Sunday, April 11, 2010

Whats going on in our lives these days.

First sail with Moondancer's cruising chute. What fun that was. Putting it up Tony was almost hoisted up into the air. As soon as the chute filled we shot forward and had a romping sail.

My daughter Mary and her son Mission at a few days old, living in Victoria BC, Canada.

Wilfred Pirotta is a diver, who still works under boats replacing zincs, cleaning bottoms etc. even though he's in his 70's now. He carries his tank and equipment on this motor scooter which he bought a long time ago. The scooter still advertises the previous owners, Thomas Smith, Admiralty chart agents in Malta. He never bothered to take the name off.
I saw him later in the day after he had finished his dive and asked his name. I told him I would put him on the blog. He gave me his professional card and said that though he knew nothing about computers, perhaps his sister who lives in Canada would be able to see him.
We went to an exhibition of art by Wayne Attwood, a fellow sailor who has been travelling on his boat, Hitrapia with his wife Angie. He's been painting architecture in Malta, mostly water colors and now some oils. His show was very successful, half of his painting were sold by the end of the show. My brother Peter and wife Sue came to the party also and they found a painting they really liked for their home.
We spent yesterday being ambling tourists yesterday. We walked into Valletta and on the way found the most beautiful secluded gardens, directly across from our mooring on the other side of the creek. We couldn't find any plaque to tell us the history of the gardens, but we did find many carvings in the stone walls, which seemed to be memorials - perhaps it had been a graveyard in the past. We were the only people there and the gardens had such a beautiful, peaceful mood, the only sounds being many birds twittering and the palm leaves rustling in the wind. We found dates of the late 1800's and statues of lions which were almost completely eroded, which seemed to indicate older than that. Many of the wall engravings were dedicated to the queen - probably Queen Victoria who has quite a presence in Valletta.
This day started with a 'boat jumble' where we and other boaters took items we wanted to sell or swap at the marina. It was alot of fun and we sold most of what we didn't want, bought some things that we needed, but mostly enjoyed the company of friends. We shared a table with our new Canadian friends Trevor and Jean, who also live aboard their sailboat from Vancouver, Onward. They came into the harbour a couple of weeks ago, but we have been so busy with work and my exam that we had not had time to get together socially. The time we spent with them today was lots of fun, we all tried to sell the things we had, kept each other entertained and enjoyed lots of interaction with our neighbours.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Captain Nancy Hancock signing in

I've been looking forward to posting this particular blog for quite some time now. Yesterday Steve, the Royal Yachting Association examiner came back to our boat and spent the day with us.
While Tony went out to get us some pastizzi (savoury Maltese heart attack pastries) we got the theory part of the exam out of the way, which I pretty much aced - which was a great relief to me, because then it was all down to the sailing skills and piloting - no electronics allowed. Tony was my crew and Steve told Tony that he was not to help me in any way to make any decisions, just to crew.
It turned into a blustery day with the wind between 20 - 25kn. Given the wind direction we basically sailed downwind for a couple of hours with me navigating using running fixes to find a spot that Steve marked on the chart. I found it and he was satisfied with my effort and asked me to head for another place. There was alot of jibing - all controlled I'm pleased to say. It was a bit rolly as the waves were quite high, but quite pleasant really - until we turned around to head back. With a double reefed main, mizzen and reefed genoa we were making very poor progress through the increasing wind and seas. So when Steve was satisfied that I knew how to sail the boat he suggested that if we were going to get back in time for the football game he wanted to watch at 9.00pm we should probably use the engine.
We still had to tack back and forth along the coast to plough through the waves, and we were noticeably the only "pleasure craft" out there. It felt like a long tiring day, but I was pretty buoyed up as I felt sure I was passing the exam.
We got a bit of a reprieve from the gusts - long enough to make a half decent docking and then 'the torture', as Steve put it, was over and he told me I had passed. What a happy woman I was at that point. Hugs all round and time for celebration. Don't know what I'm going to do with this certification yet - I just really wanted it.
Captain Nancy Hancock signing out. (Its alright I'll stop saying it soon.)