Oh my oh my – That has been a serious while – I am sorry, I have not really been keeping up to date with the blog. Well, let’s try to give it a go again, so I can tell you all about everything that happened since my last blog!
In my last blog (14th January 2021…oops) we crossed the North Atlantic from the USA towards Ireland. You can read more about that crossing here if you would like. We safely arrived in Kinsale/Ireland. Kinsale is a historic beautiful port and fishing town in the County Cork.
We arrived during the pandemic in full force and foreign vessels were not allowed in the country, unless there was an exceptional reason. We didn’t have one, other then that an extensive low pressure was coming up the next day and we didn’t really want to be out on the open sea being very tired. Luckily that low pressure made the officials decide that they couldn’t sent us out after a 23 day crossing coming from the USA. After filling in all the paperwork for Floyd and ourselves, we were officially allowed in the country. A child hood dream coming true for David to arrive here.
Restaurants by that time were (just about) open and at night we celebrated our crossing with a big well deserved pint of Guinness outside on a terras in the sun. Friends who live in Belfast and Dublin came to Kinsale to celebrate our crossing. That was so unbelievably nice. Great to meet up again and to spent time with them. After a few lovely days and many big and long walks in the green rolling countryside we decided it was time to head off again.
We hoisted our sails and left Kinsale for a two day crossing towards Belfast. We wanted to be in a marina so that we could clearly think about what we were going to do for the next months. It was a squally uncomfortable sail in the Irish Sea and I remember I was very happy arriving in Belfast.
It was very clear for us, at that time, that this pandemic wasn’t over yet. Because of that, we had to plan our sailing route. We are not big planners at all, normally we see where we end up. In Belfast we made the decision to head to Engeland and cross to France to stay the winter in La Rochelle. Our time in Belfast was good, the marina was very nice and we spent a lot of time with our friends and even did a short road trip to the county of Mayo.
It was time to leave again – Sails up, crossing the Irish Sea towards England. We dropped our anchor in beautiful St. Mawes opposite Falmouth. We had a great week with very good weather, the day filled with walks and eating fish and chips.
When it was time to head off to France we briefly looked into Floyds ‘Animal passport’. We always have everything in order, but this time we noticed his rabies vaccine was one day overdue. Yes, one day! That meant no leaving to France yet. You might think ‘What’s the problem, just go”, but borders are very strict with these rules and fines can be massive. With great urge we found a vet and got him a new rabies vaccin. All good, but you have to wait a week before he can travel again…and guess what happened…in that week France decided to close their borders.
With France being closed we suddenly hadn’t much choice. I, Kelly, didn’t see my parents for more than 1.5 years, so we thought ‘why don’t we sail to Holland to spent the winter there’. Via our friend Peter, who we met in Valencia with his daughter Jiske last year, we were able to get a berth in our Dutch Kings harbour in Muiden. When Floyd was allowed to travel again, David took off and sailed on his own towards Holland. I drove by car (which is another story on itself) to Holland. A pity, because it was for me quite a little dream to arrive in my home country via the sea. David didn’t have a very nice sail but arrived safely after two days in IJmuiden where Peter and I got on board before the first lock. The sun came out and it was a lovely day motoring towards Muiden. After 4 hours Ker Marie was berthed in our Kings harbour. A very pretty spot!
It was nice to finally be able to ‘show’ Ker Marie to my family and friends. Everyone was so curious about the boat ‘that we crossed the ocean twice with’. Somehow, an ocean crossing is more on people’s mind, while it can be pretty spooky weather in just the mediterranean sometimes. Our time in Holland was very pleasant, we even had a massive snow storm which ended up in ‘Ker Marie’ being iced in for a week. Quite cool to ice skate around your boat. Alien for David as he has never seen and stood on natural ice.
After almost 4 months in Holland we waved goodbye to the very kind and generous people from the harbour in Muiden. Our time here was very good but we were also extremely eager to get out back to open sea again. We hoisted our sails after leaving the last lock in IJmuiden, signs of relieve, we are finally out again! Our main goal was to get to France, which was at that time tricky with not all states being opened yet. We ended up in Ouistreham where we had to stay for 1.5 months because we weren’t allowed to move up along the coast.
At the beginning of May we were finally able to leave, and so we did straight away. We wanted to make big passages as we already sailed this part of France before. We sailed from Ouistreham to Cherbourg and Cherbourg to the Glenan Islands. That’s were we decided to enjoy these beautiful islands a bit more. There are also described as the ‘Breton Taihiti’ and it indeed felt like I was back in the Caribbean. Lovely blue waters, supping and strolling around the islands, postcard perfect. We even had our first barbecue of the year here. After the Glenan Islands we sailed to our favourite island, called “Houat”! A stunner of a place with one of the best ‘Pain au raisins’ we ever had. I can tell you, I had quite a few in my life, you can wake me up for them!
After a few pastries, just a few, we got ourselves ready to cross the Bay of Biscay. We crossed it this time in 2.5 days, the wind not forecasted as it was, but all good. A quick stop in Spain to get some sleep and time to head off again. We sailed from ‘A Coruna’ in one go to ‘Porto’, had a 15 hour stop here and got our sailing gear on again. We then sailed non stop from ‘Porto’ to ‘Denia/Spain’ in the Mediterranean. That was a 5 day trip and we covered about 850 miles. The passage was good but some moments we had strong winds and fairly big swell from the side. We had a big wave that exactly broke on the boat. I never had to hold myself so tightly to not fly through the cockpit, she was so much pushed over! Inside was a mess because every locker flew open and crockery broke on the floor. But as always, very happy with this boat, Ker Marie handled this wave like a dream! After arrival in Denia we took a few days off to relax and sleep a lot.
A few days later we hoisted our sails to Ibiza, a place which we have seen before by boat, it is easy sailing and there was not much time left in the season to head out further down in the Mediterranean. So, we decided to stay here for a few weeks. It was great, we met up with our friends Phil & Roxy who we met in Martinique in the Caribbean, and a few other bunch of sailing people who we met via Instagram. We had a lovely few weeks but the season was over, winter was coming up. For the first time in 3.5 years we decided to park the boat in Valencia for the winter and to spent the winter in the French Pyrenees!
Very strange to have unlimited hot water, no anchor alarm stress and steady ground under your feet again. And snow, that’s why we decided to come here, David is an avid Snowboarder, so on the first day the lifts opened we were out there, one of the first once to take the runs. That unfortunately was ruined by me, because I fell and broke my wrist. A day later I was operated in the local hospital and the snowboard season was over for me. Pretty damn unlucky! But it is what it is. We had a great few wintery months, but it is time to do again what Ker Marie is made for; Sailing!
We just arrived back in Valencia, have to sort a few more things out, and we are off! We both can’t wait to get her and ourselves back out again!