Slow Sailing

16 June 2016 | Syros, Cyclades
05 June 2016 | Poros Island, Greece
05 April 2016 | Aegina Island, Greece
31 March 2016 | Aegina Island, Greece
11 March 2016 | Lavrio, Greece
28 February 2016 | Lavrion, Greece
06 February 2016 | Ao Po Grand Marina, Phuket
28 January 2016 | Rebak Marina, Langkawi
11 January 2016 | Butang Group, Thailand
26 December 2015 | Phuket, Thailand
24 December 2015 | Yacht Haven Marina, Phuket
16 December 2015 | Phuket, Thailand
23 November 2015 | Pangkor Marina, Malaysia
08 November 2015 | Port Dickson, Malaysia
26 October 2015 | Singapore
13 October 2015 | Karimun Jawa
08 October 2015 | Bali
23 September 2015 | Komodo National Park
18 September 2015 | Labuan Bajo, Flores
08 September 2015 | Underway in Indonesia

Sailing In The Cyclades

16 June 2016 | Syros, Cyclades
Heather
We've seen a few more nice places in Greece since the last time I wrote and we're now in the Cyclades- a group of islands in the Aegean Sea that are noted for the pictures you see with the whitewashed buildings and churches with the blue roofs, the old windmills and lots of dry landscape. They have really pretty anchorages but some are quite rolly, and they have mountainous landscapes with crystal clear water below. We took a snorkel yesterday and saw things like decorator crabs, starfish, brightly colored bristle worms, fish, etc and the water color & clarity is great but there is something missing........ coral! It is great to see so many people swimming here though- everyone is in the water and it is lovely, just not full of life. You certainly can see a long way on land, because there are few trees here. The goats huddle along endless stone walls for shade and what they're eating I don't know. On the day we sailed over we knew it would blow 20-25 but this was fine since we wanted to sail and it was downwind. But by the time we got here we had 30 gusting 40's and we were reaching in big seas. No problem, the boat was totally fine and even though it's been a year since we've had anything much for wind or seas, we didn't miss a beat. Just like riding a bike, you don't forget. Nonetheless, we were glad to see the harbor come into view and get the anchor set. We had to remind ourselves that we do this for fun. By the next morning, it was beautiful again & calm. We could see the anchor from the side of the boat.
From Greek Islands

To backtrack a little, since I already had this written... after a day of biking around on the island of Poros we left and headed to Porto Kheli which is on the Peloponnisos. It is a good anchorage and there was supposedly some wind predicted. We wanted the boat safe so we could take the ferry to the island of Spetses, regardless of the wind direction. We had a nice sail over a distance of about 25 miles. Shortly after arriving, we actually got a much needed rain shower to wash off the boat- the first rain we'd seen. The anchorage was really pretty and the holding excellent. The town on the other hand was just OK but it served its purpose because the ferry was super convenient.

We had such a wonderful time hiking on the island of Hydra that we wanted to tour its sister, Spetses which was a 10 minute speed ferry away. Both of these islands became wealthy with shipbuilding in the 1700's and the infrastructure of the main harbor town on Spetses has lovely mansions, buildings and stone pathways from that time, not to mention a pictureseque loop road that circles the island that is perfect for biking. Once we left the outskirts of the town, it was us & our bikes on this quiet, paved road weaving in & out of the indentations of the coast. There is nothing else there. We can always find plenty of open, quiet space.
From Greek Islands


The wind never materialized and we left the following day to head up the Argolic Gulf to the town of Navplio. We motored in the morning calm and made water the whole way up. We are on 100% watermaker since there is generally a water shortage in Greece in the summer and no rain to speak of. The cruising guide listed this town as a real gem and it is exactly that. We had at first planned to anchor here, being afraid to med moor but after getting the anchor all set and coming ashore, we asked the port captain if it was OK and he said in so many words, that no, it was not OK, we should med moor like normal people do. He said a cruise ship was expected and we would be in the way. Dang. We went back to the boat and got all the junk rigged such as fenders, lines and plan ready to move onto the dock. By then the afternoon breeze had kicked in and it felt even more uncomfortable but actually wind on the stern makes us back up straighter so we made it in to the dock with some new friends waiting there to take our lines. Once tied up, med mooring is great, even though we look like monkeys getting on & off our boat with no passarail- we use the dinghy to straddle between the boat & the quay. Sure enough, first thing the following morning a cruise ship ghosted in and we understood more clearly what the port cap meant. It was great being at the dock!
From Greek Islands
From Greek Islands

Navplio is a lovely Greek town with 3 fortresses, one which is at the entrance to the harbor, one sort of ruined one on the point, and one really nice one called Palmidi, that towers over the old city and the yachts on the quay. You can tour it too after climbing 1000 stairs. It is the largest fort we've ever been to and had 8 bastions. At night it was all lit up and lent such a great feel to the area. The old town was so OLD and full of narrow staircases, shiny stone plazas from years of foot wear and beautiful buildings. From Greek Islands


From Navplio we took a bus to an ancient site called Mycenae. Unlike the others we've been to on the mainland like Delphi & Olympia, this is from an even older time period so the ruins were more ruined and there were no columns or large structures to frame in a photo. But, the openness of the area was pretty and its always interesting to then go into the museum where all the artifacts that have been excavated from the site are displayed. Clay vases, figurines, jewelry and metal weapons were buried with the dead in several tombs.

We've been throwing various boat projects into the mix since we're still finding things that need doing. I'm working through servicing all the winches (we have 9 onboard) and we've changed all the fuel filters since the generator still seems to be stuttering. The filters didn't help so Jon was thinking of replacing some of the fuel lines on the gen-set too it since they're old and feeling soft like they might collapse under demand. He felt like we'd never be able to find that small of hose in Navplio. But, the first auto shop we stopped at had this pleasant customer named Yannis who knew English and could do the translating. Once he found out what we were looking for, he even offered to drive us over to the place we could get it! So we hopped in and he brought us over & sure enough, they had the hose. What we thought would take us several hours we got done in less than one. When Yannis found out how we came to be in Greece, he was so interested in knowing more that he bagged fixing his car and he took us out for a coffee and a stroll so we could talk instead! We had a great time and it was so nice of him to help us out like that. He & his wife are going to be vacationing in one of the Cyclades soon but we're not sure we can sail over to it- it is too small to have a good anchorage.
From Greek Islands
From Greek Islands

We finally broke down and bought a big bag of dry cat food yesterday because we're tired of seeing cats that could use a good meal and not having anything to give them. Our first little cutie was this black, friendly cat. She would sit in the shade of people's beach umbrellas at our anchorage hoping for a snack. In general though, the Greek people do put out food for the animals, it is just that there are pockets where maybe people don't, or maybe it isn't regular enough. Its funny, this catfood we got is made in Italy and on the bag it says "Original Italian Quality" and then it says "Not tested on Animals". Huh?

We're a little nervous about heading too far east because the summer wind in these parts is called the Meltemi and once it gets going in July, it blows out of the NW most of the time until October. So we might turn and head in a different direction rather than do more Cyclades given that we have a pretty good feel for them now. It is beautiful in its starkness, it's hot during the day when you're out in the sun but it cools down so much at night that we're fighting for the blanket so that is good. The water colors are striking and villages are cute. There are lots of charter boats but also lots of private boats sailing around. So far there has always been plenty of space in the anchorages. Its been great to experience this area.
From Greek Islands

Both Sides of Home

05 June 2016 | Poros Island, Greece
Heather
We've been back in Greek waters for over a week now after a great 7 week visit to the US. Of all the trips back we've made, this one seemed to be the most fun. And it was a lot easier too since it wasn't halfway around the world! We arrived in April so things were already looking up in Vermont in terms of winter ending and we didn't have any trouble resurrecting our car- no snow to dig out. We spent a week with my mom & dad catching up and eating some favorite foods that we'd been missing along with making plans for when we would return a few weeks later. It was so good to see them. Then we started road-tripping down to Florida to visit Jon's parents while it continued to warm up in the north. We crashed in on as many friends as we could along the way which is always fun. Thank you John & Cindy, Kevin & Claire, Frank & Debbie for your hospitality! We spent an extra day in Virginia visiting Great Falls & the Manassis Battlefield, & walking around the lands of Janelia just soaking up the Spring foliage really and relaxing some. It really is a beautiful area despite the ticks. It's always funny that Jon is the one who doesn't particularly like poisonous snakes but he's usually the one who stumbles upon them first. As we were standing looking at a little waterfall, there was a bush next to him that had, at about eye level, this harmless snake all stretched out laying among the branches. It gave him a startle and then he got a good photo. It isn't poisonous, but most that we see in our travels are so the initial reaction is the same. When we got down to Florida the warm air felt good and we were once again in shorts full time.
From USA Trip 2016
From USA Trip 2016
From USA Trip 2016
From USA Trip 2016
From USA Trip 2016
From USA Trip 2016

We finally got to meet Jon's parents' new dog Katie and she was quite the little bundle of energy. I love a dog who truly plays fetch until you grow tired of tossing the toy and that welcomes you home with the same vigor whether you've been gone all day or just stepped out to get the mail. She was a major source of humor for the 2 weeks we visited. It's so good that they have her. Jon & his dad finished the backpackers guitar that they started last year and it turned out great; truly a work of art- forgot to get a picture, forgot to get a lot of pictures actually! We wanted to bring it back here to learn to play it but when we asked the airline, they said no, we couldn't carry it on in the cabin. Then we saw two different people on our flights alone carrying even larger guitars onboard. Grrr! We made a mental note to not bother asking, just do as we please! Jon's brother Brad came down too which meant a lot to us and when we set up the air mattress for him the dog went nuts and wanted to play even more than usual. It was a full time job for each of the 5 of us keeping track of our belongings and everyone lost some personal piece of clothing to Katie at some point during our gathering- funny! The whole time we were visiting, Jon's dad dutifully got up each morning and brewed a delicious pot of coffee so it was ready to pour when we rolled out of bed and he doesn't even usually make brewed coffee- what a dad! While Brad was there, we went to a treasure museum (the reason the Vero Beach coastline is named the Treasure Coast is due to several sunken Spanish shipwrecks from years ago filled with jewels that have never been completely recovered) and then the next morning, all motivated, we went out beachcombing for treasure but came back none the richer... Although it wasn't long enough for the months we've been apart, and we couldn't see everyone, we had some quality time together as a family and it felt good. Bob & Maggie made the trip over to Vero this year to save us the drive so we had a splendid evening out on the town. It was good to reminisce and share stories (some of which weren't true John!!) We also got to meet Lois & George, neighborhood friends of Jon's parents who follow our travels and have cruised several years in the Bahamas. They help make what we're doing seem more normal to Jon's parents I think, which is good.
From USA Trip 2016
From USA Trip 2016

We got down to Miami to see my sister Ann & Alex and had a most perfect couple of days hanging out in Coconut Grove where we both grew up. Biking around to one favorite childhood spot after another topped off with a lovely sushi dinner, we relived and also made some memories that day. And we got to see Jan & Rich off Slip Away, long time cruising friends who just happened to be down in Miami visiting Rich's brother so the timing worked out great.

We started the road trip back to Vermont and made a little diversion to S Carolina to pick up a Uhaul trailer for some friends who live in MA now, so we towed this the rest of the way up. It was good to do since we now know that we can pull our little camper easily with our car and now we have the trailer hitch installed to do it. We can't wait to do it actually. And it felt really good to be of help to friends when we have received so much. That is paying it forward yes? We got to see Mark & Judy when we met up for the trailer swap and they treated us to BBQ which we can never get enough of. We also caught up with Dan & Liz and got our kid fix with their 2 pretty daughters. They always make us feel welcome and Liz is a great cook!
From USA Trip 2016
From USA Trip 2016
From USA Trip 2016
From USA Trip 2016
From USA Trip 2016
From USA Trip 2016

We spent the last 10 days with my parents and when we arrived in Vermont, it was all green, lovely and warm. Jon & my dad got busy right away replacing 2 skylights in my parents roof that had been leaking. They knocked that project off in one day and we were then free to play the rest of the time. We rode our bikes on the bike path, on the mountain roads, by the river, we hiked, BBQ'ed on the deck, made great food and enjoyed each other's company. Jon told me that Vermont at this time of year feels to him like a giant, soft, pillow. Hmmm, then if that is the case, then being home in the USA feels to me like a big, over-stuffed easy chair. One that is easy to fall in to and a little hard to get out of. Life in the US is cushy and we enjoyed soaking up a bit of it. It was difficult to pull ourselves up & away from all that we love and who we love back home. We are tired of saying goodbye. On the other hand, we feel very fortunate to have afforded ourselves the opportunity to get out of the easy chair and travel the world. For growth, for perspective, for fun. You have to go to know.

Our flights to Greece went smoothly on the way back (we were delayed 2 days in Athens on the way over because of an air traffic controller strike in Greece- great economy booster!) and we made it to a nice little hotel late at night. After a big breakfast, we took the ferry back to Aegina Island the next day with all of our luggage relatively intact and the boat standing there waiting for us as we'd left it but in need of a good bath. Where DOES all the reddish dirt come from? They tell me Turkey. It felt so good to be back to this home & among our familiar things.
From USA Trip 2016

We spent the next six days getting adjusted to the time difference again while applying 4 coats of bottom paint, cleaning, varnishing, polishing stainless, re-installing the parts we'd taken home to fix and rebuilding the dive compressor. It looks like new now and has mostly all new parts so hopefully it'll run! When we were in Malaysia, we found the same bottom paint we applied in NZ and got a little extra since we liked the way we were able to go 2 years this time without hauling out to paint and it was a little thin this past season. But when putting this paint on this time, it seemed to stretch a lot further and before we knew it we had 4 coats! We met some nice people at Asprakis boatyard and we got everything done we wanted to so it was a good experience overall. They handled the boat carefully and we got re-launched without incident which is always a relief. They even left us in the slings overnight so we could get two coats of paint on from where the stands were.
From Greek Islands
From Greek Islands


Since we needed a quiet place to spend a few days finishing getting our boat back together, sails on, things put away properly and systems up & running like the watermaker & generator, we came over to the island of Poros in the Saronic Gulf. It is very sheltered here in this large harbor, like a pool. There are several great anchoring spots which is good since we aren't ready to med-moor yet with the masses. We've been here for a few days now and it's hard to think about leaving because it is so nice. We're taking nice walks exploring and eating great meals with the food we're getting from the stores. We also decided it was a perfect place to leave the boat for a day to take a fast ferry to the island of Hydra, one of the gems of the area if not all of Greece. It is the only island in Greece that has no motorized vehicles, only marble cobbled lanes, highland trails, donkeys, rocks & sea. With a rich maritime history of ship building, the harbor is gorgeous and as we arrived on the ferry, it felt like we were entering a movie set. I guess it hasn't changed much since the 17-1800's. Just beautiful and so different than any other place I've seen. We did some fantastic hiking here, all day long actually and walked the low coastal paths as well as a trail that ran along the spine of arid, sun drenched mountains. Since it is so dry we don't feel the sweat nearly as much but the thirst is still there! We had some time to just hang out in town too and soak up the scene. There were cats everywhere. There are flowers billowing out of every corner. It was a lovely day and truly a beauty of an island. Here are a few pics to show you what it looked like. More on Picasa if you click through.
From Greek Islands
From Greek Islands
From Greek Islands
From Greek Islands
From Greek Islands


Our plan is to explore more of Greece's islands once we can tear ourselves away from here. Stay tuned!
From USA Trip 2016
From USA Trip 2016
From Greek Islands



Tucked In For A Few Weeks

05 April 2016 | Aegina Island, Greece
Heather
Evergreen is hauled out at Asprakis Boatyard on the island of Aegina in Greece and tomorrow, we'll start our trek back to the US for a visit. It'll be a ferry, train, plane, bus and car to get there so we have all modes of transport covered!

We definitely have a waterfront haul-out spot and it looks like a swimming pool right beneath the boat. We haven't gotten in because we've been working on getting the bottom all sanded and ready to paint as soon as we return. Plus, it will feel cold compared to Thailand! Should be a lot warmer in 7 weeks.

From Greece
From Greece
From Greece
From Greece
From Greece

Our dog friends missed us when we left Lavrio but I'm sure they'll find more handouts from someone else!
Vessel Name: EVERGREEN
Vessel Make/Model: Tashiba 40 Hull #158
Hailing Port: E. Thetford Vermont
Crew: Heather and Jon Turgeon
Extra:
Over the years, we've explored much of the Caribbean Sea & Atlantic East coast. In January 2012, we left the USA and headed for the Pacific. We visited the Galapagos, French Polynesia, Samoa, Cook Islands & Tonga before heading to New Zealand. We've enjoyed thousands of miles of beautiful sailing, [...]
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EVERGREEN 's Photos -