We have a busy morning clearing customs, immigration and the marine police. Everyone has been easy to get on with here except the marine manager and the customs officer. They both delight in making life difficult, and are very brusque to talk with. For example, we plan to leave at 6pm in a westerly, then n.westerly direction along the west coast of Cyprus (to avoid the north coast because of the political unrest), to sail through the night when the wind drops off instead of heading into it. There have been strong seas out there for the previous few days so we need to take advantage of this good forecast. The customs officer tells us to leave by 4pm because he wants to leave his office by then and he has to see us sail out. He should check the boat because of all the new parts we had brought in from Australia. One advantage of being on the wall is that he is too lazy to come in the dinghy and check. It would have taken a long time, and Mark had brought in an expensive tool which he might have wanted VAT paid for. Mark has taken the tool home again.

All goes well motoring as planned until 9pm when the radar fails again. Ross rings Kostos (the Ray Marine operator in Larnaca) who very kindly offers to come to meet us first thing in the morning at Lachi (Polis) on the north-west tip of Cyprus. Another night at sea without the radar. I find some of my watch particularly difficult when a heavy sea mist/fog rolls in. I put our deck lights on and hope other boats can see us.


The only benefit of all this is we have to come into this delightful, small fishing port. We originally wanted to come here but thought we didn't have time.

It is lovely to see Kostos again. He is such a charming man with a great sense of humour (except when it comes to our failing radar!). He goes up the mast again and finally discovers there is a problem with the cables. In the meantime I went to the harbour police (we have checked out of Cyprus so have to hand in our passports and receive permits to use until we leave). Their office is in a very old, well renovated building, up on the first floor with wonderful views. It is also an opportunity to use the internet cafe in a charming taverna and have a chat to a few people.

FRIDAY, 13 JUNE 2008

With the radar now operating well we set off again for Rhodes with calm weather conditions and a good forecast ahead. We are using this time at sea to finish preparing the boat to have Heather and Scott and their families on board.


With just over three hours to go at 5pm the engine overheats. We hoped to be in the marina by dark but it took hours to get started again. Dino (again from Larnaca) talks to Ross, my amazing skipper, through using the salt water pump used to flush the heads to pump water through the engine, by-passing the engine's seawater pump (impeller). This is an incredible feat, especially with the inaccessibility of these parts.

It is so frustrating to see the lights of Rhodes so close. We are both very tired (especially Ross) by 11pm when he got the engine going again. Luckily the wind came up so we could sail for the last 20n.miles. (It is safer to only use the engine to berth if possible).

It took until 4.15am tacking until we came to the entrance of the old town port. We waited out there for half an hour for first light, as it is so much easier in a new place than in the dark. We tie the boat up and just sink into bed for a deep sleep for several hours.

SUNDAY, 15 JUNE 2008

As seems to be the way, being Sunday and a long holiday weekend, we can't expect to have work done on the boat until Tuesday morning.

Now we can concentrate on the excitement of meeting up with our families. Heather, Paul and the children have been staying with Scott in Copenhagen, so they all come together on the same flight, and are organized to stay at a Scandinavian fun resort only 4 ks. from the yacht.

How wonderful it is to see them all coming off the bus - including 5 happy and excited children, aged between nearly 3 and 8. The resort is a young family's dream holiday, including beach, different size pools, endless activities, great views and children friendly restaurants. We have many happy times here just being with them all over the next few days.



FRIDAY, 16 MAY 2008

The 55 minute flight to Jordan is interesting. We leave Cyprus which looks quite dry, fly over the very blue Mediterranean and in no time at all are passing over the dessert of Lebanon. Incredibly there are patches of snow on tops of some of the mountains.

It is refreshing to be picked up by our guide and go straight to the Dead Sea for lunch in the afternoon. By road we pass by sheep and goat herds with their herdsmen and dogs, vegetable stalls and many oleanders (usually pink) breaking up the dry landscape. Driving through the dessert we see the special Jordanian stone used for building. Then we begin the descent through the green belts of olive trees on the terraced hills and “small” bananas. The water comes from Dead Sea and is desalinated. We also pass camels and horses being ridden by the road.

We pass by the turn off to Jesus’ baptism site. It is incredible to think how long ago he was here.

The Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth. We were surprised to see it was a lovely blue. What a wonderful experience it is to float here but you don’t want to drink the water which is so salty. We come out feeling very light. The mud from the bottom is good for the skin because it contains many minerals.

View over the Dead Sea

Aerial map of the Dead Sea and its borders

We are staying at the Imperial Palace Hotel and have dinner there. The wine comes from Mount Nebo. We find an Irish pub around the corner in the course of an after dinner walk.


We head first to Madaba which has a sixth to seventh century Byzantine church, St Georges. It has a huge mosaic (said to contain two billion tiles) forming the map of the routes the pilgrims took, beginning in Jerusalem. Jerusalem is the centre of the map (as it was considered the centre of the universe).

Mosaic map showing Pilgrim´s routes

Then we drive next to Mount Nebo which provides a panoramic view of the Jordan Valley. Moses is presumed to have died and have been buried here. There is a bronze statue showing Moses lifting up the water and the crucifixion of Jesus. There is also a memorial for Moses decorated by the Christian mosaic artists of Madaba.

Bronze statue at Mount Nebo

Karak is famous for its immense crusader castle.

There are also beautifully presented fruit and vegetable shops with the local produce – corn, tomatoes, spuds and melons.

The drive to Petra is long but varied. We take the bypass road to avoid all the fuel tankers travelling from Iraq to Aquaba. We make a stop to see how mosaics are made. They are all cut from limestone. Made in the old way they are stuck with cement (they are very heavy) and in the new way with plastic netting (so are light to transport). The landscape near Karak is steeply mountainous and desolate right down to Wadi Mujib. There is a dam there from which water is pumped to Amman. There is said to be underwater springs sufficient to provide water for Jordan for the next 50 years but the costs of pumping are also vast (US$600 million).

On route to Petra we pass over-size tents – Bedouin tents used as homes in the middle of this harsh, dry terrain. They get their water from springs under the surface.

We arrive at Petra in time to watch a beautiful sunset from the Panorama Hotel, overlooking the surrounding mountains. We meet an Australian couple here that live in Abudabi. They have friends named Sue and Ross who are sailing the world in a boat which are currently in Cyprus (what a coincidence!).

SUNDAY, 18 MAY 2008

Walking into Petra through the rift in the mountains

Petra is fascinating as is the history of its development by the Nabateans. Our guide is a Bedouin who used to live in the caves here. The Bedouins have now been moved out to homes in a village, paid for by the Government and are paying no taxes.

The Treasury - Petra

We bought a book called “Living with a Bedouin” written by an Australian woman who was married to a local Bedouin. Her son, who had lived in Sydney, had a broad Australian accent. The Bedouins are nomadic people, always looking for water and grass. We have seen many examples already of their settlements with over-sized tents made of goats’ hair which helps make them waterproof.

The colours in the enormous rocks are sensational. The different tones of pinks are from the magnesium, the yellow from copper and the grey/black from iron. It is a very mountainous, rocky area with a rift forming a passage and spectacular monuments in the form of palace tombs. We enjoyed a donkey ride up the steep path to the monastery.

Riding donkeys up to the monastry

The Monastry

There are camels everywhere here

The Nabateans are well-known for their very advanced engineering, including water irrigation systems. The carved waterways into the side of the rocks and used earthenware pipes.

Nabateans method of cooking

MONDAY, 19 MAY 2008

Jerash is a famous Roman city. The Roman pillars still standing here have been built using metal (usually bronze) keystones which give their joints some flexibility and has helped preserved them.

Looking up at the tall pillars

It is strange to hear bagpipes here. They were brought across to Jordan originally by the British.

Walking along some of the old caravan trails imagining the lively stalls along the way seems like a walk “in the past”.

Walking along the old caravan trails.

We have a local lunch at “Yuhala” which means “you are welcome”.

Ajlun Castle is an imposing site built by the Muslems on top of a high mountain with a great defence position looking west to Palestine, north to Syria, northeast to Iraq, east to Saudi Arabia and south to Amman and Saudi Arabia.

Ajlun Castle

Everywhere we drive we come across tomato stalls in abundance. They sell four kilos for one dinar (AU$1.50) and are full of flavour. We also see chickpeas sold by the side of the road. These are made into hommus which is delicious served with Jordanian or Lebanese flat bread.

We have dinner at Bonneto’s tonight, a lovely outdoor setting and delicious cuisine. And we enjoy an old classic French film, Les Parapluies, at a modern cinema complex in the Zara Centre.

We are learning about present day life in Jordan. The great majority (90%) are Muslims here and the rest mainly Christian.

The economy largely depends upon the export of phosphate. There are high taxes here. There are the very poor and the very rich with little in between. The media, newspapers and TV, are government controlled. There are many road traffic police controlling the road speeds of cars and the punishments are quite strict (loss of licence after third offence).

There is army control near the sea border with Israel. At present there is peace with Israel but no one knows when this may change.

The English were here for 100 years and their influence in the form of the infrastructure of buildings and roads is apparent.

We now have 1½ days of free time in Amman. We had thought of going to Wadi Rum (south of Petra) but decided it is too much driving in the allocated time, or Jerusalem. For the latter we feel we needed more time and we hadn’t planned it originally because we felt a little uneasy about going there. Hopefully, another time.

So Ross becomes tour leader. Despite some people’s negative remarks about Amman there were plenty of things to interest us, for example:

• the Citadel and National Archaeological Museum (including a display dealing with the ten scrolls found at the Dead Sea and a history of the Nabateans). Petra was the centre of all the caravan trade routes which was a critical economic activity;

Part of the exhibition of the 10 scrolls

• the Temple of Hercules;

• the Roman Theatre and the smaller Odeon Theatre;

• the Folklore Museum with its traditional costumes;

• the nearby Hashemite Square for a cup of the famous hibiscus tea (they are in full bloom now). This is the best place to sit and watch the downtown chaos of market, people and traffic;

Downtown Souk

• the local bazaar with locally produced craft goods;

• the Rasheed Court Café on the first floor balcony. This was established 50 years ago and is a famous meeting place and place to smoke the nargileh (the fruit flavoured infusion fired by red-hot charcoal pieces and drawn through water). One session of this (at its usual strength) it is said to equal three packets of cigarettes. We heard this from the owner who talks to us for some time while smoking his pipe. He suggested we have lunch around the corner at Hasheen and he advises us what to order.

Hasheen is a small café frequented by locals. We are served with Lebanese flat bread and a large white paper serviette accompanied by a dish of hommus and one of fuul (pureed large brown beans). There is a plate of fresh mint to put in our tea and some falafel. All this costs AU$5 for the two of us. It is the perfect lunch for today and fun just sitting watching. There were no other women here.

There is very heavy traffic driving through downtown and we look down to the many straight-sided stone houses, usually more than one storey high.

Jordan looks very densely populated. There has been a large swell in the population with a large number of refugees from Palestine and Iraq. The government is happy to take people in but the public is unhappy because of an increase in food prices and added stress to problems of water availability.

This evening we go to an Italian recital at De La Salle College. There is piano and some percussion music. It is an experience to find it and a passionate performance by the vocalist.

Later we go to a recommended restaurant, Fakka El Deen, but discover later that the taxi driver has taken us to Grappa instead. This is dining under the moon and stars and, obviously, a young persons place but we enjoyed it.

We have been watching the world news and seeing the devastating results of the Burmese cyclone and the Chinese earthquake. Again, we realize how lucky we are in Australia to escape natural disasters of this magnitude.

TUESDAY, 20 MAY 2008

We have a slow start on our last day here. We engage Fawwaz as our driver. He takes us on a downtown walk behind the old King Hussein Mosque. We stroll through the market and souks. He buys us a drink of tamaherdi (an Indian date drink). Then he buys us a kunafa slice (the flat sweet milk custard dish with cheese underneath and a crystalline top with finally chopped pistachio nuts). The street stall where he buys it is insanely busy (according to the Lonely Planet) but is owned by Habadans (said to be the place to go to get a sugar hit).

The Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts comprises two buildings flanking a sculpture park and exhibits contemporary Jordanian and other Middle Eastern works of painting and sculpture. There is a Picasso ceramic exhibition there now which is what attracted us.

A cup of coffee at the Wild Jordan Café, a chic new coffee house is quite an experience. It has a view over downtown. We drank a lime/lemon crush with mint (very unusual and refreshing).

View form the Wild Jordon Cafe

Our grand finale is lunch at the Blue Fig Café which is modern and serves a fusion of different foods from all over the world. We try the Bedouin influenced gailai – sauted tomato, garlic, onion and pepper on Arabic bread, topped with cheese and pine nuts and dill. Ross has enjoyed another Bedouin traditional dish – mensaf which is spit roasted lamb served on a bed of rice and pine nuts.

We like the philosophy at this café (it has an art exhibition on now): “Against the ruin of the world there is only one defence, the creative act”. Today’s Jordan Times has an article ranking Jordan’s stability as strong and the level of peace high in an uncertain region. They are, afterall, jammed in between Iraq, Israel and Lebanon.

Jordan has been quite a highlight. Partly this is because of the interest of the historical sites, such as Petra. In addition, we have a better insight into things we have heard of as children receiving biblical instruction but never quite understood.




We feel comfortable to be back in Lanarca. It is not a 5 star marina, and not well organized, but there are lovely people here and we do feel relaxed now we are through the more difficult areas. Also, the weather here is glorious with sunny, hot days and cooler nights.

There are severe water shortage problems in Cyprus, so there are heavy restrictions. In the marina we can only use water from their supply 3 days a week. This has an impact on our planning our exploring Cyprus as we need to fill our water tanks (we don't like to make water unless it's from seawater outside the harbour), and to wash the boat down thoroughly after all the dust in the Red Sea.

FRIDAY, 23 MAY 2008

We head off in a hire car west along the coast road and have lunch at a seafood restaurant in the tiny town of Sactishoufos right on the water (suggested by Andreas from the marina - this is near his home town). This is a pleasant start to our relaxing times in the Mediterranean.

Then we travel n.west into the lower Troodos mountains area. The country is very dry and barren, until we begin climbing into the higher, cooler areas. We pass by endless very old terraces which aren't used now. As we come nearer the delightful villages we pass many terraced slopes with vineyards and orchards of almonds, hazelnuts and cherry trees. Throughout the area are vineyards and the famous Byzantine churches with their frescoes and pitched wooden roofs.

Lofou is our first stop and we are well entertained having a cup of tea in the courtyard of a family run restaurant.

The next village, Vouni, is where we decide to look for accommodation. This is a delightful hilltop town. Several men are sitting outside a small cafe. One of them speaks excellent English and invites us to have a drink with him. He went to Adelaide to follow his friend to study at Roseworthy Agricultural College. He married an Australian girl and lived there for 45 years. He is still an avid Pt. Adelaide supporter. (His father-in-law was mayor of Pt. Adelaide for some time).

This is wonderful luck for us as he organizes us to stay in the ground floor of a beautiful old house. Hollyhocks are in full bloom everywhere adding their slash of colour.

We are recommended a small restaurant down the hill. It is only open on Friday and Saturday nights, and they serve their own wine which is very good. It is a very quiet evening in Vouni because many of the inhabitants have gone to a nearby town for a funeral. However, slowly more people come here, and we have an interesting night as most of them are ex-patriots and very friendly. The dinner is like a slow Greek feast as small dishes of great variety are produced over a long period of time.


We continue our drive through this small pocket of greener areas where there is extensive vine planting. The vines here are not trellised.

We walk through Omodus along its cobbled streets and its stalls, including many handcrafts, especially their embroidery, lace work and silverware, and then the Monastery. We find it touristy here after yesterday’s visits as busloads of people arrive.

Next we venture to Argos, another small town, where locals are setting up market stalls and sitting in groups having coffee. From here we visit the Byzantine church near here.

We take the road back along the river valley with its green and more productive areas and head south back to the coast to Aphrodite's birthplace, the goddess of love and beauty and the protectress of Cyprus. This mythology is still celebrated with spring flower festivals.

After strolling along this famous beach we have lunch higher up overlooking this area.

Then we continue east back along the coast by-passing Limasol and back to Zygi where we turn north for a short distance to Kalavasos, another delightful small town.

Returning to Larnaca we visit Angeloktisti church in the village of Kiti. It has rare 6th century mosaics. Just out of Larnaca is the mosque of Hala Sultan Tekke built in honour of the prophet Mohammed's aunt who died here after falling of her horse. It is now one of the most important places of Muslim pilgrimage.

There are many memorials throughout the country from the 1955/59 conflicts with the British. In 1960 Cyprus gained independence. Since 1974 the northern part of the island has been under Turkish occupation and you need a passport to cross this line.

We plan to be back to the marina for the Saturday's use of water, and spend some time washing down and cleaning Impulsive.

We have enjoyed the cuisine here, which is typically Greek with a blend of oriental dishes. The famous Cypriot "haloumi" cheese is delicious, and the "mezedes" is a continual feast of the local delicacies. Ross enjoys the local Keo beer, and some of the red wines.

SUNDAY, 25 MAY 2008

We are so excited when we wake up this morning as we are flying home tonight for 9 days. We work hard to leave the boat clean and organized.

We then visit the old Byzantine church of 10th century in Larnaca. Lazarus spent much of his time here as Larnaca's first bishop.

Now we drive to Nicosia (Lefkosia). This is where the demarcation line is for the Turkish occupation in the north. The old town is surrounded by a sandstone fortress wall and moat. It is very hot here today but it is fascinating to walk through the old town to St. John's Cathedral. Lunch in this area at Hippocrates, outside in a small, shaded, narrow lane is a pleasant and cool interlude.

A very kind man from the marina, who Ross helped with his yacht, takes us to the airport and we are soon on our way to Australia.


Our time in Australia is very special. Of course, it goes all too quickly but we are thrilled to have the time here seeing as much of family and friends as possible. Seeing our mothers are well, our grandchildren blossoming and their parents all fit and happy is very satisfying and comforting. Also, catching up on some of our personal affairs is helpful and easier than from the boat.


We arrive back to Impulsive about lunch time. Mark, and his wife Sandra, from Sydney, have been here for several days and Mark is already underway with the list of things to be dealt with on the boat. They are both great company so we are pleased to have them here with us.

Needless to say, the boat is looking like an active workshop, so Sandra and I feel the best help we can be is to disappear from the scene. We stroll along the palm-lined promenade enjoying walking by the beach with its colourful umbrellas and lounges, and on the other side the many cafes and restaurants lining the street. Sandra needs some final shopping exploits so we have fun following these up.

Sandra leaves for Australia tonight to meet family commitments. I will miss her company over the next few days while Ross and Mark work on Impulsive.


Ross and Mark work from dawn to dusk on the yacht along with a support group from Larnaca, who are lovely people and very co-operative. Ross is experiencing a steep learning curve. This proves to be a very worthwhile exercise for many reasons, including finding issues "about to happen" which would have caused problems sooner rather than later.

Ross feels more competent now to tackle the different problems that may arise - there are always mechanical and electrical with yachts. They have also stocked up on spare parts.

Mark has been marvellous with all this. He actually extended his stay here to ensure everything is left ship-ship.

We have had fun in the evenings. The restaurants have been varied:

1. Along the promenade (not such good cuisine).

2. The Black Turtle (this is fantastic - the delicious mesedes cuisine, live Greek music, singing and dancing, very friendly waiters and waitresses and a great atmosphere). This all proves to be a very unusual birthday for me.

3. An Italian restaurant (Il Spagettini) - recommended to Mark and Sandra by a local, serving excellent pastas.

4. Gallery 1900 (we really enjoyed being here with its bar below, artwork, little balconies and friendly mother and son service (they have lived in Australia).

5. Zephrios - a seafood restaurant right on the water. We benefit from the long walk there and back on this balmy night, by the sea.

During this time we catch up with Mike from Il Novia, one of the yachts in our flotilla out of Salalah. We hoped to catch up with him in Cyprus, and can't believe it when we discover we are tied up on the other side of the break wall from him.

This is a very busy time for me too. We are meeting Heather and Scott and their families in Rhodes on June 15th, so the boat needs to be ship-shape by then. We are so looking forward to this special time, so want to be properly organized.



Eritrea is poor, unbelievably poor

And it still shows the pockmarks of war

Supplies are all short here (you can't get a beer)

There were other collapse signs we saw.

We thought the Red Sea would be dusty

With unpleasant head winds, we'd heard

But the wind has been kind (we are sailing today)

And the snorkeling here is superb.

Last night we ate grilled Spanish mackerel

Provided by Gone with the Wind

Our chef has been told she must be on her toes

Will our tuna pass muster, if tinned?

It does, and our cook wins another chef's hat

For the Long Island barbeque

As we sail north into Suakin

The channel shows four shades of blue.

If Eritrea is poor the Sudan is abject

The streets are not even paved

There's rubble and garbage piles everywhere

But the donkeys are well behaved.

And the market is crammed with colourful stalls

Fruit and veges and grains and bread

The donkeys draw carts and goats trot about

They all look well enough fed.

We set off today for an overnight sail

Reef Fendera's the goal to attack

But the wind comes up hard so we come back inside

To the shelter of Marsa Salak.

Now we creep up the coast with the wind on the nose

To the small Taila sandy cays

The water shows blue against white sandy spits

With this wind we might stay here for days.

We now are believers: it blows from the north

We bash up against it all day
But we find some good shelter at Khor Shinab

And in time to get off and play.

We talk to the local fishermen

We're able to get fresh fish and prawns

In return we've given them medicines

And a mask (because their's was torn).

The Khor Shinab sand dunes come down to the sea

It's secure, if dusty, protection

We climb up the quoin behind the boats

We're quite pleased with this selection.

We make it today to the Elba Reef

There are dolphins and snorkeling here

Susie calls down to them and they call right back

"Feel Free": their message is clear.

We're hoping like mad for a weather break

To get further north to Hurghada

This constant wind from the north every day

Is making the sailing much harder.

The break now emerges so off we go

On a double overnighter

So far, so good: it's fairly calm

And our prospects are looking brighter.

We soaked up some sights of old Cairo

The citadel, mosques and bazaar

The chaotic Egyptian museum

(Tutankhamen was best by far).

We gaped at the Giza pyramids

Had a felucca ride on the Nile

We drank tea at El Fishawi's

Ate in Alexandrian style.

Then we Nile cruised from Aswan to Luxor

Ancient Egypt is on full display

Learned to deal with the cursed baksheesh

How much and when to pay.

Now we're heading off north from Hurghada

The Gulf of Suez is near

There's a forecast of fairly good weather

But you cannot rely on that here.

We've reached Port Suez this morning

(After radar failure last night)

There are oil rigs galore off the coast here

And a couple gave Susie a fright.

Now we're motoring along the Suez canal

Shaban is our pilot today

We may make it to Cyprus in two days time

We're now in the mood to play.

Now it's three days time, for the army

In it's own inimitable way

Has taken over the Suez Canal

So we can't move again today.

It turns out the problem is U.S. warships

But we're now underway to Port Said

We're coming close to the playground now

We're about to pop into the Med.

MAY 2008