Tag Archives | Nordhavn

Caledonian Canal Day 3: Dochgarroch to Fort Augustus via Loch Ness

Loch Ness is one of the top three tourist destinations in Scotland, along with Edinburgh and the Isle of Skye. Second to Nessie, a major draw of Loch Ness is 13th-century Urquhart Castle. One of the largest castles in Scotland, Urquhart attracted some 400,000 visitors in 2016. On our third day in the Caledonian Canal,…

Caledonian Canal Day 2: Muirtown Basin to Dochgarroch

We passed through the four-lock Muirtown flight at the start of our second day in the Caledonian Canal, then cruised the scenic waterway alongside, but above, the River Ness en route to Dochgarroch. Our total travel distance was five miles in three hours for an average speed of just over 1.5kts. The locks take up…

Caledonian Canal Day 1: Clachnaharry Sea Lock to Muirtown Basin

The Caledonian Canal extends 50 nautical miles southwest from Beauly Firth near Inverness to Loch Linnhe by Fort William. Only 19 miles of the canal are man-made and the rest extends through four natural freshwater lochs, including the famous Loch Ness. Along the way are 10 swing bridges and 29 locks, achieving a maximum elevation…


Inverness was a great stop before our trip down the Caledonian Canal. In our last few days there we toured the beautiful Ness Islands and more of the canal by bike, stocked up on provisions, and got some local knowledge on cruising the canal from Paisley residents Pamela and Neil White. Below are trip highlights…

Kyle of Lochalsh

Picturesque Eilean Donan Castle, linked to the mainland with an elegant stone bridge, is one of Scotland’s most photographed castles. The castle was built in the 13th century and restored in the 19th after it was destroyed during the 18th-century Jacobite rebellions. We took the scenic train ride from Inverness to the Kyle of Lochalsh,…

Winding Down – Brunswick, GA

Brunswick, GA — Tied up at St Simons; a Golden Isles sunset reflecting off the sound, pelicans and gulls ending the day doing what it is they do, all appears peaceful. Though, just a couple days ago, Thanksgiving Day, this was a different picture all together. A damp northerly wind was blowing hard and there was no sunset to be enjoyed, just gray, grayer, then darkness and cold.

In several ways, this trip is winding down.

Leaving Beaufort: With winds and seas in the unsettled state they were in, the choices were to run the ICW or stay put. Staying put was no longer an option.
Motoring south and winding down the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, there are many bends and curves, the shoals around every ocean inlet must be taken seriously, and almost every mile of the way there’s some obstacle that must be overcome. Most are not as precarious as reputed (ActiveCaptain), but all bets are off, you’re compelled to give every one of these complications your attention or one of them could make for a very bad day.  Stress.
(Hindsight is 20-20: Unless there’s an unusually low tide, if you stay in the center of the channel there’s little to worry about.)
The stretch between Beaufort and Cape Fear is crossed with bridges all seemingly set up on schedules that are timed to penalize any boat requiring an opening—of course a fierce current is always pushing as you approach them and the incommunicado bridge tender’s watch invariably runs 5 minutes slow.

Needless to say, if one has taken on the mindset to get home, this is a chore, and this portion of the ICW is not much for stopping and smelling the roses so…  Push.

Past the Cape Fear River and back into the ICW, St James Marina is just a short way. A nicely manicured marina with an excellent restaurant onsite.

The Southport to Georgetown, SC run is not nearly as bad as it’s reputation. The water’s fairly deep and there are fewer shoals to overthink. Once pass Myrtle Beach, other than strong currents, this bit is not bad at all. It’s nice, actually.
Osprey Marina is a good stop. Tucked back into a forest of low country cypress trees is a little sanctuary of a marina. A pleasant stop that’s out of the current and staffed by nice folks who are happy to give you a hand tying up.
Back in the ICW and a full day’s run in deep water is Georgetown, SC. Harborwalk Marina is the nicest and closest marina to the restaurants and shops that Georgetown has to offer. A charming little town that’s at least worth a couple of days.

The next morning, looking across the harbor at a stack towering over a nearby mill, the winds seemed to have settled, the smoke bellows straight up towards the clouds.
The run out Winyah Bay is uneventful as is the run into Charleston and all the way to Ashley Marina.

The winds were relenting and the seas stayed somewhat still. Leaving Charleston Bay and easing out the inlet, all remains calm and the next leg down to Hilton Head is an easy day.

Passing by the 140′ Sailing Vessel ~ Athena

Soon however, the blow’s back and the affected seas have picked up considerably; the pleasant days in the ocean now turn less than so, but still better than working the ICW.

The next run, Hilton Head to Brunswick, offered up quite a bit more texture.

Plowing away from Hilton Head’s Calibogue Sound and out Tybee Roads, the approach was rough and busy. With northerly winds the following sea brought on nice speed and St Simons Sound got closer sooner than expected.

This same strong north to south wind created continuously tall nasty breakers all the way past St Simons. About 7 miles of contending with a beam bashing sea once again makes this a less than pleasurable day.

Though once it’s done – It’s done

Easing under the Sidney Lanier Bridge you’ll find Brunswick Landing Marina. A nice community of a marina that’s quite large. – Free Beer 24/7 – Nirvana for many.

= = = = = =

We stayed at Brunswick Landing for a few days and had a nice time while getting a bit of work done. We’ve tied up here before but it was a long time back. 14 years ago we brought the original Istaboa, a 62 Offshore, to downtown Brunswick and celebrated Melonie’s mother’s 80 birthday. The place hasn’t changed much since then… just the names and faces.
Thanksgiving was aboard. Excellent Roast Beef for dinner then a few episodes of the Netflix series, Alias Grace. Brunswick Landing did put on a nice Thanksgiving feast for the boaters, but it was rainy and cold out so we decided to lay low with the pups and enjoy ourselves.
We’ve now moved over to Morningstar Golden Isles Marina to stage our departure for Florida as soon as possible.

Brunswick marks the end of a long nautical business trip. A tour to visit the increasing number of marinas that we do business with as well as those we’d like to build a relationship. We’ve caught up with many old friends and made several new contacts. It’s time to stop for a while and take stock of our labors.
This little marina WiFi company is a win for all those it touches; we’re proud of onSpot and it’s service.

This trip is also winding down for Mel and me.
Personally, I’m ready to be back home in Jupiter. To walk with my dogs on the warm sunny beach and sleep in a king size bed, to spend all the time I want in a large hot shower and have a car at my disposal; all the trapping that Mel and I happily left behind last May.
Mel is not quite as pleased as I am about tying up Istaboa, but me thinks she’ll enjoy all these things as well … in time.

This life is in our DNA, it’s not a hobby and not an item on a bucket list to check off, but sometimes, stepping away makes it all just that much better.

Something I wrote a few years back:

And, yes I know, there are those who feel there’s no better life than full time living aboard our boats, but we’ve been doing this cruising thing for many years and we like to think of the boat life as a dream being realized. Though sometimes, for us anyway, it’s fun to hop on the bus and say, “there’s no place like home”, and our dream remains floating somewhere awaiting our return. 

So yes, we’re happy to be heading home and now, conveniently, our the boat is just minutes away and we see it almost everyday.
There are a few projects needed to be done; a radar that blinks, electrical gremlins, but all in all Istaboa has been as kind to us as we’ve been to her. She likes to be run and enjoyed; we’ve been doing just that.

Like us, she also enjoys warm weather and Jupiter’s pleasant winter is only a few hundred miles away.


Nordhavn 57-26 Istaboa


Envoy is now in Lefkas Marina for the winter and we’re home in Auckland for the southern hemisphere summer.
I forgot to mention that just before Amy left us our bow thruster’s 24 volt electric motor was repaired and re-installed. Its sudden stop (caused by a line fouling its prop at Lefkas Marina) caused damage to the bases of the brushes and these have been replaced. We only use our bow thruster when berthing in a marina or harbour so not having it for a few weeks wasn’t a problem.
During late September after clearing-in back to Greece from Albania we spend a few days cruising
around northern Corfu awaiting news of our water maker. It’s too late to make much difference for this season but we’d like to have it for next. Actually we haven’t had any problems at all getting plenty of fresh water ashore, but the water maker is a nice-to-have.

Envoy alongside wharf at Saranda, Albania

When the wind increased at Saranda a large ferry started to drag its anchor towards Envoy. Fortunately some crew were on hand to resolve this.

View of Saranda’s waterfront

Agri is a stunning anchorage in settled conditions

This house has been constructed using rocks obtained during excavation of the building site

These guys are shaping the rocks into blocks

We get an interesting weather forecast; SE winds Force 4 to 5 soon becoming cyclonic with thunderstorms. With the storm at Sivota still in our minds we cruise just a few miles to the northern side of Corfu to anchor in Ormos Galiaies – a protected south-facing bay. 

Although we prepare for the worst we thankfully only get winds up to about 25 knots and no thunderstorms. The problem with thunderstorms here being they are usually accompanied by violent squalls and major wind direction shifts.

A few days later a water maker technician, Esideras, from Athens comes aboard at Gouvia Marina to check our system. Angelos, the local technician, thinks our problem is caused by a reduced flow of input seawater but Esideras runs some tests and concludes the fault lies with the high pressure pump. This is despite the fact he’s already had the pump in Athens for testing, but again he takes the pump plus the membrane in its casing for further tests.

Engineer working on our water maker. The pump and membrane are on deck

Envoy alongside in Gouvia Marina for water maker work

In the marina we see a trailer boat on the hardstand with four huge outboards, all with their props badly damaged after presumably running aground. As Di took the photo below a Coastguard officer rushed up gesticulating no photos – but too late.

Laurie by boat with four huge Yamaha outboards

Closer inspection shows four badly damaged propellers and bottoms of outboards

In late September long time Kiwi friends Graham and Cherry Poole arrive for a week with us – their first visit to Greece and to Envoy. We meet them at the beautiful anchorage of Mourtos and during the transfer of their luggage to Envoy one of Cherry’s bags gets left behind in a taverna. No problem though, the taverna’s manager finds it and we collect it the next day.
Being an engineer, ex Navy Reserve Chief Petty Officer and ex Coastguard Skipper Graham is excellent crew as well as being a very keen and experienced fisherman (as is soon confirmed).
Graham and Cherry only have seven nights with us and we cruise across to Lakka Bay on the island of Paxxos, down to Logos, across to Parga on the mainland and down to Preveza. All places we’ve been to and know they’ll enjoy.
Parga is a great place to fill our water tanks from ashore using our jerricans. Many charter yacht flotillas overnight here and have an interesting way of mooring – the small harbour has deep water right up to a calm sandy beach so the yachts put out a stern anchor, run their bows ashore and put their bow anchors on dry land.
While cruising from Parga to Preveza we tow two lures and land four tuna. Graham does an excellent filleting job and we dine on sashimi for the first time in ages.
Graham with freshly caught small tuna

Then we cruise through the Lefkas Canal to anchor off Lefkas where Graham and Cherry leave us.
On our last night at anchor we see these charter yachts moor forming a circle so that their cockpits are in the centre

Two days later we’re in Lefkas marina for the winter.
It’s been an unusual cruising year having lost two months repairing the fire damage.
We cruised 926 miles, less than half our usual annual distance, logging 181 engine hours and having no injuries or major incidents apart from the fire damage on the day we arrived. Two technical issues we encountered were mostly our own fault – that is the inverter failure and bow thruster issue and these are resolved while the water maker problem will hopefully be resolved on our return next year.
Our agent A1 Yachting puts Envoy in Customs bond for the winter to maximise the time she can remain in EU waters with VAT unpaid.
A few days later we dine at one of our favourite local restaurants enjoying some fresh tuna where the friendly chef shows a photo of the tuna we’re eating. Caught off nearby Megani. Island and weighing an impressive 180 kg, he says tuna of this size are still caught regularly.
Next posting shortly about technical matters being attended to in the marina,

First View to the Caledonian Canal

Our plan to return to southern Scotland via the Caledonian Canal was put together while we were still in Daytona, Florida in February of this year. So we’ve been looking forward to it for a long time. Since the canal is only a short distance from Inverness, we took the bikes over for a preview…

Inverness Arrival

Inverness, founded around the 12th century, is the capital city of the Scottish Highlands and a gateway to the Caledonian Canal. We arrived after an easy three-hour run from Cromarty Firth, and spent a great afternoon exploring this historic town along the River Ness. Below are highlights from October 7th, 2018 in northern Scotland. Click…

Cromarty Firth

Following an early-morning departure from the Orkney Islands, we rode the current south to Cromary Firth and found ourselves in an oil rig graveyard. With oil prices declining over the past few years, many North Sea oil companies have reduced production and towed some rigs to the protected harbor at Cromarty Firth. Some have a…