Log #34a Back In Rome

February 8, 2005 in Log Series 30-39, Logs by Series, Series 34 Rome - Corsica - Sardinia, The Logs

Porto Turistico di Roma

Ostia, Rome

Feb. 8, 2005

Hi Folks,

This is my first log upon our return to Veleda in Ostia, and my first log to my new mailing address list. To ensure I have all the addresses correct, will you please send me a short note indicating you received this log, so I know I have your address correct. If you can, please do not include the log in your response; if necessary send a separate E-mail as opposed to a return message. This way I can investigate any wrong addresses I have.

All is well with us and Veleda. More about us in this Log #34a Back in Rome.

All the best,


Log #34a Back In Rome

Feb. 6, 2005

This is a log to summarize our return to Veleda after our trip back home for six weeks during Christmas. Many cruisers keep contact with friends and family by returning home periodically as we did. We won’t be returning next winter as we hope to be down in the Cape Verde Islands off the African coast preparing for our Atlantic crossing to Barbados in the Caribbean. But once in the Caribbean we will have shorter trips to get home. So cruising doesn’t mean you have to sever ties with family and friends.

In the marina we announce on the morning VHF net who has left and who has just returned, and we were duly welcomed back. We had Greip, a Swedish boat, watch out for Veleda while we were away, and upon our return found they left us a nice pot of daffodils for Judy’s birthday (our arrival, Feb. 1, having left Toronto Jan. 31). However two of our bags did not arrive until the 2nd. We seem to have trouble when travelling on Judy’s birthday. In 1999 we had very heavy conditions going up to Bimini from Cuba, and Judy was quite seasick and dehydrated for a few more days. In 2001 when we were crossing from Barcelona to the Balearic Islands on a Feb. 1, we lost our forestay in a force 8 gale, destroying our roller furling and genoa. So from now on we will sit tight wherever we are on Judy’s birthday.

Our trip home was busy but enjoyable. We made 9 presentations of our trip around the Black Sea to various yacht clubs in the Toronto area, including three at the Toronto Boat Show. As we weren’t paid for any of these activities, we made up a CD with text and pictures to sell. It was our first entrepreneurial attempt, and at least we sold enough to cover our production costs. We titled it Cruise the Black Sea with Veleda IV, and had several sections to it. One section contained all my Logs #32 in the Black Sea. Another was a copy of my Log #32z about Sevastopol, Balaclava, and Yalta with imbedded pictures of these locations, and details and pictures of the Russian Navy Black Sea Fleet Review. A third part was entitled 90+ Tips for Liveaboard Cruising with over 60 pictures to illustrate many ways things can be made more useful for living on a small boat. Judy was the main author of this section. We used an HTML format and were greatly assisted by Michael, Judy’s 13 year old nephew, in the creation of the final production. (Thanks Michael!) We then copied the CD in quantity, made up and applied disc labels with a picture of Judy posing with some Russian sailors and a dramatic bows-on picture of a Russian Navy warship, and put the discs into slim jewel cases. We sold a few at each presentation, and left the remainder with our friend, Tony Cook, who is also the webmaster of www.searoom.com the sailing site on which all my logs can be found. If anyone wishes to purchase the disc, the cost is $15.00 (US) plus $5.00 for shipping and handling from the searoom website.

We had a chance to swing up north to North Bay (500km north of Toronto) to visit my sister and her family. Then we went over to Sudbury to visit my foster son Alvin and his family. Twenty years ago we used to live up north in a small lakeside hamlet called Willisville (26 houses, 85 people, 12 dogs and 6 cats), and I enjoy getting back up to the north country, especially in the winter for cross country skiing, snowmobiling and curling. It has been years since I have enjoyed curling and snowmobiling. These sports have changed. The expense and power of modern snowmobiles is staggering. I went for a 100 mile run one day, and was amazed to be bombing across Lake Nipissing at 75 miles per hour (thanks to my nephew, Mike Peters). The snowmobile clubs are far more organized now, respecting the environment and private property, stressing safety with well laid out groomed trails. We had a glorious sight as we were running alongside a farmer’s field to see four of his horses galloping across the snowy pasture with the fine powdery mist kicked up behind them, their gleaming chestnut brown flanks partially hidden by the white spray kicked up, the puffs of moisture steaming from their nostrils as these magnificent beasts charged across the cold white landscape.

Curling too has changed. Now every one has push brooms; no longer the loud slap slap of corn or synthetic brooms on the ice as the skip yells “Sweeeepp!”. I was surprised at the aids curlers were able to use. Several people held semicircular frames with Teflon feet to help them balance when delivering their rocks. However many were still using the old method, extending their brooms on the ice for balance. I thought it almost humorous to see the elderly who could not crouch down in the hack, delivering their rocks standing up and shuffling along, pushing the rock with a long extension pole gripping the handle of the stone, and releasing it with the proper turn before the hog line. I guess it is a way to assist those with physical limitations to still enjoy the game of curling. It was nice to enjoy the camaraderie of this social sport again back in Sudbury. Thanks Alvin.

I miss the north. Judy doesn’t. She thinks the ideal climate is where when you get up in the morning, you just put on a bathing suit! That’s why we are off to the Caribbean. However we enjoyed our life up in Northern Ontario, especially in the summer when we had our boat at Little Current. This location gave us access to the North Channel between Manitoulin Island and the north shore of Lake Huron, as well as McGregor Bay, Bay Fine, and the 30,000 Islands of Georgian Bay; some of the most enjoyable cruising areas in the WORLD! Our next enjoyable areas up north would be the north shore of Lake Superior, including Isle Royale. Canadians and Americans who live near these areas or can cruise them in the summer are indeed fortunate.

For contrast we also went down to Panama City in Florida to visit Judy’s Dad for ten days. It was warmer and I enjoyed walking the beach each day. We enjoyed visiting with him, and with Judy’s sister Barbara and her family who live down there. We had no problems with our flights down and back, and found the American security checks were quite efficient and not overly time consuming. I still don’t agree with many of George W. Bush’s policies, especially on Iraq, and this area of Florida is referred to as the “Redneck Riviera”. However, I kept my opinions to myself, and enjoyed the hospitality and generosity for which the Americans are noted.

But I digress. We are back here in Ostia on Veleda putting away all the things we brought from Canada. It will be a while before we are better organized, as on a small boat space is always at a premium. The last day or so we have been trying to install the power unit for our Benmar Cetek autopilot. We took it back to Canada with us to ship it down to California, only to have it returned four weeks later, wrong address (including initial costs for shipping and return costs!).  We then sent it down to Florida with a friend to ship it express and ask it be returned so our friend could bring it back with him. We met him at the airport in Toronto when he arrived and we were on our way back to Rome, and packed it in our luggage. The luggage was delayed and not delivered until a day later after we had arrived in Ostia. We have installed it with great difficulty only to find out it doesn’t work! Aaaaaggghhhh! Judy has spent several frustrating hours in the bowels of our starboard locker (I don’t fit) installing it, removing it, checking it and testing it to no avail. We will call the company, very critical of their service and if no joy, we will permanently remove it and seek a backup self steering system, garbaging the (admittedly twenty-six year old) Benmar Cetek!

We installed the new Flojet water pump we bought over here. It works, but we still have a leak to trace down. We have also had difficulties with our AOL service with our laptop, and have had to use a local internet access at the library to send E-mail, as this will probably be sent. We topped up our water tanks, flashed up the engine to check its functioning. Everything else on Veleda seems to be fine. There will be many other maintenance tasks to be completed over the next two months before we set sail in mid April. In cruising, nothing is ever simple.

I put on 9 kilo (about 20 pounds) since leaving last November, and so we went back on the Atkins induction diet quite religiously; after our lovely meal for Judy’s birthday the night we returned. We restricted ourselves to less than 20 grams of carbohydrate per day for the past week. Since returning I have lost 6 kilo (about 13 pounds). While we are eating on board, we can control our diet quite well; it is the eating out in restaurants and at receptions that is our undoing. When I have lost another 5 or 10 kilo, we will modify to a maintenance diet, but still limiting the carbohydrates in bread, pastry, potatoes, rice, pasta, sweets and desserts. (Judy did not put on as much as I did, but I will keep her progress a secret.)

However, we are glad to be back home on Veleda. It is great seeing the friends we made here in Ostia before leaving last December. The winter marina liveaboards make it like a friendly small town where everyone knows everyone else, and helps out one another quite readily. This cruising lifestyle is most rewarding, and we hope to enjoy it for many years to come. Plus – it is only a 1.00 Euro train ticket to get to downtown Rome in 20 minutes to explore the grandeur and ancient sights of this eternal city. Life is rough!