History of the Canary Islands

These islands are located just off the coast of the north-western portion of the African continent/mainland, nearest the political divide of Morocco and Western Sahara. The archipelago consists of seven major islands, one minor island, and several small islets. They are of volcanic origin. 2 million people live there now. There are many theories about Continue reading History of the Canary Islands

Passage to Gibraltar Days 3-5

Day 3

It was another relatively warm, sunny and beautiful day. At 1000, all was still status quo. The only change was that sometimes the wind would move to starboard aft corner for a while, but it usually stayed on the port aft corner. The wind speeds are consistently between 7 29 knots apparent, though they sometimes sit for a while at the higher end of the spectrum, and sometimes stay at lower end of spectrum for a while.

The waves were still big and lumbering, coming at us in long intervals, hitting primarily from the port aft quarter, which makes that terrible corkscrew motion. The waves definitely feel worse when the wind kicks around to the starboard, and the seas become mildly confused. It is still hard to Continue reading Passage to Gibraltar Days 3-5

Passage to Gran Canaria – Days 1 and 2

Yesterday we wanted to get up early so we could leave ASAP. Mind you, early for us these days is before 0800, when the sun rises. It was cold and dark, making getting out of bed painful, but we had to do it. We had no time to dilly dally. Fortunately, it wasn’t as cold as it had been all week, so getting up before turning the heater on was a little more bearable. The wind was calm when we awoke. We knew it would change soon.

Eric gave Kosmos a quick wash down. There was jet fuel residue all over the boat, and we are afraid if we go out to sea that it will turn to cement and be difficult to remove down the road. Christi ran to Continue reading Passage to Gran Canaria – Days 1 and 2

2008 Reflections and Happy 2009!

Happy New Year! Wishing all of you and happy, healthy, safe and prosperous 2009.

It is time for a quick break from the usual travel log stories and do a summary of 2008. You can always check the Travel Summary to see the details of where we have been. Here is our map from the Travel Summary page showing our progress since April 2007:

world-kosmos2-route-resize.jpg

Last year, we did our year end summary list based on blog-time, meaning we didn’t talk about anything that hadn’t posted yet. This year we are doing the highlights in real-time, so some of these highlights are previews of blog stories yet to come. This is mostly due to the blog stories being several weeks behind real-time.

Since the 2007 highlights posting, Kosmos has made 33 stops in 18 countries. We have crossed two oceans the Indian and the Atlantic. We crossed the dreaded Gulf of Aden just after the pirate attacks had started up again after a 2 year lull. We crossed the Red Sea and went through the Suez Canal and then the Mediterranean Sea. We have done a lot of miles that is for sure!

Last year we were mostly in rural places experiencing nature, this year we spent most of our time in urban areas experiencing cultures and histories. We have been to some of the poorest and richest places in the world. We have been to Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and Christian areas, and gotten a taste of Asian, Indian, Arab, Turkish, and European cultures. We have been consistently impressed with how kind and generous people are the world over. Even people who have almost nothing are willing to share the little they have. It is touching. We have had quite a few complete strangers invite us to their houses for home cooked meals, all of which are special highlights for us for the overall trip. We have had many other locals take us sightseeing and/or to experience the local culture first hand. We didn’t have many difficult times this year, but each time we did, we always had at least one, and usually more, locals willing to help us out, sometimes at a sacrifice to themselves. This year has opened our eyes to how wonderful human nature really can be and to how much fun it is to partake in other cultures.

Here are some of the more memorable things that stand out, as well as the statistics, from this year:

  • Average speed entire trip: 5.9 knots
  • Best ancient sites: Luxor and Giza, Egypt
  • Best hot chocolate: Valletta, Malta, though Angelina’s in Paris, France takes a close second
  • Best marina security: Marsa Alam, Egypt
  • Best night light show: Hong Kong, China
  • Best Overall Artistry: Bali, Indonesia
  • Best restored ancient housing: Ephesus, Turkey
  • Best yogurt: Greek style (even better with honey)
  • Biggest animal ever ridden: elephants in Phuket
  • Calmest anchorage: Rinca, Indonesia
  • Cleanest country: tie between Monaco and Singapore
  • Craziest locations of buildings: Meteora, Greece
  • Days on land/days at sea (whole journey): 433/169 = 28% of time underway
  • Favorite big city: Paris, France
  • Favorite dive spot: Komodo National Park, Indonesia
  • Favorite grocery store: Mark’s & Spencer’s, Gibraltar
  • Favorite guided tour: kayak hawng tour around Phuket, Thailand
  • Friendliest monkeys: Gibraltar
  • Hardest hike: Stromboli, Italy
  • Highest concentration of expensive cars: Monaco
  • Highest concentration of wealth in one building: The Louvre in Paris, with the Vatican, Vatican City taking second place
  • Least expensive fuel: Salalah, Oman
  • Longest passage: 20 days across Atlantic from Gran Canaria to Guadalupe
  • Meanest monkeys: Langkowi, Malaysia
  • Most awe inspiring tradition we witnessed: the Islamic annual fasting during the holy month of Ramadan while in Tunisia
  • Most bureaucracy: Andaman Islands, India
  • Most convenient check in: Pointe a Pitre, Guadalupe
  • Most daring rescue: saving a sailboat twice in Stromboli, Italy
  • Most different culture from ours: Oman
  • Most eager to feed you: Greece
  • Most effort expended by locals to help us out: Hulhumale, Maldives
  • Most expensive entry fees: Male, Maldives
  • Most expensive fuel: Male, Maldives
  • Most graffiti: Italy
  • Most interesting salvage of underwater treasures: Bordum, Turkey
  • Most mischievous activity: sneaking into the UN climate change conference, Bali Indonesia
  • Most surprising ham presentation: Canary Islands, Spain
  • Most unique housing: traditional Berber homes, Southern Tunisia
  • Most unique land animal in the wild: Komodo Dragons, Rinca, Indonesia
  • Most unique museums: Malaysia
  • Most unique tradition we experienced: annual sheep shearing and celebratory party in Crete, Greece
  • Most unique yacht club building façade: Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain
  • Most vintage busses: Malta
  • Most vintage cars: Andaman Islands, India
  • Newest mode of transportation we tried: Segway personal transportation vehicle
  • Nicest taxis: Mercedes are standard issue in Crete
  • Prettiest church exterior: Il Duormo, Milan, Italy, second place goes to the cathedral in Palermo, Italy.
  • Prettiest city: Monaco
  • Rolliest marina: One degree 15, Singapore, closely followed by Mallorca, Spain
  • Roughest passage: Bali to Singapore, but the Red Sea was no fun, either
  • Scariest Experience: Kosmos almost sinking in Stromboli, Italy
  • Scariest port entry: Singapore
  • Slowest check in: Andaman Islands, India
  • Worst drivers: Egypt
  • Worst radio abuser: The Pilipino Monkey Boy can be heard from Italy to Singapore
  • Strongest winds: 42 knots during a squall on Atlantic crossing
  • Total distance traveled 2008: 14,314 nautical miles (16,460 statute miles, 26,3337 kilometers)
  • Total distance traveled entire journey: 24,273 nautical miles (27,914 statute miles, 44,662 kilometers)
  • Total engine hours 2008: 2414
  • Total engine hours entire journey: 4090
  • Total generator hours 2008: 877
  • Total generator hours entire journey: 1644

We are looking forward to 2009. We hope you follow along on the Kosmos Travel Log. 🙂

Travel Summary July 2008 to December 2008

July 2008 to December 2008 — Egypt to Monaco

  • Suez City, Egypt
    29°56N by 32°34E
    Jul 8 – Jul 17, 2008
    Giza Pyramids, Cairo Museum, transiting Suez Canal
  • Aghios Nikolaos, Crete, Greece
    31° 11.2N by 25° 43.0E
    July 26 – Aug 26 & Sep 3 – 9 & Oct 6 – 7, 2008
    Monasteries, Sheep Party, Knossos Minoan ruins, trip to Athens, Delphi, Meteora & Thermopalye on mainland, visit to towns of Rythmeno and Chania on Crete, SCUBA diving, cave, olive oil factory, trip to Santorini, repairing exhaust leak
  • Kos, Dodacanese Islands, Greece
    36°53N by 27°18E
    Sep 10 – 17, 2008
    Ruins, Trip to Rhodes medieval city
  • Bodrum Peninsula, Turkey
    Turtugreis 37°0N by 27°15E
    Yat Lift 37°0N by 27°27E
    Sep 17 – Oct 6, 2008
    Haul out & accompanying work, underwater archeology museum, trip to Izmir & Ephesus
  • Bali, Crete, Greece
    35°25.0N by 24°46.5E
    Oct 8 – Oct 9, 2008
  • Pylos, Peloponnese, Greece
    36°54.0N by 21°40.5E
    Oct 10 – Oct 14, 2008
    Visit to castle/fort & bird sanctuary
  • Siracusa, Sicily, Italy
    37°03.0N by 15°17.2E
    Oct 16 – Oct 23, 2008
    Trips to Catania & Mt. Etna, Il Duormo church, kayaking
  • Vittoriosa, Malta, Malta
    35°53.4N by 14°31.2E
    Oct 27 – Nov 5, 2008
    Patron saint celebration, archeology & maritime museums, spectacular churches & accompanying museums, grandmaster’s palace, medieval citadel, Ggjanta Temples, maintenance work, blue lagoon
  • Yasmine Hammamet, Tunisia
    36°22.3N by 10°32.8E
    Nov 7 – 18, 2008
    SCUBA diving, Medina, Ramadan dinner, Bardo museum, riding the sand dunes in the Sahara, set of Star Wars, traditional indigenous housing
  • Trapani, Sicily, Italy
    38°00.5N by 12°31.1E
    Nov 18 – 21, 2008
    Trip to Palermo
  • Stromboli, Sicily, Italy
    38°47.5N by 15°14.2E
    Nov 21 – 27, 2008
    Volcano hike, emergency rescues
  • Lipari, Sicily, Italy
    38°28.4N by 14°57.5E
    Nov 27 – Dec 2, 2008
  • Rome, Italy
    41°44.3N by 12°14.6E
    Dec 4 – 16, 2008
    Vatican, ancient ruins, Pantheon, Vatican fort
  • Monaco
    43°44.0N by 7°25.3E
    Dec 18 – 31, 2008
    Hiking in the Alps, underwater museum