Archive For The “Europe” Category

Ardnamurchan Point

Ardnamurchan Point

Ardnamurchan Point, along the eastern shore of the Sea of the Hebrides, is the westernmost point on mainland Britain. The name derives from the Scottish Gaelic term Ard na Murchan, meaning “the hill of the great sea”. Rounding Ardnamurchan Point is considered a major milestone for cruising boaters. Currents can run 1.5kts around the point…

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Gometra Harbour

Gometra Harbour

More than two months after we dropped anchor off the Isle of Gigha, we departed north for Stornoway to refuel and replenish our deep stores. The anchorage had worked out well and the islanders had taken good care of us, but this was by far the longest we’d ever been at anchor in any one…

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Essentials at Gigha

Essentials at Gigha

After 8 weeks at Gigha, and 63 days since we’d last provisioned, we’d consumed all our fresh fruit, were almost out of fresh vegetables and our deep stores were dwindling. So when Joe Teale at Ardminish Stores on Gigha contacted us to ask if we needed anything, we gratefully accepted his offer. Duncan and the…

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Maintaining at Gigha

Maintaining at Gigha

While our cruising lifestyle may be on pause during the Scottish lockdown, our maintenance log isn’t. Several scheduled service items came due in mid-May, including annual testing, lubricating and changing the oil and filter in our gasoline engines, changing the hydraulic zincs, and charging our backup batteries. We also completed some unscheduled maintenance work, such…

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Seven Weeks at Gigha

Seven Weeks at Gigha

When we departed Amsterdam in February of this year, our plans were to spend the spring in Antwerp and the Atlantic coast of France and Spain, and the rest of the year in the Mediterranean. Since grocery shopping can be a hassle, we’d stocked up the boat planning not to need anything except produce and…

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Gigha Winds

Gigha Winds

Our anchorage at the Isle of Gigha has good protection in most directions, except from east to northeast. The winds generally haven’t been in that direction since we arrived, but high winds with gusts to 38 knots blew from the northeast for several days during the fourth week of our stay, sending large waves are…

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Baking at Gigha

Baking at Gigha

While in California back in 2013, we bought a Zojirushi Home Bakery Mini. We weren’t sure how available bread would be as we travelled around the world, and at certain stages of the trip we wanted to be able to devote more freezer space to meats. We’ve found good fresh bread readily available in most…

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Isle of Gigha, First Ten Days

Isle of Gigha, First Ten Days

With the UK in lockdown, we’re spending all our time on board Dirona. It’s a comfortable boat, we always have excellent internet connectivity, and there’s never a shortage of work to do. This has given us time to complete a few lower-priority projects that have been around for a while. Among the work we did…

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Portland to Gigha

Portland to Gigha

Our initial plan was to stop in Ireland to refuel on our way to Scotland from Portland. But the occupants of any boat arriving in Ireland are placed under a 14-day quarantine for COVID-19, and tax-free diesel is no longer available for pleasure craft. We also didn’t want to risk departing the UK and not…

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Portland, UK

Portland, UK

1,300-acre (520-hectare) Portland Harbour was the largest man-made harbour in the world when completed in 1872 (it’s now the fourth largest). The huge harbour, exposed to strong English Channel winds but protected from their waves, is one of the best places for sailing in the UK. Both times we visited we’ve seen plenty of on-water…

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Ramsgate to Portland

Ramsgate to Portland

We departed Ramsgate at 8pm with the winds blowing in the 20s behind us. We expected conditions to settle down soon and wanted to take advantage of calm overnight weather to make a 125-mile run to the Isle of Wight, or possibly, a further 50 miles to Portland. The winds did indeed drop off, and…

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Ramsgate, UK

Ramsgate, UK

Ramsgate has been a seaside resort town since the 19th century. Today the city supports one of the largest marinas in the southern UK alongside a vibrant and historic waterfront packed with restaurants and pubs. As with most visits to a new city, we spent the first afternoon after our arrival from Antwerp touring Ramsgate…

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Antwerp to Ramsgate

Antwerp to Ramsgate

In late October of 2019, we exited the North Sea at Vlieland, NL and Dirona remained in inland waters for the following five months. We eventually returned to the North Sea in mid-March of 2020, about when we’d intended to, but with an entirely different destination plotted. Our original plan was to cruise the Atlantic…

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Jachthaven Willemdok

Jachthaven Willemdok

Willemdok, the second of Antwerp’s extensive interior docks to be built, was completed in 1812 on the order of Napoleon. Today the basin is home to Jachthaven Willemdok, a fabulous marina ringed with restaurants and cafes that is within walking distance of the city’s train station and its historic core. We initially had planned to…

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Berendrecht Lock

Berendrecht Lock

The Berendrecht and Kieldrecht locks in the Port of Antwerp are the two biggest locks in the world. Both are 1,600 ft (1/2 km) long and 223 ft (68m) wide, and can accommodate post-Panamax ships. When completed in 1988, the 44-ft-deep (13.5 m) Berendrecht was the largest in the world until edged out by the…

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Ghent

Ghent

Ghent is one of Belgium’s oldest cities, with beautiful medieval and classical architecture, winding canals lined with cafes and bars, wonderful street art, and some of the best museums in the country. The city also is a university town and has the vibrant feel a youthful population brings, that we’re told feels less touristy than…

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Brussels

Brussels

Brussels famous Grand Place, named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1998, is one of the most magnificent city squares in Europe. A 15th-century spired town hall rises on one side, while ornate 17th-century guild halls and other centuries-old buildings form the other three sides. The square is all but invisible until you walk through…

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Along the Scheldt

Along the Scheldt

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, two million Europeans departed Antwerp along the river Scheldt aboard Red Star Line ships bound for North America. Today, the shipping company’s riverside warehouse is now home to an excellent museum detailing the history of that emigration. During that time, the only connection between the east and west…

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