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Deep in the Caribbean

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 Deep in the Caribbean Since Christmas we have been cruising the Caribbean and stopped everywhere. This is actually our third seasons in the Caribbean, we did 2 seasons there on our last circ umnavigation, but we are still finding a lot of new places and things. Instead of the normal chronological stuff I'll just post some random things here. One thing that gives me a lot of pleasure is lobstering. On our last circumnavigation I just caught a few lobsters but now I'm the terror of the crustacean population. :D Lobster BBQ Look at that BEAST! (the lobster is nice too) Champagne bottle for scale  In the Grenadines the girls found the tortoise island (Baliceaux) and started a farm.  Collecting the livestock Managing the farm We visited some nice beaches. This is the girls looking at some wild horses that lived on the beach in Barbuda. How is that for Paradise!?! Only wild animals in this picture In Cuba the girls finally realised a life long dream of riding in a pink car. PIIINK!

Portugal to the Caribbean

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Portugal to the Caribbean Oh man did we have some adventures on this stretch! So as you might know there have been some Orcas that attack yachts along the Spanish and Portuguese Atlantic coast. In general the Orcas attack and destroy the rudder of yachts, a costly and slow thing to fix that could well mean the premature end of an atlantic crossing. When we were planning our next stop after Nasare. we heards that the Orcas were attacking boats just in the next port south of us. So we decided to sail straight for Madeira and thereby avoid the orcas. So we set the autopilot to take us straight out into the atlantic. At sunset we heard a Mayday on the VHF from a boat just where we would have been if we continued south instead of twest. The Orcas had stuck again! Later we heard the boat was towed back to shore with a destroyed rudder.  After this we had a lovely sail to Porto Santo (close to Madeira) and had a great time for a couple of weeks. < Mountaineering in Porto Santo Then we sail

Belgium to Portugal

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 Hola! We are now in Nazare in Portugal. It is famous for the largest surf waves in Europe.  My is trying to catch the dreaded 30m surfbreak. Along the way from Belgium to here we have stopped in innumerable harbours, some nice and some very nice. Belgium was like the Netherlands, flat, cold and rainy with headwinds as usual but once we crossed into France and the English channel the weather finally cleared up and we had good winds and sunshine along the beautiful French coast, a huge improvement compared to the terrible Norths Sea.  We found a decent weather window to cross Biscay. The choice was no wind or slightly too much wind so being very tired of motoring all the time we chose the latter. To make matters more interesting we were in a hurry to cross because a late arrival to Spain would mean way too much wind. We set most of our sails and just bombed down to La Coruna in Spain, the best distance was 165nm in 24h. We had to spend almost all the time indoors due to some waves break

Sweden to Belgium

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Hooray we are finally out of Sweden! It has been a somewhat frustrating time so far. 19 July we hauled Alice out of the water and onto a gravel plain in Strömstad Marina. Here the friendly but totally overworked mechanics replaced the propeller shaft that was bent in the engine disaster in June (you can read about that earlier in the blog). The work itself took 3 days or so but we stayed on the hard for 2 weeks waiting for spare parts and available mechanics. During this frustrating wait we also visited Marks relatives on the nearby islands of Trossö and Kalvö. Anyway on August 5 we finally got back in the water and set sail for Hirshals in Denmark. Since then we have sailed and motored on average every other day and are now in Belgium. The North sea lives up to its reputation by mainly offering a strong wind right in our face with rain liberally sprinkled in. I wouldn't say its been awful but it hasn't been very nice either. A bit like going to the dentist to find out your tee

Paradise at home

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After 26 intensive days Im happy to report we are still in Sweden. We are waiting for the second shot of the vaccine before we leave for the English channel. It's still unclear exactly what country we will aim for but the best case is the UK and departing 1 August. Before that we will haul out at Strömstad marina to get the propeller shaft fixed. It's a bit more bent than I hoped for and for a change I will get a professional to have a look at it. In general I prefer to fix everything myself but changing the shaft and aligning the engine perfectly is beyond my ability (or patience, take your pick). For now we are cruising around the Koster archipelago. You can see where we are by downloading an AIS app and search for MMSI 265517600 or clicking here   Our children Molly and My are enjoying themself a lot in the beautiful weather Birds on a wire at Koster Super swing at Väderöarna The adult are also having a good time: Goodbye party with Marks colleagues at Lilla bommen 

Sailing Alice on Instagram

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 My wife and captain Maria has an instagram page with our (mis) adventures Sailing Alice here: https://www.instagram.com/sailing_alice/

Disaster strikes

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A week ago, just as we were entering our berth, the whole boat gave a mighty shudder and almost jumped out of the water. For a second I thought we might have hit a submerged log but when we ran inside to check on the engine the problem quickly became apparent The engine had almost detached from the propeller shaft except for the last bolt and managed to leverage itself out of the mount and partly thru the wall. The shudder I had felt was 800kg of steel moving 10cm to starboard. All 4 engine mounts were scrap metal and it was quite possible the shaft was bent. My initial estimate was 20-100k€ of damage, outhaul and 2 months of work to fix this. We were devastated, it wasn’t a showstopper but very inconvenient.  However 7 days later and 150€ poorer I have replace all the mounts and the shaft seems to be mainly OK. It was a bit wonky already before the accident and it doesn’t seem to gotten worse. I will put in a flexible coupling to compensate.  Lessons learned: I shouldn’t be so up