Corsica – Up Close And Personal, Ep. 101

Before we left the U.S. to start our summer adventure onboard Sea Rose, we had several friends express an interest in joining us. Karen and I were of course thrilled about the strong interest, but we had to chuckle a bit. Just a year prior, while we were cruising through the Great Lakes of the U.S., we got very few takers. Apparently, a transatlantic flight, foreign language, and jet lag was not enough to dissuade people from an opportunity to sail in the Mediterranean. That said, if you have the chance to navigate the Erie Canal or sail the Great Lakes, you should really accept the offer. It is a fabulous and under-appreciated sailing destination. Check out our YouTube series “Sailing into the American Heartland” for more details.

Our longtime friend Emmy was quick to sign on as a guest, booking her ticket to France months ahead, showing us she was not leaving anything to chance! We had mapped out a rough itinerary for the summer and there were various legs that were either coastal hopping or offshore crossings. To our surprise, Emmy was intrigued by the idea of an offshore crossing, especially if it involved an overnight experience. As we settled into our new boat and finished cruising the Balearics, it became clear that we would be doing a longer passage from the French mainland over to the northwest coast of Corsica. This is roughly a 100 nm trip. We had done several similar length crossings – namely to cross over from Spain to Mallorca and return back from Menorca – and for both of those trips we left before sunrise and arrived before dusk to try to avoid a complete overnight trip.

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Exploring Mallorca’s East Coast – SuperCALAfragilistichespiralidoso! Ep. 98

Unlike the isolation and jagged cliff landscape of Mallorca’s north coast, the eastern side of the island is peppered with small calas and a sprinkling of little villages providing beautiful beach access to island visitors. There are steep cliffs here – Mother Nature’s forceful hand toiled on this island as it did on so many others in the area – but these cliffs are in the 100 foot high range, not thousands of feet like the north coast. We were needing a little village scene, after being the only boat anchored out in the northerly harbors. With this goal, we headed around Mallorca’s northern tip, Cabo de Formentor, and found a vigorous breeze on our beam, sending us down the eastern side with determination.

Cabo de Formentor

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Our Maiden Voyage on Sea Rose! Ep. 96

When people think of the French Riviera, I can bet they don’t think of a place like Canet-en-Roussillon. This little coastal hamlet is tucked away in the very southern extreme of France’s Mediterranean coastline, practically on the door step of Spain. Indeed, for awhile it was part of the Catalan region. Canet has its expansive beaches, but it’s devoid of the glitz and glam, the flashy big super yachts, and the well heeled sophisticate of the French Riviera. It’s the summer vacation choice of the everyday French family, and its port facility is where you come to roll up your sleeves and get work done.

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Around and Round We Go, Round Two, Ep. 95

With our circumnavigation of France halfway completed, we headed east from the coastal Normandy region to check out the eastern portion of the country. On the way, one passes nearby the countryside village of Giverny, most famous as the residence of Claude Monet. Giverny is where Monet spent the last 40 years of his life. He built out a substantial studio at his residence, and planted expansive flower gardens, followed later by an Oriental style floating garden across the street. These grounds become the subject matter of many of his most famous Impressionist paintings. Today, you can tour his home and studio, and stroll through the flower gardens and past the flowing streams and ponds, all of which lead to a visual sensory overload. For sure it is an SD-card busting experience. Continue reading “Around and Round We Go, Round Two, Ep. 95”

Around and Round We Go, Round One, Ep. 94

If you rent a car to explore France, like we did, you’ll need to get up close and personal with roundabouts. The French, and I suspect a lot of other Europeans, love these quintessential urban infrastructure anachronisms. On the one hand, they are highly efficient traffic cops, shepherding cars to their next exit without delay. On the other hand, they are technology-free, minimalist designs that could easily have existing hundred of years ago, and in fact they did, making your driving experience a true journey back through the centuries.

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The City of Lights, Ep. 93

For some reason, Karen and I had never, collectively or on our own, ever visited France. Maybe it was my high school language choice of German (which didn’t get me too far in Germany!), or our leaning towards warm, tropical get aways. I must admit that after hearing several friends come home from France and report that the French were tough on those that didn’t know the language made this foreign language neophyte especially hesitant!

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Prepping, Planning, and Posting! Ep. 92

We are inching closer to the launch of our new boat, Sea Rose, with every day filled with to do lists – the kind that shrink one moment, and grow the next! Our boat is a couple weeks off schedule on it’s delivery and commissioning in Canet-en-Roussillon, but that’s a blessing in disguise, as we try to get all of our ducks in a row before the big splash. It took us over ten years of tweaks here and there to get Thalia to where we needed her for long-distance cruising, and while we are bringing that school-of-hard-knocks experience to bear with the commissioning of Sea Rose, it still feels like cramming many years of boat improvements into one Spring launch.

 

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If You Are Going To Drink, Drink Responsibly! Ep. 90

Spring is coming tomorrow, and we all know what follows Spring. So, in the anticipation of warm, Summer days filled with boats and barbecues and beaches, I thought I’d share the recipe for my feel-good Kale shake. Check it out on YouTube. Also, you could consider it a belated St Patrick’s Day beverage (or tonic?).

Do you have a special Kale shake, or other favorite nutritious drink? Add your comments here on our blog or directly on the YouTube video. Go Green!

Winter Updates Ep. 89

It’s winter in New England, which for some of you might conjure up romantic notions of snow-filled meadows adjacent to a snug log cabin with a rousing wood fire burning inside. What it is not is a time for sailing, unless you are one of these crazy devils from the Boston Sailing Center’s Frostbite Racing Series.

Boston’s Frostbite Series

Instead, for Karen and I, we have been busy preparing to take delivery of our new Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 440 “Sea Rose” in France this Spring. I can assure you we will be posting lots of pictures and videos of our experience in the Mediterranean, where the only ice you will find is in the freezer or the cocktail glass!

In the meantime, I just recently completed two YouTube videos related to our preparations. The first video explains our boat buying experience in Annapolis this past Fall, including the standout features of the Jeanneau 440. The second video details our new travel companion – the Google Pixel 2 phone and Project Fi service. I’ll admit it didn’t take much to bring out the inner geek in me, but for any of you that travel overseas and need an easy way to stay in touch and online, these two solutions should be on your short list.

If you enjoy the videos and want to be reminded when new ones arrive, simply click on the button at the end of the video to subscribe to our channel, LifeFourPointZero, or go here. And a thumbs up  is always appreciated it!

Stay warm!

 

 

 

 

 

Out with the Old, In with the New! Ep. 87

After owning and nurturing Thalia for 14 years, it is time to move on. Thalia is now up for sale at Navy Point Marine, in Sackets Harbor, NY, and we have bought a new boat! Our future adventures will now be onboard a brand new 2018 Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 440.

If you had asked me several months ago if we would ever sell Thalia, I would have told you an emphatic “NO”! She had taken us up and down the East Coast, to the Canadian Maritimes, and to the Caribbean. The year we spent with the boys onboard filled our family bank with priceless memories. And our most recent adventure this summer, breaking into new territory in the Great Lakes and the canals, was more beautiful and charming than we could have imagined. Thalia was at her finest sailing us across the waters of our choosing with ease and grace, and at the end of the day we could enjoy her new amenities, including this year’s new dodger and varnished mahogany cockpit.

But, alas, we ended up at the Annapolis boat show in October, walking the docks and the decks of as many new boats as we could manage during the show’s opening hours. Through it all, I remembered why we had not gone to a boat show in the last 14 years. Seeing all the shiny new boats, I knew the temptations would be too strong! The wheels had been set in motion when we listed our boat for sale with Navy Point Marine and realized they were a Jeanneau dealer. And conveniently, we hauled out a week before the Annapolis boat show. And, OK, I’ll come clean by admitting that there were a few days in the summer that I had been browsing the Jeanneau website and accidentally left a page open of a new beauty, as Karen was taking over the watch!

The Jeanneau 440 is their newest generation of cruising boat design and has some very appealing features, the most notable of which is an inclining side deck that leads around the helm into the cockpit, making the transition from cockpit to deck very smooth. Unlike a lot of sailors that keep getting bigger boats, we are downsizing with this new boat, but Jeanneau has done a fantastic job with the use of space, making it feel very similar to the size of Thalia.

With the Jeanneau plant in France, we opted to take delivery in the Mediterranean. If all goes as planned, she will be bobbing in the water in late Spring, ready for us to grab the reins and start exploring the Med. More news to come as it gets closer! In the meantime, if you want a fantastic long distance cruising boat, check out this listing! The wonderful folks at Navy Point will take good care of you.