From Milford to the Med: our trip so far
In May 2005 my partner and I set sail from Milford Haven in Wales. In the two years previous we'd juggled a major rebuild of our Wharram catamaran, a full-on house renovation, running my herbal medicine practice of 16 years and supporting our 2 youngest children through College before they went off to university to fulfill their own ambitions. It was time to move on!
We rented out our house in Wales and took off with some apprehension and excitement leaving Dale at 3 o'clock in the morning to catch the right tides, and arrive in Padstow, Devon, also at the right state of tide.
For the next few months, we sailed to the Isles of Scilly and spent our first Winter away in Millbrook...just across the water from Plymouth. The next season we made our first Channel crossing to Guernsey and then a few days later, our first landing in France..Paimpol.
Our French gradually improved as we explored the rest of the North coast of France and into Brittany, spending that Winter Cameret. By the time we had sailed to Zumaia, [in Basque Spain] we realised that we needed more comfort aboard so we sold our beloved "TikaRoa" catamaran and found our next boat...a Junk-rigged schooner in Inverness, NE Scotland.
After 5 months of 24/ 7 work on Jock McLeod's famous Ostar boat to get her fit for sailing, we took off again down the Caladonian Canal towards the West coast of Scotland and then on to Ireland.
We both wanted to explore our own waters first before crossing oceans and so decided to spend the next few years cruising Europe and spent that Winter in Coleraine, N. Ireland where I showed my paintings for the first time since being away.
The following April we left to the wild and beautiful island of Rathlin, just off the N.E. coast of Ireland and from there sailed the whole East coast via the Isle of Mann and then on to Southern Ireland. We left Kinsale on a beautiful June morning to cross Biscay under sail and arrived 5 and a half days later, in the middle of a gale, at La Coruna in N.W. Spain.
After exploring the Spanish Reas we sailed the coast of Portugal to spend that Winter in Portimao.
The following season found us entering the Mediterranean Sea - which was amazingly exciting! - and made our way up the East coast of Spain to stay in Cartagena for the Winter and I had a solo exhibition there next to the famous amphitheatre.
The Summer following we visited the Balearics, Sardinia and Sicilly, spending that Winter in Marina di Ragusa where I started an art group for anyone who wanted to have some fun painting and drawing whether they had painted before or not. This culminated in an exhibition which was very sucessful and it was wonderful to see the excitement on the faces of those who had never shown work before...tremendously rewarding.
I have always had a dream of seeing Venice and so we decided to go North into the Adriatic and via Albania, Montenegro and Croatia we arrived at the entrance of the Venice Lagoon. It was the most amazing and emotional experience to enter Venice under our own steam, in our own boat! We stayed there for 3 weeks which just the best!
We decided we wanted to see Greece and explored the Ionion to spend the winter in Levkas where we are now.
Every year we take trips back to the U.K. to see friends and family and catch up which is lovely and have our children and my Mother visit us on the boat.
Last year was in Messolonghi in the Gulf of Patras and this year we are in a lovely boatyard opposite the island of Evia to complete some major projects - including a complete engine rebuild.
I, as usual , am juggling with working on "Ron Glas" and painting in my studio aboard, but with all our travels I have huge amounts of fodder for ideas. We'll see where we decide to sail to this year, watch this space...