Thursday, December 30, 2010

Mr Big Boy in the Hospital :(

        We got the "FULL" experience of Israel this week, including the health care system :( Miles has had a persistent cough since we came back from Switzerland, and even though we've been trying different medicines, he had gradually gotten worse. So, the night we came back from Ashkelon, in the middle of the night, we decided to take him into the emergency room at the Hadassah Hospital. He'd been vomiting everything Rachel tried to feed him, including medicine for 48 hours, and we were knew he was dehydrated. So, 3:30 in the morning, I was out on the streets looking for a taxi to take us there. It literally took walking down the middle of the street to get one to stop, apparently 3:30 is quitting time and no one wants to take another passenger.

Monday, December 13, 2010

2000 year storm in Ashkelon

Last week, Israel had one of the worst storms on record. We were spending 2 weeks at the boat in the marina, winterizing and cleaning the boat until next spring. We had one or two days of wind during the first week, but it quickly left and returned to an unseasonably beautiful December. We actually spent a few days walking to the beach and swimming. Levi spent a day snorkeling outside the breakwater trying some new fins.

The next storm, however, was HUGE! It was predicted 5-6 days in advance, and didn't diminish as it got closer, only stronger. We were watching it approach from Sicily and as it passed through the Greek islands, it just kept growing. We watch weather sites like: www.windguru.com and www.passageweather.com which both offer a lo t of information specifically for sailors. So, as it blew in Friday night (12-10), we knew it was big. The dust in the air from the Negev desert to the south was amazing. Visibility was terrible and everything was covered in dirt. All day Saturday the wind howled through the lines and rigging in the marina. We had moved Mehari to an inside pontoon before the storm, but spent the next 3 days rollin' around in the boat. Inside, it was nice and cozy and we watched movies, occasionally checking on the lines and wind strength. I never saw the winds blow less than 30 knots for 48 hours. Levi saw 51 knots and another boat recorded 60 knots during the worst Sunday morning around 4 am, while it was dumping rain.  I was awake, looking and checking and could definitely tell it had gotten heavier. There is a different noise the wind makes through the rigging between 40 knots and 60 knots!! The pitch climbs higher and higher, then cuts out to a low hum, almost growl, as the wind makes good on all the threats its been breathing the previous days. 

Over all, we felt safe in the marina, really glad we weren't out in the Med, as a huge tanker ship ended up sinking and two other vessels had to be pulled to safety with tugboats into Ashdod, just 7 miles up the coast. We had heard buildings collapsed in Egypt from the winds and the Suez Canal was even closed, not a small storm! An ancient marina, built by Herod's son in Ceserea 30 miles away, was destroyed, as well as a lot of damage in other marinas up the coast (Ashdod, Tel Aviv, even Lebanon and Syria) So, it's safe to say this was the worst storm in 2000 years ~ at least that's my logic :)

The biggest challenge we had was keeping the two boats upwind from us off of our boat. The mono-hull next to us is a heavy 42' boat outfitted for circumnavigation. They had two dock-lines on the stern and one had broke and the other frayed badly. The boat next to him only had one dock line and it was frayed! Both boats were empty and Levi and I spent a lot of time tying additional dock-lines and Levi got the "joy" of jumping in the ocean while all this was blowing and tie lines on steel posts for additional support! I think deep down, after he showered, he loved it ;)

All in all, after it was over, we were wobbly and full of coffee, but safe. We were glad to be there and keep an eye on things, especially our 'neighbors' boats. Nothing fells as good or shines as brightly as the sun after the storm!  We almost had fun cleaning the decks and stowing lines and washing putting things away on Monday! 

That's it for now, this week, we head beck to Jerusalem to a different apartment for the winter, we'll update soon!

~ waterlogged Hems

Friday, December 10, 2010

Back to Mehari

After a few months in Jerusalem, we're back on the boat! So, we have a lot of Winter boat projects, cleaning and removing the sails, servicing the engines, and hopefully, changing the carpet floors to wood. We'll see about that one. It is too late in the season to sail very far West, so it'll be easier to wait until Spring. We sure missed a lot of things about the boat. How relaxing it is being on the water.....we slept much better than we had in a noisy Arab neighborhood in Jerusalem! It was fun to just hang out as a family.

We had a sad time leaving all our friends at For Zion's Sake where we've been living and volunteering. Lena and Sergei, Luda, and Yoha. They spoiled us with awesome Russian cooking and were very hospitible to our family. We will miss them very much and are glad for our months them.

Here is the other remodel project Levi and I finished. We remodeled a bathroom, and it was a great experience for Levi. He learned a lot about plumbing and framing and tile. The most important lesson was to make sure DAD! checks for leaks before you finish covering it up with tile......you fill in the blanks there!


Also, it made us both miss a house and all the fun things we could be doing together fixing and remodeling. Certainly planted some seeds for when we're done with the sailing adventure. Maybe we could work together someday, that would be another dream come true.

~ Hems

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Hills are Alive......

A couple of weeks ago, as it was time to renew our visas (again!), we had a great opportunity to visit some friends in Switzerland. The Antolovich family, Bradley, Marianna, and 5 kids invited us to spend a week and stay with them. Before you think it was over-crowded with all those kids, they were blessed with a 25 bedroom hotel/bed and breakfast! So, we all had our own room and there were almost 10 rooms left to spare! Slightly different than living and sailing on Mehari!

The trip took us from Jerusalem by train to the airport, and after getting there, I realized the only shoes I'd brought were flip flops, and it was supposed to be snowing when we got there! So, I was preparing myself to being seriously gouged at the airport where there is a big "duty-free" shopping area, you know, where they tell you how cheap everything is when you know you can pay less almost anywhere else?! .......Well, we ate dinner before boarding, and the first shop I went in had a sale with shoes marked down 60%. That was more like it! So, I managed to pick up some leather 'Timberland' shoes for $60, instead of the $160 sticker price!

Anyway, we were on our way and it was snowing when we arrived. Snow is something we haven't seen for almost 3 years! It was dark as we drove in so we didn't get to see the scenery until the next day, and we slept late the next morning. Where we live in Jerusalem is next to an Arab neighborhood, and 2 busy intersections, so it is noisy all day and night. Israelis LOVE their cars' horns and it's just a chaotic noise fest all hours. Well, we snuggled in warm beds in the quiet calm of the Alps and were dead to the world for 12 hours! We caught up on some serious sleep and must have needed it!

It really was a perfect week to go, because as the week went, it slowly got warmer and the snow melted. So, we were able to see the countryside with snow, and without snow, all the while the leaves were changing to every color imaginable. The photos and words can't even come close to doing it justice. The house is in a valley, surrounded by huge craggy mountains and there are heaps of walking trails literally right from the front door. I spent a long time "taking the dog for a walk" but really loved wandering and praying in that setting. Incredibly peaceful.

The kids all made good friends with their kids and spent every minute the Antolovich's weren't  in school playing games, ping-pong, trampoline, & music. Very neat family and we were blessed to hear their heart for Israel and vision for the special house they get to live in. Thanks Antolovich's for a fun week! Of course, Switzerland is incomplete with cheese fondue, chocolate, and roclette (another cheese dinner) and we ate more than our share!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010




Here's an update from Mr. Hummus!!

Miles is doing good, and obviously eating well!



~ Hems

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Cave of Machpelah, Hebron

While Erik's parents were here, we made a trip to "The Cave of Machpelah" or Cave of the Patriarchs. It is in the West Bank, and not the safest place in Israel over the last few years!

On the way there, we passed about three different checkpoints, and all the bus stops along the highway there are behind concrete bunkers. Apparently, waiting for the bus denotes a crime in this area and people have been picked off while waiting. All along the highway is barbed wire and fencing, and the whole trip south feels a bit like you're driving in a war zone, which for many years, it was. 

Getting into Hebron itself was fairly easy, after driving through 2 checkpoints, you enter an arab side of the town. What a difference! You leave a newer area of Jewish construciton, and enter a 3rd world feel of the arab side. I can't tell if it's because of all the conflict, or if Israel is limiting goods going in to that side, but it's a very dramatic difference. 
Once we drove down (it's in the lowest valley of Hebron) you see an amazing structure. It is the 2nd holiest site to Jews, second to the Western Wall, and in fact was built by Solomon in the same style as the Temple Mount. Because it was 'only a tomb' instead of a Temple, it wasn't razed by the Romans while they were here in the first couple of centuries CE, squashing everything else in sight. So, it is an very accurate on the detail and style of the way the original Temple Mount looked.

The tomb itself holds (to tradition) the tomb of Abraham, Sarai, Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob, and maybe, Esau? It has two entrances, one for Jews, up a small staircase, and through a hallway, and another around the main side through a Arab neighborhood, and through a mosque.  From the Jewish side, you can see all the tombs except for Isaac's. Ironic, since the line of Arabs went though Ishmael, so why do the Arabs want control of Isaac's? (except for the simple reason the Jews want it) I asked if I could go around and see Isaac's tomb, and was told, "Yeah, if you go though the Arab neighborhood.....go in and though the mosque.....and climb up to the tomb, yeah, if you make it that far, you can see it."....hmmmmm.......nevermind.!

To give you an idea, if you look though the tomb of Abraham, there is one small section that you can see across and into a hallway of the Mosque, and it's this small section that has a piece of bullet-proof glass. Just in case someone wanted to take a shot across from one place of worship to another. Craziness.

We were the only non-Jews or tourists we saw while we were there and it didn't seem like it gets the big tour buses very often. So, it was a very unique "tourist site" and we were glad we made the trip, it was a fantastic experience!

See you soon!

~Hems

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sukkot!

Sukkah on the roof
What a week! This week (well, the last couple of weeks) is holiday time here in Israel. So, it's been really cool to see how everyone prepares for it. The holiday season builds up to a week long holiday called Sukkot. It is celebrating when the Israelites left Egypt and ended up wandering in the desert for 40 years. During these years, they lived in tents and moved as God directed them, so in rememberance, everyone sets up small shelters on their patios, decks, yards, pretty much anywhere you can fit one! The Bible commands His people to continue this celebration and to eat at least one meal per day in a "sukkah" So, you see almost every restaurant set one up in front of their place and they are usually packed until the wee hours.

We built a sukkah up on the roof of the apartment and spent a few evenings in the breeze, enjoying some wine, olives, hummus, and cheese......really nice!! Emma and her friend Yonit, spent the night up there one night and got more than a few bug bites! We had a lot of visitors here at 'For Zion's Sake', 6 ladies from Russia, a girl from Switzerland named Anita, a lady from Poland via Australia - Asha, and another lady from Australia, Suzi. Plus with my parents, it was a full house(s). Everyone was flexible and even though some people wound up on the floor, it was a good time. 
The week builds up to "The Blessing" by the head Rabbi at the Western Wall and everyone who has mad pilgrimage is there to hear the blessing. We went down to see the crowds and it was packed! There were an estimated 50,000 jammed into the big courtyard, and stacked on every stairway and upper patio all over the complex. It was exciting being there and very intense at the same time. My dad and I ended up helping some people who were handing out water bottles and glasses of water because it was roasting hot that day. 

Green Door Pizza, one-of-a-kind! 
Afterwards, we wandered into the Arab Quarter to dine at the legendary 'Green Door Pizza' a favorite of backpackers for years because it's cheap and rustic. Quite a place.....the guy works down in this pit in front of a wood oven, the walls are all black from smoke stains, and he makes the pizzas with tomato sauce, soft cheese squares, and cracks two eggs on it, mixes it up and throws it in the oven. Definately worth the experience! Josh, someone who came with us on the adventure, couldn't get enough and ate almost 3 himself. You're an animal Josh!

Quite a day!! Quite a week! It was really awesome being in the land for it and we all had a ball. 

Until next.......Hems

Friday, August 27, 2010

"busted thumb" construction

While we've been here at For Zion's Sake, we've been able to start a remodeling project on some office space. The ministry here is consolidating and moving offices, so Levi and I have been working on framing, drywall, and some electrical. 
Who knows, maybe it's the seed of a construction business when this sailing adventure is all over? Levi likes working with his hands and he's soaking up whatever meager knowledge I have.

I thought some people might like to see what we've been up to since were off the boat for a bit, in Jerusalem. (In case you thought since we weren't sailing, we were just sitting around!)
Next project is to add a shower to a bathroom, so we'll see what kind of damage we can get into with that one! 

See you all later! 

~Hems

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Miles John!

Well, it took a few days to put 'pen-to-paper' as it were and let you all know how the birth went. 

First off, Friday's are busy days here at For Zion's Sake, because we have a group Bible study here in the evening, so all day is usually cleaning, shopping, and preparing for that. Plus, it's Shabbat Eve (Sabbath) and nothing is open on Saturday so if you need anything for the weekend, Friday is the time. 

Also, it's been record heat here in Jerusalem, and the air conditioning has not been working. All in all, not a good combination if you're pregnant! We had just finished the service and were relaxing in front of a movie and Rachel said, 'Wow, I sure hope I don't go into labor tonight, I'm beat.' Of course, not an hour later she announced that her water had broke!

We called the mid-wife, Ilana, who lives about an hour away, and she wanted us to time the contractions and call her back when they were 10 minutes apart. So we waited about an hour until they were closer to 7 minutes apart and called and she left her house and was on her way, she called another 45 minutes later to say she was getting close. By now it was close to 11:30p.m.

Rachel did fantastic and we had moved into the apartment and set up the pool for a water birth. I filled it up, but Ilana wanted Rachel to wait and get in until she got here. The contractions were a lot stronger and about 3-4 minutes apart, and still no Ilana. So, after another 15 minutes, I called Ilana and she said she'd gotten lost somewhere and had no idea where she was!! She wanted me to explain how to get here, but I really have no idea where we were, much less where she was, or what roads to tell her to get here! All the while, Rachel is really wanting to get in the tub and relieve some pain! A 'bit' stressful! 

I talked Ilana though what I knew and she was reading signs as she was passing them, hoping I'd recognize one eventually....I heard horns honk as she almost got in an accident turning at the last minute at an intersection. Quite a time. She did find it, or finally found something I knew was near, and got here around 12:30, with Rachel really uncomfortable and ready to be done with this thing! Ilana checked to make sure everything was OK and Rachel got in the water and immediately felt better. Ilana knew she was on the right track and almost close, so she went next door and read a book! Talk about laid back! She said come and get her when she felt close and ready. 

After 45 minutes, we had Emma go get her and she came in about 20 minutes before her final contractions and THERE HE WAS!! It was fantastic!! Rachel did an awesome job and Miles kicked around in the water for a few seconds before coming out screaming! Maggie, Levi and Emma were all close by and were a huge help getting things and bringing Zoe and Lily in right after he was born. Emma got to cut the cord and she was just amazed by the whole experience. Certainly made a memory to last a lifetime!!

It's such an amazing rush of emotions, even after 6 kids, we all sat on the bed and cried with joy as we checked him all out, snapped pictures, and just thanked the LORD for how healthy and perfect he was. Praise our amazing GOD! Thanks for all your prayers! 

~sevensailors +1!!
There's a link to his photo album down on the right.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

digging in the dirt

We've met some new friends who are visiting Israel for 6 weeks from the US (Virginia), the Grafman family. They have 4 boys from 19-9 and it's been great getting to hang out with them.

They had arranged to volunteer at an archeological dig outside of Jerusalem in Bet Shemesh and invited Maggie and Levi to go along.

It was an amazing experience as they were able to dig and find some incredible artifacts from 3000+ years ago!

The pot in the picture only has the top poking out of the dirt but was an entire pot! There was over 60 of these discovered at the site.



They had a lot of fun and came back filthy dirty from rolling around in the dirt all day, but thankful for the experience and for new friends!


Thanks Grafmans!!



Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sweet 16!

We had another birthday last week, Maggie turned 16!!

Elizabeth, a college girl staying in the apartment next to us for 2 months from North Carolina, helped us plan a surprise party for Maggie and some new friends we've met here in Jerusalem. 

It was a total success, she had NO idea (plus it was 2 days before her b-day) so she was in through shock!

Elizabeth's brother put together a list of 16 activities she had to complete and at 12:30 am, she just ran out of time, but she was happy! Here's a photo:

Some of the chores included: making a PB & J sandwich without using her hands, eating a "concoction" they made out of 16 ingredients (she managed 1 1/2 bites) and compiling 16 digital photos of different clocks or watches reading :16 (8:16, 9:16, etc.) good times. 


We love you Maggie and are so proud of you!

Monday, July 26, 2010

"The Holy City"





We can't believe we're living here! Israel is a crazy place......in some ways it feels like a spiritual bowl of spaghetti. So many religions sharing a very small amount of space, we're in an apartment in an arab neighborhood, so muslim prayer calls all the time, orthodox Jews all over another part of town, feels like you're in a movie set, and then "Christian" groups pushing their opinions, and really desperate to "plant their sign" for their denomination. 



It's a mess, but really interesting to see it all up front. People get what they call "Jerusalem Syndrome" where they are SURE they are called here and burn their passports, etc. Pretty nuts. So far, we still have our passports.......:)



I will say the Western Wall is an amazing place and we all feel something special there, but not being weird. I still get goosebumps every time I go and read this sign there.








So, we're waiting for Miles and working at "For Zion's Sake". It is a great ministry filled with good people. There is another girl here from the states, staying for 2 months before she goes back to college, so we've adopted her and the kids now have an older sister named Elizabeth! She's only here for another week and we'll be sad when she leaves and we're at the apartments by ourselves. 







Rachel is doing great, glad to not be climbing stairs up and down on the boat, but ready to NOT be pregnant. Only 5 weeks to go, all Miles' clothes are washed and ready and we have a little portable bed set up and waiting.......the weather is a lot like Arizona, dry and hot, so she tries to lay low during the day and sit in the A/C.







Last week we had a birthday party at the apartment for Lily, it was heaps of fun! Lily loves birthdays so much, it really makes it special, she's been counting down for only 2 months! 







SO, there's our week, talk soon!







Hems




Saturday, July 24, 2010

Goodies from the Galley....:)


Hi all! Yes It's been awhile for the blog. We are enjoying the freedom of living make in " the reall world" ;) haha But no it's been a nice change and we are actually quite busy!!

I wanted to explain again why I keep posting all these blogs of food when we're supposed to be taking about sailing right? Well this past year (with Mom's encouragement) I really have

developed a love for being in the kitchen! Mom wanted me to keep consistantly baking in our VERY small size kitchen on the boat....saying if I could learn to bake in that little place I could bake/cook anywhere! Anyway, that's why I keep posting pictures of foods I'm baking. That and cause I want to make your mouth water....:) Haha

So like 3 days ago.....Lily had a birthday...........and I got to make her cake!!! A new challenge!! :) I studied and researched all I could the week before trying to understand the easiest way to make a layered cake. Many long hours were spent on the laptop. While staring at mouth-watering cakes!! But the day of her birthday (after about 4 hours of working) the cake turned out pretty good! Not what I had planned from the beginning but Lily loved and it and that was my main goal.

Here's pictures of the final product....:) Hope you enjoy!

Til next time, Maggie

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Ashdod

Hey all, we're on the move! Things are busy as always (with 5 kids are they ever quiet?) and we're now in Jerusalem for the next few months. We made the move last week after we took the boat down to Ashdod. 

Ashdod is a cool city on the coast south of Tel Aviv and is fairly "new" It was planned out from the beginning, so it flows well and actually makes sense. Hard to say about most cities! Anyway, we parked the boat in an inexpensive marina for the time being and got it all cleaned up. Emptying the fridge, turning of the appliances, basically winterizing it. It was kinda sad for all of us getting off after a year and although we're excited about going to Jerusalem, Mehari is still our home for now and leaving home is always a strange feeling. 

So, armed with 4 bags and 4 backpacks, we took all our things for the apartment and taxied to the train station. The train system in Israel is excellent and we had fun switching at the stations, making our way up the mountain to Jerusalem. It's a beautiful route that doesn't follow the road and winds its way though some gorgeous produce and olive groves, then follows a river as is climbs through a canyon. We got to the train station, still about 4 miles from the apartment and after catching a ride with a van from the ministry of For Zions' Sake, we got settled in and even found cheap felafels across the street! We hope they offer 'frequent eater miles'


We'll post some of what we're up to in a week or so......


~ Hems




Wednesday, July 7, 2010

takin' on the jellies!

Sorry for the flagrant plagerism of "Finding Nemo", but it was really cool sailing down from Hertzlyia to Ashdod. We decided to move the boat there and save some $$ while we're going to be in Jerusalem.


As we headed out of the marina, we noticed hundreds of jellyfish in the water and thought they were concentrated to one area, but the further we went, hundreds turned into thousands and thousands!!!


They were everywhere! I don't know what caused it, but we'd never seen anything like it. Levi managed to scoop one up on a boat hook and we studied it for a while before throwing him (her? we didn't think polite to ask!) back in.


Anyway, it was a unique day as we saw some amazing things in nature and actually had a pretty great sail down the coast.


 Getting things packed up on the boat and heading into Jerusalem soon.


Hems

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Hangin' in Israel

We've had a very busy few weeks getting settled in Israel. We're going to stay here thorough the birth of the baby in August/September. After the baby is born we need to apply for a passport and and a 'birth abroad' status from the US Embassy. I'm guessing that's going to be a big learning opportunity, so, we're keeping our fingers crossed.

First off, we found a ministry through our friends from Prescott, AZ. Dane and Tasha Chinnock. It's called For Zion's Sake and it is a humanitarian outreach to Russian immigrants making Aliah (return to Israel) Many of them come with only the clothes on their back and need basic things to get adjusted to a new life here. We were able to go to Jerusalem and see their offices and warehouse through which they provide clothing, food, furniture, etc. We are praying about going to help however we can for a few months while we're waiting for the baby, and are excited to be a part of this outreach.  Please check out their site: http://www.forzion.com/


Speaking of the baby.......we met with the midwife and Rachel and I had a really great meeting with her. She moved to Israel from the US in the early 70's and has done midwifery for many years. She has 'birth cabins' on her property which we could go and have the baby in, and she was open to having the kids there to help and experience their brothers' arrival! Her website is: http://www.birthathome.co.il/


We're all VERY excited to meet the baby and are having fun collecting clothes and stuff for when he gets here...basically we can't wait. The other kids are already 'fighting' over who he's going to sleep with and snuggle with. I think we'll do a number system and take turns. Rachel is doing amazing considering it's summer and a boat is NOT a comfortable place to be pregnant. She has her standard great attitude, and smile, but will glad to be holding the baby in her arms not belly!


This past week, our friends Rodney and Debbie Kirby that we'd met in Costa Rica came for a visit. It's been great connecting with them and visiting and catching up. They have 3 kids: Elijah-11, Alexa-7 and Joe-5 so the kids are having a ball playing with them. 


We drove to Jerusalem, showing them cool stuff we've seen and some new things we hadn't seen. Today, we're off to the weekly market in Tel Aviv.....the Shuk Carmel Market. It's a sensory overload, fresh fruits of every kind imaginable, meat markets, cheeses, clothes, everything! You could easily live off everything there. And with the crowds and the vendors yelling to get your attention, it's quite a mix!


This next week we have plans to go to the Dead Sea with them and hike the Western Wall tunnels to see the latest archeology UNDER the temple mount....something I'M very excited about and the children get dragged into.... I think they'll thank me later. 


Somewhere in the next few days/weeks we're going to move the boat to Ashdod, (yes, the place where all the fuss over the Turkish boats was) and either park the boat, or have it hauled out of the water to repaint the anti-fouling on the bottom. So....that'll be a bit of work for Levi and I. 


So, not much sailing happening, but a lot of living, so I guess that's good! We're trying to be open to whatever the LORD leads and are anxious to see how HE is going to work over the next few months! 


~Hems

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Goodies from the Galley....:)

Hello All...

Yes we're still alive...and baking! :)

Thanks to my wonderful friend Miss Nikki I made pumpkin bars for last Friday night. I wanted to make something special for dessert and I had found a can of pumpkin in the store so I email Nikki and asked for the recipe....Thanks again Miss Nikki :)

If you don't know what a pumpkin bar is.....well I call it a slice of heaven but that's just me! :) It almost tastes like pumpkin pie but in a cake form. Along with thick cream cheese frosting on top!!


Luckily the recipe made two whole pans but as of now..........this is all that's left!



Thanks for looking. Til next time,

Maggie

Monday, June 7, 2010

cyprus to ??



Hello again! long time, no chat, but we're here! 


We thought and prayed long and hard on where to go from Cyprus, and had been waiting for what seemed like forever waiting for the 'right' winds to go west, but God had other plans. Part of it feeling like forever is the 'dock' in Larnaca is not comfortable at all. There is a large swell that pushes in from around the corner to the south and all day and night you get this surge that pulls and pushes you to the wall. we ended up breaking our passarelle (the bridge to get to shore) and lost a couple of dock lines. we even surged enough to smash one of the hulls against the dock and chunk up some fiberglass. not fun. We couldn't wait to move on, but where Larnaca is located, it's a long way to anywhere. so......we actually made plans to head west to Rhodes and left the marina when the weather said it should be favorable, but when we finally got clear of Cyprus, found wind on the nose and a long 'hill' to climb going west. 


Part of the feeling of wanting to head back to Israel was also the fact that doors for having the baby in other places were closing quickly. Greece did not seem plausible, Turkey was out, and unanswered question on whether we could get to Malta ot Italy early enough to fins a doctor to take us. 


So, with no further ado, and because the middle of the ocean is not the best place to sit and bob around, we pointed the nose south and started the trek to Israel. We thought, 'why are we pushing doors that are not opening?' Easier said than done!!


The passage back was not as smooth as the first one, and because we were heading to Tel Aviv, instead of Haifa, it added another 12 hours to our trip. We continued taking turns at the helm, and taking shifts for the night watches. More or less uneventful, although, because we made a wide pass from Haifa (never closer than 35nm) we did not hear their radio calls once we approached Israel. We heard broken calls, and tried to respond, but VHF is only good to about 25nm at best. Well, that changed on the second morning as we were about 6 hours form Tel Aviv. I checked the horizon, then went below to keep track of our position, in case we got another call. All the sudden, I first felt wakes, and clear as crystal heard a radio call for a sailboat at our location. I peeked out the window and the Israeli navy was RIGHT next to us, guns pointed at us, and not just pistols, 50 cal. mounts! ........This was a new feeling.....I must say. 
I answered the radio (very quickly!) and told him who we were. The captain was upset about why we had not answered any earlier calls and I explained we'd answered ever call we heard. He calmed down fast, knowing we were no threat and we went though the whole drill of who was on board and passport numbers and all. By the end, he sounded apologetic, telling us to enjoy our visit and to enjoy Israel. 


We did not think then that only a week later, this same boat would be involved in the international commotion about the Turkish vessels in the exact same spot where we were sitting. 


For now, we're back in the marina at Hertzliya, meeting with the midwife next week, and getting settled for the next phase of the adventure! Anxious to see what God has planned for us while we're here. 


So long...........Hems





Monday, May 24, 2010

Goodies from the Galley....:)

Saturday Mornings!

Don't know about you guys but we love to have a really yummy breakfast on saturday mornings. Usually that means me making something the night before. :)

A few weeks ago I had found this recipie for a coffe cake and have been dying to try it out. Everyone asked if I could make something for Saturday morning so I put two and two together....and ta-da! The bottom part of the cake tasted somewhat like a sugar cookie and the crumbly top is made up of brown sugar, oats and butter. The icing on top was my own addition...I thought it needed a little MORE sugar ;)



Everyone liked the cake so, sorry there's none left over. (Talk to Levi who cleaned the pan!) But I hope you can still enjoy the pictures! :) Unfortunatly all this cooking means lots of dishes so off I go.....




Til my next 'Goodie' comes,

Baker Maggie :)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

waiting for wind!

We got to Cyprus almost a week ago, hanging out in a town on the East corner called Larnaca. It's big claim to history fame is this is where Lazarus from the bible died. There are also tons of signs from crusaders and turkish influence, Again, another piece of property too ideally located not to be fought over (and over and over!)

So, we thought we were only going to be here a day or two and then off to Greece, but winds said otherwise. We had a REAL rough passage from Israel to Cyprus and we were all a little gun shy getting back to sails. That, and it's been 6 days of direct wind from the West. 12-20 knots. Not the wind you want when you're heading West! So, we've had a chance to get some boat projects and school caught up. 

The autopilot started making a funny noise as we were getting here, and I thought "oh, I'll just take a little look in there and see if something looks out of place"...... bad idea. Levi watched as I pulled it apart and little gears bounced around in the cockpit. ooops! Curiosity killed the autopilot! So...... we found someone on town to rebuild the gear box, and 150euros and hopefully a little wiser for the wear later, we're back in action. 

All is not lost, we've found a few cool things here in Cyprus while we wait. Levi found some good skating grounds and guys to skate with, something he hasn't been able to do much of since we left. Also, we've had a chance to ponder where we're having the baby and all those details! 
Nothing in concrete yet, but feeling like Israel is the best option as all the family can be there to be a part of the birth. We decided months ago, this year won't be so much about sailing, but bringing our new little guy in the world safely!! After that is completely up in the air, maybe Red Sea, maybe????

So, that being said, we're still trying to get to Greece for a month of island hopping before heading back to Israel in July to get ready for the baby in September! Turning out to be a busy year after all, who says floating around on a sailboat is easy? It's a lot of work!

That's the plan this week, we're hoping to head towards Paphos tomorrow and off to Greece on Tuesday! Hopefully the wind reports are accurate!

Hems 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

one last hurrah in jerusalem

We were scheduled to leave the marina in Hertzlyia, and Israel in a few days :( and had one last day free to head into Jerusalem. So, Maggie and Levi and I went into the big city to explore while Rachel took "the littles" to the beach to relax. 


We decided to try and take the train from the coast which turned out to be the way to go. It was cheap ($13) for a one-day round trip ticket to Jerusalem and back. The train took about 2 hours as opposed to 1 1/2 by car, so not bad there, and the trains are really comfortable. So we got to relax and goof around instead of being stressed in traffic! Good by me! When we got to the last train station, it ends at a huge mall we moseyed around in it for a bit. It has all the global stores and is as big as any mall in the states. 3 stories of consumerism and a food court!


One thing I really wanted to try and do while we were here was a hike in the City of David. It's next to the Old City of Jerusalem and includes "Hezekiah's Tunnel" from the Old Testament book of II Chronicles. It is a hand-dug tunnel that archaeologists still marvel at for it's engineering and accuracy. Two groups started digging from opposite sides and miraculously, met in the middle with only 6% grade for almost a kilometer! It was a hugely strategic water supply for the city and is still a running spring 3000 years later! So, we taxied over and hiked it, it was amazing! The tunnel goes for over 1/2 mile, pitch black, and at times the water is up past your knees! They sell little l.e.d. flashlights for a buck, otherwise, we would have been groping around for quite a while. It was fun thinking of all the soldiers and people who had been there over the centuries and we turned off the lights for a stretch, bonked our heads in the dark to get the full effect.


Afterwards, we feasted on what might be our last falafels for a while, shopped a bit in Old Town for some souvenirs, and moseyed our way back to the train station that afternoon. Part of us didn't want to leave and we took our time wandering around the Old City.


We ended up catching the next to the last train home and didn't get back to the boat until almost midnight, a long and fun, but exhausting, day. 


Tomorrow is top off the water and fuel tanks and make ready to sail up to Cyprus and then off to Greece. We're going to miss Israel and are looking for an excuse to stay!


~Hems

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Goodies from the Galley....:)

Baking in Israel..:)


Wow, what a trip this has been. We have seen so much here in Israel its hard to remember we have only been here for almost 3 weeks. Time seems to fly!


As we have been busy sight-seeing I haven't been able to get to baking to much lately. But Friday night I was craving something sugar-y so I looked through my cook book and came across the spice cake recipe!! And that's where my looking stopped! ;)


Here's pictures...to make your mouth water...I know I'm so evil! :)




Enjoy!
Maggie

Friday, May 7, 2010

Wandering in Israel


Another blunder! We thought 3 weeks in Israel would give us enough time to see all of what we wanted to....but NO way! There is so much to explore, it would be a full time job for months to put a dent in it. We've been very busy in Israel the last 2 1/2 weeks, so here goes: 

We were first in Haifa for a week in a marina which is not located very well, and I don't get the impression a lot of cruisers go there. It's out of town and not accessible by any public transportation, so it's either a LONG walk, or rent a car. We opted for the rent-a-car method! We drove all around the north part of the country, Nazareth, Tiberius, Capernaum, Se of Galilee (Kenneret), Megiddo and megiddo valley (Armegeddon) photo above, Akko (an ancient seaside port) and had a great time. Israel really is an amazing place, but it needs a long time to sink in. The contrast of all the history, along with all of the struggles of the people here and the land itself, then mix in all the modern things bursting at the seams here, and it's just a lot to sort through. 
Someone told me about a street that was torn up and while they were excavating, found the most complete mosaic Roman floor known, in the world. So construction was delayed, photos and tests taken, then they put tarps over it, and buried it back up, it in an intersection with thousands of cars over it now! Just a day in an ancient city!

Some of our highlights from the north were: rafting trip down the Jordan River, seeing a 2000 year old boat found in the mud by Caperneaum (who knows??) just hanging out by the Sea of Galilee, throwing rocks, eating felafel's, pita bread with hummus (amazing!) and schwarma, a meat sliced into a thick tortilla with salads and sauces, messy, but fantastic.

After a week in Haifa, we sailed down to a marina just north of Tel Aviv called Hertzlia. It's very new and has room for almost 1000 boats in the water and a new mall and apartments built around the marina complex. It's always busy, especially on weekend! Boats are coming and going all day. Good place to be based in, because we were able to catch buses to Tel Aviv and shopping, although we also rented a car and spent several days in Jerusalem and drove to the Dead Sea. 

Highlights in Jerusalem were Yad Vashem, the holocaust museum (could have spent 3 days just there), the Old City of Jerusalem with the Western Wall, streets, shops, churches, pretty much everything! Just being here is a very cool feeling with all the history, but it's also amazing to see how the mighty hand of the LORD has saved this land for Himself and how He's rebuilding it. It's really incredible to think that all that's been accomplished here has only been in really 60 years, since Israel has become a state again. 

We're tempted to stay here and just mold into the country, but we know time is coming for us to move on.....back to Cyprus and then on to Rhodes. A couple of long sails coming up, so now we're doing laundry (cheap laundry mat, yeah!!) and food provisioning. We broke the bank filling up the pantry, refrigerator and deep freeze for the over-nighters we have next week. Until then......Miss you all! 


We started posting photos on a 'web album' You can go anytime and view it at: http://picasaweb.google.com/ErikHem

~Hems


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Jordon River

Today we went rafting in the Jordon River, that was a adventure. The Jordon River is were Jesus was baptized and we got to raft in it! Cool! First we tried on our life jackets, then we listend to the rules then we sarted. There was Lily, Zoe, Mom, Dad and me in one boat, and in the other boat there was Maggie and Levi. They were faster than us but it was ok. There was two bridges and two waterfalls. On the first waterfall Lily was a little scared, but then she had fun. It took about an hour then we went on shore and there was two buses that went back to the cars. We got there to the rental car and drove away, how cool! It was one of the best things in Israel! I would do it  again!


                               By Emma
                                     9 years old.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Goodies from the Galley....:)

Passage Food! :)

Well we made it to Cyprus. Our first over-night passage complete (actually 2 nights). But since I wanted to be outside and not baking during the 45 hours the night before we left I made muffins! Awww they turned out so cute! A little smaller than the recipie said but hey, they were still eatible! I think I ended up with 62 so it was enough for 3 mornings! :) I also had an ex-tra helper this time..Thanks Ems! We made two different types. Banana....and blackberry!





So here's pictures of my bite-size, mini muffins..... :)




Then on our way to Israel we had a little bit rougher seas but I managed to go down below and make a quick batch of Chocolate Chip Cookies. Thanks Grammy and Gramps for the chocolate chips you brought over! :) They were a good snack at around 4:30am....










Til next time.....Maggie

Friday, April 23, 2010

Israel!

Too much to say! This past week has felt like a month! We look back one week from when we left Turkey and it feels like a long, long time ago!


The week started with us leaving Turkey on a two day trip to Cyprus. Then we scooted around to the bottom of the island for a couple of days, and then jumped off again to Israel. 


Our second crossing! and in the same week! I guess after the first one went so smoothly, we figured....why not? Actually, the plan was to get to Israel and explore and get back up to Greece before the summer heat kicks in full swing, and to beat the summer winds called the 'meltami' They are annual winds that blow strongest from mid June through late August from the north/north-west and would make going north difficult.


We had heard from people who have visited Israel, that they are extremely security conscious, with all the tensions going on here, its no surprise. We were also told to expect contact from them as you approach land. We didn't know exactly what that meant, so the unknown was a little unnerving. We passed several more oil tankers, even larger and closer this time. One even contacted us on the VHF radio to let us know he saw us and calculated and adjusted his his route to come across our bow and we would continue our course behind him. Boats under sail have right-of-way and apparently, size does not matter! We must have looked like a rubber duckie next to them!


We had a little surprise right at dusk when Levi spotted a school of dolphins right in front of our boat as we sailed! There was, we guessed, 30 of them jumping right in front us, and poor Maggie was trying her best to catch a picture. As soon as she moved to try and catch one, another one jumped on the opposite side. Frustrating! They were close enough for us to hear them 'squeak' to each other (or us?) and gasp for breath through their air-holes. Pretty amazing! Here's the best shot we came up with:






As the night went on, we could hear the Haifa port calling other vessels that were either passing through, or approaching Haifa. Our turn came at about 1:00 am and we had to answer a lot of questions over the VHF. Crew number, names, nationalities, passport numbers, etc. Then, as we got closer, a navy ship came up and circled us, no navigation lights except spotlights on our boat, and the captain on the VHF asking us all the same questions. We thought they were going to board the boat, but they just looked us over really closely and turned and zoomed away. 


Then.....as we finally entered the actual port, around 6:00 this morning, another police boat came out and ended up escorting us all the way to our slip in the marina where there was another group of police and customs people to check our papers and stamp the passports. Talk about security! I've never felt so safe in my life. No one is getting here with out a thorough check!   


As it turns out, today, April 20th is Independence Day for Israel and the marina we're at, although it's outside town for shopping, etc. it is now surrounded by hundred of Israelis having picnics and playing in the parks. Happy Birthday Israel!! 62 Years!


Later....


Hems

first 'crossing'

First Crossing!


We finally did it! For those of you following us, wondering if we were ever leaving Turkey, we made the jump! 


After 7 months here, we decided we were actually going to miss a lot of things about Turkey. The fresh bread available, EVERYWHERE! The doner kebaps, sandwiches sliced from a big drum of meat roasted on a skewer, fruit markets, pimento olives, aged cheeses and the friendliness and helpfulness of the people. We didn't think we were going to be here this long, but were glad of all the amazing sites we able to see and all the new friends we made. That is one huge drawback to this nomadic lifestyle, you make a lot of good friends quickly, but also have to say good bye soon after. 


We left on Tuesday afternoon, calculating that it would take us close to 48 hours to sail to Cyprus, averaging 3+ knots. We planned it for a stretch where there would be light winds and calm seas and that we had to motor a lot of the time, we would fit in that weather window. None of us wanted to fight waves and seasickness for the first one! Calm seas is exactly what we got, some sailing, but a lot of motoring as well. The boat has two Yanmar 18hp diesel engines and the mileage was great. We went some 150 nm on about 10 gallons of gas. 


Our boat was equipped with autopilot, but we hadn't been able to locate the 'controller' to make it work. The previous owners said it was on board, but after looking in every corner we could find, no luck. Well, as we were waiting in Finike, we looked at the sale board in the marina, and someone was selling the same brand of system, Auto helm. So, we met with him and  looked the unit over, verifying to see if it would mate up to our system. He assured us it would, having installed several on other boats, and we even managed to talk him in to installing it on ours. So, literally an hour after we installed it and got it working, we headed out towards Cyprus!


It was a strange feeling watching the sun sink low in the horizon, then crawling below the waterline, no land in sight in any direction, knowing the next thing to look for, is the sun coming back up the next dawn. Incredibly peaceful, just the waves lapping at the boat and a gentle breeze. The ocean calmed down to almost flat, just big rolling swells every now and then pushing us along. We took turns on night watch. Rachel and Levi had the 8:00-1:00 am shift and Erik, Emma, and Maggie had 1:00-6:00. We all took turns watching during the day, as the kids were on deck reading, listening to ipods, and Emma and my Yahtzee tournaments. What a lifesaver the autopilot turned out to be! I can't imagine having to sit there steering every mile, and even though we were working the kinks out of the new system, it was a huge time-saver. Now, we just had to basically be awake and be on the lookout for lights of any other boats. The only other boats we saw in the two days were huge oil tankers and both were a long way off. 


Slowly, the town of Paphos, Cyprus started to fill the horizon at dawn two days later and we made landfall around 10:00 am, even ahead of schedule! We were all a little 'jet lagged' afterwards and just cleaned up the boat, took short naps and tried to get our bearings. Erik did check-in processing, which included: port police, harbor master, customs, and health department! It was pretty painless and it all took just a couple of hours, just sitting and answering questions while they filled out the various forms, and STAMPS! Just like so many other countries we've visited, they love their stamps and they way they pound the forms, I think it's somehow therapeutic for them as well. So long as they get their frustrations out on the paper and not by adding to our fees, pound away!


We found a supermarket later in the afternoon, and with two British military bases on the island, it was very well stocked with all kinds of things we haven seen for months! Doughnuts! Sliced turkey lunch meat! We grabbed only a few things and they were quickly devoured by the troops. We took the next few days heading to Limassol on the bottom part of the island and our launching point for Israel.......see you then!


Hems.