Frequent visitors that play on the bow wave6 years on board

We cruised for 6 years with our sailing yacht ARION. Initially we planned a circumnavigation but we soon realised that there was too much to see and do along the way. Instead of hasting on we spent time visiting the countries and getting to know their people - and meeting other cruisers. For us that made more sense than being able to say we had sailed around the world.

The mausoleum of Sidi Abed in Kairouan, TunesienAnd so we spent the first two years in the Mediterranean where three continents with such different cultures are linked across the sea. We saw and learned a lot wherever we went. Friendly people, interesting buildings and fantastic scenery - it would definitely have been a mistake to go straight to the caribbean before seeing what was on our doorstep.

In a lock on the French canalsWe wanted to pay a visit to the British Isles too - and we thought we could nip through the French canals in the Autumn. It didn't quite work out that way as the dry summer left too little water in the canals and then later they were frozen over. But finally in the Spring we made it, a pleasant but strenuous trip.

We spent the early summer in England and Ireland, and renewed our acquaintance with tidal waters. A tide calendar is seldom required in the Mediterranean but here it was always at hand on the chart table. Before the autumn gales hit the Biscay we were already in further south enjoing the Atlantic coasts of Spain and Portugal. We stayed longer in Madeira than planned, as the islands fascinated us und we enjoyed hiking in the mountains there. We had to leve out some of the Canary Islands instead, and went straight to Teneriffa where we got ready for the Atlantic crossing.

In November the harbours hum with activity as hundreds of boats fillup with provisions. Tips spread from boat to boat and old hands pass down their knowledge. Once at sea the boats are soon scattered over a wide area and only keep in contact via radio. Some meet up again in the Caribbean, only to disperse again in all directions. We turned North, as the decision had been taken to stay in the Atlantic. The Bahamas, the USA und Canada had more than enough to offer for the next two years. We enjoyed Maine particularly with its lush green islands and oldtimer yachts - it's just a shame that the Northern summer is so short!

Pico rises high above the islands of the AzoresWe had to return to Europe. Our journey was coming to an end. The islands of the Azores - surrounded by so much ocean - were yet another highlight before the circle closed and we sailed back into the Mediterranean.

We often think back to the time we spent travelling. If you understand German you may like to read more about our experiences in the collection of letters home. And if you are planning a similar trip yourself, you may want to profit from our experiences by reading our tips for your trip to the Mediterranean.
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