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Friday, April 29, 2011

2009 season

Anzac Cove or bust!  And bust we nearly did as we battled the Meltemi all the way up the Turkish Coast.  Whoever said it doesn't blow until July - we've got news for you!  One day we almost gave up.....Brenda was in the galley making coffee when we took a greenie over the bow.  She got drenched, the coffee was severely diluted and tempers were somewhat frayed.  From that point on we learnt to always close the hatch!!

Gallipoli was amazing and going ashore and seeing Bandit anchored in Anzac Cove was very special.  From there we had a magical (and fast) sail across to Thasos and Samothraki - beautiful Greek Islands seldom visited due to their northern position.  Only a handful of yachts there including Americans Dick and Ginger off Alchemy who we have since followed around the Med.

Next up were the Sporades where we followed in the footsteps of Meryl Streep and co - Mamma Mia was filmed here.  On a beautifully calm day we anchored in the bay beneath the chapel in "that" wedding scene and exhausted ourselves by climbing the steep steps to the top - what a view.

A series of lovely downwind sails to the Cyclades where the Meltemi picked up all its strength for us.  We battled short, choppy seas and horrendous winds to pick up David's cousin Tina Hamilton on Tinos.  As we eventually docked (after lots of attempts), the neighbouring boat told us they'd had 40knots out there.  Our top gust was 38 - that's no fun.  A week later we picked up James, Diane, Harrison and Sophie on Mykonos and sailed down to Paros and Naxos with them, managing to find ways to entertain the kids even with the Meltemi constantly blowing.

The Meltemi was still blowing when Chick and Pete Anderson arrived on Paros, but we headed straight down to the small Cyclades for a fantastic few weeks......sheer bliss!  Then we had another Marlborough visitor in the form of Del Bissell who flew into Paros.  We sailed to Kos where we picked up daughter Rebecca and then had a lovely time island hopping across to Turkey where we headed into Marmaris to drop them off and finish our season.

Looking forward to some inland travel we bussed up to Bulgaria spending time in Plovdiv and Sofia before flying to London.

2008 season

We began with a few cruisy weeks in the beautiful Ionian Sea, joined firstly by Adie and Pete McLean and Chick Anderson and then Barry and Fiona Shearer, before heading across to the Greek mainland.  We dropped Barry and Fiona off here and went inland ourselves to explore the ancient site of Olympia.  Then it was a fantastic few weeks sailing down to the Peloponese which is a gorgeous and relatively undiscovered area of Greece.

We picked up Richard and Wendy Batchelor near Naflion and visited some wonderful islands - Hydra, Paros and Mykonos before dropping them off in Naxos.  We loved the Cyclades - despite the Meltemi wind.  We took our time cruising across to Turkey.  Rosie Todhunter and three friends joined us in Kos (one of the easternmost Greek Islands) and we skipped across to Turkey with them before dropping them off in Rhodes.

Met Kiwi sailors Ross and Jo Blackman in Bozuk Buku in Turkey with the girls onboard and had a wonderful night at a local restaurant with Ross being coerced into getting his guitar from Sojourn and serenading the crowd - what a fantastic musician he is.  We met up with Sojourn again later in the season and spent some wonderful days together in the Kekova Roads area of Turkey - simply stunning.

We ended the season in Marmaris marina which is a great meeting place for yachties.  Met up with Jo and Ross again and another Kiwi couple Keith and Pam Goodall off Savarna, a lovely Hanse yacht.  Also met some great Australians, Swiss, French - well all sailors are fantastic people aren't they?

At the end of the season we headed to Cappadocia and then flew to Istanbul before heading to the UK for another winter.

our first season

Our first six months on Bandit was spent heads down, bottoms up cleaning, cleaning and cleaning.  We scrubbed and polished her until she gleamed.  In fact one local sailor at the marina came past one day and told us he simply didn't recognise the boat.  She was in a pretty sad state when we bought her, but by April she (and we) was raring to go.  Our first few days sailing up the Spanish coast was interesting as we got used to her - David's first attempt to "Mediterranean style" berth was heart in mouth stuff.  Luckily son Ryan was also on board so there was an extra pair of hands to help.

We reached the Balearics just in time to meet David's sister Susi, husband Tim and daughter Briony who were joining us for a few days.  From the Balearics we headed to Corsica where Nick and Jock Clouston sailed with us to Sardinia and then it was Jimma Dillon's turn.  It was an incredibly busy season as in August we had Zak and Helen Ensor, who joined us in Sicily and sailed with us to Greece, then in September Jenny and John Oswald, Stephanie Maraz and Brenda's son Sam.  We spent the time with them in the beautiful Ionian Sea.

We visited some stunning spots and it was wonderful to be back in the beautiful Greek Islands.  Both David and Brenda had been there in the there was catching up to do - on ouzo, Greek yoghurt and memories!

Bandit spent the winter in Preveza while we headed to the UK to become Animal Aunts - looking after the houses and pets of the wealthy while they holidayed.  A fantastic first season