Friday, November 25, 2011

Good Bye Europe

We are all locked and loaded.
Jack lines are down, harnesses at the ready, boat checks are done and gear stowed.
Tomorrow morning 0800 we leave for the canaries so by the time you receive this we will be at sea.
We should arrive in Tenerife some time on weds Nov 30.
Next post is from somewhere 100 miles off of Morocco.

Greg Kerlin

Sent from my iPad

The Toilet Paper Calculations

I hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Minus our loved ones, we sure did and thanks to technology we got to visit via skype with them. Capt John had life sized cutouts made of he and Jonathan and had them surprise delivered for Thanksgiving dinner. Pretty funny. What a great idea!

Anyway, as I mentioned yesterday, we all went to Morrisons yesterday for some last minute shopping and the boat is now packed with supplies in every nook & crannie (deja vu Bill?).

But what you might not have considered are the thought processes that go into provisioning. Yesterdays conversation at breakfast revolved around our need to top off the TP supply. John has a detailed list of everything on board, how many are left, and where they are located so we needed to determine how much to buy.... Hence the The Toilet Paper Calculations.

We planned on 5 days from here to Tenerife for 3 men, then from the Canaries we are provisioning for 20 days, 4 men & one woman. After designing the algorithm we ran the calculations and an hour later the tired computer stopped smoking, spit out the answer and off we went.

So today's question... If you were us how many rolls would you have planned for?

Greg Kerlin

Sent from my iPad

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving in Gibraltar

Happy Thanksgiving from the Rock!

We started our day with a quick trip to Morrisons, the only supermarket in Gibraltar.

We just had to have some good "American" Hot Dogs!

Meanwhile you can see how close the runway is to the Marina

After the Supermarket Chef John got up close and personal with the bird.

Soon it was ready for the Oven

While it was in the oven the boys went to the Laundromat toget caught up on laundry and I
went for a walk into the City Centre.  There was an accordionist playing
Andre Bocelli......  Nice touch.

Soon it was back to the boat and time for the feast.

Time to cut the Bird

Dinner consisted of Roast Turkey, Stuffing, Mashed Potatos, & Dinner Rolls

Thanks Chef John for a fantastic meal!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Rock

We arrived in Gibraltar last night just after dark.

I got settled into my bunk and slept a good long sleep and now feel caught up and on schedule.

This morning dawned crystal clear and a comfortable 60 degrees.  After breakfast we set about rigging the headsails on the boat, testing the whisker pole that we will be using on the Trans-Atlantic leg and running some gear checks.

Then around 1pm we set off to climb the rock.  Just as we were about to take the tram ride to the top we were stopped by a tour guide who convinced us to take his tour in his mini van to the top instead.  We decided to take his tour and it was a great decision.  For about 2 hrs we drove around with him got the history of Gibraltar and toured The natural caves, fought off the Barbary Monkeys, toured the defensive caves dug for Gibraltar's defense, and got some awesome sights of the Strait of Gibraltar which we will be sailing thru in just a few more days.

The crew at the top - you can see the peak of the Rock just behind us.

Grooming time on the rock.

A time for reflection

This natural cave has an amphitheater where concerts are held.

Looking southwest from the rock at the Strait of Gibraltar.
On the right is Spain and the European Continent.
Off in the distance on the left is Morocco and the Continent of Africa.
Right down the middle is the Strait and beyond the Atlantic Ocean and home.
If you notice - there are ships everywhere as 
the Strait is one of the busiest shipping channels in the world.
Ancient legend held that this was the gates to Hades and the end of the world.

I gotta get this monkey off of my back man...

Next we went into the Revolutionary era caves dug as fortifications during the Great Siege.
During WWII the Brittish expanded the caves to over 34 miles of tunnels - some that 
are two lanes wide!

This is a view to the North towards Spain.  Spain is right on the other side of the Airport.
Our Marina is just to the left of the runway..   See the boats?

And back by request...  todays self portrait (minus Kate)

Our weather forecast has come in and all looks good for a Saturday Morning departure
to the Canary Islands.
Tomorrow is Turkey day so happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Sevilla - The Cathedral & the Alcazar

I'm working with limited time and bandwidth today so I'm going to let the pictures do most of the talking:

Yesterday before leaving Sevilla we toured the Cathedral and the Alcazar.
The Cathedral is in the Guinness Book as one of the largest in the world and the gravesite
of Christopher Columbus.  It has an interesting history, first it was a mosque.
Google it for more background.
Also - getting used to the settings on this new camera so some of the photos could have been better.

Grave of Christopher Columbus

Then we went to the Alcazar, originally a Moorish fort and then Royal Palace.
The building and gardens were breathtaking!

 "The Courtyard of the Maidens"
refers to the legend that the Moors demanded 100 virgins every year
 as tribute from Christian kingdoms in Iberia.

After our visit, we hopped into the rental car for the 2 1/2 hr drive to Gibraltar.
The narrow streets were a maze getting out, at points we had to fold both mirrors in
on the car as the streets were so narrow and it seemed as if we would not make it thru.

Eventually after twisting and turning our way thru the maze we found a larger avenue and got on the autovia.
Next stop Gibraltar

Monday, November 21, 2011


Well I made it....  with 2 minutes to spare. 3 Countries -  9 1/2hrs of Plane rides, 1hr bus ride, 2 1/2 hr train ride, and lastly a taxi, and I made it to the Flamanco show with 2 minutos to spare.

John got me and Jonathan a front row seat to watch the most amazing show.  It's like flashdance on steroids  and with a passion that is hard to describe.  The show lasted a little over and hour then we retired for a walk around the town, hit a tapas bar for some light eats and a couple of brews.

After that I got back to my hotel room at 10pm local time and tired to get some shuteye, but since I've been going for 36 hours I think I need to decompress some more so what do I do to relax??   Blog!

I'll try to describe the passion of the Flamanco better in a later blog.  Im just too tired right now but wanted to share a few photos.

This is one Photo from the show

This is the local neighborhood.  Note the Lemon and Orange Trees growing along the street.

This is the local square just a few yards from our hotel.  Our hotel is up towards the center building in the distance then off to the right.

Behind be is the Cathederal.   I don't know its name at the moment but it's Majestic.  Tomorrow we will explore it and you get to see the inside including columbus' grave.

Arrived in Spain

I'm currently riding the high speed train from Madrid to Seville and thought this might be a good time for a quick post.
Yesterday Kate drove me 3 1/2 hrs to Raleigh Airport and dropped me off at 2:30p for a 6p flight. I wanted her to drop me off that early so that she would not have to make the long drive home alone In the dark. My plane was delayed another hour and a half so I had plenty of time to do nothing waiting for my flight.
I arrived in London Heathrow and had a couple of hours to kill before my connecting flight on British Airways to Madrid. That flight landed on time and I hit the ground running.  This is landing is Madrid

 My goal was to try to catch the 1600 train to Seville. I had a reservation on the 1700 train to play it safe but if I could get thru customs etc I wanted to get to Seville earlier.
I had done my research and found that I could grab an express bus from the airport that only cost 2 euros to the train station-a 40 min drive.

In no time at all with the modern luggage handling system,  I found my luggage and headed out the door

Next I found the bus, got on it and settled in for the ride. It made stops at the other 2 terminals and by the time it left the station this bus was PACKED!
The drive was uneventful and the little that I saw of Madrid, it is a beautiful city. Arriving at the train station my next challenge was to find the ticket office. With the language barrier it is good that I had done my reasearch down to the finest degree and I already knew where in the station the ticket office was located and which line I had to stand in.
It all paid off since I made the train with 10 minutes to spare!  I was able to use those 10 minutes enjoying the amazing indoor rainforest that was created in response to 2003 Madrid Train Bombings.

Once on the train I texted John (my fearless capt) who is staying in the same hotel as me, to let him know that I made the earlier train, and when to expect my arrival. 

This is my train on the right

This is inside the car.

 He texted me back that it was good that I made the train as we have reservations for the Flaminco dancers 1/2hr after my train arrives. Sooo.... I still have a bit more running before this endless day draws to a close.
The train is great! 190 mph and smooth as glass. They bring around hot towels, wine, sandwiches, apple pie, chocolates, and more hot towels. Plus if it's more than 5 minutes late your trip is free. Howz that for service!
Well it's 15 min to Sevilla so I need to get this posted and put my running shoes back on.

Greg Kerlin
Sent from my iPad

Friday, November 18, 2011

Ready to go

34.768N 76.672W
Winds Calm Seas Flat 38F
Course O degrees 0kts

In a little over 48hrs I'll be off to Spain.
I'm sitting here in the warmth of my kitchen testing the Satellite link that I will use for the blog so I figured I might as well make a post to see how it will look in the email format that i will be using.

I will not be able to see the blog or correct any formatting or spelling while posting from sea so you'll need to forgive the errors and just focus on the story.

I will start each blog just like this one with our position, the time the position was taken, (in Zulu which is Greenwich Mean Time or more precisely UTC for you time nerds.) and the general weather conditions. Since our entire existence revolves around the weather when at sea, the current conditions give you an insight into our world.

There will also be no pictures posted while at sea due to bandwith limitations so I'll try to paint a verbal one for you. I promise to upload some of our great fish catches when we are in port.

My very preliminary itinerary is as follows: Sunday 11/20 1805 fly to London then to Madrid. Cab to Train Station for a 1700 local time train to Seville. Hoping to catch an earlier one if I can get from the airport to train station quicker. After 2.5hr highspeed train ride arrive in Seville. Capt John and his son Jonathan will stay in the same hotel. It's now Monday night.

Tuesday 11/22 Capt Johns tour service shows us the Seville highlights then we drive 2.5hrs to JaySeaDee in Gibraltar. Weds I get acquainted with the boats systems, Thursday is Turkey day. (John special ordered one) Friday is Jonathans 21st birthday, and Saturday weather permitting we cast off for the approx 4-day trip to the Canary Islands.

We will pick up two more crewmates and stay in the Canaries till about 12/5 when we will shove off for the long leg to Grenada, hoping to arrive in Grenada around Dec 22.

So get ready... It's time once again to fire up the old blog. You can leave comments on the blog - I will see them when I get to port. In the meanwhile please drop Kate a line from time to time as she's going to be sitting home and I know she'd love to hear from everyone.

Hope you enjoy the ride.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Fall Migration of the Island Packet

The past several days has seen a progression of southbound Ivory colored boats visiting the Marina here in Beaufort.

First we had the pleasure of Rubin, Bobby and the crew of Priority, an Island Packet 380 out of Baltimore enroute to Miami.  They spent about 24hrs before heading offshore bound for Charleston SC.  

We had dinner and laughs till past midnight.

Their departure was timed in order to make it the 36hrs down the coast before a strong low pressure formed, and along with it, Gale Force Winds.

This is Priority and crew leaving the marina

We chased them down the inter-coastal waterway and got this photo of them just as they exited Beaufort Inlet into the Atlantic Ocean.

Less than 24hrs after the departure of Priority, we had the pleasure of hosting 
IP35 "Island Spirit" with crew Hayden & Radeen, 
and IP460 "Cutter Loose" Crewed by Eric and Patricia.

We were fortunate to be able to obtain 2 slips in our marina so that they could stay and visit for 3 nights.

The timing was perfect in that less than 24hrs after their arrival the promised low pressure developed followed by had gale force winds 
up to 50kts blowing for almost 36hrs

Fortunately they were able to stay securely tied up to the dock and ride out the storm in comfort and safety.

This is Island Spirit squeezed into the slip next to our boat "ei' Lean".
Hayden did a heck of a job getting her backed in there.

This is Cutter Loose in the spot vacated by Priority.

We all made good use of their visit with several dinners, lunch, lots and lots of laughs, and some local sightseeing.
  We were able to show them a bit of our current hometown and a fantastic time was had by all.

Saturday we enjoyed a visit to Fort Macon State Park.  The 19th century fort sits right on the Atlantic and was constructed to protect Beaufort Inlet.

You can see by the flag that the winds are still howling!

The visit was topped off when Radeen and Pat presented Kate with some of their signed artwork.

How nice!  What a great gift!  A reminder of a great time for us to treasure.

By Sunday morning the winds had calmed down a bit and the call of the Keys was singing in the rigging  so our friends cast off their lines and continued their journey south.

The cruising life reminds me in so many ways of my years spent as an over-the-road trucker driving semi's around this big country.

Along the way you meet great friends but inevitably the road forks..... 
one must turn left....
while the other turns right.

The parting is always sad, but you know it's not good bye because sooner or later your paths will cross again in another place.
Until then more adventures and more new friends await.

Thank you Priority, Island Spirit, & Cutter Loose.
See you down the road!