20 April 2014 | Sicily, San Vito Lo Capo
15 April 2014 | Arbatax Boatyard
16 October 2013 | Armatax
28 September 2013 | Porto della Taverna
18 September 2013 | Sardinia
12 September 2013 | North Sardinia
21 August 2013 | Sardinia
28 May 2013 | Vilamoura Marina
15 May 2013 | Cascais, Portugal
04 May 2013 | Ria de Ares
29 April 2013 | Ria de Cederia
19 March 2013 | Gloucestershire
13 March 2013 | Kingswear/Dartmouth
31 December 1969 | Arenella
Rhodes, Symi and other gems
21 May 2015 | Gumusluk
It is now 3 weeks since our yacht Paradise was launched after the winter period. I thought it was time to update you on our adventures and antics (Well not all of them!)
To test the ‘waters’ (pun is intended) we decided to just venture a short way for our first trip out. We motored to Turunc Buku and all went well. We spent 3 enjoyable days here and met some Ex Pats in the local bar. They recommended the ‘CAN’ restaurant on the sea front for the best place. We had a lovely meal and evening there. The owner was very friendly and spoke very good English. He seemed amazed that we were from the large catamaran sat in the bay and asked many questions regarding our life on board. As with many people he could not comprehend how just 2 (well I always say one and a half) people can sail this large vessel. The answer is research, practice, confidence and Paul as the captain!
After this pleasant initiation back to life on the water we set off for Rhodes. Although we did want to visit Rhodes the main intent was to hire a car there and carry out a large shop in Lidl. We used our fold up bicycles to ferret out a car hire shop but found we spent more time going the wrong way around the one way system than the right. Never mind we enjoyed the experience and luckily the roads are so narrow and the traffic is so heavy that it felt quite safe to cycle around this town. We rose early next morning and set off to collect the car before it became too hot. We made 2 trips and each trip filled 2 trolleys to the brim with food, wine and beer. Lovely, we were now really set up and ready to seriously start our season on the water. Onwards with fervour!
I will move quickly over the next few days as we had trouble with our black water tanks, I am sure you will not want to hear about it and I will have no pleasure in reminding myself of this time. Just a note - those of you who are paying us a visit this year I assure you they are all fixed and working properly now. Phew! (However better bring some old clothes and rubber gloves just in case – Joke!)
After Rhodes we travelled back to Turkish waters and explored some new places and re visited some old favourites. Because we were close we popped over to Symi, a delightful Greek Island that is as Rod Heikell describes; “Discovering Symi is like discovering a rare exotic plant in the desert”. We really enjoyed Symi, a romantic town with stunning views and a carefree ambience about it. In addition, Paul had his first dive of the season which he really enjoyed and saw lots of ancient pottery and many coloured fish. At present we are back in Turkey and anchored in the lovely bay of Gumusluk enjoying the clear waters for swimming, the unique restaurants and the gentle bustle of the quay side.
In We Go!
01 May 2015 | Marmaris Yacht Marina
After two weeks of preparation the day finally came when our boat was scheduled to be launched back into the water. The chief mariner came to visit us and informed us they would be bringing the crane to collect our boat between 11 and 12 0'clock. When 4 O'clock arrived and still no sight of the crane Paul decided to enquire at the office to see what the delay was; a large motor cruiser had jumped the queue but Paul is assured we would be next. Hardly surprising that we were not that assured but hey half an hour later and the enormous crane trundled around the corner to us. This crane is capable of lifting up to 330 tons in weight in its large canvas slings. It is amazing to watch these cranes in action and marvel at the skill of the driver, such a huge responsibility also!
Great care is needed and taken to ensure the slings are located in the correct strong spots and then the slings are winched up to lift the boat off its blocks where it has "stood" for the last 6 months. The crane then moves slowly to the launching area, a good 500 metres away for the boat to be carefully lowered into the water once again. Quite a stressful time for us then follows as Paul switches the engines on to move us to our berth for the next few days. Last year we had problems with the steering at this point and emergency measures had to be put in place but all went well and we were soon moored up with a glass of wine in our hands. Cheers - to another 6 months before we have to do that again!
its that "Blue" time of year again.
30 April 2015 | Marmaris Yacht Marina
Hello to all our friends, family and fellow sailors. Paul and I arrived back in Yacht Marina near Marmaris in Turkey 2 weeks ago. During that time we have washed, scrubbed and polished Paradise until she gleamed and sparkled. One of the last jobs that have to be done before a boat is put back into the water is the antifouling. For those that have not heard of antifouling, it is a process when special paint containing copper and biocides is used to paint the lower hulls, keels and rudder. This paint prevents the attachment of molluscs and other forms of sea life to the bottom of the boat, which otherwise would slow the boat down. This procedure is recommended to be carried out on a yearly basis. I actually enjoy this task, I find painting therapeutic but unfortunately no matter what protective gear I wear, blue paint seems to get splattered all over me, so every year without fail the end result is a very blue Ness!
One of the best parts of the last 2 weeks has been meeting up with some old friends who also have their boats at this marina and also making new ones. Most of these will be cruising in similar areas so we look forward to meeting up with them on the high seas over the summer. Something else we enjoy is taking the dolmus (small bus) to Marmaris town centre. There we browse, shop, stroll along the front and wine and dine at one of the numerous restaurants that Marmaris has to offer. The ride there and back gives one a chance to view the beautiful scenery of this area, however it can be somewhat scary as it is along a very uneven road with hair pin bends at regular intervals where you are likely to meet other vehicles on the wrong side of the road in an attempt to avoid the bumps in the road.
All in all a very good start to the season but we can't wait to be off. Paradise is launched back into the water on Monday and we plan to leave the marina 2 days later. I will keep you posted on how it goes and our adventures.
28 February 2015 | Marmaris
Paul and I have just returned to the UK after spending a few weeks in Turkey. The first two weeks were spent preparing our boat Paradise for the coming season. All went very well, hard work and some frustrating times but we left her knowing that when we return in April there will be little left to do before she is re launched. And of course the glorious anti fouling!
The last week we travelled to Cappadocia and had an amazing time visiting the ancient underground city and marvelling at the unusual landscape that is unique to Cappadocia. We spent the last few days in Istanbul (in deep snow) and thoroughly enjoyed the wonderful sights this city has to offer. Our hotel was conveniently positioned close to The Blue Mosque and several of the other famous attractions. Definitely a trip to remember.
Excuses, some Goats and a Donkey
21 September 2014 | Kos
Some people ask me if I ever become fed up with just cruising around on a yacht for months at a time. I understand their thinking as I had similar thoughts myself before we embarked on this life afloat but so far there has been no time to get bored at all. Admittedly lots of sunbathing and swimming takes place and the pace is usually leisurely but there is always plenty to occupy us. Life is so busy it is difficult to find time to write my blog which is the reason they are always behind schedule! I aim to write my blog regularly to keep you all up to date but this objective is like most of New Year’s Resolutions that are made; difficult to keep and lapses very quickly!
Anyway, excuses over and on to telling you more about our adventures. We choose Amorgos for our next destination and we were very impressive and delighted with this little island. The film the film, Le Grand Bleu by Luc Besson was shot here in several locations along the coast. We moored up in the harbour of Katapola, quite a busy place and were able to plug into mains electricity so such excitement for me; I was able to do tons of washing! After a day of catching up with chores that can only be done in a harbour we decided to hire a scooter and explore the island. (See photo) It was marvellous fun and a perfect way to keep cool as we motored up these winding rough roads through the mountains of this rather barren island. Along the way we passed areas of burnt barren rock and small areas of cultivated land in the valleys. My high spot of the day was passing large numbers of goats along the way, they were well camouflaged in the rocky crevasses and often we had almost passed them before spotting them. We could not imagine what they could find to eat here, the land appears so barren but they seem contented enough so the dry looking herbs and shrubs must suffice.
Our next stop was Levitha, an almost desolate island inhabited only by two families and a lighthouse keeper and powered by wind and solar. Were we took a buoy in the sheltered bay where the two families reside nearby. One of the families run a small taverna from their farmhouse and later that evening we took a walk up the hill from the bay to eat there. As we stepped from our dinghy there was no sign of any dwellings but we had been informed to walk up the right hand path that was rough but not rocky. All went well and as we walked we saw many sheep leisurely grazing as we have seen so often on these islands. They looked up at us in a disinterested way and soon got back to the job in hand. As we progressed uphill we spied a donkey grazing which brought forth” Ah, look a donkey” from me. However this soon changed to, “Paul, I don’t like it!” This donkey looked up and saw us and quickly made his way towards us and was soon stood in our path “Hawing” in a very loud fashion; with his lips curled back revealing his large teeth. Paul was a tiny bit bothered by this but had to keep face so approached the donkey and patted him hesitantly and then held led me pass the donkey in a gallant manner so we could continue our way to the taverna. The remainder of our walk was an awful lot quicker and we soon arrived at the taverna. We had a lovely meal among good company and soon we were making our way back to the dinghy via torchlight. We did not meet the donkey again that night but as we lowered ourselves into the dinghy a loud “Hawing” filled the night air followed by screams from the French family who had also dined at the taverna that evening. I think the donkey either livens up his life on this quiet island by frightening the visitors or he just wants to be friendly. I prefer to choose the latter.
the Cyclades and The Meltimi
23 August 2014
At last some updates of our adventures as we continue to cruise through the beautiful Greek Islands. After leaving Serifos we moved to the island of Sifnos. We anchored in the beautiful bay of Ormos Faros and spent three days here to escape the Meltimi that had been forecast. The “Meltimi” is a wind that frequently blows from the NW-NE direction during the summer months in this part of the Med. It tends to blow more strongly during the afternoon but can blow strongly for several days at a time. This bay was a spectacular place with clear waters and some interesting snorkelling so no hardship to ‘hole up’ here for a while. One of the evenings we enjoyed a meal under the tamarisk trees at a family run taverna. Thanks to free internet from a local hotel we got a recent wind forecast, which indicated that there would be a 2-3 day lull in the Meltimi after which it would again start blowing strongly. We therefore decided to set off during the quiet spell and find shelter in another haven between the Islands of Dhespotico and Andiparos. It was here that we met Vince and Barbie from ‘Horizon’ a lovely American couple who we hope to see again during our travels.
After the winds had again dropped, we set off to the Island of Naxos. It was here that we planned to leave the boat in a safe anchorage in order for us to take a trip to Santorini by ferry for a couple of days. We set off in calm conditions but as we arrived in Naxos it was with a fight into the wind. As a result we were relieved to be able to drop our anchor in the shelter of the large harbour. Suddenly we heard shouts and whistles blowing, we looked up to see the port police waving their arms in a fashion that we interpreted as no anchoring here! We already knew the marina was too small for us, so we continued along the coast to Ormos Ay Prokopou and anchored under the shelter of the headland. Even though we were sheltered the boat could not be left unattended overnight here so we sadly had to abandon our trip to Santorini.
Next morning we took the dinghy and had breakfast on shore in a friendly taverna. During breakfast we decided to enquire about hiring a quad bike to explore Naxos town. The first place we were told that all quad bikes were taken so we tried to reserve one for the next day and were told that was not possible, so we moved to the next place to ask there. No luck, they had plenty of bikes but would only hire out for 2 days! So we decided on the bus. We enquired where the bus stopped and times and were informed that the bus came twice an hour but no set times so you just had to wait. Okay, we were in no hurry so we found the bus stop and waited...... and waited. Quite a queue had built up by the time the bus arrived and we all were keen to aboard when.......the driver told everyone you need to purchase a ticket from the shop down the road first! A mad dash by us and others to this shop and tickets quickly bought. Too late the bus pulled away just as we returned. We gave up and settled on taking the bus to the town for the evening and so returned to our boat for the day. All should be fine, we knew where to catch the bus, we had the tickets already, okay so we were not certain of the times but we bought an ice cream and waited patiently, along with many others. Half an hour later the bus arrives, well...... the full and over crowded bus arrives. No room the driver gesticulates.......... So we give up and jump into a taxi!! A lovely evening followed, window shopping around the quaint chora, a walk around the port and a romantic dinner in the rooftop restaurant, Flamingo.
A quick word about Chora’s. There is generally a Chora (pronounced ‘Hora’) on each island. These small towns were built on a high hilltop to give the islanders a protection from pirate raids. There are no motor vehicles due to the narrow, winding streets that are lined with old white buildings, many covered in colourful flowering shrubs. They often house several tavernas, some shops and one or two churches these all add to the special and beautiful ambience of these historic towns. If you ever get the chance to visit a Chora you should take the opportunity, you will not be disappointed. The photo attached to this blog shows Paul enjoying a ‘Frappe’ in the Chora.
Our last stop on Naxos was in the Ormos Kalondo, a sandy beach, clear waters to swim in and a great taverna where we spent many happy hours chatting with the friendly staff, especially Anna. We meet other holiday makers here; including a lovely British family who come back to this resort year after year, they love it so. We hope you had a safe journey back and all the best Mark for the future.
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