From Symi , Greece to Turkey is only 10 miles. We had to go to Datca first to check in and complete all the formalities.
We spent a glorious two weeks sailing with Erin and Josh along the Datca peninsula east towards Marmaris. The anchorages are wonderful, the waters crystal clear and the coastal areas wooded and attractive. Turkish people have been kind and welcoming.
We feel that we must return to Turkey to properly see it in all its splendour.
With Keira back on board it was time to start heading east to pick up Erin and Josh from Kos.
Even the Meltemi wind had gone on holiday, so we had delightful and stress free sailing and stops in Schinousa, Amorgos, Levitha and finally Kos Marina.
Kos Marina gave us a convenient spot close to the shower block and laundry. Were they trying to tell us something?
The next day, with Erin and Josh too, we departed for a jaunt to Nisos Pserimos, just north of Kos, for an overnight anchorage prior to returning to sit out the next meltemi winds. The anchorage was fantastic although there was a lot of debris on the beach including three knackered old RIBS.
We had a great sail back to the old harbour in Kos Town. The Town Quay is in use despite a shocking 6.7 Richter scale earthquake last year. The quake has created quite a severe kinks and cracks in the concrete but the bollards are still in place. We took a road trip in a hire car round the island and were pleasantly surprised at how leafy and green it was in places.
We had a lovely few days in Kos town (Trash Tuesday turned into ‘Trash Every Day of the Week’ as we collected loads of plastic from within the harbour!) We celebrated my birthday with a meal out and rigging up my new fishing rod! All too soon it was time to say TTFN to Keira who was going back to the UK to work at Oxford Summer School.
We met up with Jacqueline and Peter from SY Dolce Farr Niente, M D R Friends, and it was great to compare notes with them despite the distractions of Wimbledon and World Cup finals on TV.
As soon as the wind calmed to a brisk 18kts we decided to leave Kos for an anchorage to the south of the island. Kamares Bay is well-protected, experiences little swell and has facilities ashore, so was perfect for us. We stayed for a couple of nights and then had a lovely downwind sail straight to Nisos Nisiros.
What a pretty village and pleasant harbour.
We hired a car here to explore the caldera, villages and black sand beaches of this incredible volcano island. The smell of sulphur wafting from the caldera was almost overpowering.
It was truly amazing.
Our next sail was a thirty-five miler east to Symi. This island is tucked in under the Datca peninsula. We anchored in Ay Marina just north of Pethi and enjoyed the crystal clear waters. The wind was a fruity 28kts gusting in here but we were safe. Two nights here, and then we headed to Symi town to check out of Greece.
Symi Town is soooo lovely. The buildings encircle the bay and creep up the steep slopes around. They are all designed as if by a child, each with symmetrical windows, central door, red tiled rooves, colourful doors and window shutters. The clock tower was just like the miniature wooden ones that come in a toy farm set. Heikell describes it as ‘an exotic flower in a desert’, but it’s too cute for that. Certainly, it is a surprising and endearing place. (More of that in a later blog!)
Porto Turistico Marina di Ragusa, Sicily, without a hitch and were pleased to see friends and neighbours from last year. Our arrival coincided with one of the twice weekly happy hours at the Stella Marina Bar so we met old and new friends that night.
Some days later, the Porto Turistico hosted the All-Italy Laser Championships. The first challenge was negotiating out from between the pontoons, heading for open sea.
Since arriving back, we have been full-on busy with boat jobs; fixing, replacing, renewing, cleaning, servicing, removing, repairing and storing.
We have had visits from Alice, Ian and Jon. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to sail anywhere (even if the weather had been suitable) because the sails had already gone off to be repaired.
However, we were able to explore more of Sicily. Touring around to Syracuse, Modica, Scicli, Palazzallo Acredie and Ragusa Ibla – beautiful cities with stunning baroque churches and buildings.
We also drove out to Agrigento to the Valley of Temples and were suitably impressed by the stunning Greek Temples there, which are some of the best preserved in the Med.
We joined a walking group and enjoyed a couple of noisy walks in the surrounding area with forty chattering Sicilians.
I also went olive picking again and have my own bottle of freshly pressed oil from my olives, ready to open in the spring.
Ian welcomed back his road bike with open arms (thanks once again to Nick and Paul) and has been out on it a few times. He reports that it doesn’t seem to be getting any easier each time.
We also enjoyed a few days in Rome, with my old friend Sheena and her family. We walked all round Rome and saw all the main sights and some little hidden gems with our super guide Sheena, who has lived in Rome for 30 years.
Then, it was back to the boat for a few last minute preparations before heading back to the UK for a couple of months where, for the first time in a while, all four of us Mouldings are to be in the same country at Christmas.
So, yes, we are going to be living back in Yorkshire. Staying in a cottage – 26 Linton Falls until the 12th February 2018.
We hope to catch up with as many friends and family as we can. Do pop in if you’re passing.
In the meantime, we wish you a merry Christmas and a very happy and healthy new year.
Engine Hours 319; Total nights at sea – 6 Nights anchored – 92; Nights on a town quay or in a marina – 72
Nights in the boat yard – 9
Number of guests – 21 – Bill, David, Ang, Lizzie, Alice, Ian, Sam, Rory, Bryn, Jill, Louis, (plus the rest of the family for dinner and drinks,) Jane, Alice, Ian, Erin, Josh, Keira, David, Michael, Alice, Ian
We sailed early from Rhinia and arrived in Siros to be hauled out. Since we have a winged keel
which measures 140cm across we need a trailer wide enough to motor onto with a bit of wriggle room.
Stavros from Atlas boat yard has just the right piece of kit and we were hauled out smoothly and professionally.
We trundled across the Lidl carpark and into his boat yard. It is safe to say that Stavros would be world champion caravan manoeuvrer should he be inclined to enter such a competition.
Stamatis and Georgios Gyparis, Volvo Penta engineers in Ermoupolis (father and sons team) quickly appeared and parts were ordered to arrive on Thursday
That gave us five unadulterated days for partial winterising of Linea, removing scruffy lettering and for cleaning her dirty bottom!
We booked into an Air B n B house high on the slopes of the Chora and experienced vertigo from being so far above sea level.
We spent a few very busy days scraping, polishing, sanding, cleaning and dusting. I even fabric-conditioned our lines to make them soft and pliable again – and they smell lovely.
We met Robert Brons in the yard. Robert owns Morning Cloud 4 (a sailing yacht previously owned by Sir Edward Heath who was a world class sailor, as well as being leader of the Tory Party during the 1970s.) Morning Cloud 4 has been stored on the hard in Siros for twenty years. Robert showed me round this amazing vessel: Built for speed and efficiency and able to sleep ten people in various cleverly designed bunks. It has lots of ingenious original features and various improvements, it would be wonderful to see it restored to its former racing glory.
Robert was currently living on his yacht Saquila which he had sailed from Italy. We spent a couple of evenings swapping stories with him and really enjoyed his company. We were so impressed that he still had the enthusiasm and vigour for sailing at his age – 78 years young. He cycled around town, sorted out his yacht and shinnied up and down the high ladder to Morning Cloud with the nimbleness of someone a lot younger. He is often on the look-out for crew to help him sail his new yacht, so if any of our sailor friends might be interested please get in touch for more information.
One of the best things about being somewhere for a few days is that you really get to explore and find out more about the place. During our stay Siros was hosting the All Greek volleyball championships and an international animated film exhibition and competition held in the beautiful Apollon Theatre that is modeled on La Scala.
We discovered a free shuttle bus that ran all day between the town centre and the sports centre, going right past the boat yards and Lidl – perfect! And we explored the two hills of Siros; one topped by an enormous Greek Orthodox church and one topped with a huge Catholic church. We wandered around the Choras and marvelled at the breath-taking scenes around every corner; the colours, the quaint doorways and the twisted bougainvillea blossoms like an umbrella of fluttering, bright butterflies.
We really enjoyed finding new routes to walk to and fro the boat yard and every day we were rewarded by some new and interesting sight. I particularly loved the completely intact old (but functioning) pharmacy on the main street, which still has all the original mahogany cabinets, shelving, canisters, jars and enamel labels from when it first opened in 1837. (The first pharmacy in Greece.)
We also enjoyed the Industrial Museum which houses an interesting collection of items that reflect Siros’ manufacturing, glass-making, lace-making, printing and shipping past.
After strong winds had passed it was time to be put back into the water. We said thanks and farewell to Stavros, and the Gyparis family who have done such a great job on our sail drive, stainless steel and helm repairs.
Stamatis joined us for the ride across the bay to check that all was well with the engine and the gears. It was all good. We were making 7.5k across the bay because of our gleaming hull, so that made Ian very happy. We parked on the town quay again and were, once again, warmly greeted by the lovely Thanasis.