Our yacht, Mercier, is a Beneteau from Vendee, France and we met her in Bandol. So we were very excited to be asked to host French Families and friends of French Invictus Warriors.
Sydney Harbour is an amazing place to share with guests and we had a Invictus flag to get us an anchorage right at the Sydney Opera House. Frosty, James and I wanted to make sure we got the best viewing position for our guests.
We were able to watch the Invictus Elliott’s practice in Rushcutter’s Bay and we were able to cheer the French team on and take a few photos.
We toured around the harbour near the Eastern Suburbs and then followed the Elliotts over to Farm Cove.
The clouds disappeared for awhile and we had some very close racing. The weather was kind to us. There were blue skies and the wind was only a little bit chilly.
The wind was strong going into Farm Cove until the top mark, but lighter on the return. France had won the Gold earlier in the morning for Cyrille Chahboune’s in the Hansa 303 in the morning.
As loud as we shouted for the French team from Mercier, the Danish team were incredible up on the hill. The Dutch and the UK also had a presence in Farm Cove.
There were thousands of people on shore and in the water enjoying the Invictus Sailing. Our guests seem to enjoy the day too. We hope they enjoy the rest of their stay in sunny Sydney. Good luck to all the Invictus Warriors and their families.
Vancouver isn’t kidding when it talks about its harbors, it waterways and the great time you will have sailing in these waters. You do get rain and you also get plenty of sunshine.
After Pender Harbor, we motored off to Secret Cove with about half the fleet. Turns out that was our last Green Box on a dock, so the order of the afternoon were drinks and sharing nibbles and talking the sun down. Actually before sun set, we heard music and before we knew it singers were pouring onto the docks and we spent the next hour singing songs from Amazing Grace to show tunes to Carole King and Janis Joplin. Old MacDonald got a workout.
In the morning, we all sailed or motored over to Snug Harbor, a marina that is the last vestige of the Union Steamship Company on Bowen Island. A great marina with shops and a great pub called Doc Morgan’s who fed the whole flotilla and kept Canadian Geese as guard birds.
And so we finished where we began, at the Royal Van in Jericho Bay. We had an amazing dinner with singers and an old English Folk Song, we had “thank you”s and that we all had a terrific time was duly noted. We were asking when the next ICOYC cruise might be scheduled because it is something many of us would like to do again.
I have to put it in writing that the despite what you might hear, the Death by chocolate was not the highlight of the trip, but it was certainly in the top ten.
A visit to New York is a visit to my childhood. The food and sounds are almost the same at the market and on the streets where I spent my first seven years. The great thing about living in NY was access to the Bronx Zoo, The Botanical Gardens and museums. There are an amazing amount of museums in New York City and this trip we visited two.
We met cousins Marian and Jessica at the Metropolitan Museum and chose three exhibits to view. The first exhibit was an ethereal series of Whaling pictures by the English romantic James.M.W. Turner. Where a realist’s images might have been gruesome, Turner’s froth and cloud hide the gore. Out of the waves’ foam, there struggles a ship or a whale. Our imagination takes us to sounds of sailors yelling orders and encouragement. Original manuscripts of Melville’s Moby Dick are displayed, which opens the discussion did Melville see these paintings before writing Moby Dick?
From Turner, we went to the Temple of Dendur, a temple moved from Egypt to the Metropolitan, when it was going to be flooded under the Aswan High Dam. Isis and Osiris now have a home in the middle of NYC. The emperor Augustus of Rome commissioned the temple which gives you a clear point in time of its age (15BC). It is remarkable that it was able to be re-situated from one metropolis to another. Egypt was very generous in deeding this gift to the United States, at that time represented by Jacqueline Kennedy.
The last stop for the day was the Manus x Machina, Fashion in an Age of Technology exhibit. It is more about the techniques and processes the 20th and 21rst centuries have brought to couture fashion. Exquisite, revealing in that the humble sewing machine began journey, made this possible and wrought incredible changes to how Couture was fashioned over the years.
The highlight of this visit was a young girl, visibly worshiping the dress that was designed by Karl Lagerfield for Chanel with a 20 foot train. She ran from perspective to perspective and had her phone camera going non stop and she peered into the detail of the embroidery, which had been crafted using such artful processes, so closely that the guard had to intervene. Such passion at such an early age. For me, it was this passion that was the highlight of the exhibit, you understand this passion is where the design comes from no matter the machines or materials. These dresses come from someones mind and passion.
Another morning was in the Upper Eastside, spent at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. Housed in the stately mansion of steel magnate of Andrew Carnegie, the building is a work of art itself. Building was begun in 1899, but this house featured a Otis Elevator, the first private elevator. Carnegie is one of my patron saints, because he gave huge amounts of his wealth to the creation of public libraries.
Two of the many exhibits that we loved were Beauty/Triennial with its emergent technologies, 3 D printings of ceramic and glass and the PolyThread knitted textile pavillion.
The other favorites is the story of the Haas Brothers and Haas Sisters and their whimsical figures brought together with technology, algorithms and hand sewing. Look this MonkeyBiz up, it is a wonderful partnership story.
Cooper Hewitt has a wonderful online presence. Check it out.
Let’s face it, as countries go, Italy is bella; beautiful and glorious. Here were are racing by its magnificent coast to meet a ship in Genoa that will bring Mercier to Oz. We had a wonderful day in Ischia after saying goodbye to gorgeous cousins in Minori and Sorrento. Ischia is one of our favourite islands because people are just as likely to break into song as to say ciao.
The Thermal Spa is wonderful, with mineral springs running hot and cold. The waterfalls act as massage therapists.
The next morning we sailed past another favourite, Procida, because we just didn’t have enough time to stop. We are already planning another Italian sojourn, using ferries and pensiones. Procida, Ponza and Ventotene are three of the Pontine Islands, south of Rome. We anchored in nearby Ponza and had a wonderful swim.
From Ponza, it was a nine hour day sail to make it to Porto Turistico, because we had a lovely south westerly breeze to help us on our way. You know there has to be a reward for that much sailing. A day in Rome, with shopping at Castrioni, scrumptious lunch at Romeo, a stroll down the Pont S’Angelo and a gelato fix.
Two days ago, we were stopped by the Guarda Finanza or border patrol of Italy. We were just motoring past Cittavecchia, we were asked quite a few questions. “Where are you going?” “Ercole”, we answered, he looked confused. More questions about our intended trip, while the other officer was checking us through their computer. He asked again,”Where are you going?” “Ercole” we said smiling. A few more questions, then he says “erCOle”. Si, mystery solved.
There are not a lot of ports or anchorages north of Porto Ercole on the mainland coast, so we sailed out to Elba, This is a wonderful Tuscan island and we have been here three times.
Yesterday, we arrived to about 8 yachts at about 3PM. By the time we went to bed, there were literally 100 yachts in the anchorage. not counting the boats in the marina. It was like the Sydney Harbour Bridge at 8:00am, just about bumper to bumper. Many yachts had their fenders out at anchor, just in case.
Fifteen years ago, James and I stayed in Positano; we thought it was magical. However, trying to find rooms for eleven of us, the best value seemed to be in Minori or Maiori. We all found Minori to be less touristy and very friendly. Minori was more like the Amalfi and Positano we visited fifteen years ago. If I was going five-star, I would prefer Ravello but given our budget Minori was perfect.
Ravello is just an hour’s walk up the hill, but quite a steep lung buster according to Miriam, Ed and Frank. It is incredibly scenic as James, Barbara and I can attest to, as we walked down to Minori after a scrumptious lunch at Enotavola Wine Bar at Palazzo Della Marra in Ravello. Matt and Joseph ran up and ran down; steepness was no barrier for the incredibly fit twins.
Ravello was the site of several weddings and we saw bridal fashion from demure to haute couture. The heels were six inches high but the outfits were amazing.
The music festival had not quite started but the stage was set up at the Villa Rudolfo and there were several members of the Ravello Vista Social Club playing wonderful songs and singing. There was an amazing Sonica gallery of photos of musicians by a musician, Guido Harari at Villa Rudolfo too. Villa Cimbrone was the site of lush gardens and pleasant walks.
There is plenty to do in Campania, a guided tour of Pompeii was educational and fast paced. We could see Vesuvius in the background and we were happy to note there was no smoke or activity.
Everyday we fall a bit more in love with Campania.
Sailors might want to tune out now. We have photos of the marina at Capri but not today. Today it is about the people who make me smile and how Italy has touched all of us.
My paternal grandparents were born in the beautiful village town of Giffoni Valle Piana. In the early 20th Century, because there was not enough work in Italy to pay taxes, create a life and have a family. Four million Italians arrived in America from 1880-1920. My grandparents were two of those immigrants.
They came from a valley above Salerno and the Amalfi Coast. This coastline and coastlines further south are exquisite. Various shades of green on the stone hills speak of olives, grapes, lemons, chestnuts and hazelnuts. In this area, most mozzarella is made from buffalo milk. It is simply OMG delicious.
There was a thread of connection with Giffoni. My Aunt Louise gave me quite a bit of information and old family photos, which made the search for our Italian families possible. I have been pleading with my cousins to join me in returning to Giffoni for several years after my first trip in 1999. After all Giffoni is now famous because it hosts the Giffoni Film Festival. Even Meryl Streep has visited and she wasn’t a cousin. This year we have made headway. We are a party of eleven De Angelo’s, comprised of two generations. We planned a day, with cousin Sebastiano’s assistance, for our family reunion in Giffoni. Allora, what a day! Here are the photos.
Ci vuole tutta la vita per imparare a Vivere. Seneca
Do you remember the myth of Theseus slaying the Minotaur? The Minotaur was half bull – half man and liked to feast on the children of Greece. The children who were good gymnasts could stay alive by leaping over the bulls back, but in the end Theseus slayed the Minotaur and escaped the Labyrinth. There is conjecture that the Palace of Knossos was the labyrinth because it was so large and had so many rooms and corridors.
The frescoes are painted in rich, vibrant colours. They are so large and bright, their effect is visceral. The buildings are almost modern in construction. Here are some photos.
One’s eyes are drawn to the green in the distance and then to the bright, intense colour of the frescoes surrounded by cream stone buildings.
Richard Niebuhr said “Pilgrims are poets who create by taking journeys.” James and I discuss what it means to leave Turkey, which we are very fond of, which we enjoy and its history we are amazed by. But the farewell is tinged with only a small feeling of sadness, because we hope to come back again. When sailing, we are almost by definition looking forward.
The planning, down to hours and days that one requires to sail, adds to the feelings one experiences in the new port. We pray for good weather and we wait for it. Wednesday”s five hours of sailing with fluky winds, is like a penance we do to get to a prize.
Wednesday’s prize is Symi. Here is an island of Neoclassical houses, stacked up the hills surrounding the bays of the islands. It is an island where oregano runs wild by the road. Churches have pride of place and wonderful views. Another penance is walking up hills to get to the views and Symi affords plenty of hills. Symi is a jewel, with wonderful tavernas, shops and cafes and beautiful churches.
We hike up to the Chora and stop for a coffee at the Olive Tree, while waiting for our coffee, a pack train of horses bring building materials up the hill.
After our quiet respite in the Marmaris Yacht marina, we were back on a town quay in Symi. We had forgotten about the duf duf music and parties on nearby yachts. There would have been 20 people on the 70 foot yacht next to us, singing, dancing and partying until 5:00am. No amount of earplugs blocked their good-humored noise. Ah yes, now we remember. Amazingly, they left before the rosy fingers of dawn on to their next destination. Thursday’s excitement was watching new arrivals collecting other yachts anchors. This is a game where the goal is for a boat to manage to keep its anchor ensconced in the mud, while other boats see their anchors come unstuck. Our new arrivals brought our neighbour’s anchor up to the surface interlocked with their own. Excitement.
This morning we are on our way to Kalki, heading southwest and saying Hello Greece.
Kas is a lovely place, with the shopkeepers and restaurateurs keeping their invitations low key. History just inserts itself into daily life seamlessly. It was Lesley’s last day with us yesterday, she is travelling to Rhodes via Kastellorizo. We have not used up our 90 day Euro allotment for times like these and we decide to take the ferry trip with her.
In less time than a ferry trip would take from the Quay to Manly, we are back in Greece and on a picture postcard island of about 5 square miles. The island, also called Meis in Turkish and the older Greek name of Megristi, has a beautiful natural harbour facing Kas. The houses around the harbour and up the hill are either completely renovated, beautiful and colourful or in various states of ruin.
Many residents of Kastellorizo migrated to Australia, mainly Melbourne and Perth with only 500 residents on the island full time. Their descendants are coming back to enjoy the island and to renovate the family homes.
One of the joys of travelling is friends’ sharing their experiences so that we are sure to visit, because they have enjoyed the magic too. Dave and Leigh visited and really enjoyed their time on the island. Leigh mentioned the Aussie connection. Sharron and Graeme celebrated their 25th anniversary here, danced to a bit of Greek music and broke a few plates.
Everything happens on the water front, with the restaurant tables so close the edge of the harbour, you see everything in the water and it is very tempting to throw bread in for the fish. We saw at least three big turtles in the harbour and they would push each other around. We couldn’t tell if it was territorial or amorous in intent.
When our ferry arrived, within minutes we were walking round the waterfront. The chefs are clever, they fillet their fresh fish and throw the bones and bits to the Loggerheads, which keeps the turtles interested in the foreshore. You will also see how sleek and glossy the cats are, well behaved to ensure they get their share of the fish scraps.
Before lunch we climbed up to the fortress castle, then around the back to other squares and churches, before our long and lovely lunch at Alexander’s. Finally a goodbye to Lesley, which brings to mind another joy of travel, travelling with friends so you can enjoy the experience and create memories.
We still have home firmly in our thoughts and it has been busy at the RSYS. We send our warmest congratulations to Richard Chapman, who is now Commodore of the Squadron; we wish you smooth sailing. The same wishes go to Dave Edwards, our new club captain; David Ward, our new Vice Commodore; Christian Brook, our new rear Commodore. Good luck to you all in the coming year.
James and I would like to thank Commodore Malcolm Levy for including us in Squadron life for the past four years. Great job, now you will have more time for leisurely lunches in McMahons Point.
Lyn and Rene, I hope they thanked both of you for all the work you have done too.
We have decided to mix it up a bit and we thought we would go and look for the Butterflies. Instead of sailing the blue highway, we would take a trip to the Hippie Trail for a short hike and then visit a few watering holes for swims to recover. We are going to take a gulet trip.
One of the captains collects us from Ece Marina and we take a scenic drive over the headland from Fethiye to Oludeniz, a beautiful seaside resort famous for its swarms of paragliders. Oludeniz is known for being one of Turkey’s most photographed beaches. It seems a bit surreal to see so many paragliders in one place, all jumping from Babadag Mountain, many are tourists, so they are in tandem with the ever present go pro’s in their hands to record their flights.
The beach is a hive of activity, with hundreds of people coming to find their gulet on the shore and make the jump onto the passerelle between waves.
There are several types of gulets, these are the daytripper style with two levels, a covered level below with tables and the roof covered in floor to floor beach bags for tanning purposes.
It is a warm morning, so our first stop is at secluded Blue Cave beach. At least it was secluded upon arrival.
About 15 minutes into our stay, Ninja Gulet shoved between us and the wall you can see above, almost taking a few of our fellow passengers with him. The Ninja’s Captain shouted at us and then took his gulet and motored away. There is a universal truth that if one gulet comes others aren’t far behind. Seclusion may be overrated.
Butterfly Valley is a no road access beach, gorge and butterfly sanctuary. There are acres of plants here that they love, interspersed with tents and an open air restaurant on the beach.
We decide to hike up into the gorge, which reminded us of our last hike with Peggy S and Donna in Tucson. Butterfly Valley isn’t as big an area but there were no tour guides warning us about mountain lions.
The valley gorge is quite wild and beautiful, no butterflies to be found as we are probably out of season. We aren’t sure about the tent city but the reception was quite colorful.
Hotel California in Butterfly Valley, I am not sure of the name but that song kept playing in my head on the way home.
Happy Birthday Rachel Hayes. 30 has never looked so good.