10 June 2009. All marina formalities completed and with departure certificate in my pocket, said goodbye to Pam and Keith Goodal who are going north as we go east for a start, two new fenders under my arm it is back to Elixir to help Demir Marine to run our new main topping lift. The main topping lift is in effect a spare main halyard that is used (in the main so to speak) to support the outboard end of the boom when the mainsail is not hoisted. Without a topping lift (topper for short) when you let the mainsail down you could well give someone a rather nasty bonk on the head. Thus comes the little known historical fact that a sailor who drops the main while standing under the boom could well be said to have topped himself! Seriously though in the event of breaking a main halyard then to have a spare will mean that the crew can keep sailing without needing immediately to put in for repairs. The process being that we hoist a man to the mast top who will thread a string rat line, with a small weight on it, down inside the mast and someone retrieve it with our trusty wire coathook from the exit point about two metres up from the mast step. In theory a job that should take about 20min, well an hour later it was announced by the Demir man that this mast was unable to allow a ratline to run. I had tried several times to give him advice but he made it clear that he was the expert and that I knew squat. I refrained from telling him that son Chris went up the mast in Spain and that David and he had a new ratline threaded in under 15min! The man wanted to rig an external topping lift but I would not hear of it and decided to put to sea and sort the matter out on our own in due course. The main halyard would itself be used for the topper when the main was furled. We left the marina and proceeded under motor over to Marmaris to top up our fuel, 80 litres 211.35 Turkish Lira (one lira = nz $1.16 aprox). No choice here as without diesel our little motor becomes heavy and useless cargo and our freezer would not function meaning no ice in our rum or cold wine for SWMBO!
Marmaris is an exciting place to go into by boat under the battlements of the ancient castle and along the line of beautiful gleamingly clean Gullet Boats all touting for tourist custom right along the waterfront.
On leaving Marmaris and heading for the bay entrance the ladies, bless them, decided to make some sandwiches only to discover that during the last minute shopup, all the bread had been left on the shop counter! No choice now but to go back to the shop, two or three days without bread for the sake of a quarter of an hour of motoring was not an option, besides our dingy and outboard could do with bit of a run after the said outboard having been stowed for 10 months. We hove too just off the Marina while Jenny and David did the dingy dash to the shop and retrieved the bread. Finally left Marmaris Bay about 16:00 and pointed or bow east towards Ekincik where we arrived some 3 hours later.
Sun had just set as we stuck our nose into a small anchorage called "My Marina" very crowded and too much like what we had just left to be of interest to me so went across to the western side of the bay and anchored in 6.5metres with three other yachts. This was a beautiful spot with green trees and foliage right to the water on one side and sandy beach on the other. The wind dropped out altogether once dinner was out of the way allowing Elixir to conclude that to lie side on to the slight swell would encourage friendly pillow talk in the main cabin, not! I slept like a log but SWMBO (my darling I hasten to add!) had an uncomfortable night with Hera from time to time influencing her demeanor and enhancing her her already formable ability to snort.
Up anchor and move three miles to the the entrance of the Dalyan river, up which you can get to the ruins of ancient Caunos. This reed lined river meanders down to the sea from the large mountains which are evident all around. The ancient Lycians that inhabited the area were reported to be a sickly race of people that seemed greenish in colour, our Pilot book surmises that this is consistent with a malaria outbreak. Such outbreak nearly decimated the race but their tombs remain as permanent reminders of the race that once was.
On motoring slowly up the river in our rubber ducky Jenny was delighted as we spotted a large turtle swimming just ahead and asked me to take a photo of it when it surfaced.
Jenny stood at the bow and pointed enthusiastically towards the turtle so I would know where to focus the camera. Well the activity of pointing attracted the attention of a boat load of locals who had a very different fate in mind for the hapless turtle, like say soup! Much to Jenny's horror they headed our way with a large net, Jenny without changing her expression started pointing at a sunken stone, which stone then attracted the fishermen who no doubt will live forever more with the certain knowledge that blond sailor's wives don't know the difference between rocks and turtles and wandered off elseware looking decidedly resigned. Jenny sat very quietly with a wry smile on her face while we made our way back to Elixir lying quietly just off the rivermouth.
12:00 and we sail out of there heading for Skopea Limani which is a group of Island with Gocek at it's northern end and about 12 miles to the west of Fethiye.
We were delighted of finding a beautiful anchorage about an hour before sunset in Seagul Cove.
The delight came from recognition of the large rock relief of a seagull, a photo of which I am sure we have seen from Joe and Annabelle Wright's old blog.
No slop hear so Hera shall have no reason to visit, it is sooo nice to be back with the goddess of calm! Picked up a good feed of fresh fish from a friendly Turk fisherman, 4 large fat fish 30.00tl all up making made a yummy dinner.
Okay, okay okay so there is the odd mosquito with deadly intent and a noise like a stukka bomber! Throughout the yacht during the night from time to time you could hear the "Bugger!" Slap bang thump, "got the bastard" as some hapless mosquito meets it's untimely demise, seems not every bug is entitled to a home.
Turkish McDonalds? Pancakes from the boatin for breakfast absolutely yummy!
Lots of contact with Carolyn and Paddy Mitchell off Australian Yacht Christiane, they have sailed up through the Red Sea. Carolyn is my second cousin and we have essential supplies and family news for them so are looking forward to catching up next week in some bay or another I know not yet where.
Posted at 2:40 AM, 10 June 2009
Elixir is the white one with a mast!
Hmmm..nice! Same marina wrong boat!
Right type wrong size!
That's her right in the middle with the radar dome!
And all that is in the daylight amongst 2,000 yachts!
Here at last back with our dear Elixir at Yat Marine Marina in Marmaris Turkey. A arduous flight with some stuffups on behalf of our carriers meant that it was also quite stressful at times with She Who Must be Obeyed regaining that look in her eye that suggests that love can be tried to the nth degree but one step beyond that limit and she will turn into a demon of profound aggression and extreme hostility that would forebode dire consequences upon the touch thereof. Actually I did get to wonder, her being blond and all, if she could be some sort of direct reincarnation of Hera the Greek Goddess who was also known for the odd toys out of the cot episodes. I am of course just joking, just joking, just joking I tell you! David and Elizabeth met us about 10 minutes before our internal flight was due to depart from Istanbul to Dalaman because that is when our flight that had been delayed due solely to a considerable boo boo by the Dubai ground crew arrived. A mad rush ensued the four of us running with overly large trolley bags in toe through Ataturk Airport looking to all other travelers like we were completely looney. I avoided the eye of SWMBO with a lot of skill I thought. Arrived in Dalaman whereupon the ground crew insisted that we board the bus to go from the Domestic Terminal to the International one situated conveniently about 3 minutes away. Protests by us made not the slightest bit of difference, however, they quickly realised their mistake in time to prevent our bags from following us! Oh dear! Another hour and a half of trying to secure a reunion thereof. Basil's driver who had been waiting for us at the Domestic Terminal finally decided to try the International one, thank heavens! So just as we regained our bags we found our transport. Arrived at Marmaris to find Elixir looking pretty and very welcoming in the pitch black about three quarters of the way out Juliet Pier approx where we left her some 10 months ago. Nobody could locate the key, once again I spent my time in avoiding the evil eye and making myself busy with the marina security man who could not speak English but was a very helpful person at 1am in the morning. Eventually the key was located at the workshop of Demir Marine who had just replaced Elixir after a haulout, scrub and antifoul. Time to collapse and sort it all out tomorrow. But no! our water had been drained for the haul out and power disconnected so I did the only reasonable thing and connected it to the most convenient plug which happened to be occupied by the German boat next door who was not at all amused next day and nearly had a heart attack on the spot. NZ trade with EU might take a bit of a bashing over this and I would not be at all surprised to read about it in the NZ Herald. Water here is 2 euro a tonne and I think we would have used two kettles full and had a bit of a wash. I gave him a Turkish Lira to try to calm him down which did not work even though it would have been about 1000% return on his investment! Next day David, Elizabeth and Jenny caught the ferry into Marmaris while I stayed at the yacht and wore out the concrete between here and the toilets sorting out a particularly nasty bout of deli beli! (Struck down no doubt by a damn vengeful Hera!) They returned at the end of the day in a delivery truck loaded with essential supplies. Now all we have to do is make ship shape and hit the briney once again.
Our initial destination being Fethiye which is East about 65 miles. I have recovered from the deli beli but David and Jenny have now got it in sympathy.
On panning out a bit you can get an idea about where we are at the very bottom (southernmost) part of Turkey.
Elixir of NZ outwards Marmaris
Posted at 10:43 PM, 14 May 2009
Winter is upon us here in New Zealand, The rain is cold and sun is losing it's warmth. Time is ticking on and the leaving home date looms, we have rented our house out and packed up our office, now we look forward to Emirates taking us From Auckland to Melbourne, Singapore, Dubai and Istanbul. A change of carrier in Istanbul for the Turkish Airlines flight to Dalaman where Basil will be waiting to take us right to Yat Marin in Marmaris late in the evening. That is were we will be reunited with Elixir and will continue with our Turkish and Greek cruising. The hours of poring over charts, looking up on Google World and talking with other cruisers will no doubt have a great bearing on where we will go on the water. I do not give a damn where we go so long as the wind blows, the sun shines and Elixir is in good nick. Will again do my best to keep the blog alive, with lots of pictures for family and friends. Ted
Chris being the one with the dark glasses.
26th August 2008 Sailed South from Kos with Chris and Natalie now on board after doing a bit of a sail past of David and Elizabeths hotel in order to give all a farewell wave. David and Elizabeth to catch a plane today for Peru to meet up with other NZ friends to do the Machu Picchu thing. Caught a handsome breeze to clear the Eastern end of Kos on a reach turning to a run all the way to Nisos Nisoros. Found there was room as we hoped in the town basin for another yacht and were soon sternto and off to rent a couple of scooters to explore the mountaintop villages and the crater. We had been recommended a little Greek Restaurant in the first mountain top village and it was there that we ended up for dinner much later that night. Magnificent scenery and the service and presentation was top notch however I made the mistake of ordering a steak, medium rare. Being so late at night and us perhaps being their last customer of the day I think that the chef got confused and cooked me a jandal instead. I did not complain as I did not wish to put a damper on an otherwise magic evening. Next morning 27 August Jenny and I went to the neighbouring waterfront village to fetch fresh bread before returning our scooters and hitting the briny once again. The scooters cost 12e for 24 hours but come without petrol another 4e from the station about 2km away, still quite a good deal I thought. Fluky winds were the order of the day on our way to Nisos Tilos varying from 20knts down to nothing and from a run to a beat (with engine) so lots to occupy all crew and a rather confused sea.
We hauled into a very small volcanic bay at the entrance of Lividhia the main harbour of Tilos where we just hoveto so all could have a swim.
Beautiful clear, clear water, and just cool enough to take the heat off a bit.
Into Lividhia to find that the town now has a new yacht basin with electricity and water laid on, however, we chose to anchor off as to be in a concrete enclosure in the heat of the noonday sun would have been unbearable. So we sat there with two other boats and ate our lunch while debating the merits of an overnight stay. There did not look to be very much to do at Tilos other than go to another taverna so all elected to hit the BBWS once again and press on to Panomitis in Symi, a further 25 mile sail. We had the wind averaging around 15knts on the beam so our boat speed was good although the lumpy sea was quite a test for poor Natalie who was feeling it quite a bit. The bucket was still unused at the end, however, it is no shame to feel the effects of the BBWS. Panomitis was entered at 18:00 and after all the oooing and aahing about the picturesque monastery we found a good anchorage on sand.
We remembered our last stay here a year ago when the wind got up to such a force at midnight that we were forced to stand anchor watches for the rest of the night.
Elixir with Abbey background - Needs a greater word than Fantastic!
We were not looking for a repeat and such was the case as a very good nights sleep followed a good meal on board for Jenny and I while Chris and Natalie decided for the terra firma approach and ate ashore. Jenny had unfinished shopping that was vital to be done at Symi town so we upped our anchor at 08:00 on 28 August and headed off around the Island stopping halfway for the swim and lunch break at a bay called Thessalona which boast huge cliffs falling directly into the sea most of the way with a lovely little beach at the head.
Both Chris and Natalie found it a fascinating spot as it was obvious from markers placed on the cliffs that it is a favourite for rock climbers. Chris has vowed to return to this spot next year to do just that.
Just another day with motor on under the hot, hot sun.
16:00 Once again into Symi to tie sternto and here we stayed the night. 10:00 29 August. Next morning and I found myself having to the legal thing and clear Police and Port Authorities as we were to depart Greece for Turkey. Once again, and like the Savarna experience from their blog I found myself feeling sorry for the small huddle of refugees that had been rounded up for processing at the Police station. 11:00 and we are headed for Turkey a short sail South East and a overnight stop at Serge.
The wind was howling down the hills into the little bay and as we tried to put a stern line ashore my reverse gear decided to jamb in the reverse position. A bit of brute force as eyes turned white approaching astern to the rocks forced the gear into neutral, just switching off the motor could have worked if we had been a bit further off. We abandoned the line ashore idea and found a good place to just lay to the anchor instead. Chris and I pulled the main covers off the area housing the gear cable and found some corrosion had occurred. I could use forward easily but would not be able to use reverse until we had the cable replaced. The wind that we were prepared for in Panomitis found us here and decided to come in at 30knts from the opposite direction to that which we had set our anchor for. 23:00 29 August No moon, black as pitch and I was glued to the GPS as each gust hit us as being the best indication of any anchor movement and all of a sudden we got hit by a real doozy about 36knots and bang back on the anchor and we were off. Everyone immediately on deck to retrieve the anchor and we abandoned the bay in pitch darkness by running the torch light along the cliff edge. I did not fancy having to re anchor while watching for shore waves and having no reverse. Much relieved to get the hell out of there and have a bit of sea room once again. Just a pocket handkerchief of a headsail and no main as we make the 25 miles to Marmaris at a sedate speed allowing all to get some sleep in turn as the wind was off the land so the sea was relatively flat. We of course stayed close to the shore line due to the sea situation and enjoyed the sail picking out the different constellations and planets. Clear night and even Rhodes seemed just a mile or two away. No hurry as I did not want to make it into Yacht Marine Marina in the darkness as I would require assistance from the pilot boat to help us moor due to the reversing challenge. 07:30 30 August and we tie up at the end of our 2008 Greek Island and Turkish Coast Cruise. We have a couple of days here before flying out of Bodram on the 2nd for Istanbul overnight then on to KL and home to NZ. Jenny says it is her favourite recipe for dinner tonight - reservations!
I hope you all have enjoyed our blog as much as I have in writing it.
Good Luck and Great Sailing
Ted Peacocke 30 August 2008.
Captains Log upload date 24 August 2008
18 August 2008 Stayed the night in Livadi (the delightful bay under the south side of the Castle on Astypalaea) to find that our choice of an overnight anchorage was fatally flawed due to the steepness of the road, beside the bay up to the castle, being just the bees knees for the boy racers on their motorbikes after midnight. Such fun went on until the wee small hours determining that we were out of there at first light having scratched this place off our list of further overnight possibilities. All this was offset to a degree by the magnificent appearance of the full moon and to get the big orange moon and the castle together in the one view segment was a thrill. We voted it a great place to go if we ever wish to stay awake all night! We had noticed as we came in a wee group of uninhabited islands just 3 miles to the east which looked like they would be good as a get away, so off we went by motor early in the morning. Being very sketchy as to GPS mapping and indeed even sketchier on paper chart we resorted to good old reliable #1 eyeball, everyone on board seconded for the job of picking our way amongst them until we found a deserted little beach with a sandy bay in which to settle in for the day. Just lovely, David, as is his habit, went ashore to explore to, I think, to ensure that there were no unfriendly natives, or, to find the elusive and unguarded potato plot!.
I, on the other hand, which is my cultured habit, decided that having used my eyes to ensure that we were not going to hit anything hard they (my eyes) needed to be thoroughly checked over from the inner eyelid side and a good sound morning examination suitably ensued, apparently complete with an accompanying noisy appreciative chorus! It took until early afternoon for the day trippers to decide that we had made a great choice of beach and they descended thereupon. The beach being only about half a cricket pitch in length soon became overcrowded, so we upped our pick and were out of there, back over to Maltezana for the next night where we dropped our anchor in the town bay and tied sternto to the outer end of the fishermans wharf. Also tied alongside this wharf was a large abandoned tug boat. This Tug looked intriguing to David and I, so we decided to board it and check it out. Bit of a mistake there, as it turned out to have become the local emergency toilet and the existence of syringes with needles still attached lying around the place was a reminder that even idyllic places like Astypalaia are not without their share of modern day problems. I had suddenly become very uncomfortable being tied to this particular wharf but by now the Meltimi was blasting and we were at least very securely tied for the night. We never actually saw any addicts, the evidence however regarding the addicts being indisputable. David and I slept with one eye open this let me tell you is a further reason why a cruising man gets a sound sleep whenever the opportunity arises. Dragging ones anchor is not the only danger. That was a very good point and one that I shall use on many an occasion to come, I am sure. Accepting the risk of getting a bit boring I must, for the sake of the log, record that the next morning we went back into Hora and reprovisioned to find that the town offered good space at the marine wall where we loaded with good water (1 euro per 100 lt) and we hit the briney once again. Clearing Astypalaia headland we pointed our bow towards Kalymnos 38 miles away with a 30 knot northerly Meltimi ensuring that we kept a reef in the main and down to the second reef marker in the genoa, the wind being 40/45 deg off our bow. A great sail was assured and 8 knots of speed became the mean while Jenny rapidly turned green. 35 miles later we passed a small (about 25 acre) islet.
We had noticed an indentation on the GPS chart on the south side of it that might make a good lunch stop. Yes we anchored in 10 metres onto a sandy bottom, out of the wind and waves. Jenny quickly regained her colour and stopped making barely disguised remarks about divorce and settling down with a race horse owner, any racehorse owner! Her theory being that racehorse owners wont be able to afford a yacht as well. After lunch and a swim we enjoyed a further boisterous sail into Vlihadia a small bay just three miles East of Porthia the main shipping port in Kalymnos.
This was a little gem and we had it to ourselves as far as other cruising yachts are concerned, enabling us to push right into the 5 metre mark and drop our anchor into a nice sandy patch, be backed the anchor in and found that we had a very good hold (despite the Pilot Book advising to cautious of the contrary) so we stayed put for the night. Several Tavernas on shore but no shops and all but me went off to discover the town. Later at nightfall a couple of other yachts came in and rafted together about 50 metres off us. We all had a good night swinging back and forth as the winds funneled one way down the valley and then later back up it again. Once again we experienced the very hot and dry midnight wind of some force that we had first experienced a year ago at Symi. Next morning and we are off into Porthia and I texted my son Chris who was due to be in Kalymnos by now, of our intentions. The Pilot book not have anything to suggest Porthia would be anything other than a reprovisioning stop, indicating that it was a bit like any other busy seaside shipping port in the world, a bit dusty and grubby, without much going for it although looking quite spectacular from seaward. Wrong, we found it to be quite delightful and enjoyed our stay with the hustle and bustle being all quite in keeping with a vibrant holiday spot. The girls assure me that the shopping is out of this world for menswear but not exciting for women unless size 8 or 10 (not REAL WOMEN according to Jenny!) although the prices were such that stuff had to apparently be bought to save us a lot of money.
Both Jenny and Elizabeth even conned me into getting a new pair of shorts to replace those that had split on me. (due only to the cotton becoming rotten over the hard years, It had noting to do with my size, not my size! I tell you!)
The main street needs mention, there is no footpath and being just 3 metres wide and the existence of many walking shoppers was not a speed deterrent. The only thing that can slow traffic is apparently other traffic! A real experience as all the shops had large window displays for looking into if you could just risk it! They did have large steps into their doorways which offered immediate refuge from any passing truck or motorbike. Much of the goods carriage here is done by little three wheeler utility type scooters and these are just everywhere. Great excitement as Chris and Natalie (his rock climbing partner) unexpectedly showed up for lunch on board.
A great reunion though I think he was more pleased to see Elixir than me, but that is good old NZ fellow behavior! We could not find the wharf waterman who also controlled the shore power, however, we had plenty of water and the ships own power was enough for us anyway so this small anomaly did nothing to dampen our enjoyment of the place. Chris and Natalie headed off after a couple of hours to rent a scooter to get back to the cliffs that were beckoning them as that was the main reason for their visit to Kalymnos . We set off to return to our previous nights anchorage for the night.
Just another Meltimi sunset..
This time on returning to Vlihadia our space at the head of the bay was occupied by two other yachts and we would have to anchor further out. Well we dragged incessantly, as warned by the Pilot Book, and could not get a decent enough hold to risk an overnight stay. We bailed out and returned to the town wharf in Porthia at about 22:00 and had a good nights sleep after eating dinner on board and going for a night walk up town to view all the people.
Elizabeth has the Bridge..
6am on 22nd August and we leave Porthia and head east along the coast of Kalymnos then north a wee way to a small inlet on the north side of Varthy Bay. This was a tiny little spot and no room to swing on the anchor but just as we were getting a line ready to attach to a shore rock we noticed a small mooring bouy, we tied sternto to that.
We had a lovely few hours here swimming and enjoying this totally landlocked little refuge until, once again, we were tracked down by the day trippers, of which there were many and the small beach got swamped. It seams that there is a good business of water taxi type the are buzzing the bays dropping off people for picnic type activates and calling by regularly to pick up those wishing to move on. This is all done by the Taxis with powerful outboards, as if there is no tomorrow, so high speed right into the beach is the order of the day, throwing into reverse just when they look like putting a furrow up the beach deep enough to plant potatoes. Spectacular but not given to a restful existence due to their noise, wash and wake, taking no notice at all of one of Elizabeths best scowls. We pulled out at a very sedate 1, building to 5, knots and just stuck our nose into Rina just to see what is there. Huge high cliffs on either side of the entrance, from which according to Lonely Planet there is a lot of high diving activity of which we saw none.
A couple of large (say 60 foot) yachts were tied bow and sternto to the cliffs between small indents. We will remember this for future occasions if the chance to come here again ever presents itself, as a really good place to tie up for a while.
At 14:00 we turn once again to Dodecanese and sail off to a little island south east of us called Pserimos where we intend to stay the night at the head of a south eastern end bay.
One of the ships chefs turns out a couple of loaves.
This bay has good holding and was to be a great spot to spend some time, if a little crowded with other cruising and charter yachts of which I counted 13 on arrival one and a half hours later. Apparently most of the yachts had been kicked out of Kos Marina this morning due to there being some organized regatta where the room was needed for competing boats. With this information at hand it may not be prudent for us to show up in Kos ahead of our booked marina dates of the 24th and 25th of August.
Log time 10:30 24th Aug 2008. We are tied stern to at Kos Marina. We spent the last two nights very comfortably at Pserimos, not the main Port but at the bay on the South Eastern corner and motored across first thing this morning on a mirror sea.
Heavy Cruiser and Ferry traffic meant that we needed to keep an A1 watch during breakfast. Refueled at fuelling pier just south of the main marina. Diesel 1.40 Euro per litre (about $3) and it took 100 litres to fill our tanks replacing all the fuel used over the last 4 weeks. Not bad, I say.
Signing off Crew David and Elizabeth Hicks having enjoyed their company to date, they will be sorely missed.
Thats it for now.
Left Patmos 14:00 14th August 2008 after completing all of the legals with Meltimi running on medium 25knts but as the sail to Levitha is a downhill slide of some 22 miles we should be assured of a good sail. First off however we sailed to the far Southern end of Patmos Island to the boatbuilders who had been repairing our bow roller fitting.
Boatbuilders yard, we lay off while we got the roller picked up.
They had done a really good and professional job even polishing the stainless steel weld so that the whole fitting looked better than new. David and I refitted it in just a few minutes with me balanced in the rubber ducky underneath the bow to hold the washers in place while David did the contortionist thing and leant over the top to tighten the bolts. No, we didnt lose anything as all the spanners were attached to lanyards, of course. Off we go having raised our main with a cautionary single reef while on the mooring and unfurling our genoa to the first reefing marks too. 7.8 knots out of the bay and Elixirs nose pointed southward, bucking off the waves, yahoo! Amused ourselves over the first hour watching Patmos disappear over the stern into the haze and then nothing all around before spotting the land of Levitha low on the horizon ahead. Love leaving the tethers of a mooring behind and all the dust from the wharf being washed from our decks.
Did somebody say Dolphins? The sea was alive with them.
There was the odd reminder along the way not to go to sleep on watch!
Levitha is very barren from windward and it remains so as one sails around the eastern end and along the southern coast about 3 miles to the entrance to the harbour. Chart only shows a couple of rocks to watch out for, however, with the water here so clear and the sun being still faily high in the sky shallow water is very easy to pick out. We entered the harbour which has a very definite West and East end and just a rock wall to the north. First we looked up the West end and decided that it was way too windy to stop unless we had no choice (then we would have slung a line ashore) so we were off the 1 mile to the eastern end where there were two other yachts that had picked up available moorings so we did likewise and picked up another mooring. This end of the harbour was very obviously farmed by a capable family who seemed to be the sole inhabitants of the Island. One of their sons rowed out to inform us that it was 7 euro to use their moorings which we thought was quite reasonable as they looked strong and were hopefully well maintained, (and so did the moorings!) besides we appreciated their manner and wanted to foster continued good relationships between yachties and isolated communities.
Shelter was good from the Meltimi and we settled into a comfortable night with only slight rigging whistle and the distant clang of the goat bells to brake the silence. Slept the sleep of the gods.
Loving downwind sailing!
Early breakfast after the sun came up and we are off to Astypalaia, some debate as to how to spell it with some books referring to it as Astipalaia. I dont really give a tinkers how you spell it, I was just looking forward to getting there as it is where we really enjoyed our stay last year. We noticed that there is a isolated harbour on the North Western Side of Eastern end of the Island so we decided that it should be worth a look, being closest to us and all. Wind built over the morning and a boisterous downwind slide took us at speed towards our haven 13:00 hours and we are moving into the cricket pitch wide entrance to the chosen harbour depths reduce to 6 metres at the narrowest point but we were going very slowly to see any bricks however all was clear and a large, but shallow harbour of about 40 acres opened up. One other yacht present, a small cluster of houses and a derelict cement factory
Factory with Elixir in background.
(we assume cement due to evidence of broken and rusting machinery being of the sort that would be needed for that activity). We anchored in 6 metres and settled in for the night. David and Jenny went ashore for the obligatory reconnoitre and Elizabeth and I stayed with the Yacht as we still were not game to leave it unattended in the Meltimi, we need not have worried as we were well spudded in and the holding was firm. Sitting on the yacht in casual observance it appears that there are rock walls every where. Elizabeth and I passed a bit of time discussing the reasoning for so many walls as the ground was so barren that it would be impossible to farm. We have come to the inescapable conclusion, having studied all of the evidence, that before the invention of tavernas, men, needing, no doubt desperately, to escape their domestic obligations, must have called each other across the rocks something along these lines of.. Hey, Xcapeawifos, lets go build a wall to which Xcapeawifos would have replied Where, Zeroxmetoo? I dont know, how about over there? Great idea, but why should we build a wall? Cos we got rocks! Oh! Okay, but bring some lunch!..Righto, you bring ouzo!. Thus the walls were built being very higgledy piggeldy in places. The evidence can not be disputed. Would you believe it there are two families living here and they have a mile of quite powerful street lighting dinky die, I kid you not. Another good night accompanied by the dinging of goat bells. At 6am and the very grumpy looking female members of the party are informed that we are to enjoy a bracing beat to windward in the BBWS (big blue wobbly stuff) for an hour then we will slide off to a more sedate broad reach for another hour then a comfortable short sail into a picturesque anchorage on the southern side of the eastern part of the island for a lovely breakfast. Now wouldnt that be just the ticket. That turned out to be a pretty precise prophesy and such was the result. The late morning of Saturday 16th August we drop anchour in Maltezana Bay with a Dutch, Daneish, English and a German yacht accompanied by a vista of small islands dotted all around. A quick swim and brunch. Late afternoon and into a small resort to beg access to their WiFi which access was graciously granted so we felt we must buy a drink there. Just as my computer was getting loaded a vision leant over me to deliver my beer, looking every bit like a Grecian Goddess this young woman floated around on an aura of beauty and allure. I was going to ask her if she had ever been on a sailing vessel when I remembered that SWMBO (she who must be obeyed), sweet woman controller of yachting account, was sitting right by my side, Sigh!
To cap it of just after the sun set a huge full moon and by the time we arrived back at Elixir after eating at a small beautifully decorated taverna the moon was quite high in the sky leaving a shimmering track of silver light amongst the Islets, the anchour lights on the yachts also leaving a shimmering glow upon the silken harbour. Sigh! And double sigh!
Sunday 17th at about 03:00 a rooster had a bit of a crow, (probably had a Greek barmaid back at his yacht!) which crow started a Mexican wave of rooster crows right around the island and just as they started to die down one would start off again and so it would go on, interspersed by the sudden clanging from time to time of a goat bell. Dead flat and not a ripple of wind on the water. Nothing else for it but at the first crack of light I beat David to it for once (keep it on record) and put on the billy for a cuppa. Cup of tea put out of the way and we weighed anchour to get over to Hora (The port) where we reloaded with water and found a small shop that sells camping gas which takes care of any worries that we might have in the hot food and cuppa tea department.
My next yacht! Yeah Right!
The Castle on Astypalaea.
Duly re provisioned we move around to the bay on the South side of the Castle to spend the day. David headed of to the castle, Elizabeth and Jenny into the small shoreside village and me to write up this log. Bye the bye I can sit on deck and see the whole of our anchour chain laid out on the seabed and our anchour on the end, all in 11 metres deep water. Clear as crystal. We received welcome texts from Ali, James, Kieran and Cathy.
This Blog has been sent from a little internet cafe at the top of the hill just under the walls of the castle, T & J will sleep like lambs tonight as it is a big climb in very hot conditions with no wind!
Thats it for now.