimedes.  It did not disappoint.  It is rich in Greek and Roman history and was one of the major powers of the Mediterranean world. It is also famous for puppet shows and the making of puppets.  These puppets appeared in windows throughout the city and scared Alistair witless!   Having spent an afternoon exploring the streets of this wonderful city and then meeting up with our friends Amanda and Jonnie (Infinite Blue) who were here on there boat for a few nights, we left on the morning of the 30th October.

The photographs show the amazing architecture throughout the city.


We were now getting excited as our final destination was in sight.  One more night at anchor, 45 NM away in Porto Palo, and then our final sail of the season to Marina di Ragusa.  We received a warm welcome from the staff at Marina di Ragusa and also the liveaboard community who were most helpful during our few final days in the Marina before our flight home when we carried out a number of jobs onboard including cleaning out our fuel tank and also needed a lift to the airport to collect a hire car.  Thank you to all at Marina di Ragusa, we look forward to seeing you again in 2020.

20191106_16082520191106_160933IMG-20200612-WA0004Money Penny tucked up for the winter.

10/11/2019 Flights to the UK from Sicily were almost non existent at this time of the year so we had decided to extend our stay in Italy, flying to Pisa for a one night stay before returning to the UK. We were very lucky to have chosen an hotel close to the Tower itself and arrived on Sunday morning during ‘market’ time.   We thoroughly enjoyed exploring the sites of this busy tourist city and would highly recommend a visit of perhaps one or two nights.

20191110_18381520191110_18382520191111_093422The view from our hotel Day & Night


On the 11th November 2019 we flew from Pisa to Bristol, took the train to Cardiff and after spending a night with Alistair's brother & sister in law, we drove home to Pembrokeshire.   Another year of exploring the Med was over!

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Mainland Italy

On 2nd September 2019 we left Elba behind and headed for the mainland of Italy.   Our first anchorage was Talamone along the Tuscan coast, a pretty walled  village with a prominent tower on the headland. Talamone was one of the settings used for the 2008 film Quantum of Solace (James Bond).  We spent the afternoon walking around the village and headland before returning to Money Penny where we spent a calm night at anchor and moved on after breakfast.

   20190903_181416  Talamone Anchorage   20190903_181438Walking around Talamone20190903_203303Talamone by night.

Poggio Pertuso further along the coast was our next anchorage.  We anchored off the beach and moved on early the following morning to Civitavecchia just North of Rome.

We had been in touch with our friends Amanda & Jonnie (Infinite Blue), who had been back in the UK for the month of August.  Infinite Blue had been tucked up in Marina Riva Di Traiano, just south of the Cruise ship harbour of Civitavecchia whilst they were in the UK.  They had just arrived back so we arranged to meet them in Riva Di Traiano.  We booked Money Penny into the Marina for two nights and enjoyed catching up yet again!  Over dinner at a local restaurant we discussed our plans and realised we were both considering the same Marina in Sicily for our winter berth.  We headed of to Rome to explore and then fly home for grandparent duties with the knowledge that Infinite Blue and Money Penny would be meeting up again in Sicily in a few weeks time!


When deciding where to leave Money Penny on our return trips to the UK, we seek advice from those we meet along the way and also from various online sites or groups.  A number of friends had recommended Constellation Nautica on the canal at Fiumicino just outside of Rome and within a short distance of Rome Fiumicino Airport.  What a find!    We had been in touch with Ericco, the owner of the Yard via email and were aware that we had to make our way through two lifting bridges to get to our mooring.  The bridges only open twice a day and not every day.  We arrived on 7 September at 3pm  but the bridges were not due to open until 8pm so we pulled alongside the quay and watched the sunset before making our way down the canal towards the bridges.  Ericco and a number of others were alongside with a fantastic welcome and to help us moor up. 

20190907_193225Sunset as we waited for the Bridges to open   IMG-20191106-WA0022Money Penny safely moored in Fiumincino20190908_195025

Over the next ten days we caught up on ‘boat jobs’ and caught the bus into the city of Rome to visit the sights.   The bus stop was directly opposite the boatyard - extremely convenient.  Judith’s cousin and family, Sam, Matt & Sienna, who live in Australia, were touring Europe and were in Rome at the same time as us.  We met for lunch and a catch up.

We also enjoyed the hospitality of our ‘host’ Ericco and his family, joining them for a couple of meals under the gazebo in the boatyard. 

IMG-20191106-WA0021  Meeting up with Sam, Matt & Sienna

20190909_13014720190909_15444420190909_16085720190909_16181420190912_11545920190912_11585720190912_14425020190912_15184620190912_16533420190916_11050620190916_11052120190916_11220920190916_114749The Map Room in the Vatican.20190916_125636

On the 17th of September Ericco kindly drove us to the airport where we caught a flight to Marseille, returning to Port Napoleon to collect our car.  We met up with our friends Jo & Ian for an evening meal and stayed in the hotel rooms onsite before leaving the following morning to make the journey back to Le Harve and the ferry to the UK where we were to take up grandparent duties for the next two weeks!

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Corsica (3) & Elba 23/8/19 -

On the 23rd August we left Sardinia and headed back across to catch up with Steve, Jo & Freddie in Roccapina, Corsica.  We had a great sail and 4 hrs later anchored alongside Moana.  The first time Moana & Money Penny had ‘met’!!!   For the next two days & nights we spent ‘family time’, kayaking, swimming & walking. 

IMG-20191106-WA0007Arriving in Roccapina          IMG-20191106-WA0010Moana anchored alongside Money Penny

IMG-20191106-WA0030IMG-20191106-WA0008BBQ onboard Moana

20190825_08323520190825_083859An early morning walk to the Old Tower overlooking the anchorage.

IMG-20191106-WA0011Kayaking with FreddieIMG-20191106-WA0012Steve & Freddie in ‘relax’ mode!

During our stay at Roccapina, Risi, Alex, Lexy, & Emil joined us.  They had travelled from the UK in their vintage VW Campervan to meet up with Steve, Jo & Freddie.  We had a lovely evening in Roccapina with them and then on the 25th August both boats continued along the coast of Corsica towards Rodinara on the East Coast.  Risi drove the Campervan while Alex, Lexy & Emil joined Moana’s crew. 

On route to Rodinara we noticed smoke in the distance.  As we drew near we realised it was a large motor yacht on fire.  There were safety vessels standing off at a safe distance but they were just leaving it to burn away!  Unfortunately we were unable to get close enough to get a clear photograph!

20190825_151202                      20190825_130838Moana sailing alongside Money Penny

We had anchored in Rodinara in July and it had been extremely busy but this time we found there was plenty of room in this beautiful bay.   Risi had taken the Campervan to a nearby campsite and joined us all as soon as we had anchored.    Everyone enjoyed swimming & diving off the boats and we finished the evening with a wonderful meal onboard Moana, cooked by Lexi & Emil.  The wine flowed and the Campervan spent a night alone in the campsite whilst everyone remained onboard!


After two nights in Rodinara it was time to once again say goodbye to Steve, Jo & Freddie.  They were to meet friends from home in Sardinia before Jo & Freddie flew home for the new term and Steve returned Moana to her new winter berth in Gibraltar.

As we were heading North (in the same direction as the Campervan!) Lexi & Emil accepted our invitation to crew to our next ‘stop’, Solenzara.   During the passage we stopped for a swim and some lunch and Emil enjoyed diving off the bow of Money Penny.  We all took turns to ‘drag’ behind the boat as she sailed along at 3 knots.  It certainly feels a lot faster when you are in the water!!

IMG-20191106-WA001520190827_165446    ‘Hold on tight!!’    IMG-20191106-WA0031Lexi  Emil in Solenzara Marina

After saying goodbye to our crew and a night in Solenzara, followed by a night in Marina Taverna (31 miles north of Solenzara),we left for the 45 mile crossing to the Island of Elba.  Elba is the largest island of the Tuscan Archipelago and is within the Arcipelago Toscano National Park.   It is the third largest Island in Italy after Sicily & Sardinia.  Napoleon was exiled to Elba.  He arrived in Portoferraio in 1814 and during his stay of almost 10 months he carried out a number of economic and social reforms to improve quality of life on the Island.  He escaped to France in February of 1815.

Whilst sailing around the coast of the Island of Elba the evidence of the mining industry on the Island is still obvious, with a number of mines visible from the sea.   The ores in Elba are among the oldest iron deposits in the world.  Under Etruscan rule, Elba was called “The Island of a thousand Fires” due to the pureness of its minerals.   Mining continued on the Island until the final mine closed down in 1981.

20190831_11445320190831_114500The Mines on Elba

We spent the first night on Elba in the bay off Marina del Campo and went ashore to look around the village before moving to an anchorage in Golfo Lacona and finally Porto Azzuro.  The anchorage was well a well sheltered inlet with easy dinghy access to the town.  We sent a few days exploring and also caught the bus to Portoferraio. 

20190831_171239 Porto Azzuro  20190901_070733Anchorage at Porto Azzuro

IMG-20191106-WA0017Napoleon’s House  20190901_130612Fort & wall in Portoferraio

 20190901_132004Walking through the streets of Portoferraio towards the harbour

Portoferraio originally had three forts and a massive line of walls which are still visible today built by Grand Duke Gastone de Medici. It was contended by France, Great Britain and Austria before being handed over to Napoleon in 1814 as the seat of his first exile.  It was the main shipping port for the ore towards the mainland (Portoferraio means iron port).  During the Second World War Elba was occupied by the German forces before being liberated by mainly French troops in June of 1944 during a battle that lasted two days.   We visited the Napoleonic Mills House  where Napoleon lived in exile with its beautiful views over the entrance to the natural harbour of Portoferraio.  This is now a museum and is well worth a visit.

On 2nd September we departed Elba and made our way across to mainland Italy and on to Rome where we were to fly to Marseille to collect our car before driving back to the UK for grandparent duties!

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Sardinia & Visitors 19/7/19–23/8/19

Sardinia is the second largest island in the Med - an area of 24,100 sq km.  The Strait of Bonifacio is directly north of Sardinia separating it from Corsica, 8 nm away.   We crossed the Strait on 19 July, passing the Iles Lavezzi and Iles Razzoli, Budelli & Spargi(Northern Maddalena Islands) clocking up 16.8 nm - The wind is never in the right direction!!!  The Archipelago Maddalena is located on the North Eastern Coast of Sardinia and consists of 7 major islands.  The area was declared a National Park in 1994 and a daily or weekly pass must be purchased to enable anyone to enter the area by private boat.  The area has numerous coves & beaches with clear blue water similar to the Caribbean.  We would visit later on in the month.

20190719_122750The Italian Flag is Flying

We sailed passed the Maddalena islands and anchored in Porto Pozzo on the North East of the Island but were unhappy with the ‘holding’ so moved to the next bay, Porto Liscia.  As we entered the bay we were welcomed by the spectacular sight of over 40 colourful kite surfers flying back and forth across the bay between the anchored yachts.  It was quite a welcome!


We spent almost a month in Sardinia and I feel that one of the best ways to ‘blog’ our stay is through photographs. The area is one of immense beauty, all along the coastline there are spectacular rock formations with properties sympathetically built into the rock.  The sunsets are simply wonderful, every single evening.  Although we were experiencing this Island during late July & August and had been told that it would be extremely busy, we generally managed to find quiet bays away from the crowds  - Unlike Majorca last July, we had very little issues with crowded anchorages or boats anchoring dangerously close to us.


The Costa Smeralda, “Emerald Coast” is the coastal area of some 20km in the North Eastern corner of Sardinia.  White sandy beaches, golf clubs, private jet & helicopters flying overhead and exclusive hotels. Apparently this area is the most expensive location in Europe.  We were in the middle of it!!!!  Super Yachts were all around us.  How the other half live.  As you can see from the photographs, these yachts have toys galore and whilst at one of our anchorages we spent the evening just watching as the tenders to these huge yachts past back & forth taking their guests to nearby restaurants on shore.  Some of the tenders were as big if not bigger than Money Penny.

 20190723_183827We took a walk around one of the hotels ashore.

20190810_144141Our anchorage amongst the Super Yachts


20190724_153429IMGP3751One of the ‘super yachts’ Dilbar……Launched in 2015 with 80 plus crew and 40 guests and the fourth largest yacht in the world by length (156 m)  If you look to the bow (front) on the photograph you should be able to just see a yacht of similar size to Money Penny!  We felt dwarfed as we sailed alongside!

We were looking forward to Sophie, Phoebe & Eva visiting at the end of July but we needed to organise the boat before their arrival.  Our guest cabin is also our storage room!  We needed to find somewhere to store all of these items before their arrival and also do our laundry which had not been touched since Ajaccio.

20190722_111027Spot the washer woman!!!       20190722_134058Guest accommodation!  20190722_211314Cannigione

A few days before they arrived, we anchored in Cannigione next to an Oyster 56 flying an Australian flag.  It was almost identical to Steve’s (Jude’s brother)yacht Moana.  Hoping to take a closer look and compare the two boats we launched our tender and headed over to ask where the best place was to leave our tender whilst we shopped & did the laundry.   As we approached the yacht, the man was staring at us and Judith was staring at the man!  The penny suddenly dropped!  Alan, had sailed with us from Southampton to Porto (Portugal) last September when we crewed on Moana to the Canaries!   As we’ve said before, it is a small world!  We were invited on for coffee and chat and definitely were able to ‘compare’!!

Before departing Cannigione we topped up with diesel and water (cost of water 10 euros) and made our way down the East coast towards Olbia where Sophie and the girls were due to arrive on the 30th July.   On the 27th July we anchored in Portisco to sit out a forecasted westerly wind.  The cost of entering any of the marinas along this coastline is astronomical but we decided to check it out as the wind was due to be exceptional.   The response  to our enquiry was that their pricing structure was ‘dynamically adjusted online’.  Quote – 165 Euros for the night.  The busier they were, the more expensive the price…..we decided to anchor!  We were at anchor for three nights with winds in excess of 35 miles an hour.  The boat swung backwards and forwards on the anchor and we googled ways to stop this happening.  Eventually we placed a drogue in the water and it seemed to do the trick, just before the wind died!!!       At one point we were beginning to wonder whether we would make it to Olbia to collect Sophie & the girls.

Screenshot_20190728-110037_Marine WeatherIMG-20190913-WA000020190729_172415

We arrived in Olbia on the morning of the 30th August just in time to take a bus to the airport and collect our guests later that afternoon.  The town quay at Olbia is free of charge and proved useful as a collection and drop off point for our guests.  It was also a great place to stay and explore the town although the quay was also a meeting place for the young on their mopeds from about 7 pm – 2am!!!

The bus to the airport is 1.50 euros and takes about 15 minutes so we collected Sophie, Phoebe and Eva before leaving early evening for a bay just outside of Olbia.  During their stay we spent time in the Golf di Aranci (where there is a fish farm and dolphins come to feed daily) & Tavolara a small island 3 miles long and 0.6 miles wide with spectacular steep cliffs and clear blue water.  The island is only inhabited by a handful of families and has a beautiful beach which the girls made much use of!  It is extremely busy during the daytime with day trippers but at sunset we were left almost alone (apart from the other yachts).


IMG-20190913-WA0004We also took a trip Northwards to Porto Rotunda (Costa Smeralda).  A small purpose built marina port with (as we were to find out!) extremely expensive restaurants.  We walked the area trying to find a restaurant that catered for children.  Eventually a restaurant agreed to serve pasta for the girls – Bowl of plain pasta & butter 10 Euros, one scoop of icecream 9 Euros!  Our final bill was 130 Euros and we only had three starters, a few drinks and the pasta!

Time flies when you are having fun but on the morning of Sophie & the girls’ departure, we received a message from Easyjet to say that they were not going to ‘fly’!!!   The flight had been completely cancelled due to, and I quote!  ‘staff not turning up for work’!  It would be possible to transfer to the next available flight.   Great……the next available Easyjet flight was in 7 days time and we had more visitors arriving the following day and Sophie and the girls were missing Chris who had stayed at home due to his vigorous training routine for Ironman Wales in September.   After a stressful couple of hours talking to Easyjet Customer services and finding out that if there were no available flights within 48hrs we were entitled to book with another airline and claim the cost back, we found that the only alternative was a flight to Birmingham the following day, via Barcelona (£895). 

We had hired a car for two days to explore the island so for the rest of the day the girls enjoyed a fun time in the nearby waterpark and finally departed early on Sunday morning leaving us to once again prepare for arriving visitors. 

20190811_102052The Quay – Olbia. Wash Day again!

Mia, Judith’s eldest grandaughter & her cousin Ella arrived on Sunday evening.  After exploring the town of Olbia and a second night on the town quay, we departed once again.  We had another fantastic week exploring various different coves and beaches and the girls spent much time in the water and also made use of the Kayak.  Ella was even brave enough to follow Judith up the mast after she had had to release a trapped sail!


Sadly the time came all too soon to say goodbye and for the rest of our stay in Sardinia, as the weather looked settled,  we decided to purchase a pass for the Maddalena Islands.  The pass cost us 57 Euros for the week as we received 40% discount for a sailboat.

20190820_152818One of our anchorages in the Maddalena Islands20190820_15304920190724_111225

IMG-20190915-WA0008Maddalena Town as we sailed by

IMG-20190915-WA0006Walking around the streets of Maddalena Town. 

20190821_115241Statue of Giuseppe Garibaldi who retired to the Maddalena Island of Caprera, an Italian general & leader of the struggle to unify Italy in the 1800’s.  You may have heard of a biscuit named after him!!

After three days exploring these beautiful islands and also meeting up with Nick & Paula who were again ‘just passing’ in the other direction! we headed back to Corsica to meet up with ‘Moana’  - She was finally arriving from Gibraltar with Steve, Jo & Freddie onboard!  We were both so excited to be meeting up as Alistair had not seen them since we left the Canaries before their Atlantic crossing in October 2018 & Judith had not seen them since Barbados in February.

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Corsica (Part 2)

As usual, when we arrive in a main port, we have jobs to do!  Supermarket, laundrette, plus topping up with water and, if necessary, diesel.  Whilst in Ajaccio we were in the laundrette collecting our washing when a lady offered (in French) to help Judith fold the washing.  It was a few seconds before they realised they were both British!   On returning to Money Penny on our dinghy, we approached a boat tied up in the Marina - Infinite Blue – Penarth.  Obviously we had to stop to say ‘hello’.   On board……the lady from the laundrette!  We chatted for a while and found out that they live around the corner from Alistair’s brother in Penarth,  what a small world!  We continued to talk about each others plans and found that they were also heading South.  We were planning on meeting up with a Nick & Paula from Saundersfoot who were heading up the West coast of Corsica.  So far we have met them at least once during our travels each year, but we always seem to be going in different directions!   Nick & Paula were travelling with another couple, Elizabeth & David, who, would you believe, Amanda & Jonnie (from Penarth) were friends with and planning to meet that evening as well!! 

We left Ajaccio at mid day and sailed/motored (on & off) to Port Pollo, 26 nm down the coast.  We anchored in the company of Nick & Paula onboard La Perla, Elizabeth & David onboard Sega & Amanda & Jonnie onboard Infinite Blue.  We had a fantastic evening on the beach exchanging stories of our Summer so far and ending with the men playing ‘boy scouts’ and lighting a fire!  The trip back to the boats was also interesting as David’s shorts got caught as he attempted to jump in the dinghy before a wave ‘hit’…..he ended up swimming back which was perhaps not the best idea after a number of glasses of wine!


The second night at anchor in Port Pollo was extremely ‘rolly’ with very little sleep, so on the 8th July we decided to move on to somewhere more sheltered just across the bay.  We said our goodbyes to ‘La Perla’ & ‘Sega’ hoping to meet up later, and headed off.   Jonnie & Amanda would follow on later.    We picked up water off the quay in Port Pollo……only 2 euros, Bargain as we were soon to find out!

Two more beautiful anchorages were our destinations for the next 3 nights, Campomoro & Roccapina. Corsica was such a beautiful island and I would highly recommend it for either a beach holiday o a walking holiday, or both!         Infinite Blue joined us at both of these and we enjoyed spending time together talking about our adventures so far.  They had left in June 2018, a year after us but had bypassed  Brittany.


Infinite Blue had already visited Bonifacio on the South coast of Corsica …. apparently it was a town we should not miss it!  They were not wrong!  The 11th July saw us enter the spectacular entrance to Bonifacio.


Spectacular is certainly an understatement!  The entrance to this natural harbour is via a narrow, deep, fjord-like inlet with high vertical sides of white rock.  A medieval walled town and Citadel sit prominently above the harbour on the high cliffs.  In 1963 the French Foreign Legion took over the barracks in the citadel and since then the tourism trade has grown.


A berth in the actual marina would have cost us over 100 Euros per night so we moored in a small cala opposite the Citadel which provided us with lines to tie up to for 25 euros per night.  We took ‘possession’ of two of these lines as they didn’t look too trustworthy if the wind picked up! 

20190713_140805    The Cala opposite (home for 3 nights)         20190713_133816 The Marina

20190713_134812Narrow streets of the walled town/Citadel

We spent three nights in Bonifacio exploring the historical town and keeping fit climbing the hill each time!  During one of our walks we came across a small underground cafe in the middle of a large carpark, next to the Marine cemetery.   What a surprise when we realised it was also the entrance to an historical tunnel.  Le Gouvernail (Rudder) is a tunnel of 168 steps dug into the cliff ending up in an underground room 10 m above sea level, with spectacular views over the Strait of Bonifacio (the stretch of water between Corsica & Sardinia).  Built in 1880 by French Military, it was a watch tower at the entry to the port and the Strait, equipped with a powerful projector which was able to illuminate the Strait right to the Sardinian coastline (8 miles away) during the night.   Easily missed, this is well worth a visit if you ever find yourself in Bonifacio.  On our final night (13th July) we were lucky enough to see a fabulous firework display as part of the 14th July celebrations.

 20190713_145012View from the Rudder   20190714_071122view of the Rudder as we depart Bonifacio

We were expecting visitors in Sardinia between 30th July-20th August so we decided that we would remain in Corsica for a little bit longer.  We left Bonifacio on the 14th July and made our way up the coast to the Gulf of Porto Vecchio where we anchored near to Infinite Blue again. For the second night in a row we were entertained by spectacular fireworks.


Over the next couple of days we explored the surrounding area on foot & in the kayak, including a number of yachts that had broken free from their anchors at some stage in the past and had sadly been left to rot. 


On our second night wind was forecast…..worried?  yes, just a little when the evidence around the Gulf spoke for itself!   Having been anchored safely for the last 48 hours, we made a difficult decision to move across the bay for more shelter from the forecast wind.     Unfortunately we should have remained where we were!  By the time we had made the decision and moved across, there were a number of boats in the bay and we found it hard to find a secure anchorage.  During the night we dragged a number of times and at daylight decided to head back to our original anchorage.  Hindsight is a wonderful thing!  On heading in to the town the following day we passed a small yacht that had broken free and ended up against some rocks.  We managed to pull it away from the rocks and reset the anchor.  We earned our lunchtime ‘Tapas with a view’!

IMG-20190718-WA0001IMG-20190718-WA0000View of our anchorage in Porto Vecchio from the Tapas Bar!

One more anchorage before Sardinia 18/7/2018

Jonnie & Amanda were heading North, we were heading South, so we said our goodbyes and arranged to meet up in Cardiff, in December.

Rondinara Bay had been recommended to us by a number of people.  It was on our way back towards the Straits of Bonifacio so we decided to spend a night there.  Unfortunately when we arrived it was ‘over loaded’ with boats and we had to anchor in the entrance.  The wind was strong with many boats anchored far to close us, so we were unable to leave Money Penny unattended.  We left early the following morning feeling very disappointed!       Unknown to us at that point, we were however to return!!!

At 10 am on the 19th July 2018 we left Corsica and crossed the Bonifacio Straits towards Sardinia……ITALY!

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28th June 2019–Corsica (part 1)

Our crossing from Ville Franche on the French Riviera to Calvi in Corsica took 18 hours – 15 of those under motor!  We witnessed a beautiful sun set, in the company of Blue Papillion, a 98ft luxury sailing yacht built by Jongert, (worth a google!)  & a beautiful sun rise as we approached Calvi.  We later shared the photograph with the new Dutch owner of Blue Papillion who was anchored close to Money Penny in the bay at Calvi the following day.

20190628_204809Sunset    20190629_060849Sunrise  IMG-20190629-WA0001Approaching Calvi

Calvi is a town on the northwest coast of Corsica.  A medieval citadel overlooks the marina and cobbled streets lined with restaurants and shops make it an interesting town to explore.  During the war with Revolutionary France, the British Forces under Admiral Nelson, captured the city and it is during the bombardment of Calvi that Nelson is said to have sustained the injury that lead to him losing his eye. 

We anchored in the bay outside of a field of mooring buoys which are situated outside of the Marina and following a morning catching up on sleep, we took the dinghy in to explore.  The views from the Citadel across to our anchorage were stunning, with the Corsican mountains in the distance.  The Citadel was a disappointment as it was almost completely deserted, although there were signs of cafes & shops that must open at some point during the peak season!!!    We spent two days in this very attractive town before moving on.


20190701_1244502 hrs free on the Quay at Calvi including Free water & Electric. This is a service offered in a number of marinas in Corsica to enable boat owners to leave their boats for a short period of time at quiet times of the day to shop or visit a restaurant.


We filled up with fuel & (free) water in Calvi and over the next few days we visited a number of beautiful coves on the West coast of Corsica whilst heading Southwards  -  Galeria,  Girolata, Cala di Palu. 

Giirolata was recommended by our friend Herve and it certainly met our expectations!  A small village in the Scandola Nature Reserve, inaccessible by car,  during the summer months it becomes a busy tourist destination.  People arrive either by boat or foot to find the most amazing scenery.  Small cafes (tents mainly) pop up along the shoreline, and we even found a cow selling icecream!!!


On the 2nd of July we reached the milestone of 4000 nautical miles since leaving Milford Haven!


On the 4th July we headed for Ajaccio, the Capital of Corsica, stopping onroute at the lighthouse ………………for a swim before anchoring east of the marina.  We anchored outside the marina, beside the main road into the town, where we spent the first evening exploring the ‘old town’.  Napoleon was born in Ajaccio in 1769, his ancestral home, Maison Bonaparte, is now a museum, and we stumbled across a celebration of Napoleons life in the form of a re-enactment.


We were slightly disappointed with the town as we found it to be dirty and unkept.

On our second day, we had read about a train journey that was a must apparently.  The ‘little train’, which runs on a narrow gauge railway, takes passengers through the stunning scenery of Corsica’s interior, with mountains rising to over 2,600 metres.  The full journey involves 32 tunnels (one of them 4km long) and 76 bridges and viaducts (including the 140m long viaduct above the Vecchio River, engineered by Gustav Eiffel).  We took the 2hr journey to Corte in the centre of the Island and spent 3 hours exploring this beautiful hillside village with its pavement cafes and prominent citadel, before returning to Ajaccio. 


On our way back to the train station we stumbled upon the finish line for a mountain endurance race.  The winning competitor was expected any moment and the race commentator was full of excitement at the impending arrival.  We stood with the waiting crowds (a reminder of Ironman in Tenby) and watch the winner cross the line.     The race had commenced at 11pm the night before and involved 107.7 km/7200m+  of endurance running.  Definitely not for the faint hearted!


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18 th June 2019 The South Coast of France

The Frioul Archipelago can be found approx 4km off Marseille.  We anchored overnight in Calanue de Morgret.  Consisting of 2 islands, Ratonneau & Pomeques, connected by a causeway.  The Islands  are a nature reserve and protected zone.  Dogs must be on leads, cyclists are only allowed in the village and when walking around the island you must remain on marked paths.  We only stayed overnight and took a short evening walk.   We were disappointed having visited so many other beautiful islands on our travels so far.

20190618_20005320190618_204838Frioul Anchorage

19th July we departed the Frioul Islands and motor sailed the four hours to La Ciotat.  We anchored in the large bay overlooking the beach, and dinghied in to have a look around.  Apparently Ciotat is where the game petanque was invented, it also has a history of shipbuilding and the shipyard is a prominent sight from wherever you happen to be in the town.  We walked past the world’s oldest operating cinema, the Eden Theater, and took a look to see if anything was showing that evening….we were out of luck as it was closed!


During our obligatory walk around the Marina we came across some beautiful boats, both classic & modern.  We were also invited onboard a British boat for a cuppa..thank you Linda & Barry!

IMG-20190619-WA0004Time for a coffee!  or maybe something with slightly more calories!

Over the next few days we made our way along the French Coast towards Monaco. 

20190620_115359Can you spot the ‘thunderbird’ house?

Porquerolles Island was beautiful.   No vehicles only bicycles & golf carts.  Anchored just off the village, we  took the dinghy ashore.  We walked through the narrow streets with numerous tourists and then had tapas overlooking the bay. It reminded me a little of Caldey Island on a sunny August day.  The village was established in 1820 and the entire island was purchased by Francois Joseph Fournier as a wedding present for his wife.  He planted vineyards which produced a wine that was among the first to be classified as vin de Cote de Provence.  In 1971 the state of France bought 80% of the Island to preserve it from development and much of it is now part of a National Park.  Since 2010 the island has hosted a jazz festival each summer.


Following our stop in Porquerolles (Pork Roll, as we were now referring to it!), we were in need of fuel and water so decided to find a marina for the night.  Le Lavandou came up trumps… it was reasonably priced for the time of year, (46 Euros) and when we arrived we found out that there was a music festival on that weekend.  Brass jazz band first & then a Rolling Stones tribute band.  Bonus!!

20190621_211206waiting for ‘the rolling stones!

20190621_10025520190622_130116On Passage to St Tropez

22nd June we motored to Bay de Canebiers, just outside St Tropez


We spent two nights at anchor here and even had the privilege of watching two dolphin feeding in the early evening.  The 20 minute walk into St Tropez took us past an extremely large graveyard and along a pretty coastal path.  St Tropez its self is a small town and harbour that Alistair was glad to see had not buckled under pressure to extend, and accommodate the super yachts that visit here.  There were many anchored outside as well as the ones who had found room on the small quayside.  We arrived just before lunchtime and watched the boats leave for the surrounding bays to enable them to use the numerous toys they all carry. We were, however, sure that one ‘toy’ would be remaining in its glass case for now!!  (see photo).  Once the yachts have departed for the day, St Tropez becomes a very pleasant French fishing village.


Next stop (again motoring all the way) were the Isle de Lerins.  We anchored in the channel between Ile Saint-Margerite & Ile Honourat.  The Lerins are a group of four islands off Cannes and in 1707 these islands were actually occupied by the British Navy.  Ile Saint Margerite is the largest, approximately 1.9 miles by 0.56 miles, most famous for its fortress prison in which the so-called Man in the Iron Mask was held in the 17th century.

20190625_142144IMGP3629Fort Royal (prison!) Ile Sainte Marguerite.

Ile Honourat is the second largest island and is owned by a community of monks who make wine from the vineyards on the island. We spent an afternoon exploring the Island on foot, visiting the monastery, the vineyards and the interesting tower behind the monastery.  The anchorage between the two islands was a busy anchorage and even had a Pizza Express & delivery service from a Catamaran anchored in the middle, plus a number of ice cream sellers whizzing around on Ribs.


Our next anchorage on 25th June was the beautiful setting of Ville Franche


On route we pasted a boat transporter, an interesting sight.


Ville Franche is situated on the French-Italian border, sandwiched in between the Principality of Monaco & the city of Nice.  During our three night stay in there we visited both Nice & Monaco by train. 


Whilst in Nice we felt very ‘at home’ when we came across the Ironman Tents in preparation for their forthcoming weekend event!  Unfortunately Alistair had left his bike & running shoes on board Money Penny! 

Monaco is a sovereign city-state, country & microstate of 2,020 sq km, making it the second smallest country in the world after the Vatican and based on a 2016 census, is the most densely populated sovereign state in the world.   It lies 15 km from Italy but borders France on three sides & the Mediterranean Sea on the other.  It is known to be the most expensive & wealthiest place on earth (Vatican City excluded) due to its tax laws and in 2014 it was noted that about 30% of the population was made up of millionaires.

20190627_11450620190627_115005Visiting Monte-Carlo Bay Casino.  No we didn’t win!!

20190627_135516View from the Prince’s Palace

20190627_120656We walked through the famous Tunnel Louis II, part of the Grand Prix Circuit.

20190627_150109Visiting the Monaco Top Cars Collection.  This is a five storey museum housing nearly 100 vintage cars collected by Prince Rainier III.  Well worth a visit.

At mid day on the 28th June it was time to move on & we departed Ville Franche on route to our next exciting destination, Corsica!

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5th June 2019 - Time to finally return to Money Penny

Money Penny had been ‘alone’ since September, during which time we flew from Marseille to Faro to spend a 10 day ‘holiday’ with Jason, Toni & Judith’s grandson Ralph, and attend  the beautiful wedding of our friends Ceri & Owain……oh and yes, more importantly a proposal of marriage from Alistair to Judith!!  Of course, the answer was ‘yes’.  Now all we had to do was,  to decide where and when!    We drove the car back to the UK from Albufeira, spent a few days at home and then travelled to Southampton to meet up with ‘Moana’ (Judith’s brother’s boat) .  Moana’s blog can be found at:-   The experience of crewing on this fabulous yacht was a memory not to be forgotten.  Southampton to Porto, Porto to Madeira, Madeira to The Canaries.  Dolphins, Whales & Turtles were the name of the game……..also, very little wind!  We were glad we weren’t paying the fuel bill. 

Anyway, back to Money Penny.  We had decided to drive back to Marseille as this was the easiest way to take back all of the spare parts, antifoul, marmite & baked beans!  (NB: price of antifoul in Europe can be as much as 215 euros for 3 ltrs  compared to £85 in UK & the only place we have found any marmite is Morrisons in Gibraltar!).  We stopped on route to collect a small outboard engine we had purchased on ebay (would it fit in the car?), stopped overnight in Bath to catch up with friends, Vikki & Tim, and then made our way to Portsmouth for an afternoon crossing. 

The drive from Le Harve to Marseille gave us the opportunity to stop off overnight with more friends, Marielle & Herve in Bourdeau, near Chambery.  Unfortunately we had chosen a holiday weekend to travel and the whole of Europe seemed to be heading South. It took us far longer than anticipated to arrive at our destination!    We spent the morning with Marielle & Herve and then said our goodbyes.


We had heard various stories about the Mistral winds causing damage to boats during the winter months and were anxious at what condition we would find Money Penny in.   When we arrived we were pleasantly surprised as she was in great condition .  Even the tarpaulin that we had covered her in was still intact!

Over the next few days we worked hard cleaning, sewing (replacing zips & curtains),polishing, replacing oil/anodes & , of course, antifouling.  On the 15th June, with Alistair wearing a very large smile, we hoisted our third Welsh Flag and Money Penny made her way to the water with a little help from a very large and efficient hoist.


We also ‘played hard’!  As we motored to our berth we noticed that Ian & Jo, who we met when we came ashore in September, were onboard.  It was lovely to meet up again.  They keep their boat in Port Napoleon full time travelling back & fore on the Eurostar (6hrs from UK to Marseille),whenever they can find the time to leave their ‘office’!  We ate, drank, shopped and also visited Arles for the day with its Roman Theatre, Amphitheatre, and pretty streets in the old part of the town.  Arles was listed as a UNESCO world heritage site in 1981.  Well worth a visit if you are in the vicinity.


On the 18th June we filled the car with items that we will eventually take home and placed it in the large indoor storage facility in Port Napoleon.  Eventually will fly back to Marseille to collect the car.

Our 2019 adventure onboard Money Penny was about to begin.

20190618_10181720190618_101812Leaving Port Napoleon.

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Money Penny’s final Journey of 2018 28.8.2018–17.9.2018

We left Fornells (Menorca) at 13.10 on 28/8/18..  The first 12 hours were spent motoring through calm water, in glorious sunshine.  We swam off the stern of Money Penny to cool off and witnessed a stunning sunset.

20180829_071632Sunset on 28/8/18

At around 1.00 hours the wind picked up and the sea state increased.  Money Penny forged on but we soon realised that we had been a little blasé with stowing away items in the cabin.  There was plenty to clear away when  we arrived in Palamos on Mainland Spain at 10.56 on the 29th August 2018.

20180830_124251What a mess!!!!

We spent one night in Palamos and then headed along the coast to Roses for a night.  After departing Roses, we anchored in Cala Moutjoi and then Cala Rustella, where we took a walk along the coastal path and enjoyed the scenery.  We finally anchored in Cala Culip for the night.


We left Cala Culip at 9.50 on 3rd September and headed across the Spanish/French boarder, 25 miles, to Argueles Sur Mer Marina, stopping briefly in Collioure, a beautiful little village that we had visited during our ‘road trip’ in January.   The following day we sailed 24 miles to Leucate Marina.  Here, we enjoyed visiting our first French farmers market in a long time.

We were nearing the end of our travels for 2018.  The 5th September saw us departing Leucate Marina, our aim, to head for Sete.  Fishing was the name of the game this morning and our luck was in!  Within a short time we had caught a couple of mackerel.  Alistair was in charge of the rod and Judith, getting the fish off the hook!  The photos are self explanatory…..


Sete would have to wait.  Due to the position of the barb, we were unable to remove the hook from Judith’s finger.  We could either return to Leucate Marina or continue on to Gruissan, 2 hours away.  Judith was comfortable as long as she didn’t catch the finger on anything!  - She was happy to continue on to Gruissan and tried to sit still for the remainder of the journey!  We telephoned the Marina at Gruissan to get advice as to the location of the nearest hospital, explaining our predicament.  The Marina staff were amazing and when we arrived 2 hours later, they were ready and waiting at the dock to help us moor up.  A member of staff even drove us to the local doctors surgery in his own car.  It was a little tricky, but the doctor managed to ease the hook backwards after freezing the finger.  She explained that it is always better to have a hook removed professionally from a finger as there are so many nerves and tendons.  What would we have done if we had been mid Atlantic!!!


We remained in Gruissan for the next couple of days, exploring the area on our bikes.  Gruissan, a fishing village, is built around the former castle; a 10th century chateau of which the Tower still remains.  We climbed to the top of the tower to experience the amazing views and purchased some fabulous fish from the fishmonger who we came across whilst exploring the tiny side streets.

On 7th September we departed Gruissan and experienced a great downwind sail to Sete.  Sete is known as the Venice of Languedoc.  It is a port and a seaside resort with its own strong cultural identity, traditions, cuisine and dialect.  The town is full of historical buildings and also has a huge fishing fleet in its harbour.  On arrival, we were advised to climb the hill to experience the sunset but tiredness got the better of us!  We stayed two nights and explored the waterway both on foot and on our bikes.


On 9th September we departed Sete & travelled 21 miles to Port Camargue.  Port Camargue, built in the 1970’s,  is the largest marina in Europe with almost 5,000 berths.  It is a purpose built complex with some properties having waterfront berths. There are 15,000 sq m of service areas, 3 wet docks,  175 shops or companies based in the immediate area as well as 60 nautically related shops and activities!  Enormous!!!

We took the dinghy over to the adjoining old fishing port of Grau du Roi, and into the canal where the local fishing boats are moored.   The Canal runs alongside old buildings, shops and cafes.  Later on in the day we took the bikes along the cycle path and explored the streets of the fishing village of Grau du Roi.

IMG-20190414-WA0000The thousands of boats moored in Port Camargue!IMG-20190414-WA0008The canal at Grau du RoiIMG-20190414-WA0007sunset from the cycle path.

On the 11th September Money Penny began her final passage of 2018.  We had booked her in to Port Napoleon, a dry storage facility just outside Marseille.  On the 46 mile passage we decided to risk putting out the fishing rod and were lucky in catching 2 Bonito, 1 Mahi Mahi & 4 Mackerel.  Supper was sorted!  By the time we arrived at the pre-booked marina berth, the office had closed but we had telephoned ahead so knew where to moor up.  There were plenty of people on hand to take our lines. Our liftout was booked for 14th September and we were due to fly from Marseille to Faro on the 17th.   Perfect timing!

Port Napoleon is an amazing ‘set up’  They have a number of floating berths which are used as ‘holding’ berths for arrivals and departures and a small number of permanent ones.  The majority of boats are held on land in purpose made cradles, there is a restaurant and small hotel facility onsite for those who do not wish to stay onboard whilst on dry land.  We were lifted out at 1400 on the 14th and Money Penny had been washed off and placed in her ‘winter position’ by 1500. All very efficient!   For the following two days we winterised our home before departing for the airport early on the 17th. 


20180914_173557We will need a new Welsh Flag for 2019!

17th September 2019

We had left Albufiera on the 21st March 2018, it seemed an age ago.  We were now returning for a 10 day ‘holiday’ with Judith’s son, daughter-in-law and grandson and to attend the wedding of close friends, Ceri & Owain.  We would then drive our car (still in Albufiera Marina car park!) back to the UK before helping Judith’s brother in taking his boat, Moana, from Southampton to Grand Canarias before he and his family depart across the Atlantic in the Arc Plus to the Caribbean.  We have certainly enjoyed our travels so far and are now looking forward to many more.

Moana’s blog can be found at

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Menorca 11.8.2018–28.8.2018

We arrived in Cala San Saura at 5.30pm on the 11th, moved on to Cala Turqueta the following day due to the ‘rolling’ of the anchorage and finally arrived in Mahon, Cala Taulera to await the NE winds over the next few days. 


Cala Taulera is to starboard of the entrance to Mahon, adjacent to La Mola, a big fort, and Isla Lazareto.  It is the only place in Mahon that anchoring is authorised and the rules at present state that you must leave after three nights.  It was extremely sheltered and there was plenty of room for up to 30 boats.  We took the dinghy into the shore and spent an interesting afternoon exploring the Fort, La Mola.  Completed in 1875, this stone fortress was built at the orders of Queen Elizabeth 2 of Spain and boasts magnificent views over the bay and harbour of Mahon. 

We also took a dinghy trip up the river to Mahon and visited Judith’s Aunt and Uncle who have lived in the town for a number of years.


Our first night at anchor here passed without incident but night two was slightly different!  The wind had increased and we had moved forward to make room for a rather large American Vessel – SV Wiki.  At 3.30 am a boat alongside us dragged her anchor eventually resetting.  At 4.30am, having  just settled back in bed, we heard another commotion.  A 30ft French yacht in front of us had dragged and entangled with the stern of a catamaran.  It took over an hour to release and re anchor both boats.  The fun of boating!!!

At daylight on 16th August we left Mahon for Fornells, a village on the Northern side of Menorca. We had pre-booked a berth for one night with IB Ports in the harbour, time to charge batteries and refill with water.  The following morning we left the berth and anchored on the opposite side of the harbour wall in what seemed like a sheltered area of the bay.  There were a number of boats anchored and we spent the afternoon swimming and exploring the pretty village.  During the early evening we were visited by the Port harbour master asking if we had seen the weather forecast – we had!   As time went on, the boats around us began to move.  We checked the weather again on a number of websites, nothing untoward !  We were now the only boat left in that area.  Oh boy!!   The wind picked up just after we settled for the night and with gust of up to 35 knots of wind for the majority of the night, no sleep was had by either of us.  We spent the whole night on deck at ‘anchor watch’ as the anchor and chain thankfully did it’s job to hold our position away from the harbour wall! 

The following morning we visited the IB ports office in Fornells and managed to book Money Penny into a marina berth.  We spent the next three days exploring the area.

IMG_4099IMG_4098Anchorage in Fornells

IMG_4103A meal out!          

The highest point in Menorca is Monte Toro, the tallest hill on the island.  It rises to a height of 342 m (1,122ft) and is the home of Sanctuary of Verge del Toro.  This has been a place of pilgrimage since the 13th century and a statue of ‘Jesus of the Sacred Heart’ with his arms outstretched to bless the Menorcans who died in the Spanish Moroccan wars of the early 20th century, stands prominently in front of the Sanctuary.  There is also a stone monument to remember all the Menorcans who emigrated to Algeria between 1830 and 1962 when it was a French Colony.  We cycled the 7 miles to the foot of the ‘hill’ planning on taking a taxi to the top but the taxi driver was prepared to charge us the fee plus eight euros for each bike……..we decided to ride up to the sanctuary!!!  It was a hard climb, near vertical at times, more pushing than riding!

The views at the top were amazing  as we l looked back where we had come from, the bay of Fornells miles below us.


On the 21st August the wind had died down and we decided to make our way back to Mahon.  We had an amazing sail of between 5.6 & 8.9 knots and anchored in Cala Taulera for the next three nights.  Paula and Nick on La Perla joined us on the second night .  This time , we spent the three days exploring the town of Mahon.  As the capital of Menorca, Mahon sits on a ridge above the deep inlet that forms the sheltered harbour. The British-style Georgian houses reflect the legacy of British occupation during the 18th century and the town is lined with pavement cafes and some beautiful shops and restaurants.  On either side of the harbour there are various marina berths and some expensive villas with waterside frontage and yachts to match.


After leaving Mahon on 24th August, we headed to Cala Coves, the most beautiful calla we had experienced so far. The Cala is surrounded by steep rocky cliffs that contain more than 100 burial caves cut into the rocks.  The caves date back to the pretalaiotic period and some are accessible on foot which means that tourists are drawn to the area. We moored ‘stern to’ against the rock face.

Late afternoon saw the tourists depart for their accommodation leaving us with the remaining 4 or 5 boats staying overnight.  We swam and snorkelled in the clear waters and were even serenaded by a violin and guitar on the adjoining yacht.


Next stop was Cala Trebalyer.  We had heard that you could kayak up a small land locked freshwater inlet from this Cala.  We anchored, launched the Kayak and made our way ashore.  With a small ‘lift’ across a sandbank, we began paddling up the small river.  We were the only people on the peaceful, narrow river and were lucky enough to see a number of freshwater turtles amongst the reeds and many different birIMG_4160IMG_4166

From Cala Trebalyer we headed to Ciutadella, a port city on the West coast of Menorca.  We anchored just outside of the harbour and took the dinghy in to the marina where we walked through the medieval streets and soaked up the atmosphere.  I have included a number of photographs which represent this city well.


From Ciutedella we sailed back to Fornellas for an overnight stop before heading back to mainland Spain.  Our Summer in the Balearics had been a wonderful experience, leaving us with new friends and many happy memories.

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Majorca 15/07/2018

We departed El Masnou for Majorca at 11.25am on 15th July.  The weather was clear and the first part of our journey was ‘slow going’ due to light winds.  Our engine was off & on and our average speed only around 4 knots!  Frustrating!!!   At 18.45 we heard a storm warning over the radio, due to hit Menorca the following morning,  hoping that it would not come near to Money Penny, we continued our journey overnight being joined by Dolphins on the bow on a number of occasions.  The wind picked up for the last couple of hours of our journey and we finally anchored in Cala Murta (a small Cala on the North East of Pollenca Bay) at 8am.  

IMG_3914on route to Majorca     

At around 11am both our telephones received messages from home asking if we were ok.  The British media were reporting a small Tsunami on Majorca - We had missed it!!  Alcudia, on the other side of the Bay of Pollenca had been hit by a large wave, all of the sea side restaurants had been flooded but the damage was minimal and by the time we visited a few days later there was little to show for it!


Over the next week we visited a number of beautiful towns & Calas along the North East, East and South of Majorca – Pollensa, Alcudia, Cala Matzoc, Port Collom, Porto Pedro, Cala Moltona.  On 24th July we checked in to Puerto de San Antonio de la Playa to await the arrival of Judith’s daughter Sophie, her husband Chris and grandchildren Phoebe & Eva.  106 Euros per night but convenient for the airport!

We left San Antonio on 25th July and after a swim in Cala Blanca we continued on to Puerto de Andraitx and picked up a mooring buoy for the first night and then a berth in IB Ports the following night.  We topped up with water and charged our batteries, with six of us now onboard we would need to be more frugal.


The girls snorkelled for sea glass to take home for Auntie Jo to make jewellery and on route to our next stop (San Elm)we tried, without luck, to catch our supper!  San Elm was a pretty little village but our dinghy had given up the ghost due to the heat and we needed to head somewhere where we could easily hire a car and go in search of a new one.

IMG_3967IMG_396220180801_211736Soller Anchorage

On 28th July we left San Elm and made our way to Soller.  After a couple of hours of motoring we made a ‘swim stop’ in Deia.  There were a number of boats anchored but we had failed to take note that there were not many swimmers.  Unfortunately Judith entered the water and Eva (5yrs) jumped into the water after her.  As she entered the water a jelly fish was caught between her and Judith and both were stung badly.  Judith managed to lift Eva back on to Money Penny and on hearing the commotion, a man off a nearby boat jumped into action and arrived alongside with medical kit in hand.  We later learned that the best thing we could have done was to remain in the water and scrape the sting off with a credit card….  Stay in with the jelly fish? No Way!!!  The affect of the sting was similar to a burn and was extremely painful for over a week. The scars still remain!


Soller was a first class anchorage and much fun was had by all our visitors!  We launched the kayak & the unicorn and spent time onboard and on the beach.  We met and made some great friends who were travelling on their own boats around the Med.  Onboard drinks with Gary & June Walden proved to us how small the world really is.  They are from Judith’s home city of Worcester and when asking June where she used to work, her response was ‘Pershore Leisure Centre’….. ‘my mother used to teach yoga there’ was Judith’s response…with that June just answered ‘Valerie?’…… Valerie was Judith’s mum.  Small World!  We also had a wonderful ‘shared’ meal onboard Ella, a beautiful 44ft Fountaine Pajot owned by Lin & Paul.  We provided the chilli, June & Gary, the bread and Lin & Paul the rice and venue!   The best evenings are always the impromptu ones.


The pretty village of Soller is slightly outside of the Port of Soller and a Victorian tram runs between the two. It is also possible to take a train to Palma. We chose to hire a car to explore the island also purchasing a new dinghy (nearly 50% more than the UK!) on route!


It was soon time for family to leave us and we moved back to Pollensa to await the weather window for our passage to Menorca.  We were in good company, sailing along side Paul & Lin onboard Ella who were heading for Alcudia.


On arrival in Pollensa Bay we anchored under Formentera Esta den Ros which is one of the film sets of The Night Manager.  On the second night we tucked ourselves closer into the bay awaiting a forecasted storm.  The storm arrived in full force and for most of the night the sky was as bright as daylight.  


Whilst in Pollensa we met up with Nick & Paula who where anchored in another area of Majorca and were exploring the Island in a hire car before making their way to Menorca.   On checking back on our photographs, we realised that it was exactly a year since meeting them in Loctudy, France.

IMG-20181228-WA000310 August 2018                                IMG-20181228-WA000610 August 2017

The following day, 11 August 2018, we left Pollensa at 9am on route to Menorca.

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Pembrokeshire 14.7.18–13.7.18

We arrived home to the most amazing weather.  The UK had been basking in a heatwave for a number of weeks and as we returned to our life ‘back home’, we wondered why we were away.  There is nowhere quite like Pembrokeshire when the weather is fine.

We extended our stay an extra week and flew back to Barcelona on 13th July.

This is our Pembrokeshire break shown in photographs:-

IMG_380120180624_210840Home from Home – The View!

UB40 at Pembroke Castle

IMG_3841IMG_3838IMG_3851IMG_3854IMG_3848Pirate Day in Dale

IMG_3866Our wake up call! (2 missing!)IMG_3785IMG_3859

IMG_3897IMG_3900IMG_3904IMG_3901A day at the Beach for a change

IMG_3887Pembrokeshire Business Awards.

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Back to Mainland Spain 2/6/18–Denia, Valencia, Oropesa, Las Fuentes, Roda de Bara, Barcelona

On 2nd June we left Ibiza and headed back to the mainland.  Our destination was Denia approximately 58 miles away.  The crossing took us 10 hours during which we encountered thunder & lightening and heavy rain storms for part of the journey.  On a lighter note, we also saw a swordfish jump out of the water and a flying fish too! 


Our reason for heading back to the mainland was that we were heading back to the UK on 14th June to catch up with family and friends (those that we had not already seen on route!) and also had tickets to go and see UB40 at Pembroke Castle! – Not To be missed.

We had booked in to El Masnou Marina just North of Barcelona for a month whilst we returned home so were going to make our way up the coast over the next 2 weeks, starting at Denia.  Denia marina was very smart, with a ‘day club’ free to berth holders.  The Club was no competition for the Ocean Club in San Antonio but we spent an afternoon there relaxing, people watching, swimming and drinking cocktails.  The Marina also had an extremely cheap launderette, which for us boaties is an absolute dream!  


On our second day in Denia we unloaded our bikes and headed for the Castle.  Situated on a hilltop above Denia, the castle dates from the 17th century and can be seen for many miles out to sea and throughout the town.  The views from it’s turrets are superb and as we walked around there were many birds nesting and feeding their young.



From Denia we headed to Valencia Marina.  We were already familiar with Valencia as we had visited during our ‘road trip’ in February.  We met up for dinner with our friends Jenny and Trevor who live nearby, before moving on the following morning. 

20180604_230053No, we didn’t build the sand castle!  

The sail along the coast to Oropesa was all down wide.  We reached a maximum of 11.7 knots with an average of 6.8 knots!  For you sailing friends…this was with a fully reefed main!  The entrance to the marina was extremely narrow and only 3.3 m deep.  With gusts of over 25-30 knots of wind we radioed through to the marina office for help getting us into a berth. They decided that our best option was to moor up to the sheltered fuel berth, and remain there for the night.  Apart from a walk into the nearby town that evening for something to eat, and Alistair spying some naked beauties bathing on the beach, we remained on board and left the following morning. 

Next stop Las Fuentes, only 15 miles away.  We decided to pull in to this marina as the wind increased yet again and rain, thunder and lightening was all around us!  On enquiring at the marina office as to the cost per night, we were informed 60 Euros!  We couldn’t believe it and were temped to move on but it was just not worth the risk as far as the weather was concerned.  How could they justify this cost when there were no smart facilities like Denia for which we had only paid 30 euros a night.

Roda de Bara (23 euros per night!) bargain! our next stop enroute to Barcelona (El Masnau).  We wished we had known about this marina before we had booked El Masnaua for the month.  The railway runs within walking distance, with easy access to both Barcelona and the neighbouring town of Tarragona.  We spent two nights here and again unloaded our beloved bikes to explore.  We cycled along a fully paved coastal path passing exclusive properties along the way before arriving at a large sandy beach lined with cafe/bars.  We sat down for the obligatory coffee and of course some people watching before returning to El Roc de Sant Gaieta, a beautifully preserved village with a Grecian influence on the outskirts of Roda de Bara.  Everywhere was well kept and there were surprises around every corner. For some reason we only seem to have one photograph… we must have been cycling too fast!


We arrived in El Masnou on 9th June and were directed to our berth, no 457.  The marina is not pretty and the railway line and main road pass between the village and the marina, however, it suited our purpose perfectly and after settling in we spent two days exploring Barcelona by catching the train which took only 30 minutes into the centre.  Marina berth holders are given use of the neighbouring Nautical Club facilities and these included a 50m outdoor swimming pool plus sun terraces and also an indoor pool if preferred.  We used these facilities daily.


We had had a brief stop in Barcelona during our road trip but this time we were able to take our time exploring this wonderful city.  Street artists performed throughout the centre of the city and around all of the tourist areas. We visited Barcelona Cathedral and took a walk up on the roof top where the Sagrada Familia dominated the skyline of the city.   We also visited the fantastic Sagrada Familia and Park Guell, examples of the amazing work of Antoni Gaudi, a Spanish architect.  His work was influenced by his love of nature and the world around him and he integrated this into his designs using ceramics, stained glass, wood and ironwork.  The Sagrada was filled with the most amazing colours and structures and should not be missed if visiting Barcelona.  It is due to be finished in 2026 to mark the centenary of Gaudi’s death in 1926 when he was sadly run over by a tram. 

  IMG_3704IMG_370320180613_15073520180613_150729Out on the roof of the Cathedral!

IMG_3698IMG_3700Street artistsIMG_3720IMG_3712


On Thursday the 14th June we caught the train to Barcelona Airport and caught our flight home to Bristol.  We would be returning in three weeks.

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Ibiza 17.5.18-2.6.18

Ibiza – known as ‘the party island’.  We had no idea what to expect, but the Island is beautiful.  From it’s amazing sandy Calas (coves), spectacular high cliffs and pine-clad hills all around the coast, to Ibiza Town, the capital, with classy restaurants, a great selection of bars, small boutiques and large fashion stores, art galleries and museums.  We absolutely loved the whole experience.

It was 45 miles from Moraira to Cala de Port Roig where we made landfall at 17.30 after an 11 hour crossing.  We anchored in the bay and spent the evening relaxing and watching a number of boats (or should I say ‘ships’ ?– they were enormous) dropping off their guests at the beachside restaurant or entertaining on board, lit up like Christmas trees! Slightly larger generator than ours we believe!!  The photographs show Superyacht ‘Ace’, one of the vessels anchored nearby with her ‘support vessel’ just around the corner.  The support vessel had various other water toys on board plus a helicopter!  How the other half live!

IMG_3464Early morning departure     IMG_346520180601_21323220180602_09154320180602_091927

We left Port Roig the following morning and headed out to Espalmador, a small privately owned, uninhabited island south of Ibiza and just north of Formentera.   We had been in touch with Eva and Hakan on Sally and were hoping to catch them one last time, before they left for Majorca.   It was only 9 miles to the anchorage off Espalmador and when we arrived we could have been in the Caribbean!  The water was clear bright blue and the sand white as white!

IMG_3473 IMG_3477IMG_3478

We spent almost a week anchored off the island exploring in the Kayak, and on foot ashore, and yet more time with our good friends off Sally before their departure to Majorca, Menorca, Sardinia and beyond. Perhaps we would catch up with them again next year!


Eva & Judith explored an area on the opposite shores on Formentera where a German man has spent over 30 years building various art sculptures.  He returned every year during his holidays to add to the ‘village of stone’.  Now retired, he told them he was able to spend more time in his favourite spiritual place.

IMG_3479Judith watched the Royal Wedding on 19th May!!!t

We Left Espalmador on 22nd May and headed back to Ibiza, passing Isla Vedra as we made our way up the western coastline.  For those of you that are old enough to remember the film, Isla Vedra was used as the location for the South Pacific ‘Bali Hai’.  To us it looked like Tracy Island from Thunderbirds!!


We spent the first night in Cala Bassa which had various caves that we explored in the Kayak and a beach lined with pine trees that is taken up almost entirely by a beach club, boutiques and a Tattinger Lounge.  We took the dinghy, purchased a coffee in one of the smaller bars, and spend a good hour or so people watching!  On googling the Bassa Beach Club we could hardly believe that some of the ‘guest’ (only feet from us), were paying over 200 euros for the privilege of sitting on their sunbed!  By 8pm the area was deserted apart from the few boats anchored in the bay.


On arrival San Antonio we anchored just outside of the marina.  We were contacted through the Dufour owners Facebook page by another owner of a Dufour 43 (not the CC version), who was also anchored in the same area.  We met for drinks (of Course)!!!  They were on board Money Penny when we were approached by the Port Authorities informing us that we were illegally anchored and should either enter the marina or pay for a mooring buoy.  Generally a buoy is cheaper but our new found friends informed us that in actual fact the buoys are normally chargeable from the 1st June at a cost of around 50 euros….this was May and the cost was already 50 euros.  The marina charges were still low season at 45 euros but in their opinion it would be very difficult for the Authorities to fine us if we just remained where we were.  We were in need of water and a battery recharge which would cost us 12 euros for half an hour on the marina pontoon, so we decided to book a berth and stay in the Marina.  On checking in we also found that they offered us 10% discount for being UK Cruising Association members….result!!  We actually stayed 2 nights and unpacked our bikes to explore.

San Antonio is a busy package holiday destination and also home to The Ocean Beach Club.  The Ocean Beach Club is a ‘Day Club’ with music and entertainment all day long. On cycling along the sea front we were able to take a peep at this ‘interesting’ event!!  Judith was glad to remain outside the wall however Alistair would certainly have liked to have been closer to the ‘action’!

We also took a visit to the ‘surf bar’ and sat with a cool pint whilst watching the action. Neither of us were brave enough to join in the fun.

IMG_3519Ocean Beach Club                            XJMJ8101PPPS4768

Next stop was Cala Binirras &Puerto de San Miguel.   We made a stop enroute for lunch and a swim in the most beautiful Cala, Cala Portixol, surrounded by fishermens huts and high cliffs. As it was fairly narrow we decided it was not the best place to spend the night on anchor and moved on to Cala Binirras.

IMG_3530IMG_3527Cala Portixol - Stop for lunch

For the next couple of days we anchored in both Cala Binirras & Puerto de San Miguel, two closely positioned Calas.  The atmosphere in Cala Binirras was fantastic as we arrived on a Saturday and there was a wedding in progress.   The bride and her father arrived by speed boat whilst drummers were beating a rhythm onshore.  We had been told that we should visit this Cala on a Sunday at sundown as that was when the drummers were there.  This was a bonus!  We remained there for the Sunday show as well.  If you ever visit Ibiza this is ‘one’ not to miss.

IMG_3538IMG_3539Cala Binirras

IMG_3544IMG_3545IMG_3546Puerto De San Miguel

The wind changed direction so we moved across the bay to Puerto De San Miguel for a night and took a picturesque walk along the cliff path (via a small beach bar) to the village. 

Our next stop was Portinatx where we anchored overnight before moving to Cala Llonga.  Again Facebook had come into its own!  Two friends of Judith’s, Juliet and her daughter Grace & Sally and her husband Rhodri were arriving in Ibiza over the next few days.  Juliet & Grace were going to be in Cala Llonga on 30th May so we arranged to meet.  Having spoken on the telephone as they were on route from the airport, it was decided to meet later in the day as they were going to have a siesta due to an early start.  We headed ashore for a coffee and then to the supermarket where we bumped straight into Juliet & Grace……Lunch it was then!  We went back to the restaurant where we had had coffee, for lunch, then siesta, and then they joined us on board Money Penny for an evening meal.  It was fabulous to catch up.


The following day we were moving on to Ibiza Town so Juliet & Grace joined us on the passage.  We were unable to sail as the wind was directly on our bow but I think they enjoyed the experience of being on the water.  We anchored in Talamanca Bay only metres from Marina Botafoch which would have cost us 69 euros on 31st May and 200 Euros a night on 1st June!  We had a refreshing swim (which you can’t do in a marina!)and took the dingy ashore for lunch in a beachside restaurant, before Juliet & Grace headed back via the bus to Cala Llonga – speaking to them the following morning we found out that they had such a good time they missed the last bus and had to take a taxi!  We headed into Ibiza town on the water taxi and thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon exploring the Old Town and citadel area.


We spent the following day exploring again and then met Sally & Rhodri for drinks when we caught up on news from home, got inside information about Ibiza Town (they have visited on numerous occasions!) and most importantly received ‘gifts’ from home. Namely Marmite which we had run out of…..Sally you were a life saver!


Our time in Ibiza was drawing to a close but we had been extremely surprised at how much we enjoyed our time here.  We will definitely be back.  We spent our final night in Cala

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Altea/Moraira & more friends!

We left Alicante on 15th May and sailed the 35miles to Altea.  We arrived at 18.30 and after a quick drink in a local bar had an early night.  The following day we walked up to the old town.  If Judith had the opportunity to purchase a property anywhere, she says, this would probably be the place!  We climbed up the cobbled narrow streets, with occasional glimpses of the sea, to the village square at the top of the hill.  The church of “Our Lady of Solace” is prominent in the square with picturesque blue & white domes and tiled glazed ceramics.  There are a number of quaint restaurants around the square some with amazing views out to sea. Pretty town houses of all shapes and sizes line the steets and most have beautiful views of the bay.

IMG_3462IMG_3460check out the name of this restaurant….very apt!

IMG_3459Looking down on the Marina from Old Town Altea.

We returned to Money Penny after our walk and left the Marina at 12.30pm to head the 14 miles to Moraira where we had arranged to meet more of our Pembrokeshire friends!  Facebook is sometimes a great tool for us to keep tracks on those friends that are holidaying near to us.  Judith had noticed that friends, Sarah & Derek were in Javea for a family wedding.  They had their car with them so we contacted them and arranged to meet in Moraira (only a 20 min drive for them) on the evening of the 16th.  We had G & T’s onboard and then a fabulous meal and a catch up in a local restaurant.  Our plan was to leave early the following day for Ibiza so unfortunately it was an early night for us but we enjoyed the short time we had together and will certainly catch up again when we return to Wales next time.


On the 17th May at 6.20 am we departed Moraira Marina and made our way Eastward towards the party island!

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Santa Pola/Alicante & Visitors 7/5/18

We left the Mar Menor on 7th May and made the short 16 mile ‘hop’ to Torreveja.  We anchored in the harbour entrance and visited the local chandlery ashore before retiring for the night.  The following morning we continued our journey to Santa Pola Marina.  We had been in touch with our friends from Pembrokeshire, Angie & Bryan, who were travelling in their campervan and had been hoping that we could meet up at some point.  The time had come!   We had let them know that we would be in Santa Pola and they were on the quayside as we arrived.  We spent the next two days catching up, exchanging stories on our travels so far and of course partaking in the obligatory bottles of wine! 


With great excitement on board, Elliot & Charlene arrived on Money Penny late on the 9th May by which time our ‘forward locker’ had now become our visitors ensuite cabin!  It’s always a marathon trying to find places to store all of the kit that is usually ‘up forward’!  Angie & Bryan waited to greet our new visitors and then continued on their journey.  We would see them again in Wales!

We had a quiet day in Santa Pola after Elliot & Charlene’s arrival and then on 11th May we sailed out to Tabarca Island.  Tabarca is the smallest permanently inhabited islet in Spain and is known for its protected marine reserve.  The waters around the Island are very clear.  We anchored off shore and took the dinghy in to explore.  During a swim in the clear waters, a seagull decided to dive-bomb Alistair as he snorkelled around the reef! It was protecting her young who where exploring the rocks close by but it was quite a fierce attack!  Alistair was totally unaware until we showed him the video footage afterwards.  The beaches are left to nature and as you can see from one of the photographs below, the dead weed is washed ashore builds up on the beach.  It was like sunbathing on a ‘triple’ thick mattress!  The weather was not settled enough to anchor overnight in the bay off Tarbaca so after a fun filled day we departed for Alicante.


Before we left Santa Pola we had visited a fishing tackle shop and were informed that we should have a license to fish from the boat.  Having listened to the owner of the shop explain the consequences of not having a license, we decided that it was not worth the risk of getting a fine so had purchased said license.  Since leaving the UK we had only caught a couple of fish.  After leaving the nature reserve we cast the line and within a few minutes Alistair had caught a barracuda!  It must have known that we were now ‘legal’.  It was duly cooked and eaten for dinner.


ACAN1107Arriving in Alicante.IMG_3434Cheese Fondue time! 20180513_153432IMG_3419

The next few days were spent exploring Alicante and enjoying the company of our family guests.  What a beautiful city.  We took a trip up to Santa Barbara Castle overlooking the City and Marina. The lift that usually takes you up from street level was out of order so we had to take a taxi. This actually turned out to be the cheaper option. We sailed out to Pueto de San Joan for a swim, Judith purchased some bargains from a street market and Elliot joined a street performer as he entertained the tourists.  We also tried to visit the Volvo Ocean Race museum but missed the opening times by an hour!

 OPGL7237 IMG_345920180514_114430IMG_343520180514_120607IMG-20180819-WA0011

All too quickly it was time to say goodbye but we had all had a great time and would catch up very soon when we returned to the UK in July.

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Mar Menor

On the 3rd May we left Cartagena (and Sally!) to make our way to the inland waterway, the Mar Menor.  Judith’s son and daughter in law were expected on the 10th, flying to Alicante.  We had a week to explore!

We arrived at the entrance to the Mar Menor at 15.10.  Mar Menor means ‘minor sea’ or  ‘smaller sea’.  It is a salty lagoon of warm water no more than 6 metres in depth.  Separated from the Mediterranean by La Manga (sleeve in Spanish), a sandbar 22 km in length with a width ranging from 100 – 1,200 metres.  Surprisingly, on this sandbar are built many blocks of apartments and hotels of varying heights!

To enter the waterway you must navigate a small channel in which there is a lifting bridge.  We arrived at 15.10 and the bridge did not open until 1600 so we anchored at the entrance and put the kettle on!

IMG_3385          IMG-20180819-WA0010              IMG_3396

There are five ilets within the lagoon – Perdiguera, Mayor, Ciervo, Redonda and del Sujeto.  After entering we headed for Perdiguera and anchored in a small bay.  The water was like a piece of glass.


The following morning we decided to go ashore and explore.  The birds were nesting and were not at all happy with our presence so we carefully made our way towards the middle of the island where we came across a tunnel hidden in the rock that led through to the other side.  At that point Alistair decided to google the islands history.    “During the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) the island was used as a bombing practice ground.  Many bombs that did not go off made walking on this island very dangerous.”    OOOHHH!!!  We were wondering why we were the only ones ashore!        He read on.."  “In the 1990’s a campaign for bomb detection and deactivation was launched prior to the construction of beach stalls and in the late 90’s it became a tourist destination.  Due to the environmental deterioration caused by the tourists, in 2007 Coastal Regulations established the need to close down the stalls and develop a more sustainable form of tourism.”  It was obvious to us that since the stalls had been removed not many visitors had landed on the island and unfortunately the remains of said stalls littered part of the beach area which was a ‘blot’ on the landscape of a beautiful island.



One of the other ilets is a private Island, Isla Mayor, also known as Isla del Baron, this has the only forest of small palm trees in Europe and is considered a special bird protected area because of its many different types of birds.


During our week in the Mar Menor we travelled from one end to the other exploring the villages along the shore. At the Northern end there are mud pools where flamingos roam!  These flamingos are white…A fact that Judith was unaware of was that flamingos are pink because of their diet of brine shrimp and blue-green algae which contains a natural pink dye called canthaxanthin’.  The flamingos in the Mar Menor obviously do not eat either of these! 

Bathers take to the mud pools to cover themselves in the alleged health giving mud.  We were not so brave and just watched from the sidelines!  Those that did partake, looked like a blue version of Shrek!


As we left the Mar Menor we motored passed what could only be described as the pinnacle of cruising vessels. What he didn’t have on board was obviously not worth having!   Alistair was flabbergasted that every inch of deck space was taken up with something or other.  With all of the equipment he had on board we estimated his cruising speed at about half a knot!


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Almerimar to Cartagena 27.4.18-3.5.18

We left Almerima at 9am on 27th April and travelled 68.2 miles to Garrucha.  Our original aim was to anchor in St Jose a normally sheltered anchorage on route, however having entered the anchorage, the weather and wind conditions were such that we we would be happier tied up in a marina for the night so continued to Garrucha.  We had a great sail for the majority but by the time we were making our approach to the marina (at 7.40pm), we were experiencing gusts of 29kts with a steady 25kts.  We had made the right decision.  Safely tied up for the night we took a walk around the town and then joined Eva & Hakan for wine and tapas before retiring to bed.  It had been a long day.

Early the following day we checked the weather and left for Cartagena. 

IMG_3333Sally at Sunrise

Our arrival in Cartagena was masked in fog, the first we had encountered since leaving the UK.   At times we were even unable to make out Sally who was sailing only a few hundred yards to our starboard side.



Cartagena is one of the most important naval ports in Spain having been the capital of the Spanish Navy’s Maritime Department of the Mediterranean since the 18th Century. We spent a day visiting the Naval Museum and exploring the town.  There are a number of interesting Roman ruins including a theatre.  Whilst at the Museum we visited  the submarine Peral.  Housed in its own separate building, Peral was the first electric battery powered submarine and was built by the Spanish engineer Isaac Peral for the Spanish Navy.  Amazingly she was launched on 8 September 1888 and she had one torpedo tube plus an air regeneration system.

Image result for peral submarine images       Image result for peral submarine images

We cycled out to the lighthouse at the entrance to the Port passing the Navantia boatyard on our way.  The Boatyard had a number of large yachts in for refits including ‘Yacht A’, built for a Russian and launched in 2015.  She is a sail assisted vessel and can reach 21 knots (38km/h)  She weighs 12,558 tonnes, is 142.81 m (468.5ft) long & 24.8 m (81.4ft) wide and was delivered to her owner in February of 2017 before final sea trials and fit-out in Cartagena that year.  She was apparently there for a ‘refit’!   One of the other motor yachts having work carried out in the yard was Le Grand Bleu.   At 113m long, she has two additional vessels on individual cranes that she carries onboard – one is a 22m (73ft) sailboat and the other a 21m(68ft) powerboat!  She was owned y Roman Abramovich but was given to his business partner, Eugene Shvidler in a gamble.


IMG_3347This enormous bronze statue on the waterfront at Cartagena was commisioned to remember the victims of terrorist attacks. 

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Almerimar/Granada/Sierra Nevada 12.4.18–27.4.18

On the 12th April we departed Fuengerola and headed towards Almerimar.  Again along side our good friends Eva & Haken onboard Sally.  We stopped for one night on route in Este, 47 miles along the coast.  A pretty marina but extremely expensive even though we received a ‘free’ bottle of wine!  

IMG_3056Skipper taking a quick nap after the previous days sight seeing!                                                                                           

IMG_3061The next 47 miles to Almerimar were under engine as the wind was almost none existent!  We were very excited to see the amount of snow still remaining on the Sierra Nevada mountains.  Perhaps we could get a few extra days of skiing this year!!! 


Almerimar is ‘Milford in Spain’.  We were looking forward to catching up with those who have departed Milford Marina and now keep their boats in Almerimar.  Ian had recently returned to the UK for a few weeks so unfortunately we didn’t manage to see him, however, Nicky, John & Morgan (SY Senora) and Tom (SY Connor)were all there when we arrived.  We enjoyed our time catching up and sharing tapas and just a few bottles of wine!! 

We had been having trouble with our furling genoa.  On mentioning this to John he recommended a British guy who immediately diagnosed this on the mention of the make of the furling gear.  Apparently there has been an ongoing manufacturing issue and he has replaced a total of 21 with exactly the same problem as us!   Unfortunately the manufacturer will not accept that it is their responsibility in any of the cases reported and therefore we had to pay for a replacement masthead carrier. Over 900 euros!! ouch!!  plus fitting of course.  The item was delivered and fitted within a few days….a well organised operation from start to finish considering we had to take down the forestay whilst Money Penny remained in her Marina Berth.

During our stay,we hired a car and rented an apartment (with Eva & Haken!)in Granada, just an hour and a half away, at the foot of the snow covered Sierra Nevada.  All of our ski equipment and clothing was still in France following our ‘road journey’, but this was not going to stop us.  We would wear our wet weather gear if necessary!  We left early in the morning to drive up to the mountains and arrived at around 10am to glorious, hot, sunshine and plenty of powder snow!  Wet weather gear was certainly not needed as we skied in jeans and thin jackets.  The conditions were perfect (if a bit hot!) and the slopes were extremely quiet.  We even got a chance of some off piste.


At 5pm we returned our hire equipment and made our way down the mountain to Granada.   In the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, Granada is a beautiful city, it’s medieval architecture dating back to Moorish occupation and this can be seen especially in the Alhambra, a huge citadel and palace on a hilltop overlooking the city.  We were unable to get tickets to see the main areas of the fortress but spent time exploring the outside garden areas and the hillside opposite.


Our accommodation was a spacious 2 bedroom apartment within the old walls of the city (not easy to find or get to by car but we had been provided with exceptional directions!).  From there we explored the City on foot, enjoying the architecture of the many buildings including the Cathedral.  We saw street performers, and there were surprises around every corner of the narrow city backstreets.  To sooth our tired feet on our return to the apartment we were even able to take advantage of the onsite spa facilities.  A real bonus when living onboard Money Penny where we are often limited to the amount of water and electricity available!


Our Friends from Pembrokeshire, Karen & Stephen, who visited us earlier in the year in Lagos, were back in their house in Spain.  They joined us again in Almerimar for 2 nights celebrating Stephens birthday.  Whilst they were with us we commandeered both driver and hire car to go in search of a local DIY store.  On our journey to find the Spanish equivalent of a B & Q we travelled through mile upon mile of plastic poly tunnels.  This area is renowned for the production of fruit and vegetables in Spain.  In deed most of Europe's fruit and veg apparently comes from the area.   If you ‘google earth’ Almerimar you can see the massive area of what looks like white snow…..acre upon acre of white plastic which without a doubt gets blown into the sea in extreme weather conditions.  How is this allowed?!  We enjoyed our two days together and thank them for the road trip!

With the blink of an eye Money Penny had spent over 2 weeks in this marina.  The cheapest yet at 10 Euros a night!!! but it was time again to move on!

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Smir to Fuengerola 7.4.18

We finally departed Morocco at 9.15am on the 7th April 2018.  The wind for the 62 mile crossing ranged from 4kts to 30kts but we had the most amazing sail.  The best of our journey so far with a maximum speed of 13.4 knots!  8 hrs to do 62 miles – Money Penny was flying and we were on a high when we arrived in Fuengerola! 

What can I say about Fuengerola? Perhaps I will just say that this was our base for the next few nights, from which we hired a car and saw yet more surprising areas of Spain!


We hired a car along with Hakan and Eva for two days in Fuengerola.  The first day we travelled to Mijas overlooking Fuengerola up in the hills.  This was a pretty little town (if a bit touristy!) with the most fantastic views over Malaga and the surrounding coastline.  Donkey and carts offer tourists a tour of the village .   From Mijas we made our way into the Sierra de las Nieves National Park via winding mountain roads with spectacular views. We stopped off in Ronda, a city set above a deep gorge.  The city dates back to Moorish rule and has a stone bridge spanning the gorge with a lookout affording views down the gorge.  The City also houses an 18th century bullring.


On our way back to the boat we decided to see how ‘the other half’ live and visited Puerto Banus, a luxury marina and shopping complex.  Full of luxury cars and boats.  We took a walk around the port and spent a little time people watching! – No celebrities this time!  - then made our way back to Fuengerola    Ha Ha Ha!!!!


Our second day was spent sightseeing around Malaga.  What a great city!  Included in our day was a trip to the Motor Museum.  This was a real surprise.  They had the car that was used in the film Titanic and next to every car was a display of fashion from the period of the car in question.  Beautiful outfits from times gone by.


We visited the Picasso Museum and also made the trip up to the Castle Gibralfaro which dates back to 770BC and sits on a hill overlooking the City of Malaga.  Some of the stone paving is shown here, amazing considering the age of this ‘patio art’!


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Ceuta & Marina Smir–Morocco–4.4.18

We sailed out of Gibraltar on 4th April and made the 20 mile trip across the Strait to Ceuta.  Ceuta is a Spanish enclave on the North coast of Africa. It is an 18.5 square kilometre city and, as we were unsure whether to take Money Penny to Morocco, we had been told that you could take a trip across the boarder from Ceuta and sample Morocco without all of the ‘red tape’ we had been lead to believe there would be if we sailed there!  We moored up and checked in to the Marina.  The cost for just one night was 49 Euros which was over double what we had been paying in Gibraltar and we were still low season!  We spoke to a British skipper on a boat next to us who told us that Marina Smir in Morocco would not be an issue as far as the ‘red tape’ was concerned and that he would ‘go for it’.   The following day, we did!!!

IMG_2884Our berth in Ceuta next to another Dufour 43 (not the CC version)

Smir was only 13 miles away and when we arrived we were welcomed by a posse of about 12 uniformed dignitaries!  We were directed to the reception pontoon and shown to the office.  28 euros a night!  Yippee!  After checking in to the Marina we were sent to the ‘police & customs’ office next door.  Fred Karnos army springs to mind!  One guy sat behind a desk checking our boat papers and passports whilst the other  sat in the corner eating a large baguette with an indescribable filling before leaving the room to change into what I can only describe as a fancy dress costume….. policeman I think!  Anyway, they were both very pleasant and we were even offered some of the baguette! 

We were then shown to our berth as Sally joined us from Gibraltar.

We had been given information from another member of the UK Cruising Association that there was a guide in Smir who came highly recommended.  ‘He will welcome you on the quay’ were their words – and he did!  He was standing right there as we moored up!!   We booked his services for the following day and were told he would come and collect us (and Hakan and Eva) in a taxi.  We would pay him and the taxi for their services!

The ‘guide’ & the taxi arrived the following morning and we were transported to Tetouan, a city a few miles from the Port of Smir.  It was Friday morning and apparently every Friday the women of the city remain indoors to rest and get ready for the weekly family meal later in the day.  The men collect the ‘bread’ and the children go to school.  We entered the city walls of the ‘old town’ which was like a ghost town. Narrow little streets where the houses are built so close together you can only just see daylight above you.  The doors to the houses were hundreds of years old and decorated in the most ornate fashion with evidence of the 21st century visible.  The photo shows one of the doors with the old and the modern lock.


At mid day the walled city began to come alive.  The children were walking home from school and shops began to open their doors.  At one point a small group of children saw us walking towards them and hid in a doorway until we had passed by.  One in particular looked extremely worried.  Four of us in European dress must have been very strange to these little girls who were used to seeing men and women dressed in djellaba (long loose fitting hooded garments with full sleeves).

IMG_2897The local Carpenter       IMG_2933IMG_2906

There were all types of ‘shops’ along these tiny streets.  One of our photographs shows a carpenter but there were fruit stalls, secondhand stores, hardware stores, fishmongers  and butchers.  The butcher either sold red meat or white meat, never the two together.  There was also a place you could buy your chicken for todays lunch.  They weighed the chicken to check you were happy, before killing it and taking your well earned money!  Distressing to us but a healthy option for them as there was no way of storing these in such heat once they had been killed!

Unfortunately we were caught with the obligatory carpet sale!  Asked if we would like to see a rooftop view we said yes and were taken through a souk (shop/store), up three flights of tiny stairs to look over the rooftops of this amazing walled city, given mint tea and then asked to sit whilst we said ‘no’ to about 50 different carpets & rugs!!!  ‘Why would we need a rug on a boat?’ we kept saying!


We had lunch in a small hotel hidden behind one of the large wooden doors and then were collected by our guide to make the journey back to the Marina.  Outside of the old  walled city was the modern area and on our way out we passed rubbish just dumped along the pathways and in the gutter.  Our guide apologised continually, explaining that it was Friday, Holy day and no one was allowed to work.  The rubbish had been there a lot longer than just a few hours or even days but at the end of the day, the whole experience gave us a view into how different lives can be in this world we live in.

We were hoping to spend another day in Morocco but the weather was closing in and if we didn’t leave ‘tomorrow’ we could be here for a lot longer.  We decided that we should leave for the Spanish mainland the following day.  Checking out of the Marina was not as straightforward as our arrival!   When we visited the Marina office that morning we were confronted by 50 or so men outside the door and then found out that the Marina had changed hands overnight! These men were looking for jobs.  Some of them had been working in the Marina until 7pm the night before and now had no job!  No one knew what was going on.   It took us over two hours to visit the various rooms, talking to staff who had no idea what they were doing but eventually we escaped and began our trip back to mainland Spain.

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It was too far to sail direct from Rota to Gibraltar in a day, so we chose Barbate (40 miles away)as a quick overnight stop.  Unfortunately the weather and wind direction were unkind to us and we remained in Barbate for two nights.  The town was a short bike ride away but was ‘closed’ as the season had not started yet, however we did manage to find one rather nice tapas bar near the Marina and spent a pleasant afternoon with Hakan & Eva where we all sampled the local tapas (and the ale of course!)

On 31st March at 10am we left Barbate and headed for the Straits of Gibraltar.

20180331_15294920180331_152919IMG_2793IMG_2804celebrating in the Straits!

The sail to Gibraltar, alongside Sally, was an exhilarating one.  The currents through the Strait are mainly caused by water of different salinity flowing between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean sea.  The water in the Atlantic is less salty and less dense and therefore flows eastwards into the Med through the Straits on the surface to about 125m deep at a speed of two or three knots.  Add tidal flows of up to 4 knots to this and the flow eastwards can either speed up or slow down depending on the point of the tide at the time.  There are lots of other more complicated factors that cause eddies and back eddies etc but I won’t  bore you with this.  The bottom line is that we sailed through the Straits at between 4.8 & 10.8 knots!


At the entrance to the Port we thought we were back in the Milford Haven Waterway, where at least two very familiar tankers were at anchor. We were very glad we were used to the size and manoeuvres of these huge vessels.  There were a number of yachts getting extremely close to the bows of tankers as they made their way in to the Port.

We were welcomed by two marina operatives (not marineros as we were now in Gibraltar), who helped us moor up in Queensway Marina, (only £21 per night, £’s not Euros), right in the heart of  town.  Our GPS was now reading a total of 3339 miles since leaving the UK!


Despite being just a stone’s throw away from Africa and on the boarders of Spain, this is a British enclave.  It has been fought over by the British and Spanish for centuries and officially decided to remain part of the UK in a referendum on 10th September 1967. The residents of Gibraltar celebrate Gibraltar National Day on that date every year.

During our 4 days in this British enclave, we spent our time getting to know this fascinating place and it’s history.  We cycled around the ‘Rock’ – a 426 meter high limestone rock rising out of the sea - taking in the most fantastic views and visiting the many caves and fortifications used during the many wars (including WW11) and changes of occupation. In the late 18th century Gibraltar had faced fourteen sieges in 500 years! 

We took the cable car to its peak and visited the famous Barbary apes, walking back down to the Marina through the Upper Rock Nature Reserve making the most of the views and attractions on the way down.  St Michael’s Cave, with its stalactites and stalagmites and unique natural auditorium used for concerts, was a welcome break from the heat outside.

We  were running low on baked beans and marmite so a trip to Morrisons was also on the cards!  Try shopping in Morrisons and then cycling a mile or so carrying the shopping…… not an easy feat but worth it!


We thoroughly enjoyed our time here and would recommend it to anyone looking for a short break or, of course, sailing the Med!     NEXT STOP MOROCCO!

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Rota 26.3.18

On the 26th March at 8am we left Ayamonte and headed out towards Rota.  At the entrance to the River we noticed the distinct difference in the colour of the water as the salt water mixed with the fresh water of the river.


Rota is a small town on the Bay of Cadiz, Andalusia.  It is 36 km away from Cadiz by road but only a short ferry ‘hop’ across the water.  We left as the sun was rising on the horizon, in the company of ‘Sally’….Race On!!  The journey of 59 miles took us 10.5 hrs of slow but pleasant sailing.  At one point there were fish jumping all around us with one even bumping it’s head on the side of the hull!…..still the fishing lines remained empty!   Both boats arrived within 10 minutes of each other and were immediately greeted by customs police who were checking our papers before we had even tied up to the ‘welcome’ pontoon!  I think they were in a hurry to get home!

The town had two long sandy beaches either side of the Marina and a cycle path ran along each.  We spent the first day exploring on our bikes with the occasional break for coffee of course! We were surprised by the number of American families enjoying the beaches on Sunday afternoon, but then realised that there was, in fact an American Naval Base on the outskirts of the town.

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This was Easter Week, Spanish towns were holding daily processions depicting the crucifixion and resurrection.  They were held at various different times of the day from early in the afternoon to 2am.  Rota was no different.  We walked into the town the evening after our arrival and  having enjoyed a meal in a local restaurant where we ordered and enjoyed grilled pulpo (octopus) for the first time, we joined the crowds of people to await the evening procession.


Cadiz is an ancient port city.  It is the home of the Spanish Navy and in the 16th century was a base for exploration and trade.  It has over 100 watchtowers and an 18th century Cathedral.  We had decided to take the ferry across to Cadiz whilst in Rota rather than move Money Penny across the waterway.   We spent the day wandering around the narrow streets which have various different walks that you can follow by coloured lines on the pavements.  Green – Medieval District, Orange – Castles & Bastions, Purple – Shippers to the Indies & Blue – Cadiz Constitution.  I was a great way to see the sights.


We ate lunch in a small ‘street side’ restaurant – in fact there WAS no street as it was taken up my the many restaurants along its way.  We walked out to the Castillo de San Sebastian and also visited the most amazing fish market we have ever seen.  The size of the fish on display were immense. The photograph of the tuna does not do it justice.


The following day we began our trip towards Gibraltar.

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River Guadiana 21.3.18

The night before our departure for the River Guadiana, we helped a boat tie up on a berth alongside Money Penny and realised that Sally had been near us in Marina Lagos when we stopped there in November/December. Her owners, Hakan & Eva (having spent the winter in Lagos) were now continuing their journey too.

At 8am on the 21st March 2018 both boats slipped their lines and continued on with their adventures. 

20180326_151501Sally alongside us.

Ayamonte, on the mouth of the River Guadiana, was our next port.  The River Guadiana is situated on  the border between Portugal & Spain.   The 47 miles from Albufeira to Ayamonte Marina took nine hours under a mix of both sail and motor.  The wind was slight until we reached our destination and were approaching the Berth, but we moored up safely and went to the office to check in.   On the walk to the office we noticed another familiar boat, however this one had been in Milford Marina - Jane G, belonged to Jane & Clive.  Alistair had first met them in August of 2014 when they arrived at Milford Marina on their retunr form a 16 years, 1 month & 2 days circumnavigation of the world.  The press had picked up on the story and Jane & Clive had even featured on morning TV.  We headed down to their pontoon to say hello and ended up spending a couple of hours drinking coffee and chatting about their experiences and then joining them in a local restaurant for Tapas that evening.  Ayamonte was their ‘home port’ for the time being.


Jane & Clive had told us about a festival taking place up river in Alcoutim and Sanlucar.  The villages are opposite each other on the banks of the river (Alcoutim in Portugal & Sanlucar in Spain).  We spent two nights in Ayamonte and then headed upriver to join the festivities.  We sailed the whole way up river passing Questing, Brett & Vicki’s boat, and then anchoring off Alcoutim.  The only drawback was an English couple (who believed they owned the mooring rights to the river) hurrying out to us in their dinghy to inform us that we were far too close to their boat as a storm was approaching (we were at least 50m away!)…….we moved to maintain the status quo, the storm never materialised!!

IMG-20180611-WA0000Questing in the River Guadiana

The festival is a ‘contraband’ festival, celebrating the history of contraband between the two villages & countries.  A temporary floating pontoon across the river gave one access to both villages, with stalls displaying and selling ancient crafts. 


Local people played the part of smugglers, moving back and fore across the floating bridge selling all sorts of things…. from flowers, copperware, ironware and even ‘ladies of the night’ selling their bodies!!!   To cross the bridge you had to pay a Euro for which you received a bandana to prove you’d paid and a number of bands played throughout the afternoon on either sides of the river.


We spent two nights at anchor in the River Guadiana and then made the 9.8 knt, down wind sail, 18.7 mile journey back to Ayamonte Marina passing under the suspension bridge that conects Spain & Portugal.    The following day we departed Ayamonte for Rota – again in the welcome company of Sally.


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Albufeira & The Road Trip - December to March

We arrived in Albufeira on 3rd December 2017 – Flights were booked for the 19th for our return home but we were both ‘ready and waiting’ so we checked out prices for a few days earlier, cleaned and carried out necessary jobs on Money Penny, and departed for Bristol on 12th December.  We were to return by the 5th February 2018 for a month of necessary work both ashore and afloat.

Bikes are a handy addition when you arrive in a marina that is slightly out of the town centre, and we didn’t put these on-board before our departure from the UK.  Throughout Brittany we had not found this a problem because a number of marinas that provide these for hire or free, however, Spain and Portugal are not equipped in the same way.  We had spent time surfing the internet and both purchased folding bikes.  How would we get these out to the boat?   A road trip!!      We decided, that after our UK break ,we would drive back to Albufeira complete with bikes and anything else  we had ‘forgotten’ when we departed Milford Haven!  This also gave us the opportunity to carry antifoul that would have cost 195 EUROS for a 3ltr can in Portugal!

We enjoyed Christmas and New Year with family and friends but all too soon the time to head back was upon us.  Car loaded, complete with fully laden top box, we left Worcester (having spent a night with Judith’s brother) and headed down to the overnight ferry, spent the night in a cabin on-board and then drove from Le Harve to Les Arcs in the French Alpes (536 miles) for a week of snow and skiing.  The conditions were amazing and we ended up staying form 11 days.


From Les Arcs we drove to Chambery and spent the night with some friends who live in a beautiful house just outside Chambery in a village called Bourdeau, overlooking the Lake that those of you who have flown into Chambery on a clear day, will know well.

From Bourdeau we travelled south via the Millau Viaduct to a quick overnight stop in Beziers.  The Millau Viaduct is a cable-stayed bridge that spans the gorge valley of the Tarn River in the Massif Central Mountains.  It is the tallest bridge in the world with one mast’s summit at 343 m above its base.  From day one of our plan to drive back to the boat it was Alistair’s intention to drive across the Millau.  Unfortunately the weather was not the best but….we did it!  


We then followed the coast road, with a stop for lunch in Collioure (a beautiful French village which we intend visiting again on Money Penny), across the boarder, towards Barcelona. An overnight stop in Barcelona with a quick evening tour of the City ‘A la Alistair’!  We would be returning to Barcelona on Money Penny later in the year.



Facebook is ideal for keeping in touch with friends that you don’t always have contact with from one month to the next   We had noticed that Julia & Roger, friends from Pembrokeshire, were travelling in their Camper Van and were along our route in Peniscola (be careful how you pronounce that!).  We managed to contact them and called in for a ‘quick’ catch up and coffee on our way to more friends from Pembrokeshire who are now living near Valencia.

A two night stop in Monserrat, a small village north of Valencia was next on our agenda.  Jenny (a long time friend of Judith’s) and Trevor her new hubby had relocated just over a year previously.  They were kind enough to provide us with fabulous hospitality over the next two days when we did a little sightseeing  in Valencia and basically just enjoyed catching up.


Seville was next.  What a great city!  We managed to free the bikes from the back of the car and explored the city over the next two days before the final leg of our journey over the border to Portugal and Albufeira.

The view from our Hotel in Seville by night!20180131_210356IMG-20180610-WA0006& Day!


During February we worked hard on Money Penny to get her ready for the next stage of her journey.  New antifouling, sail drive seals, replacement anodes and a good spit and polish.  It was a pleasure to be working in the dry and not the cold and wet of East Llanion Yard.  She was out of the water for a total of 5 days.


Once the hard work was over we spent time exploring east of Albufeira . Vicki & Brett, whose boat, Questing was in the Guadiana River, where coming out for a short break, so we arranged to meet them.  In the meantime we had taken a trip to Villamora by road.  Whilst walking around the Marina we came across two Birdy bikes that looked extremely familiar!  On looking down the nearest pontoon we spied Legal Tender, Martin & Pat’s boat!  They had made their way from Baiona and were now moored in Villamora.  We made contact, joined them on board for a drink to catch up on all our news and then arranged for them to join us and Vicki & Brett the following day in Olhao for lunch.


The weather continued to be amazing for the time of year, we were thrilled as Sophie (Judith’s daughter), husband Chris and their two daughters were joining us over February half term.  We had a fantastic week exploring the coast, swimming in the sea (well those that were mad enough!) and again ‘catching up’.  During the week a competition developed between Chris and Alistair.  Firstly, a pool tournament in which Alistair thrashed Chris and culminating in a go-carting race in which Chris obviously had the faster cart!!!


3rd March arrived…….Alison & Neil were joining us for a week.   Oh no!  The weather decided to change! It rained & it rained for most of their stay, the first we had seen all winter!  Two or three days of storms left damage to many areas along the coastline.


We made the most of their visit, touring the area and even spent a night in Lagos Marina Apartments where we met up with Stephen & Karen Oates who drove down from their Spanish home.  Such a shame that the weather wasn’t any kinder.


Judith returned home for a short break to celebrate her youngest grandson’s 1st birthday a few days after Neil & Alison’s departure and then on the 21st March 2018 we said ‘goodbye’ to Albufeira and continued on with our adventure.

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Oeiras to Sines, Sagres & Lagos 20.11.17-22.11.17

We left Oeiras at 9.45 on a beautiful sunny morning.  The wind was perfect and we averaged 6.5 knots with a maximum of 9.2 knots.  Unfortunately the wind disappeared at 1400 but as we had made such good headway we decided to head for Sines.  We arrived at 1800 and anchored just inside the harbour entrance. 

At 7.25 the following morning we continued our journey.  This part of our journey had been talked about many times!  Cape St Vincent was familiar to both of us from land but not sea.  We had stood on the cliff top and looked down on sailing boats battling against wind and waves far below us on many occasions – we were approaching with trepidation.  We had approximately 64 Miles to sail today and again the direction and speed of the wind was perfect, however, as we drew closer to our destination we realised that we could be rounding the Cape in darkness!  At 17..20, in semi darkness, we finally sailed around the Cape.  The sea and wind were kind to us and we wondered what all the fuss had been about! 


Anchoring in the dark in Sagres was another issue!  By the time we arrived in the bay it was ‘black’, the wind had increased substantially and we were extremely tired.  Ideally we would have been better continuing our journey to Lagos (14 miles along the coast), but the threat of numerous lobster pots and the darkness made our decision to anchor easy!    We tried two or three times and eventually the anchor ‘caught’.  We could now relax and try and get some sleep.   Caught what?  We found that out in the morning after hardly any sleep due to the heavy swell!  We had ‘attached’ our anchor to the ground chain of a nearby mooring!  At least we hadn’t dragged across the bay!  We were lucky to recover the anchor.

The direction of the wind for our 14 mile trip to Lagos was not so favourable and we were hoping for some sunshine and calm water to take in the coastline that was so familiar to Judith. Her parents had owned a house in this area of the Algarve for a period of 20 years.  After 4 hours under engine we made our way into the channel leading to Lagos Marina.  This entrance is guarded by a lifting footbridge which connects the town to the marina and local train station. 

We arrived at 12.30 and having moored to the waiting pontoon, reported to the office. We were then told that the bridge would not open again until after 2pm.  Lunch it was then! 

A young French couple came across to us asking if we were going across the Atlantic.  They were looking for a passage.   This happened a number of times whilst we were in the Marina at Lagos.


The day after our arrival in Lagos was Judith’s birthday. Mark & Noemia, our good friends who live in the Algarve, joined us for birthday celebrations.  Over the next 10 days we met a number of expats with common links to the UK, watched the Autumn international Rugby  matches with fellow Welsh supporters and the highlight was Friday night in the Marina Bar…….Friday Night is Music Night!   The expats met for a ‘jamming’ session bringing whatever instruments they could (or could not!) play.  Words were provided for those of us whose voice was our instrument!!!

Matthew & Charlie (Judith’s son and grandson) arrived for a brief visit and a great time was had by all including a December swim for Alistair and Charlie!


We would have loved to have remained in Lagos for the rest of the winter months but the price was just too high.  Eventually we left the town behind and headed for Albufeira.

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Oeiras - (Sintra & Mafra) 15/11/17-20/11/17

Oeiras is on the entrance to the Tagus River which heads up to Lisbon.  As we had visited Lisbon on a previous road trip, we decided not to head further up the River.


Oeiras is within easy distance of Sintra, a town within the National Park, in the foothills of the Sintra Mountains and home to the Sintra National Palace, the hilltop Pena National Palace and the spectacular Moorish Castle.  We made some enquiries regarding car hire and found that the easiest and cheapest option to hire a car was to head to Cascais.  We walked along the sea front to the train station and caught a train.  Cascais was beautiful, with tree lined streets,smart restaurants, shops and a Marina.  We spent the day exploring the town and then collected the hire car late in the afternoon ready for the following day.

Sintra is some 30 miles north of Oeiras.  We arrived, parked the car in what we thought was a convenient place and headed, on foot, up towards the National Palace, pasting pieces of art along our way.


We took a tour around the National Palace with it’s stunningly decorated rooms and artwork.  The Palace kitchen was larger than the average house with two huge conical chimneys to extract the smoke from the burnt toast!!!  Copper utensils that would be the envy of many a chef.


On the recommendation of Alistair’s brother David, we decided to walk up to the Pena Palace and Moorish Castle.  The first part of the walk took us through a lovely wooded area but this eventually brought us to the roadway.  Why were we the only ones walking?  We walked and we walked and we walked…….we had a car which we could have used but this was parked at the bottom of the hill!!!  As luck would have it we spied a couple of Tuk Tuks parked down a small lane with their drivers having a sneaky rest.  Perhaps they would take us to the top!   £5 was their quote so we took it!   At the top, £10 was the charged - £5 each!

The Pena National Palace was originally a monastery.   No doubt the royal family in the valley bellow didn’t enjoy being overlooked by their neighbours so commandeered said monastery and turned it into yet another royal palace.  The upshot was that each room was unusually small compared to most royal palaces but the tiled decoration and the views from the Palace were spectacular.  This area was one of the highlights of our trip so far.


The Moorish Castle, close by, was yet another spectacular monument with views overlooking the valley and surrounding plains.  We spent another hour or so exploring this and then made our way back down to the car.



The following day we headed for Mafra.  Mafra is a small town 28 km from Lisbon with yet another Royal Palace.  The construction of the Palace of Mafra was started in 1717 and finished in 1755.  There was a daily average of 15,000 workers, but at the end of construction this had grown to between 30,000 and 40,000 workers.  In addition 7,000 soldiers were assigned to preserve order at the construction site.  There was even a hospital onsite, although a total of 1,383 workers lost their lives during the construction.  The façade is 220 m long (Buckingham Palace is 110 m long)with the whole complex covering 37,790 sq m, with approximately 1200 rooms and more than 4,700 doors and window, 156 stairways and 29 inner yards and courtyards.  The Palace is the most important baroque monument in Portugal with unusual decoration in a number of the large rooms.


We spent an hour or so walking around the Palace but were not nearly as impressed (apart from the size!) by this palace as our visit to Sintra the day before.  We made our way back to Money Penny along the beautiful West Coast stopping off to explore a couple of beaches and began to look forward  to move on in the morning.

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Portugal (The West Coast) (8/11/2017-15/11/2017)

Viana do Castelo

On the 8th November 2017 at 10am we said goodbye to Baiona.  As we headed out past the headland and the Castle above, the sun shone and although there was a swell was 2.7 metres we were looking forward to the journey and finally arriving in Portugal!  As we passed the boarder between Spain & Portugal , with excitement, we changed our curtesy flag from yellow and red to green and red.

 20171110_093803 IMG-20180502-WA0005

We had heard a number of horror stories about the entrances to some of the West Coast ports of Portugal but the weather seemed kind and we were optimistic.  When we arrived at our destination, Viana do Castello, there was breaking surf at the entrance to the river heading in to the marina.  We turned on the engine, packed away the sails and put all our faith in Money Penny being able to ride the waves into the calm of the river mouth.  Money Penny became a giant surf board…..surfing at 12 knots as we entered the river!!

As we approached the marina entrance The Ponte Eiffel Bridge crossed the river ahead of us.  This railroad iron bridge was designed by Gustave Eiffel and completed in 1878 .


The Santa Luzia Sactuary dominates the top of the hill overlooking Viana do Castello.  This monumental Temple of the 20th century is beautiful both inside and out.  We took a funicular railway up to the top of the hill where the views of the river and coastline were amazing. The interior decoration and the stained  glass window inside the Temple were beautiful and there was a magnificent display of flowers on the alter.  We spent an hour walking around the hilltop area before returning to the town.



We left Viana do Castello two days later and continued South.  Porto was our next port of call.

O Porto

After 36.8 miles, an average of 6.4 knots and max 12.1 knots (probably surfing one of ‘those’ waves!) we entered the River Douro.  Porto on the banks of the River Douro is the second largest city in Portugal.  It doesn’t have a marina so we chose Douro Marina just after the entrance to the river.  On ‘check in’ the friendly staff explained that as part of our stay we were entitled to a free tour of one of the Port houses.  We would take up there offer tomorrow!  For now, we decided to make our way in to the City to look around. 

We took a ferryboat across the river and then caught one of the Victorian trams that run into the city….much more fun than a modern bus!  Porto is known for its many stately bridges and port wine production.  There are narrow streets housing old merchant’s houses and cafes.  As it was early evening by the time we arrived in the City, we sat in a riverside bar and watched the world go by.  Looking across at Vila Nova de Gaia (the town on the opposite banks of the river), the Port Houses were visible as their names were lit up.  Famous Port houses such as Calem, Ramos Pinto, Offley, Sandeman and of course Tayor’s and Graham’s.  The City was alive with both young and old and the atmosphere superb.n

The following day we returned to the City, this time in a taxi.  The free tour was to a lesser known House, Churchill’s.  Churchill’s, in contrast to most of the other Port Houses who have been in existence for centuries, has only been in existence since 1981.  It was founded by John Graham of the Graham ‘port’ family. He named the Company after his wife Caroline Churchill (no relation to Winston!).   On arrival we were given two different wines to taste, before being shown around the storage units and given the history of the Company and details of production.  We were then given a number of different ports of varying ages to try.  On departing, ‘very tipsy’ was an understatement


We spent the rest of the day exploring both Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia.  Lunch was in a city centre café and being adventurous we acceded to the waiters recommendation and had the local speciality – three types of spicy sausage in a round of bread covered in gravy with an egg on top. Different is all I can say. After a long wander and as darkness fell we left a restaurant to walk along the riverside and discovered that an historic car rally was due to set off from the area. Alistair was in Heaven with a vast array of classic Porsche, Fords, Mini’s et al in superb concourse condition. We stood and watched all the cars set off for the night rally on the roads surrounding Porto. Another taxi and ‘home’ to bed.


Nazaire (14.11.17)

The next two stops on our journey were ‘quick overnighters’!  Aveira at anchor and Figueiro do Foz.  We had now travelled another 73 miles since Porto and were on route to Nazaire.  We had heard some horror stories about this mecca for surfers regarding the size of the waves. If you google Nazaire you will see what we mean!  Some are reported as 100 ft high and we were about to enter the harbour!  Surprisingly for the time of year the sea conditions were calm and we were left wondering what all of the fuss was about.   The waves are caused by a deep natural channel that stretches all the way to the shoreline.  This can be seen on the photograph of our GPS below.


During a walk along the beautiful sandy beach we encountered women selling dried fish.  There were stands behind them where the fish from today’s catch were drying out in the sunshine.


We enjoyed our stay in Nazaire but this looked like it could be an extremely busy town during the height of the season and perhaps not as relaxing.


We left Nazaire and headed for Peniche for a quick overnight stop before moving on to Oeiras at the entrance to the Tagus River (Lisbon)       ………… be continued!

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The Rias


Over the next few days we began to head South again, visiting  the Spanish Rias on route.  The Rias are a series of four inlets on the North western side of Spain (Galicia).  Ria de Muros, Ria de Arousa, Ria de Pontevedra and Ria de Vigo.  They are rich in marine life and a large fishing industry runs from here, in fact the city of Vigo is said to be the leading fishing port in Europe. Personally we felt that they were spoilt by the numerous floating mussel beds but understand that this is a major source of income for the area alongside tourism.  During our time in this area we enjoyed the company of a number of pods of Dolphin.

20171105_095408Ria de Muros with the floating mussel beds in the background  20171029_125604

Our first port of call was Muxia.  We arrived and were greeted by a Marinero on the dockside who helped us tie up in the, (almost empty) marina.  We were then asked to take our paperwork to the ‘office’.  The office turned out to be a Shell petrol station on the side of the road adjoining the Marina.  We were then charged an exorbitant amount for the night with no promise of wi fi or decent facilities!  Now we knew why the marina was empty!  We spent the evening walking out to the headland to the Sanctuary of Virxe Da Barca (The virgin of the boat!).  Originally a pre-Christian Celtic shrine and sacred spot which was only converted in the 12th Centrury, it was rebuilt following its destruction by fire in 2013.  The ‘A Ferida’  nearby, is a tribute sculpture to the volunteers who helped to clean the Prestige oil spill, when the MV Prestige, carrying 77,000 tonnes of heavy fuel oil sank in November 2002.  Over a thousand beaches on the Spanish, French & Portuguese coast were affected.

20171028_17413320171028_174218 The almost empty marina at Muxia!       20171028_185601IMG-20180502-WA0000

Ria de Muros

Our sail from Muxia to Muros was downwind with 15 knots and gusts of 26 knots.  We reached up to 10 knots SOG at times and were visited by two separate pods of dolphins.


On arrival at the Marina we were met by Pedro who helped us tie up in the windy conditions and then directed us to the office.  The Office, in contrast to Muxia, housed a reading/TV room complete with small library of books, TV and sofas, showers, toilets, and a small kitchen/laundry room.   The building was old and a little ‘tired’ but perfectly adequate for our needs.  The wifi was free and worked well from our berth & the price per night was half that of Muxia!!  Pedro was charming and very helpful.

Whilst in Muros we visited Santiago de Compostela.  The capital of the Galicia region of Spain and known as the culmination of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route, it is also alleged to be the burial site of the biblical apostle St James.  We caught the bus to the City and spent the day exploring. 


We spent two nights in Muros and then decided to explore further into Ria Muros.   We motored as far into the Ria as we could passing hundreds of floating mussel beds and beautiful houses overlooking the water.  At the top of the Ria there was a small fishing harbour and just about every boat from the harbour was out on the Ria fishing for razor clams.  Apparently they have a limited license in which they are allowed to fish for these clams.  They were obviously making the most of it!


We watched the boats returning to the harbour en masse and then headed for Portosin on the opposite side of the river.   Portosin was ‘easily forgotten’!!!  Apart from being given a free mug by the marina staff, the marina was out of the way of the main town, very quiet and not very pleasant on the eye!  We stayed the night and returned the following morning to Pedro in Muros! 5 miles across the Ria.

Ria de Arosa (3/11/17)

On the 3rd November we left Muros and headed the 34 miles out of Ria Muros to Ria de Arosa.  We were welcomed in to the Ria by two bottle nosed dolpins.  Two nights were spent in this Ria, at Pobra de Caraminal and Vilagarcia.  Both towns were virtually closed for the winter although one nightclub had decided to remain open in Vilagarcia, 200 yrds from Money Penny, playing loud music until 6am!!!   We moved on!!x

Ria de Vigo (5/11/17)

With no wind, we motored the 34 miles from Vilagarcia to Baiona.  There are two marinas on offer here and we chose the right one!!!  Real Club Nautica Baiona was in a beautiful setting with an amazing Club House and facilities, underneath the backdrop of Castelo de Monterreal, a castle that sits on a hill at the edge of the town.  In the old area of the town there are narrow corridor like streets with typical Galician houses lining them and a number of bars, cafes and restaurants hidden away.

20171105_141855Approaching Baiona

Having arrived at Baiona we had heard that a boat had left Milford approximately one week prior. Onboard were Martin & Pat, heading for Baiona.  Judith managed to make contact and we found that they were over in the other marina.  We met up for drinks and a catch up on their boat, Legal Tender and then again a day later in the Club house and restaurant for lunch.  Exchanging stories, we learnt that they had departed The Haven and headed out for Southern Ireland, with one stop there, they then turned left and sailed directly to Baiona!!  They had had an amazing experience.  We think we prefer the route we had taken!!!  

We thoroughly enjoyed  our 3 days in Baiona.  We walked around the Castle and headland, through the small streets of the town and took a bus to nearby Vigo.   On the 8th November we headed for Portugal!

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North Coast of Spain from Santander to Cedeira (15.10.17–26.10.17)

From Santander we set sail for Ribadesella, on the 15th October 2017 at 3am!!!     We knew the North coast of Spain would be a challenge as the prevailing wind is a Westerly and that’s the direction we want to go we therefore had to make sure we made the most of the tidal flows.     Again with a mixture of engine and sail or both we made the 58 miles to Ribadesella in 10 hours. Ribadesella is a quaint little town hidden away up a river inlet. Blink and you could miss it, but the GPS told us exactly where it was. An engine driven passage up the river took us to the ‘marina’ where the depth of water was questionable. Follow the buoyage into the marina accurately and don’t even try to turn around near the pontoon was the advice. We entered on high water and wandered what all the fuss was about. Oh boy, when the water dropped towards low tide I realised what dangers lurked under the surface of the muddy river water. To our portside was a large shingle stone bank. Not very far away indeed. We ate on the boat that evening and as it was raining settled down for a well earned sleep.

The following day, I awoke at about 9am and it was still semi-dark outside. When I opened the companionway hatch I noticed that the sun was obliterated from view by smoke, thick white smoke.  Large tracts of forest in Northern Spain and Portugal were on fire, some say deliberated set alight. There was a distinct orange glow to the sky, with no sun penetrating the smoke canopy. We were beginning to see ash fall on the top decks of Money Penny but luckily non appeared to be still alit. After a couple of hours the skies cleared and the smoke was replaced by sunshine and a very dirty yacht covered in ash debris.

Ribadesella is a hidden gen with large mansion type houses lining the promenade. Each house has a plaque outside giving the history and architectural relevance of the building in Spain’s history and were mostly built from the proceeds of Tobacco money from South America.   A surfers paradise, there were numerous youngsters and families along the beach enjoying the sun & waves.

Another hidden feature of Ribadesella are the pre-historic caves. Discovered in the sixties by a group of very young caving enthusiasts, the lowering of a member of the team was to ultimately reveal to the outside World a labyrinth of caves complete with pre-historic drawings and evidence of occupation a long long time ago!.

We booked our tour guide who it turned out spoke fluent Spanish and nothing else. Jude and I were left in bewilderment as he described each and every feature in detail to his audience. I would have left early, but as the guide had the only torch in the group and with the caves in utter darkness I thought it advisable to stay close to him.    In truth, the Caves were worth the visit and as they were a protected historic site, were, today as they had been discovered in the 1960’s.


We spent 4 nights in Ribedesella before departing for Gijon at 7am on 19th October.   

Ribedesella – Gijon (19.10.17)

The 26 miles from Ribedesella to Gijon were carried out mostly under engine!  Calm seas and hardly any wind, in fact we only used the sails for an hour.


We arrived at lunchtime, giving us the afternoon to explore.    The Marina was where we met a ‘mad’ English sailor.  He had left the UK 8 days prior to our meeting not noticing Storm Ophelia approaching!  He was desperate to talk to us as we arrived’having been alone at sea for over a week.  The highlight was him showing us a video of 65 mile an hour winds and his fenders flying horizontally off the back of his boat whilst he was holed up inside the cabin!

Gijon was one of the main fortified settlements of Northern Spain before 490 BC with a number of Roman remains and is also surounded by WW1 & WW2 defences.


Gijon – Ribedeo (20.10.17)

We left Gijon the following morning at 7.40am.  Sunshine, No Wind, and a slight swell.  It looked like being a great day.  Storm Brian was on the horizon (well in the weather forcast!) but not expected to enter the Bay as far along the North coast of Spain as we were!  Anyway we should be tucked up in Ribedeo by then - Famous last words!       

At 18.00 we were approximately a mile from our destination of Ribedeo.  The wind was around 10 mph and our engine was on as we were heading directly in to wind.  By 18.30 the wind instruments were showing gusts of 30-40 mph, waves were continually breaking over the bow of Money Penny,  and we were making no headway at all.  We decided to head back out to sea, past Ribedeo and eventually make our way back in towards  the Channel entrance and the leading lights.  It was dark by the time we managed to reach the outer mark of the channel and follow the lights in to the Marina. The channel was narrow and we could hear (not see) waves breaking either side of us.   We eventually managed to enter the Marina, find a vacant pontoon, tie up and head for bed!  21.40!!!!    What a day!


The entrance to the marina with the waves in the background


Our 3 days in Ribedeo waiting for the waves at the entrance to die down were wonderful.  The sun shone and we spent our time exploring the area.  The Galician landscape is littered with Horreos.  These are long narrow grain stores used to hold and ripen all forms of grain and farm produce. Sweetcorn was the most common crop to be stored in them.  There was also some interesting architecture in the village and an extremely good deal on morning coffee!!  £1.80 for coffee, two cakes and a glass of orange juice.

Our first lunchtime out was an interesting one.  Fish platter was the order of the day!  Not what we were expecting though……      


The little ‘dinosaur feet’ , Percebes or Goose-neck barnacles were the strangest looking things!   A delicacy apparently but I don’t think we will order them again.     

Viverio & Cedeira (at anchor) (25th & 2th October)

2 overnight stays at anchor 35 miles apart.


We then set sail for A Coruna.

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Santander (11.10.2017)

We left La Rochelle in darkness at an ungodly hour of the morning (4.30am). Money Penny was set on a westerly course with the intention of avoiding the Isle d’Oleron which someone had placed in the way of our intended route. Under full sail Money Penny was enjoying the challenge and slipping through the water with ease. Once around the Northern most tip of Oleron island we set a course direct for Santander on a heading of some 245 degrees. A good sail was enjoyed across the ‘Bay’. With a good wind we headed towards our goal with apprehension. The ‘Bay’ has a reputation of spitting out the unwary and is not the sea to be in in unfavourable weather.

We were lucky or chose the right day to cross. It wasn’t calm and it wasn’t rough. I didn’t sleep for the 33 hours the crossing took, Judith on the other hand enjoyed ‘cat naps’ whilst laid out in the cockpit. Soon with a mixture of sail and engine power we reached sight of land and entered Santander at 1pm the following day. Yipee! We had crossed the Biscay late season!

Sleep, sleep and more sleep was the order of the day after securing Money Penny in a marina well up the river in Santander.

20171011_07444620171011_192724Sunrise in the Bay of Biscay


Finally we catch sight of Santander!

The next day brought us brilliant sunshine. A bus ride into the city and we soon realised what a lovely city it is. Being the main ferry port for Northern Spain from the UK, I think ‘tourists’ tend to get off the ferry and head off before looking at what Santander has to offer. There is a big bank there of course!! Whilst strolling along the expansive promenade we saw people on hire cycles similar to the ‘Boris bikes’ of London. After some fun trying to interpret  the instructions on the machine, we were allocated our bikes and set off for a grand tour of the area. It is such a lovely place with a mixture of old and new with plenty to see and do. Hiring the cycles was an asset and we toured all the beaches and tourist attractions on offer.



We enjoyed our short stay in Santander but it was soon time to ‘sail on’.

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La Rochelle (8.10.2017)

Ever since we set off in June one of my goals was to take ‘Money Penny’ back to La Rochelle, her place of manufacture. I had visited La Rochelle previously by car on two occasions and enjoyed the ambience of the city , with its smaller marinas right in the heart of the main restaurant area. The sail from Joinville on Ile d’Yeu had taken us down the back of a very long island called Ile de Re, this waterway is sheltered and rammed full of mussel beds so careful navigation was called for. At the far end of the island near La Rochelle is a huge bridge servicing the island. Having checked the height of the bridge I worked out that Money Penny with her 16.4 meter tall mast would pass underneath (a vessels ‘air draft’) however there is always a point when you doubt your calculations passing under a bridge,  this one was high enough.


We arrived in La Rochelle on a cold dank evening, and decided to use the massive marina at the mouth of the river and some 20 minutes from the city centre. (The marinas in the centre are controlled by tidal locks and only open at high water) This is the biggest marina on the Western Atlantic with some 4500 berths. Its huge, and full of some very expensive boats. The system is to go alongside the visitors berthing, report to the office and they allocate you a berth on a map which they give to you. Back to your boat and find your berth for the night. Easy!     

We were lucky that the La Rochelle boat show had just finished the previous week and there was room to spare in the section vacated by the show vessels. An evenings walk took us passed workers busily taking down large marques ready to move onto some other sort of festival or show.


The following morning was spent wandering around the city centre with its twin turrets and outer stone defensive walls containing narrow streets with hundreds of food outlets, and the majority of shops set under stone arches.  The centre is very picturesque, clean,and well laid out. This is the sailing capital of France and the afternoon was spent walking back via the chandlery stores and boat yards, eyeing up yachts Jude and I could never hope to be able to afford. We can always dream. I think the boat show marked the end of the sailing season in France and I found the marina very quiet. Maybe it was because my thoughts were set on the task ahead, which was to sail some 220 miles in one go, across the Bay of Biscay.

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Ile d’Yeu (6.10.2017)


It was an early morning exit through the lock at Arzal along with 30 other boats of various sizes and means of propulsion. We were ushered in and given our allocated chain number. A smaller French yacht decided at an early stage to attach his lines to us and we had to basically pull him down with us as we made it further into the lock. All settles, the sluices were opened and in no time the lock gate opened to let us on our way. (four days we had waited for the privilege of this exit!). The exit channel to the sea was narrow as our exit coincided with low water, so a carnival procession of vessels made it’s way to the sea, worried about passing the vessel in front for fear of hitting mud. The majority of yachts, on reaching the entrance went straight on as we turned to port and headed for Ile d’Yeu some 50 miles to our South. An uneventful motor sail was endured for the following 10 hours as Mr Windy Poo’s didn’t make an appearance. However, the coastal scenery en-route was stunning.


We had heard from fellow travellers that there would be no difficulty getting a berth in Ile d’Yeu as the season had finished and the ‘French’ had gone home. How very wrong fellow travellers can be on occasion. We arrived in Port Joinville,  Ile d’ Yeu to be greeted with a sailing rally of yachts from La Rochelle who had arrived for the weekend. With no berth available we drew alongside an equal sized yacht and secured Money Penny for the night. It was then that one of the crew of the neighbouring yacht informed us that there was a tuna festival in the town that night, hence their reason for sailing up from La Rochelle, and we needed to buy ‘tokens’ if we wanted to partake in food and wine during the evening. A quick walk into the town centre ensued and two bright fluorescent green tokens were secured for 16 euro. Back to Money Penny to wash, and look pretty and it was back into town. Well they certainly know how to celebrate on this Island. The celebration was in fact a protest at further reductions in tuna quotas and the effect this would have on the fisherman's livelihoods. So they celebrated by feeding over 2000 people with a big tuna steak, boiled potatoes and a small salad. This was washed down with a bottle of red wine. Judith and I had virtually finished our bottle of red when it disappeared from the table. We looked around and the group of La Rochelle sailors at the far end of the table realised that they had taken the bottle. They were very kind and replaced our near empty bottle with a full one. We didn’t complain too much. There were music bands, with the old and young dancing in the street together. It was nice to see everyone enjoying.


The following day was spend, nursing a hangover and hiring two cycles for a grand tour of the island. Luckily it was reasonably flat and Jude and I where soon at the Western most point of the island which was littered with the remains of German World War gun emplacement's and a periscope device within a reinforced concrete block.  

The island is totally unspoilt and a marked characteristic was the fact that all the houses were painted white with the same shade of blue for the wooden window blinds. I didn’t find the local decorating store but I envisaged that the poor owner  had a paint display of two colours, whitewash and china blue, but sold a huge amount of these colours!


The castle in the photo above was closed on the day we went visiting, which was a pity. However you soon realised the task undertaken in its construction. I got the impression that some poor souls had to chisel away at the rock underneath the bridge in order to provided a defence from invasion. A lot of work without a JCB or pneumatic drills!!!!!

We both loved the island with its pine tree lined beaches and golden sand. We cycled the entire coastline of the island that day, which was some 14 miles.

There was a long trip to La Rochelle the next day, coupled with a days exhaustive cycling so it was early to bed. The next day it was up in darkness and away as our neighbour wanted to leave before the sun rise.

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Holiday and return (3/10/2017)

We had reserved a taxi from La Roche Bernard to Nantes airport and paid dearly for the privilege of having our own use of a car and driver.  The 140 Euro taxi fare was exactly what we paid for a months boat storage at La Roche Bernard. In fairness, the taxi ride took us some 45 miles along the motorway to Nantes airport where Judith and I boarded separate flights. I flew to London with Judith boarding a delayed flight to Bristol. In fact I was in London before Judith left Nantes. Not a happy bunny!.

The three weeks flew by with weddings, ceremonies, meeting friends, organising things, dog walking, baby sitting (5 days whilst parents were in Ibiza!!), and even a trip to Southampton Boatshow. Although it reminded us of how wonderful it is to live in Pembrokeshire, it wasn’t long before Jude and I wanted a rest by returning to Money Penny.

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IMG-20171101-WA0007Babysitting duties!

Our return trip involved being on the same flight out of Bristol to Nantes. On our arrival in Nantes and in the scramble to get your individual overhead locker luggage I heard the lady in front mention that it would be nice to get on their boat again. A conversation was struck up and it turned out that Debbie and John had their sailing yacht in the Villaine River at Reddon some 17 miles upstream from Money Penny. Whilst walking through the airport, various sailing stories were shared with Debbie and John. Outside the airport terminal there was a row of some 20 taxi’s all waiting in turn for a fare. An enquiry by Judith led the lead taxi driver to work out the cost on his mobile phone calculator which he proudly presented displaying his quoted fare to Reddon. Three hundred and twenty five Euro!!!!!. In explanation , he quoted night rates. It was only 7pm!  What is the difference between driving a taxi in daylight to darkness was lost on me. We declined the offer and it was at this point that John had a wonderful idea. Why didn’t Judith and I use the train with Debbie and John to Reddon, sleep overnight on their boat and they would take us on their boat the 17 miles down the Villaine river the following day to Money Penny. They were taking their boat to Arzal the following day for a lift-out so wasn’t out of their way. A plan was hatched. Forget the train, Judith had by know managed to contact Uber taxi’s online and within minutes a swish newish Mercedes arrived and we all piled in with one suitcase sharing Judith’s lap for the journey to Reddon.  One hundred & fourteen euros later (57 a couple),we arrived in Reddon in darkness and wheeled our cases along the pontoons to John and Debbie’s very nice boat. Transpired that John had built the 38 foot boat himself and  as an engineer had made an excellent job of things. Cheese and crackers washed down with wine were the order of the day mainly due to the fact that that was all that was on-board (Judith had stashed the cheddar in her suitcase for emergencies such as this). Sleeping accommodation prepared by Debbie saw us turn in after a long day. I had hoped for a good nights sleep but unfortunately decided to have a  fight with the sleeping bag liner for most of the night. In the morning I woke up and resembled something out of the Mummy movie with the liner deciding to wrap itself around me countless times and I felt constrained as it won the day or should that be night!

It was early as John fired up the motor and we headed down the Villaine towards Money Penny. The joys of an early start were soon rewarded with sightings of an otter and numerous heron all out for their early morning feed. The trip down the river was idyllic, with the open fields covered in  a blanket of early morning mist and dew. It was so peaceful, with the only noise being the boat engine and on-board conversation.


After a couple of hours La Roche Bernard came into view and Money Penny festooned with her bunting to our starboard. Money Penny looked like the morning after a village fete with the bunting in a state of disarray, but having done its job in that we couldn’t find any bird poo on the decks. With Jude and I plus suitcases transferred over to Money Penny it was time to say goodbye to our very kind new found friends Debbie and John.

Having settled in we used the dinghy and rowed ashore to pay our fees.  On arrival at the Captainaires office we found out that the lock at Arzal didn’t open until Friday and it was only Monday. This lack of opening was apparently to reduce the levels of salinity in the river water. O dear, another few days in the river waiting to get out. Time for some routine maintenance jobs, lunches out and general walkabouts. On the Thursday we motored down the river and anchored near the river bank and went ashore to browse in the variety of chandleries, and have an obligatory coffee. Having been suitably refreshed we ventured into the boatyard and soon found Debbie and John’s yacht in its storage cradle. We were soon on-board continuing tales of our adventures with John and Debbie. In order to repay their kindness we invited them on-board Money Penny for the evening, with even a dinghy ride both ways thrown in. I can’t remember a huge amount about that evening, other than we had a great alcohol infused evening filled with laughter and conversation.  Tomorrow morning we would be continuing our journey South……

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The Villaine River - La Roche Bernard and three weeks off (7/9/2017)

We left the Vannes and the Golfe De Morbihan to return sometime in a future, and ventured  into the open briny and turned left. We sailed along the coastline encountering fisherman’s buoys by the bucket load. We were heading for the River Villaine and a marina which had quoted us the cheapest rate to store Money Penny for the three weeks we would be in the UK.  A sail of about 30 miles was enjoyed by all on-board, until in the distance we saw evidence of an approaching storm. By evidence I mean thunder, lightening, storm clouds rain etc etc. It was at this point that I should have looked at our sail plan. Full main sail and full 130% genoa which probably, with hindsight, isn’t  the best sail plan for the conditions. However, we were enjoying a fine sail with Money Penny in the groove, speeding along at 7knots plus. As we neared the entrance to the river which coincided with the arrival of the periphery of the storm, we had an involuntary ‘man overboard’ incident. Having enjoyed , as onlookers the antics of the French and their boating  we were now centre of attention albeit with no onlookers. In a squall under full sail, the fully inflated dinghy stored upside down on the fore deck decided enough was enough and, in a strong wind, decided to lift off the foredeck and rather adeptly managed to manoeuvre itself between the genoa and all its sheets (ropes) and self launch over the side in 20 plus knots of wind. O flipping heck or words to that effect were muttered, as we continued along at high speed with said dinghy heading in the opposite direction. Judith was laughing, and to this day I don’t know why. In high winds, entering a river estuary, with oyster beds aplenty to our starboard, and a wayward dinghy Jude was laughing. Oh well, down with the sails, engine on, and motor towards the errant dinghy, which was getting too close to the oyster beds. We caught the dinghy up and I made a short job of hooking it with a boat hook attaching a halyard and pulling the inflated bit of rubber back on board. I wasn’t too pleased and I think the dinghy knew it!. Back on the foredeck the dinghy was lashed down with multiple ropes. Try escaping now you little bugger!. In fairness I should have tied it on in the first place!!  Another lesson learnt, in that if things are going to go wrong, they will, and very quickly. On examination of our GPS track afterwards, we realised how close we had been to the oyster beds!   

We continued up the river under the periphery of the storm to our North, with rain and high winds, and eventually arrived at the modern tidal lock into the River Villaine.   Let me try and explain the system –a large lock on the river , half of which is covered by a bridge. Boats go into the lock and tie up, jostling for a place.  When it appears full from the rear, the operator stops the traffic and opens the bridge up vertically. Now all the boats in the lock move forward to take up the space under the bridge, and a new set of boats go into the lock, the lock gates closed, the lock flooded, and the top gate opened to allow all the boats into the river. Hey presto!. We arrived late for the three o clock lock and could have got in but decided to wait until the 4pm lock. We tied up alongside the waiting pontoon and commenced to wait an hour when along came Roger. Roger was obviously a lone sailor in need of company and in my enthusiasm to please, I invited him on board for a cup of tea. Mistake. Roger spent the next hour talking about the virtues of being a member of the Cruising Association to someone who was already a member –me!. Oh do come along to the next meeting which is on London in November. Now why would I want to travel all the way back to London to attend a meeting of lone sailors and their stories. I politely declined. Anyway, the time flew with Roger on board and it was soon time to move into the lock. Thank God!.

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The lock attendant allocated us chain 12, and we duly secured Money Penny to the numbered chain. To our stern came a beautifully varnished, polished, wooden yacht all bright and sparkling clean, flying a Japanese flag. Yep that’s right, a Japanese yacht in Southern France. A multi-National lock one could say!

The lock was eventually flooded and when the big steel door at the top end of the lock opened we exited into the river, and motored up through another Arzal Marina, a huge marina and boat storage facility. We chose an anchorage just up from a line of moorings, and dropped the big hook. The naughty dinghy was hung over the side of the boat, under control this time, and we ventured ashore. There are literally hundreds of boats and yachts in storage at Arzal, the majority of which were British. We consequently found out that Arzal was a favourite with our English cousins. Apparently, boat owners on the South Coast, having become fed up with extortionate marina prices, have moved lock, stock and barrel to South Brittany. They finish work on a Friday afternoon, jump in the car, overnight ferry to France incorporating an evening meal and wine, wake up refreshed and travel just over two hours to their yacht and have a great weekend on the cheap.

IMG-20171101-WA0002Waking up at anchorage on Villaine River

Our allocated three week storage for Money Penny was another 4 miles up river at La Roche Bernard. The following day saw us motor up the Villaine River, passing La Roche Bernard and continuing for another 8 miles to have a look at the river. We spend the night at anchor just passed Foleux Marina, yet another large marina/storage facility on the river. During the evening at anchor I saw hundreds of fish jumping in the fresh warm waters of the river, but non succumbed to the offer of a fishing hook tangling in the water, temptingly baited of course . 

20170904_162143   20170904_14583720170904_145844La Roche Bernard

Our mooring was available from the 3rd but  we were given a pontoon berth at La Roche whilst we were on-board.   Our flights weren’t booked until the 7th September so we had a few days to fill before returning home. We ate in the Sarah Bernhard Restaurant in the village, an old Theatre, hence the name and we even hired a car to see the area…..ended up in Ikea looking for bed slates!!!  and happily found a shopping centre that catered for a 6ft 2” fat bellied Welshman!!!!

IMG-20171101-WA0005IMG-20171101-WA0006IMG-20171101-WA0000The obligatory Cafe Gourmard


Everyone is so nice in the sailing fraternity and we were offered rolls of bunting to cover the boat to scare off the birds. Judith duly accepted the offer and spend a while walking the bunting around the boat wrapping it around everywhere in our attempt to make the yacht bird proof. The 7th September came along very quickly so it was in the taxi to Nantes airport. Another day, another story

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Vannes (29/8/2017)

Having anchored the last few nights, we decided to venture further into the Golfe and eventually joined another flotilla of small craft as we weaved our way up the river towards Vannes, which is pronounced ‘Van’.  Entry into the port of van is fairly specific as there are a number of bridges and tidal sills to negotiate on a rising tide. The road bridge swings open and remains open for 2 hours (don’t know what happens to the usual traffic, but a detour is inevitable).

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We were met at the pontoons by a young lad in his inflatable dinghy who was zipping around here and there. Having allocated us our berth, we drew up alongside and were surrounded by Brits eager to help with our lines. Within five minutes our fellow Brits had found out all there was to know about us, where you from, where you been, where you going? Within minutes another large yacht was shoehorned into a berth to our stern. Another British boat so the introductions and chat continued, each boat, I think, relieved to find another ‘English’ speaking person in order to converse.

All three crews off the ‘Brits’ then watched, with some amusement, as a fairly new large French Jeanneau sailing yacht came into the area. He was attempting to berth the vessel in his usual allocated berth which was equipped with some very snazzy fenders on the pontoon as a permanent fixture. When I say large I mean around 50 foot in length. As the helm swung the vessel to starboard in order to turn into his berth there was a loud thud as his keel hit the bottom of the slipway and for the second day running a French boat had, pardon the pun –ground to a halt.  Severe embarrassment all round as the identically dressed crew (red shorts and sparkling white shirts) rushed about and checked for damage. Back the helmsman went and on the second attempt missed the ground and came straight into the berth. No doubt there was a debate as to what had just happened.


Vannes is a busy cosmopolitan city with a fortification surrounding the inner city centre, with arches allowing all to enter the inner sanctum of shops and business. Since my last visit by car the city council have improved the area around the waterway and now, instead of a car park there was a tree lined avenue to walk and cycle along, littered with restaurants and cafes. We chose a nice looking restaurant for lunch and weren’t disappointed. The food and the presentation of the food was mouth-watering!  The woman on the table next to us had ordered a salad, and much to hers and everyone’s amusement the salad arrived on a large shallow bowl, complete with three small terracotta flowerpots full of accompanying ingredients. It really was very well presented. Our meal was equally carefully presented, I had carbonara and Jude had a salad, and I finished the meal off with a cafe gourmand, which in English means a coffee with four small taster desserts (gourmand has good reason to be translated to the English word - greedy). Flipping delicious.

The hunt was still on for a pair of trousers for me to wear in London. Every gents outfitters in Vannes was visited and again the elusive pair of 40” waist, by 33” inside leg, wasn’t forthcoming. Time is now getting a little too close to find trousers!. We spend an enjoyable two days discovering Vannes which included a long walk along the riverside, past some very professional boat building enterprises, one of which was a yard refurbishing a 70 foot long racing trimaran. What an absolute beast. The winches adorning the deck area were each the size of a barrel, and made, of course from carbon fibre to reduce weight. Would love to have a go on such a flying machine!

20170830_105657too big to get the whole Cat in the shot!

Vannes is a beautiful historical city, well worth a visit. 

IMG-20171024-WA0008IMG-20171024-WA0004IMG-20171024-WA0003Medieval Wash Houses along side of the river.

Time to move on, and with the tide at the right state, we left Vannes. Now getting out of our tight berth was a bit of a problem, but again the Brits came to the rescue and two guys gave Moneypenny a good push sideways and she obliged in moving out of the berth with inches to spare either end. Within minutes the heavens opened and a downpour ensued. I got soaked to the skin in a matter of minutes. My crew, had the good fortune of sheltering under the spray hood, and remained relatively dry. The rain continued as I steered Moneypenny through the lock gates, over the tidal sill and through the opening of the swing bridge, towards the open sea, some 20 miles away.

We motor/sailed down the Golfe, and when the rain stopped, it didn’t take long in the warm breeze for those of us who got wet to dry out. On an out going tide we were quickly swept down the channels towards the sea, and at times were covering the ground at over 9 knots (10miles per hour) towards the open sea. Next stop, the River Auray.


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Golfe de Morbihan & Its Islands (27.8.17)

After two nights on a mooring in the river Auray it was time to move on. Having used most of the petrol we had on-board we definitely needed more. Navigating the Auray river we decided to exit the Morbihan on an outgoing tide and come back in on the next flood. What a good idea! Just outside the entrance on the port side is the enormous marina of Port Du Crouesty. The boat pontoons are contained in 6 separate basins, and the fuel pontoon has 9 individual fuel pumps! Port Du Crouesty became known on-board as Port Crusty, it was easier. After we fuelled up with Gas-oil and petrol for the dinghy we were asked to move and rafted up alongside a brand new 47 foot Wauqiuez yacht. Very nice indeed. No-one on board we tramped our footprints over the decks, and felt obliged to wash the the yacht down when we eventually left.

France has a huge flourishing business in chartering yachts and boats. This effectively means that any French man who played with a plastic boat in the bath as a child can legitimately hire a yacht or boat. He/she does not require any formal qualifications to hire said yacht. Nowhere was this more evident than in Port Crusty marina. My goodness, there were boats going every where and no-one seemed to be in control of the majority. Such was my (our) concerns for the standard of boat control displayed, that we decided to get out of the marina tout flipping suite.

Once out we anchored in a nearby bay and soaked up the sun for a couple of hours, waiting for the tide to turn in the Morbihan. Again the Armada congregated at the entrance for the mass entrance. Again Lindsay was in the starting blocks ready to go in case the armada took all the anchoring spaces in the 50 square miles! We were early with our attempt and quickly found that a 55 HP engine which powers the yacht along at about 6.7 knots doesn’t fair very well against an 8 knot tide. Out of the tidal race we waited and again pounced when another yacht successfully passed us. Huston we have control, and slowly made our way into the Morbihan and a mooring for the night.

20170829_070648      Sunrise in the Morbihan                                   IMG-20171022-WA0002       Beautiful houses on the waters edge                            

Wow, what a delight the Morbihan is, with its collection of individual islands the majority of which are privately owned. Once on a mooring we dinghied (!) ashore for an evenings walk pasted  a variety of homes (some already closed up for the winter!) on a very quiet Ile Aux Moines, and taking in the stunning sunset as we returned to Moneypenny for a night cap and bed. The following day we toured the inland archipelago and eventually anchored to the North of Ile d’ Arz, close to another British yacht. T

The following morning the skipper off the other Brit yacht came over and introduced himself. Mark and his wife (who we didn’t meet) had been at anchorage in the same spot for the last 10 days because they both liked it!Anyway Mark was on ‘a rubbish run’, or so he said, and offered to take all our rubbish ashore which was very kind as we didn’t hesitate in filling his dinghy with allsorts . We later went ashore ourselves and walked the paths and byways of this picturesque island. A beautiful summers day and all was rosy in most of the gardens, with an array of colours. We walked a long way that afternoon and it was with enthusiasm that we returned to base for a cuppa and a rest in the late afternoon sun.  Within minutes of sitting down I saw three sailors in some difficulty. Their 17 foot  catamaran had capsized and one of the crew was seen to be swimming after the yacht he had obviously fallen off. Jude and I watched as no passing motorboats went to their aid and the crew were attempting to right the vessel. Eventually I shouted across to Mark on his yacht, (who’s dinghy with engine attached was already in the water), to come and fetch me and we would assist. So International rescue was launched, powered by a 2.5hp Suzuki outboard engine. It took a while, a long while to catch up with the up turned catamaran which was drifting away from us in the wind. As we sped to assist our fellow sailors at about 1 knot full speed a guy saw what was happening and came across in his 250hp rib. (show off!!!!) The result was that the rib guy pulled on the upturned boat as I held up the catamarans mast above my head and the crew balanced professionally as the ‘cat’ returned to its normal upright position. Many ‘Merci’s’ later we departed to make the long trip back to our respective mother ships.

With a change of top as I had got soaked, I sat down again to a well earned rest when a very inconsiderate ‘Frenchman’ motored passed Moneypenny at full speed in his pride and joy motor brick. The result was that the wake caused by the motor boat rocked Moneypenny from side to side nearly causing the red wine to spill! If said Frenchman could only have heard the expletives as he continued on his merry way. We both watched as he and the boat full of youngsters went to pass a yacht at high speed only for there to be a very sudden decline in his boat speed as he hit ground at full bore. O’ dear, another job for International Rescue? No, what use would 2.5 HP on a dinghy be in attempting to tow him off the hard stuff. We continued to watch as he tried to cover his embarrassment and re-float his boat. With much revving of the engine, he eventually managed to detach himself from the ground, coming passed us much slower than the first occasion and trundled off into the distance without even waving good bye. What an eventful day.

Tomorrow we would make our way further into the Morbihan to Vannes.

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Isle de Houat to the Golfe de Morbihan 24.8.17

One of my ‘must visit ‘ places on this adventure of ours is the Golfe de Morbihan. We left Isle de Houat at 11.30am and set our sails for the entrance into the Morbihan. Having read all the pilotage books on-board, the entrance into the ‘Golfe’ was to be treated with respect. The pilotage books all clearly stated that there was a right and wrong time to enter the Golfe. In the Morbihan there are literally 70 islands contained in an inland waterway covering some 50 square miles. The difference in the tide times from North to South is almost an hour. So, the problem lies in getting through the narrow entranceway at the right time. At full flood, the water races through the entrance at 8 knots on a spring tide. So Mr Lindsay sort this one out!    Easy, wait just off the entrance and wait for someone else in a yacht to attempt entry. Simples. We hung around for a while and could see an approaching armada of sailing vessels. Ok lets go for it. With 55 horses inside Moneypenny’s engine we commenced to motor into the entrance behind a couple of like sized yachts. Oops, we all came to an abrupt halt in the outgoing tide. Way to early, stated my only crew member Judith. She was lucky to stay on-board at that juncture.

IMG-20171017-WA0024Entering The Morbihan               IMG-20171017-WA0023 Quite has returned!

We waited and again put the 55 horses into full gallop mode and slowly but surely edged our way into the Golfe. Having negotiated the entrance, we decided to turn to port and navigate the River Auray, which believe it or not takes you eventually up to Auray! We travelled some 5 miles up the river and picked up a convenient mooring buoy and settled down for a well earned rest. Why oh why did we pick a mooring next to a disused landing stage which in the late evening became a magnet for the local youths to congregate at and scream each and every time someone jumped off the stage into the water. By the end of the evening I was ready to drown an unsuspecting said youth, but there were too many witnesses!!!!. Thank goodness the tide went out and peace and tranquillity returned, allowing a restful night sleep.

The following day we ventured ashore by dinghy and walked through ancient woodland (complete with medieval burial tomb) to the town of ‘Bono’. No I don’t know if he has ever been there!!. A small town located on the edge of the river dominated by an old iron bridge. We found that the bridge was in fact the third model to be built on the site and allowed the residents of Bono walking access to the bigger town of Auray some 8 miles away. Just popping into town for a pint darling!!! was the call from older times.

     IMG-20171017-WA0025                                                          IMG-20171017-WA0022The Bridge connecting Bono to Auray

Arriving back at the dinghy we noticed that someone had stolen the water out of the river and we had to carry the dinghy down the foreshore. Ouch, ouch as we trod on oyster shells. And that was with sandles on!. Launch said dinghy and jump in Alistair. Oh Poo, I managed to puncture the dinghy on an oyster shell and a loud hissing sound accompanied us in our race back to Moneypenny before all the air escaped out of the punctured compartment. There are three compartments on the dinghy but I didn’t fancy getting wet. Out with the puncture repair kit and a quick repair was undertaken. Leave to cure for 24 hours stated the instructions. Forget that for a start and within 2 hours we were back on the water heading for Auray, in the same dinghy. Auray was a fascinating mixture of ancient and modern. On the riverside were medieval buildings and warehouses converted, in these times, to shops and restaurants. Walk up the steep cobbled street to the modern town again with its collection of French chain stores. Jude and I were due to return to the Uk on the 7th September for three weeks and I was under orders from my daughter to dress smartly for an event in London on the 8th September. Someone should really tell the French clothing industry that someday someone may  wish to purchase a pair of trousers which will actually fit a fat bellied Welshman. No, there isn’t a man living in France with a waist band over 38 inches (Or the french equivalent measurement which is 52)(52 what I don’t know!) Not a single pair of trousers to fit in sight. A jacket sir? (Please remember this was taking place through the services of my on-board translation service – Madam Judith). A Jacket. It was like I was shopping for moon dust.  They all stop at the equivalent of 44” chest. Why didn’t I put a jacket and trousers on-board when we left Milford. There commenced the search of the century, in every town we visited for the elusive jacket and trousers. I was even walking down the streets eyeing up French men and trying to guesstimate their waist size. Surely his waist is as big as mine!!!! Where does he shop? Defeated, we returned to the dinghy and motored the six miles downstream to the sanctuary of Moneypenny. It can’t be that difficult to buy a sodding jacket and trousers in France can it? Answer – yes it can.

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Belle Ile–19.8.17

South Brittany can justly hold its head up high as a superb sailing area. There are so many Islands, ports, rivers, etc. you are somewhat spoilt for choice. Belle Ile is another example of wow, wow, wow. We had another fine sail to this offshore island and managed the trip in a single tack and even engaged in a little fishing.

IMG-20171017-WA0012   IMG-20171017-WA0013Approaching Belle Ile    IMG-20171017-WA0014Making our way towards the Inner Harbour  IMG-20171017-WA0015Moored Up!!

We arrived at Port La Palais on the island at 4pm in glorious sunshine. We wanted to rest up in the inner harbour, and duely followed fellow yachtsmen and their vessels passed the ‘Palace’ into an inner harbour after the raising of the ‘drawbridge’. The system for mooring the yachts in this harbour is ingenious, worked out on how long you intend staying. You staying two nights. Ok,  you raft up here, next to him and he will come alongside you as he is here for two night as well! The guys working the marina ribs do a great job and even turn boats around to maximise the limited space so everyone fits together like pieces of a jigsaw. …..

Supper on board again…..what to do with 24 hour French bread….Fondue Savoyard of course but as we had no fondue set on board we made do with the metal rack from the microwave, a saucepan and a tea light!!

IMG-20171017-WA0020Fondue Savoyard!  Yum

The island is beautiful. We decided the best way to see all of the area was to hire a car. Avis here we come, and were able to pick up the car that night ready for a full days touring. We headed West in our hire car, to a point where we couldn’t drive any more, without the car getting very wet. On the tip of the Western most point of the island we found a museum. The museum was dedicated to the life and career of one Sarah Bernhardt. No I can honestly say that I didn’t have a glue who she was either. But I do now. It turns out that Sarah was a bit of a lass. Born in 1844, she became the greatest French actress of the later 19th Century. She toured the World acting and on stage and when the new medium of film took hold she was one of the first actors to appear in motion pictures. Her Grandmother owned a cliff top property on Belle Ile, and it was here that Sarah would holiday on a regular basis away from the pressures of fame. I suggest you have a look on google to see what a varied career she had, including the fact that she had a champagne drinking crocodile as a ‘pet’.

20170820_113631Sarah Bernhard’s retreat   IMG-20171017-WA0009 Belle Ile Beautiful Scenery                 IMG-20171017-WA0017Our picnic stop!

Belle Ile didn’t disappoint, and is a gem of a place. The regular tripper ships from the mainland bringing more and more visitors fills the Island with thousands in the Summer months. We stayed on the island for two nights, leaving on the next high tide.

Isle De Houat

Next destination, another Island known as Isle De Houat. This island is on the end of a long chain of rocky out crops jutting out from the Quiberon peninsular. We sailed across to a bay on Houat, and anchored accompanied by another 100 plus yachts and motor boats. It was a French holiday weekend and the French like nothing better than to sail to their beautiful off shore Isles.

There is a distinct difference between me and my French counterpart in the art of anchoring a yacht. I’m not saying for a minute that my preferred method is correct but basically, find a hole between your neighbouring boats big enough for you to drop anchor, and then allow enough room for the boat to swing a full 360 degrees around where the anchor is (hopefully) secured to the sea bed. Whilst the anchor is being lowered over the end of the sharp bit of a yacht slowly motor in reverse with the wind to allow the anchor chain to lay out nice and straight on the sea bed. With enough chain out again motor in reverse to make sure the anchor has bit into the sea bed. Any vibration on the chain means the anchor is dragging. That’s my way!. The French employ a very different model. They come as close to your yacht as they can, find the smallest of holes between neighbouring boats and lower the anchor whilst still going forward. Stop engine, job done, open wine!. Said Frenchman is then aghast when his yacht gets too close to other boats. The up shot of all this is that neighbouring  French persons become very local in their protestations. So aghast French sailor moves on, to an equally small anchoring space to endure more shouting. Oh what fun!

We spend the night on anchorage and having scanned the weather forecast decided that with the expected wind we would be better off in the sanctuary of a Marina. We headed to 9 miles into Port Haliguen, Quiberon and spent the night tied up alongside an old Bristol Channel pilotage sailing cutter.  They had sailed across to support their daughter in a European sailing competition.

Next day, the weather had improved and we headed back out to Isle De Houat. On the chart was a bay on the South of the island which looked ideal as a sheltered anchorage, however, on the chart it was marked as ‘no anchorage’ in the bay due to submarine electric cables.  Enroute to the bay we became involved in a little race with another fully crewed yacht. He wasn’t going to pass me!. Around the headland we raced, side by side, only to be greeted with an anchorage bay full of not one other boat but at least 500 other boats. If there was no anchorage in this bay no body had told the French. The bay is called Treac’h er Gourhed, which is another example of the similarity between Welsh and the Gaelic of Brittany as beach in Welsh is Traeth. When in Rome etc, etc. So we joined the melee for an anchorage spot. Not a real problem as there was plenty of room for all.

We pulled up the dinghy, and headed ashore. Isle De Houat was a delight. Lots of sand dunes, not many trees, and a holiday complex which resembled a concrete jungle of cottages and houses, you know when a big development company get hold of a stunning island and turn it into a profit making machine. What a pity, but at least the complex wasn’t too big.  We again spend the night at anchorage and witnessed a beautiful sunset.

20170823_163845     Our Anchorage by day                               20170821_220735Our Anchorage by night  IMG-20171017-WA0021

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Port Louis, Lorient 17.8.17

Having extricated ourselves from  the mayhem of Isle de Croix, it was a short hours sail across the straight to Lorient, with its many marinas, and sheltered waterways. Lorient is South Brittany’s sailing capital with thousands of expensive looking craft of all shapes and sizes. We chose a very nice marina called Port Louis (turn right as you go passed the fort). A lovely marina with friendly helpful staff. Since we were flying ‘The cruising Association flag’ all the neighbouring British occupied vessels came to say ‘hello’.   The marina included a laundry facility and as ‘wash day’ was well overdue this was our first job!!

IMG-20171017-WA0007Wash day on Money Penny!!IMG-20171017-WA0008Fort Lois at the entrance to the Marina   20170817_170631

What a stroke of luck, a music festival on the quayside that very night. Two ways of looking at this, one is food, drink and music, the other is the French tend to like their music LOUD and late, so no chance of an early nights kip. As it turned out, Peter and Urika arrived in the marina with their friends on-board Yoho, and soon met up. Ok, so its food, drink and music then. We had a great evening, eating oysters, drinking beer, white wine and finished off with a very good band a stones throw from Moneypenny. During the festival we encountered the local dance. It doesn’t matter what style of music is being played the dance is the same. It consists of the dancers joining hands in sets of ever increasing circles and dancing in opposite rotation to each other if you get my drift. What is lovely to see is that at these festivals people of all ages get involved with old , young and all in between joining in the dancing. Something unfortunately you don’t see at home these days.

The following day, we took a river taxi into Lorient. What we found was a very busy largish city which as per the normal was full of chain stores and impersonal businesses. Ok, time to move on!  The water taxi ride back was interesting, taking us passed the World War 2 ‘U boat’ pens. These colossal concrete edifices bear testament to the power of war. They are apparently so well built that nearly some 70 years after construction they are still in daily use. (Not as submarine garages I might add!!)

20170818_162020                                                  20170818_163022

In a neighbouring marina was a brand new trimaran. Gitana 17 - Wow, what a machine, some 45 foot long, 30 foot wide and capable in early sea trials of speeds approaching 45 knots, powered only by the wind.

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Having had a somewhat rough night at anchorage on Isle de Glenans, the sanctuary of a marina beckoned. Concarneau to the North offered such facilities, so we upped anchor, set the sails and travelled the ten miles to the marina. No long journeys for us!!!!! Recently all under 10 miles!!.

Image result for concarneau photos

Concarneau turned out to be a busy, vibrant French holiday resort, undergoing preparation for a forthcoming music festival, and in full flow with visitors. Judith and I walked the town and had lunch in a small café. We both ignored the fort which dominated the sky line and marina in favour of retail therapy and supplies in the local Intermache. I honestly thought that the fort was a very busy tourist attraction with hundreds of visitors crowding across the bridge into and out of the historic fortification.  We struggled with the shopping back to Money Penny and saw that later on the fort had quietened down considerably . We decided on a final walk of the day and ended up at the entrance to the fort.   As we entered the fort via the archway we encountered a throw back to medieval times with narrow winding streets all occupying the little space available within the shelter of the castle walls. All street level properties have been taken over by shops and restaurants, but there was a lovely ambience about the place. There were some quaint little shops all vying for your money and offering something different to the mainstream big retailers.   What a delight, and Jude and I enjoyed the place and the vibrancy of the busy streets, we went back for another look the following day. We had fun watching a rather rotund French skipper on his yacht in the marina. A French man who had grounded his yacht in the marina! He sat at the helm shouting orders to his crew and the marina staff who were attempting to extract the vessel from its current position. After much shouting, engine revving and mast pulling, the yacht eventually became free. Still with rotund French man sitting at the helm. Once free, he decided that the best course of action was to engage forward, rev the engine to its upper limits and hot the ground again, probably within inches of his last grounding. O dear, now everybody is shouting at him, including the instant experts gathering on the quayside. An almost identical tactic was deployed by marina staff heaving the mast over on a halyard, whilst French skipper blasted the engine in reversed. Success, the yacht shot backwards and out of the grip of the sea bed. Said rotund Frenchman decided that having drawn a large crowd to view his antics he would retire gracefully, he turned around, and headed out of the marina, cursing everyone at the top of his voice.

Isle de Croix

Late in the afternoon we set sail for another island, this time Isle de Croix (I don’t know how to pronounce it either!) After a great sail we arrived at the harbour, our sanctuary for the night. Channel 9 on the radio produced two young boys in a fast rib, who instructed us to follow them. In we went and they very helpfully took Moneypenny’s lines at our requested position in the harbour, fed the lines through the eye of the mooring buoys stern and bow to, which we secured onto our cleats. Great, we thought an excellent mooring in a harbour on this popular Island, mid August. How dare we believe that we would be afforded such luxury as our own mooring buoys. In total, another seven large yachts became moored to the same two buoys as us. Most amusing was the fact that young boys on rib at one point hit a yacht amidships and motored a line of 20 odd yachts sideways in order to make room from a brand new £700k aluminium yacht which came in astern and moored alongside us. Transpired it was the owner of the company that made said aluminium yachts , no doubt attempting to prove the undoubted durability of his beautiful  yachts.

IMG-20171017-WA0000Money Penny next to her £700k new found friend!!     IMG-20171017-WA0005Our Neighbours!!

A short dinghy trip ashore took us to a quaint village, full, as expected, of all the touristy things, including a plethora of bike hire shops. We walked up the hill to a neighbouring village which as per normal for a French village had a church in the centre, surrounded by shops, houses,and even a Cinema!


We had sufficient food on board to feed the French navy so decided to eat on-board that evening. The following day, any thought of an early start was scuppered by our neighbouring boats. We were well and truly hemmed in, without any sign of life on any nearby yachts. OK Alistair, calm down, accept the situation and we may get out of here by 5pm.

The neighbouring yachtsmen leaped into action at 12 noon, and all decided it was time to go at that allocated time. Don’t know why but each and every yacht decided to go all at once. French mayhem ensued!!!

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River L’odet and Isle de Glenan (12.8.2017)

Wow, after such a long sea crossing from Loctudy, which was all of 2 miles, we entered the River L’odet, on an incoming tide. The German couple, Peter and Ulrike went first in ‘Yoho’. We sailed past the township of Benodet and Saint Marine on the opposite bank and headed up river towards Quimper (Poldark country apparently). I’ve always called called Quimper, Quimper but Judith corrects me and with authority stating it is pronounced something like ‘Campair’. Who knows!

IMG-20170830-WA0009Yoho passing under the Bridge over the River L’Odet      

On the River L’Odet there are some lovely chateaux with anchorages to the front. Unfortunately the French were there before us and had pinched all the good spots. We continued up river with the tide and rounded right and left handed bends, each one revealing another marvel the river presents us with in the form of stunning riverside properties and equally beautiful views.


Ok, there comes a time when you are taking a yacht up a river with 2 metres of keel hanging below you and a questionable depth of water. Discretion the better part etc, We decided to anchor near other boats in sight of Quimper (Campair). A restful night was enjoyed in the peacefulness of the river.

IMG-20170830-WA0011Our Anchorage for the Night

The next day, we used the tide and negotiated the river back downstream to a pontoon on Saint marine, tied up and found a local street market in the town. A vast array of fruit and veg on display, with carrots etc still covered in earth, and sand. Why do home grown vegetables taste so much nicer in France?

Judith’s brother and family, having enjoyed a holiday further South were on their way home via Roscoff. We provided a convenient stopping over point on the journey north.  A family reunion was enjoyed by one and all with an very pleasant evening spent in a creperie catching up on family news and gossip.

IMG-20170830-WA0012      IMG-20170830-WA0013

Having bid farewell to Steve, Jo and Freddy we headed out to sea and set a heading for Isles de Glenan, some nine miles offshore. This archipelago of low lying islands are a mecca for French sailors, made famous by the World renowned sailing school ‘the centre Nautique des Glenans’, a company with bases on four of the main islands. Literally thousands of young students have either learnt to sail amongst the islands or enhanced their sailing skills. We anchored off St Nicholas in the company of some 50 other yachts on again a wonderful summers day (and French Holiday!)

IMG-20170830-WA0018    The Anchorage by day                  20170821_220735The Anchorage by night

Dinghy out and a hike ashore ensued.  It was like being in the Caribbean apart from the temperature of the water – wet suits were needed!!     


I think Judith and I were equally surprised to find that on this small island we found a fully occupied restaurant and bar. Not sure why we were surprised, it just looked so out of place. Another peaceful night on anchorage was had by one and all. No, not true, in the middle of the night the wind decided to dance a merry tune and turned a complete 180 degrees. No longer were the islands providing shelter from the wind. Instead an easterly wind give us a choppy sea and uncomfortable anchorage. Time to move on.

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Roscoff calling. (5.8.2017)

The very next day we bid farewell to the medieval town of Treguier.

We headed out down the river and turned left. Again the tide was with us and we made good progress across the extended bay towards Roscoff. That was until the tide decided to play tricks again and we ground to a virtual stop. Bit of a theme going on here !!!!!. Unless you can go anywhere along the North Brittany coast within 6 hour forget it, is my advice. Anyway Roscoff finally appears as a gleaming white object on the horizon. As we drew closer we both realised we were looking at the Irish Ferries ‘Oscar Wilde’ which is the stand in replacement for the Isle of Innishmore (Pembroke dock to Rosslare ferry which I used to see most days).

We arrived in the marina, which was very new and very modern, with toilets on the actual pontoons. Now, I’m getting used to a moving loo at sea, but when your brain tells you you are on dry land and the loo still goes up and down then said brain has problems working the whole movement / inner ear thing out. The marina pontoons were huge and a long walk ensued to get to the office to report our arrival and pay the exorbitant fee for what you get. We couldn’t even take on water as the cunning French had a new system for which you needed an adapter for your hose which they didn’t sell in the local chandlery. Work that one out!

The town of Roscoff is a long walk away, but a courtesy bus does run every quarter of an hour. Problem was, from where? We both decided to forget going into Roscoff and spend an evening on the boat. When I say spent an evening we were so tired we were in bed by 8pm. Nos da.

The early rise the following morning saw us leave the marina in company with other like minded sailors and we traversed the channel between Roscoff and the Ile de Batz on a falling tide. All very well and good if the engine doesn’t falter, but if it did you were left high and dry. Literally! At the Western end of the channel the wind decided to take up the battle with the outgoing tide. The result was about two miles of unrestful sea with short sharp waves and the boat slamming down on each and every wave whilst the skipper powered through the channel. Eventually, we were spat out the far end of the channel, and things calmed down on reaching the open sea. Or so we thought. Sails up and away we go guys.

Oh dear, I want to head on a course of 260 degrees. Aha, wind coming from 260 degrees. We tack out to sea for miles and miles and miles, and then back in for miles and miles and miles. I think you get the gist. On our way we were lucky enough to see a turtle, closely followed by a pod of porpoises which Judith filmed on her mobile. By now the seas had decided to once again play up and mount an attack on Money penny in the form of some pretty big rollers. Money Penny took on the challenge and swept them aside with aplomb. She really is a sea worthy vessel.

Our destination was the marina in L’aberwrach. Again up a river inlet, offering shelter from the rolling sea. According to the chart there was a short cut we could take through the rocky out crops in order to get into the river sooner than using the main channel. What the chart didn’t explain was just how close you had to get to the rocky out crops in order to use the ‘short cut’.  Judith was in panic mode, well slightly concerned, and made her way up to the bow in order to provide some divine intervention should a rock appear in front of us. I couldn’t have avoided any rocks if they were in front as by now we were in the tidal flow and only going forward, surfing down the waves. Some short cut! The calm sheltered waters of the river where soon upon us and we motored up the river to the relative security of L’aberwrach marina. We arrived to be greeted by a young lad in a rib who wanted us to raft up alongside another vessel. Following Anglo / French negotiations between Judith and young lad in rib we secured a pontoon berth. When I mentioned the relative security of L’aberwrach marina, in order to get to our allocated birth we had to manoeuvre around 4 yellow buoys surrounding a big red post as there was a big rock under the water ready to pounce on the unwary.

20170805_173717Looking back at the Marina as we made our way up hill to the promised supermarket!

Once tied up and boat reasonably tidy we set off armed with a shopping trolley for the shops in order to purchase provisions for future trips. Oh dear, the only shop was in the next village!. Up a hill, and a long walk brought us to said village, where a small supermarket was located. Provisions bought  and stored in shopping trolley, we commenced the long walk back with shopping trolley in tow.  The next day we decided to rest. Judith’s idea of rest is to pump up the kayak, sort out a picnic and paddle our way to a secluded beach, have picnic, sun bathe and paddle back. You’ve got to earn your lunch when Jude’s about!  The kayak has a see through bottom on it so you can see what you are just about to hit. We paddled over row upon row of oyster beds and could see the immature oysters encased in netting growing steadily awaiting their feat at the dinner tables of France, and beyond.

IMG-20170815-WA0008Our ‘picnic’ beach!

L’aberwrach is labelled as a mini Scilly Isles and I can see why. Its a lovely place, often used as the first port of call for yachts crossing the channel from Falmouth, heading south to warmer climes. This usually involves a one night stop over. They are missing a treat. Where next? Cape Finistere! Blimey!

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Treguier. (4.8.2017)

The next morning we awoke to le horrible weather with yet more wind and rain. We would have got soaked had we ventured in the dinghy up the river, and even then we would have had to traipse around the town in our oilies carrying our lifejackets.

Decision made, lets go into the marina. Judith called on the radio in her best French, which I must admit is good, very good. Judith is a product of Alice Otley school for females only, I have you know. Whilst I was busy learning Welsh and Nuffield science in school she was learning really useful stuff. Anyway I think she was relieved when Monsieur at the marina spoke English and we secured a berth at the marina. Engine on, anchor up and we proceeded to the comfort of the marina. The French guy at the marina also arranged for the weather to improve as we arrived, so all was good. The town of Treguier is again dominated by the cathedral in the centre Ville. (town centre). An unusual feature of said cathedral is a tall spire, made of wood and tiled at a very steep rake. Whether due to lack of funds when building but there were an awful lot of openings and holes in the spire, making the spire see through in various stages.


That evening the town erupted to the sound of music with two separate stages hosting an eclectic mix of bands all playing at the same time and with a certain degree of success I might add.  When you have a brass band on stage that appeared to be like the blues brother coupled with another playing what looked like French bag pipes, playing with another band playing high pitched sqeally things you get part of the picture!!!!!!  Le weather forecast for the following day was again poo, and a decision made to stay another night in Treguier marina.

IMG-20170815-WA0012IMG-20170815-WA0013IMG-20170815-WA0011Our walk around Trequier

The following day we wandered up into the town and sat down for coffee in a cafe in the main square and started talking to a very nice English couple who sailed on the yacht which was ‘parked’ in front of us in the marina. Well if you believe in co-incidents here they are. Whilst in Guernsey I took a photograph of a large rib type boat with four huge outboard engines which was on the hard in Saint Peter port. In the background is this couples 42 foot Southerly yacht undergoing repair. Co-incidence number 2 , Richard, the owner, worked as a commercial helicopter pilot and I was able to reel off a long list of persons I knew connected with Police aviation that Richard also knew. Co-incidence number 3 – When I mentioned the island of Shark, Richard stated that he used to work on Barque ????  as a relief pilot for the Barclay brothers helicopter (see previous posts) and that he trained as a pilot with a Mark Harrison who until recently was the estate manager on the island. As an addendum Richard has also worked for Beyonce and Jaycee I’ll have you know.

Another bid for escape was made early the next day!

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Cape Finistere, Camaret, and beyond. (11/8/2017)

We are still in Brittany. We have only managed to cover part of the North coast. Now the French Finistere beckons. Ok, the Spanish cape has a bit of a reputation for chewing up yachts and spitting them out in little bits ,so we had to pick our weather window on the French equivalent. As much as we loved L’aberwrach it was time to leave and luckily we were in company with a flotilla of yachts all heading the same way, with the same intentions. After some 8 miles it was turn to port and find the Chanal du Four. Now Money Penny is manufactured by a company called Dufour. So which came first? We picked a day where there wasn’t an ounce of wind so on with the engine and we motored down the Chanal du Four in glorious sunshine and crossed over the bay with Brest to port for our overnight stop in Camaret Sur Mer.

20170807_122430IMG-20170830-WA0001Passing through the Chanal du Four

Our destination was similar to a French take on a 1970’s British seaside town. All along the front was restaurant after restaurant all attempting to entice you to eat at their establishment. We picked the wrong one with Judith being served very undercooked chicken which was sent back only to have been blitzed in the microwave and again served under cooked.  In fairness the head waiter had seen what happened and offered a replacement dish, with Judith eventually enjoying Moules mariniere and frites. I just watched her eat them as I had long finished my meal. Camaret wasn’t our cup of tea. Over commercialised seaside town which had seen better days. Time to leave the following day  me thinks.

IMG-20170830-WA0000Just to make your mouth water!

Money Penny was manoeuvred off the mooring buoy early the next day and a course set for a very under used port of Douarnenez. Under used according to the guide books due to the fact that Douarnenez is at the far end of a bay that most sailors heading south can easily cut straight across. However they are missing a treat. Douarnenez  is three separate ports within the port . There is a large fishing port, a marina near the entrance and a large mooring area on the river, controlled by a tidal sill. We decided upon the marina and found a suitable berth on a pontoon.

20170808_174446The Fishing Port   20170808_163227The River Moorings    20170808_163234Entrance to the Marina is on the left of this picture

Later that afternoon Jude and I walked into the town and what a delight it was. A lovely trail along the river led us to a bridge across the tidal sill in the river which enabled us to cross into the town area. The bridge opens when the water levels are equal to allow vessels into the river moorings. Douarnenez has an maritime museum and also holds an historic yacht rally once a year which we sadly missed. However, there remained a large number of wooden yachts in the river all varnished with many coats of lacquer and polished to a high degree. They were a sight to savour.

20170808_163035  The River Bridge    20170808_163009The Tidal flow before the bridge opened!!!20170808_182346Les Chateaux at the entrance

A perusal of the weather forecast set the scene for what was going to be a rough night of high winds and rain. So we battened down the hatches and settled down to a night of high winds and wet weather. We weren’t disappointed. The Northerly wind was on our beam and was of such high intensity that the boat on the pontoon across from us nearly hit Money Penny due to the pontoon bending so much in the wind.  Douarnenez was a lovely town, vibrant , with lovely walks. Definitely worth the detour.

The next day after a lazy morning we set sail in company with a yacht called ‘Yoho’. The Raz De Sein channel located at the end of the bay has to be treated with respect due to the tidal race near some pretty nasty rocks.  Going through the channel gives you a 16 mile short cut when heading South. I set a time of 3 hours to sail the 18 miles to the headland. Due to the tide and wind strength Money Penny rattled along and made the trip in a little over one and a half hours. She flew along in a 22 + knot wind, finding her grove and enjoying the sail. The Raz de Sein channel is narrow. However we were joined by another 12 yachts which gave us the confidence to head on through the channel which spat us out the other end at over 9 knots. Luckily for us wind and tide were both heading in the same direction so not too many panics. The wind and conditions were so favourable that we decided to extend our sail and with the wind to our stern sailed downwind towards Point de Penmarc’h. It was a beautiful summers day and a very enjoyable sail. The wind stayed with us all day and eventually we motored up the river entrance into Port Loctudy, joined by Yacht Yoho.

IMG-20170830-WA0007IMG-20170830-WA0005  Raz De Sein         IMG-20170830-WA0003         IMG-20170830-WA0002Yoho keeping us company

Loctudy is set in a low lying area and eventually a young lad in a rib met us and directed us to our berth for the night. Unfortunately he didn’t realise the beam of Money Penny and we shoe horned into a finger pontoon alongside another yacht. I’m not sure we actually needed to tie on as Money Penny was practically jammed into the berth. A tight fit!.    We had been ‘chasing’ some friends from Pembrokeshire, Nick & Paula, for a while and knew that they were in Port Loctudy.  A quick check on our lines, just in case! and then we joined them in a local bar for a few beers.  They were leaving in the morning so who knows when we will catch up with them again!!

IMG-20170830-WA0004We finally tracked you down!!! - Nick & Paula!

Being a fishing port we thought that fish was on the menu for supper. A visit to the local Poissenaire (fishmonger) confirmed our individual choice for supper. Ouch, one medium bass and one Dorado with a bag of crevettes set us back 47 Euro! It would have been cheaper to eat out! It was nice though.

The following day ‘Yoho’ with Peter and Ulrike onboard left before us heading for the river L’Odet. It was just as well Yoho left before us as I (we) had a bit of an incident leaving the pontoon. I was on the helm and convinced that I had switched on the bow thruster, engaged reverse and headed astern. Oooops, with little control and a side wind Money Penny decided to proceed down the narrow fairway sideways. Judith shouted at me, so I went backwards and forwards hitting as many other yachts as I could. Switch the bow thruster on or words to that effect were heard at the helm and after an embarrassing couple of minutes Money Penny came to rest hooked by her anchor in someone’s expensive self steering gear. Ok, time to switch on the bow thruster properly and get out of this mess. There were injuries, but thankfully only a snapped flag pole on a newish Hanse yacht. We conferred with the marina staff and handed them a replacement flag staff we had spare on board, asking the guys to hand it over to the owners of the Hanse. Tail firmly between legs we headed out to sea for all of two miles to the River L’Odet.

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Jersey to Lazardrieux (River Trieux)

Having been on a day trip to Jersey, many years ago, I wanted to re-acquaint myself with the Island. Jude and I  had decided  that we would stay two nights in the marina. The first day was spend shopping in St Helier. Duty free of VAT, prices were below expectations. An enjoyable day just mooching about the town and sea front area, and included booking a hire car for the following day. A quiet evening on the boat was followed by a good nights sleep and the next day we picked up the car. Do they drive on the left or right in Jersey? Not helped by turning out of the hire depot into a series of one way streets. As I was the driver we somehow decided on an anticlockwise tour of the Island. We headed for the headlands we had rounded by sea a couple of days ago. A sobering visit to Point Cobiere as it was scattered with WW 2 defence  relics including gun emplacements and lookout positions made of very thick concrete. The pain and suffering of those involved in the occupation of the Island during the war must have been immense.

Our journey continued around the wild and beautiful West coast of the Island . Low lying with stunning sandy beaches were replaced on the North side of the Island by coves, inlets and high sided cliffs, akin to North Cornwall. The East side is a mixture of the two with rock outcrops extending far out to sea surrounded at low tide by golden sand.

The following day was met by poor weather so decision made to stay put. High winds and rain were the order of the day, but we did manage to come out of self inflicted hibernation late in the afternoon and shopped around St.Helier with a view to pricing up a pair of folding bikes. We declined the offer of a carbon fibre ‘G Tech’ folding cycle at £2800 each!

The next day, Saturday 29th July 2017 we left the Marina in St Helier and ventured out to sea. Ok, Ok we all make mistakes and with the benefit of hindsight travelling in a south westerly direction for 36 odd miles into a strong south westerly wind possibly wasn’t the best idea. What in essence should have taken around 6 hours took 12. O’ boy what a mistake. The tide turned when we were 10 miles off the French coast. Well we tried everything to reduce the 10 mile gap but it proved difficult. We went South, we went North, we ploughed straight towards our destination with engine straining, but the tides in this area are very very strong. Our track on the GPS chartplotter resembled a spider weaving a cobweb having had a heavy night on drugs!  Eventually through a series of trial and errors we entered the mouth of the River Trieux in semi darkness. Again not ideal as the river mouth is strewn with some very inhospitable rocks, and my eyes were glued to the chartplotter as we weaved our way up the river to an identified anchorage spot.

Now in darkness, surrounded by rock on three sides, oyster beds underneath us we had to carefully pick our spot and launch 30 KG of anchor and chain in the vain hope it didn’t end up on top of a fishermans livelihood in terms of oysters. Jude and I had an uncomfortable night at anchor, compounded by the fact that the rocks were close, very close, will the anchor hold, and the 30 Knts plus wind which decided to accompany us for most of the night. At day break I woke up to survey the scene outside. Flipping heck. We were bang in the middle of this inlet, away from the valuable oyster beds and far enough away from the dreaded rocks. Hopefully the end to a very unpleasant 24 hours which left Jude and I totally exhausted!


Time for rest and recuperation, so we upped anchor and travelled up stream some four miles to the sheltered waterway of Lazardrieux.  The town is small and we again decided to drop the big hook a little way downstream and eventually used the dinghy to reach the shoreline in what was beautiful sunshine. We needed a walk as we had been confined to Moneypenny for too long. A brisk stroll along the highways and byeways of rural France and following our sense of direction (mine by the way, not Judith’s)it lead us to the town of Lazardrieux. A very French town in the sense that the centre is dominated by a church around which the town was then built. Got to get used to the fact that nothing, absolutely nothing happens in France between 12md and 2pm. We managed to purchase roll, pate, etc and enjoyed a lovely picnic lunch on a bench overlooking the marina. After an equally long walk back to the dinghy, we returned to Money Penny and opened the Champagne to celebrate arriving on French Shores.


The following day we moved further down stream to an anchorage on the ‘Ile de brehat’ (Brehat island). Wow. what a stunning place. having pushed our way into the anchorage we leaped into the dinghy and motored ashore to discover this island which was displaying all the signs of being exceptional. We were not let down. There are some 350 inhabitants on the island, yet there seem to be more houses than inhabitants!. Paris holiday home area prevails me thinks. With no cars allowed on the island you either walk or cycle which was idylic, no noise, no pollution. A leisurely walk reinforced our intitial thoughts that this island had to be promoted to number one in our hit parade of the nicest place visited so far on the Alistair/Judith adventure. 

IMG-20170815-WA000420170801_110105Isle De  Brehat

IMG-20170815-WA0005IMG-20170815-WA0002IMG-20170815-WA0003Our Anchorage on Isle de Brehat

We dinghyied (if there isn’t such a word then I’ve just made it up) back to the boat and the following day couldn’t resist revisiting this enchanting island. Remember we are only about a mile off the French mainland at this point. We travelled in the dinghy to the island port where we mixed in with the tripper boats. French day tripper boats do not give way to Welsh man and English woman in a rubber dinghy was the order of the day! Again the island did not disappoint, with narrow paths, rocky outcrops and very desirable properties. A small three bedroomed cottage will set you back 1.3 million Euro should you have the urge to purchase.

That afternoon, taking full advantage of the outgoing tide we headed from Ile de Brehat to a neighbouring river estuary called Treguier. Having read a magazine article on anchorage spots in the Treguier river Judith was keen to put her new found knowledge to the test and we anchored Money Penny about half and mile downstream from the town bearing the rivers name. We anchored on a bend in the river under a cliff face and near to a chateau. Well, if I owned that chateau I'd have the chainsaw out as soon as the papers were signed. All the river views from the large maison were screened by a wall of mature evergreens. No doubt some obscure French/ European law prevents the felling of trees that blight the view from your own posh abode.

IMG-20170815-WA0006Our Anchorage in the Treguier River

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Herm, and Sark Zombies

Settled a few miles East of St Peter Port is the Island of Herm. Day tripper boats ply continuously across the small channel between the two when the tide allows., otherwise what was once sea water turns into a sea of sand and rocks. We motored in Money Penny to the South of Herm, around the marker buoys and up to a beautiful bay where we anchored and prepared to go ashore.   We then realised that we were anchored next to a motor boat called ‘Licensed to thrill 007’ The couple on board responded to our pointing frantically at the name of Money Penny displayed boldly on the boom. We all laughed.

IMG-20170803-WA0001    Our Company whilst crossing from Guernsey to Herm          20170725_123430Our Anchorage on Herm

Herm is a beautiful, small unspoilt island and we thoroughly enjoyed our walk around the entire island which took a few hours in the blazing sunshine, capped off with a nice swim.

IMG-20170803-WA0004         20170725_114108View from Herm across to Guernsey  IMG-20170803-WA0000The Fire Station at Herm!

We decided to move over to the neighbouring island of Sark for a night at anchor. With the genoa up we used the tidal stream and light winds to effect a ferry glide across the channel inbound for the North of Sark.

IMG-20170803-WA0003At Anchor in Sark (Before the mist & rain!)

On the way over as we neared Sark I saw what can only be described as a huge castle similar in shape to Camelot. Through the bino’s I could see this edifice looming upon high on a small island adjacent to Sark, identified on the chart as Brecqhou.   At anchor in a protected bay and with the wonder of modern technology and via internet I searched for the purpose and history associated with Brecqhou castle. Transpires that the island was purchased in 1997 by the infamous Barclay brothers, newspaper owners , wealthy old guys and famously reclusive. They spent millions and millions converting the island over to their idea of heaven. I’ll let you look up their story on the net, but during construction of the castle and harbour they imported 120,000 tons of building materials onto the island . When you witness the remoteness of Brecqhou you will then realise the enormity and cost of the building project .

The night at anchor on Sark was to say the least bloody uncomfortable. The boat rolled back and forth all night long in unison with the incoming rollers. Not a good nights sleep!  We did eventually get some shut eye only to wake up to mist and drizzle. We are here and we are going to make the most of things commanded Judith.  So it was hoist the dinghy in the water, don waterproofs and paddle ashore. Such was the aura of the island shrouded in low lying mist that it took on an eerie appearance and I envisaged the walk of the zombies on the island. You know, the packer-mac, hoods up, ruck sacks on, hiking boots, head down in a map  brigade. I wasn’t disappointed, there were hundreds of them. It then dawned on me, that I was wearing my coat with hood up and rucksack bearing. The only things missing were the boots and the map.

20170726_125203La Coupee between Great Sark & Little Sark - the concrete roadway was built in 1945 by German prisoners of war under direction of The Royal Engineers

There were an inordinate number of girl guides on the island. Obviously camped somewhere on the archipelago, all had hired cycles and were tearing around the island.

Sark left me cold. A lot had to do with the weather prevailing at the time but everything looked in decline. The shopping centre known as the Avenue was awash with closed down shops and vacant premises. When I use the phrase shopping centre I am talking about a maximum of 15 shops. Rumour has it that them there Barclay boys are attempting to control the island and work on its decline in order to purchase at a knockdown price in the not too distant future. Only a rumour mind you!

Later that afternoon and not wishing another sleep deprived night, and with a break in the weather Jude and I decided to once again escape zombie island and head out to sea. A lively sail ensued and three hours later with the onset of darkness we arrived in St Helier on Jersey. The marina in St Helier operates on a rather odd system, there is no radio channel assigned to contact the marina prior to arrival. Having phoned ahead we were informed that the marina was closed for the night but we were welcome to enter and tie up on the first pontoon on the right as we entered. Again controlled by a tidal cill or sill, a huge brightly lit sign announced to us that there was 10 metres of water over the sill or cill.  Once in we turned to starboard and berthed on the pontoon in a fair breeze and semi darkness. Tomorrow is another day.

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The Channel & Guernsey

Well, what an adventure. Set a course from Salcombe for Guernsey (a straight pencil line embossed on a chart) and off we go. Well flipping heck, we had a terrific sail, sun out, and joined for a short time by a large fat dolphin and porpoises all together in a small group. Who was the fat dolphin? Very different from the smaller porpoises. After a few hours we were joined on the horizon by another sailing yacht heading in the same direction as us. Race on!! Throw our entire belongings overboard came the cry from the skipper, in the quest for more speed.  But why was this yacht heading to the West of Jersey and not the East where St Peter Port lies. After about an hour of studying the charts, tide flow charts, and every other type of chart we realised that he was going that way due to the huge tidal race operating around Guernsey and there was absolutely not a cats chance in hell that we were going to get to St Peter Port without going around three quarters of the Island to get to the Port.   A 5 knot tidal current heading North passed the port, when we want to go South into the sheltered haven. Ok admit defeat and go the long way around or wait hours for the tide to turn. We followed our guide in towards St Peter Port and eventually gained access to the Victoria marina, and rest.

The crossing to a headland on Guernsey took 9 hours (63 miles) which for a fully laden floating caravan wasn’t too bad, if I say so myself.


St Peter port is lovely and a day spend walking around the town was enjoyable. Tax free status prevails and all purchases were without the dreaded VAT!! The tidal range in Guernsey  is about 12 metres. The marina has a cill (sill) at the opening and when we arrived, near high water, the gangway was inclined downwards  and we had to walk down to the quayside. The next day in order to go to the loo and with the tide out we donned crampons and ice axe in order to climb up the steep incline of the gangway towards the quayside. I jest not. The difference in height was amazing.


We walked to the Victorian tidal pools with every intention of swimming… of us enjoyed the facility however they were much too cold for Judith.  What a great facility when there is such a tidal range.  Enjoyment can still be had even at low tide.


The fat dolphin was later identified in a book as a Risso dolphin. What he was doing hanging about with the porpoise guys we don’t know. Maybe we stumbled upon some previously unknown dolphin cross breeding programme in the English Channel. Who knows!

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Salcombe Spar shop.

Salcombe was full. The moorings were full. The town was full. Everything was full. We wanted to anchor, but couldn’t find space for Money Penny to command an eighty metre swing radius. Ok, we conceded once again and radio’d in for a mooring. A nice young chap answered our call and directed us to a suitable mooring buoy. The mooring buoy consisted of a big yellow buoy, obviously, with a metal ring on the top. A crew member is expected to grab the metal ring with the boat hook, hold on for dear life whilst threading the mooring line though the vertically positioned loop and grab the free end and pull back on board, and secure both ends, whilst being shouted at by the nut holding the steering wheel., and whilst battling a 3 knot incoming current. Simples!!!!!!!!. Judith in fairness was doing ok. She grabbed the buoy with the boat hook, then stuck the boat hook handle in her mouth to hang on whilst leaning over the side of the boat trying to thread the mooring line through a moving metal eye some five foot below. (action woman) To the rescue came a knight in shining armour. (shinning armour consisting of work clothes and  lifejacket no less) Nice young man on the radio sprung into action and appeared from nowhere in his shinny tender, gallantly grabbing the mooring line from damsel in distress, threading it through said eye and handing it back,at the same time ensuring his little tender stayed exactly where he placed it. For that act of heroism he demanded £36 for the privilege of using one of his yellow floating balls!

IMG-20170802-WA0001View from our Mooring Buoy.  Some amazing properties all along the headland!

Lets go ashore and experience the delights of Salcombe in high season. Quite frankly we couldn’t be bothered to inflate the dinghy so summoned the services of a water taxi, paid the fare and headed ashore, in the comforting knowledge that at least we should stay reasonably dry. It was just as well we took the water taxi. The pontoons ashore were at least five deep in ‘Henry’s’ dinghies. It seemed that every hooray Henry whilst on holiday with his family in Salcombe needed to have the ability to be water bound. A dinghy was the easiest means to satisfy Henry’s yearning for the briny. There were literally hundreds of dinghies in Salcombe, all secured to the pontoon whilst Henry and his family were in their holiday cottage having afternoon Pimms or otherwise in the pub. I doubt if 92% of the dinghies in Salcombe that day were used as their design team originally intended.

Money, Money, Money. We need money in Henry’s town!. We walked the main street through the town to find that even Salcombe had surrendered to the influx of so called designer yottie clothing shops. Musto, Crew, HH, they were all there, selling their wares to the non sailing general public. Instead of a quaint small seaside town with independent traders, we were confronted with a stereotypical south coast town spoilt by big brother clothing chain shops. (rant over!) Another thing missing from Salcombe is banks. They have all shut their doors and gone, taking with them their cash dispensing machines. Two other free standing stand along cash machines had been milked dry of all the cash they contained. Getting desperate we were informed there was a cash machine in the local SPAR shop. OK where is the Spar shop. Oh it’s a fair walk from here, up hill. We commenced to walk in a near vertical direction towards the elusive Spar shop. Up we walked and eventually surrendered by asking directions from a guy walking his dog . Turned out he was the shop manager on his day off and he accompanied us to the door of his beloved Spar shop. Cash machine please? In the back love came the response. After we queued a short while we were informed by the customer in front of us that the machine was knackered. He may  have been doing something wrong or not have enough money in his account came the words of wisdom from my partner. No, it turned out that the only remaining cash machine in Salcombe was indeed knackered. The staff on seeing our frustration shouted ‘you can withdraw from the post office’ helpfully pointing to the post office counter they were standing by. Glory be a cash withdrawal was finally made, which allowed us to walk all the way back down the very steep hill and purchase an ice cream which I promptly dropped on the pavement. Bugger!!!

IMG-20170802-WA0002Exiting The Salcombe Estuary.

We left early the following morning , bound for the adventure of crossing the English channel and the dreaded shipping lanes.

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In the Navy!

Money Penny planned and executed her escape plan from Fowey. A weather window opened and we leaped out of the window at the earliest opportunity. It was a lively sail from Fowey to Plymouth. When I worked as a police officer in Aberystwyth there was a craze amongst the kids of the town that as a thrill some of the youngsters would jump in the spin driers at the local laundrette and literally take a ‘spin’ in the machine. The sail from Fowey to Plymouth was similar to  my understanding of the experience the kids would have had in the drier in Aberystwyth all those years ago. Difference being that they had to pay for the experience!

We eventually rounded Penlee Point and then had to endure another 4 miles, past the outer breakwater, the numerous marker buoys and moored up naval vessels before turning left then right into the Queen Anne’s battery (QAB) marina. I don’t think the marina got its name due to the fact that Queen Anne once bought a battery there. I think its more to do with the battlements and solid structures in the area that provide fortification to the city against attack from the sea. I may be wrong though!

QAB was full. Something they omitted to tell us on the radio, and we were forced to raft up against another similar sized boat and still pay the full marina fee. In fairness, they were expecting an armada of boats that weekend and told us we could only stay the one night. The following morning having arranged to move across the river to the Yacht Haven marina the marina staff informed us that they now had plenty of room as the intended yacht rally (armada) had cancelled due to the weather forecast. Too late brother, we had already agreed to move to the yacht Haven, so dropped our lines and headed out. It was a blustery day on the water and decided to review the Naval fleet based in Plymouth. The Naval fleet charged with our protection in the event of a conflict, not a war, but as now is acceptable these days a politically correct ‘conflict.’   Jude and I realised that the fleet was far from battle ready and all vessels appeared to be in various states or repair. The entire time we were reviewing Her Majesties fleet we were shadowed by a Police launch who I think out of pure boredom decided to follow us up the river at a discreet distance. Mind you, with all the chequered livery they were hardly ‘discreet’.

Fleet review including submarines complete, we battled the elements and headed for the Yacht Haven marine. Jude was at the helm, when we (me) noticed a rather large tanker enroute to the storage depot opposite our intended destination. Ok, who has right of way? A yacht under sail or a fully laden, tug towed tanker full of highly flammable petro chemicals of some unknown cocktail mix. Jude was up for a fight , she was at the helm , and wanted to out run the tanker. I, on the other hand decided to play chicken and let him go first. The tanker won and we gave him right of way. (Yes, yes, I fully appreciate all the other colregs to be considered)  We followed the tanker up the river and then completely unannounced the plonker came to a stop and started to undertake a 180 degree manoeuvre straight in front of us . I then noticed due to its looming arse end getting a tad cross that it was the ‘Bro designer’ who is a regular at the Valero refinery in Milford. That’s OK then he’s a friend!!

We dived into the moorings to get out of the way. As we negotiated our way through the moorings we again had to stop as the ‘Bro designer’ made full use of her bow thrusters and swung around into a channel directly in front of us again!  OK Bro Designer you’ve made your point. Yes you are bigger than us and have right of way through pure bulk. We eventually made the marina, and a big marina it was. They instructed us to berth up on K pontoon. We later discovered that K pontoon was only a half mile walk to the latrines. By marina standards we had a fairly rough night due to the very high winds and swell in the river bouncing Money Penny about all night. The following day Friday 21st July 2017, was spent at the marina, due to unseasonable weather!

Due to bad light and the official secrets act and the Police vessel, the only photograph that we can post on here is one of the Marina facilities in Yacht Haven………..namely a BATH!  Great excitement!  How many of you have had this facility in a marina??


The next day (clean and relaxed!!) we bide farewell to Plymouth, and headed out. Unfortunately, the wind wasn’t playing ball, and the four miles out to sea was straight into a 20 knot wind.  We headed for Salcombe.

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Foulmouth to Fowey

Having left the Isles of Scilly we were still slightly undecided as to our ultimate destination for that day. So much for passage planning!!!. Penzance or Falmouth? Early on, the weather decided for us and we were enjoying what was an excellent sail.  Decision made it' was Falmouth. Money Penny was skipping along and had found her grove, she was content to sail on. We passed Wolf Rock light house enroute, and continued towards ‘The lizard’. This headland has a reputation for reducing seasoned sailors to tears, with its wind and currents, but on this day we were blessed with calm seas and a good wind.


Once around the headland we made good speed up the Cornish coast and eventually into Falmouth bay. Unfortunately, we were head into wind so it was a zigzag route for the final part of the journey into the river Fal.  We had reserved a berth for the night in Pendennis Marina which was located near the town centre. A very expensive nights berthing with toilet / shower facilities which were not up to the standard of the cost incurred. However, we were moored up alongside some exclusive company one of which was ‘Gloria’. A beautiful ‘superyacht’ owned by Pete Townsend lead guitarist with ‘ The Who’. His other two yacht are down in the Med and this classic yacht is for sale. Apparently the list of rock aristocracy who have slept on ‘Gloria’ include such famed persons such as Keith Moon, Oliver Reed et al.


I wasn’t impressed by Falmouth. Maybe I was tired but my overall impression of the town was one of a seaside resort having seen better days. Being a University town, and a Friday night, the centre was full of ‘youngsters’ who seemed to be in a competition as to who could swear the most as a sign of their virility. I’m not a prude but there used to be a time when males standing outside a pub and seeing a woman approach would desist from discussing last nights conquests in a graphic tone until out of earshot. Foulmouth is different. Rant over!!!!!!

Jude and I decided that we were not prepared to pay for what was an unimpressive marina and facilities so decided to move up the River Fal towards a village called Malpas. We meandered up the river under sail carving our way around a large yacht race in the river and eventually reached a tranquil river not dissimilar to the upper reaches of the Milford haven waterway back home. To our surprise, as we rounded a bend in the river, we were confronted by three very large vessels moored in the middle of the river . It would seem that the vessels, two bulk carriers and a trimaran research vessel had been ‘mothballed’ until some unknown future deployment somewhere on this planet. We continued up the river and eventually found the village we deemed our destination for the night. Due to the lack of water in Malpas, we were forced to anchor downstream from the village and spend a night on-board.

20170716_095913   20170716_100132

Early the next morning it was departure time and we set sail for the picturesque village of Fowey. Down the Fal and back out into the briny we headed some 22 miles up the coast.


Again a good sail we enough wind to push Money Penny along at a reasonable pace. On the approaches to Fowey there was a fleet of four to five yachts in front of us heading for the same safe haven. Race on and we caught the majority of the smaller boats up and headed into Fowey mid fleet. Reaching for the radio we made contact with harbour master who turned out to be a very friendly individual who it would appear had become very excited at the sight of sailing ships approaching his port on mass , had decided to man his official ‘harbour master’ launch and come out of the river to greet us and direct the fleet to our respective overnight berths. Jude and I decided we would prefer a pontoon berth and eventually came alongside our allocated berth across the river from the main town. Roll out the dinghy to get anywhere. We decide to stay two night in Fowey on what was a peacefully located berthing pontoon. Best time to take Judith shopping in Fowey – late on a Sunday afternoon!!!!!.

IMG-20170720-WA0018     IMG-20170720-WA0019

The following day we spend the morning doing small jobs on Money Penny before venturing across the river into a tourist packed Fowey. We walked through every narrow street, and ended up at a small beach near the river entrance. Being located in a valley we had no alternative other than to walk back through every narrow street back to the dinghy. Back on Money Penny  the fishing lines saw action and it became a small competition between Judith and I to catch our first mackerel.  I couldn’t believe it when Judith shouted to me that she needed a bucket. My instant though was that she was going to be sea sick again, but she soon clarified that she had a fish on the line. A nice sized mackerel was brought aboard and into the bucket. Game on and within the next five minutes I landed another two fish at the same time. Ok, bored now with no more fish and a crew member decided enough was enough and a swim was now  in order. It was a beautiful summers evening (not had many of those yet) and with trepidation, I eventually lowered myself into the cold water. Once in, with flippers and mask on the water became bearable and I enjoyed a lovely swim. Whilst in the water I realised that the pontoon floats had a mass of mussels attached. Judith provided a knife and a bag and I embarked on farming mussels. In very quick time the bag was bulging to overflow and a big smile appeared on Judiths’s face at the thought of a free meal of mussels and Mackerel. A couple on a yacht behind us looked on with apparent interest and quickly seized upon the invitation of their own bag of mussels which we duly provided. Judith gave herself the job of mackerel gutter and mussel cleaner whist I enjoyed a warm shower.

IMG-20170720-WA0020    Mussels (not Muscles)

The next day we sought adventure and decided to visit the village of Polruan by dinghy. Polruan is situated on the opposite side of the river to Fowey and appears to be the poor neighbour to the better known and affluent Fowey. You have to endure a very steep walk up the hill through the village if they want to enjoy the magnificent view across the sea and the villages of Polruan and Fowey but worth it in the end.  Lunch beckoned and we set off in the dinghy upstream of Fowey having been recommended a café in Towmix. We got there to discover the café was shut! OK back to Fowey quay and we found a cafe called ‘Pinkies’. What an absolute delight, with wonderful food and great friendly staff.

The weather forecast for the following day wasn’t good with high winds and rain forecast. Decision made we stay in Fowey for another night, well not quite right as Mr Lindsay insisted we venture out just to see what the sea conditions were like for a quick 23 mile hop up the coast to Plymouth. OK we all make mistakes. Taking Money Penny out of the mouth of the river Fowey we were met by a 32 knot Easterly wind and a mounting sea. Which way did we want to go, you’ve guessed it, east to Plymouth. Not on your nelly!  We turned around and headed straight back onto the pontoon we left some 40 minutes earlier. We then endured the longest single thunder storm I have experienced for many a year. The storm lasted some 6 hours of continuous thunder and lightening, which included a 30 minute squall where the wind speed rose alarmingly and the whole 12 ton of Money Penny vibrated in the unrelenting force of the wind. Extra lines were quickly deployed to ensure Money Penny didn’t become detached from the pontoon. What if the pontoon became detached from its anchor points with the force of the wind?.


Eventually all returned to peace and tranquillity and after a good nights  sleep we headed out of the river Fowey and turned left towards Plymouth. End for now.

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Isles of Scilly–At Last!!

Unfortunately Rock Marine were unable to repair the part until Friday afternoon.  It now looked like we would be leaving Padstow on Saturday Morning.  The wind was almost non existent but we needed to leave for the sake of Alistair’s sanity!  Saturday it was……

5.30 Saturday, we headed out of the Harbour on the second leg of our adventure.  A number of boats left with us, and for the first few hours, towards Land’s End, we followed in convoy.  At Land’s End we were the only boat to carry on towards the Isles of Scilly with the remaining four boats turning South.  The first part of our trip had been with the tidal flow and we were getting excited as to the possibility of a very short passage.  How wrong we were!  The tide changed and we finally arrived at our destination (New Grimsby Sound between Tresco & Bryher) at 19.48.  The engine had worked hard and the sails had not!  but to arrive in such a beautiful destination was well worth it. We picked up the only mooring left in New Grimsby Sound and settled down for a relaxing evening on a sea of glass

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Sunday morning dawned, the dinghy inflated, the out board hoisted down on our new derrick (little crane especially for the outboard motor!) and we were off to explore our surroundings.  

Tresco, the largest of the two islands was our first choice.  We landed on the small quay, secured the dinghy and headed up towards the group of pretty stone built cottages.  On our way we spotted an arranged group of decorated shells with an honesty box to the side, this was to be a common feature as we continued our walk around the island -  a number of honesty boxes for various items from garden produce to art deco items popped up in the most remote areas.  We purchased mint for the Pimms and delicious home made fudge.  


We had stocked up on food products before we left Padstow as we were unsure as to the shopping facilities on the islands.  We were amazed to find the most fantastic shop/deli on Tresco with a large variety of high quality items to tempt us, be it a little expensive.   No, not Tesco on Tresco!!

We had woken up to cloud and drizzle but by mid day the sun broke through and the sky was blue.  We walked from New Grimsby Quay, passed the Abbey Gardens and then back across the middle of the island before returning to the boat for lunch and then heading over to Bryher.  

On Bryher we walked up to the small fisherman’s cottage, Dawn Vue, to purchase lobster for dinner but unfortunately it was closed as it was Sunday.  We will return!  We then headed across to a small, exclusive hotel which overlooks one of the main shipwreck areas of the Island. Hell Bay Hotel.  The views were a stunning place to enjoy a coffee before continuing our walk.  Why had we never visited these islands before? 

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This island is smaller that Tresco with less visitors and a number of small hills, hence Bryher, ‘land of hills’.  We continued our walk – off road so to speak as we lost the path at one point until we found our way back to the beach and dinghy.   One of us was mad enough to take a swim before returning to the boat!!!

As we returned to Money Penny, Suki of Shuna (our neighbour in Milford Marina) appeared in the Sound.  We welcomed Jackie, Stuart and his parents and headed back for dinner – not lobster!!!

On our second day we decided to remain in New Grimsby as there were heavy winds forecast over the next 24hrs and this was as safer place as any!  We therefore decided to explore the remaining areas of Tresco.  We had coffee on Suki of Shuna on passage to New Grimsby Quay and then walked out to Cromwell’s Castle, a lookout post at the entrance to the Sound. We had been recommended to Ruin Beach Cafe at Old Grimsby so we made our way across the headland reaching the Cafe just in time for lunch overlooking Old Grimsby Sound and it’s Quay.

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A change of scenery.  We followed Suki out of New Grimsby Sound, carefully making our way over Tresco & Samson Flats towards the Cove between Saint Agnes & Gugh.  These Islands are smaller than Tresco & Bryher.  We anchored in the bay with a number of other yachts before launching the dinghy and heading off to explore.

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The flora and stunning views as we walked around both Tresco, Bryher & St Agnes continued to thrill us throughout our time there.  A coffee in a cafe in the middle of the Island of St Agnes, followed by a Cornish Troy Town home produced icecream and a quick pint in the Turks Head Pub!  plus a quick walk through the most amazing tent site on the waters edge at Troy Town Farm.  On the return walk we sighted what we thought was a snow man in the middle of a field. On closer examination it turned out that the snow man was actually a stone man complete with a stuck on carrot for the nose, coal eyes, and a colourful scarf .

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We returned to Money Penny for lunch and decided to pump up our Kayak before kayaking to the beach for an afternoon swim.  The water was much warmer than in New Grimsby Sound so both of us ventured in.  Throughout the day the sea had been like glass and the flora and stunning views as we walked around both Tresco, Bryher & St Agnes continued to thrill us throughout our time there.

Night time arrived and the wind picked up meaning Money Penny was rocking & rolling all night long!  Early Friday morning we moved to Porth Cressa, Saint Mary’s, closely followed not long after by Suki of Shuna, before returning to bed to catch up on some sleep!!!!

St Mary’s was not our favourite island.  We had arrived on a Friday at the same time as a cruise ship!!  The streets were full of people, the weather was not so good and we were tired!!  The Island didn’t stand a chance really.  We visited the local WI market and walked around Hugh Town before having lunch overlooking a sandy beach and then returning to the boat.   

We knew that Vikki and Brett on Questing, had left Milford at 9am on Wednesday on passage to the Isles of Scilly and we had heard nothing since.  We finally contacted them at 16.30 on Thursday afternoon, they were 2 hrs out.  What a journey!  When they appeared in Porth Cressa we certainly let out a cheer!  They anchored and then visited us for a quick drink before going to find a well earned meal. 


Friday Morning looked good for our departure.  We were unsure as to whether to head for Penzance or Falmouth but as soon as we left the beautiful Isles of Scilly, the conditions were perfect for a superb sail to Falmouth.

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Padstow Harbour

Monday, 26th June

Two days of relaxation and we are now awaiting Gabriel (Alison & Neil), Bennanchie (Stephen & Karen).  Departure time from Milford Haven – 2.20am.    It’s 5pm and still no sign!     Finally we make contact, they are at the entrance to the Camel River.  They enter Padstow harbour at 7.000pm no worse for their journey but needing a well earned cuppa and good nights sleep. 

Stephen & Karen only have 48 hrs before their return trip but we have plenty of time for a Cornish Cream Tea onboard and a great meal out.  Early departure for them.


A trip to Padstow would not be complete without a bike ride along the Camel Trail.  Neil, Alison and ourselves decided to try out a tandem.  Not one between us all obviously!!  Great fun, although the Camel Vineyard was closed as it was a Sunday, meaning a slightly further cycle along the trail to the Tea Rooms.  Well worth a visit for Lunch or refreshment.

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The unsettled, wet and windy, weather means we are unable to carry on with our journey.  What else can you do when you find yourself in Padstow for more than a few days in wet and windy weather?   A Rover Bus Ticket!!!!  £13 for two  for unlimited travel around Cornwall.   It was a good idea at the time but having decided to leave the bus at Bodmin for a walk around, we blinked and missed it!  On to Liskeard and a connecting bus to Looe and Polperro (a pretty little fishing village).  A very long day with probably more time spent on the bus than off! but an enjoyable one.

Thursday, 29th, the weather is still not good but it looks like we may be able to continue our journey to the Isles of Scilly on Sunday.  Saturday morning checks unearth a problem with the raw water pump so we again decide that we should remain in Padstow until a part can be sourced and delivered.  Delivery expected Wednesday(5th July) before 1pm, Engineer booked.    Hurray!!! We will be leaving Thursday.   Alison and Neil make plans to leave at the same time.

Tuesday, 3rd July

A fabulous day.  Hot, sunny and not a cloud in the sky.  Time to launch the dinghies.  A trip across the River to Rock with a brisk walk and then a quick pint with lunch in the Sailing Club.  Not forgetting we must return before the harbour gate closes around 5pm.  When  we said to Neil ‘let’s head for the Bar’, we didn’t mean the sandbar!   The sandbar halfway across the River proved a ‘sticking point’ !!! 


Not the best picture in the world but proof that Neil has gone for a paddle in the middle of the Camel River!!

We had booked the engineer to repair the water pump as soon as it arrives tomorrow.  Extra cost for overnight delivery, guaranteed by 1pm and a promise from Rock Marine that they will do the job as soon as the part arrives on Weds afternoon.  12.45pm Wednesday and no sign of the part!  A tracking number reveals that it has visited Plymouth twice via Truro but is now on the way back to Plymouth!  It has been placed into the wrong delivery bag by Royal Mail!!!!    NO Parcel until Thursday!!!

Thursday, 5am and Neil & Alison are underway.  A good day for a sail!  The whole harbour seems to have emptied leaving Money Penny alone on berth no 10!   Heavy mist but forecast to clear soon.  Bon Voyage, see you in September if not before X 


9.42am – check Royal Mail Tracker …………DELIVERED!! 9.40am   Yay!!  We collect the parcel and head over to Rock to deliver it to Rock Marine.  Now we wait patiently (or not in the case of Al!!). 

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Day 1 - Milford Marina to Padstow

Hi everyone and welcome to the blog for ‘Money Penny’ a Dufour 43  yacht crewed by Alistair (Captain/ Skipper/ Navigator/DIY man and general dogs body) and Judith, crew/chief cook and bottle washer/ chief arranger, et al)

We left Milford Marina on free flow at 5.00am on Saturday 24th June 2017 after a huge amount of boat prep and waiting around. had to motor down the Haven to the heads due to the incoming spring tide. Near Thorn island the captain instructed the crew to hoist the ‘Main sail’. Well not strictly correct, as the boat has ‘in mast’ furling so technically you pull the sail out along the boom using the ‘outhaul’. Ooops, it became evident that said Captain Al hadn’t been very good with his knots and the sail refused to move, the knot came undone and the rope very nearly disappeared into the end of the boom. Ok, try again, with a bowline knot securing the sail to the rope.

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Out of the Heads, (Heads in this case means - entrance to the Milford waterway not to be confused with Heads- the loo on a boat!) and the sails ‘hoisted’ in a 20 knot wind with a 1.5 metre sea swell. Ok, not ideal but here goes. We set the compass co-ordinates for 180 degrees due South, passing Linney head (yet another Head – this time a rocky outcrop to be avoided in a boat). It’s true to say we had a roughish passage in company at a distance with two other yachts which left Dale just ahead of us and kept us company all the way to Padstow or should it be renamed Padstein. It is always a welcome sight to see dolphins dancing in the pressure wave on the front of the yacht, and we weren’t disappointed. Their presence lifts dampened spirits and always brings a smile and an excited anticipation of more to come. I’m not sure if its the same dolphins visiting the boat time after time but fair play they always put on a great show. Lundy some 15 to 20 miles to our Port halfway through the journey seems to be there for a very long time until it eventually disappears into the sea mist. Next rolled up the coast of Cornwall in the form of Trevose head. At last after some 10 hours, sight of where we wanted to be. I spoke too soon. In came the mist and rain and Trevose head and Newland Island at the entrance promptly disappeared into the mire. The last hour of the journey into the Camel river wasn’t very pleasant, we had to avoid lobster fishing buoys and flags, as well as try to avoid some unsavoury rocks…… Cornwall. Note to self – need windscreen wipers on my glasses!. A large swell greeted us at the entrance to the river and in hindsight we should have taken the sails down before navigating the gap between Newland island and Pentire Point. Sails down when clear of any known rocks and we motored up the river towards Padstow avoiding the infamous ‘Doom bar’ sand bank, which is well marked with buoyage. Turn right at the next mark, sorry turn to starboard at the next buoy brought us to the Harbour entrance. A radio call on Channel 12 summoned the duty harbour berthing master to the need to find us a suitable berth for a few days. He informed us in a broad Cornwall accent (probably the result of living in Padstow) to go Portside to, on ladder 10. Upon entering the harbour I looked for Ladder 10 and quickly formed the opinion that we would never get ‘Money Penny’ into the gap. As I approached ‘ladder 10’ there was a welcome face on the quayside in the form of ‘Ty’  off a yacht called Ritsy, under instruction from Jenny (PHYC organiser!). Plenty of room was the cry from the quayside. Ok challenge on! It was then that I realised that there was a smaller yacht tied up on the inner side of a 50 foot Yacht. Plenty of room, and after what was a text book berthing witnessed by aplenty on the quayside we eventually secured ‘Money Penny’ to the wall and took a well earned rest and big cup of tea. (only the second cuppa that day) On the down side and due to the rough sea Judith wasn’t very well for the entire journey. We both hope she can overcome this sickness for the rest of our adventure, as it can get lonely on a long passage. Ok, all for now. Resting in Padstow on Sunday 25th June. Speak soon.


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