Legnica (Liegnitz), Poland

gratisaustralisEurope and European Waterways, Ocean Crossings

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This was the day we took to explore what remained of the old town of Legnica. Driving along the road entering the city, one espied first a massive modern cemetery, then just past it a much older one left dilapidated and covered in thick jungle. Today, Bob and I had a closer look. It turned out the forefront was Jewish … Read More

Excursion in Little G2

gratisaustralisIndian Ocean, Ocean Crossings, Rodrigues 2014

  Breakfast completed, we loaded Little G2 with a picnic lunch and camera kit. Heading westward we explored the shoreline. With frequent showers falling, it sadly meant my D700 had to remain in the case and I had to be happy using the 1AW1. From the water it is possible to see how rugged Rodrigues is: volcanic rock, evidence of the … Read More

Guadeloupe to Flores, the Azores

gratisaustralisAtlantic Ocean, Caribbean, Flores 2015, Guadeloupe 2015, Ocean Crossings, The Azores 2015

Guadeloupe Marina Departure for France took place on the 19th May and what a slow, monotonous sail it was! Seas flat calm upon departure, was the name of the game of that first week. The winds wouldn’t play and light as they were insisted on pushing us ever westward. With a tight time line, Big Bertha was a constant ticking over in … Read More

Saint Helena to Barbados

gratisaustralisAtlantic Ocean, Barbados 2015, Ocean Crossings, Saint Helena 2015

Departing Saint Helena for Barbados on April 1st, as ocean crossings go, this leg was a breeze! 28 days, a slow average of 5 knots due to extremely light winds: what a change. Where light winds had prevailed on previous legs, slight adjustments had been made to the course in an attempt to keep with the stronger winds – all to no avail. … Read More

Cape Town to Saint Helena, Day 15

gratisaustralisAfrica, Atlantic Ocean, Ocean Crossings, Saint Helena 2015, South Africa 2014

St Helena, created more than fourteen million years ago by volcanic eruptions, was in sight upon the horizon soon after the passing of dawn. The island, inch by inch, became more pronounced as each hour passed. The highest peak of an ancient volcanic mountain range, she was enshrouded by the misty haze of the tropical airs and bright backlight of … Read More

South Africa to Saint Helena, Day 10

gratisaustralisAfrica, Atlantic Ocean, Ocean Crossings, Saint Helena 2015, South Africa 2015

Fishing stories this trip were the tales of the ones that got away. Behemoths aplenty resided well below the surface of the seas we discovered, as time and again fishing tackle went missing in great numbers. Two of the lures remained behind to tell the story: one scarred deeply as razor sharp teeth etched trails through the plastic, whilst the … Read More

South Africa to Saint Helena, Day 6

gratisaustralisAfrica, Atlantic Ocean, Ocean Crossings, Saint Helena 2015, South Africa 2015

The first days out, winds were sublime. Late afternoon upon us this particular day, we were both in the galley, me preparing tea and Bob procuring an afternoon drink when the emission of a loud popping sound, followed in its wake by a muffled thud, promptly caught our attention. Whilst Bob raced upstairs, I rapidly carried out a cursory check … Read More

South Africa to Saint Helena, Day 2

gratisaustralisAfrica, Atlantic Ocean, Ocean Crossings, Saint Helena 2015, South Africa 2015

Excitement of the day occurred first thing. Upon awakening, I entered the pilot house as the whirring of the fishing line commenced. Mental faculties poorly operating as a result of sleep deprivation, looking at Bob the only sounds emitted from my mouth were, ‘Fish! Fish! Fish………….’ Bob glanced askance at me, with total lack of comprehension. I repeated, ‘fish, fish, … Read More

Port Elizabeth to Cape Town, Day 3

gratisaustralisAfrica, Indian Ocean, Ocean Crossings, South Africa 2014

Between Mossel Bay and Cape Town Early morning, still no wind: how monotonous, but a blessing in disguise, as our slow motoring speed meant the worst of the strong winds expected around Cape Agulhas the following day would be missed. In a first, it was a case of slowing Gratis down. Oil Platforms upon the horizon were silhouetted against the darkening … Read More

Port Elizabeth to Cape Town, Day 2

gratisaustralisAfrica, Indian Ocean, Ocean Crossings, South Africa 2014

Calm seas all night, nil wind meant motoring and low speeds: what a contrast to the last leg. Morning found Gratis surrounded by ships in the busiest shipping route encountered to date. Fishing boats were doing their thing just south of us, whilst a myriad of birds soared across skies and waves. Bob made the decision to attempt fishing once … Read More

Port Elizabeth to Cape Town, Day 1

gratisaustralisAfrica, Indian Ocean, Ocean Crossings, South Africa 2015

Mid-afternoon, Gratis entered the gentle swirls of the eastern coast of South Africa once more. What wind there was came from the South – upon the nose. With sea swirls flowing beneath, we were entertained by a mama Pacific gull educating her fledglings in ocean flying. Off, she would take, only to land a short distance ahead. Patiently, she waited, … Read More

Durban to Port Elizabeth, Day 3

gratisaustralisAfrica, Indian Ocean, Ocean Crossings, South Africa 2014

Having arrived in Port Elizabeth early that morning, the ensuing evening saw an unpredicted strong westerly blow: what a relief to know we were not thrumming into the waves and swell. This was a time where, unable to purchase an ali whisker pole of the right thickness and weight, a second much stronger piece of wood was purchased. Bob thinking … Read More

Durban to Port Elizabeth, Day 2

gratisaustralisAfrica, Indian Ocean, Ocean Crossings, South Africa 2014

Fun this morning. Twins up, a beautiful relaxing warm shower to release the aching muscles, enjoying a cup second coffee for the day, we were carefully monitoring the wind as it commenced creeping up and down, like a shy animal teasing as it slithered forward then back as one attempted to entice it out. A sudden short sharp burst of … Read More

Durban to Port Elizabeth, Day 1

gratisaustralisAfrica, Indian Ocean, Ocean Crossings, South Africa 2015

Midnight, the alarm rudely emitted its piercing cry. Finally, the long awaited weather window had arrived and a northerly was gently kissing the air. A final perusal of the weather predictions online, Big Bertha roared to life. Mooring lines released, Gratis gracefully glided into the darkness. With the coming of full daylight, it was possible to view the rolling hills … Read More