After Alaska, California, Baja and Panama (see part one of the story as superyacht Metolius’ owner escapes the crowds for a worldwide cruising adventure), the Royal Huisman-built yacht Metolius goes East, enjoying the delights of Maine before heading to the Eastern Mediterranean, Ireland, Scotland, Scandinavia, and returning to the Mediterranean Sea.
Four to five years on from purchase, the yacht needed a new paint job. The owner also wanted to cruise in Maine the summer after we came back through Panama. The off-season sailing in Maine is phenomenal, especially in September and October as there’s no one around.
We spent a lot of time in Penobscot Bay and cruised as far as Bar Harbour and Arcadia National Park. At one point we struck up a great deal with a lobsterman who fished by the boat. We would be friendly and chat about fishing and he gave us free lobster each lunchtime. There was so much lobster we devised a spicy lobster pizza recipe: homemade red pesto sauce, fresh Maine lobster, goats’ cheese, and green chilli peppers, all on fresh wholemeal dough. Delicious.
We competed in the 2008 Shipyard Cup and did pretty well with a largely amateur crew made up of friends and family. The boat spent the winter in Maine in refit at Lyman Morse, which gave her a new paint job.
In summer we visited the Fourth of July Parade at Round Pond. This is a well renowned parade and thousands line the streets of this small Maine town. The owner loved the area so much we stayed for two seasons, before heading across to the Eastern Mediterranean.
Back in the Med 2011
After a couple of years in the eastern US, it was time to move on. The owner's family has links with the Greek island of Samos, so we decided to go on our own Greek odyssey and back to the family roots. Metolius sailed across the Atlantic via the Azores, stopping in Palma, Mallorca and the magnificent Sicilian town of Taormina. Overlooking the Ionian sea and offering views of Mount Etna, the town (considered by the captain of Metolius to be the gateway to the Eastern Med) marks the perfect stopping point before heading across to the Corinth Canal.
We spent the summer of 2011 in the Eastern Med, making a tour of the Greek islands. This started in Samos, only a mile from Turkey, and wound west as far south as the volcanic island of Santorini. Here the crater is so deep we had to anchor outside on the flanks of the volcano. It was very cool to appreciate the unique character of each island and we must have tried every variation of Greek salad known to man. We now have what we consider to be the definitive recipe!
At the end of the season the owner decided to head back to high latitudes the following summer to escape the heat, so we planned for Scandinavia using Southampton as a staging post. It would allow us to overhaul the top end of the engine, and mean we could make an early escape to get a full summer in northern climes.
Scotland and Scandinavia 2012
After spending the winter in Southampton, we made a long leisurely cruise to the Stockholm archipelago in Sweden. We went the long way, stopping in Dublin, Isle of Skye, Scotland, the Orkneys and Shetlands, before a week in the Norwegian fjords. We sailed through the Baltic to Stockholm and spent several weeks cruising around the archipelago.
Back to the Med 2013
Following the Summer in Scandinavia we returned to the Med and the summer of 2013 was spent relaxing and daysailing around Corsica and Sardinia. Metolius and crew had earned a rest.
For now it seems our adventurous itinerary is behind us. It is time to undertake a large amount of work to keep Metolius in perfect condition – even though she is 21 years old. We are painting the hull, working on the engine and propulsion system and checking all the auxiliary systems. This is all in preparation for the next great adventure. The exciting part is that we don’t know where this will be yet!
Superyacht Metolius‘ owner’s and crew’s highlights of the Scotland/Scandinavia trip
1 Loch Scavaig on the south coast of the Isle of Skye in Scotland. This was an incredible natural anchorage in a remote setting, with great hiking and exploring right off the boat. We spent several nights hauling up fresh crab and watching seals sun on the rocks during the day. We spent another night eating squat (miniature) lobster in a pub near the Talisker whisky distillery, celebrating, as some of the crew had just got their university exam results.
2 The weather improved as we moved further north and arrived in the Shetlands to glorious sunshine, warm days and flat calm seas. We took the opportunity to anchor on the lee shore of the main island at St Ninian’s Isle. It is the UK’s largest tombolo – a beach with sea on both sides – and was a really magical spot. We were there in mid-June when the days seemed to go on forever.
3 We spent a few nights in Lerwick provisioning and staying up to see the midnight sun, although as we were still too far south, it was more like the midnight sunset.
4 Good weather gave us a very comfortable passage to Norway. We cleared in in Rosenthal and spent a week exploring the large Hardangerfjord. We arrived in time for the celebration on the summer solstice and were invited to party with the harbour master and his extended family. Their appreciation of fine rum really surprised us and made us feel at home.
5 During two months in Stockholm berthed on Djurgården island, we spent a lot of time cycling around the city and eating some of the best seafood we've had on any cruise. One thing became clear: they really know how to steam a halibut up there.