Gibraltar!! August 5, 2016

We finally arrived in Gibraltar today, so had to celebrate!!  We berthed (called “stern-to”, as Steve backs into the slip and we exit from the stern of our boat to shore) to the left of the former cruise ship below (now a floating casino/hotel). The Rock of Gibraltar is to the right of the ship!  In European Union (EU) countries, all non EU visitors have a 90 day visa limiting your stay in the EU countries.  Gibraltar was our exit area out of the EU, so we stayed here almost 2 months, getting our EU visa back!The celebratory dinner below lasted us 4 MEALS and yes, we tried to walk off ALL those calories!!Gibraltar’s size is 2.6 square miles with 7.5 miles of shoreline.  Their airport runway must be crossed to get to the city of Gibraltar, once you enter the country from Spain (walking or vehicular), or leaving the airport terminal.  Flights are occasional, so you walk across the runway when the lights are green, OR wait for the jets to pass when the lights are red and chains are up to keep you out of the way!  YES, the jets are loud, but we rarely had a flight after 10 PM.  Closest we have ever lived to a runway though!!Some beautiful sunsets overlooking the bay of Gibraltar towards the coast of Morocco! Interesting artwork near the shops in Gibraltar! There is a lot of military history here, even for such a small area, but it had a VERY strategic location, that lots of countries wanted and apparently still do!

More Gibraltar pictures after our trip to Palermo, Sicily, Italy to see Steve’s brother David, wife, Tamra, and their sons, Tanner and Trent!


Straits of Gibraltar!

We really have to say this was one of our most surreal experiences!!  After all the years of dreaming, planning, saving, working on the boat, planning and charting courses, working on the boat some more, sailing and more dreaming, WE WERE FINALLY IN THE STRAITS!!   It was a phenomenal experience!  At this point, we even agreed, we had definitely completed our crossing of the Atlantic!! Above are the Atlas Mountains in northern Morocco, Africa.  Yes, there were quite a few ships in the straits, but westbound ships stay on the African side of the straits and eastbound on the European side.  Pleasure boats like ours stay closer to shore and definitely out of their way.  We still check in and out with the Gibraltar Ship Traffic Controller, so they know we are there!  Below is one of the ferries crossing the straits from Spain to Morocco!Above, finally a view of the ROCK of Gibraltar!!  Almost there!!

Passage to Lagos, Portugal August 1-3, 2016

After finally leaving Lisbon with a brand new mast and standing rigging, we motored to Cascais, Portugal for final adjustments to rigging and payment of our bills!  THEN we are underway!!  YEAH!!  Below are pictures of the bay and the Cascais Citadel as we leave them behind!!! Above is the lighthouse facing the Atlantic Ocean as you begin your eastern passage along southern Portugal to entering the Mediterranean through the Straits of Gibraltar!  Below some caves and cliffs along the shoreline.

Above, we passed this beautiful tall ship!!  Then we headed to Lagos, Portugal, to pick up one more part for the boat, then on to the straits of Gibraltar!

Marina area, Oeiras, Portugal

DSC08416 DSC08417 DSC08421Lighthouse at mouth of River Tagus from Atlantic to Lisbon area.DSC08422Marina has lots of jellyfish, various speciesDSC08426Orontes II, second black mast to the right from the power boat (see yellow horseshoe ring and white lettering).  We were in Oeiras Marina waiting for assessments on repairing mast. The fortress in background (above and below) is an active military post.DSC08418DSC08427Another Fortress on River Tagus.  We walked past this to get to train station.

Sightseeing in Lisbon 2016

While getting the mast work complete, we did take some time to sightsee around Lisbon again!  Loved the murals they applied to the trains that took us around! Above, enjoyed meeting new friends, the Hall family, at St. Mary’s church in Sao Pedro do Estoril, and spending a wonderful evening over dinner and talking about travel and families!

Below, Steve and I celebrating when Portugal won the European Soccer Cup!!!Above, Sculpture at Vasco da Gama Plaza area, a major tourist and shopping area.

Below is the beachfront property the bow of Orontes II overlooked when we were in the boatyard!!! Above are pictures from one of the Botanical Gardens and below, one of the Natural History Museums in Lisbon. More pictures from one of the archaeological museums. Steve replacing the head on one of the broken statues!Lisbon was a wonderful place to visit with lots of history, great people, culture, reasonable prices and memories!

Belem, Lisbon, Portugal, multiple visits

Belem, derived from the Portuguese word for Bethlehem, is located at the mouth of the River Talgus, 3.7 miles west of Lisbon.  This area first attracted mariners and commercial activities.  Archaeological evidence suggests human occupation since the Paleolithic era (2.6 million years ago).DSC07815DSC08458DSC08459DSC07817DSC08476Jeronimos Monastery, founded around 1459.  It also includes the Church of Santa Maria.DSC07819Entrance to main Church and cloisterDSC08468DSC08469 DSC08473 DSC08474DSC07821 Above and below is Padrao dos Descobrimentos, monument of the Discoveries, on the northern bank of the Tagus River, celebrating the Portuguese Age of Exploration during the 15th and 16th centuries.DSC07822DSC07826 DSC07828 DSC07830 DSC07831 DSC07832 DSC07841DSC07843Belem LighthouseDSC07844 DSC07847Above is Belem Tower, UNESCO World Heritage Site, built in 16th century, as a military fortification on the Tagus River.  One of our visits was with Christy!!DSC08465DSC07853 DSC07855Our second visit was with our good friend from the Azores, Elisa!! And of course, the specialty of Lisbon, one of the bakeries for Pastel de nata (egg tart pastry), which is one of Steve’s favorite num-nums yet!


Tall Ships Race 2016

This year’s Tall Ships Race started in Antwerp, Belgium, on July 7th and will end in Cadiz, Spain on July 31st.  We were lucky to join in the festivities on July 23rd while they were docked on Tagus, River, Lisbon and then watched them leave on July 25th for their next sail to Cadiz.

Below are some of our pictures:DSC02117Above is Norway’s 97 meter Barque, built in 1914.DSC02118Above is Italy’s 102 meter Ship, built in 1931, as proudly stated below!DSC02120 DSC02133Above is Mexico’s 89.7 meter Barque, built 1982.DSC02138Above and below are pictures of Venezuela’s Barque, which we toured.DSC02140 DSC02141 DSC02143

We had a great day!!


OUR NEW MAST!! July 8, 2016

Finally after 8 months (November 2015 to July 2016), in Alges, Portugal boatyard, on July 8th, our new Sparcraft mast arrived!!  YEAH!!!  Pantaenius Insurance covered us in full, so that was a big relief! On July 28th, she is fully rigged with new bottom paint job of anti-fouling paint and ready to be launched on July 29th!  We are water based again!!!!

What a great feeling to be back on the water!!

Fatima tour, July 5th, 2016

Day 2 in Fatima:  Steve slept in and I went to 7:30AM mass in the Basilica.  Beautiful sunrise, peaceful morning and feeling of reverence!We walked to the Basilica of the Holy Trinity, (below), which is a huge modernistic church on the other side of the plaza from the Basilica of Our Lady of Fatima.  It was consecrated in 2007, due to the need for seating at services for the large number of pilgrims visiting this Blessed site (estimated at 4-5 million per year)!We then hiked to the Via Sacre, where Jacinta, Lucia and Francisco were visited by the “Angel of Peace”  in 1916.  This garden/path is composed of 15 chapels, including the Stations of the Cross.  

This was our first pilgrimage to Our Lady and definitely made an impression!  A very unique experience!

Nazares to Fatima, Portugal, July 4th, 2016

A road trip around the Atlantic coast of Portugal from Lisbon to Fatima!! Today our first stop was Cabo da Rosa, the westernmost point of mainland Portugal and continental Europe!  Drizzly and very cool! Below, the lighthouse overlooks the promontory towards the Atlantic. Next on to Nazares, one of the most popular seaside resorts on Atlantic coast of Portugal, and a world breaking surf site for waves, 78-100 feet tall!  (Google: “Nazares surf” or for great pictures!) “Boa Sorte”, means “good luck” in Portuguese and was the name of our boat on Eagle Mountain Lake, now belonging to Cory and Heather!Portugal is well-known for its mosaic designs in many sidewalks all over the country!  And also has narrow alleys, as found throughout Europe. Then on to Fatima!  What a surreal experience!  One of the most peaceful towns I have ever stayed in! The Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary was  begun in 1928 and completed in 1954.  The tower is 213 feet high, decorated by a crown of bronze (weighing 15,000 pounds) and topped with an illuminated cross.  The carillon consists of 62 bells with 15 altars within the church dedicated to the 15 mysteries of the Rosary.   The Sanctuary of Fatima is the grouping of the religious buildings and structures, including the Basilica, the Chapel of Apparitions, a great oak tree where the 3 children were first visited by Mary, a section of the Berlin Wall, and other monuments.  The Chapel of the Apparitions is the center of the sanctuary, located at the exact location of the Marian Appariations, marked by a marble pillar and enclosed case with image of the Virgin Mary.We attended the rosary at 8:30 PM followed by the procession. The Procession of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Fatima Square after the reciting of the rosary and blessing of all items brought here.

Tomorrow we tour the rest of Fatima!!