Kurukulla at Anegada, BVI

Friday, 27 July 2012

Back in Marmaris

Kurukulla berthed at Ormos Kamares

From Ormos Kamares, with Chris, Nigel, George and Ian safely onboard, we set sail the following morning for a relatively brisk sail along the south east coast of Kos anchoring for the afternoon in one of the small, deserted, bays just short of the eastern tip of the island. From here it was a relatively easy hop; partly under sail in the gusty conditions, then a short motor; directly to windward, to get into Kos harbour. The harbour attendant remembered Kurukulla from her previous visit and greeted us like long lost friends, provided we paid promptly that is! Berthing, power, water all sorted we settled down to wait for the final joining crew member, Dennis, to arrive.
Berthed in Kos Town
This he did not long after our arrival and rather earlier than we had expected. Supper was pasta al ragu followed by a glass or two.
Anchored in Pserimos
Next morning we all set off for the largest local supermarket Kos can offer, to victual the boat for the next few days; it is amazing what six men can eat when in the fresh air and getting plenty of exercise! Having loaded half a ton of food and drink (possibly a slight exaggeration) I set off to do battle with the local authorities to get us legally out of Greece. A trip to the Port Police, followed by the Immigration Police and Customs (conveniently situated on the opposite side of the harbour requiring a half mile walk) and then back to the Port Police (another half mile) and we were clear to go. We had decided to do a short hop and anchor for the next night in Pserimos, a small island just north of Kos and so we motored to windward for an hour to get there quickly rather than do a two hour beat to windward; a cool swim was the higher priority. Safely anchored in the southern bay of Pserimos we set about lunch and a lazy afternoon. In the cool of the evening four of us climbed to the summit above the anchorage and got some great photographs of Kurukulla at anchor and the anchorage on the eastern side where Daniel and I had anchored some months earlier.
Turgutreis Marina

Post shopping refreshments!
Next day we set off, late morning, to head into Turkish waters and enjoyed a splendid reach across towards Turgutreis. We anchored in a small cove on the island of Catalada, which is just short of the marina, for the following night. Next morning it was time to battle with the bureaucracy again; this time getting into Turkey. Fortunately in Turgutreis this is fairly simple, a visit to the marina offices to obtain a new cruising permit followed by the Customs, Immigration Police and Harbour-master all of whom are situated on the quarantine quay. In addition we were permitted to embark bonded stores before leaving the quarantine quay, an added bonus as Kos has no Duty Free shop! Whilst I was away sorting out the clearances a charming motor boat owner decided to leave harbour at 12 knots and not the 4 knots that the limit requires; the result was a fairlead fractured on Kurukulla, fortunately no damage to the hull but annoying all the same, pure thoughtlessness! Sadly not uncommon amongst the breed!

Another visit to a supermarket, a swift beer at the yacht club and a fuel + water stop at the fuelling pontoon and we were ready to depart for a downwind sail to Mersincik. Mersincik is a relatively open anchorage with a small, better protected, cove on the western side. When we arrived the cove was full to bursting and the more open anchorage offered limited opportunities. Making the best of it we prepared to anchor with a long line ashore between a Dutch yacht and a Turkish Gullet, both of whom eyed us with much suspicion! The manoeuvre successfully completed, tied back to an olive tree, we settled down for the night. It was not to be. Initially the Dutch boat next to us started to drag his anchor, he re-anchored but without much success; next it was our turn to drag and so we slipped and recovered the line ashore (with the assistance of the Dutchman in his dinghy), rested on the Dutch boats line for a few minutes waiting for the wind to gust in the other direction (much to the consternation of the Dutch Frau), and then set off for a better anchorage. The question was where? It was sunset already! After a few minutes head scratching I settled on Knidos, a small but very protected anchorage about ten miles away.
Sailing tour of Knidos harbour
The only minor problem was that it has a part submerged ancient breakwater closing the entrance and, with no moon, entry was going to be tricky. We arrived at 2300, with only the lights on shore to assist us. I had put a way-point in the GPS immediately in the centre of the narrow entrance but this was only good for guidance; the entry had to be done by eye and echo sounder. Fortunately the plan worked and once inside we picked our way in the darkness, through the anchored boats, and found a suitable place to anchor Kurukulla just inside the sunken breakwater. During the night several of the larger craft in the anchorage dragged their anchors and were forced to leave, fortunately we did not.
Waterfront at Datca
Next morning we awoke to a beautiful scene with the amphitheatre and ancient city of Knidos on our doorstep! Given that the wind had been strong and from the north (not as forecast) I dread to think what happened to the folks we left behind at Mersincik.

Lunch at Datca before departure
Anchored at Atabol

Purveyors of fish!
Dinner at Bozburun, at the stern of Kurukulla
At 1100 we sailed off the anchor, did a tour of the anchorage to get a better view of the ruins, and then set course for Datca where we needed to re-provision bread, amongst other things. Two hours later, which included a swim whilst the boat drifted, we were in Datca. Here we berthed stern to, needing to avoid the ballasting which extends further out than is shown in the pilot, and sent parties ashore for provisions. I set off to top up the Turkcel SIM card to get us internet connectivity, something I had not managed in Turgutreis. All this done we settled for lunch ashore and then a gentle sail along the coast, eastwards, to the bay at Gonlucek where we anchored for the night. A beautiful, tranquil bay with no neighbours but millions of wasps! Fortunately they go back to their nests at dusk! Next morning we sailed off the anchor again and set off for Bozburun stopping en route in the small dogleg bay just east of Atabol Burun (Cape Apostoli). Here we discovered a small fishing boat anchored off the beach and negotiated a purchase of fresh fish for lunch; delicious, lightly fried in olive oil. Late in the afternoon we set off again for Bozburun. With no wind motoring was the order of the day. At 1900 we arrived in Bozburun, negotiated a table for dinner, right at Kurukulla's stern, from the restaurateur and then toured the town. Bozburun is small but delightful; everyone is helpful and cheerful. Later that evening, after a very good meal, I also got my hair cut at 1045 at night! Hair, beard, etc all for less than 20 TL i.e. £7.50! Best haircut this year.
Anchored of deserted settlement, Karaburun
Sadly our stay in Bozburun was only one night and then it was off again to reach Marmaris on time. We motored in a flat calm for much of the morning until reaching the end of the Karaburun peninsula. On the western end we found a delightful valley with an anchorage (just) at its end, tucked right in at the inner end of a bay. We anchored for lunch and a swim accompanied by goats and sheep; nothing else was visible in what seemed an extensive but deserted settlement. After lunch it was a brisk sail, under foresail only, along the south coast of the peninsula until we reached Gerbekse. Here we discovered three other boats at anchor, who between them had managed to monopolise the entire anchorage by not putting out stern lines. We backed in close by and put a stern line out, neatly tucked away for the night and clear of their swinging circles, just! Next morning we were visited by one of the skippers who had seen Kurukulla's RNSA burgee, he proved to be MEO of HM Submarine Astute and an ex trainee of mine from Manadon days!

Following a swim and breakfast we set off for Marmaris. Given the sheer numbers of craft in every anchorage we decided to just drift for two hours and swim from the boat finally arriving in Marmaris at 1600. A small piece of negotiation and we were allocated a very secure berth next to the lifting slip where Kurukulla was to spend the next ten days whilst all the team, including me, departed for UK. I was returning home for my parents 70th wedding anniversary celebration.
On my return eight days later Kurukulla was fine, exactly where I had left her but with a number of the snagging items from the re-decking completed in my absence by the contractor, TMS.
The family at the Platinum Wedding celebration. My father (97, standing) behind my mother (92, seated), on left.

In two days time I will head off eastwards, exploring the Turkish coast towards Cyprus. More then.....

Saturday, 7 July 2012

From Ios it is eastwards........

Ios chora by night

Kurukulla at Ormos Nero
Saturday night was spent in the chora of Ios, a place that last time I was here, some 12 years ago, was awash with young people, mostly the worse for drink, and all apparently having a great time. This time it was like a ghost town. A few bars and restaurants open but none doing anything like a good trade and very few tourists to be seen. Greece is in real trouble as a tourist destination. All traders talk of takings being down between 40 and 70%, and if they are prepared to admit to that what must the truth be? Mike and I enjoyed a gyros for supper washed down by a few glasses of wine in one of the more tranquil bars. From there it was a walk back to the port, downhill fortunately, and a tranquil night onboard.
Katapola at sunset
Next morning we breakfasted in a local bar, procured some fresh victuals and sailed for Ormos Nero, my favourite beach. As we approached a tourist boat just managed to beat us into the bay which was rather off putting as we were expecting to have the place to ourselves, fortunately there were few people onboard and no loud disco music so life was not made unpleasant and they sailed late afternoon back to Ios leaving us in solitude.

Lunch in Katapola
Monday morning we sailed early-ish to head round the south of Ios and over to Amorgos. The first stretch was frustratingly slow with the wind coming from all and every direction and very light; however, as soon as we were clear of the south of the island we picked up the NW wind as forecast and had an invigorating sail across the 20 or so miles separating the two islands. As we approached Amorgos the wind got up considerably, resulting in us putting two reefs in both main and genoa but sure enough, as soon as we had finished this evolution it died away again leaving a foul sea and too little wind to punch our way through it at any speed (The joys of Mediterranean sailing!).

We finally arrived in the anchorage on the north side of Ormos Katapola at 1900 wet and somewhat weary; nothing that a glass or two of wine and some nibbles could not sort out though.

Katapola waterfront
Next morning we waited until a few of the boats from the town quay had been seen to leave and then upped anchor and motored over to Katapola town where we berthed stern to for lunch and a shopping spree. Lunch was a giros (again) and local beer and the shopping spree saw us re-victualled with enough food to see us out to the end of Mike's visit.

On completion we set sail for Ormos Kalotiri, an anchorage on the inside of the island of Nikouria, on the NW facing coast of Amorgos. It is a splendid anchorage and well protected from the N winds despite being on the windward coast of Amorgos.
Anchorage at  Nikouria
Exiting the sound at Nokouria
From here it was a sail off the anchor next morning and a ghost through the narrow exit at the north end of the sound, after which the wind died away to nothing. We were forced to motor for an hour, in rolling seas, to reach the northern tip of Amorgos; here the wind picked up and we then broad reached down the NE side of the island and all the way to Vathi, an inland sea in the NE of the island of Astipalaia. If anything the entrance to Vathi was even more challenging than our departure from Nikouria with very light winds coming from all directions and only 50m wide at its narrowest: 10 minutes later; however, we were through and beam reaching the half mile across the flat water to our chosen anchorage. A wonderfully protected haven with extremely warm, if not very clear, water.
Departing Vathi
Next day was Mike's last day at sea and we had only to sail from the north side to the south of Astipalaia. In the course of this we were on all points of sailing, a beat in 15 knots of wind to escape the bay on the north side of Astipalaia followed by a broad reach / run down the east side of the island and then a beam reach across the south side. We decided to stop in the anchorage at Ormos Agrilithi, a narrow-ish inlet on the south coast with two beautiful anchorages at its head. Three hours here and it was off under engine to cover the three miles to Skala, the main town of Astipalaia.
Skala harbour, Astipalaia
On arrival we were pleased to observe that many of the berths on the inside of the quay were apparently free and so we set to to prepare for berthing stern to in one of them. As we rounded the end of the pier our plans were destroyed, the berths were roped off and the quay was obviously in a state of collapse, (badly built, with several million Euros of EU money, only a few years back and never maintained!). Not to be deterred we selected a berth across the bows of a catamaran which put us just in the closed off area but near enough to legal that we thought we would get away with it. It took the Port Police 5 minutes to arrive! After a bit of “sweet talking” and discussing the state of the jetty this year compared with last (making it obvious we were not a one off visitor) he agreed to us staying put. Only next day when I went to pay the harbour dues, and joked about getting a discount because of the condition of the jetty, did he raise the question of giving me a ticket instead for ignoring the closure notice! He was joking... I think!
And we thought the jetty was bad last year!
The owners of the catamaran, were a New Zealand couple and they very kindly invited Mike and I plus another British couple (coincidentally a member of the Army Sailing Association) for drinks onboard following which we all decanted ashore for a very convivial meal in a local restaurant. Next morning Mike booked himself into a local hotel for the night before his flight back and I set off single handed again for the Island of Kos where the next group of friends are due to join. I arranged for them to join in Ormos Kamares, an anchorage visited earlier in the trip, which is nearest to Astipalaia and also convenient to Kos airport. The 30 mile crossing was boisterous at start and finish but unexpectedly calm as I approached the southern tip of Kos, all in a days sailing!
Ormos Kamares, Kos
For simplicity I anchored in the bay last night and this morning put Kurukulla stern to the jetty to await the new teams arrival this evening. An interesting manoeuvre single handed but fortunately a local took a line for me as I backed up to the jetty, into wind. Lunch in a local taverna was followed by an afternoon of picture editing and blog writing.............

A relaxing lunch.......
More in a week or so..........