Since I’ve left Italy:
It seems like such a long time ago that I have left beautiful Tuscany behind at the end of September 2012 … The daunting scenario of having to take trains and buses back to Rome and then the long flight via Cairo…to Johannesburg and that same night back to Australia … all by myself without missing a flight!
We arrived at Cairo about an hour before sunset and it was amazing to see the Nile Delta and the city from the sky! I made a note in my mind book … this is a place we have to see…Especially with the young Egyptian man that was sitting behind me and enlighten me on all the wonderful places to visit … he did not think Cairo was worth making a stop – the traffic is horrible he said and the city crazy and polluted. I remember the smile on his face when he told me about their last snorkelling holiday at the coast of Egypt -well I never would have thought of Egypt as a snorkelling destination! It sounds great – not a place to go with Scolamanzi (necessarily) but certainly worth putting on my list.
I arrived home dead tired! The 3 hours sleep in the hotel at the Johannesburg airport was a lifesaver! Arriving at the airport in Mackay (Australia) meant that I have to drive myself home – the longest 2 ½ hour drive of my life!
Back home … 3 Elliot street …I remember my first night back home so clearly: I was overwhelmed with joy to see Johann after 4 weeks of travelling on my own. I had so much to share and catch up on, but at the same time I had this terribly empty/deserted feeling … sad to think that I have left so many amazing places (visited and unseen) behind; the rich culture and old history of places I have been to … Sad to think that I will wake up without the sound of the horse cart that brings the fresh milk and cheese and freshly cut flowers into town at Radda… sad to think that I almost call Tuscany, Denia and the small little Cala’s of the Balearic Islands my home. I got use to waking up every morning with a different view from my “bedroom window” on Scolamanzi …Now … it will be the same wall I will stare into that I have seen for the last 16 years! 🙁 I started living for the day I can go back!
It was hard work and long hours which make the 5 months flew past! Before I knew it…we were getting ready to start the next journey!
This time we went via Namibia (a town called Gobabis, to see my Mom and siblings).We stayed on the farm Annaboom with my sister Lientjie and her husband Pieter. I soaked in 3 weeks of African sounds, smells , people, culture, food and animals.The wild life is certainly one of the most missed things in my life in Australia …that and the specific sense of humour that you only find in South Africa and Namibia is pretty special.
Johann joined me a week before we had to depart for Spain. I will always remember the time there as one of quality people, my best friends(my sisters) always finding special monments, giggles and laughter, lots of baby animals roaming the farm …baby goats, foals, kittens… (but the baby goats were the cutest and stole my heart!)Then there were the evenings around the fire having a “Braai” (BBQ)! In Australia, we just don’t make a fire and sit around it= (for a few different reasons) …that is moments reserved for an African experience only!
We left a beautiful green Namibia behind (after a week of wonderful rain!) for the blue water of the Mediterranean sea.
With a few lose ends at home and at work we couldn’t help to wonder how much we will really be able to relax on this trip!… Only time will tell.
The Start of our last season on Scolamanzi:
Arriving at Denia, we realised that we are not going to have a warm start! It is the middle April and far from warm! In fact, we had difficulty getting up early in the mornings to start the day .. just because we do not have enough cold weather gear on board…and could simply not dress up warm enough! Scolamanzi is after all a tropical sailing boat … she is certainly not build for this kind of weather!
Some of the days became slightly warmer and as long as the wind does not blow we were fine! But the show must go on and we want to get going to leave for Sardinia as soon as possible!
It was wonderful to walk onto a clean Scolamanzi after 6 months! Absolutely spotless and fresh with no boat smells (only Yachties will know what I mean!) I have to thank Karl (Charlie) and Judy at Mundo Maritimo in Marina de Denia! They did a splendid job looking after Scolamanzi, making sure the engines and genset get started regularly and checking on dock lines and safety of the boat. If you ever think of overwintering a boat in Denia, then Marina de Denia has great off season deals and Mundo Maritimo will be a great call for someone to manage your boat while away.
The engines were serviced without a problem. We have decided to take Scolamanzi out on the hard to change the anodes and to make sure the anti-fouling is still in good condition. It was magic to hear the engines starting without a problem. It sounded like music in our ears! It was fabulous to be on the water again … although it was only 150 metres from the berth to the lift! Only the two anodes on the prop needed replacement , the anti-fouling were in splendid condition after 15 months!…and within an hour she was back in her berth for the last night in the marina in Denia! We had to quickly get Scollie in the water to put her in her “travel cradle” and even her little engine started with only a gentle nudge! It is great to know Scolamanzi and little Scolli are so reliable – our lives depend on them after all!
We still had enough time to spend a couple of hours with our friends Bill and Romie over a bottle or two and a delicious lunch! It is always wonderful to see them and I have to admire them for being so fit and energetic at their ages! We will be back in Spain with or without this Scolamanzi! Spain has grown on us and if I have to choose another country to settle … this might be the one pretty high on my list!
We had a good afternoon nap after our late lunch (that lasted just about 2 hours!) We there and then decided that the weather window is favourable and we are leaving right now (seeing that we had rested well) in stead of tomorrow morning. We left Denia for the last time this year and with this boat at 7pm with a sun that was sitting low ready to set in about 30 min!
The weather forecast indicated that a massive low pressure system is forming in the Gulf du Lion! Weather that might just affect the last leg of our crossing from the Balearics to Sardinia! We thought we might just go to Minorca and wait there for the next weather window. We started with windless conditions and glassy seas when we left Denia and therefore plenty of sleep and very little worries! By the time we were next to Ibiza, we could get reception again and downloaded some more weather forecasts. The decision was then made to push on without a stop and see if we can beat the system before it arrives at Sardinia. The whole voyage was on mirror smooth water and no winds! Unbelievable! Not a ripple on the water!
With seas like that you suddenly notice every movement on the surface. We have decided that that is where Blue bottles (small jellyfish) are coming from! Millions of them were drifting in seemingly endless streams! Massive turtles were just lying on the surface having a feast of jellyfish and we have noticed a whole lot of huge sunfish doing the same! Dolphins often take on the race just to get here, have a good look and disappear into their distant playing fields… They are not as playful as the ones we have seen in South African or southern Atlantic waters – where they can easily stay with you for 20-30 minutes at a time! It was still wonderful to see them with the water so clear and still!
As soon as I get it figured out, I will have to add a slide show of both Namibia and our Crossing! Hopefully my IT guru can give me a hand 😉
Thanks Jonathan! The IPad friends will be delighted that it is not a slide-show any more! At least they can see the pictures too now!! Remember that you can open them all up to enlarge them. Happy viewing everyone!