Kurukulla at Anegada, BVI

Friday, 28 October 2011

The final leg.

Symi waterfront
The transit between Symi and Bozburum was windless and as a result we motored the whole way. To break the monotony we anchored for lunch and a swim in a bay just short of the Kizil Adasi passage, only two miles short of Bozburum. Ashore was somebodies folly, a potentially beautiful house on the waterfront, that had been allowed to go to ruin. Occupied only by goats. Oh for the cash to buy it and restore it!
The folly
After a short passage, again under engine, we ultimately arrived in port at 1700 just in time to catch the harbour master before he went home. Bozburun only became a port of entry in 2010. It is by far the most convenient that I have heard of, the harbour master is also the local health authority, customs authority and is next door to the immigration police for whom he deputises. The result is that all the required four stamps on the cruising log and visas can be obtained in the same office, at a price ... the official price of the cruising log plus two visas' should amount to ~€90; the Bozburum price, “service included”, is €140. Notwithstanding this bit of profiteering it is still a good deal. The same process in Canakkale took almost a whole day and including a €30 taxi ride to the immigration authorities outside town, ultimately it cost more!
Bozburun main street
Bozburum is a small town, well remote from other centres of population. Only recently was it connected to the rest of Turkey by metalled road. It has a good selection of waterfront restaurants and a fair selection of shops plus a well protected harbour, all the ingredients of a good place to visit. We dined ashore, managed a pre return home haircut (at 10pm, how's that for service) and then retired onboard for a late evening film.
En route Marmaris
Next morning we replenished our gas, purchased a few last minute victuals and motored out of the harbour. Ten minutes later the wind came up and we set full sail and headed for Gerbekse, a small inlet two thirds of the way to Marmaris. On our arrival the wind dropped to nothing half a mile short of the entrance but interestingly inside the anchorage the wind was again quite strong, falling down the face of the mountain to the NW of us. We anchored in 4m and settled down for the evening. An hour later a large catamaran entered the inlet and for half an hour tried to squeeze himself between us and the beach; eventually he took note of my frowns from the foredeck and decided that there was not room for him to swing to his anchor without hitting us, something that had been obvious from the start! He then moved further out in the inlet, anchored near the windward shore and very close to the rocks. Next morning he had already gone before daybreak, I suspect as a result of the wind change in the middle of the night and driving him ashore. Charter skippers!
Ready to lift out
Into storage along with 1300 others!
From here we set off late the next morning, just as the tourist gullets started to arrive. Our destination was only two miles away, Kadirga Limani, an anchorage where we planned to spend the last afternoon before going into the marina at Marmaris. On arrival there were several other yachts in the anchorage but it was pleasant enough and not crowded. A final Sunday brunch, afternoon relaxing and swimming and then it was time to sail off the anchor and head for Yacht Marine marina in Marmaris.
The gentle final sail ended at 1800 as we berthed as directed by the marina staff and started the sad process of putting Kurukulla to bed for the winter. The marina is excellent, swimming pool, restaurant, bar and all the chandlers and supermarket facilities that you could ask for in a complex like this. In addition there are engineering and electronics companies on site for repairs etc. As well as putting Kurukulla to bed for the season I also took the opportunity, whilst Steve was there to do the winching, to go aloft and install the new cabling in the mast for the replacement wind instruments; a job that had been awaiting a willing volunteer and sufficient time since the start of the season.
View from the mast-head
The final act was to book the taxi to Dalaman airport, €60, and survive the Thomas Cook Airlines flight to Stansted, departing at 0150 in the morning, that was more of a challenge than anything else in the past five days!
More in April next year............................
A wave goodbye from the mast-head

Thursday, 20 October 2011

The best laid plans

Skala port.
Self at castle
The new port facility at Skala in Astipalaia was funded by the EU at a cost of €3.05M and already it has been mostly destroyed by, I suspect, the locals; fishermen who do not want boats berthed in their fishing spots. Of the 12 or so power and water points installed for visiting craft only two are still functioning; that is not counting the 6 or 7 adjacent to (and used exclusively by) the local fishing boats, all of which function! The remainder no longer exist, vandalised . The harbour, although poorly finished, is well protected from the Meltemi. This is all a real shame because it is a beautiful town with lots to offer and the locals are friendly. Whilst there we climbed up to the castle, quite a hike, and enjoyed the spectacular views. The castle itself is being restored into a tourist facility with an event stage and visitors' centre.
Eventually we sailed off the jetty at Astipalaia at 1630 on Saturday 15th to head out and find an anchorage in the islands six miles to the east; the majority of these islands are uninhabited and we chose the eastern anchorage on Nisos Kounoupia. We arrived at 1845, and after a brief search for a patch of sand to anchor on (the majority was rock), we dropped anchor at dusk. This anchorage was less peaceful than we had hoped; although the wind was in the north and the entrance faced south east a small but noticeable swell found its way in causing Kurukulla to rock and roll all night.
The coast of Tilos
Next morning dawned grey and windy. At 0800 we were glad to hoist the sails and get under-way, heading for Tilos our next planned port of call. We had a wonderful 45 mile sail across, consistently averaging over 6 knots on a beam reach, stand-fast some lighter wind for the last 8 miles. With strong north winds again forecast we made for the large bay on the south coast which would offer the best shelter. The bay was open but had a dramatic backdrop of high mountains on three sides, the Chora (town) being 1.5 km inland at the foot of the northerly mountain. At 1730 we dropped anchor and stowed the sails, it was to be their last appearance for several days.
Anchored off the beach at Tilos
For the next three days we were pinned down in the bay by strong winds from the N – NW. We managed to get ashore and walk up to the town only to find it was virtually deserted. In three hours ashore we had totalled less than 20 people sighted! The local “supermarket” was the most eclectic shop ever seen. Pasta piled high amongst the shoes, trainers and clothing, the worlds largest stock of dry biscuits and no bread! The owners were also a strange couple, he with silver curly hair, a beer in hand and no word of English, she not speaking a word unless pressed but with a fairly good command of English. This summed up the island, quiet, peaceful but probably the least welcoming that we have visited. Only an artist, trying to exhibit and sell her paintings from her summer home, volunteered to engage in conversation.
Day four dawned bright and clear, and at 1000 we hoisted the sails, sailed smartly off the anchor and set course for the island of Symi. By 1030 we had started the engine and by 1100 the wind had dropped to nothing leaving only the residual sea from the day before and even that did not last long, where was the forecast NW10-15 knots of wind? The Mediterranean strikes again! At least it was a chance to recharge the batteries. The engine had not been used since our arrival in Astipalaia. The solar panels on Kurukulla are good but do not quite meet domestic demand, especially if the computer is in frequent use; next year it could be that I will fit a wind generator as well to bridge the power gap.
Symi harbour
After six and a half windless hours motoring we arrived in the main port of Symi where we were to exit Greece for the last time. Our delay in Tilos had cost us the chance of a stay in Rhodes and besides we had been recommended to re-enter Turkey via Bozburun, where the local bureaucracy is said to be less of a pain.
Symi is a gateway to Greece for many yachts as witnessed by the numerous British registered yachts in the harbour. As an island it is pretty but suffers from the inflated prices of a tourist venue. From here we head back into Turkey and then onwards to journey's end at Marmaris. Next post from there!

Saturday, 15 October 2011

The zig-zag south

As predicted the winds abated on Sunday and we were able to escape the bay at Naoussa, turn southwest and head down the coast of Anti Paros until we reached the narrow passage between Anti Paros and the tiny island of Dhespotico. Once safely through we anchored in the westerly of the two bays on the south coast of Anti Paros. A wonderful deserted sandy beach, backed by salt flats and populated by goats. Once anchored in 4 metres we rapidly deployed ashore in the dinghy and started setting up a BBQ pit and collecting wood. An hour later we enjoyed a late afternoon lunch of pork kebabs and beef patties, with an accompanying salad; all washed down with very passable Greek wine. A return onboard at sunset was followed by a viewing of “The Cruel Sea”, followed by an early night for all.
Next day dawned bright and with a moderate northerly breeze. After a morning swim we set off eastwards across the straits between Paros and Naxos (requiring a reef for a short period) to Nisos Skhinousa where a “deserted, rugged bay” as described in the pilot turned out to be the site of some very wealthy persons exceptionally smart villa with several guest villas within the grounds. Their motor yacht was moored in the bay next to us! The anchorage was none the less pleasant and well protected from the north winds. We did not disturb their haven for too long arriving in the early evening and leaving after a brief snorkel round the bay next morning.
Berthed in Katapola, Amorgos
Next destination was the anchorage between Andikaros and Dhrima, a stop for lunch. The channel between the two is passable with care; we encountered a least depth of 3.5m but it is certainly not as charted in the pilot. The NE point of Dhrima is not steep to but has a shallow patch extending 75m offshore and the deep water channel between the islands is much closer to Dhrima than charted with a very shallow sand bar extending out from the SW shore of Andikaros. Notwithstanding these errors in the pilot we anchored safely, without mishap, and passed a very pleasant two hours in the anchorage, lunching and swimming, in the company of one other boat.
On completion we sailed off the anchor and set course for Katapola on the Island of Amorgos. Katapola is the “capital” of Amorgos and is a wonderful town, unspoilt and welcoming. We berthed stern to on the town quay at the eastern end, paid our dues for water and electricity (€15) and filled in yet another crew list for the Port Police (dues of €10), the usual Greek bureaucracy. That evening we dined in the restaurant literally opposite the stern of the boat. Angelis, the proprietor, was a very welcoming host and the food was the best we have tasted since entering Greece, even the house wine was drinkable.
Ormos Negro, Ios
Group photo in the Old Chora, Ormos Livadhi, Iraklia
Wednesday morning dawned bright and clear again and after a short stroll ashore for some top up victuals we set sail for Ios. Almost no sooner were we clear of the land but the wind died away to nothing! First time for several weeks that we have been forced to motor and as a result, rather than motor for several hours, we diverted to Pigadhi in Nisos Iraklia. Pigadhi is listed in the pilot as a remote and rugged fjord. After one attempt to moor to the rocks we decided the winds, which had now decided to return, were too unpredictable and the anchorage too narrow to be safe for the night, hence we pressed on to Ios. On arrival, in the early evening, we opted to anchor in Ormos Kolitzani; just south of the main port of Ios. Next morning we set off reasonably early with the intention of finding Ormos Negro, a bay on the west coast where I had spent a night at anchor, in 2001, when sailing with the family. Negro is a beautiful inlet, protected from the north winds, three beaches and almost untouched by tourism. I say almost because since the last visit two small beach facilities, too small to be called tavernas, have been built. Nonetheless it was idyllic and remains unspoilt and almost unknown to the yachting fraternity. We had a beach BBQ, remained at anchor overnight, and then looked at our options for where to go next.
Our plan to go to Santorini and stay there for three days was wrecked by the weather forecast which showed a deep low passing through our area giving three days of “strong gusting to severe gale” southerly winds followed by a similar period of northerly gales. From my research in the pilot I concluded Santorini is not the place to be in a southerly blow, hence we returned to Nisos Iraklia and took shelter there, in Ornos Livadhi; here we remained for three days. Our choice was good, the shelter from the gales was near perfect and from here we could watch the seas crashing on the SW shore of Skhinousa to the NE of us. In this time we managed two forays ashore one to the main port of Iraklia, in the next bay to us and the other to the deserted, original, Chora (town) of the island which was abandoned after the German occupation of WWII and never reoccupied.
On passage Iraklia - Amorgos
Kalotaritissa, Amorgos
In the short lull between southerly and northerly gales we made a fast dash, in heavy seas and torrential rain, to the southern tip of Nisos Amorgos where we anchored in Kalotaritissa; this is a small bay at the southerly tip, well protected from the north. It proved to be quite tight with numerous fishing boats also moored there and hence we spent only one night sheltering here before making another dash, in foul weather, back to Ormos Katapola. This visit we anchored in a cove on the north shore of the bay and spent a very pleasant two days sheltering there. The second day was Mike's 67th birthday and so we decided to make an attempt to moor on the town quay that night in order to allow us to get ashore easily for the festivities; it was not to be, we were the first to attempt to return to the town quay after the gales and our attempt was unsuccessful; even with all 50m of cable out the anchor was still dragging, making the berth untenable. We returned to our anchorage and resigned ourselves to a dinghy ride along the north coast of the bay to get ashore that night.
Anchored in bay on N side of Katapola
Mike's birthday
The evening was a great success. Peter and I had gone ashore the previous day and walked into town to pre book a restaurant. Our intention had been to return to Angelis but in the event we were tempted through the doors of a Mediterranean Bistro, “Karamel”, run by a French lady, Armelle. A beer and wine tasting later it was booked; four people, three courses, coffee, €100, wine included. It was excellent, the ambiance was just right and we all ended up dancing the night away until midnight, having drawn in other diners. As we were planning to sail at 0400 this was a bit of a mistake!
In the event we managed to sail off the anchor at 0500 ghosting out of the bay in the moonlight. An hour later and the wind had subsided to nothing and we then motored for six hours in the direction of Nisos Astipalaia, from where Peter and Mike were booked to fly back to UK next day. We arrived off the coast of Astipalaia at 1300 and anchored for lunch and a swim in the first tenable anchorage, next to Ak Tiliaros, on the SW tip of the island. A beautiful bay with crystal clear water and good holding if in sand (if you avoid the rocks on the bottom which are prevalent in some areas). Here we stayed for four hours before ghosting round to Skala, the main town, for the night. We arrived just after dark and hence took the easy option of berthing on the old ferry pier overnight before moving inside the new, better protected, harbour the next morning.
Birthday supper
At 1100 we waved goodbye to Mike and Peter as they set off for their flight to Athens and then on to UK. They made it but not without delays caused by Greek air traffic controllers. How striking and angering the tourists on whom you depend is going to help the Greek economy escapes me!
The port, Skala, Astipalaia
Watering and fuelling ship, a night alongside, a slow start morning and then writing this Blog, brings it up to date. We sail in a pair of hours to find an anchorage for tonight. More from Rhodes in a week's time.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Pinned down in Paros

Super Paradise beach
My first (and last) night out on the town in Mykonos was not the best preparation for a journey back to UK. It consisted of an 0400 return to the boat and a subsequent party onboard that went on until after daybreak. Fortunately the flight was not due to take off until 1410; hence, I was able to grab a couple of hours sleep before packing and heading off to the airport leaving Steve to look after the boat.
The journey back to UK went almost without hitch, but for two hours of delay in both directions; outward due to the crosswinds on the runway putting the Easyjet A319 out of limits for take-off and the return because the striking Greek air traffic controllers would not give clearance for take-off. Notwithstanding this all was well with Kurukulla when I eventually did get back and Daniel's graduation ceremony was definitely worth returning for; a great day.
Mykonos Marina on departure
With Mike Owens and Peter Van der Veken having joined in my absence we were now up to four onboard. A pair of hours after my return we moved berth to get water from the only berths connected in the part finished marina and then motored off on a windy, lumpy transit back to Super Paradise anchorage. Motoring to put some power back in the batteries; Mykonos marina does not stretch to electrical supplies!
Departing Elia
Steve, Peter, Self and Mike dining ashore in Naousa, Paros
We were to stay here for 24 hours because of the Meltemi making it too rough to be pleasant even for a passage downwind. After we motored to Paradise and then Elia just for a change of scenery and to charge the batteries again. At the start of the second day in Elia we decided to make a dash for Paros and sailed the 20 miles downwind, in 2 hours 30 mins, to Naousa; anchoring in the bay at Ormos Ay Ioannou where the shelter was good and the holding excellent. Next day we motored into Naousa Marina to replenish victuals and water, plus plug in to give the batteries a full charge. The entry and berthing were a bit hairy but all achieved without mishap. The only downside was that the berth was subject to a continual surge and the noise from the berthing warps was horrendous, enough to keep all awake all night (well almost). That evening we dined ashore and then, next morning, re-victualled, gas replenished and batteries fully charged we returned to the peace of the anchorage.
Near the anchorage is a small boatyard which the delay has given me the chance to explore; I discovered that they are offering winter storage for 50% of the price I am currently paying, guess where I might be wintering 2012 – 2013?
The anchorage at Ormos Ay Ioannou, Kurukulla in distance.
Ak Korakas, Paros and the reason we are pinned down.
So... here we are, two days later, still waiting for the wind to subside; something it is forecast to do tomorrow, Sunday. The Meltemi is supposed to be a thing of history by the end of September but it seems that this year it was almost a month late arriving and is staying a month longer than usual! Just our luck to get pinned down; but there are worse places!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Kos to Mykonos or Flat calm to force 9!

Kos chora

Kos castle at harbour entranc
The arrival process in Kos was relatively brief. We berthed on the quarantine berth on the south side of the old harbour entrance from where a helpful Port Police Officer directed me to the various offices, Immigration, Coastguard, Port Authority, Customs and finally back to Port Police and short of being relieved of €15 to re-enter the EU (or so they claim) the process was all over in 50 minutes and relatively painless. Perhaps made easier by the fact that half the officials were on strike over Greek Government cutbacks! On completion we moved into the old harbour and berthed on the extensively refurbished town quay which is now administered as part of Kos Marina.
That evening we toured the town, bought a few provisions and dined onboard. Kos town is a bit of a tourist trap and not greatly attractive.
Sunset on arrival in Archangelos
Next morning we set off at 1000 to head north. Given the light but contrary winds we decided to get as far north as we could before sunset. This resulted in us bypassing Kalymnos and Leros, neither of which seemed to have any anchorages sufficiently attractive to tempt us to delay, and arriving just after the sun had set in an anchorage at the southern tip of Nisos Archangelos, just north of Leros. The bay was an easy entry in half light as we sailed into the anchorage and proved to be delightful when revealed in the sunlight the following morning.
Entering Nisos Athagonisi
After a brief swim the next morning we again sailed off the anchor, heading to the north via the western side of Archangelos, passing between the offlying rocks and the main island. Initially we were ghosting on the wind but as the day went on we were forced to put a reef in the main and roll up part of the No 2. Given the conditions we decided to stop for lunch in Nisos Lipso, sailing onto the anchor in the eastern of the three bays at Lera Lipso. After a pair of hours we set off again to Nisos Athagonisi where we anchored initially in the eastern branch of East Bay but given the lack of swinging room and the weather forecast for the night we moved into the western arm which was potentially less sheltered but offered considerably more room for error!
From here it was intended to head for Fournoi but a contrary wind and foul, choppy sea resulted in a decision to curtail the day and head into Nisos Arki where we anchored in the eastern arm of Port Stretto. This was the least preferred according to Rod Heikell but with the western arm obstructed by moorings laid by the local taverna and the eastern arm shallower and with better holding than reported we decided we had made the best choice.
Alongside the inside of the ferry pier at Fournoi
Next day it was northwards again, this time to Nisos Fournoi. We anchored in a bay near the southern tip of the island, mentioned but not described in the pilot. It proved to be ideal with two possible anchorages both of which were vacant. We had the bay to ourselves. Next day we headed north through the narrow channel to enter Fournoi town where we berthed on the inside of the ferry quay. Within minutes the Port Police were with us; following a successful document check, very friendly and no charge for the berth. The town, if you can call it that, is very small but almost totally unspoilt. The locals were very friendly and we dined in a taverna at the back of town which offered wholesome if not “haut cuisine” food.
Wholesome food at Taverna Karlia

That night, at 2300, we set sail from Fournoi for Mykonos. Steve took the first watch after we had cleared the rocks and islands to the north of Fournoi and had a pleasant three and a half hours solo, motoring and sailing in the light winds caused by the lee of Nisos Ikaria. Just as he woke me to hand over the wind started to catch us round the western end of Ikaria and in the next four hours went from force 2 to gusting force 9! Three reefs in the main and only a quarter of the No2 genoa showing. Fortunately we were not quite on the wind and could sail a bit free. Steve managed to sleep through all but the last 30 minutes but even he woke when we were knocked flat by a gust on the south coast of Mykonos! The night passage had been planned to get Steve some night sailing experience, it proved it's worth but he missed the most exciting bits! At 0800 we anchored in 6m, in Super Paradise bay, with 50m of cable out to hold us against 40 – 45 knot winds.
Coco's Bar, Super Paradise
I have to say I was quite glad to have arrived and to get a bit of rest! We spent the next 48 hours there, swimming ashore for a beer or two in the beach caf├ęs, (one or two was enough at €5 for a small bottle of local beer and €8 for a G&T!).
Tuesday morning we sailed round to Paradise Beach for a couple of hours snorkelling and lunch. The snorkelling was fantastic with a bigger variety of fish than I have yet seen this trip. On completion we moved the 5 miles round to the unfinished marina just north of Mykonos town and secured ourselves a berth for the next five days whilst I return to the UK for Daniel's graduation ceremony. On arrival it was obvious the marina, although unfinished, is already in a poor state of repair, another EU funded project that will never be finished because if you finish it you then have to charge for its use and repay the funding from the EU! Power supplies have rotted away without ever being connected and water pipes are in place but not connected to the main. To provide ourselves with a second holding off rope, for better security whilst I am away, I had to dive down 6m and recover a broken one from the harbour bottom.
Super Paradise! If you believe it!
There are several more down there so any complaints that we are using two will get short shrift!
Next edition once I am back from UK.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Bodrum and beyond.

Leaving Karaada for the last time
After a second tranquil night in Karaada, including a night swim in the most amazing phosphorescence, we sailed off the anchor to head south through the straits between the Greek Island of Khios and the Turkish mainland at Cesme. Our destination was Sigacik which we reached just after dark. The final leg was a close reach in the falling light of sunset and we reached the entrance to the marina just after dark. This would have been fine but for an error in the pilot which misidentified one of the lights marking the entrance and caused some confusion. That sorted out we made a safe entry and found Camilla berthed on the opposite side of the pontoon to which we were allotted. They had motored a large part of the way to be sure to get in before dusk.
Sigacik entrance and fishing port
Sigacik is an ancient town with walled defences and a castle at the harbour entrance. Quite picturesque but overwhelmed by the adjacent marina development which is very new and modern.
After victualling the next day we headed off for Kusadasi stopping en route at Dogan Bay, another hot spring venue, for a late lunch and swim. This was somewhat curtailed by our time of arrival but more importantly by persistent swarms of biting flies.
Arrival at Kusadasi was again at sunset but this time we managed to sail through the entrance before darkness fell. Our plan was to remain two days and hire a car to visit the ancient city of Ephesus, the second largest city of the Roman Empire outside Rome. Hence the next day was spent doing the tourist bit!
Ephasus - South Gate of Commercial Agora
The remains are impressive in size and scale but disappointingly are being subject to a considerable degree of reconstruction; it seems a heresy. That evening we victualled again and spent the evening touring the town of Kusadasi. Very highly touristified but pleasant none the less. I even managed a haircut at 0030 in the morning and a coffee on the waterfront at 0200!
After our dose of culture we pressed on south passing through the straits between Samos (Gr) and Dipburnu (Tr) in the course of which we received close attention from a Greek Border Patrol launch. Our destination was Port St Paul, a small bay where St Paul reputedly took refuge to rest the oarsmen when struggling northwards against the Meltemi (strong N wind). The bay was beautiful but the holding poor and unpredictable.
Ephesus - Celcus library rear left
We thoroughly enjoyed the evening there but next morning the anchor started dragging in the thin sand and weed on the bottom and so it was that we set off earlier than planned for our next port, Asin Limani.
Lunch at Gulluk
It was from here that Ale and Ray were to depart for Bodrum airport for their return to UK. Asin Limani, harbour is guarded by an ancient Byzantine Tower and the hill above has an extensive fort with remains dating back to 3000BC. In the event, to make their journey to the airport easier, we ferried Ray and Ale over to Gulluk, which is 4 miles away on the other side of the gulf. After a very good lunch and saying goodbye, Steve and I returned to the less exposed town quay in Asin Limani. That evening we took a pair of beers ashore and sat on the hilltop to watch the sun set, magical, surrounded by so much history.
Self at Castle entrance, Asin Limani
Med moored at Asin Limani
From here it was southwards again to a beautiful tree lined bay on the north side of the Bodrum peninsula at Demir. All the other boats which were there when we arrived had departed before sunset leaving Camilla and ourselves to enjoy the solitude. The only habitation was a large house at the head of the bay with its own jetty and boat slipway. From here it was onwards to Gumusluk, another pleasant, narrow, inlet on the west facing side of the Bodrum peninsula. As we drew closer the weather started to deteriorate and the seas became more uncomfortable hence we were more than happy to reach port only to find that half the world was also sheltering here! Eventually we found a spot with sufficient swinging room to anchor, albeit with occasionally only 5 ft clearance from the bowsprit of another vessel! David in Camilla arrived an hour later, however, after a couple of attempts at anchoring he decided not to remain in such a tight anchorage and braved the conditions again to head south to a marina 5 miles away.
Sunset at Catalada
From here it was to Aspat Koyu, a bay open to the SE but reasonably sheltered from the prevailing winds; here we anchored in the northerly, less populated, of the two bays. Another idyllic spot with a palm lined beach and a small water-sports complex. Next morning it was onwards to Bodrum where we entered the marina to await the arrival, that evening, of the next two crew members; Mike and Melvin were returning for another spell in Kurukulla. They duly arrived shortly before midnight in the company of several additional members of the sailing club who were joining other boats involved in a week long charter. The charter route took us to Cokertme, Cleopatra's Beach (constructed artificially for Mark Anthony) and then on a beat to windward out of the gulf via English Harbour (where we ghosted in after dark), Seven Islands (North Cove) and then back to Cokertme (where we had an excellent group meal ashore) and Aktur Tesisleri (where a beach BBQ had been planned by the charter company). After all this we accompanied the charter fleet back to the base for the majority at Yalikavak Marina for the final night. Here we said goodbye to three additional crew members who had joined us from Camilla two days before when she set off along the south coast towards Marmaris.
The following day we anchored off the island of Catalada for the night before dropping off Mike and Melvin at Turgetreis Marina for their return to UK via a night in Bodrum.
Turgetreis being a port of entry it was also possible to check Kurukulla, Steve and myself out of Turkey thereby avoiding overstaying our 3 month visas and allowing us to legally set off for Greece again. This took three hours but only because the offices were initially open but completely deserted due to the lunchtime siesta! Nothing changes...........
Back to Turkey and the bureaucracy of re-entry in a months time!
Currently we are anchored off Catalada again, for tonight, and will enter Greece at Kos tomorrow.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Heading south.

Sigri restaurant
Alongside at Mitilini
The visit to the first port in Lesbos went extremely well. We anchored in the bay at Sigri late in the evening with a beautiful sunset. The bay is shallow and good holding at the northern end. Next morning we moved alongside and I set off to visit the delightful young lady manning the Helenic Coastguard office. She duly stamped my forms, chatted very sweetly and informed me that I was berthed on a military jetty (which was virtually derelict but matters not) where I could not remain for more than a very brief visit. The only downside was that gas was not available in 3kg bottles in the village and so we were later destined to head for the capital of Lesbos, Mitilini, on the east coast, where gas was guaranteed to be available. After a very good lunch in a bistro overlooking the bay we sailed off the jetty and headed for the south coast of Lesbos to find a suitable bay for an anchorage. Around 1900 we chose a beach, headed in and anchored in 6m for the night, the wind was forecast to remain light and offshore and so it did.
Mitilini waterfront
Next morning we sailed the remaining distance to Mitilini and were greeted by a very polite, but equally firm, Port Police official who invited us to berth on the quarantine berth and undergo the entire re-entry procedure for entry into Greece, he was having nothing of my already existing stamps in my cruising log from Sigri, only two days earlier. Thus it was that I spent an hour and 25€ re entering Greece formally, only to have to go through the whole process at 0800 the next morning to exit Greece again. The only advantage was that the duty free shop in the quarantine area was open when we were forced to berth there again for our departure; thus we were able to restock the drinks cupboard. Our overnight berth had been on the town quay and we had found a delightful, characterful, taverna in the back-streets for supper.
Victualling at Ayvalik

Supper at Ayvalik

From Lesbos it was back to Turkey and into Ayvalik to meet up with Ale and Ray. They had both travelled up from Bodrum by bus after flying out from UK. Fortunately this time we did not get involved with bureaucracy! That night was spent in Ayvalik with supper ashore in a very local eating area reminiscent of the stalls in Singapore. Good food, ridiculously low prices.

Hot springs at Bademli Limani
From here it was on to Bademli Limani. This is a delightful anchorage sheltered by two off-lying islands and with hot springs along the mainland coast. We spent two nights here, the first anchored in the shelter of the northern end of the anchorage and then the next night, after the wind had abated, anchored off the hot springs where we spent a very pleasant afternoon and evening soaking ourselves in the naturally heated pools. Someone had even constructed a rough and ready 4m x 5m indoor pool to retain the hot water.
Dennis ashore at Kizkulesi Adasi, Mardalic.
From here it was southwards again to the small island of Mardalic where we anchored in the small bay on the NW side for lunch; an idyllic anchorage and then onwards to Eski Foca for the night and the departure of Dennis back to Holland. We spent the night berthed on the town quay, under the castle, and next morning despatched Dennis to Izmir airport in a local minibus, so packed with people it was bursting to capacity!
After Dennis's departure we sailed out across the Gulf of Izmir and down the west coast as far as Egri Limani, a deep fissure parallel to the coast where we intended to spend the night. On arrival we anchored in a small bay on the western side in the shelter of the headland and passed the afternoon sunning and swimming. At 1900 the wind changed direction and started blowing hard from the east. To give ourselves more room we re-anchored further up the inlet but even this was tight once we had deployed all 50 m of the anchor chain! Throughout the night we had to keep anchor-watches as the wind gusted up to 50 almost knots and swung between E and N.
The calm of the morning. Anchorage at Egri Limani
Next morning, the wind abated slightly, we all caught up on our lost sleep and then set off for the island of Karaada, only 7 miles south. Weighing anchor took some time as we found as we hauled the anchor in that we had also caught a large, discarded, fishing net which had been half buried in the mud on the bottom. This had probably helped to keep us in place the night before! As we exited the bay we also met up again with Camilla, with David and Filip aboard. They had just sailed round from Izmir. Both boats anchored in the eastern bay on the south coast of Karaada and conditions were so good that we were able to raft up for the night. Supper for all in Kurukulla followed by a midnight swim in the calm, phosphorescent, waters of the bay.
View from Karaada, eastern bay
Lunch the next day was in Camilla after which we set off to Dalyankoy, a port on the mainland, where the pilot recommends sampling the fish restaurants. Our intention was to remain overnight, the reality was that the marina staff waved us off, informing us that the marina was full for the night. Thus it was that we decided to return to Karaanda and spend another night in a slightly different anchorage. Paradise is hard to resist!