Father figure sent to the foredeck.. I really didn't think what I said was that bad!
Helm taken over by the aspiring!
After lunch we have a rather boisterous sail for 25 miles to Vathi on Nisos Ithaca.
A reef in both the main and the headsail. Notice that the horizon has gained a rather distinct heel!
We found a small anchorage amongst a handful of other yachts wherein we could wait out the windstorm.
Which way to go around the roundabout? No road markings here! and fast closing the lea shore, very, very fast.
Yachts started arriving in dribs and drabs and small flotillas of 3 or 4 and the anchorage soon filled up to bursting point. Wind gusting up to 35 knots and a rough sea around the rest of the bay caused challenges for all as boats jockeyed for whatever shelter could be had. There were cross words being exchanged as those that thought they owned the bay tried to tell others to go away. They of course had no where else to go. We were at the front of the bay with our anchor just off the shore so there was absolutely no room for boats to get between us and the shore, that however, did not stop a large catamaran right on nightfall trying anchor right on top of our anchor-line. He got the message in basic Kiwi and moved to the back!
Day dawned on 25/07/11 and with it an easing of the wind so we move out and make our way around the north end of Ithaca and on to Fiskardho a beautiful little settlement on the North Eastern tip of Nisos Cephalonia.
Sun kissing the shore.. Just a bit more of what we came for..Sigh...
Entrance to Fiskardo. Ancient lookout and signal station.
Back into the side with a zillion other yachts and put up our sun shades.
Jenny and Elizabeth were delivered to the shops by Chris in the rubber ducky while David did his walking thing. After a sleepless night previous I decided that top priority was checking out the inside of my eyelids.
David, Chris and Elizabeth escape the heat of the midday sun and fill in a bit of time while Jenny hits the shops.
It certainly is quaint and one can easily understand its international attraction.
I had warned all that we would not be staying the night and to back at the Yacht by 14:00 due to the chaotic nature of the place and my assumption that were there were so many young tourist about there was bound to be a disco in the finest tradition of Greek idyllic anchorages. A fair wind ensued as we made our way North West to Nisos Kastos and the main anchorage thereon of Kastos itself for the night.
Gin Palace took a real close look at us and spilt our martinis! Darn!
Once again we are welcomed to the land of flotilla charter groups and this tiny little anchorage of Kastos was acting host to 70 Yachts.
David and Elizabeth on Kastos
The charterers completely overrun the four available tavernas so we had our dinner on board again and contented ourselves with being shuttled back and forth in the rubber ducky to the throngs.
26/07/11 06:30 and we are off again. First we sail north to clear both Kastos and Nisos Kalamos then west.
I swear I felt some rain I tell you!
We pass several Island including Meganisi then Skorpios (the Onasis Island so Jenny put on her Jacky-O sunglasess and on to Nidri on Lefkas.
On arrival and while trying to pick an anchorage for the night we motored down the inland lagoon of Ormos Vlikho. We named this bay the Bay of broken dreams as everywhere there were yachts and motor launches in various states of decay some half sunk against the shore and indeed some with just masts showing. We did not like the feeling in there so returned to a Bay that we had seen on the Port side of the entrance and just a 100 metres across to the town. Chris check out bus timetables as he was due to leave the yacht next day and needed to find a way up to Corfu for his flight back to the UK. He discovered that the right bus was leaving at noon the next day. We spent the night and had a team meal out at the generous offering of Chris before, sadly,waving him goodbye next day on the 27th July. As Jenny had discovered a Laundry all our washing had been done by days end so we grabbed a Gyros each and hit the sea again. This time just 3 miles to the bottom end of Scorpios where we have just spent a beautiful peaceful night in company of just one other yacht. As network reception was 100% I made all booking arrangements for Jenny and I to fly home from Athens to which we will have to Bus (5 hrs). More on that all later.
We did manage to score a lovely anchorage just off Nidri.
We have our last meal with Chris before he gets the bus which will take him up the coast about 4hrs from where he will jump on a ferry to Corfu and then fly back to the UK.
27th July 20:30 hrs we had enough of the busy port lifestyle and moved about 20 minutes sail away to the picturesque Island of Scorpious for the night. On arrival the other yachts were just leaving and we had the bay to ourselves and one other late arrival. Still as can be and as peaceful as one could wish.
Jacki Onasis main beach home in the background gave this anchorage a sad touch.
Next morning Jenny David and Elizabeth went for a circumnavigation of the island in the rubber ducky before we slip away to visit Meganisi and the famous caves.
Apparently according to local storys the Greeks hid a submarine in here during the latter part of the 2nd World War.
Sometimes I just get the feeling I am being left behind!
We move around to the top of the Island where the local wasp inhabitants had planned a welcome for us. Jenny fought back by using citronella candles and sprinkling cinnamon on them ( the candles!). Much to our surprise it worked a treat! Whenever she made her poison they disappeared! I had suggested that we start by sprinkling the wasps on the candles first but nobody thought that was a good idea at all.
David and I had just caught sight of Jennys patented rat preventers! We pride ourselves in that are always ready to give positive encouragement to the lower deck hands!
See Cathy! I can look trendy with new togs in pink!
Outdoor dining under the stars at its finest on a hot balmy night in Meganisi. Lots of other boaties enjoying the same so was a very social occasion.
The access to this restaurant is by water so everyone gets a wet bum both on the way there and on the way back! Not to worry as in this heat one dries very quickly insitu - so to speak.
We spend two days in these little anchorages and then move up to Levkas. Lavkas is an Island with its town of the same name and a small canal controlling all comings and goings. There is a bridge over the canal for road traffic.
An ancient fort overlooks the entrance to the canal area and would have had quite an influence on traffic way back in the middle ages.
The bridge is opened on the hour ever hour of the day to allow for boat traffic to pass by.
Well we approached Levkas just as the bridge had opened and we were met by a rugby scrum of flotilla yachts heading our way on the 20meter wide water way. Depths at the edge of the canal were such that seagulls could walk along without getting their knees wet and in the middle it was just 5.5 metres deep. No room for any sort of drifting off and one had to keep eyes fixed on transits to save from any red faced mistakes.
No it was not deliberate that I backed Elixir up to the town mole just in front of the best Pita Gyroses in Town!
20/07/11 We clear Andikiron and head off out of the large bay and around a point to the next bay at the head of which is Galaxidhi, a sail of some 20 miles. Notable along the way was a low level fly by of a couple of jet fighter planes. We did not hear them until they were right overhead going low and fast straight for the large mountain that we were going around. They kept going low right until we all caught out breath thinking they could not now possibly gain enough height to clear the obstruction. At the last moment there was a puff of black smoke and they went almost vertical up the cliff faces to drop out of sight on the other side. All very spectacular.
On pass between two small island we find a little bay to our port revealing Galaxidhi hemmed in amongst pine covered slopes, a quaint and quite beautiful Greek seaside town. In the late 18th Century and the beginning of the 19th it was a predominant port until it became occupied by the Turks who captured their fleet of ships.
Once the Turks were defeated and thrown out the port never again returned to its importance as a trading center.
That is Elixir on the end beyond the roof.
We go stern to at the main pier and amused ourselves for the first half hour watching a rather gruff looking man who, it became obvious, was the town drunk. Actually we found out later that this town is too small for its own drunk so they share this one with the town just a little bit further in the bay. Anyway this man had set himself up with a good little business ordering Yachts where they should moor and giving them access to water and electricity. He would then pick up tips and strut around full of importance. Trouble was he had no authority at all and seemed to have little understanding about mooring yachts and their requirements. By the time the target yacht found out the truth it had tied up and hooked up to the facilities and paid his tip. Then the man would suddenly disappear as the Port Police would walk by telling everyone that they had to shift to another spot and moor differently. Once the Police left he would be back on the scene for any other poor unsuspecting new arrivals. We counted ourselves lucky that we did not fall prey as he just happened not to be there at the time we arrived.
Off to find the town square and the bus stop.
The very obvious Bus stop- Not!
One of the things one does at Galaxidhi is go by bu
s or rental car up into the mountains to visit Delphi, the navel of the earth. Well, the navel according to ancient Greeks who believed it to be so. It is said the Zues released two eagles, one at each end of the earth and they flew towards each other and met at Delphi. History records the various stories surrounding the Oracles of Delphi and many a nobleman or wealthy trader would visit Delphi to glean the wisdom of the Oracle. Just so did Alexander the Great, who wished to know how his fortunes would fare in his conquest of the world. The most famous of the Oracles of the time, a woman, would not give him a straight answer. Alexander chased her into her cave and dragged the poor wretch out by her hair, the woman screaming all the time telling him he was the greatest and was undefeatable, whereupon he released her telling his followers that he had got the answer that he was looking for! I understand no assault and battery charges were laid! We visited by bus and enjoyed the ride first through thousands of acres of olive plantations then up the mountainsides to disembark at the beginning of the town of Delphi.
A walk through the town brought us to the ruins. I thought I had been ruined-out by now but these were fantastic. It was almost a spiritual experience, high on a mountain top with panoramic views over mountains and hills to the sea. All around us was evidence of a past civilization complete with aqueducts, stadiums and amphitheater.
The temple, now in ruins, of Apollo commandeered the most imposing and spectacular of sites around which was built the treasury houses and the homes of the notorious. Even in the 36 deg heat one could not help but be taken aback by the scale of the city that must have been.
We returned to the bus for the trip down the mountainside and I sat there, white knuckled, hoping the brakes had been checked as we passed many a little roadside monument, built in the image of churches in country letterbox sizes.
The girls suffered badly from the heat and needed instant moisture to revive their spirits!
Back to Elixir and I am off to the officials to clear away the legals for an early departure next day. Pleased we had locked up from the town drunk as he was well and truly in is cups by this time of the evening.
we idle away from the quay and make our quiet way motoring into the new day. Our goal this day is to make it all the way to Patras 40 miles away passing under the Rion Bridge. A bit of a buz of excitement around the yacht as we anticipate picking up son Chris at Patras who will be joining us for about 5 days as we make our way up the Ionion. 5 Miles out of Galaxidhi and we encounter 25 knot head winds and a very lumpy and uncomfortable cross sea. We bash our way to the southern side of the Gulf of Corinth where we get a good lift from the wind being bent down the coast and make good a further 15 miles to windward than anticipated. We snuck in close to the shore and found a little nook offering some shelter from the wind and anchored in 4 metres for a welcome rest and a good lunch. After our half hour respite we hoisted the main only and used the motor to force our way a further 10 miles to windward and under the Rion Bridge.
Great Sailing conditions as we battle to windward towards the great Rion bridge.
We pass under the big bridge for the second time in our voyaging.
Only then were we able to lay off a bit as we made the last five miles to the yacht basin in Patris. The entrance was hard to find and not at all like that shown in the Pilot book, however, using no1 eyeball x 2 x 4 we finally spotted the 30 metre wide gap right alongside the shipping terminal and fired into it dropping the main at the same time. The first thing that struck one was the smell of the water in the basin it was the same stink that we had come across in the town basin in Kos so we decided this was not going to take any longer than necessary. The main thing worrying me at this time is that we had not heard from Chris since he left London and I do not have any idea if he got my text to say we were picking him up in Patras. He had arrived in Corfu got the ferry to the mainland and caught a bus to Rion, his phone would not work so, he was unable to contact us. He did however have his little satellite hiking transmitter that he set off and the satellite gave us a fix that he was at the Rion bridge. From that I deduced that he must have got my earlier text and that he would show up in due course. I did not know that all the taxis in Patras were in strike! Chris got off the bus in Rion as it was to go on East to Athens and Patras was further West. He found a bus going in the right direction and got on that. Our afternoon turned into evening and then into night, still no sign of him. After dark I got a txt that he was in a hotel about a mile from where we were. After I replied to his text he turned up at the yacht. All was well and nerves put to rest.
07:00 23/07/11 out of Patris we go sailing now with fair wind for several hours before it dropped out completely.
Chris taking a close up look at a lonely turtle.
Chris explaining to the, highly sceptical, boys how a wild turtle bite scar was going to impress the London girls! He was disapointed that we remained unimpressed, indeed we could not even see it!
We sailed passed Missalongi on the northern side of the Gulf of Patras and up the coast before tacking North East to keep a small but high and steep island to port.
We stopped for a swim at a small off-lying low island and then moved on to a quiet and safe anchorage for the night inside a headland called Petralis.
Jenny and Elizabeth put together a beautiful dish of moussaka that disappeared in an instant washed down with a cheeky little local red an off to bed.
A little girl who has found the heat and the distance and hte length of the day a bit too much!
I lay in my bunk and reflected on the miles that we had covered since leaving the Corinth Canal and on the time that we had taken to cover it, I was well pleased with our little crew. I had really enjoyed today motoring along in the hot sun for a few hours with David, Elizabeth and Jenny going about their reading exercises while Chris and I caught up on family news and philosophized about the future prospects for the world..... zzzzzz.. oink...zzzzz.
Next morning and we move out at 06:00.
24/07/11 07:30 and we motor out of Petralis and make our quiet way over to Nisos Atokas for a swim in a lovely little lagoon on the leeward side.
14/07/11 Well we stayed the night in the cove in Paros, went to the town by small ferry the next day for supplies and a look see.
All small narrow streets reminiscent of Naxos but no where near as historical.
Prices were up with the best, 13 euro ($26 nz) for Jenny and I to have a cold drink, coffee for me and a icecream lemonade for Jenny!
I will have to put a stop to Jenny's drinking! Seriously though prices were such that we limited our purchases to essentials and returned, light of hand, to Elixir.
Happy hour came and along with it a visit from the team off a charter yacht with 4 NZ's on board.
As it turns out they knew a lot of people we knew and a good hour was spent learning a little about each other.
Birthday Girl doing what girls do best, opening presents!
Night time was upon us so we upped anchor and moved over half a mile to be near the orchestra.
The full moon rose over the horizon as we ate our tea on deck and then came the music and a return of our new found friends. We drank wine and listened to the music for a while then me being a complete peasant fell asleep for the rest of the show.
I do believe however that birthday girl Jenny had a great day and saw the music out to the bitter end.
16/07/11 06:30 we haul our anchor and quietly leave all the other sleeping boats as we putter peacefully out of the cove.
Main sail up and reefed genoa and we are off hard on the wind again for the 40 nautical mile bash to Kithnos.
Arrived Kithnos at 13:00 and set about tidying ship. We found a great anchorage and settled in for the rest of the afternoon and night kicked off with a swim and lunch.
Another beautiful evening under the full moon with now a plethora of various yachts from super yachts of some 200 feet over all down to very small sailboats of say 25 feet. All were having a great time with lots of laughter, swimming and banter.
17/07/11 03:30 We lift anchor and head out, destination, Poros (not to be confused with Paros of 24 hours ago). No wind, flat sea, motor at 2500 revs doing 6.8 knots. 40 miles to go again.
Girls stayed in their bunks and enjoyed a sleep in as the flat sea meant the motion was minimal. Engine noise does not seem to keep either of them awake. David and I duly ate our breakfast of cut up fresh fruit, cornflakes and plain yogurt as we swished through the water and watched as several cruise ships came out of the darkness and disappeared back into oblivion.
Late in the morning we enter the sheltered waters of Poros
We immediately try to find a suitable place to moor alongside
Hmmmm... I hear we can't moor there. Greeks may learn their English from the Turks!
Coming back from the paparwork and ready to put to sea again
But not before drinkies!
Late morning and we are moving on, just too polluted to swim in the town basin
Small island just out of town looks great for lunch and a swim before the long haul to the Corinth Canal where we plan to anchor off overnight before traversing it in the first light of tomorrow.
In the oppresive heat of the afternoon we get passed by a gleaming superyacht going int he opposite direction. Bet it's go airconditioners!
Calling in at a small cove for happy hour. Olives, rum, wasps that sort of thing.
Approaching the canal as the sun is setting. Impeccable timing once again. Now to find an anchorage and get tea on.
A quiet little meal at the end of a long day.
Just a bit of the old campfire gazing before going to bed for the night. We have an early start in the morning.
Before you enter the canal you must go to the Canal Control Office and pay your dues. We pull alongside and Ted and David head off to get the piece of paper.
We are not allowed to enter until the ship that is being towed has entered and we must follow her. This is difficult for us as she is being towed at 4 knots and we find it hard to get Elixir to go that slow so must keep going in and out of gear to compensate and to slow down.
Even though David and I had been through this canal before in 2008 it is just as impressive the second time and of course we are now going in the opposite direction.
Hand and foot holes dug inot the walls to support the weight of ancient slaves carrying up the soil from the excavation still fill us with awe.
I get the same feeling like I had playing in the drains on the farm back in Hamilton, New Zealand as a kid! The toys have just got a lot bigger!
The bridge at the Corinth end submerges for us to pass over it and we are at the finish of the canal control area and head off the 33 further miles to the little port of Andikira.
Andikira is a picture perfect lovely little port with strong military links and well worth a stopover. Tomorrow we move on to where we can leave the boat for a day and visit the historical sites of Delphi.
That is it for now.
Sailing at this time of the year in the Greek Islands is all about handling or, at least living with, the Meltimi. The Meltimi is a very strong wind that blasts down from the north, Russia, towards the heat generated by the Sahara with the Greek waters presenting no formidable barriers to it. Thus a very rough sea and strong wind is the norm when the Meltimi is in season in late June, July and August. The plan then, if one's plan is to travel East to West, is to get as far north as one can by using short sails between Islands where good anchorages can be had. Well our goal is infact to sail from the Eastern group of the Dodecanese and get to the Corinth Canal which is the Westernmost of part of the Peloponnese sailing through the Cyclades on the way. All up a distance into the west of some 265 nautical miles, thus is the reason our, up to the present, bash to windward all the way north some 70 miles to Patmos. We now spend our second night at Patmos by picking up a strong mooring around on the south Western side of the Island, in readiness for tomorrows long stretch.
14/07/2011 07:30 Now having had two days at Patmos we set out into the Meltimi (30 knots) sailing due West with a first waypoint being a rock in the middle called N.Bouvaise 35 boisterous miles from our anchorage. We have cracked sheets for the first time and are doing 8 to 8.9 knots, just flying. Then about 20 miles out the wind drops out completely and we are left with a very rough sea with the wind even coming in lightly from the exact opposite direction. Hard stomachs called for at this stage! Motor on and we make 6 knots, headsail wound in to avoid chafing it to bits and the main hauled in hard to stop it from flogging and the traveler crashing across the cabin top. Conditions uncomfortable, to say the least. One hour of this and the Meltimi decides that it has punished us enough for being mean about it and returns from the North West allowing us to sail again with reefed headsail and full main making 7.5 knots although close hauled. Still uncomfortable but no where near as bad as the rough sea with no wind. 12:00 and we pass 100 metres on the windward side of Bouvaise rock, far enough off to avoid the vicious backlash from the waves pounding thereon and thus we pass into the Middle Cyclades. Next waypoint is the northernmost point of Naxos which duly comes and goes with no change in conditions. Everyone on deck feeling the effects of a day in the wind and sun, seeking whatever shade could be gleaned from the dodger, various sarongs and by keeping ones legs under the cockpit table. The girls are caught eyeing Naxos, no doubt remembering being here two years ago. To call in at Naxos would mean an 8 mile drop off to the south which I was not keen about having paid dearly for our northing. We press on for Paros and make landfall at a lovely little sheltered anchorage, Ormos Ay Loannou, at 5:30pm. Jenny and David head off in the rubber ducky to reconnoiter the shore facilities while I must check on the inside of my eyelids. Well it has been a big day damnit! David found a bakery and got himself a spinach pie, while Jenny was content just to feel a bit of terra firma under her toes again and Elizabeth returned to her book. Jenny and David also discovered that tomorrow there was going to be a full orchestra playing in a small amphitheater there. It being a full moon and tomorrow being Jenny's Birthday we may just stop over for that event. If we sail up real close and anchor right there we may get the whole effect for less than a ha-pence of tar. A good spaghetti and sauce dinner under candle light for effect and all of us off to bed. Today's job well done and dusted by a competent crew.
10 July 2011 9:00 We check out of Kos with destination Pandeli on Leros a sail of some 40 miles North dead to windward meaning about a 60 mile sail allowing for tacking.
So we put in a long board towards Turkey to reach close to land north of Bodram and then tack on to starboard with a long leg to Kalimnos for a sheltered lunch stop anchored just off Palionisos.
Fresh bread with salad and a cold beer, I even managed to get in a swim. Back out into the big blue wobbly stuff with spume and spray smashing out from under our bow as we with a reef in the main and also in the genoa smashed our way northward.
9pm right on dusk and we anchor of Pandeli, still a favourite of ours with the half moon on one side and the ancient castle on the hill above on the other and its array of windmills below. Restaurants line the shore and a beevy of yachts and launches bunch around the harbour entrance. There is a distinct smell of Grecian cooking wafting in the air and many children and teenagers are playing in dingys and on the shore.
David and I launched the rubber ducky and secured the outboard thereon. After two years the 4 stroke Mercury started with the fist pull of the cord! David was keen to get some "real" milk for his tea and I was equally keen to secure a few photos for the blog so off we went for a bit of a putter and a look see.
11 July 2011 08:00 After a lovely comfortable night laying to our anchor under the loom of the castle we set off for the 18 mile sail to Lipsoi. We think that Lipso should spell the end of the hard slog to get northing in before laying off to the west.
We had a lovely view of the castle on the hill on the way by
It is a lovely sail along the north east side of Leros past numerous small islands with lots of activity from little blue and white fishing boats interspersed by other yachts either beating to windward like us or sailing straight down wind to Pandeli or beyond to who knows where.
David has the bridge!
All in all it was a fun sail and although it was the hardest point to make good in strong winds it was not as tiring as one where you are alone on the sea.
We put into Lipso about 11:00 and dropped our anchor in the little marina and tied stern to the jetty alongside have a dozen other cruising boats.
Jenny, Elizabeth and David grabbed their togs and were off to the beach for a swim while I stayed behind on watch, a watch I might add was conducted from behind my eyelids!
Lots of comings and goings and chatter from all as we continued to really enjoy this little gem at the upper end of the Dodecanese. No traffic as all the streets were stepped and the absence of day trippers and cruise ships meant that Yachties like us were welcomed as the only income to the island other than fishing.
We slept well after eating a big meal of octopus and other yummy local food at a street restaurant complete with beers and wine all up price NZ $65 for 4.
12 July 2011 09:00 Slip moorings hoist sail complete with single reef in the main and a double in the genoa and we head out into the wind for an exhilarating board reach to Patmos which is a distance of some 12 miles.
We blasted over to Patmos doing 8.5 to 9 knots passing on arrival two tall ships which were anchored in the bay at the entrance to the harbour. We dropped sail and proceeded to the wharf area still with 35 to 40 knots of wind over our decks.
I was more than just a little anxious as to how we were going to complete our mooring manoeuvre's with the sort of professional precision that we have practiced in the past.
I need not have worried as a spot opened up where a yacht had just left so we once again dropped anchor and moored stern to, no mean feet in a 35 knot cross wind. David and I went about our chores of tidying ship from all the running rigging and mooring chaos to find that Jenny and Elizabeth, who had remembered the good shopping to be had here from the last time we visited, abandoned us and disappeared in the throngs heading for the dress shops.
During the day the wind built to gale force with yachts and launches arriving and looking for shelter with lots of yelling and gesturing as prime positions along the waterfront were filled. Stress level s on the faces of the skippers was evident for all to see as various mooring techniques in the wind were tried and those with untrained crew had to abort several attempts before abandoning the area and heading off trying to find shelter elsewhere.
The lesson again is that the early birds get all the worms.
02 July 2011 cruise is now officially underway as we are on a yacht in Istanbul. The yacht that we are on is Kristiane belonging to Paddy and Carolyn of Australia.
Picture is of Paddy standing beside his Yacht Kristiane with a bag of washing for the laundry. No he is not leaving home!
Tomorrow we leave at dawn by plane from Ataturk Airport and fly down to Dalaman where we will catch a bus to Marmaris for a welcome reunion with Elixir. Elixir is due to be launched on Monday and if Jenny and I are not there then we get charged 500 euro to have the marina staff park it in the marina for us!
We can not really give a good account of our travels without going over a few of the trials and tribulations of getting away from New Zealand. We were due to fly out a week ago but the ash cloud from Chili grounded all our flights so we had rebook twice and each time the price went up to due to the increased demand as more and more would be travellers were scrambling for whatever tickets were available. I had been so proud of the fact that Jenny and I had managed to book our passage all the way to Marmaris for the total price of $2,300nz . Well the best laid plans of mice and men and all that sort of thing meant that we have finally got there, well almost, for $3,400nz. There is however a silver lining to this cloud as the hold up gave Jenny time to complete two more house sales with two of our very good clients meaning that even taking into account the increase in Airfares and the delay in timing we have come out with quite a net profit from the whole thing. There is no doubt in my mind now therefore that a good woman is a great asset for a cruising man!
First flight out of Auckland was a 10 hour flight to Kuala Lumpur where we stayed with my brother Ian and sister in Law, Jenny, yes still another Jenny! Such saves Ian and I the embarrassment of forgetting the names of our sisters in law! Ian and Jenny have a whole bunch of Nieces who certainly know how to dress up a party as they are quite the most stunning looking lot of young woman, meaning that my chest swelled with pride to be seen with them out and about at the wonderful eating places to be found in that city.
The Shangri-La was our first stop for lunch! Yes indeed I am not beyond a bit of name dropping when the opportunity presents itself! Here is a bonus tip for you all, if exotic and tasty food is your bag then you can not go past Kuala Lumpur with surrounds in veering levels of grandeur from princely right down to street stalls, all with food that is tasty and interesting with wonderful sauces and recipes. I am a real fan of this city.
02/07/11 early morning, just after Midnight, We left KL at for a direct flight with Malaysian Air right through non stop to Istanbul. On arrival we spent the day with Paddy and Carolyne Mitchell who had their yacht moored in a marina handy to all the lovely parts of Istanbul. Jenny headed off to the spice markets and Grand Bazzar while Paddy and I and a friend of Paddy's spent a very pleasant time drinking cold beers and taking in the scenery. We rejoined the Girls for tea and drinkies on the yacht before retiring for the night onboard.
4:30 next morning 3 July, and Jenny and I were up heading off to the airport. At 5am the sound of the call to prayers from all the minuets setting up a Mexican wave of calls around the inner city. I was off to the toilets and on the way tripped over a small step in the concrete and skinned my knee . I thought my dignity would be in ruins but I think the guards at the gate thought I was doing my bit for morning prayers, I supposed enhanced by my own calls to a well named Deity. Just as well that no English was understood!
Arrived in Dalaman at 8:35 am 3 July, and straight on to a bus for the hour and quarter bus trip through the southern Turkish countryside to Marmaris. Transfer to a Taxi and out to the Marmaris Yat Marin where Elixir would be waiting where we left her two years ago. What no Yacht!
But I could see the marks where she had been stored so I made a quick scout about to find her secured in the water right in the slipway where she had been deposited the day before. It was so good to clap eyes on her and enter into the welcoming cabin. Found the steering had ceased up completely and the decks and cockpit in a state of filth. So first up a cup of tea and then to work. Well we worked away until midnight by which time all was glowing and clean again with the steering fixed and fully operational. Due to the harshness of the heat in this part of the world I had taken down all of our halyards and removable rigging and replaced with nylon ratlines when last I left Elixir. We had expected to only be away for 10 months so I had not anticipated that over two years all of the nylon ratlines would perforate in the sun and fall to bits. Next day 4 July, was spent with riggers up the mast re-rigging and running all lines which turned out to be a bit of a marathon job. By the end of that day all was done. Next day 5 July, we bussed into Marmaris town to get our papers stamped by all and sundry in order that we could export our yacht out of Turkey. We did have a fine to pay as our last cruising permit had expired a year before! Oh! Well here we go again with all the unexpected expenses. By the end of the day were all legal again and ready to put to sea but for clearing the Marina legals which can not be done prior to 08:30 tomorrow.
10:30 6 July, we drop our mooring lines and head out of Marmaris Harbour and Turkey with destination Symi. Symi is a very beautiful Greek Island and is situated close to Turkey about 30 miles North of Rhodes. It is also a port of entry into Greece so being just 40 miles from Marmaris we make that our destination. After all our travels it was so good to be sailing again. Strong wind dead ahead of us large reef in the main and genoa rolled to it's second reefing marks, 28knots of wind and Elixir was skipping off the waves and I swear I could hear her singing and yelling as she ducked her bow under the odd wave and heeled to the wind with a very comfortable motion at 7knots. Yahoo! After an hour of port tack we threw in a board and spent the next two hours on starboard heading back to the cliffs on the Turkish southern coast where we found ourselves sailing amongst a series of Gulets , catamarans, sloops and superyachts, Heaven can be had right here on earth! All my sins must have finally been forgiven! We pass Serce Limani and the castle ruins of Bozak Buku head out off the coast again before tacking around the Turkish headland with Symi now just 8 miles away. Spectacular scenery in all directions. Wind drops away and we motor the final few miles on a flat sea.
Jenny, bless her heart, was enjoying it as much as me and did not feel at all seasick, for which she has been prone in the past.
I suggested to her that we keep on just sailing until we get to New Zealand, but noooo! Symi it must indeed be, by decree, as it is one of Jenny's favorites and 7 hours was long enough on the water for the first day, I was informed.
So 5pm and we are tied stern to in Symi amongst super-yachts and cruisers and I am off to spend the next four hours traipsing between Harbour-masters office and the furthermost building from there, wayyyyy round on the other side of the harbour, the Police Station. Feet so sore in the heat, and sweating like a shearer. Everything got stamped to death and then we had our Greek entry papers and access to European Union all legalized, actually they seem to like New Zealanders in these parts. Brought a six pack for me and a cold bottle of Chardonnay for SWMBO, then... we into our cockpit with the sun tent up for a bit of welcome fluid replacement.... Soooo happy I wouldn't call the King my uncle!
07 July 2011 6:00 and we slip our moorings in Symi and head off into the dim morning.
Me must reach Kos by 2pm to get a car rented and pick up David and Elizabeth Hicks from the Kos airport.
Set up the main off a little Church still on Symi just a few miles from the boat harbour.
Ok so we had to motor for a bit. This allowed both Jenny and I to take turns at sleeping as we moved back into Turkish waters to pass by Knidos and head north to Kos.
Kos township just ahead.
Rounding the South Eastern Part of Kos Island.
Headsail wound in and about to drop the main as the entrance to the marina is just to port out of sight of the camera.
Picking up David and Elizabeth on time as planned, Now all we have to do is finish fitting their luggage and them into this little jeep!
Walking into town for shopping and a place for tea.
Found a place for tea.
"Back in Omaha our drinks are this tall! Its true I tell you!!!"
While the girls were shopping David and I just roamed around.
I thought while I was wandering around that I would do a bit of research for advertising ideas! Purely business you understand...May be able to tax deduct my trip!