Back in Fano

We arrived and splashed Amante in record time, due largely to a new fantastic crew, who had all the work done when we arrived.


We took advantage of all this free time to tour Fano and the surrounding area. Fano is our home town in Italy, steeped in history and filled with varied architecture. It was the end of the Roman road the Via Flamminia and is too noteworthy to spend time retyping what you should all go and read on Wikipedia or a better site. So here- fano.php

Fano is built atop the Roman city, and if you can find a guide, it is pretty impressive to tour Fano Underground. Sadly, we are often there before and after the main tourist season so there are no tours from the tourism office.Fanounderground-01726

We found a guide the way I find everything in Fano- asking Gabriella, the hostess of Palazzo Rotati, our fano address when not on Amante. She connected us with a guide who showed us Fano underground and also the San Pietro en Valle church, one of the most beautiful baroque churches in the Marche region.


We also visited the Frassasi Grotte, an amazing cave found only in the seventies and thus very well preserved. 

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So, yeah, I went to Burning Man

I know. It’s almost trite for an old lady to go to Burning Man, but I went with the two coolest other old ladies in the world. I can only use this term because I used it on myself first and based on BM demographics, we are actually just north of the median age. I just made that up. So cite me. We call ourselves the Real Housewives of Black Rock City and we take photos. Lots and lots of photos. And feed breakfast or sometimes dinner to anyone who asks nicely and we decide we want to cook for.














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Symi, Greece

Symi June 1, 2

A nice couple we met walking to the Church of St. John the Theologian on Patmos told us that if we go into Symi harbor, beware the depth. They were told to go onto the customs dock and he ran aground!
So we wrote that down and promptly forgot it. Good thing we didn’t have to go on the customs dock! But while Symi harbor is one of the most beautiful harbors this side of Bonifaccio, surrounded by steep hillsides of pastel colored Italian style homes, it is very narrow. After mooring we could walk steps to the shops and cafés.





Boats’ anchors are all atop one another. As we anchored, the boat opposite was shouting and pointing to their anchor while the dockmaster, just kept waving us in yelling, “It’s a small harbor. It happens!” Sure enough while we were out jogging the next morning, the boat across left, and pulled up our anchor- all the way up. Like hooked anchors and two big free swinging boats. Yachting adventures mostly happen at the docks!



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Nysiros, Greece

June 3-4, 2016
Our son and daughter-in-law, Matt and Emma wanted to hike up to the active caldera of the volcano at Nysiros, and we played along though we had no such desire, initially, having smelled enough sulfur to last a lifetime. We tried to anchor but couldn’t find calm water that was close to the departure point for the walk. The marina in Mandraki is about 10.5 feet deep near the wall, and with a bit of weather predicted, we went on to Kos. Amante draws over 8.5 feet and two feet isn’t enough comfort zone with a potential swell. We anchored on the west end of Kos in a large bay I could have lingered in for a few weeks. We took a day trip boat from Kardamaina, a cute town with beaches, day trip boats and lots of holiday hotels and bars. Sit feels strange to get off our own boat onto a day trip boat, the very thing we spend lots of time trying to avoid.

The day trip price included a bus trip up the mountain for the caldera hike and back, but we chose one way to walk back down the mountain. So glad Matt and Emma found this!



The volcano is currently inactive (whatever that means with smoking fuleroles), but the top still smokes with fumeroles and sulpurous mud pots and hot springs. This may be one of the most green, floral islands in the Dodecanese- at least of those I’ve seen. The volcanic soil is very fertile. Terraces of olive, fig and almond trees flanked the path down to the town of Madraki. It was beautiful, even with the occasional whiff of sulfur, and the back-of-the-mind thought that we could break through the crust and be boiled alive in a hot spring.


The town of Mandraki is one of the prettier seaside villages I have seen, where the entire town seems committed to a common aesthetic. Pebble mosaics, whitewashed houses and ample bougainvillea make this town not only beautiful, but show communal attention and design.



We had lunch literally “over the water” with the occasional wave splashing up. Emma learned the Greek cat trick- a cat will visit briefly when you sit down, so you still remember him when you have food to share. She was claimed by this one.


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Meet the Meltemi.

We had been warned and even spent several days hiding from the Meltemi last year. But this was different. We knew a wind event was coming, so we found a harbor, on Tinos, Greece. On the second morning stuck to the wall in Tinos, I woke again to the creaking of the dock lines and the howling of the wind. Neal and I came up into the cockpit and while observing the wind speeds of 40-55 knots, Neal observed one of our seat cushions was missing. Seat cushions that we checked were snapped down. I looked to see it floating ahead, towards the crashing seawall. Mauro started singing the mission impossible tune while he and I jumped in the dinghy for operation Cushion Overboard. We went battling out to sea (the harbor 100 meters in front of the boat seemed like the middle of the ocean) and rescued the seat cushion, then turned the dinghy INTO the 45-50 knots winds for part 2- Operation Salt Water Shower. I then went boat to boat asking if anyone planned to leave today, as I imagine the anchors are all on top of each other and everyone laughed at me. No one is leaving!

We are stern to on the inner harbor wall 10 feet from the taxi stand and across from cafés, where I sit now to eat rather than have breakfast “at sea”. Amante is the biggest boat on the wall, so she gets no wind protection from neighbors, and we spent the night rocking and rolling as if on delivery. Mauro did a masterful job of docking in 25-30, fortunately stern to the wind with only a bit of cross breeze, into a space with less than a foot to spare on each side. Neal wasn’t sure the anchor set well, but since we are blowing off, it seems to be well enough, but we still squish the poor 40 foot Oceanis? to port. Sitting here having eggs and bacon I didn’t intend to order, merely to inquire as to their availability, I watch as the big charter sailing yacht’s headsail unfurls, and the scrambling and yelling that ensues. The older Greek men who sit in the cafes watch the morning’s second drama, our cushion rescue likely the first. The world goes by as it has for 2000 years, and the Greek men drink their coffee, smoke their cigarettes, and perhaps play a game of backgammon.
The postcard version of Tinos:

The reality:

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Momnevasia, Greece

Visited Oct 2015
Called the “Gibraltar of the Peloponnese” because it is nestled on a large sugar-loaf rock island, Momnevasia is gaining attention as a cruise ship stop and an all around jaw dropper. Tiny alleyways filled with shops and cafés, beautifully restored churches, and a sunset to die for, make Momnevasia a lovely place to stop.


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Season Opener

Lavrio, Greece Winter 2015 through May 10, 2016

Amante spent the winter high and dry in Lavrio, south of Athens on the Greek mainland in Attica. Work done, we left the dock at 6 p.m., the latest departure ever, and motored around the corner to Sounion, to spend one night under the Temple to Neptune, which beautifully lit at sunset.


The plan was to get to Turkey quickly to reset our VAT clock, the work our way up the Dodecanese chain, then head back across the Cyclades in time to miss Meltemi season, which starts late June. Meltemi is the name of the prevailing horrid wind in Greece from the Northeast funneling through the Cyclades islands, and from the Northwest in the Dodocanese. We had a taste of the Meltemi last year and it was bitter.


We stopped in Kea with light to spare, so we walked around the enormous harbor, lined with shops not quite ready for summer shoppers, and cafés full of empty tables. It is nice to get an early start of the season, if the weather allows.Protection was good in the harbor, even though the wind was oddly from the south and forecast to get stronger. With wind coming from the south, Scirocco, we decided to head to Mykonos, where our friends on Berkeley East were already hunkered down and enjoying sushi on the beach at one of Mykonos many fashionable restaurants.



What’s better than waiting out a Scirocco in Mykonos with friends and hardly any tourists? A drone! Larry’s new drone allowed some great shots and the fun of watching Mary play catch with a four rotor aircraft flying right at her. A brave one, that Mary! What’s better still is having Mykonos all to ourselves. Too early in the season for the crowds, so we walked the streets alone. Fabulous!





We also celebrated Captain Mauro’s birthday. We agreed to go out for a drink at one of Mykonos’ many trendy night clubs. Thankfully Mauro had mercy and picked a tamer one in Little Venice that played exceptional music. I shazammed several songs for my summer playlist.


The good thing about Scirocco is that you get to visit bays that are normally untenable in the prevailing northerly Meltemi. We anchored in Mykonos for 4 nights in a bay with wind surfer rentals. It was perfectly calm. The bad part is with the wind, the Scirocco brings half the Sahara with it, covering every millimeter of the boat’s interior, and causes the red mud rain that is the scourge of every captain. It rained mud on us for about a week, just about every day after Mauro cleaned the boat. He wept often.

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