AYVALIK Sunday 2nd May It was blowing a gale when we left here last October and was blowing a gale when we arrived in the early hours of Thursday morning. Now calm and nice and warm. Yesterday (1st May) was a day of marches, rousing music and stirring speeches here. Kabardar was lifted out yesterday morning and we are now settled in to 10 days or so of scraping, sanding, oiling, polishing etc etc etc
AYVALIK Friday 7th May Had a good day out today. The significant work to be done on the boat is now complete and so we took ourselves on the bus to visit Pergamon. Typical of ancient Greco-
AYVALIK Saturday 8th May In spite of all the issues in the UK, Europe and the rest of the World, the first item on the BBC World Service News this evening – who will win the UK Premier League Football Championship!
AYVALIK Tuesday 11th May We’re all ready to go now. Kabardar will go back in the water tomorrow and we will immediately head northwards towards the Dardanelles and the Sea of Marmara. Winds are forecast to be light from the NE for the next few days.
BOZCAADA Friday 14th May The wind god was kind to us today and gave us an easy SW 4 which brought us steadily to the island of Bozcaada where we are now tied up on the quay. The previous 2 nights we spent at anchor. Wednesday night in a very quiet, sheltered spot amongst some small islands with only a group of cormorants on a nearby rock for company; the perfect antidote to 2 weeks in the marina/boat yard. Thursday night was not quite so perfect but was a convenient stopping point along the way. Mostly fishing boats here which left this evening. Have 2 wishes – that the fishing boats do not return in the small hours and that the 2 minarets remain quiet at 5am! Temperature at 6pm today was 27°C.
CANAKKALE Saturday 15th May It wasn’t the fishing boats returning that woke us, nor was it the mezzuin at 5am but the wind getting up at 5.30. It came from a direction which brought a lumpy sea into the harbour making the quay a bad place to be. Left at 7am and after a wild ride N made it into the Dardanelles and up to Canakkale. Gales everywhere, but we’re tucked in the corner of a pretty sheltered harbour. The volume of commercial shipping in this waterway, at Canakkale only 1200m across, is impressive.
PORT MARMARA Friday 21st May We stayed in Canakkale until Tuesday, a day longer than planned. With the SW gale continuing and the resultant wind against current effect in the Dardanelles we decided to wait. Tourism in Canakkale is very focussed on the Gallipoli campaign and Troy. Leaving on Tuesday the wind, of course, had swung right round and was now, with the current, against us. The adverse stream was around 2 knots most of the way, but at times was a little over 3. We got as far as Cardak at the northern end of the Dardanelles and anchored for the night. Continued into the Sea of Marmara on Wednesday but with the NE wind (almost exactly opposite to the forecast), current and a head sea against us, stopped early at Kemer. Bad choice! During the night the wind went round to NW and made for a very roly poly uncomfortable night. Yesterday, again with what wind there was against us we motored on to Port Marmara on the island of Marmara. Found it a pleasant place so decided to stay.
Since the gales the weather has been quite overcast and the temperature something like 6°C down on what we’ve had. Went for a bit of a walk today, there are still lots of spring flowers here. Just next to the harbour is a boat yard where we think they are making their own glue -
ERDEK Tuesday 25th May We intended to leave Marmara on Saturday but when we woke up it was pouring with rain. This continued for most of the morning and showed little sign of stopping so we stayed another night. Since leaving Marmara on Sunday we have been pottering around the Marmara Islands very slowly as there has been only the lightest of winds. But at least the sun has been shining. Both Sunday and Monday spent at anchor in a large shallow and very unspoiled bay.
The seas around the islands must have a fair number of fish in them because there are cormorants everywhere but efforts at fishing off the back of the boat yielded zilch. Have also seen several pods of dolphins.
Arrived here in Erdek this afternoon.
ISTANBUL Tuesday 8th June Stayed in Erdek for 5 days getting various jobs done, and finally sorting out our Internet connection. Took the bus to Bursa, once the capital city for the Ottomans, for a day. Large modern city but with several old mosques and a covered bazaar. Kate and Derek joined us on Saturday 29th and we left Erdek on the Sunday.
Spent a few days pottering around the Marmara Islands and then back to the mainland. Spent a very wild and windy night anchored in a large harbour at Cakilkoy. Although the village was small and very simple, the harbour was stuffed with dozens of largish fishing boats, none of which moved. As well as wind, donkeys braying disturbed our sleep! Then it was on E to Mudanya, from where we made another trip to Bursa. Then on for 1 night at anchor at the Princes Islands, the influence of a big city becoming apparent. Arrived here in the marina at Fenerbahce on Saturday.
Sunday and Monday we have spent exploring Istanbul. In the rain! It has been raining for 48 hrs, often very heavily. A bucket on deck would suggest that we have had approx. 6 cms in 24 hrs alone!
Kate and Derek left this morning in a thunderstorm!
ISTANBUL Friday 11th June The rain finally stopped late on Tuesday afternoon. Then the water which had fallen rose again and we had fog and we were constantly hearing the sound of ships’ foghorns. Spent Wednesday and Thursday pottering around Istanbul in sunshine and increasingly blue skies. It’s been a good visit, but a lot of places not visited. Most impressive place was the Topkapi Harem. Most underwhelming experience must be a toss up between the city walls -
IGNEADA Sunday 13th June Left Istanbul on Saturday and set off up the Bosphorus, once past the manic movement of ferries, tugs, trip boats etc etc near the main Istanbul ferry terminals it was all relatively calm. Had a long day to cover around 70 miles before anchoring for the night in a quiet little bay. Unfortunately there was no wind and we motored every mile! Did the remaining 22 miles to Igneada, very close to the border with Bulgaria, today.
We try to abide by the rules and regulations wherever we go, so since our Turkish cruising permit apparently covered us only as far as Istanbul we enquired whether we needed to see the authorities in Istanbul before continuing. The answer was no. Furthermore, we were advised that all exit formalities could be completed at Igneada. When we arrived here we were met by 4 underemployed coastguards (including the commander) who helped us tie up then gave us both coffee and tea and seemed to have plenty of time to chat. Asking about exit procedures we were told that, no, it couldn’t be done here, it should have been done in Istanbul! But then we wouldn’t have been allowed to stop anywhere else in Turkey! The commander’s suggestion was that, since we wouldn’t want to go back to Istanbul, we just go on when we are ready. Which is exactly what we will do. There’s sometimes no understanding the official mind!
SOZOPOL Friday 18th June We had a very efficient entry into Bulgaria last Monday. Arriving in the small port at Tzarevo the police and customs officials waited on the quay as we tied up and then dealt with the paperwork very speedily. Moved on after 2 nights to the very unspoilt Ropotamo Bay where we spent 1 night at anchor with nobody else in sight. It seemed strange to see grass growing the rocks in the sea! Left Ropotamo yesterday afternoon with wind and sea increasing and came the short hop to a newish marina at Sozopol. Quite fortuitous as the wind got quite strong and the sea rough later yesterday. Old Sozopol is interesting, but very touristy.
Since leaving Igneada have had light winds and smooth seas (until yesterday). Only other foreign flagged boat we have seen is a Swiss catamaran. Bulgarian yachtsmen are very friendly and helpful.
NESSEBAR Monday 21st June After a couple af days at Sozopol we went and anchored off the small village of Otmanli. A curious place, once a fishing community around a couple of small canals, now rapidly being taken over by holiday homes. We went into the canals in the dinghy and the weed managed to clog up the propeller.
Yesterday had a very good sail to Nessebar with a SSE 4/5 although the sea was pretty choppy. Nice that the boat was properly powered up and charging along! Nessebar is an old town and a World Heritage Site on account of the remains of a large number of 5th-
VARNA Wednesday 23rd June Sometimes we wonder why we take any notice of weather forecasts. With forecasts for yesterday varying between SW and SE and all Force 4-
Were planning to leave tomorrow but the people here think a W gale is coming. This is at variance with the forecast we have, so who knows. We have been found a more comfortable and sheltered berth though.
We’ve been on some rickety old buses around the world but the old things we used here today take some beating. Shaking and rattling along and sounding as though the rear axle was about to part company with everything else!
VARNA Thursday 24th June Stormbound! Not quite a gale but strong winds and rain. In our new place (apparently not an official berth) the man on the adjacent yacht was not happy that we (heavier than them) were leaning heavily on him in the cross wind. Set about attaching more lines to stop this. To get a line from a suitable point we floated a pair of old crocs (shoes that is!) with a line attached which were blown with the wind towards us. Everybody happy.
PASALIMANI ADASI Tuesday 29th June Back in the Sea of Marmara. Went from Varna to Sozopol last Friday which had all the necessities for a Saturday spent doing washing, shopping and Wimbledon. Left Sozopol on Sunday and, with a short stop at Tsarevo to check out of Bulgaria, headed back to the Marmara Islands. Winds ranged from not a lot to quite a lot and overall we made good progress to anchor in the bay here at just after midnight last night after 189 miles.
CESME Saturday 3rd July After an enjoyable overnight sail of 160 miles from the N end of the Dardanelles we arrived here this morning, about 3 hours earlier than we had predicted. After leaving the Dardanellles, we had good winds which kept up all night except for a couple of hours. Much hotter down here! The day before, on the way to the N end of the Dardanelles it seemed as though we had all the dolphins in the Sea of Marmara around us!
CESME Monday 5th July We seem to be in a wind funnel! The meltemi is blowing, not too strongly, except for this little corner. Fine to go S but not so great for N where we wish to go. Hope to get away early tomorrow am when wind should be at a minimum.
FOCA Thursday 8th July Still windy from the N. We escaped from Cesme Marina as planned early on Tuesday and bashed the 10 miles N to a small island called Karaada to anchor in one of the bays on the south of the island. With just us and 2 other yachts in lovely unspoiled surroundings it seemed the ideal place to sit in the sun for a day or 2 and wait for the strong northerlies to subside. Then the trip boats started to arrive. First two, with loud music blaring. Then a change of shift and two others arrived plus at times 1 or 2 others who came in to have a look, all with loud music blaring. Good news was that by 5pm they all disappeared and the evening was perfectly peaceful.
Still windy on Wednesday so we decided to stay, but moved after breakfast to the adjacent smaller bay where we thought we would be safe from the trip boats. Wrong! Some went in there as well. Then to make matters worse a coastguard patrol boat arrived at lunchtime and told us we weren’t allowed to be there as it is a ‘military area’ (whatever that means!) and we must move. We protested that there was no such prohibition marked on our chart but to no avail. We had to move. Fortunately, 5 miles away there was a large bay on the mainland, not quite as scenic, but offering adequate shelter from the wind and sea.
Left there this morning with forecasts of increasing N winds and managed the 37 miles to Foca where we are now anchored in the bay. Wind and sea not too difficult on the way although at one point it got a bit wild.
CANDARLI Monday 12th July Forecasts of near gales kept us in Foca until Sunday, then yesterday we had a good sail into the Candarli Gulf. Currently at Candarli which is a lovely Turkish seaside town, totally different from places like Cesme. Getting hotter.
BADEMLI LIMANI Wednesay 14th July A simply beautiful place. Anchored between a couple of small totally unspoilt islands with turquoise sea over white sand. There are hot springs along the shore, the colour of some being curiously green!
AYVALIK Saturday 17th July Back in Ayvalik Marina, and now for the cleaning and washing before heading home. This trip we covered approx. 1180 miles and it was one of the best cruises we have made, because of the variety. The meltemi had the last word and gave us a very windy day and night at anchor in the Ayvalik Archipelago before we came in here.
BADEMLI LIMANI Sunday 29th August We delayed leaving Ayvalik for a day because of very strong winds and came in here yesterday. As soon as we started to move Kabardar out of the marina berth it was obvious that the propeller was not performing as it should, then in the bouyed channel the engine started to cough and splutter. Of all the places to have a problem with the engine, a relatively narrow channel with shallow water on either side and ferries and trip boats coming and going is not the best! Luckily problem resolved when we found we had not switched the diesel on!! When we got in here Chris dived down to investigate the prop and found a high density barnacle colony -
This morning we managed to make an adventure out of buying bread and onions. Going in the dinghy in search of Bademli village the water got first of all too shallow to use the outboard, then too shallow to paddle so it had to be pulled as far as possible at which point we were in the middle of a salt marsh. Waded through the mud which did eventually became salt encrusted, hard baked mud. Found the village which was totally the back of beyond and we did get the bread and onions.
FOCA Wednesday 1st September Winds have been more or less Southerly since we left Ayvalik which never seems to be a good omen! We came in here yesterday for an overnight stop and woke this morning to dark clouds, rain, and thunder. Once it had calmed down somewhat we set off (heading ultimately for Cesme) but once out of the harbour found ourselves bashing straight into a pretty rough sea and a stiff wind. So back we came. Anchor down with loads of chain and wait.
CESME Friday 3rd September Got up just after dawn yesterday and left Foca. Useful winds all day so had an excellent sail down to Cesme. At one point we were surrounded by a very large pod of Bottlenose Dolphins and Chris is convinced he could hear them squeaking to each other when they were near the boat.
Now in that wind funnel known as Cesme Marina awaiting Phil, Alex & Lara who arrive tomorrow.
SIGACIK Tuesday 7th September Thanks to a FlyThomasCook plane breaking down (again!) PAL arrived 4½ hours late but at least on the day expected!. Left Cesme on Sunday to potter round the corner and anchor up for a bit of beach activity before heading to anchor at Alcati for the night. Plenty of wind -
KUSADASI Saturday 11th September Arrived in the marina here yesterday lunchtime. We spent 2 nights in a lovely bay (Kormen Adasi) between Sigacik and Kusadasi around which there were allegedly hot springs but where exactly? A couple of trip boats came in on the first morning and it was my natural instinct to go any anywhere but where they were; but of course, going where they were anchored led us to the hot rocks, hot springs and hot sea water inside small caves. In some places steam was rising from the sea water. The beach ball that we rescued from floating endlessly around the Ionian in 2005 was finally used here! A lovely spot. Trip on to Kusadasi was totally windless. Found an excellent Turkish restaurant last night.
The gang left this morning and have spent the day getting the boat back to ‘normal’ and will enjoy the chocolate buttons we found in the bottom of the fridge!
KUSADASI Sunday 12th September Had a day out and went to Ephesus today. It turned out to be a somewhat underwhelming experience. Perhaps we’ve been to one ancient site too many!
Planning to leave here tomorrow but this morning Turk Radio put out a gale warning for the Aegean and a sea forecast of very rough to high so we’ll see.
ALACATI Tuesday 14th September No gale came, at least we saw no sign of one. Yesterday sailed in light winds which gradually faded to nothing so, not fancying motoring, we stopped at Kormen Adasi for the afternoon and evening. This morning inside the bay it was quite calm and although we could see that there was wind outside we were surprised when we left to be met with a moderate sea and a brisk N wind. And so today we sailed on a close reach in a N6 the 31 miles to Alacati, our next scheduled stop. Not as many windsurfers as last time we were here but after anchoring up we had a group of them charging backwards and forwards for a couple of hours, passing very close to our stern. It felt as though they were using us a some kind of target practice!
CHIOS Wednesday 15th September Slipped out of Turkey unofficially for the second time this year and here we are in the main town on the Greek island of Chios where we have officially entered Greece. It seems that we now have to pay a 15€ entry tax! Had a lively sail up from Alacati this morning in a N6 which was fine until we turned north into the gap between Turkey and Chios when the sea got pretty lumpy, but nothing we couldn’t cope with. For the second day in a row we really wished that the staysail was on a roller!! Cloudless conditions continue and we’ve found free WiFi!
IONOUSSA Thursday 16th September Nothing much has changed since we left Greece last year. Before we left Chios this morning it took the Port office 15 mins and involved 2 staff to work out that we needed to pay 8.91€ in port dues and to put the departure stamp on our cruising permit!
If any of the Greek islands could be described as genteel it must be Ionoussa, a tiny island just off the northern end of Chios, where we now are. The ancestral home of something like 1/3 of the big Greek shipping families and a lot of the island owned, financed and controlled by them. Even by Greek standards there are a huge number of churches given the population. Little in the way of tourism. A pleasant stopover.
PLOMARI Saturday 18th September Arrived here yesterday after a sail with quite bizarre winds ie. NW4 then E then nothing. Now tied up on the quay in this town on the S coast of the Greek island of Lesbos. Last night we were treated to a performance of modern Greek music being performed live in the taverna on the quay. All very pleasant except that as the evening went on it got louder and louder eventually finishing at 2am after which sleep was possible. Fortunately the music was good and this is a delightful, very friendly, very Greek town and so our tolerance level is higher than it might otherwise be.
KUMRU KOYU Wednesday 22nd September After a couple of days in the lovely town of Plomari and an overnight stop at Mitilini on the west side of Lesbos to check out of Greece, we slipped back into Turkish waters yesterday. Thinking it would be nice to spend a couple of days in the wilds before heading finally into Ayvalik we came here just a bit south of Ayvalik and are anchored in totally unspoiled surroundings with no other boats and nothing ashore except for a fisherman’s house. All very lovely except that as we crossed over from Lesbos the wind rapidly strengthened giving us a very wild ride and it hasn’t let up for 2 days. Constant gale warnings for this area. Last night was particularly noisy and wild in spite of it being fairly sheltered in here and there’s no indication yet that tonight will be any calmer.
AYVALIK Monday 27th September Kabardar was lifted out for the winter this morning. The end of a pleasant potter in the late summer sun.