11 October 2017 | Ciftlik , Turkey
09 October 2017 | Pedi , Symi island
02 October 2017 | Nisiros Greece
01 October 2017 | Tilos, Greece
28 September 2017 | Tilos
23 September 2017 | Panormitis , Symi
22 September 2017 | Panormitis
08 September 2017 | Sogut Limani
16 June 2017 | Uplawmoor, Scotland
03 June 2017 | Lindos, Greece
31 May 2017 | Symi , greece
26 May 2017 | Mandraki harbour Rhodes Town
23 May 2017 | Ekincik , Turkey
20 May 2017 | Yacht Classic Fethyie
16 May 2017 | Sarsala bay, Gocek, Turkey
13 May 2017 | Gocek bay, Turkey
11 May 2017 | Kaput Creek Gulf of Fethyie
09 May 2017 | Gocek, gulf of fethyie
07 May 2017 | Tersane Adasi Gulf of Fethyie
06 May 2017 | Ekincik, Turkey
Storm Time, Turkey
11 October 2017 | Ciftlik , Turkey
Arriving in Bozburun (Turkey) harbour before lunch, i was surprised to see the normally quiet harbour already beginning to fill with boats. Like myself, people reading the forecast had decided to dive for cover before the storm arrived. We got a spot on the quayside, nestled amongst a line of boats, with our tail facing the direction of the impending weather, a safe place to be as it proved. Those who decided to leave their arrival until late in the afternoon found it difficult to fnd anywhere to moor, the early bird catches the worm as they say. Bozburun is one of the few hidey holes on this part of the Turkish coast where you can actually moor in the town itself. This is rather pleasant, as the trip to the shops and restaurants and bars is a short one. If you forget your beer, its not too far to go back and get some.....though to my knowledge forgetting the beer whilst shopping has NEVER happened. Bozburun itself is a pretty little resort frequented by Turkish families, though it is a long way frm being a Blackpool and has a good feel about it. The strong winds and indeed storm on one day, kept us in the harbour for 4 nights, so , out came the walking shoes again and off we went. The weather has cooled down to the low 20s degrees and is much more pleasureable for walking. As luck would have it, we were moored within 50 metres of the Bozburun mosque, which is a rather grand affair for such a small place. So we were ideally placed to listen to the regular prayers session relayed through very loud speakers , morning, noon and night. As there was a whole host of boats sitting out the strong winds and rain, we made a number of new acquantences which was lovely. We moored next to a French boat which gave me a great opportunity to try out my pathetic schoolboy French, which, as it happened, did not go too badly. Dorothy invested in a new bikini ready for next season as i think as the days get cooler we spend less and less time in the sea. Having sat out the bad weather, we decided to set off back towards Marmaris as we need to speak to various people with regards winter works. For example , we have no running water as of this morning...and we have water leaking from the freshwater system into the bilges which is not ideal. So today has been a 30 mile trip entirely under sail which was fantastic...Though Dorothy described it as more of an Ellen McArthur type of day as opposed to a Jackie Onassis type of day as we rattled along with some big seas and windy wind, lifejackets and rain jackets to the fore as the temperature in the shade of the sails left a little to be desired, in fact it was chuffing cold. A great sail bringing us to an anchorage in a pretty bay called Ciftkic where we sit prior to a short hop to Marmaris, which according to the weather forecast will be undertaken on the engine as the wind finally dies away for a few days. This trip , we have seen more days of strong wind than all of our other visits put together. Indeed, our last night at anchor proved to be a windy old affair. The forecast promised that the winds would die away late evening when in fact the winds did not subside until around 4 in the morning. It is now flat calm and perfect for swimming, the sun is up and not too hot, like a perfect UK day (well everywher apart from the West coast of Scotland)...where better place to spend your anniversary with your beautiful wife and absolute love.
09 October 2017 | Pedi , Symi island
Leaving Nisiros on Monday morning, a blow of wind was promised. Sure enough as we got into the channel between Nisiros and the Datch pennsular, the winds started to howl and the seas, having been blown about for a few days, started to build. We only had half our sails up, yet managed 9+ knots as we rattled along the 35 mile trip. As we rounded the peninsular into the lea of the land, the wind dropped and we had a far more comfortable ride. As we neared the island of Symi, the wind picked up again on our tails, and again we romped along, riding the waves as we went. To our delight, we were joined by a pod of dolphins who athought it would be great fun to ride the waves too. For a few minutes, they played in the bow wave, peeling off, coming round again, beautiful large dolphins which in the sea and sun almost appeared green to us. As usual, a visit from these fantastic creatures brought big wide smiles to the crew, they really do somehow manage to just lift your heart by their presence alone. We arrived in Symi just after lunch, squeezing through the narrow channel at the top of the island. Rather than head for Symi town, which, whilst beautiful, is very busy and very noisy, we nipped around the corner for an overnight stay in a village called Pedi which lies just over the headland on which Symi town sits. What a good decision that turned out to be , as we ended up staying in Pedi bay for 5 days in total. Pedi, according to the pilot books is not a good place to anchor with poor holding accompanied by strong gusts of wind coming down the beautiful valley. We took a while to pick our anchor spot, put out a lot of chain and really tried to dig our anchor in using a touch of reverse on the engine. As the evening progressed, the winds increased and Aurora danced around on the anchor. Fortunately, all the time spent setting the anchor paid off, we did not drag the anchor the whole week despite some pretty ferocious gusting winds. Pedi bay is yet another stunningly beautiful bay. It looks up to a large cluster of houses and churches which are in fact the top of Symi town itself. The patchwork quilt (dinghy) was launched and the motor attached, sadly, only one of the 2 cylinders decided to work, and oil poured from the casing, another problem to be looked at. Despite this we got to shore and enjoyed our time in Pedi. A footpath from the village took us to a beautiful bay with crystal clear waters. The bay had a taverna, and rather strangely a church, in fact, there must be more churches per capita on the Greek Islands than anywhere else in the world. Where the congregation might come from , to this church, you can only guess. The trip to the church swim stop was a daily trip. The scenery stunning, the weather not too warm, just perfect. Whilst Symi town is hustle and bustle with day trippers, Pedi is a step back in time with wonderful shore side homes with tiny fishing boats lined up outside...and of course a cluster of churches, some of them being quite grand, others, simple whitewashed buildings. A walk up the valley and through the hillside part of Symi town and down to the port itself took 40 minutes or so, a slog up one side of the hill followed by a leisurely stroll down the other side. This walk took us past a rather splendid bakery, which sold fantastic feta savouries alongside sweet temptations, apple pie and baklava but to mention a couple. We ate on the boat as the winds in the evening gave us a timely reminder of what nature can do the sea. One evening, as it got dark, I looked through my binnouculars to watch latecomers trying to get a hold on the seabed as the wind whistled. I commented to Dorothy that it looked to me like a dinghy had broken free and was racing across the bay...on closer inspection i saw there was a chap on boad the dinghy, heading back to his boat. What i had not realised was, that the yacht he was returning to, had , until an hour or so ago, been moored just a short way across from us. It had broken free from its anchor and lolloped across the bay. Its fortunate the owner returned when he did else who knows where his boat might have ended up. This course of events was explained to me by our friends Jim & Caz who were moored right next to the boat as it broke its moorings and headed over the bay. Jim & Caz had invited us onto their boat for a drink and a chat. Americain and Canadian , a couple who have decided to spend a large part of their lives aboard. To this end, they have bought a 44 foot Lagoon catamaran, as Caz explained, if they were to spend a lot of time on a boat, they did not want to be 'camping' (like we do)...and their boat is very much like a penthouse suite by comparison to the simple pleasures of Aurora. We spent a couple of evenings with Jim&Caz, very agreeable indeed. And now i can say i have met a real pirate as Jim was an extra in the second film in the "pirates of the carribean" series of films. We finally decided to leave Pedi, as there was a storm forecast and we did not want to push our luck. The safety of a harbour in the lee of the approaching storm sounded very appealing. So, we walked over to Symi town and performed the required customs and police formailities in order to leave Greece and head over to Turkey, and the shelter of Bozburun harbour, which is where i write this.
02 October 2017 | Nisiros Greece
Having cut the almost permanent ties with Tilos, we headed north to the volcanic island of Nisiros, an almost square island with an active volcano plum in the middle of it. To get there involved a long beat into the wind which had us almost on the shores of Turkey in order to avoid having the engine toiling directly into what was a bit of a blow. We arrived Saturday afternoon, having been warned that the harbour can get full. As it was Saturday afternoon, there were none of the Kos charter boats who presumably set off on a saturday afternoon. A very nice mooring was taken in front of a line of restaurants, all of whom offerred a shower for guests. Crew Dorothy and Alan very pleased about this as the boat shower we had been using for the last week or so, is, lets just say...compact. however, let us not downplay the boat shower, an absolute godsend. So, a shower and a meal in the taverna it was. I had the best octopus dish i have had...Dorothy looked on with disgust. the weather has turned a good deal more autumnal with temperatures dropping to the low 20s during the day which means the evenings are cool to the point where you have to retreat down below once the sun has disappeared. So, an early night, with the vague notion we might get to see the volcano centre on the Sunday. on Sunday morning we made the acquaintance of Stavros and his lovely family, Stavros said he could let us have a 300cc quad bike for the day for the princely sum of 35 euro. A brief discussion with Dorothy required, who was clearly not happy about these new fangled contraptions, having banned Fraser, Andrew and Gordon from going anywhere near them. I promised to drive along at a speed where we could employ a local chap to walk along in front with a red flag, a la early 1900 motoring. Assent given, off we tootled at a rare old speed, being overtaken by grannies on pushbikes and children on wee scooters. After a while, during which we had managed to negotiate a bend and not drive off the edge of the road, I was allowed to drive at the heady speed of 10kph. Having said all that, it was very pleasant motoring along at a speed which allowed you to enjoy the views and the countryside. A visit to the beautiful town of Mandraki, with streets you could barely squeeze 4 people abreast. Mandraki, we also noticed, being the main harbour, disgorged boatloads of tourists from Kos who were then herded onto buses and packed off to see the main attraction... the volcano. Ha ha..we thought...we will visit the volcano late in the afternoon, once the coast was clear , so to speak. Emporio is a village which overlooks the crater of the volcano from the very top of the rim, a spectacular view. Lunch was taken in a taverna with the most amazing view of the crater, the food was lovely too. A rare lunch for the crew who tend to breakfast and dinner ...with a lunch a sparrow could eat. Another experience Emporio had to offer was a cave set next to the road which presumably sits on top of one of the vents from the volcano. As you set foot in the cave, the heat is overpowering, almost knocking you off your feet. Amazing. From here, we headed to another village on the top of the crater, complete with volcano museum (shut Sunday). The village was beautiful, with a wonderfull village square and church. So, from here, it was time for the main event, the long and winding road into the crater itself. The journey to the crater floor was hairpin bend after another. Fortunately for us we did not meet any tourist buses as our plan to visit late in the afternoon had clearly been a good plan. Finally, we arrived at the car park for the volcano itself. Ourselves and one other car. As we took our crash helmets off, and made good to descend into the volcano, three buses hurtled up to the car park and chucked out a hoard of tourists. (like us) We hot footed (no pun intended) to the path which leads down into the volcano itself. The stench of sulphur as we descended was pretty acute and meant Dorothy doing the whole walk whilst pinching her nose. Of course this did not stop Dorothy chatting away, it just left me non-plussed as to what she was saying half the time. Nisiros is the only place on earth, I understand where you can actually stand inside an active volcano. You can feel the heat as you walk across. You can see steam raising from the floor. The odour of sulphur is indeed overpowering and made us both feel nautious. However, as we stood in the foot of crater, i cannot remember being in such awe of any other natural phenomena i have visited. Good news is that the volcano decided to remain peacefull for one more day and we headed back to the boat having thoroughly enjoyed our trip round Nisiros.
As opposed to Saturday, on our return Sunday found the harbour crammed full of boats. In the taverna opposite our boat, a group of Russians gave the local falling down water a good hiding to the point where they started singing, sadly , they only seemed to know one song...and even more sadly, they only knew one line of said song...so it was...167 renditions of "I love you baby"...until even they got bored and cleared off to their boat at the far side of the harbour...where could be heard more renditions of " I love you baby"...fortunately far enough away to be unobtrusive.
Never at a loss in Tilos
01 October 2017 | Tilos, Greece
Alan, bit chilly
So, in the end, we stayed in Tilos for 5 days. The winds were blowing a little too strongly for the crew's liking, so we decided to substitute bashing about in 20 plus winds for walking , swimming and enjoying the laid back place that Tilos undoubtebly is. We made friends with the boats around us, who, like us did not need to break cover until the wind abated. The walks along the coastal path were absolutely stunning, with hardly a soul for company. We would arrive at a beach, where bathing costumes were not required, drip dry in the sun, marvellous. A walk from sea level, upwards, inland brought us to Mikro Horio, which is basically a village on the moutainside which until the the 1970's was a thriving community. presumably a decision was made to just give up life on the slopes , where, i guess, there was no electric, running water etc. Now, the village, is just crumbling away before your eyes. a solutary experience. The walk from sea level to Mikro Horio with Dorothy-Anne however, had its points of note. It was never going to be easy on the legs or the lungs in the warm. So, when Dorothy asked "we are not going all the way up to the top are we?"...a teenie weenie white lie had to be told. Well, let me tell you, lying, is never the best policy. As we laboured up the hill in the heat, Dorothy, trailing behind like a recalcitrant teenager, could be heard to moan..."I am not moving another inch, I am waiting here"...to which I replied "stop moaning and just get on with it" ...and i moved on. i finally reached the village, and sat down to soak up the fantastic view. A few minutes later, Dorothy, rosy faced and clearly in some distress, joined we in the view. The view itself and the eerieness of the village seemed to calm Dorothy, and the appearance of a spinnach and feta filo pastie positively brought Dorothy back to life. The walk back to the boat went a whole lot better as it was downhill all the way.
On Tilos, there is 1 bus which meanders from one end of the island to the other. So, we took the bus 1.5 euro from end to end. Having stopped in the 'main' village, the choice, was a vertiginous climb up to the castle of the knights or a gentle walk to a beach , which we were promised came complete with sand. you can jolly well guess which option we took. The beach was beautiful.
Getting nowhere slowly
28 September 2017 | Tilos
Warm and very windy
Our last night in Panormitis and we had 35 mph gusts of wind throwing aurora about on her anchor. ironically , it was when the wind stopped blowing at 3am that our neighbours (english) drifted on their anchor into a French boat which up to this point had been a safe distance away. well, you can imagine, the french skipper took it all with good grace, accepting that this course of events really could not have been foreseen....err actually no...lots of shouting and gesticulating and general mayhem, our neighbours hoiked up the anchor....getting very close to us in the process. anyway, we all lived to tell the tale as they say. Sunday woke to a breathless morning, so we pulled up the anchor...not before almost knocking into a fishing boat who had anchored across us in the bay....thus i was focused on the fast approaching boat, not noticing a large rag wrapping itself round the chain and jamming the windlass, how i laughed...a few of my best anglo saxon phrases coupled with a screwdriver and hammer and the anchor chain freed and off we went. We headed over to a small island call Khalki just off the north west coast of Rhodes. the promised sailing wind only appearing for the final hour of the trip, so the journey across finished with a loveley sail.
As we prepared to attach ourselves to khalki , i realised that the morning shenanigans with the anchor had left it incapable of being let out. this was not good, as the anchor is pretty much focal in our safety in these parts. amidst much huffing and puffing from the harbour master, we moored alongside as opposed to a stern line and anchor, he was a grouchy so and so let me tell you. fortunately, Aurora is equipped with a COMPLETE tool kit and the workshop has a powerfull vice which helped me straighten out the bent bit of metal which caused the problem. Once the repair was complete, we then started to perform the stern to mooring as originally requested by old grumpy pants. This also did not go down well as it meant said grumpy pants getting off his backside once more, we have had more welcoming receptions lets put it that way. Having said all that, let me tell you Khalki town is just beautiful, its often compared to Symi town, it is just as pretty but on a smaller scale. It put me in the mind of a film set, where all the pretty coloured houses have been carefully positioned, the traditional tavernas bordering the beautiful turquoise sea in the harbour, a couple of shops, a bank/post office just to complete the picture. The visitors to Khalki are without exception either silver haired or no haired, you might see a picture of Khalki in a Saga Holiday brochure anytime soon. A plus side , compared to Symi is the lack of traffic and crowds of tourists (like us), its quiet and friendly (apart from the harbour master). We had a swim in the gin clear waters and ate at one of the little tavernas, dorothy chose a lamb stifado which was really very very good. I have learnt well from the army of scrounging cats around these parts, my slobbering mouth and doe eyed look earned me a taste of the stifado, it was heavenly. Next morning....shock....horror...the wind was blowing from the preferred direction at a pace which would allow us a comfortable sail to our target destination, Tilos. And so it proved as we whistled across from Khalki over to the next pretty island. A great sail indeed.
We appear to have taken root in Tilos, it is beautiful here. Our first night we had to anchor off the outside of the harbour, fastened to said harbour wall with a couple of stout stern lines. At around 19:30, there appeared right next to us , a rather large Blue Line ferry. These boys displace rather a lot of water, and as a result Aurora and surrounding boats bounced around like a cork in a bucket, quite disconcerting. We had a bouncy but safe night. So, first thing next morning, we were straight onto harbour watch. We wanted to stay but we really needed to be inside the harbour (which was full on our arrival). There were a couple of other boats moored like ourselves , who clearly had similar ideas. This gave Dorothy the chance to get into full chirrup mode regards our inability to get a decent mooring. I kept my calm, I was pretty sure that at least one of the boats on the best mooring spots would move....and so it transpired ...we are now moored in corner of Tilos harbour, sheltering from the 20 odd knot winds continung to blow. There is spectacular walking here, the sea is crystal clear, ice cream is pretty good and there is just enough going on to give Tilos a really nice feel to it, so a week in Tilos is looking likely as the winds continue to blow and seas stack up even higher, enough reason for us to stay. One of the very pleasant things about what we do, is the fact that you meet some very interesting , lovely people. In Tilos we have met and chatted with Philip and Helene, Irish and Swedish respectively. They live in Edinburgh, its a small world as they say. Phil keen to know a little bit more about sailing and boats in general, which , of course, gives we the perfect opportunity to bore the pants of somebody, talking about the thing i love doing. They ate on board last night, and we bade them goodnight just after midnight, way way past our normal beddy byes time. a fun evening.
Watching the wind go by
23 September 2017 | Panormitis , Symi
Alan with the wind
Following Sandra's departure from Bozburun, we made contact with our friendly Bozburn giant Durkan who was to perform the exit formalities prior to us leaving Turkey for Greece waters. As usual, money changed hands as it would appear that the Turkish officials dont wish to deal directly with the riff raff, all the formalities being undertaken by an agent (Durkan) who relieves you of £40 for the privilege.
Prior to setting off, we provisioned up with various bits and pieces, concentrating on the things that in Greece come in at least 3 times more expensive...tonic water for example...life blood of the crew...preventing scurvy....malaria....and general grumpiness. So Aurora , weighed down with tonic water, set off, target Symi. Symi town is definitely one of the prettiest ports of call we have made so far. As we had left Turkey that day, we needed to perform the task of 'checking in' to Greece. As we approched Symi town, there is a 'caged' area in which you are supposed to tie up before displaying your passports to the kindly police officers. As luck would have it, the area reserved for the purpose was clogged up with Turkish gulets...so, with our yellow clearance flag showing we headed off to moor up on the town quay. A wonderfully smooth stern too in the chocca waters that is Symi harbour was met with a customs chap, explaining what we needed to do to 'check in' to Greece, so off we trooped to the police point in the said 'caged area'. We needed to fill in a document detailing our crew and boat, which we duly did. The very pleasant police chaps stamped the document , checked our passports, laughed at my joke about being a prisoner in Scotland, and told us we needed to report to the customs building at 17:30. Arriving at the customs house at 17:30, we met a gentleman, who could only be described as "a scruff"... who knows when he last had a wash...and as for a comb through his hair...sometime in the last century is my guess. He shuffled around the office, grunting and snorting, photo copied various documents...stamped said documents with alarming vigour, asked us for 20 euro and bade us farewell. Dorothy was very impressed with this level of customer service i have to say. Now, we had to visit the Symi port authority. This turned out to be a dilapidated building sporting a Greek flag and blue steps. The delightful young lady checked our documents, insurance etc and asked us for 14 euro in payment for another piece of paper. That was it, all checked in and legal in Greece for the princely sum of 34 euro...as opposed to the 120 euro that we are charged when checking into Turkey. We walked along the harbour road in Symi town until we came across the beach where we had a swim. An evening moored up to the harbour quay in Symi town is like being 1) in picadilly circus (if you are English) or 2) Sauciehall street ( if you are Scots). We wandered off to one of the back streets and ate at a traditional eatery, passing a very pleasant evening. Following morning we walked the streets once more, investing wisely in beer and baklava. We left Symi just as an invasion of tourists descended from the various ferries and tripper boats, turning quiet little Symi town into a sea of people. It certainly perked up the local traders who previous to the invasion had been sat quietly in the shade awaiting their prey.
Aurora headed around the north of the island , squeezing through a narrow channel. The pilot book suggests aiming for the middle of the channel and just keep looking forward with the promise of plenty of water under the keel. Of course, Dorothy had to have a look over the sides and was heard to remark that it did indeed look very shallow. It all passed off very well. We made our way to Panormitis which is a beautiful sheltered bay complete with its own monastery selling fresh bread and other delights. It also appears to offer 'respite' holidays as there are quite a few people occupying the place that are definitely not monks. The scenery is just beautiful, which is just as well, as we are currently sitting out a gale. The wind is howling in the rigging, and it is just as well we are protected by this natural harbour. So far the anchor has done a sterling job, lets hope it continues to do so as the wind is not due to recede until the early hours of tomorrow morning.