About us and the boat

About us and the boat:

We were lucky enough to retire early at the start of 2013 so we could head off and "live the dream" on board our Nordhavn 47 Trawler Yacht. The idea is to see some of the planet, at a slow 6 - 7 knots pace. There are no fixed goals or timings, we just had a plan to visit Scotland and then probably the Baltic before heading south.

The Baltic has been postponed as we didn't manage to see everything we wanted to in Scotland during our first year owing to family issues. The idea is to visit the nicer areas in these latitudes before heading south for warmer weather. If we like somewhere, we will stay for a while. If not, we will just move on. So, for the people who love forward planning and targets, this might seem a little relaxed!

If anyone else is contemplating a trawler yacht life, maybe our experiences will be enough to make you think again, or maybe do it sooner then you intended!

The boat is called Rockland and she is built for long distance cruising and a comfortable life on board too. If you want to see more about trawler yachts and the Nordhavn 47 in particular, there is a link to the manufacturers website in our "useful stuff" section. For the technically minded, there is a little info and pictures of the boat and equipment in the same section


Richard and June

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Planet Penguin and farewell to Tenerife

Yes, the penguinarium (if that is a real word) is quite stunning. The Loro Parque website says it is the biggest penguin habitat in the world - funny, the antarctic looks a lot bigger on maps.

Still, the huge freezer that they live in, with real falling snow and ice is most impressive. As is the moving walkway that you stand on to slowly move around the display area. Had to do this twice.....

Patrick's cousins were in good form:

Although the chicks looked a little grumbly in their incubator:

Their life is just like Patrick's - lots of standing around looking bemused with a rather large tummy:

Again, like Patrick they are good at giving each other the cold shoulder from time to time. Patrick usually reserves this treatment for us after we've been away for a couple of weeks....

One trait that Patrick isn't keen on seems to be swimming. He obviously takes after his male guardian. However, his Planet Penguin brethren seem happy in the water:

Before returning to the chilly UK, we made a trip to San Juan, one of our favourite little towns on the island. We had been introduced to it many years ago by Barrie and Veronica, our ex-neighbours in Hythe Marina. They owned an apartment in Tenerife and foolishly invited us to stay with them for a few days. The place has a proper working air about it, not just tourist trap stuff:

The harbour is a working fishing port and even has a big boat lift. We like watching other folks' boats hanging precariously:

Somehow seeing your own in slings is less restful, we have that to look forward to shortly of course.

Returning to the UK was the expected temperature shock. Patrick gave us the expected cold shoulder and the boat had the expected black streaks on it from the rain. Welcome home. Having shared the Tenerife "no dog fouling" sign with you in an earlier post, we felt obliged to share the Canal and River Trust's version. We think this one is way better:

We tried it out on Bronwen the spaniel. She looked bemused and then went for a swim in Cardiff Bay. Perhaps she needed it in Welsh not English?

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Loro Parque

Yes, the second "must do thing" whilst in Tenerife is to visit Loro Parque. It is so unlike the average zoo or tacky american animal show. If you are not familiar with the place, then have a look at Trip Advisor . Apparently this is the number 1 attraction in Europe if you believe the trip advisor information. As an animal protection foundation they do some interesting stuff - although there was lots of controversy about setting up and running an orca show.

So, the gorillas are a prime attraction:

Some get a little fed up with having their picture taken though:

Or perhaps he was just chilly - remember that it was the coldest winter on record etc etc.

The white scary guy came out to inspect us as well:

As did some slightly smaller and much less scary meerkats. To help the non UK readers (or those who never watch commercial TV) to understand the obsession with meerkats we seem to have as a nation, look at  Wikipedia. Here is the website that was spawned from one TV advert in January 2009 which has gained a cult following compare the meerkat and life of its own:

The sealion show involved one giving the kiss of life to a trainer:

Considering how many fish the monster sealion had been given by then, the trainer must have serious sinus trouble or a very strong stomach. Naturally we had to watch the dolphin show to see if they were as good as the ones that like to play in our bow wave. You can judge for yourself:

Of course, we haven't seen one go backwards, rapidly, with only his tail in the water out to sea:

The clincher is that none of those we have seen seemed prepared to offer us a high speed surfing experience:

Loro Parque dolphins are ahead slightly we guess - although when the wild ones share some time with you it seems more special...

The most controversial thing seems to be the orca display. It was impressive though:

The orcas enjoy soaking the audience of course - a nice move by the park owners who sell splash protection gear at 4 Euros a pop. A nice little earner....

The very best bit of the park is, to our eyes, Planet Penguin. More of that in the next post, just to keep you coming back.....

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Canarian sun (?)

The typical UK weather in January / February isn't too appealing really. So, until we are berthed permanently somewhere warmer, we tend to try and find a spot in the Canary Islands for a couple of weeks winter sun - but by plane. This year, Tenerife was the lucky recipient of our cash / time -mainly because the crew's mum was going to be out there for her 80th birthday and we thought that we would take her out for the day.

Flying from Cardiff airport was as easy as last year. Why they get all 180 passengers to queue up at a gate with vestigial seating so long before the plane is ready to board in such a tiny airport is beyond us though. The whole organisation there is unimpressive - upon our return they took over 45 minutes to deliver the first piece of luggage and they only had one plane to worry about! Think we might try Bristol airport in future...

So, what did we find? Well, after our trip across Loch Ness last summer, we were surprised to find the Loch Ness restaurant complete with a superfluous hyphen. Since when was pizza a traditional highland Scotland dish?

Our hotel was near Los Gigantes, home to some of the tackiest trip boats we have witnessed:

The crew had attempted some sort of pirate dress code too. All a bit much for our tastes....

The real joy of the Canary Islands at this time of year is to be able to wander around in a T shirt and shorts without getting your bits frozen. Even though they were reporting the coldest winter on record (overnight temperatures down to 13 C) we were fine - it just wasn't as sunny as in prior years. The walks and little villages were as nice as ever though. Los Abrigos has some good artists:

One sad part is the number of abandoned part completed new buildings. This one had found a niche though, acting as a home for dead and decaying fishing boats:

We picked up the crew's parents from their hotel and took them to Garachico, a lovely little town. They looked pretty active and happy despite the cloud cover:

The crew needed to check and see if the horse that took us on a little carriage ride was real:

Yes, it was - it drank, ate and then produced suitable waste products into the dinky little bag you can just see behind it in the picture.

The capital, Santa Cruz, is a delightful place. Lovely old buildings, friendly feel, sensible priced car parking and cheap coffee:

We really like the place even if the shops shut early on Saturday - all very civilised compared to our 24 hour UK shopping opportunities. One drawback of the island is that dog owners tend not to clear up after their pets at all, despite nice reminders like this one:

No trip to Tenerife is complete without doing two things. One is a visit to Teide, the mountain / volcano that pretty much formed the island. Beautiful views and sun as we were above the clouds - yes our little Citroen hire car had quite a climb that day. Here are some impressions:

What is the second "must do"? Well, you will have to contain your thirst for knowledge for a while. That treat will be in our next post.