26/09/2011, Skopea Limani
After a couple of busy days in Yatmarin marina it was good to get back out into the bays. We cast off and motored out of the harbour then Mady noticed water gushing out of the bilge pump outlet on the stern. We quickly ascertained that it was fresh water not salt, put our hearts back in place and discovered the problem. A hose on the water pump had come lose and all 240 L of water in our aft tank was now sloshing around in the bilge! We returned to the marina, fixed the hose, pumped out the bilge, refilled the water tank and set off again.
After a quiet night in a bay outside of Marmaris we set off for Skopea Limani the large gulf in which Gocek is located. The gulf is protected by a string of islands and high hills on the mainland. Many fellow cruisers have said it is one place not to miss. After a 40 mile motorsail we entered the gulf through a deep, narrow channel between Domuz Island and the mainland. The first bay is Kapi Creek, a small cove with a restaurant at its head. The authorities of this National Park area have placed metal bollards around the shore of most bays in the area to preserve the trees that boats used to damage as they tied their shore lines to them. We found a free one of these and anchored stern to it. The gulf is very deep with 15 to 25 m in most bays right up to close to the rocky shores. Some bays are so deep that the authorities have provided mooring buoys a suitable distance off the shore for boats to use. These are free to use. The gulf is about 10 miles long and a couple wide and is very busy with private yachts, charter fleets, large motoryachts and of course Gullets.
The next morning we moved around to the next bay, Seagull Bay, so called because there is a huge seagull made of painted stones laid out on the side of a hill. We couldn't find a good spot so moved to 22 Fathom Cove and found a nice spot to tuck into. There are ruins around these bays, scattered amongst the pines and the setting is beautiful. Mady swam the lines ashore and we pulled in close to the shore. Doing this is wonderful as you are close to shore and the overhanging trees but still in 4 or 5 meters and of course no tide to worry about. It is like being in a lake and the water is just as clear but much warmer! Just around G & T time a gullet pulls in next to us (about 30m away). It has a dozen drunk, loud, Turkish teenagers on board! Half of them have jumped off the boat while the skipper is still anchoring and manouvering astern! We left! Half a mile further on we spied a free mooring and quickly made our way over to it and tied on. The sign said 10T, 35m so we felt quite secure. The buoy was in a small, deep cove with high tree-covered hills and a small beach with what looked like an abandoned stone house and outbuildings. You come across lots of these and you find yourself imagining who had built there, what their life was like and what had caused them to abandon all their hard work.
We woke the next morning to gunshots! Having established that we were not the target we spent a peaceful day there. You are visited by the bread boat with fresh warm village bread in the morning then various icecream boats pester you all day until you finally buy an overpriced Magnum, just to make them go away, you understand. Then to our surprise the supermarket boat arrives with a fair selection of just about anything you might need. What service! The gunfire continued throughout the day, loudly ringing off the hills above us. A notice dropped in to us from the local floating restaurant included "Wild Boar casserole" on the menu so that explained why WWIII was happening ashore. We spied one of the shooters high on a ridge at one stage. At about 3pm four hunters emerged onto the beach, loaded their rifles and gear into a dinghy and quietly left the bay. They were not carrying any game and so we assumed that the casserole in the restaurant that night would probably be chicken!
We stayed 2 nights here then moved to Deep Bay (50m in the middle). On the way we spent an hour checking out other bays and anchorages before picking up a buoy and going for a snorkle. The fish are more plentiful here in the reserve which is a good sign and the water is beautifully warm and clear. The next morning we headed for Gocek where we filled our diesel, emptied our black-water tank at the pumpout station and berthed at Skopea Marina for the night. We plugged into power then went to stroll the small town. Gocek is the base for large charter fleets as well as being a popular superyacht haven and so there are several supermarkets, chandleries, hardware stores etc. Provisioning a superyacht takes several people, various delivery vans and trolleys and, no doubt, a platinum credit card. Provisioning Delightful Lady isn't quite so bad! Mindful that our time here in the Med is soon to end we spend a while shopping for some gifts. A 50m superyacht called SKY is berthed next to us and the pier is alive with rumours about who owns it. We quiz the Aussi crew and are told if we wait 10 minutes we will see who owns it. Mady is away shopping when they arrive. I recognise the guy as a sportsman but can't think who it is! He is with 1 guest, another man. They take a seat on the main stern deck (Sky is 4 stories high!) after greeting the dozen staff who have lined up in their dress uniforms to greet them. "Good morning Sir, nice to see you again Sir" we hear them say as they bow and curtsy...bloody hell I really am going to have to get my crew some etiquette lessons I say to myself...and one or two of those pretty young blond ladies wouldn't go amiss either!!! I still don't know who it was by the way! Oh and it wasn't a Murdoch.
Back out in the gulf the following day we first tried Tomb Bay which has Lycian Tombs all around the hillside above the anchorage but couldn't find a spot so carried on to a spot we had seen on our scouting trip a couple of days ago. We were in luck and found a nice spot. We dropped anchor in 20m and pulled back to be in 5m about 20m from the shore. 2 sternlines kept us secure. The gulf is so well protected that there isn't any swell and the nights are very still. Afternoon breezes make for great sailing on flat water. There are more than a dozen tavernas spread around the gulf all with complimentary jetties for visiting yachts to use and this together with the bollards and buoys and with the beautiful natural settings make this such a popular cruising ground.
Two days later we return to Gocek for more provisions. Greg and Julia on Mojo are due tomorrow and then we will set off with them for a 3 week cruise down to Kekova Roads and back to Marmaris. We are really looking forward to sailing with Mojo and crew again. Mady has even bought party lights for both boats so we might even give the Gullets a run for there money! We are watching the match reports of the Allblacks (37-17 v France) and the amazing Warriors run to the Grand Final. We are trying to be in places that may have sports bars showing the games on the weekends but doubt we will see the NRL Grand Final live here. We wish the boys well and fly our silver fern flag proudly. Yesterday a cat we were passing under motor saw the flag and quickly hosted a large South African flag then yelled across to us that his flag was bigger than ours. A pleasant 5 mins of banter and rugby chat ensued as we went along. In the end we both agreed that no one could make sense out of what the S A coach ever said and that the Allblacks look like a good bet for the championhip! Oh yes!
Kos to Marmaris
Marmaris Yacht Marine 15/09/2011
We left Kos harbour and headed up the Gokova Korfezi, the long, much indented Gulf of Kos. The Pilot book promises lots of great anchorages, wonderful scenery and ancient ruins everywhere. Our first stop was a peaceful bay on the north coast by Cokertme called Kargil Limani. This was really just an overnight stop on our way up to the head of the Gulf. The next day we completed the trip and moored on a private jetty in Sogut run by Gokova Yacht Marine. The jetty leads onto a lovely cove which has the Global Sailing School base run by one of Turkey's most celebrated sailing families, a small hotel, restaurant, shop and ablution block. The facilities were great and the water clear and inviting (the whole area is now a nature reserve) except for the hundreds of large yellow/brown jellyfish! No we didn't swim!! We ate aboard and enjoyed a peaceful night. Next day we motored a short distance to Castle and Snake Islands. These two small Islands are covered in ruins dating from as early as 1000 BC. There are the site of ancient Kedreai and then later occupied by the Romans in 129 BC. There is a small beach on the west coast known as Cleopatra's Beach. She is believed to have taken up residence on the island and one of her many extravagances was to have galleys of sand shipped from the North of Africa to create the beach for her lover, Antony to sunbathe on! Experts argue but many say the sand is not local and is indeed typical of African sand.
After exploring the island we left for Degirmen Buku, a bay of many coves with pine covered slopes right to the waters edge. We checked out English Cove, so named because the Special Boat Service used it as a base during the second world war. We then went around to Okluk, a narrow cove with 3 tavernas on one side. We picked the busiest looking one and picked up a lazyline and went stern to the jetty. The tavena has a nice waterside shaded eating area, a small shop and clean ablutions block. Water and power are there to use on the jetty. The jellyfish were even thicker here! We berthed next to Rick on Tangerine, a Kiwi we had met in Marmaris Yat Marin last year. 2 along from him was a Turkish flagged launch and we got chatting to them during the day. Emne and Bagum are from Istanbul and we ended up having a nice dinner and evening with them. Bagum is expecting their first child in January. They have kindly invited us to visit them in Istanbul when we next pass through there.
We left Okluk richer for the experience and sailed around to Seven Islands. We tucked in to a lovely bay and the first mate swam a line ashore to tie us stern into the beach. A large crab resting in the shallows seemed destined for the dinner table until it fought back when Mady prodded it with a stick.
The water (and weather) here in Turkey is noticably warmer than out in the Greek islands and we seemed to have escaped the jellyfish so we spent the afternoon snorkling and lazing in these idyllic surroudings. We were dissappointed to see the amount of rubbish ashore. It is a sad inditement on our fellow boaties. Charterers are to blame for most of it we believe.
We had an early start the next day as we had a long sail planned. We emerged from the cove narrowly missing running the yacht into a cliff face which seemed to have jumped out in front of us while the skipper wasn't paying attention! Reverse gear was applied rather forcefully and we pulled up short of the cliff by a good couple of meters!!! That was lucky said the skipper, grinning. The first mate couldn't see the light side of the incident and just glared. A chastened and now completely alert skipper swung us around to our correct course. Luck was not with us for long however as the wind was up early too and was right on the nose for the first 4 hours. As we rounded the end of the peninsula we flung up the sails in anticipation of a little payback for the hard beat only to have the wind die completely before we were sheeted in! We furled the sails back up grumpily and motored on. Such is sailing in Turkey.
In the end we did get in a couple of hours sail and arrived in Ova Buku in better spirits. The skipper had stopped here on his way to pick Mike and Gordon up from Bodrum and liked it. We went stern to the jetty and paid the 25 TL fee ($26) incl power and water. The jetty is not run by a taverna, hence the fee, but you are not obliged to eat ashore. Next day we sailed to Bozburun where we have been several times. We tied up in the small town basin as we had some formalities to take care of ashore. We ate aboard and had a peaceful night. We are stopping a jetties often as you can see and this is because we haven't replaced our stolen dinghy and outboard opting to delay this until the beginning of next season. The next morning we motored out through the pretty channel outside Bozburun, passing 'Goat' Bay that both Mike & Gordon and Leanne and Gerri will remember as one of our favourites. We were headed for home (our Turkish home in Marmaris Marina) and instead of doing it in 2 jumps we did the whole 35 to 40 miles and pulled into the marina in the late afternoon.
We had some wind from behind and broad reached and gull-winged our way down most of the coast. We took on a couple of Beneteau 43 charter yachts and trounced them (amateurs!).
Well that was 2 days ago. We have enjoyed being back in the marina with all its facilities and went to dinner last night to celebrate the skipper's birthday (actually today). Steak with bluecheese sauce, yum! We ran into Elio from Crapun who we last saw in Naxos and invited him to join us for dinner. As I write we are making ready to leave again and head south to Gocek, Fethiye and beyond. We will cruise with our mates Greg and Julia on Mojo who join us in a weeks time and will try to get down to Kekova Rds and Kas before heading back here for the final time on about 20th October.
Its mid September but the water and weather are still beautiful but the Meltemi is down and we are looking forward to our last month in the Med this year.
Go the AllBlacks!!!
11/09/2011, Kos Town habour
We had had enough. The Meltimi had won and we turned tail and ran. The forecast said a small 36 hour window of light west to south west winds was due so we hightailed it east. We let go the lines and weighed anchor ........ nearly. It was caught on a huge chain and concrete block, the remains of an abandoned lazy line system, 25m out from the dock. Luckily a nice young Greek lad who I had chatted to the previous day in a neighbouring yacht offered to try to dive the 4 to 5 metre depth to see if he could trip the anchor. After several attempts we managed to free our anchor and were on our way. The young man refused all offers of a reward and wished us a pleasant trip.
We motor sailed across to Ios and grabbed the last berth on the town pier. We kept the boat well off the dock as we had heard of the ferry wakes that caused problems there. Next day we started at about 9.30 am and made a 10 hour trip to Levitha. We arrived at 7.45pm as the sun set and anchored thankfully just as darkness fell. On the way we had seen dolphins, had detoured into an anchorage in Amorgos to check it out for future years and passed close to the eastern end of that Island to see it's 2,000 foot high cliffs dropping spectacularly into the sea. (see photo)
The next morning we set off at 6.30am for Lipsi but two thirds of the way across the winds sprang up to 25 knotts and we began battling quickly rising seas. I put the motor on to keep us on course whilst we shortened sail and suddenly the engine died. I explained to Mady that the fuel line might have picked up some dirt as we were heeled well over and rocking around a lot. I was annoyed with myself as I should not have put the engine on in those conditions. We decided to head for Lakki on Leros as we knew the bay was big and roomy and that there were two marinas and trades people there to fix the engine should we need them. We sailed into Lakki and tacked up the harbour then circled outside the marina whilst we tried to get them to send a boat out to help us get in. They refused. They did however, point us to an outside concrete pier where we could tie up. So we put all the fenders on one side and sailed onto the dock with half a mainsail. We docked without a problem. I decided to get a mechanic to check the fuel lines and bleed the system. I had not done this before and so I watched carefully as he found the blockage in the primary tank pick-up tube, cleared it and then bled the system. Next time I will be able to do it. The tank obviously has some dirt in it and will need cleaning out at some stage. A fuel additive may help to dissolve any dirt and we will try this as well. We tested the engine and moved into the marina for the night. This marina is quite new and reasonable and we have met a few people who winter over here but it is still dearer than Marmaris.
The next day we were back on track and headed the short distance to Lipsi. We berthed after three attempts as the anchor slid over the weed coated bottom. Yanni the dock manager was there to greet us as before and we were glad to be back. We stayed two nights and we watched the forecast with growing frustration as the Meltimi kept blowing. We had a nice meal out with a Turkish couple we were docked next to, Lutfi and Serop, from Istanbul and their golden retriver Lucy. Both Mady and I had way too much ouzo and suffered the next morning. We decided to forget our plan of heading for Samos and turned south running before 2 metre swells and 18 knot winds. We scurried all the way down to Kos. As we approached the Kos Strait we were greeted by three dolphins who briefly paused to play with us. This is the first time dolphins have interacted with us. We went inside the Town basin but all the marina berths were taken. We found space on the other side where there was no electrical posts but water was available and there was no charge. We suffered the Gullet wakes in the morning and evening but all and all a good spot. We spent three nights here as Mady had a bad muscle strain in her back. We dosed her with Voltarin and waited for it to work. We ate out at a cheap Gyro Restaurant for two nights and loaded the boat with booze for the remaining weeks as it is so much cheaper here than in Turkey. ie 5L of reasonable wine for 7 Euro. We were berthed next to a nice couple on a 43 foot catamaran, Ian and Sentina, and had drinks with them on the last night in Kos. They spend time in Auckland each year as they have a house there so we will catch up with them this summer.
Today is our last day in Greece for this year. Leanne is across the bay in her cruise ship in Bodrum! So close but destined not to meet up this year. It is twelve months since we had the girls on Delightful Lady - time does fly.
Tomorrow we head for Turkey.
20.8.2011 After seeing off our guests we remained trapped in Naxos for a further 6 days!. We had good company in the form of Alio and girlfriend on board Crapun. Alio is Brazillian, Italian and a nice guy. We were invited to go with them to a special event where Pierre Cousteau, son of Jacque who was giving a presentation, showing one of his father's films and talking about trying to preserve the marine life in the Med. Too late we cried! We also met Peter, an Australian on a Bavaria 44. We helped him fix a major battery problem he was having and ran into him again a week later on Milos. This all helped keep our mind off the 35 kn gusts screaming through the rigging! On our last night in Naxos we had pizza with Alio. We hope to meet up with him again back in Turkey. We once again braved the crossing to Naousa, Paros. Mady felt quite sick which shows you how bad it was! We anchored in Agi Ionnis again, this time swinging at anchor with the gusts. We were going to leave the next day but had toilet blockage problem which took me most of the day to fix. The next day we sailed to Paroika, the main town on Paros however after a 2 hr stop alongside the quay so I could fill water and top up my internet account ans as there was no room inside the marina quay so we carried on to Sifnos . We had a blast sailing on a beam reach with 25 kns in up to 3.5m swells. We tried to anchor stern-to in Faros but I was not happy with the security so we carried on to Ormos Vathi on the east coast. This bay is very well protected but has huge gusts coming off the high hills and we had a pretty sleepless night. The next day we had a great 3hr sail and arrived in Adamas, the main port of Milos. Milos, like Santorini is an extinct volcano and the harbour was created by a huge eruption. The town quay provides good shelter except for the odd ferry wake. We spent 6 nights in Milos. The highlight was the day we hired a beach buggy and toured the island. The buggy was fun but had no parking brakes to speak of so we used large rocks which we carried around in the luggage rack at the back. Highlights of the day were the catacombs, (early christian burial caves) in Tripiti and Sarakiniko where the soft white volcanic rock has been sculptured by the wind and sea to create a moon-like scene. There are small inlets where you can swim and explore the caves and look for the abundant fossils. We had lunch at Pollonia on the NE tip before returning to the boat. The day trip boats seemed to go out most days even though the Meltemi continued to blow up to 35 kns outside. When they returned to dock each night all on board cheered and clapped once the gang-plank was resting on the quay! We could not tell whether it came from relief or was praise for skipper and crew for a fun day out! We had planned to explore more islands down in this area but we both felt that we had had enough of the Cyclades winds for one year and so with a day or two of light winds forecast we decided to head back towards Turkey and the relative shelter of the coast.
1.8.2011 We moved the 9nm's from Dhenoussa to Naxos town basin marina. It is quite a site with the massive Portara gateway, a marble archway from the unfinished temple of Apollo (530BC) standing guard on Apollon Island at the harbour entrance. We had chosen to meet our guests here. Mark & Donna were coming out from Athens on the ferry on the 3rd. We spent the next 2 days exploring the town and then greeted Mark & Donna late on Wednesday night. The Meltemi was forecast to blow strongly for several days and so it proved. We hired a car and explored Naxos Island for the day. We found a great pottery shop and bought a wine jug and then went to Filoti, a pretty village high in the central mountains, where we had a nice lunch beneath the shade of a huge tree in the town centre. From there we crossed the mountains to the west coast village of Apollon which has a huge kouros, (marble statue), which lies unfinished and abandoned in a nearby quarry. We finished our day with a welcome swim and then headed back to the boat. We decided that we would take the opportunity to ferry down to Santarini on the Sunday. Weather was very windy but the ferry got us there quickly and smoothly. We had sailed to this island last year but couldn't find a safe berth and left without even getting off the yacht! This time we had a coach tour and guide. The first stop was Oia. This town is famous for it's spectacular sunsets and it's blue domed churches are the ones seen in the iconic photos of this most famous island. We explored the town for 90min and were bustled back to the bus and taken to Thira, the main town. We lunched at a taverna overlooking the spectacular caldera. There were 4 large cruise ships anchored below us and the odd hardy yacht clinging to a buoy. We wandered the narrow streets and Tony bought a cap and some local jewellery for Verity.
Before we were ready to leave they were ushering us back to the ferry and we were on our way back to Naxos. Two days later we made the short but uncomfortable crossing to Agi Ionnis (Monastary Cove) in Naousa on the northern tip of Paros. We spent a nice night anchored stern-to the rocks tucked out of the wind but moved to the harbour the next day so that our guests could explore the town which was one of our favourites from last year. Bad move as it happened as the surge into the harbour was terrible, we were trapped there for 3 days with the yacht wrenching horribly on it's lines. Mark and Donna escaped to an apartment on land while we rode it out. We had Kiwis Bruce and Karen on Aquarius ll next to us. We both bought dockline springs to help dampen the movement but it was still very hard on the boats and crew. We had lots of laughs together though which made the experience not quite so bad! We finally escaped and headed down the passage between Naxos and Paros and anchored on Skhinousa Island. We had a band playing a concert over the hill in the next bay which was nice. The next day we moved to Koufonisia, a small but pretty island in the lee of Naxos. Mady took Mark and Donna ashore in the dinghy while I kept an eye on Delightful Lady. Later that night we were to discover our dinghy and outboard missing off the back of the boat. We are fairly sure it was tied securely and so was probably stolen but we don't really know. This is a financial disaster as the dinghy and motor were not insured. We reported the event to the local police but don't hold out much hope for getting them back. We are sailing on without a tender at the moment as we can't afford to replace them yet. We finished the 12 days back at Naxos and waved our guests off with promises that if they came again we would order better sailing conditions!
All in all a very eventful and as it turned out expensive time! We try not to dwell on it as we plan our next few days heading for Milos.
Lipso to Dhenoussa
30/07/2011 We came across to Patmos and anchored in Ormos Grikou for lunch and a swim but decided to head around to Ormos Stavros on the west side of the island so we would have a good jump start for the crossing to Dhenoussa the next day. After a horrible hour of fighting steep 3 metre seas to get there we were happy to anchor in a lovely bay, Ag Ionnis, beneath a small monastery. Early the next day we set off on our 35 nm trip to Dhenoussa. We had a great motorsail in about 15kn to 18kn winds. We found a small bay on the bottom end of the island and tucked in with 2 stern lines to the rocks ashore. What a spot. The small beach is made of mainly white marble stones polished by the sea. We shared this lovely place with a pair of cormorants, and the odd gull for 2 idyllic days.