Kurukulla at Anegada, BVI

Sunday, 27 May 2012

We depart the Dodecanese

Daniel with the tools of his trade!

From Kalymnos we had a great sail north stopping overnight in Emborious, one of the small towns bordering Vorio Bay, a really spectacular, large, bay on the west coast of Kalymnos.
Approaching Emborious
We chose to anchor in a small cove just to the west of the town rather than pick up a mooring off the town itself; we had already prepared supper and if you use the moorings the assumption is that you eat in the owners restaurant!
Vorio Bay
Next morning we set off again to the northern end of Leros or to Nisos Archangelos to be more precise. Here we anchored in another small bay (used last year as well) at the SW end of the island where the only sign of “civilisation” is the decrepit remains of a small beach bar 20m back from the beach.The anchorage is tight but enough space for one boat to swing without the need for lines ashore. The holding is patchy but good in places, you just need to choose well. Here we stayed overnight and next day enjoyed a leisurely morning / lunch before heading into Lakki Marina for an evening meal ashore and to prepare for Daniel's departure next day.
Skipper deserting ship
Sadly the weather was not being kind and although it did not rain, well not by day anyway, the skies were grey and the sun struggled to get through. Lakki Marina is little more than a town quay with holding off lines; the planned development of new pontoons and increased capacity has not taken place despite being declared in their brochure as intended to complete in 2010! They do have hot showers and a laundry facility though, so all was not lost.
After berthing and paying our dues we set off for a recce of the town of Lakki, something which takes about 10 minutes at most! It probably qualifies as the ugliest Greek town I have seen, brutal fascist era Italian architecture and some of it is being restored at the EU's expense what's more (one building costing €2.8m)! One point of interest was when we stumbled upon a memorial, bearing a White Ensign, commemorating the sinking of the destroyer HMS INTREPID during the battle for the liberation of Leros in WWII.
The nightcap!
Amazing what you discover by chance. Luckily, after rejecting two dining establishments as too touristy, we found a good local restaurant and booked our table for the evening. We chose well and if I could type in Greek on this computer I would give you the name, however, if you find Mike's Bakery it is next door (just in land) and Mike also does delicious bread and cakes! Whilst we were enjoying our meal we were joined by two other crews from the marina, both had been advised that this was the best restaurant in town. After dinner we stopped of for a quick final nightcap in a local bar; it proved not to be so quick and probably accounted for a large part of the hangover we both suffered the next morning!
Daniel was due to depart on the Flying Dolphin (hydrofoil) at 1030 Tuesday morning and by good fortune we decided to buy his ticket the evening before otherwise we would never have found out that the fast ferries do not leave from the ferry port in Lakki, they leave from Ag Marina, which is the other side of the island and the alternate car ferry port in the event of Lakki being untenable due to weather. Only a short taxi ride but how are you supposed to know? The timetable simply says Leros!
Ariving in Ormos Kryphos

In the past two weeks I had become increasingly concerned about the lack of battery capacity. From fully charged a 30Ah discharge saw the voltage down at 11.2V and the batteries were supposed to be 324Ah capacity! After a bit of research and head scratching I decided the batteries were all but life expired despite being only 4 years old and made by Vetus; supposedly good batteries. I therefore set about sourcing a set of new batteries. The best price and fastest availability was offered by Leros Boatyard (part of Lakki Marina but at the north of the island) who quoted €125 per battery and delivery Thursday or Friday. On this basis I decided to stay in Leros, but not at the marina, and so after sitting out some strong westerly winds on Tuesday night I slipped and set off to an anchorage on the east side of the island to wait for delivery. The first night was spent anchored in Ornos Kryphos a very small cove but with the clearest water of the season so far. My intention initially had been to anchor there for lunch but it proved so tranquil and the holding so good that I opted to stay for the night as well. Next day I moved up to Ornos Plakoudi, 2 miles from the boatyard ready to go to collect my new batteries when they called.
Ornos Plakoudi
They didn't! I called them, just before closing time, to discover that the batteries had not arrived but that they would be “here Friday for sure”. Friday came ….. and went, another phone call, no batteries but they were “on their way”. Plakoudi is a very pleasant anchorage but.....
The boatyard at Ornos Partheni
Saturday morning I phoned again, they were on the island but not yet at the yard. On this basis I moved round to Ormos Partheni, the boatyards location, and anchored there to wait..... At 1400 the boat occupying the only alongside berth in the whole yard departed and so I quickly dropped Kurukulla alongside and went in search of my batteries. “Please take a seat, they will be here shortly!”. This time he was good to his word, they arrived in a van 20 minutes, and a complementary iced coffee, later. Interestingly I was not the only customer suffering with Vetus batteries that had died young, another customer had had to replace their set after only 3 years! (They should last 5 at least). The new ones are Exide and cost €125 per battery as opposed to the €235 I paid for Vetus ones in Ibiza in 2008. We will see how long they last, they can't be worse! It took 30 minutes to install them and the yard offered free disposal of the old batteries so by 1600 I was out on one of their moorings where I spent the night before departing for Mykonos at 0500 next morning.
Patmos in the morning calm
Super Paradise at exodus time....
The departure was literally at first light with a light southerly breeze. This sadly did not last long and by 0630 I was motoring along at 6 kts in an oily calm, not great but it could be worse! Just a few fishing boats and a Saga cruise ship for company. By 1000 things were looking up and Kurukulla was doing 6.5kts under full sail in exactly the right direction. From here on it was occasional short bursts of engine, when the wind died and/or my patience ran out, but mostly it was a close reach all the way to Mykonos. We arrived at 1700, anchored in the western corner of Super Paradise, (a misnomer if ever there is one, it is neither super nor paradise but the best anchorage on the south coast in a south westerly!), in time for a swim, a snooze, early supper and bed; that was once the disco had shut down!

Saturday, 19 May 2012

One out, one in.

Southern Bay of Pserimos
From Kamares we motored out next day at mid-day in no wind but it was not to be for long. As we rounded the western end of Kos the wind started to fill in from the NW and after 10 minutes of indecision it settled into a steady 17 – 18 kts, not ideal for a short beat NNW between Cape Krikellos and Cape Dhafni but then it was a spectacular beam reach along the north coast of Kos, steady 7+ kts and relatively calm seas. By 1700 we were anchored in the southern bay of the island of Pserimos with 30 miles under our belt; enjoying an evening swim that was soon followed by a glass of wine, a swift chicken curry and a relatively early night.
Kurukulla anchored off.
Morning tea and a swim is the norm for Kurukulla but this morning was special. The water was so clear that you could see the bottom for a considerable distance around the boat. We passed the morning swimming around the boat and walking on the island in the vicinity of the anchorage; no company, other than goats, to be seen anywhere. After midday, given the absence of wind, we motored off towards Kos and anchored on the north coast, off one of the holiday beaches, for lunch. By 1500 the wind had started to fill in from the west and so we hoisted the genoa only (lazy sailing) and made our way round to Kos Marina where we refuelled, After successfully achieving that we anchored for the night about a mile south west of the marina off a relatively quiet beach with good holding and plenty of room to swing. The only downside was the wash of the occasional big ferry who was obviously running late and hurtling towards Kos port. It only happened twice and, even though they were a half mile away, they still set Kurukulla rolling onto her beam ends!
Kurukulla stern to in Kos under that Castle Walls
Tuesday morning dawned somewhat cloudy but with plenty of intervals of sun. We passed the first few hours swimming and relaxing before moving into the Old Port at Kos and mooring up for the changeover of crew. My nephew, Simon, out and my son, Daniel, in. In fact the same plane took Simon back to UK as delivered Daniel to Kos. The taxi drivers in Kos have a stranglehold on the traffic to and from the airport so buses are infrequent and timed NOT to meet the flights, Daniel was lucky enough to team up with two others and share a taxi otherwise it is €35 each way! He arrived onboard at 2100 and so we set off ashore for a bite to eat and a glass of wine in order to catch up with each other's news.
Daniel relaxing
Next morning, after a quick run to the supermarket, (the larger of which we found was closed due to a strike! For what? To prove the Greeks can live without food as well as money!), we set off for the eastern bay of Pserimos where we anchored inside the fish farms in a beautiful, almost deserted bay. The water was clear, if cold, and the holding good; which was just as well as we were to spend the next two days here sheltering from a westerly near gale. The weather was not great but we did manage the odd swim and a bit of work around the boat despite the rainstorms and deep grey cloud. Friday morning dawned with a rather more hopeful look and by early afternoon it had become a sunny day with scattered cloud. We therefore set off for Akti, on Kalymnos, another bay with several fish farms round the edge but plenty of room to anchor. A chilly dip and a very peaceful evening with “The King's Speech” as the film of the evening onboard.
Fish farms off Akti, Kalymnos
Kalymnos town square
Saturday morning we set off early to head into Kalymnos town, berthing on the town quay, (the marina described in Heikell's pilot remains a pipe dream!) to re-victual and take lunch ashore. That being done I then took this opportunity to publish the blog before departing to head north to Leros where Daniel will leave in three days time.
Father and son, lunch!

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Under-way for 2012

Departing Yacht Marin (in background), Marmaris
I finally managed to leave Marmaris just one day late; this was due to a problem with the fitting of the new alternator. TMS staff insisted that I needed a new intelligent regulator to go with the new alternator, the only problem was they sacked the electrician doing the job halfway through (personal clash with management, nothing to do with Kurukulla); the result was more time spent trying to decide what had been done and how! Not clever.
In the clear blue skies of Friday 4th of May, at 1600, we set off for the anchorage at Gerbekse to pass a couple of days sorting out and shaking down. Nothing like getting away from the dockyard to really find out what works and what does not! The first thing that did not work was the Sterling regulator. It tripped out after 30 minutes on a high battery temperature trip. A quick check of the batteries disproved that but the regulator steadfastly refused to reset. After a few minutes head scratching I identified the problem, the wiring to the battery temperature sensor and the alternator temperature sensor had been crossed resulting in the alternator temperature, normally very much higher than the batteries, tripping the battery temperature trip. This resolved we got under-way again, by now it was getting towards dusk.
Gerbekse anchorage
Arrival in the anchorage was simple but there were several other boats there too and insufficient room left to swing at anchor. The only solution was to drop the anchor in the middle, back up to the rocks and swim a line ashore. It was a brief and invigorating late evening skinny dip, much to the amusement of the young, partying, UK holidaymakers on an adjacent gullet. Despite their shouts of encouragement I still did not get invited to swim over for a drink! Can't think why!
Next morning I had a good session washing down the decks and getting rid of as much of the sanding dust as possible, clearing the scupper drains, all interspersed with the odd swim and washing down of the hull. By the end things were looking much better. The weather was ideal, sunshine, light breeze and complete calm inside the anchorage. So much so that I decided to continue working on Kurukulla and stay another night.
Kizil Adasi anchorage
The following morning the wind was starting to build early and so after a swim to free the stern line we set off west towards Bozburum and to take leave of Turkey. The wind was, as predicted, on the nose until the turn north 16 miles down the coast. This equated to three hours motoring but on the plus side another chance to test the alternator. Once heading north towards Bozburum it was a fantastic beam reach in light winds for the next two and a half hours before anchoring a mile and a half short of the harbour on the east side of the island of Kizil Adasi; a splendid, secluded anchorage with only goats and sheep for company. I anchored close in to the beach, in 7m of water but it was so clear the bottom looked as though you could reach out and touch it! The first night of real peace and solitude.
Embarking dinner
Next morning I pottered around the boat giving it another scrub down and sorted out a few more of the minor defects on the list. A local fisherman/goatherd arrived shouting at the top of his voice, interested I watched with fascination as all the goats gathered on the foreshore to meet him. They were obviously used to him arriving with some food, choosing his passengers for the return journey and heading back. This time he embarked a nanny goat but her kid had not appeared. Some minutes later he was spotted watching proceedings from afar and after another brief stop against the rocks he too was embarked, tonight's meal I rather suspect! After lunch I set off to enter the harbour at Bozburun and do battle with bureaucracy; I was not to be disappointed!
Bozburun High Street
After entering the port I berthed in virtually the same spot as that which I had occupied some 6 months before when re-entering Turkey. First things first, a brief trip to the supermarket to get some victuals followed by the trip to the harbourmaster's office. Here I was greeted with a locked door, the immigration police officer informed me that the harbourmaster was away and would I come back tomorrow. Having explained that tomorrow I was not planning to be in Turkey he relented and assured me that if I came back in an hour the harbourmaster would have returned. Sure enough he did, only to inform me that I was not now allowed to organise my own departure, I needed to employ an “Agent”! Where was that helpful official of last October? Apparently any vessel over 10 tons net (Kurukulla is not but he would not accept that as the registration certificate says 0.0 Net tons!) has to use an agent at a cost of 30€. The only alternative was to go to the bank myself and pay 9.30TL into the correct account and return with the receipt; the only problem was it had to be paid into a branch of Garanti Bank and the nearest branch was in Marmaris! The next bus was tomorrow and it takes 2 hours! The debate lasted 20 minutes by the end of which I was getting no where and so I decided his friend, the agent, was probably worth his 30€ just to avoid me loosing my patience. I found the Atlas Agency, in town, and employed him for the purpose of getting my clearance; it took 30 minutes and one visit to the harbourmaster! He has internet banking with Garanti Bank!
By 1830 it was all finished and I exited the harbour to go to anchor at the north end of the same island as the night before, ready to escape northwards through the Kizil Adasi Channel and head directly for Simi the next day.
Simi waterfront
The following morning dawned clear and bright but without a breath of wind. It was a two and a half hour motor to Simi and even at the start of the afternoon, when the wind usually sets in, it was still oily calm. I arrived in Simi at 1300 to be greeted by a very friendly Port Police official who took my lines and invited me to set about the “Merry Go Round” of entering Greece. First Port Police, then Immigration Police, then Customs and finally back to Harbour master/Coast Guard to pay! All went well until I got back to the Harbour Master's office where I was second in line to a French skipper who was having a very similar discussion to mine of the day before. Being strongly European he was having none of this “stupid Greek bureaucracy” and telling the young girl behind the desk so in no uncertain terms; needless to say she, being the one in uniform, dug her heels in and eventually he paid (having borrowed some change from me, Greek Authorities never have change). I tried my best to be polite and co-operative and 20€ and several minutes later walked out without hassle, having been complimented with “how much more co-operative the British are”; it never pays to upset officialdom in Mediterranean countries, no matter how young and inexperienced they look; sometimes, however, it is difficult not to! On my return to the boat the French skipper was in the waterside bar, at the stern of Kurukulla, waiting for me and wishing to repay the debt; the interest amounted to him buying me a Mythos, local beer, as well!
Next it was off to the mobile phone shop to organise internet connectivity, but not so fast; the restaurants are open but normal shops are closed, today is a public holiday (Tuesday!) to commemorate the independence of the Dodecanese islands from the Italians? British?, no one seemed quite sure but they were happy to have a day off anyway. That being the case it was an evening alongside in Simi and wait for tomorrow when the shop will be open at 0900.
Church guarding Nimos Passage, Simi
The berthing in Simi is stern to the quay as normal, but that means that you are exposed to the constant noise of passing traffic; not that there is a vast quantity on an island as small as this but Greek youths are equally prone to massive sound systems in their cars and “tweaking” the silencers on their motorbikes as are the British: they then drive around late into the night! Not exactly conducive to a good night's sleep!
Departing Livadhia, Tilos
Next morning it was off at 0900, back to the only mobile phone shop in town; at 0930 the owner also deigned to arrive despite his sign giving 0900 as the opening time! Within 20 minutes I was sorted out with a Cosmote SIM card for the dongle, €40 for 1 month and 5Gb, something else that is much cheaper in Turkey! Back to the boat and away. We set sail through the Nimos Passage and away to the south west; minor problem, no wind! Four hours of motoring later we arrived in Livadhia on the island of Tilos, a beautiful bay, suitable for anchoring in the early season, before the Meltemi (N winds) starts, and as tranquil as you could wish. A swim, a sunbathe and supper, what more could a man want? Next day it was off to the island of Nisiros to pick up my nephew, Simon, who was joining for 5 days. One strange fact. The promenade at Livadhia is little more than a track along the waterfront of a sparsely inhabited island but it has streetlights! Loads of them and on all night. With a population of 200 it must be cheaper to provide each inhabitant with a torch, that way they can even use it to defend themselves if attacked in the night!
Distant view of Nisiros
One reef and well heeled
After a couple of hours sorting Kurukulla out we got under-way at 1100 and set off for Nisiros. Initially the wind was variable and light so the trip was part under sail and part engine. By 1530 the wind had fillled in and we entered the narrows between Nisiros and the western islands of Pakhia and Periousa with a reef in and well heeled. On the basis that I did not want to spend the night in Mandraki harbour on Nisiros in such conditions, I headed for the anchorage at Periousa for the night. A good decision, as I sailed towards the bay on the eastern side I set about getting ready to anchor, genoa rolled up, tack for the beach, start engine, start engine...... not very keen! Change of plan, anchor under sail and then sort out why the engine won't start! Safely anchored I then started investigating the problem. Seemed like fuel starvation. After working my way back from the fuel lift pump to the fuel tank via filters, separators etc. I finally discovered that the fuel suction from the tank was blocked! Disconnected, and following a hearty blow down the pipe, it cleared, but for how long? Next morning I sailed across to Mandraki to pick up Simon but I was still dubious about the engines reliability, it started perfectly for the berthing manoeuvre but....... when might it next decide not to co-operate. A helpful port policeman indicated the berth he wanted me to take and invited me to go up to the office and present my papers, again..... every port you enter needs a copy of all your papers, how else will they keep the masses employed and the waste paper merchants busy!
Waterfront at Mandraki, Nisiros. Kurukulla nearest.
Simon arrived on the ferry from Kos half an hour later and, having got him settled onboard, we set off to do some victualling in the town and stopped for a brief beer on the way back to the boat. All this done we sailed off the berth and back to the anchorage at Periousa where we again anchored under sail. Here we spent the evening, concocting a version of jambalaya and sampling the newly acquired Greek wines.
Morning bath and dhobi
Next morning dawned grey and with slight drizzle. We decided to stay put for a few hours and I decided to investigate the interior of the fuel tank. With the inspection hatch open I recruited Simon's assistance to hoover out the gunge in the bottom of the tank, not very much but some bits of debris big enough to have caused the problem. That done the tank was closed up again; confidence restored in the engine.
After lunch we sailed off the anchor and across to Kamares in Kos where we anchored between three other boats on the southern side of the jetty. It is a small holiday town with not a lot to recommend it other than an anchorage with good holding and a few shops and tavernas.
More once we are in Kos town....................