As many people know who visit our various social media pages we now live aboard our yacht which is currently moored in Crete. In addition, we also have our camper van that we converted just before leaving for Crete.
Over the last few weeks, we have been getting quite a few messages asking when we will be sailing, so we thought we’d take a few minutes to talk about it.
We moved down to Crete at the end of November, arriving there on the 1st December by driving down with all of our possessions after selling up in England. We had bought the van and spent just over two weeks converting it to a camper van, the idea behind that is that we had somewhere to stay/sleep on our way to Crete without having the costs of hotels, and also the other thought was that once we had it back in the UK, we would have somewhere to stay and transport when we returned back without having to impose on other people. The fact that out of sailing season we can roadtrip around Europe was also something that made up our minds on buying the van.
So, at the beginning of December, after a week long roadtrip, we arrived in Crete. When we arrived ‘Dream” was on the hard standing as we had her taken out of the water for the survey. It was agreed with the seller that it would be better leaving her out of the water until we returned upon completion of the sale.
On our arrival we were told by the marina that we would have to wait a couple of weeks before our berth would be ready on the pontoon, so this gave us time to antifoam the hull as well as doing a few other jobs such as changing the seacocks and thru deck fittings.
Our boat, DREAM, was launched in the middle of December. Because she has been used over the last few seasons as a holiday home, and not done much, if any, sailing we had a few things to do to get her back to daily sailing status. We have had to renew all of the safety equipment as it was all out of date and to legally sail in Greek waters these had to be done. So we have been waiting for some of the replacement safety gear to be delivered. A few more jobs left, one of which, we still have the flares to replace which will be done on our return. Almost everything else is ready. Our plan is further down the page!
With regards to our van, we wanted to take it back to the UK at the beginning of March. Once it has been in Greece for 6 months then we would have to register it there which can be a minefield and an added expense. We also didn’t want it sitting on the marina car park while we were off sailing for the summer. So, we decided on March to take it back. A few reasons; It was both of our Mum’s birthdays in March, Mothers day, and wedding anniversaries. It’s also Carl’s grandads 106th birthday and we wanted to be back for the celebrations of that.
You can watch our live updates of our roadtrip to Crete here.
The roadtrip begins! We set off and got the ferry from Heraklion to Athens. We then spent a couple of days parked up on a sandy beach, just a few metres from the waters edge. It was great. A nice beach front bar a minutes walk away serving beautiful food and drinks, free use of their facilities whilst we were camped even during the night. We then had to head up to Patras to get the next ferry which would take us all the way to Venice.
The next couple of days were spent in Venice and then decided, as it was still snowing in the UK, to drive down to Monte Carlo, Monaco and Nice. We saw some of the sites and camped out right next to the waters edge again. Great scenery and good weather.
In a couple of days it would be Mothers day. We had planned to be back at the end of that coming week so that is when everyone was expecting us. We looked at the map and worked out that if we set off that afternoon, drove for a few hours we could get up to Calais by Sunday morning and get on the Eurotunnel. If we didn’t hang about we could be back in our home town by Sunday afternoon! What a surprise for our Mothers’ day! We got rolling.
The crossing went without problems and after a short stop near the Dartford crossing to drop off a pedal cycle we were bringing back for a friend we were soon on the M1 motorway heading North. Luckily all the snow that had plagued the UK for the last week had gone and it was clear bright weather all the way.
We arrived at Carl’s Mum and Dads just after 4pm. A big surprise, and worth making the trip for. A couple of hours later the same experience at Jen’s parents.
We are now parked up at our son’s on his drive, camping still in the van. The trip was made all the the better when on Wednesday he passed his driving test. He has suffered from epilepsy since birth and didn’t think that he would ever be able to drive. Two years ago we went through a massive stress flu situation where he had to have part of his brain removed to stop his seizures. The operation is only carried out a couple of times a year as the risk is so high, and is only done if the life change improvement outweigh the risks. His operation was a complete success and now he has been fit free for over 18 months which meant he could have a driving licence and learn to drive. The world is now his oyster 🙂
So onto the plan for the summer;
We will be setting off at the beginning of May and heading to Rhodes. Mid May we will be picking our daughter and partner up who will spend the next week with us exploring a few of the local islands there. We will be dropping them off in Kos. The plan is to then continue up the Eastern side and getting as far North as we can before the Meltemi wind starts. We will then cross to the western side and then go with the wind back south exploring islands as we go. The plan is to get back to Crete mid September/October.
We will continue to update our YouTube channel with our adventures, as well as our blog, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages so please continue to follow.
We are looking forward to the summer and meeting lots of people on our travels.
You can see our latest video here
Love and Peace,
Carl & Jenny
Well the weather this morning in Agios Nikolaos is beautiful..again! The sun is shining, the sky is blue. Days like this make you sit back and wonder why you took retirement instead of staying at work and live in a not so great climate….NOT!
If you follow our other social media outlets you will know that we are now settling in to this new lifestyle, we are loving it. Yes we are missing our kids, (well both adults now, but they will always be our kids), and yes we are missing family, but in all honesty thats it.
We have been moored up in the marina since we put Dream back in the water, but have a shake down sail planned pretty soon. We have been getting the boat ready for the sailing season. Dream is a beautiful boat and is a credit to her previous owner, but she has not been sailed much in the last few years so we have been spending our time getting her back to shipshape and giving her the once over, and making small changes to make her ours.
We still have a few jobs to do before the end of April. We are replacing the service batteries, all 4 of them. Two were on their way out and we are not too sure how old the other two are, but its best to have all new ones. The two good ones we have remaining will be fitted to our van to give us more available power in there. Also we have a spare solar panel on the boat which is also being utilised in the van. No waste here 🙂
Some of you who are Patrons, may not be aware but Patron has updated its mobile app. A nice little feature they’ve added is the “Lens” feature. Basically it allows us to post 30 second video clips via our mobile app. It then shows up in your app and is available for 24hrs. It’s a cool little feature that we will be using to put up regular short behind the scene/what we are up to clips. We will try to put one up each day while ever we have internet connection.
As you may have seen we have also introduced a “Fix It Friday” video which goes out, yes you’ve guessed it, on a Friday. From the feedback we have received it is quite popular so we will continue with it until we run out of jobs, but as we are on a boat that won’t be soon lol!
Don’t forget you can get regular updates to whats happening by our email newsletter which you can subscribe to using the form on this site.
Enjoy the day.
Carl and Jenny
A couple of days ago the weather forecast for the sea of Crete wasn’t looking too good. We use several different weather apps but find “Windy” is quite accurate for this area. According to Windy the wind on Thursday night was going to pick up to the late 40’s knots.
We spent the day sorting out our AIS system. When we moved aboard Dream we found an AIS receiver wrapped up in bubble wrap with a letter from the manufacturers saying it had been tested and was working okay. It just required re-connecting…or so we thought! It was re-connected and although power was showing on the unit, the channel lights were not flashing and the display on the Raymarine chart plotter was saying “no AIS”!
A neighbour of ours is quite a whizz with electrical stuff and after a thorough examination and exploration we deduced it was a fault with the antenna, either the cable or the antenna itself. So we had to lower down the aluminium mast pole that supports the radar and our antennas to investigate further. We made up a bit of a temporary antenna using just wire and after fiddling with the connector that sends the signal to the plotter we finally got boats showing up on the display..success!
The next thing was to put new cable to the existing antenna. Once done it was then the job of raising the pole, which I must add was straddled now between the rear deck of the boat and the pontoon. This is easier to talk about than actually do because of the angles it had to be lifted at and the leverage we had. We had Paeter on the pontoon, Jenny was at the rear of the boat pulling on a rope and I was on the rear deck supporting the full weight at the bottom of the pole. Jenny pulled on the rope, I lifted and Paeter lost his balance and was flapping his arms around trying not to fall into the water. It was funny, but could have had ended quite differently.
By now the wind had started to increase and the sky had started going really dark with rain clouds. It was as though someone had switched off the lights. No sooner had we got the top bolt into the retaining bracket on the pole than the rain started after a massive clap of thunder and a lightning bolt. A metal pole is the last thing to be hanging onto in a thunder storm so the fastening was expedited and we went below whilst the thunderstorm blew over.
We had a break in the rain and finished making the pole secure. By now the swell had increased and so had the wind, the rain was starting to get heavy again.
Paeter made a dash for his boat and we battened down the hatches in readiness for what was about to come.
Around 10.30pm the boat was rolling about a bit, but we were quite happy the boat was safe and we were safe. All of sudden we felt the boat roll to starboard and things on the side were sliding about. We knew we couldn’t go anywhere as we were securely tied up, I went up into the cockpit and looked at the wind monitor, we were getting winds of 46-48 knots constant. I checked the highest recording and we had just recorded 50.6 Knots! We were rolling around quite a bit but decided it was time to go to bed and sleep through it. We woke up the following morning at 10.30am!
Facebook the following morning had pictures from around the town and there had been structural damage to some of the restaurant fronts and seating areas, luckily everyone in the marina came out unscathed.
This morning, we have rolled up all the sides on the winter cockpit tent, sat here again in T-shirts and shorts, the sun is on my back and its warm with blue skies again. There is just about enough breeze to move the Greek courtesy flag we have flying. Jen has just got back from washing som clothes and now hanging them out around the boat to dry.
Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel. We are now a few weeks behind real time but catching up.
Have a great day,
Carl & Jenny
Whats been happening in Ag Nik?
Well Christmas is almost upon us, but here in Crete, it really doesn’t feel like Christmas to us and what we have been accustomed to so it will certainly be a bit different this year!
We have put lights on our boat to get with the festive spirit and we picked up an 18 inch high xmas tree along with baubles and trimmed it with some battery lights we brought from home so it looks nice, but it doesn’t have the same ambience that you get back home with all the excitement from everyone.
Having said that we went shopping today and got a couple of gifts. The thing is because we’ve moved onto a boat we got rid of all the stuff we didn’t need or use any more so just buying more “stuff” seems pointless. If we don’t need it we don’t buy it, plus we don’t have the same to store it now. So, for Jen, she has wanted to learn how to do calligraphy writing, so I bought her a beautiful calligraphy pen with interchangeable nibs, and of cause some ink. We will be getting a paddle board for her when the weather is right for it.
For me, there is a big live aboard musical interest with a few guitarists and drummers but no keyboard players, so although I have brought one of my guitars my Xmas present is a new keyboard/synthesizer that can be connected to my Mackbook Pro via midi to make some great music (hopefully). I had to leave three keyboards at home because they were too big and heavy to bring on the boat, but this new one is ultra lightweight as it uses the computer for its sounds. Plus side is that I can start to create our own backing music for our videos 🙂 I suppose Jen could use the calligraphy set to write down the music score 😉
It’s going to be none stop activities here in the marina over the next few days! Tomorrow we have a party in the clubhouse. Christmas day there are 40 of us going out for a Christmas meal, starting at 1645 and going on until Santa gets stuck up the chimney, Boxing Day there is another get together, then a few days rest.
So let us take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year.
Carl & Jenny. x.
Well folks, at long last we finally made it to Dream, and Agios Nikolaus on the beautiful island of Crete.
We are are bit behind on blog updates due the the van conversion and travelling to get here but those of you who follow our other social media updates will know whats been happening without us having to repeat it all here 🙂
We have been doing daily live broadcasts on YouTube during our trip here so it seems a bit strange now to revert back to our weekly one. The wifi we are picking up here is a bit hit and miss so we are having to use our data on the phone so just need to be a bit careful!
We will be doing our usual Sunday Sundowner chat tonight. We are 2 hrs ahead of UK time here but will aim to start at 7pm UK time tonight so be sure to check in.
Thats all for now, time for breakfast.
See you all later on YT.
Have a great day,
Carl & Jenny x
Well we did it!! We spent the week emptying the house, numerous trips to the refuse centre putting loads of stuff from the attic into the skips. It took us three days almost to clear the attic space, and a couple of days to clear the rest of the house.
The new van we have bought came into its own to help with the clearance, without it we really would have been struggling. We were starting early in the morning and finishing late on, it was non-stop. It was easier than we thought to get rid of some of the stuff and eventually we got to the point where if it didn’t have sentimental value and no purpose on the boat then it was going in the skip! It got easier throughout the week.
Friday morning came and we got the telephone call from the solicitor to say the money from the house sale had been transferred into our bank account. We could now pay for the boat! We gave the new owners of the house a phone call and arranged to hand over the keys at 5pm.
We continued emptying the last few things throughout the day and at 5pm the one of the new owners arrived. We handed over a key, the others were left on the table. The new owner didn’t want to go into the house until she was with her partner who was still at work. So she was quite happy for us to finish off and then when we had done, lock up and put the key through the letterbox.
We were homeless!! Well not quite, we are currently staying with our son and his girlfriend at their house, just while we do the conversion on the van. I am sleeping in the van and Jenny is sleeping in their spare single bedroom. As this week has gone on the insulation has been completed, the electrical wiring has been installed along with the leisure battery, fuse box, invertor and mains. Part of the roof lining has been installed and this week we are hoping to get it almost finished. We are filming it as we go so will put out a video of the conversion progress.
On Wednesday morning we paid the balance on the boat and were now the new owners of a Bavaria 47 named “DREAM” She is now our boat! We have now insured the boat, sorted out the registration with the Small Ship Register and sorted out the ships radio licence. We know there will be other formalities to sort when we get to the boat. We have liaised with the marina and let them know an approximate date when we expect to arrive at the marina and requested that our berth is ready for us to put the boat back in the water once we have anti-fouled it.
So that’s an update on the last week or two. Don’t forget to tune into our live chats on You Tube on a Sunday evening. We have had to schedule this weekends for 9pm UK time again due to hospital visits to see my Dad who is still there.
We have also put out a special offer draw on our Patreon page to draw out two names to come and stay for a long weekend on the boat. Details on our Patreon page.
Thats it for now.
Carl & Jenny.
Well it’s all official now!
We’ve just got back from our solicitors. There’s no going back now, we’ve just signed the contracts for our house sale!
Our completion date is next Friday. Once we receive the call from the solicitor on Friday morning to say our funds have been transferred into our bank that’s it. We are of no fixed abode! Although we do have a temporary residing address for mail and stuff.
The boat transfer is scheduled for the 1st November so from that day onwards we will be the legal owners of our “Dream”.
So where will we stay in the meantime?
Earlier today we went and paid for our new van, so we are now the official owners of a Nov 2014 Vauxhall Movano 2.3 CDTI High roof LWB van which we will be converting into a full camper van hopefully within the next two weeks. Side windows are being fitted today so once we pick it up tomorrow we have a trip up to North Yorkshire to pick up the carpet liner. Then once we get back the work starts on insulating and lining it out. We’ll be doing a video series about the conversion. We will be staying in the van until completion and then driving it down to Crete so we will have a week or so camper van road trip to get down to the boat.
When we get to Crete the first thing will be to antifoul the boat and get her back in the water. We’ll then spend some time getting used to boat life. Because we won’t be doing much sailing over the winter we are planning on doing a road trip a road trip to explore Crete. The beauty of having the van with us is that the only extra cost will be fuel. We are going to be land and sea gypsies!
We’ve been waiting all year for this and now it seems to have come around all at once. We’ve still a fair few things to get rid of, pass on, sell etc but there is light at the end of the tunnel.
On a final note, the weather here at home is now starting to turn quite Autumnal rapidly. The drizzly days have started, along with colder evenings, i’ve now had to pack my flip flops as i’ve had to start wearing socks for the first time since March. We are also starting to lose the light around 6pm, the sign of season change, so it won’t be quite so hard to drive off towards sunnier climes! The first few weeks are going to be rally hard emotionally we think, because it will be the first time we will have left the family for any time other than the holidays, so it may be easier for everyone if we all just say we are on an extended holiday. It will only be a few weeks till we are back visiting anyway, although this will be the first Christmas ever we wont have spent it with family. We will make sure we have Skype set up before we leave for our parents and kids so we can at least keep in touch that way.
Oh, and one last thing, just realised, this Sundays “Sunday Sundowner chat” will be the last one from our house, so we may have to open a bottle of bubbly. The ones following will be from on the road and then the boat, so join us for that.
See you all on Sunday.
Carl & Jenny.
Can somebody just stop the world and let us step off just for a few weeks?
I know the old saying that the older you get the faster time goes, well according to that saying I think i must be getting on for a 160 years old! This year has just flown by. It only seems like last week I was retiring and now we are into October and Christmas adverts have started and people talking about Christmas dinners and decorations!
Well I refuse to be drawn into Christmas this early, we’ve still got some sailing to do when we get down to Crete! Speaking of which just a bit of an update on whats happening with the boat buying process.
Well, we found the boat, a Bavaria 47, which is currently in Crete. it is a beautiful boat (the one at the top of the page 🙂 We put our house up for sale, it went on the market at 4.30pm on the Friday and was sold by 12pm on Sunday. The searches and all the legal stuff is currently in the hands of the solicitors but we were told at the beginning of the week that we should expect to be completing within 3-4 weeks, so its now final sorting out of things and putting the personal possessions we won’t be taking with us on all of the selling websites and Facebook for sale pages. In fact tomorrow I have someone looking at a saxophone, someone else coming to buy one of my rifles, someone else coming to look at some biking gear and cameras and another coming to have a look at my last motorbike that has to go. Yesterday we sold our car which had just come up to the three year anniversary. We change it every three years so had it on a PCP plan, (similar to a lease but with the option to buy it at the end, hand it back or change it.) We took it to the company we got it from new and they actually offered to buy it from us for an amount more than what was owing on it so we used that money to buy a cheaper car which we will use for running around in for the next few weeks and then we will give it to our son who’s driving licence should be getting sent to him very soon, so he will have a nice first car, just as we did with our daughter when she started driving. We have been emptying the house of picture frames mirrors, fancy lights etc, well let me re-phrase that, Jen has been emptying the house!! Every time I walk into a different room something else has gone. I even noticed today that if you clap your hands together there’s now an echo in the lounge. On Sunday the 52 inch tv is going and we’ll be left with a 30 inch screen. I won’t even be able to see the picture from where I sit lol!
Well thats about it for now, we hope you like the new look we have given the website, and don’t forget we will be doing our live Sunday Sundowners starting at 6pm this coming Sunday. So until then, take care everyone and enjoy the weekend.
Carl and Jenny.
Well we’ve had this course booked for some time now and the day came around when it was time to set off on this latest adventure!.
At the time of booking the only airport open in Greece within driving distance was Athens, also the only flight company advertising flights to Athens was British Airways, which meant we had to fly from Heathrow. We decided to travel down the day before the flight and book in at the Raddisson Blu hotel, they allow you to leave the car there in their car park for your trip. It’s only a few quid more than their normal room rate so well worth it. We travelled down on Monday afternoon and settled ito the restaurant that evening for one of the best steaks we’ve ever had.
Next morning we got an Uber cab (first time we’ve used Uber, using the iPhone app). Really good, and good prices. Our cab arrived and dropped us right outside the departure lounge at terminal 5. As this was going to be our retirement treat holiday (or one of them anyway) we upgraded the flights to premium, so got fast track security, priority boarding and VIP lounge all included. What a difference it makes to a less stressful experience.
We were soon landing in Athens, only a few months since we were here last, and as we have flown here a few times we are quite at home finding our way around the airport. We collected our bags and headed for the car hire booth. Within half an hour we were on the road. Sat nav set, showing a 5hr drive, eta 2100hrs. En route we called the sailing company to update them on our arrival time. Luckily a new motorway has been built which knocked off just over an hour so Neil & Di, the owners of Sail Ionian actually met us at the office. They very kindly allowed us to stay on the boat the night before our charter started so another thumbs up to their brilliant service. We stepped aboard our home for the next two weeks, a Bavaria 41′ yacht called “Off Piste”. Di had prepared a welcome pack for us consisting of loads of fruit, some tinned stuff, bread, oil, vinegar, salt & pepper and other bits and bobs and a very welcome bottle of wine and a few beers.
The following morning is what down to business, we were joined by our instructor for the next five days, Steve. It turns out that he used to live just a few miles down the road from us before he moved out to Greece 12 years ago. Small world. We soon became good friends and Steve’s calm knowledgable way of teaching was put to good use. By lunchtime of day 2 he told us we would be doing our night sail that evening!! I was nominated as Skipper for the night and so had to plan all the navigation which would take us over 5 hours sailing in the complete darkness with islands all around and the only instruments allowed was obviously the compass, nav tools, plotter and dividers and the trusty pencil. It was all down to preparation and being able to identify lights. Jen took the reponsibility for the pilotage planning once we arrived in the new harbour.
Well we set off, Jen wasn’t to happy with us sailing in the dark but I was quite confident in our abilities and my navigation. Along the way the wind picked up to a force 7, great sailing conditions, Steve kept trying to put doubt into my mind about my navigation as a bit of a tester but I stuck to my guns, didn’t flap, and it turned out to be spot on. We arrived at our harbour in the early hours, had a celebratory beer and hit the sack!
Over the next few days we learnt new skills and tweaked our already learnt ones to a fine tune. We visited some beautiful ports and anchorages and ate loads of chicken souvlaki’s, Greek salads and drank a few beers as well.
We got back to base on Sunday evening and was awarded our dayskipper practical certificates..a successful week and two very happy sailors/Captains!!
The following morning we set off out on our own……!!
Watch out for the next blog post about the next 9 days on our own.
Carl & Jenny x
Well in our last post we mentioned that we were getting ready to visit Amsterdam. Well we went and had a great time.
We went with a couple of friends of ours, Mark & Sarah, It was Sarah’s birthday whilst we were there so there were birthday celebrations while we were there.
We visited a few places we hadn’t been before, one of which was the Bodyworks museum. A really bizarre thing to see, but very interesting. Google it for more info, but not for the fainthearted!
We of course took in a boat trip and also visited the Maritime museum. The highlights of which can be seen on our video of the trip.
Well we were only back a week and then it was time for our next adventure… we set off to visit our great friends, Glyn & Julie, who now live just down the mountainside from Guadalest in Spain, (near to Benidorm). They made us most welcome, as always. We haven’t seen them for four years and we took off in conversation where we left off last time. It seemed like only the day before that we last saw them, true friendship. We managed to get out on their boat a couple of days and spent some relaxing days along the coast enjoying the warm sunshine and blue skies. Our latest video is the highlights of the visit.
We visited a couple of local markets which you’ll see on the video which were interesting and we managed to pick up a Sailors squeeze box for taking on our boat. Not sure how that will go down with the neighbours on a mooring!!
So, at the moment we are sat at home, getting ready for our next trip starting soon. We are off to the Ionian, and spending a couple of weeks on a Bavaria 41 yacht we have chartered. The first 5 days will be spent doing the practical Day skipper course and the remaining time, assuming we get qualified! will be spent on our own. We have planned to meet up with Kevin and Dee from Sailing Kejstral in the Zakynthos area, there are making their way over from Turkey as I write this. It will be great to catch up with them and spend some time sailing, eating and drinking with them. We are getting all of our camera gear ready that we are taking. We thought about taking the drone, but we might be struggling with the bags, we’ll decide on the day we leave.
Anyway, thats a bit of a catch up on what we’ve been up to. We bought the drone and a new compact camera, a Canon G7X mkii to add to the arsenal of equipment we have to film. We have a video of the first flights of the drone here. We love the idea that we can incorporate the drone footage into our videos to give a better finished film with some interesting angles to add to your enjoyment. I suppose going through security at the airport will be interesting with all the electrical items, batteries, cameras, chargers, laptop, ipad, kindle and phone!! Ah well, small prices to pay.
Right thats it for this post other than just to say a big Thank you to everyone who has started or continues to follow us on our social media pages. The numbers are growing by the day, along with the number of views we are getting as well. If you don’t already follow us on social media, check out our “Come Aboard” page on this site where you can find all the links to all of our social media channels, be good to have you aboard. Subscribers to our You Tube channel especially welcomed along with any thumbs up you can give us on our films, it helps us out no end as it helps with our rankings. It would be nice as well to see some of you leave comments on here as well.
Okay, that’s all folks, have yourselves a great day.
Until next time,
Carl and Jenny x