The Drink Of Brave Men

On Sunday I’ll be publishing my shots of the Dharavi slums of Mumbai. That’s on Sunday but today is Friday, so let’s keep it light-hearted. Let’s discuss beer! Beer. The love of my life, the bain of my waist-line. A refreshment to be enjoyed at the end of the day after a hard day’s sail, a hard day’s work or a hard day’s drinking. Whatever the occassion, beer is there to help you celebrate. Here in Catholic Kerala, however, beer isn’t so understood. The booze shop is a shuttered, over-the-counter, slip-the-beverage-into-a-plain-paper-bag-before-my-wife-spots-me affair. The pubs are dirty, dark cockroach-infested holes. The imbibement of this fine libation is not encouraged like it is elsewhere in India and the mantra “alcohol consumption is injurious to health” is seen on both the labels of bottles and across the tinted windows of aforementioned grimey bars. Is ‘injurious’ actually a word? Whatever, whether you like beer or not you’ll be impressed by the sales pitch of one such beer called Zingaro. The masculine gold and red Zingaro label has an Indian, of the Native American persuasion, taming a wild horse with ‘Super Strong Premium Lager’ emblazoned across the bottom. But it’s the blurb on the back that had me in stiches…

Read more...

Fenkil: Celebrating Eritrea’s Independence

We return to Massawa and Liz, bless her, went down with the nasty fever that was spreading amongst the yotties. It was a shame because she missed ‘Fenkil’, which was the 20th anniversary of Eritrea’s independence. We had originally been told that all foreign yachts were to have left Massawa before the president came to do his speech but we later learned that actually the town would like us to stay and celebrate with them. What an honour.

Read more...

Stop Asking For Presents!

Today is arrival day. Our predicted landfall is 1600 and I’m writing this as we motor across flat calm water towards Port Said, so we’ll see if my ETA is correct. Although we can’t see land the depth is only 20 metres, and we’ve passed a couple of oil rigs and been overtaken by a huge cargo ship. With the hazy sun the entire experience reminds me of the east coast of the UK. On a good day. Instead of familiar Turkish banter the VHF is now choca with angry-sounding Arabic fishermen.

Read more...

The Fertile and Picturesque Island of Samos

I have just had the sail of my life: I covered 73 miles in 13 hours in 25 knots of wind, passing eight Greek islands along the way. In all that time I passed just four other sailing boats in the glorious late summer sun. Sadly this was the end of my personal Greek odyssey. I am now back in Marmaris Yacht Marina (yuck) preparing to return to the UK. Permit me, then, to conclude my Greek log with my stay in Samos, which is mainly a bunch of photographs for your viewing pleasure (they’re so much easier to digest than words). The last of our summer log entries will culminate in Matt’s account of his visit with Candice, boasting some cracking photographs, but more on that next week. In the meantime I’ve adopted (nicked) Matt’s black border technique for a new-look image presentation. Enjoy.

Read more...

The Square On The Hypotenuse

As we left the island of Arki we were seen off by a pod of dolphins, some so big I thought perhaps they were pilot whales. They weren’t but they looked very big and very old too (two with lots of battle scars). It was quite fitting to be seen off by them, as if they were rewarding us with these favourable winds after the last week of motoring everywhere.

Read more...

One Giant Bleat For Mankind

Emborios is a tiny hamlet with just a couple of restaurants who provide mooring buoys for yotties. Yep, you guessed it, another task as yet not undertaken single-handed. I think I performed it admirably, even if I say so myself, especially after tying up and watching a another boat make a real pig’s ear of it all: lost boat hooks, screaming skipper, trembling wife, usual story.

Read more...