The Calm, Before, During and After the Storm

A gloomy, windy and lumpy sail up to Amorgos. Just before the rain came.

Luckily the Medicane passed us by, and we breathed a sigh of relief.

We set off the day after from the complete calm of our hurricane hole on Astipaliea and headed North to meet up with Fly the Coop who had been tucked into a small harbour in south Naxos.

Initially, we made great speed as the wind was reasonably strong, but the sky was blue and the sun was shining so we felt content even though the sea was increasingly lumpy.  Suddenly, the head sail went all baggy and we realised that the halyard had snapped – again!

We pulled down the head sail and packed it up on deck.  Ian hanked on the storm jib to the fore stay and we cracked on north.  With such a reduced amount of sail we were a bit slower so we decided to peel off at Amorgos and anchor for the night there.  We were circling around some potential anchorages when we saw a flash of a flipper in the water.  At first we thought it was a turtle but then we noticed a head and whiskers, and the distinctive tail fin of a seal.  It is extremely rare to see them so we felt very fortunate.  We tucked in amongst the fishing boats in a little bay which was fantastically sheltered from the incoming swell.

We had just put the boat to bed when the rain came.  We rustled up some comforting pasta and enjoyed a solitary night.

A much more cheery view met us in the morning.
Being very giddy on board Fly the Coop.

The next morning was a little gloomy to start with and then the sun came out and it turned into a glorious day.  After fettling the genoa by hauling it up on the starboard spinnaker halyard, we motored across to Iraklia and met up with Bryn and Jill – We are now a mini flotilla.  It is so nice to have sailing buddies with whom to discuss weather, routes and plans, and drink wine!

Setting off to explore Iraklia on foot.

In the morning, we walked up to the pretty village of Panagia on Iraklia, a distance of about 4km and we didn’t see a single vehicle.  The views were amazing to the east.  We arrived hoping to find a cafe or taverna and enjoy a slap up brunch. Nothing was open.  Luckily, the village shop and bakery was open so we bought bread, salami, tomatoes, cheese and pre-wrapped croissants and sat  down to a hearty picnic instead.  (At a staggering cost of E28 !)  We were just grateful to have something to eat.  As we came out of the shop a pick up truck was driving by so we hitched a ride back to the port.  It was fun to be bouncing along in the back of the pick up. 

Next stop, was a late lunch anchorage off some impressive rocks just to the north.  We would never have been brave enough to anchor there on our own.

After an overnight stop in Epano Koufonissia, we motored north to Rinia and anchored there before a final quick sail north to Tinos where we sat out strong winds (50kts)  and awaited our guests.

Fisherman tending to his boat.

 

 

 

A ‘picnic’ breakfast – very expensive at Euros 28 from a little supermarket. No restaurants in Panagia Chora.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Negotiated a lift back in a pick up truck though, which was great, as it would have been another 4km hike back to the boat.

 

 

The incredible rocks off Nisos Glaros near Epano Koufonisia. A lunch stop in wonderful solitude.

The Heane’s are here.

We booked an Air BnB place so that we didn’t subject David and Angela to the horrors of the boatyard ladder in the night. From here we were able to explore a little of the old town and have one or two delicious pitta gyros. 

On the morning of Friday 21st September, we completed all the last minute jobs on board.

 

Linea was put back in the water at 1230pm, having been seven weeks out of action.  After a quick check from Kamel that all was well with the sail drive and engine, we set sail for Symi.

Actually, we motored the whole way as the wind was on the nose and we wanted to test the engine.  We were able to use David’s vast fishing experience and trolled a line behind us.  David’s conviction that we were going to catch a fish was contagious.  We had a bite, a big one, but it got away.  A few minutes later the line went taut and we actually managed to reel in our first fish!  After consultation, we discovered that it was an Atlantic Bonita, a member of the tuna family, of which even adult ones are quite small – 12cm to 35cm apparently.  It was duly dispatched and filleted.  We anchored in Panormitis Bay just in time to watch the setting sun flit across the impressive monastery edifice and plunge the bay into shade.

Next stop, and a fantastic sail away, was Nisiros: The volcano island. No joy with fishing today. We had a wonderful couple of days there and then set sail for the south coast of Kos to sit out some strong northerlies and to drop off the Heanes

In the morning, we saw a large shoal of pipe fish making murmurations in the shade under our boat.  There were several large predators nearby and one came in for the kill, carrying off one of the thin fish broadside across his mouth.  We tried in vain to tempt him with our lure from the dinghy but he was not to be fooled.

The windy weather arrived and we decided a long lunch was called for.  We headed for shore and to the Sydney bar and had a fantastic meal two days running.

All too soon, it was time to say goodbye to David and Angela.  We waved them off as we sailed west for Astipaliea.

 

Back to the Boatyard

Nereus Boatyard Rhodes featuring Terence Conran’s speed boat.

Penny, Alison and Keira all headed off on the weekend of the 9th September.   We went back to the boat on the hard in dusty Rhodes.

It’s a strange feeling living on a boat balanced three metres up in the air.  Although you do get a bird’s eye view of all the comings and goings in the ferry terminal and can see all the cruise ships docking opposite.

Mr Ilias, Mr Chalkitis and me

Some boatyards don’t allow you to live aboard whilst your boat is on the hard but here it is no problem.  There are basic facilities in the yard (with hot water!); as long as you don’t mind shinning up and down a ladder to go to the loo in the night.

Mrs Chalkitis and me

We are about twenty minutes’ walk from the old part of Rhodes and shops are near at hand.  Mr and Mrs Chalkitis, the owners and Mr Ilias, the boatyard manager, are delightful and we have enjoyed meeting them.  We even have our own private beach so have been for a few dips in the sea as long as the boat yard hasn’t been antifouling any boats in the previous few days, as all the waste water drains off into the sea!

Before polishing

Whilst we waited for the spare parts we set about polishing the hull and top sides.  Not an easy job in the heat.  A thin layer of dust has settled on the boat and all this had to washed off before we could begin to shine her up.  We were proud of our efforts and then the yard pressure-washed a boats of its antifoul immediately up wind of us so everything was covered in a thin coating of blue! Grrr!

After and with polishing kit.

On Monday 17th September the brand new sail drive arrived fresh from the Volvo factory and it was carefully hoisted in to the boat and fitted by Mr Thomaz Kalligas.  (The Best mechanic in the Mediterranean – he reassuringly informed us.)

Mr Tomaz Kalligas and the new Volvo sail drive.

Ably assisted by Kamel, the new gear box was soon in place, however, the bracket needed to fit the sail drive to the engine was not there.  Also the flange that was supposed to be completely compatible with our engine turned out not to be so.  After a few adjustments, we had to use the old one instead.

The necessary bracket had to be ordered from Volvo and would be with us in a couple of days.  (Why nobody thought to tell us that this was an essential piece of kit for fitting the sail drive, we have still to get to the bottom of.)

The part was flown in on Wednesday and fitted.  We were finally ready to go back in the water but the weather had other ideas, as strong winds were forecast to be blowing right into the slips for the next couple of days.

The new, old original Volvo never used prop. The Max Prop has gone off to be serviced.

We have finally heard back from our insurance company.  Unfortunately, they are unable to uphold our claim for accidental damage saying that the sail drive was broken by corrosion.  Therefore, NONE of our expenses have been covered by the insurance policy  (except for the initial tow to safety) which is a bitter blow, and will definitely have an impact on our cruising future.

Ian proud of his newly polished top sides.

Relaxing in Rhodes.

Me, Bryn, Ian and Jill overlooking St Paul’s Bay, Lindos
Jill Relaxing on the sun deck.

A wonderful silver lining in the cloud that has surrounded Linea recently was the prospect of seeing our friends Bryn and Jill on Fly the Coop, who were sailing to Rhodes to attend a wedding at the end of the month.  They very kindly invited us to come and stay on their palatial Fountaine Pajot catamaran.  This was an offer that we leapt at, not only because we were delighted to see them but also because the facilities at the yard were somewhat basic!

The view over the bay of Lindos.
Ian attempting to SUP.

We sailed with them (7.5Kts) down to lovely Lindos bay and moored stern to the rocks in the middle of the two bays.  It was a fabulous spot to keep cool and we had a really fun week, eating, drinking, swimming and messing about on the SUP paddleboard.

After almost a week there, it was time for Fly the Coop’s next set of visitors.  For us, Keira was due into Rhodes after her summer of work at the Oxford Summer Courses.

Keira on Pythagoras Street, Old Town Rhodes.
Me, Penny, Ali, Keira and Ian in the narrow alleys of Lindos.

The following day Alison Clements-Hunt (France/UK) and Penny Walker (Perth/Australia) flew in, having rendezvoused in Athens. They are old friends from our Bangkok expat days when we were members of a Mothers and Babies group called BAMBI – still in existence today. We were last all together nineteen years ago and it was so fabulous to see them both and have a great catch up.

We rented a beautiful house on a hill south of Rhodes and enjoyed a lazy week.  We just about mustered the energy to do a little sightseeing in Lindos and Rhodes,

 

 

 

 

 

and forced ourselves to go to the beach for a dip and a gyros!

 

 

 

 

Mostly, the routine was:

  • yoga, laugh, flop,
  • chat, laugh, flop,
  • read, flop,
  • Scrabble, think, flop,
  • chat, laugh, flop,
  • chess, brain-ache, flop,
  • swim, flop,
  • drink, laugh, flop,
  • eat, laugh, flop,
  • lilo lie or hammock swing, flop,
  • chat, laugh, flop,
  • BBQ, eat, flop,
  • chat, laugh, flop,
  • drink more, laugh more, flop,
  • sleep,
  • repeat!

 

 

Awaiting a decision and repairs

Having been pulled out on to the hard on Monday 20th August we were confident that we would soon be back in the water.  I had already spoken to the yard about sourcing a Volvo Penta engineer and I had actually spoken to the man himself.  However, the engineer was very busy and couldn’t come until Wednesday to take a look and wasn’t able to remove the sail drive until Thursday.

In the meantime, we had spoken to the insurance company yet again and had been told that if the damage turned out to be accidental then virtually all our expenses would be covered.  How fab would that be?

The engineers found some fishing line wrapped within the workings and seemed to be sure that this could have been the cause of the failure.

The insurance company wanted to see for themselves so on the 10th September an English surveyor based in Bodrum came to see what he could suss out.

He looked at the broken sail drive and took lots of pictures.  He asked questions and we explained to him when we thought that the damage could have happened.

So, we await his verdict.

Today, Volvo Europe Head office phoned to say that our new sail drive would be with us in Rhodes tomorrow.

With luck the engineers will have the time to fit it and before you know it we will be back in the water!  Of course, we will have to satisfy the port police again and pay for an expensive survey but the last few hurdles, of which we are aware, are in sight.

The boating adventures of a Yorkshire couple