Tag Archives: blue water cruising

Time in Turkey

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.

Messing about with Ian’s swing mechanism.
In goes Erin.
The island in Keci Buku.
The sand bar at the head of the bay , covered with paddling people.
Eclipse of the moon.
Swanning about!
Bozburun.
Erin driving the boat.

 

Heading Further East

July 2018

With Keira back on board it was time to start heading east to pick up Erin and Josh from Kos.

Levitha mooring buoys.

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.

An inexplicable large metal ‘pod’ near the only restaurant on Levitha

Kos Marina gave us a convenient spot close to the shower block and laundry. Were they trying to tell us something?

carved stones embedded in the wall of the fort in Kos.

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.

View north over the fields of Kos to the coast.
Church and cemetery.

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.

Birthday meal out.

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.

Ian, Jacqueline, me and Peter.

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.

The lights surrounding Kos Old Harbour.

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.

Gorgeous blue shutters on Nisiros.

What a pretty village and pleasant harbour.

Bell tower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The view from the hill. Wow!!

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.

On the crust of the caldera and hoping it won’t crack, or erupt!

It was truly amazing.

Feta tin. Now that’s a lot of cheese!

 

 

Our first ‘catch’ with the new rod and reel.
The gap between Symi and the island to the north. Only 3m deep in parts.
The anchor chain straight ahead of us through the crystal clear waters of Ay Marina, Symi.
I want one of these!! But would it get up Grassington hill

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.

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!)

The Datca peninsula and S.ymi with Kos to the north

Next Stop Turkey.

Our 40th Island in Greece and 39 years since I was first here!

The cathedrals and churches of the Chora above and the pretty coloured houses of Klima on the shore of Nisos Milos.

We left Milos after an informative morning at the Mining Museum and headed to an anchorage about 15 miles east.  We anchored over incredible sand and enjoyed some snorkelling.  We saw a wide variety of fish and even an octopus.

The jagged pyroclasticfloe rocks of Nios Poliagos.

Next day, we headed to Ios in the southern Cyclades and arrived bang on our ETA.

We anchored in Milapotas Bay over white sand and clear waters.  We discovered that Keira and her group of hen party friends were staying very close to the bay so we met up for a beer in the evening.

It was so great to see them all.

The view through the arched door of Port Ios

The following day Ian and I took a bus to Ios port and I tried in vain to orientate myself with my 39 years old memories.  It all seemed to have changed quite a bit.  There are certainly lots more buildings in the bay to the north and the dirt road as was, is now a proper road.

Church of Port Ios headland.
One of about 7 seven old windmills at the top of the CHora

We walked up to the Chora (litter picking the plastic debris on route as it is Trash Tuesday again) and had a wander round.  It wasn’t quite as charming as I remembered although there were some pretty bougainvillea shrouded squares, bonny churches and old windmills.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Me and Steph in Crete 2011

Of course, we had a pitta gyros and toasted my best friend, Stephanie Minto, with whom I shared a good few gyros during that summer of ’79.

 

 

Meanwhile, there was lots of communication back and forth between us and Erin as her plans for her plans for Grandma’s 80th birthday trip to Wimbledon came to a head.  Her source for tickets didn’t work out; then Grandma missed her train.

But it all worked out alright in the end and they are about to crack a bottle of wine on Henman Hill !

It was a massive amount of organisation for Erin to do whilst working many hours at the restaurant too.  She sorted travel, accommodation, transport to Wimbledon, parking, tickets, picnic and even strawberries and cream.

What a fantastic memory making day!

Sun shining through the pretty church tower.

 

 

Storm bound in Monemvasia

The Gibraltar of the East. The rock of Monemvasia.

Having arrived in the sweltering heat it soon became apparent that Monemvasia didn’t want us to leave.  The wind changed to a strong Westerly, grew up into a boisterous teenager and went through full blown adolescence in the course of the following few days.

All our fenders deployed in fending us off the quay.
The eastern breakwater. Well protected but right up on the quay.

And so here we were.  Pinned against the harbour breakwater with gusts of up to 50 knots rocking us over and slamming the cutlery drawer open and shut in the throes of a proper teenage temper tantrum.  Thunder and lightning overhead have caused some yachts to lay chain from boat to sea bed to provide a possibility of earthing any strikes.  All of us have put our electronic items in the oven!

One night we all watched anxiously as two charter boats with a large group of Russians aboard demonstrated a Charter boat cha-cha in the middle of the night.  Poor things.  They ended up side-to the very end of the pontoon in howling winds after some impressive midnight maneuverings. 

 

 

 

The up side has been that we have met a great bunch of people.  Some waiting to head south, some, like us, to head east.

Trash Tuesday.

There have been; Brits, French, German, Dutch, Polish.  We have completed a Trash Tuesdays harbour plastic pick with everybody (Four large bags of plastic most of it in minuscule pieces, about 15kg in all) and had coffee and drinks on various boats.  There was a breakwater party one evening and a barbecue the next.  We have all been out for a meal to the T’Akrogiali taverna run by Tsakis, who is a delight, and whose Mama does all the cooking.

In between fending ourselves off the quay, we have had the chance to walk around the very pretty village of old Monemvasia (It is like a smaller and more rustic Dubrovnic) and do a circular walk around the jagged rock.  We have restocked our provisions, gas and water supplies.

 

We have seen the giant loggerhead turtles that frequent the bay daily.  They have distinct markings so we know it is the same two that return.  They gracefully swim around and pop up from time to time for a breath.  I was cutting Ian’s hair the other day whilst sitting on the back of the boat and one of them swam right under his toes. 

 

Tomorrow the wind will have died down a little which means that:

 

A) We can actually get off the quay

B) We can sail most of the way to Milos, due east of here.

Of course, we will have to come back this way in order to sail back to MdR in Sicily.  So far this year, despite the best laid plans, because of unfavourable winds, we have still seen very little of the Peloponnese, the Argolic gulf or the Saronic gulf.

 

 

Rounding Ak Maleas – The second most southerly cape in mainland Europe.

When the pilot guide states that the second most southerly cape on mainland Europe has ‘a fearsome reputation’,  there is nothing more guaranteed to put the wind up two recreational sailors!

To add to the angst, there are no weather buoys in the vicinity so we had no guide to potential weather or wind on the cape.

Rod Heikell, the writer of the guides, tells of various scenarios on leaving his safe anchorage on Nisos Elafonisos. On one occasion he had left in no wind and then was met by 40kt gusts off the cape.  So bad was it that he returned to the island.  On another occasion, he had left in strong winds, with two reefs in his main sail and a pocket handkerchief of a jib, and then had to motor round the cape.

 

Our experience this morning was mixed.

We set off with light winds.  We put up the main for stability in the swell.  We began to turn more to the east and the wind freshened behind us.  We put out the head sail too.  We approached a steep bluff towards the tip of the peninsula and the wind picked up to 25kts in the blink of an eye.

We eased the main to spill the wind, rounded up a little and reeled in the headsail in.  Being stuck between the busy shipping lane and the coast we had little room to manoeuvre.

The AIS alarm alerted us to a ship approaching from around the corner which as yet we could not see.  We were on a collision course in approx 19 minutes,  when it would be precisely 89m away.

But, we needed to keep our course!

As we gained some distance from the peninsula the wind calmed a little and we were able to put a reef in.  The cargo ship sidled past steering well clear.  Then the wind died completely…so I decided it was time for a coffee.

I heard the engine start.  All was calm. Coffee making was almost complete and then I heard a shout.

‘We need to put another reef in!’

I brought the coffee up on deck and set it down so that if it did spill it wouldn’t be a disaster.

We set about bringing the sail down a bit.  Just as we were pulling in the reefing line when the block holding the line on to the sail broke with a dull but meaningful thud. Ian replaced it whilst I held the boat to wind.

All was fine, and so we decided some headsail was appropriate but not all of it.  However, the wind had other ideas and whipped out all the sail and we were flying along in 18kts of wind.

We were leaning over at such an angle that my cushion was sliding off the seat in the cockpit and was glad that I had shut the seacocks in our bathroom.  (We were subsequently to discover that the solar shower bag had silently slid off deck and into a  watery death at this time, too.)

Within minutes there was a bang, followed by disconcerting flapping at the front of the boat. The shackle holding the headsail up had sheared in half and the halyard was no longer holding the sail in place.  Ian went to the front to haul down the sail and lash it to the deck.

 

Whilst he was doing this he noticed that the anchor had bounced off its place on the bow.  He pulled it back and tied it securely to the roller.

After all this we looked down to see that half our coffee had slopped out over the floor and it was less than hot.  On top of that, Ian had somehow found time to  scoff all the remaining biscuits.

We had an interesting day…and it was still only 1230h!