Kurukulla at Anegada, BVI

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.