Gladlee of Guernsey

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Grande Mediterraneo Grimaldi Cruise

 March 17th - 31st 2014

Things are all set for our move to Cyprus. However, true to form we are not going to do this in the usual way. We are taking our car with us and have managed to find a RO/RO ferry from Southampton all the way through to Limassol in Cyprus. This is not a normal ferry though. It is a car carrier which takes new vehicles for the major manufacturers around the world. It will actually take about 4,500 cars but only takes a maximum of 11 passengers. All is booked, paid for and the nerves are jangling hoping all goes well. So...... See below.


Monday 17th - Left Southampton  

Grande Mediterraneo approaching the dock Top deck looking towards the bridge

Lounge area in our cabin... ...the bedroom

The actual departure is delayed by a couple of days due to a variety of reasons given by the shipping company. Fog on its way north from the Med and lack of staff in Antwerp (the last call before Southampton) to load vehicles etc. And so on the 17th we drive to Southampton nice and early and watch "our ship come in" as they say. This ship is enormous - but we guess when compared to Gladlee anything is enormous.  We have no problems boarding and are shown to our cabin - the owners cabin for a bit of "luxury" including a bath tub - well half of one anyway. A little later Ron drove the car on.

Thursday 20th - Straits of Gibraltar  

Rock of Gibraltar Dolphin passing by

Pod of dolphins... ... and a long-finned Pilot whale

We have no problems heading down the the Bay of Biscay, thankfully. Food on board is fairly good with an Italian chef and we eat with the officers. Three meals a day - Italian style so lots of pasta involved. One other English couple on board who we get on well with and are also moving to Cyprus. The Straits of Gibraltar allow us some good wildlife viewing as can be seen in the above photos and also a phone connection through Gib to let people know we are still alive and well.

Friday 21st - Valencia (Spain)  

Top deck full of cars... ...and after unloading

Our first Port of Call is Valencia. An unexpected one as this was not on the schedule. A late arrival and early departure so we do not go ashore. Lots of cars leave and also lots of cars come on board. Yes as this is Spain the new cars are mostly Seat.

Sunday 23rd - Salerno (Italy)  

Dinnertime with Graham, Irene, Klaus and Ron Cory's Shearwater

The next place we stop at is Salerno just south of Naples. A planned stop but yet again we arrive late and departure is set for the early hours of the morning.

Monday 24th - Passing Stromboli and Messina Straits

Volcano of Stromboli Graham and Irene relaxing on deck

The early departure from Salerno allows us a daylight passage of the Messina Straits though the wind is blowing quite strong and a little chill. You wouldn't think so though looking at Graham and Irene!!

Tuesday 25th - Piraeus (Greece)  

Julie at the back of the ship... ...and Ron amongst the cars

Next stop is Piraeus (Athens). Though we have a daytime entry we decide not to go ashore as it is quite a long way to "civilisation" outside the Port area.

Wednesday 26th - Izmir (Turkey)  

Approaching Izmir Harbour The Pilot boat

After Piraeus we head for Izmir on the west coast of Turkey. All through our time in Turkey some years ago we never visited here so yes - we go ashore. Sample the local food (Iskender Kebab - our favourite) and a couple of Efes (local beer). Very nice indeed.

Friday 28th - Alexandria (Egypt)  

Alexandria harbour with lots of sunken ships Sandwich Tern

Alexandria next. We are asked not to go ashore here because of the local situation with demonstrations happening in the centre of town. We are happy to oblige. The harbour is typical of the area. Sunken ships, rust buckets, trash everywhere. etc.

Saturday 29th - Ashdod (Israel)  

Birds on deck: Lesser Whitethroat Wheatear

Chiffchaff Yellow Wagtail

As we leave Alexandria for Ashdod in Israel we are suddenly besieged with lots of little birds on the deck. Guess who was in her element???? Ashdod was also an unplanned stop. At least at this stage as it was supposed to be after Limassol but for some reason the shipping company changed its plans. Again we do not go ashore other than to the duty free shop inside the port. We manage to top up with "essentials" to see us through our first days in Cyprus - and a bit longer maybe!

Monday 31st - Limasson (Cyprus)  

Approaching Limassol harbour  Offloading from the ship

The Ship Mediterranean Gull

And so - here we are. No problems offloading the car. The local shipping agent is on hand to assist us clear the car through customs which we absolutely would not have been able to do without him. We say goodbye to our travelling companions and also the ship that has been our home for two weeks. To gauge the size of it you will notice a truck parked right next to it. That is a full size truck.

A quick drive along the motorway and we are in Larnaca and at our apartment by mid afternoon.




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