Early morning wake up call on 1st August from Robin and Miranda on “Kimosabi” anchored adjacent, “we’re off to Ancona Italy”!!! Poor bods got a call overnight from the boss/owner due to arrive with family and guests at nearby Split on the 3rd to say they couldn’t get on the ferry from Ancona so please pick them up, 130miles away! Having the luxury of a 65ft yacht to oneself has its drawbacks when the owners beckon, they had to go around the peninsula to Hvar town to first clear out of Croatia before heading to Ancona to arrive before the guests. So bye bye until next time, since our unexpected reunion at Split on 27th July, we had enjoyed their company, shared meals/happy hour sessions, listened to their sweet music (Robin on guitar and Miranda on flute) serenading lil D to sleep, and our water tanks were full from their copious supply (they have a 200litre/hour watermaker), all in all an enjoyable and relaxing time. Later in the morning, we moved from the little anchorage at Luka Zavala to Starigrad around the corner, managed to send and pick up emails (first real contact since here 2months previously), and we reprovisioned from the shops and markets. The seaplane spectacle continued with 3 zooming over the town and adjacent anchorage skimming along the sea filling up with seawater and then dropping it on fires billowing smoke on the hills behind. They repeated this procession most of the day and must have been very weary pilots when they returned to base. The next day (2nd August) as we headed out only one seaplane continued dipping into the sea on either side of us and other departing boats (bit worrying in case he misjudged height and direction) so they seemed to be winning the battle. We arrived at Rogocic on Vis Is 18 miles away after a 4hr motor/sail and anchored in front of some holiday houses in this quiet little bay that faced a huge concrete structure cut into the hillside. The shape of a conning tower and hull of a submarine, the structure dates back to WW II where underground they housed submarines, presumably U Boats. Yugoslavia (as it was then) was occupied by the Germans and still appears that way judging by the predominant yacht ensigns we see. These structures we’d encountered previously on Dugi Otok Is and here a yacht nestled in the entrance, tied up out of wind and current in very unnatural surroundings!! A trio of Aussie girls arrived in the bay on a little traditional motorsailer from the main town around the corner for a swim in the crystal clear water. They were on an exotic holiday far from home and were amazed to find a Kiwi boat here, more amazed that it had sailed from NZ, and a bit piqued that their isolated spot was not quite as remote as they thought, “bloody Kiwi’s”, they were friendly though not belligerent. We had the company of a pigeon with Italian registration rings and fed him food and water thinking he/she was enroute but with repeated appearance over two days this area appeared to be his adopted home. On 3rd August we nosed into the submarine pen entrance, said bye to our pigeon nested high on the concrete and sailed to Lastovo Is our intended departure point from Croatia, where we found trees in abundance and scenery reminiscent of Langkawi Malaysia. The recommended anchorage at Mali Lago surrounded by villas seemed full and claustrophobic so we anchored around the corner with a few other boats until 2000hrs when the wind came up and with a rocky shoreline behind us we raised anchor and moved back to Mali Lago just before dark. The anchorage was fuller and filled up during the night with boats coming in at all hours dropping anchor dragging and trying again! Not a very restful night with everyone in the anchorage on tenterhooks preparing for unwanted contact. We moved the next morning around to Veli Lago bay, once again nicely tree-clad with submarine pens cut into the bays and intended to refuel, reprovision and check out of Croatia. A traffic jam at the fueling dock with numerous motorboats refueling, an increasing late morning breeze creating a nasty chop at the dock, saw a dramatic change of plans! The options if departing from Lastovo were to head southeast directly to Greece or southwest via Italy, however with a Lastovo clearance canned we decided that Dubrovnic was worthy of another visit and clearance/ departure from there would allow us a brief visit to the famed fiords of Montenegro further down the east Adriatic coast enroute to Greece. We headed to a landlocked anchorage at Skrivina Luka on the south coast of Lastovo for overnight rest, but how different from the chart/pilot was reality! This south coast of Lastovo in stark contrast to the north and west was barren (obviously fires had taken their toll) and the anchorage whilst free of any swell from the sea was full of weed, which with the wind howling as bad weather approached caused an anchoring nightmare for all and sundry. The bay was sparsely occupied when we arrived and continued to fill with boats as the day progressed. We dragged once, got our floating dinghy painter/line caught around the prop whilst reanchoring (so much for floating line!) but managed to get the anchor reset then watched a procession of yachts enter for shelter and encounter anchoring problems. Most reanchored numerous times with insufficient chain out and clumps of weed clogging their anchors on first attempt, though some remedied the situation by putting out two anchors. Those that anchored too close in front of previously anchored boats dragged back and ended up with fouled anchors. Frantic crews fended off whilst others were in the water trying to untangle anchor rope and chain mess, as both drifted leeward (often facing opposite directions) towards other boats. It was a horror show and went on till the last boats entered after dark. The water off our bow and other anchored yachts bows were only kept free by crew standing up forward and gesticulating wildly with hands or torches and using whatever language appropriate if any boat came near with intentions of dropping anchor. A bay full of weary sailors, far from relaxed with too many boats vying for the same water space. This mirrored the sad situation throughout Croatia with cruising grounds offering so much but too overcrowded in the months of July/August. At 0645hrs the next morning 6th Aug we were off, the wind had dropped overnight and we motored (actually sailed for 3 hrs to Dubrovnic 68 nmiles away. A small finch hopped on for the ride part of the way resting its weary wings and we filled up with diesel at the ACI marina near Dubrovnic before motoring to Zaton bay nearby, anchoring in company with 3 other yachts for the night, a pleasant change from the previous anchorages. Katabatic winds from the surrounding amphitheatre-like mountains however made for a lively anchorage as the boat swung port and starboard rattling the anchor chain most of the night.
At 0630hrs on 7th August, we were off to Dubrovnic for reprovisioning and clearance formalities from Croatia. We struck lucky at the Gruz docks (Dubrovnic’s port) finding a space free opposite the town market where we had cleared in 2 months previously on our journey north. A quick visit to the supermarket, butcher, baker and market then a quick and efficient check out saw us on our way around the headland to the walled City. We “buzzed” the entrance for video/photo shots then headed the 20miles southeast, our Croatian experience behind us, onto the entrance of the three fiords in Montenegro. The winds were still gusty from the land and we motor/sailed the distance quickly to and through the fiords navigating the inner channel through car ferry traffic to the most spectacular innermost fiord with historic monasteries / villages perched on the side of precipitous cliffs. Most of the fiord edged with roading and villages looking in poor state of repair after years of conflict with neighbours and there was only a sprinkling of yachts tied to a few stone jetties. Our destination was the historic town of Kotor with its walls stretching almost vertically up the mountainside, where we intended to spend the night then leisurely head out over the ensuing few days. At Kotor, an Italian cruise liner was in the process of leaving and we circled until she left, then tied up alongside the big concrete dock with big black fenders threatening to disfigure our topsides as pleasure craft / jet skis motored by creating unwelcome wake. I was whisked off by an “official” to do the clearing in formalities whilst Ratna and Daniel kept watch on our mooring lines. First stop passport police where I filled in the necessary forms then to the Harbourmaster’s office where a young lass, representing the harbourmaster, asked for Ship’s papers, Passport and then Skippers Certificate. “Oops” I replied, “that last one is hanging on the wall back in NZ with my other qualifications and any copy I may have onboard is buried deep in some locker”. “Not good enough” she said and insisted on a copy or her boss would be not pleased. I said my Skippers certificate was issued in Cape Town South Africa in 1983 and surely the Ship’s papers showing me as builder and my Passport with countries traversed over the past 3 years should be testimony enough. “No, I need a Skipper’s Certificate” was her reply. Mmm we’re not getting very far here and its been a long day, I tried the logic that Greek and Croatian officials had considered the fact that having sailed from Africa via Australasia was sufficient proof of competence. This had no impact on her stony countenance so I asked for the Papers and Passport back and said we would anchor for the night opposite the town wharf and depart in the morning. This prompted another declaration that she would not be responsible if the coast guard caught us without clearance papers. Seemed to me a lot of shedding responsibility going on and I returned via Passport Police to tear up our application for entry then to our little ships crew with the news that we were off across the bay. This was gladly received, as a night on the town docks seemingly wasn’t going to be too quiet, so we motored off, dropped anchor, had dinner and looked forward to a nights rest. The weather however deteriorated and at 2050hrs we raised anchor as katabatic winds were building from the near vertical mountains promising an uncomfortable night at anchorage. We may as well spend an uncomfortable night at sea on our way to Greece so off we went. Back through the dark fiords with dark thoughts about our irresponsible harbourmaster lass, we cleared the coast at 2330hrs and headed out into the bouncy Adriatic Sea as gusty winds from the land had kicked up confused seas. The 7th August was a very long day!!
The overnight trip of 184miles from Montenegro southeast past mountainous Albania to Erikoussa Is in Greece was uneventful and the early-confused seas gradually abated. We sailed / motored, finally anchoring at Erikoussa at 0300hrs on morning of 9th August. Sleep, snacks, swims until 1400 hrs when we departed enjoying a quiet sail in the afternoon sea breeze the 11 miles to Giorgio Bay on the west coast of Corfu Is. Over the next few days we continued south, first to Paxoi Is where we anchored at Mongonisi, an anchorage which had been quiet on our way north. This time it was crowded with boats, mostly Italian, on their way north and home. Onto Levkas Is on the 11th Aug, passing through the Levkas canal to the town jetty to reprovision again at Zoy’s Marina market. Zoy, the Aussie Greek and his Philipino wife and children were most helpful and were in their most hectic month when all of Greece and Italy were on holiday. We concurred it wasn’t much different out at the anchorages!!
A large gin-palace of a motorboat tied up next to us on the Levkas town jetty almost blotting out the sun. The town jetty was meant for boats in the 30-50ft range but after being asked to move several times by the authorities, he wasn’t moving as space everywhere was at a premium! The boat “Nina” was at least 100ft long with Indian engineer and Philipino crew and owned by a Greek Cypriot shipping magnate who shipped mineral concentrates down the East African coast. Guests on board had links to Australia and they were friendly, striking up conversation looking down on us as we craned our necks skywards. We compared cruising notes and of significance was their consumption of diesel fuel, 650 litres per hour at 30kts!!!! That’s almost twice our tank capacity and would enable us to motor for 260hrs at our cruising speed. There’s a lot of money floating around the Med.
We left Levkas on 12th August and continued down the narrow Levkas canal and anchored at Meganisi Is close to where we had been on our way north. This time the bay was packed with boats and we managed to find a spot beside a red yacht “El Cid” which we knew from Kota Kinabalu Sabah Borneo in 1997. Benjamin, the owner is singlehanding and is slowly working his way back to France. We moved onto Ithaca Is the next day, anchoring at Skhoinos bay and our neighbour was a huge fedship “Huntress” even bigger than “Nina” and flying a British Caribbean flag. An all European crew of about 6 with an American family onboard, 4 jetskies, dinghies, a motorboat on davits the size of us, left us feeling very much like paupers. On the morning of 14th Aug we departed early for Zakinthos Is to the south and about a mile and a half offshore, felt a series of thumps on the hull. I throttled back checked the depth (160 metres), the propeller (nothing around that), the bow (nothing caught on our bobstay). Ratna’s astute suspicion of an earthquake was confirmed shortly afterwards on the morning radio sked with Net control anchored at Vlikho bay on Levkas Is. We had a radio sked most mornings (propogation allowing), where cruising boats received good weather and other information and kept in touch with friends. Net control confirmed that they had just had an earthquake and all the boats on land at the nearby boatyard had all fallen over!!! The quake was quite severe with the Levkas canal subsequently being closed for almost a week and several tourists in Levkas town being injured by falling debris. It was a real surprise to feel an earthquake at sea, something akin to running aground!! Arriving at the northern end of Zakinthos Is after our earlier excitement, we motored past limestone caves “Blue Grotto equivalent” according to the pilot, but hardly a comparison to the one’s we are familiar with in Phuket Thailand, then weaved our way through day tripper boats a few miles to our intended anchorage at the little town of Ay Nikolas. There we were confronted with the rear end of a large departing ferry and a huge new concrete wharf that held no appeal. We chose to head to the southern end of Zakinthos via the west coast so we motored back past the caves and the tripper boats and down the west coast which proved to have a some remarkable sights. The huge white cliffs along this coast and the clear blue water combined to make some amazing turquoise reflections at the base of the cliffs and boats with white hulls, anchored at their base appeared to be coloured turquoise as well! Wreck bay was nestled in amongst these high cliffs where two half buried freighters high and dry on the sand proved a magnet for many tripper boats from the eastern side of the island and their hoards of tourists. This exposed coast whilst flat calm and everybody’s playground when we passed was obviously a different prospect in winter months. We anchored off Keri the southernmost bay of Zakinthos at 1915hrs, 12hours of motoring after starting off from Ithaca, a very eventful day, earthquakes and all. We stayed at anchor the next day amongst other yachts and tripper boats heading back and forth to catch glimpses of loggerhead turtles heading to their egg laying sanctuaries on adjacent beaches.
A 0430hr start from Zakinthos Is on the morning of 16th August to travel the 75nmiles to Methoni on the SW tip of the Peloponnisos peninsula, mainland Greece. We saw no turtles but enjoyed sailing most of the way adjacent to increasingly barren scenery of the mountainous Peloponnisos and arrived at the quaint town of Methoni at 1745hrs and anchored next to other yachts in the small harbour flanked by a Turkish castle and Venetian fort. We stayed two nights, dinghying ashore, amongst the crowds frolicking off the beach, to the village-like town, which was like a furnace at this time of the year. We met John & Sigrun off yacht “Fillimou” and compared notes with Dennis & Mary off motor trawler “Teka III” who we’d last seen in Starigrad Croatia. We day hopped eastwards across the bottom of the Peloponnisos peninsula, sailing for a large part of the time as winds were getting more consistent. We overnighted at anchorages off the town of Koroni, then a rolly-polly anchorage at Porto Kayio which was surrounded by towering barren mountains and the first re-appearance of the box-like Aegean type Grecian housing we had first encountered in the Aegean sea on our trek westwards 3 months earlier. After the rolly-polly anchorage we had a lively sail away from the Peloponnisos peninsula to the island of Kithera, which is a stepping stone in the stormy straits to the large island of Crete. The weather was getting increasingly boisterous as we approached the Aegean Sea, notorious for strong northerly quarter winds (Meltimi) at this time of the year. Before arriving at the little village of Avelomona on the sth coast of Kithera Is we passed through a major shipping channel for east-west traffic in the Mediterranean, briefly stopped mid-ocean, amongst passing ships, to collect (after a few attempts!) a childrens plastic dinghy which was 15-20 miles offshore and being tumbled along at a fair speed towards the African coast to the south. Before dusk we passed the horrible sight of a large wrecked and abandoned ship perched at 45 degrees on a small islet off the west coast of Kithera, a sober reminder of the need to keep on constant guard for weather and navigational hazards. Remote Avelomona despite its gusty wind, barren surroundings and boxy houses was a pretty little holiday haven and after resetting the anchor we enjoyed a relaxing swim in the crystal clear water and watched the evening trek of little fishing boats with their solitary occupants heading out to try their luck.
21st – 28th August GREECE Khania, Rethimon, Iraklion, Spinalongha lagoon, Sitia (CRETE) - 8nights 202miles
We left Avelomona at 0240hrs on the morning of 21st August to travel the 70nmiles to Crete with a reef in the mainsail and a partly furled genoa as we hurtled south-east towards Crete in the dark amongst more shipping traffic. Approaching the coast of Crete the wind dropped out and our nice following sea developed into a confused chaos as the northerly swells from the Aegean Sea setup a horrible backwash as they crashed against the long mountainous shores of Crete. We corkscrewed our way towards Khania and mid-afternoon passed through the ancient Venetian harbour entrance after anxiously negotiating an outside breakwater demolished by past heavy seas. We anchored and tied our stern to the town dock alongside a handful of other yachts surrounded by relics of the past as old Venetian buildings towered above us and horses and carts carried tourists past our stern in this historic location. We connected the shore power and water hose and enjoyed cool air-conditioned air down below whilst everything above deck was washed and de-salted, our first opportunity for weeks. Numerous people stopped by for a chat and we enjoyed the proximity of shops, cafes, a WW II museum on this our first of eight very pleasant days in Crete. Getting from place to place along the north coast was a little arduous, motor-sailing with the seas still in washing machine-like motion, but heading east was easier than bashing westwards particularly when the midday sea breeze came up and we pitied the occasional yacht heading in the opposite direction. After 2 nights in Khania our next stop was a brief one in Rethimon harbour, 34nmiles west, where we tied up stern-to a large new concrete structure that serves as a ferry terminal with future plans for a marina. The small Venetian harbour tucked in the corner of the commercial harbour was too crowded with local fishing boats so our stay lacked the charm of the Venetian harbour at Khania. On the morning of 23rd August we continued 37nmiles to Iraklion, the main city, airport and port of Crete where departing jets screaming over the city at frequent intervals. One of the locals said Iraklion airport was busier than Athens. After motoring down the long harbour past ships and ferries coming and going we entered the fisherman’s harbour and made several attempts to slot into a couple of vacant berths at the yacht club pontoons but were waved over by fishermen to their spot on the outer harbour wall adjacent to an intact old castle. They helped us tie up amongst them, which was fortunate as the few vacant berths on the yacht club pontoons quickly filled with local yachts and motor-boats returning. There were no facilities for visiting yachts at Iraklion and a few other yachts that ventured in during the days we were there had to tie up at the main wharf and cope with the surge from adjacent ferry traffic. We were snug in our spot with friendly locals who though they couldn’t speak English treated us to the spoils of some of their fish catch and kept an eye on our home whilst we were in town. Good neighbours, good weather and safe havens make for peace of mind, great spots and memories!! We wandered around town amongst the masses of tourists, enjoying its mix of history, Minoan, Roman, Venetian, Turkish as Crete lying on the route to the east was an important location for conquerors and merchants alike. We visited the museum with all the Minoan artifacts and took a trip out to the ancient site of Minoan civilization at Knossos, which dates back to early Egyptian times. The ruins had been excavated and rehabilitated to better portray what they may have been, but sadly masses of concrete pillars etc seemed to detract rather than enhance the scene. Several Kiwi’s called by and said hello when we were back at the boat, and one “apparent Kiwi” dressed in All Black gear going for an afternoon jog along the outer wall turned out to be a local gentleman who had never been to NZ but a very ardent supporter of NZ sports particularly the America’s Cup who he said “had been stolen from NZ by a bunch of renegade Kiwi’s masquerading as Swiss”. Niklaus kindly invited us out to dinner and we enjoyed his hospitality eating at a very privileged table at a nice restaurant amongst affluent locals away from the tourist hoards and haunts. He chaperoned us back helping with Dani in the pushchair down the street curbs and steps back to the harbour, a very pleasant evening. We cleared with the Port Police (checking in and out at each Port in Crete was mandatory) and left Iraklion early on 26th August after filling our diesel tanks, (first refill since Dubrovnic in Croatia). We motorsailed 38nmiles to Spinalongha Lagoon and anchored behind yet another Venetian/Turkish fort in 4 metres of water where flying boats had utilized the shallow protected anchorage during World War II. Two quiet days and in between swims, a number of R&M jobs were completed (sanding/varnishing/painting-non-skid deck repaint in the cockpit) and Ratna had the foredeck looking like a Chinese laundry with a big clothing/bedding wash up. At midday on the 28th August we headed east 24nmiles to the little town of Sitia our last stop in Crete and our departure point for the last leg back to Turkey. We did the usual stern-to tie up to the town jetty and resupplied a few items from little shops up the little streets in the little town. We met two Tasmanian couples at different places that unbeknown to one another were holidaying similarly by hire-car through Crete. We were the only visiting cruising yacht in the harbour amongst a few local craft, we had enjoyed the normality of anchorages and harbour moorings here in Crete as in the Peloponnisos compared to the hectic crowded spots in Croatia and further north in Greece. Our view of Crete from the harbours and sea, with its high dry barren mountains, mixture of creeds (ignoring the land tourists) and its very visible ancient history had a special atmosphere for us, a little bit of Egypt/Africa, a bit of laid back Turkey and a bit of Venice/Greece/Croatia. Our next leg was to take us across the Karpathia Straits between Crete, Karpathos Is and Rhodes Is, reknown for turbulent waters with windblown meltemi swells from the north mixing with north-bound current from deeper waters to the south.
29th – 31st August GREECE Trisomo (Karpathos Is), Alimia Is, Simi Is, TURKEY Datcha - 3nights 152miles
We started early at 0600hrs from Sitia on the 29th August and exited the harbour to be met by the usual mixed swell that had tossed us along our way across the top of Crete. Today was no different and with a gusty 20kt wind from the NW we reached our way in the turbulent sea NE towards the Is of Karpathos, occasionally losing sight of ships passing across and behind us as we dipped in the big swells. We were making good progress so headed to the far-north of Karpathos to a small inlet named Trisomo, which on the chart/pilot looked a marvelously sheltered anchorage. Its disease like name and approach from the sea however implied a different interpretation was in wait. Towering cliffs hid the narrow entrance beside an island protecting the anchorage from the sea swell and despite having electronic navigation aiding us, the entrance was only confirmed when I saw a fishing boat enter and exit. We nosed closer in the uncomfortable swells and once committed, there were nail biting seconds as we rode the swells in the narrow gap between the cliffs and shot into the lagoon with hearts racing! We were in and the water was flat as a pancake, two fishing boats lay rafted together tied bow and stern to rocks and being held off by the wind which was hooting, accelerated through this lowly area between the mountainous peaks on either side. We headed down to the eastern end of the lagoon with boxy housing on the shore and a chapel perched on the headland. Anchoring off the ghost village (there were only goats resident) we relaxed as much as we could in rather spooky surroundings. The wind screamed during the night and with loud noises emanating from the anchor chain and bobstay every time we careered off so another anchor was set in order to stabilize us and ensure some rest. Not a good night and not wanting to stay another night the morning prospect of heading out the narrow pass in rough conditions was almost as daunting (The rock and the hard place scenario). We got everything shipshape and ran the gauntlet, shooting through the narrow gap and into the swells without leaving any paint on the rocks. The seas were not comfortable but not as bad as the screeching wind had suggested and when well away from the island, conditions settled down and we continued across Karpathia strait towards the little Alimia Is, adjacent to its larger neighbour Rhodes, arriving there late in the day and anchored in a quiet bay with another yacht and two motorboats. We were getting close to our favourite and familiar cruising ground, Turkey and we raised anchor early on 31st August to complete our return to Turkey and were eager and refreshed after a nice restful night in pleasant surroundings compared to the previous night in god-forsaken Trisomo! Weather conditions had eased and we motored to Simi Is where we tied up for half an hour to complete check out formalities from Greece and the EU. Whilst waiting for Ratna to complete a last minute trinket buy-up, the skipper on an adjacent motoryacht, a Turkish “Gulet” from nearby Datcha, waiting for his charter guests came over in the swelter (near 40 degree C temps) with a can of Efes, Turkish beer and returned a few minutes later with a plate of mixed nuts. This type of spontaneous hospitality had been very rare after departing Turkish waters and it felt good to be back. We motored the last 11nmiles to the town of Datcha in Turkey and anchored off at 1730hrs promptly leaping into the water for a cooling swim. The next day, friends Warren Batt (Batty) & his wife Marg on “Mustang Sally” were arriving from Kneidos further along the Datcha peninsula and we were to spend the month of September cruising together south-east along the Turkish coast to our home away from home at Kemer where we were leaving the boats for winter.
1st September, relaxing cruise mode about to start after our long trek across the Aegean and Adriatic Seas and back. The dinghy was launched, the Yamaha 15hp outboard motor lowered and we went ashore for check-in formalities, supplies, haircut and then awaited “Mustang Sally’s” arrival. They arrived when the wind had picked up and we both had to reset anchors in the weedy bottom. We had a few reunion drinks watching swimmers arrive, amongst great fanfare, having completed the annual swimathon 11nmiles from neighbouring Simi Is in Greece. We then adjourned for a convivial meal at Maradonna’s restaurant on the quay (the owner is a look-alike) and returned to “Star of the West” for rum nightcaps. The next day, after a morning of internet catch-up (the internet availability for laptops in Greece, Croatia [except Starigrad] and even Italy for laptop carrying yachties was very poor), we had a boisterous sail (race Batty?) down the channel to the anchorage at Keci Buku. Here we anchored behind the Crusader castle on a small island, finding other Kemer yachts (Tuocan Tango, Rhumb Line) nestled there. We spent 5 nights at anchor relaxing, swimming, catching up with old friends afloat and ashore, frequented Sali’s restaurant, Mama’s, caught the minibus (Dolmus) to nearby Marmaris for shopping and Ratna’s haircut, did washing, filled water tanks, desalted the boat, stainless rigging and rails then on the afternoon of the 7th Sep motored around to nearby Bozburun town. The weather was still fairly gusty and we motorsailed most of the way to Bozburun into a short steep seas which undid all our desalting efforts of the previous few days and anchored late, wet and cold, (me that is as Mum & Daniel were snug in the aft cabin), the temps had dropped markedly from high 30’s to mid 20’s in the last few days, an early hint of winter? The next day we went ashore leaving the dinghies in the little town basin and jollied around the pretty village of Bozburun (haircuts being in vogue, one for Batty with a beard trim) topped up with more supplies before heading out to an anchorage nearby (Kisili Adasi) for the night.
We set off on the morning of 9th Sep to travel the 60nmiles past Rhodes Is to the Gocek area and the myriad of anchorages in Skopia Limani. We anchored at 22 Fathom Cove late in the day and tied up to adjacent pine trees. Swimming (Dani with his plastic ring) and then sundowner drinks on “Star of the West” which carried onto midnight fortified by Indonesian noodles ala Ratna. The wind stayed gusty for the duration of the next 10 days but we were sheltered in the lee of the islands at Skopia Limani and then at anchor in Fethiye bay adjacent to the Mediteran hotel with Johno’s jetty. We enjoyed meals ashore once again catching up with old friends (Johno, Barry & Rosemary (“Fandango” who we had met in Kusadasi earlier in the year), and made new friends Erdal & his wife Sarife. We resupplied from local supermarkets and the big weekly market adjacent to the canal and Erdal who ran a local internet café helped Batty and I purchase and setup new Nokia handphones which enabled us to surf the web and send/receive emails onboard via infrared connection to our laptops. A huge plus, instead of carrying laptops ashore (and keeping them dry) in dinghies and trying to locate internet cafes!!! Amazing new technology and the GPRS (General packet Radio Service) connections are as fast or faster than normal landlines and cheap in Turkey. The six days anchored at Fethiye in flat waters also allowed completion of the varnishing work (6 coats on teak strips on the hull and all the teak hatches) which was a real bonus as the summer sun combined with salt spray had done a good job in peeling last years coats off. We left the Fethiye area on 19th Sep and for the next 7 days motored/sailed eastwards around the coast. Firstly to a bay opposite Kalkan and here, between swimming in this secluded anchorage, had an MSN Messenger text chat with Graeme Chuck (in Sinkawang Kalimantan (Borneo) Indonesia and Nigel Hall in Perth Australia, courtesy of the new GPRS phone/computer connection, amazing!!! Next to Kas, anchoring close to the weekly market area and the centre of town, then to Ucagiz (opposite the village), and nearby Gokkoya (Kekova roads amongst the limestone islets). Finally to Cineviz (a deep fiordlike anchorage) half a day away from Kemer marina, our final destination. At Cineviz on the 25th Sep, we celebrated Daniel’s 1st birthday, with cake from Kas and party hats, balloons etc from “Mustang Sally”. Little Daniel had traveled a lot of miles in his first year oblivious to the relevance of most of the external surrounds with the exception of the Yamaha outboard motor and inflatable dinghy, his favourite “toys” viewed from his cockpit position. Increasing mobility will make next years cruise “exciting “ for all of us. We departed Cineviz on the morning of 26th Sep and briefly anchored off the beach at Olympus whilst “Mustang Sally’s” crew visited the ancient ruins and then enjoyed a final sail the last 15nmiles to Kemer where we had all sail up, (gennaker, genoa poled out and full mainsail), gennaker for the first time this summer, while we tried to keep pace with “Mustang Sally” and her race oriented skipper & crew. We were met at the marina entrance by Hamza in the marina inflatable and welcomed like dignitaries by the faithful marina staff who were like family to us. We had completed our summer trek in the Med.
10 days of work and interspersed relaxation as we
prepared the boat for lifting onto dryland for winter and catching up with old
friends and meeting new ones. Cleaning, storing sails, rigging winter covers,
chain and anchor for galvanizing etc and eating out. This latter included,
reclining on cushions at the Bedouin tent restaurant perched on the hill
overlooking the marina, with a farmyard of chickens and animals perched over us
eyeing our food, and appearances at happy hour at the popular Navigator bar
& restaurant. We hauled out on the 5th Oct and saw “Star of the
West” safely nestled in a new steel cradle (no wooden poles for us after the
earthquake impacts on the boats stored that way in Levkas Greece). We spent a
night in a local pension hotel in Kemer and flew out from nearby Antalya airport
bound for Istanbul to catch our international flight to Singapore and Jakarta,
to catch up with Ratna’s family in Semarang and then onto Auckland in late Oct
to see family and friends in NZ.