Barry's Blog #112 - Birthday, Maintenance, Christmas

Baz's birthday

There's a bit of time travel in this week's video so to make things less complicated I'll talk about the events in the order they appear in the episode.

We open on my birthday, December 18th 2019, exactly 2 years to the day that we said goodbye to our son Luke when he dropped us and our worldly possessions off at Brisbane airport in Australia ready for our flights to Spain.

It seems such a long time and also such a short time and I personally don't feel that we've actually travelled very far as sailors. On reflection I think a lot of that stems from the fact that we spent 3 months looking for the boat, 5 months fitting her out before sailing to Turkey, where we spent 5 more months waiting out winter weather and now after only 6 months of summer sailing we are once again waiting out winter weather in Greece for another 4 or 5 months. Hardier and more experienced sailors will tell you that you can spend almost the whole year sailing in the Mediterranean and in a way they're right. If we were going to do that, we'd have to go back east to Turkey and then south to Cyprus. However we have a general travel direction of west so going east and south to hide from the worst of the winter storms would be going backwards and then we'd have to spend the next summer going west again. We'd be forever chasing our tail and never make any progress.

Another thing that's always been niggling in the back of our minds has been Brexit. When/if that finally takes effect, then the rules will change for us (and many others) meaning that as a UK registered vessel and travelling on our UK passports we will then be subject to the 90 days in 180 days Schengen rule.

Without going into too much detail it means we will only be able stay for 3 months in any 6 months within the Schengen zone. Inside the Mediterranean the only none Schengen and safe countries, with an easily accessible coastline we can dash to, are Albania, Croatia, Tunisia, Morocco and Gibraltar.

Winter storm at Kas Turkey

The biggest drawback to needing to dash from one part of the Med to another is that we'd have to be super mindful about not getting caught out in bad weather and try to be in a position to make a passage of up to 3 nights with just the two of us on board.

Let me elaborate on what 'just the two of us on board' really means. That's 72 hours of being awake for 3 hours and sleeping for 3 hours. Non-stop. You can't pull over to stretch your legs, take a break and grab a McDonald's. You pick up the anchor at one country then just go until you reach your destination.

We don't want that kind of pressure, so since Brexit came into the picture we've had our eye on the goal of getting to the Strait of Gibraltar and saying goodbye to the Mediterranean, which is a shame because it means we will miss so many beautiful places that we would've liked to visit.

Once again I've gone off on a tangent, but in a way that's what these blogs are about. As there's only so much we can film and share in a video, these blogs allow us to also share feelings and thoughts to a much deeper level.

Birthday Boy

The day of my 2019 birthday was overcast and a bit chilly and we decided to wear our wet weather gear in case it rained but mostly to fend off the wind chill factor as we drove the general loan boat yard scooter into Limni town.