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Cruise 2013

MAMARIS Friday 31st May

We left Finike, all work complete, on Sunday 26th and have had a lot of the wrong type of wind since then!

On Sunday we made the short 21 mile jump west to Kekova Roads, motoring all the way as there was no usable wind.  We intended to stay at anchor for 2 nights and spend the intervening day trying out the dinghy with the sail and generally enjoying finally not being in the marina.  On Monday morning there was a warning of a gale from the WSW and that’s exactly what we got.  Far too windy to sail the little dinghy and far too windy to keep the sunshade up but we were in a spot which was sheltered from the sea and the anchor held OK.  Fortunately it died down during the evening and we had a peaceful night.

On Tuesday, there being little wind, we motored 17 miles further west to the Greek Island of Meyisti and, having checked that the ferry from Rhodes was not due that day, anchored in the main harbour.  After a trip ashore to buy the essentials of life (bread and wine) we had a look at the forecast and Wednesday was forecast to be SE!!  Our next planned jump was the 50 miles up to the Fethiye area and the course needed was W then WNW and finally almost due N in more or less equal thirds so this was excellent news.  Up early the next day we checked the forecasts again - SE 4-6.  We set off at around 7.30am and once out of the shelter of the harbour we did indeed have a good SE 4/5, the sea was a bit lumpy but not too bad.  After a couple of hours we were passing Kalkan which was the only other possible harbour we would pass and once we left behind the rocks and islets off Kalkan the sea calmed a little, although still very lumpy, and the wind had now increased to F6.  With just the genoa, which had been reefed and reefed again to keep Kabardar controllable, we were racing along.  After another couple of hours the sea began to get increasingly rough and then an hour or so later, quite suddenly the wind strength increased and we had a gale.  The sea by now was really quite rough with breaking waves following us; twice we took a wave over the stern and it was now really hard work steering.  We had no choice but to carry on, the nearest safe harbour was our intended destination, Fethiye Korfezi, the entrance to which was 12 miles away.  The wind did eventually drop back a little but the sea remained rough.

Unfortunately, we had made the decision to tow the dinghy.  We would normally put it on the foredeck for a trip of this type, but it towed well we thought, better than the inflatable.  The first indication that this was a bad idea came just before the gale struck when a wave picked it up and tossed it into the back of Kabardar.  Damage to dinghy - a scratch on the paint; damage to Kabardar a bent tube on the boarding ladder.  By now the sea was far too rough to attempt getting it on board.  Then, when the sea and wind were at their worst, a wave picked it up and turned it over, the force of which broke one side, then the painter broke and it was gone.

Fethiye Korfezi is a large area of water with bays within bays within bays, very sheltered and calm.  We were 2-3 miles into the gulf before the sea really calmed but once round towards Fethiye there was no particular wind and the only movement of the water was that caused by all the boats pottering about.  There were many boats at anchor with people sunbathing on deck and ice cream sellers motoring around - the many faces of boating!  We found a quiet little bay to anchor in and once the charter boats and trip boats had gone spent a quiet, peaceful night.

The next jump we wanted to make was up to Marmaris, about 50 miles.  We were again up early on Thursday and checked weather forecasts - SW or W 3-5.  W not brilliant but SW pretty good.  No sign of any gale warnings within hundreds of miles!  The nearest was for the sea just of the foot of Italy, no problem to us.  We were again away by 7.30am and once out of the Fethiye Korfezi there was virtually no wind but gradually a flutter from the SW which increased and provided a nice sailing breeze which did go round to WSW but then back with more S in it and we managed to sail over half the distance and fetch the entrance to the Gulf of Marmaris which is another very sheltered bit of water.  We anchored up in what must be the last unspoilt corner of the gulf and spent a very peaceful night with a bit of a lie in this morning!

This morning we moved into the marina near the centre of the town and will stay 2 nights and catch up with washing, shopping etc.  The main reason for coming to Marmaris was to check out of Turkey before heading over to the Greek Islands; the second one was to work out what to do about a dinghy - the old leaky one we left in the storage shed in Finike.  There are many, many boats based around here and consequently many chandlers etc.  This morning we have bought a new dinghy which has already been delivered to the boat.  It’s still firmly in it’s bag on top of the boat!

MARMARIS Sunday 2nd June

Another day, another wind!  We had everything planned to ckeck out of Turkey at 9 this morning and head for Symi but woke to find forecasts of SW, which is exactly the direction we need to go.  It is also blowing much harder than the forecast, even here in the marina we are beginning to bob about.  Call us wimps if you like, but we staying another day hoping that the NW forecast for tomorrow is what we get.

RHODES Wednesday 5th June

We checked out of Turkey on Monday.  This involves visits to the Harbourmaster, Passport Control and Customs and in a significant port like Marmaris can be a long winded process.  We are not allowed to do this ourselves but must employ an agent. The costs of various agents vary hugely but after complaining about the price of the one recommended by the marina office we finally ended up with a bizarre double act of Ali and his brother.  Once the Harbourmaster had been dealt with, we had to take the boat to the customs quay and be accompanied by Ali’s brother, and sometimes Ali, to the Passport Control and Customs.  Unfortunately, we arrived on the pontoon for yachts at more or less the same time as the ferry from Rhodes was due and we had to wait while all the passengers had been processed.  This meant that, having started the process at around 9.30 we were not clear until about 12.30.  So we decided not to head for Greece the same day and anchored off Icemeler in the bay of Marmaris for lunch before heading about 15 miles down the coast to anchor for the night.  A very windy bouncy night.

The next morning the forecast was for stiff westerlies across most of the southern Agean and with F6 in the channel between Rhodes and Turkey.  Rhodes was only about 15 miles away but about half of that distance was across that channel so we set off prepared for a windy ride with the staysail raised.  We went very sedately for a while and even considered changing the staysail for the genoa but what a good job we didn’t. Once out of the shelter of the Turkish mainland the wind piped up and the sea got fairly rough but by keeping our speed down we had a reasonably comfortable ride.

Arriving at Rhodes we headed straight for the main harbour in Rhodes town but were met with manic waving of arms and instructions to turn around - there was no space, or so they said. So we anchored outside, sheltered from the wind and sea but not from the many ferries and cruise ships which are constantly arriving and departing.  At this point we appreciated not having set off to the Greek islands without a dinghy!  There was one benefit of anchoring off in that going ashore via a small harbour we discovered that rarity in the Greek islands - an unguarded water tap!

Here in Greece we are required to have something known as a DEKPA.  This is a document which is stamped on arrival and departure at the various ports visited, that is if there are Port Police, and if one chooses to visit them!  Ours is very old, originally bought when we first entered Greece in 2005, and has only a few spaces left for such stamps which we may or may not need.  We thought it a good idea to buy a new one, just in case.  This required a visit to the Tax office; and my goodness what a place! Scruffy, run down, dilapidated and piles and piles of paper everywhere.  DEKPA?  No, can’t do that today, or tomorrow, might be able to do it on Friday.  They were more or less closed for business as the computer system was being upgraded and nothing could be processed!  We’ll be gone by Friday, we said, and so it was suggested we went upstairs and saw Mr. Setamoulis.  We found said Mr. Setamoulis at a desk with heaps and heaps of paper which he was proceeding to stamp individually, page by page.  All around the office were computer printouts, paper and line printers the like of which I don’t think I’ve seen for 20+ years. It really was like going way back in time.  Anyway Mr. Setamoulis confirmed that there was no work in the Tax office, at least for today and tomorrow and possibly longer, because of the system upgrade.  There we were, quite prepared to pay our €29.35 and do our bit to help the Greek economy but we couldn’t.

And tonight, having left Turkey, we’ll enjoy pork chops on the barbecue.

We’re leaving here tomorrow (without a new DEKPA) and have decided to go to whichever island is in the best direction for whatever the wind is.

TILOS Monday 10th June

Leaving Rhodes last Thursday there was no wind to speak of but a forecast of fairly strong NW later in the week so we decided to motor the 30 miles to Alimia which we hoped would give us more options for the next jump.  Alimia is now uninhabited with just ruins of various buildings ashore including a few, now derelict, built by the Germans during WW2.  On the walls of these there are a number of cartoon type drawings of their dreams done by some of the men stationed there.

From the evidence underfoot, it would appear that the old buildings are now where goats spend the nights.

After spending 2 nights and a very grey day on Alimia we had a forecast of NE 5/6 later going NW for Saturday so we decided to leave for Tilos while we still had the NE.  For about an hour we had a good NE 5 on the beam which blew us along quite nicely, then it slowly died until about 5 miles out there was nothing.  We motored on into the main port on the island and found a good spot on the quay.

 On the quay at Livadia, Tilos

This is a nice little island so we’re still here!  We’ve made use of the one and only bus on the island to visit an isolated monastery high up on the cliffs and have also done a bit of walking.

SYMI Thurs 13th June

The wind forecast on Tuesday morning was for Southerlies but not enough to be of much use to us, Wednesday looked a bit better so we decided to stay on Tilos for another day and do a bit more walking - in the morning before it gets too hot!  It’s a good island for walking.  During the afternoon we decided to move off the quay and anchor in the bay for the rest of the day and Tuesday night; we didn’t want to go ashore again and away from the base of the steep hill we would be in the sun for longer, have a stronger 3G signal and as quay neighbours had told us that the Port Police don’t usually bother yachts for harbour dues until after about 4 days we would avoid that risk.  Everything good!  In typical mediterranean style, Livadia has mooring lines tailed to the quay which we are well used to.  However, on leaving, despite all best efforts, we managed to get the tailing line caught around the propeller.  Good quay neighbours quickly appeared to help and gradually pulled us back and helped fend us off small boats when the wind took the bows (thankfully there wasn’t much) and finally got us back in the space we had left - the other way round this time - and tied us onto their boat.  Chris dived down and found the line well and truly caught and it took some time to cut us free.  He then attempted to recover the mooring line but that was lost in the murky harbour waters. Eventually, we did get happily anchored in the bay.

Wednesday we had a gentle F3 mainly from the SE and we managed to sail all 25 miles across to Symi in about 5 hours.  At times we were going rather slowly!  Now at anchor in Panormitis Bay on the SW corner of the island.  Very peaceful with nothing but a large monastery ashore.

SYMI Sunday 16th June

Now in Pethi on the opposite side of the island, a popular anchorage with a simple, unsophisiticated village ashore and only a short bus ride over the hill to the main town on the island.  We’ve also managed to get water from the taverna, mind you we did eat there last night.

We’re beginning to think about heading back and would have headed for Rhodes today but with forecasts of NW 6/7 for the Southern Agean continuing during the night we decided that although we could get to Rhodes OK anchoring outside Mandraki harbour would be a bit uncomfortable and getting a space inside impossible, so we’ve stayed another day.

RHODES Monday 17th June

We’ll never know whether it was the best decision to stay in Pethi, but by mid afternoon the wind was gusting strongly over the hill into Pethi and boats were swirling around quite wildly.  Everything seemed fine until early evening when we noticed that we had dragged backwards.  We had 2 anchors over the bows, the second one we had put down as a precaution on Saturday when we went on the bus to the main town, the main one now appeared to be holding but we thought the sensible thing to do would be to lift them both and reanchor.  The main anchor came up reasonably easily but the second one resisted all attempts at lifting it.  One guy swam across from a nearby boat to help but still no success.  Winches, chain hooks, manpower, motoring this way and that - nothing seemed to help. The anchor was off the bottom but still very firmly attached to something heavy.  What made it all more difficult was that conditions were still gusty and swirly and preventing us hitting any other boat was sometimes quite tricky. Eventually, a cry from another yacht told us that we were dragging their chain!  Once we knew what the problem was, it was reasonably easily sorted and by this time both we and the yacht we had been attached to had drifted quite a long way back.  We then successfully reanchored and by about 1am it was sufficiently calm that, having set the deep water alarm, we slept.  It was reassuring that we had many calls offering help and several people afterwards asking if all was now OK.

We had a bit of light relief during the afternoon when a naked man with a boat hook in a dinghy which he was trying (not very hard) to row, drifted towards us and clung on to our dinghy.  There then followed a colourful conversation between him and his South African boat mates, some 100 or so metres away, as to who’s fault it was that he was in such a predicament.  He was insisting that somebody should swim across and with him tow the dinghy back.  Which they did.  We never got to understand why he was naked in a dinghy with a boat hook but it made an amusing interlude.

This morning we’ve come to Rhodes to stay for 1 night before heading onwards to Meyisti.  An unexciting trip, sailing when we could with whatever manifestation of the NW airflow we got according to the islands and headlands.

FINIKE Thurs 20th June


We planned to leave Rhodes early, around 5am, on Tuesday to make the 75 mile trip to Meyisti but were woken at about 1am because the sea was coming straight into the anchorage and Kabardar was pitching manically.  We could either sit and complain about not being able to sleep or get going.  We chose the latter.  Once clear of the wind shadow caused by Rhodes we had a N F5 on the beam but with a rather lumpy sea.  The wind blew us along at great speed, but it was all a bit too fast and furious so we reduced sail and still made good speed.  This wind lasted for about 7 hours but then gradually lessened until there was no wind at all.  Within about half an hour the wind returned, this time about F4 from the South! And with a much calmer sea. This came and went and finally died completely until we motored for the last 3 hours or so, arriving in Meyisti at around 2pm.

At Meyisti

After a fairly short little potter, total distance about 400 miles, we came back into Finike today with no wind until we got to the marina entrance!

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