Sailing with the Girl with the dragon Tattoo

Where were we…. Italy. It seems like a lifetime ago already as i write this from the capital of Morocco. There’s a surprisingly pleasant wailing (a muslim call to prayer) in the mosque tower near the marina adding colour to my already colourful evening. Earlier, John from Solstice next door dropped off half a freshly caught Mahi Mahi for me for dinner, I cooked it up and have washed it down with plenty of Vino and am not allowed to get up from the nav station until this blog is finished, or the wine runs out and I need to get some more!

Simon & Michelle left for Fez 2 days ago, something about Simon wanting to buy an original Fez hat?? and left me alone to sort out my BAS, last year’s Tax return and do some much needed research & planning on the next phase of the trip – how exactly will I squeeze sailing across more then half the planet in less then 12 months is still a slight mystery, but one thing is for sure – we won’t be bored!!!!

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So… back to Cagliari in southern Italy. I will never forget that town as long as I live, not because of its narrow streets, big harbour or many fun bars… but because of that dreaded unlocked wi-fi spot, the only one in Italy it seems, that allowed my iPod touch to get online and download a facebook update that announced to me (only 2 weeks after the rest of the world found out about it it seems) that Luciana was engaged to be married – yes, if you’re on facebook, then you definitely didn’t hear it here first… so apologies for being Hendo with the late news to all of you facebookers!

With that ‘interesting news’ in hand, we sailed out of Cagliari. It somehow seemed that the weather gods were mysteriously synchronised with me. In the next 3 days the weather played out my emotions to perfection.

First there was a blinding white light, or was that the headache after the quiet night out to celebrate my newly discovered eternal freedom….


Then came THUNDER AND DARK CLOUDS and to be honest they lasted longer then necessary – no really… we had a storm, and very uncomfortable seas for a good 24 hrs which was an unfair, yet extremely well handled introduction to sailing for Michelle our new crew member!


But as they say, every storm has to end sooner or later and as the chart plotter and instruments proudly announced that Ibiza was getting closer and closer by the hour, my mood lifted and with it the mercury rose on the thermometer, the clouds parted and we had ourselves a new day…


by the end of day 2 at sea we were humming along at 7.5 knots, with an inspiring sunset, great music and a chunky freshly caught Tuna for dinner – did someone say plenty more fish in the sea??!

And so it was that we arrived in the middle of the night to a great anchorage near a tiny fishing village on the Spanish island of Formentera. The next morning was brilliant, warm – sun was shining and we had free wi-fi again… hahah this time it was put to good use – we jumped on Skype and organised a couple of Parties to go to in ibiza! I might add that Ibiza has become the only place on the planet without surf  to make my "favourite places I would consider living in" list…!

What to do in Paradise?… work of course… hahaha Some months ago I met a fellow Aussie – Rosco – who described Sailing around the world as "Working on fixing broken sailing equipment in exotic places".

Thankefully, nothing was broken as such, so we decided to work on our breath holding ability here by cleaning the entire hull which was starting to develop some speed reducing growth – Now Squander as beautiful as she is, is a well endowed lady with a fat ass, ahmm should I say…. a "disco butt" to match the best of them – so it was no small job for Simon & I to freedive with a snorkel and fins for 3 hours whilst scrubbing her derriere!! 

We love having girls onboard!! Squander seems to come to life – The fun of men behaving badly really wears off after a while and it’s an incredibly welcome change to all involved to treat our olfactory receptors to smells that are not derived from competitive noise attenuation! Not to mention the vacuum cleaner gets to see some daylight, the tea towels get boiled (WTF???!), the carpet stain remover gets opened … ahmm shit – we’re giving it away! Seriously though, great to have you onboard Michelle!

As the sun set on Formentera, Squander was squeaky clean, the mood had been restored and we decided to sail a few hours north to EsPujols – beautiful white sand beaches, crystal clear water and no crowds – such a stark contrast to when we were in this area some 2 months earlier in the peak of the European summer.

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The only sailboat in the anchorage, Squander looks on as we explore the shore.


Should have been here last week!! This bar had its closing party for the summer 5 days earlier… as we admired the location and the potential of this establishment, Simon proudly announced "well I’ve found my wedding venue, now i just need a bride" – ladies you heard it here first… if this strikes you as a place you might utter the words "i do! " email your profile photos to us for consideration.IMG_1156 
Where to next?? Ibiza in the distance, Squander makes the cut again and in the foreground a reminder of how much of the world there’s yet to see.

Ibiza here we come… again!
Introducing…. or should I say re-introducing Juliana… fun loving, Jet setting Ibiza local, who calls London home, hails from Sao Paulo, has a slight Aussie accent after living in Sydney some years ago and…. god I wish I was a gambling man – this has good odds – may yet become Squander crew member of the year in 2011!

Ju happened to be in Seville seeing U2 as we were battling storms in the med and suggested that instead of continuing on to dreary old Gibraltar, we all rendez vous in Ibiza for a couple of closing parties… what a great idea!

When we were last here, we researched what to do and where to go – and despite all of the recommendations as a "must do" party, we never made it to the Monday phenomenon, in an old airplane hangar near the international airport, known as Circo Loco at DC10 – so it was with great enthusiasm that we accepted the invitation to go to the party of all parties – the DC 10 Circo loco closing party in Ibiza!!


Despite being mates with the crazy clown, we had to pay the entry fee, which at $50 Australian Dollars was by far the most reasonable of all closing parties in ibiza – Space was charging $100+ just to get in… and once inside at all of these venues drinks are a mere $20 a pop!!! …. so, the idea is simple – get loaded before you get in, careful you don’t over do it and top ya self up once inside!

Drinking in the carpark brought back memories of Thursday nights at Epping pub, when as poor UNI students, we would go to the Coles supermarket car park across the road, throw down a half bottle of vodka and then go to the pub – c’mon – someone here has to remember those days!

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This photo was meant to have a plane over our heads, but they fly by so fast that we missed it!

This Motley crue seemed to have all sorts of dares going on! or so we hope…

Pretty in pink – old Cesario wasn’t sure if he was Arthur or Martha!

Big Simon bitterly disappointed when he realised it wasn’t a jet plane, but a measly twin prop!

Carpark time with an esky on the hood – love it!

Juliana, Arancha & Sergio!

Ze Plane!

Ze Plane, Ze plane!


We checked out the lineup, and confirmed that we ran the risk of showing our age as I didn’t have the faintest idea who the headlining DJs and artists were, but nodded my appreciation nonetheless and made a note to google it as soon as I got near a computer…!


In saying that, as soon as we made it inside, we were in good company – it was great to see Marge looking as sexy as ever. She impressed us by bucking the trend to go easy on kids these days – in fact she seems to have adopted some of homer’s eye popping child rearing techniques when it comes to handling Bart!

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Simon, protecting Ju from the overzealous cop who pulled out his gun…. and squirted water in his handcuffed girlfriends’ face!


and on that note the party went into overdrive…. as planes roared over head, the sun set in the distance and we had one of our most fun nights in Europe!



The "slightly military PAN AM airways hostess" was having so much fun she was on the phone trying to cancel her tour of duty!

Absolute legend from Argentina – Sergio rocking out!

Don’t feed the animals… Simon befriending wolfman!


Simon continues his lifelong mission to befriend BIG UNITS – generally classified as massive monsters that most of us would shy away from at the best of times! This guy was self appointed as being responsible for closing the closing party! Nice keys mate!

And so the party wound down, Ibiza hung up its party shoes for another year and we had a couple of really fun days, hung out and relaxed but somehow didn’t take many photos… so you’ll have to take my word for it!

A special mention has to go out to Macao Cafe in Santa Gertrudis – great food and a wicked way to spend an evening – Thanks Juliana!

Before long, the 5 days of fun had ended and it was time for all of us to return to our respective realities, For Sergio and Arancha it was back to work, For Juliana it was a flight back to London and for Simon, Michelle and i it was time to leave the Mediterranean.

We sailed into the sunset with a great breeze behind us, however it didn’t last for long – the med gave us one last slice of what it does best – too much wind or NO WIND!!
At least it was warm and Sunny – motoring for 2 days in dead calm conditions – lucky we picked up some extra fuel in Ibiza!

Michelle getting stuck into her Kindle – that thing has web access anywhere and its free to surf the web on it!

The next day, approaching Gibraltar, we got caught in some annoying freezing cold Squalls and rain showers – not to mention the fog – first time I have not been able to see Squander’s bow whilst standing behind the wheel – seriously freaky with all of the traffic around us – Also the first time we have truly relied on the Radar for navigation – now I get why people sing its praises!


The marinas in Gibraltar were full, so we decided to try out the newly openned (September 2010) marina at La Linea de Concepcion – – plenty of room, cheaper then Gibralatr and great facilities – only prob was that Wi-Fi was seriously overpriced!

Gibraltar was only a 10 minute walk away and so the next day we decided to go in and get some duty free supplies.  Gib, as it’s affectionately known, is a funny place – a tiny triangle of land at the southernmost  tip of Spain that belongs to the UK. The border is the widest point and only conceivable place for an airport runway – so, as you cross the border, (i.e. landing strip) you occasionally have to pause as British airways or Easy Jet steal the limelight!

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It never ceases to surprise me how cultures survive borders – especially so in Europe, where a 10 mile trip can mean a monumental difference in culture, scenery and language.

And so it was somewhat predicable, that the first British thing we came across was in stark contrast to the excitement of Spain – This company has been in business for over a century!  IMG_3259

I love the "brand consistency" – it’s ALL bland!


But we didn’t go to Gib for the sights or the culture, we went there to buy 7 year old Havana club rum for under 10 quid per LITER!! and with Squander equipped with 10 solid liters we cannot complain…. in fact just to make sure our ships stores were ok, we kindly accepted an invitation from Lance for a rum tasting evening aboard "alf a bet" – a hilarious night that almost saw us moving to Wales for a few weeks – thanks Lance, Rhydian and Lauren. See you again soon!

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Lance played footy in Australia in the 70’s, as well as some serious rep footy in Wales. I won’t given away his vintage, but it’s impressive and he still holds his own…. seen here suffering the pain of doing a one legged Squat – undefeated!

The next day our new Welsh friends were leaving their boat and flying home for a couple of weeks. We bid them farewell, went and filled the tanks full of duty free diesel and went out for one last night at our favorite Tapas joint in La Linea de Concepcion –

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Michelle focused on her complimentary "Chupito" – a shot of Schnapps! IMG_3283 IMG_3290

Early morning departure from Gibraltar.
As we sailed across Gibraltar straight, an interesting cloud moving towards us – miraculously it produced zero change in wind. I reckon if that was coming towards you off Sydney you’d be in for a good 30-40 knots!!
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There was also plenty of traffic to dodge coming in all directions and at pace!


Looks like MSC are good at "container Tetris"!!

and by the afternoon we had negotiated our way out of the Med, caught another Tuna along the way, and rounded North Western Africa into the Atlantic – it feelt good to be on an Ocean again!!!


We sailed overnight in fairly calm conditions and by the following morning we were entering the river that separates Rabat and Sale in Morocco!!
The pilot guiding us in through the shallow and at times sketchy entrance.

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I felt a little like David Attenborough observing wildlife when I noticed that in the late afternoon every park bench in the city is occupied. It seems young couples don’t go out for coffee, dinner or drinks but instead they do "bench time" – they meet on park benches and sit there for hours courting – awesome!

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So fun times in Rabat, Simon and Michelle came back from Fez, and tomorrow we plan to sail down to Agadir – it should take us 2 days or so.

Au revoir mes amis!

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. filski

    yo Gav i what is sentiment, nostalgia, and reflection if not for long lost love…i bet you got some Luciana poems you censored in this post 😉
    i think there is an old sailor’s saying that goes “harrdy harr, SHE will become more than just yar darn boat, harr “

  2. Gavin

    Some of your best work yet filski! …and that web link!!??

  3. Carol & Paul Cook

    Again, a joy to read your blog and the skipper and crew info. We are eager to get underway, hopefully within 6 weeks.

  4. Michael

    I finally just got around to reading the post before this one – “La Dolce Vita” – New favourite. Being so familiar with it brought even greater enjoyment for the experiences you had; or perhaps a better way to put it – I was enjoying you enjoying it!

    Maybe Simon could be made the inaugural Mayor of Squander, in celebration of getting back to his roots. His first act could be to find Pepe and put him out of his misery permanently … Very funny stuff!


  5. Shirlee

    Hi Gavin, Found your blog by googling “yacht squander blog.” Nice to meet you here in Rabat. Hope to see you again somewhere along the way or across the pond.
    -Shirlee from Solstice

  6. sambo

    Hey Gav, awesome read as usual.You better write a book at the end of this.I agree with Michael. I’m really enjoying seeing you guys have an amazing time. S

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