SAILING YACHT KABARDAR
SAILING YACHT KABARDAR
FINIKE Sunday 27th April
For the past week the sky has been mostly blue, the sun has mostly shone and the max temperature has been a very comfortable low/mid 20s. These pleasant days have been spent in an assortment of activities which have included recovering from a UK born and bred stomach bug, washing the coach roof, washing the deck, polishing the topsides, scraping and sanding the bottom, stripping and/or sanding the bulkheads and doors in the heads prior to varnishing (for non boaties that’s walls and doors in the toilet/shower compartment). Antifouling is now done and the varnishing has the added challenge of the ‘top quality’ varnish brush, bought for very little in a hardware store in town, deciding to drop bristles now and again. We’re making good progress and have booked the launch for Wednesday and will leave Finike as soon as possible after that.
Hard to believe, but this will be our 13th year of cruising with Kabardar. The plan for 2014 is to stay in Turkish waters until either Datça or Bodrum, then across to Kos and the Dodecanese, then west to the explore Cyclades, and down to Crete before heading up the western side of Greece to finish in Preveza.
FINIKE Saturday 3rd May
Final visit to the wonderful Saturday Market, such a variety of produce, everything so good and at prices which to us seem very low. It’s so, so tempting to buy more than we can reasonably expect to consume.
Sunday 4th May
MEYISTI Monday 5th May
At anchor in the harbour in the rain. Yesterday we had that rarity here of an E wind; we took advantage and the E 4/5 blew us nicely the 35 miles to the island of Meyisti where we intended to anchor for a night or 2. On arrival, we found the wind and sea direction was causing a bobbing in the harbour which did not bode well for a calm night. With the wind forecast to increase and the prospect of thunderstorms we had a cup of tea and headed across to Kaş Marina for the night. Just as we arrived the wind was fiercely gusting and we had an interesting time getting tied up. Today there is little wind, visibilty is not too good and it is raining so we have decided to wait until tomorrow, when the forecast is much better (although not the wind direction!) before heading on west.
BENÇIK Saturday 10th May
Anchored in a long narrow inlet near the head of the stretch of water south of the Datça peninsula. It’s very quiet -
We’ve covered around 185 miles since leaving Finike in a mixture of longish days, short hops and days at anchor. At times it was a bit of a bash against the wind and sea but overall good progress, no dramas, no problems and calm, peaceful anchorages.
For the past couple of days we’ve been under a very slow moving depression which has brought grey skies and occasional rain. At least the rain is relatively clean rather than the rain in Meyisti which brought with it red/brown dust from the Sahara.
DATÇA Thursday 15th May
After Bençik we spent another couple of days anchored in the gulf south of the Datça peninsula, a stretch of water which is sheltered from whatever is happening in the Aegean proper and we had extremely calm conditions in beautiful anchorages and experienced what must be the calmest, most peaceful nights at anchor for many years. Being early in the season there are very few other boats about and so we had some lovely places all to ourselves.
Approaching one anchorage …..
…..and the view from another
We’ve been in Datça for a couple of days now and are tied up on the quay with gulets, trip boats and a few yachts. Yesterday evening the wind went round to the SE, the only direction to which this harbour is exposed, which then caused the sea to come in bringing small waves making all the boats dance about merrily. So much so that it felt a lot like being at sea! It got particularly bad at around 2am; Chris managed to sleep through it all; I did not.
We’ve now checked out of Turkey and will be leaving in the morning. There was a brief moment when we wondered what was going to happen next when the agent handling the checkout appeared with the Port Police to say that I was ‘not on the system’ as having entered Turkey, despite my passport having an entry stamp in. Whatever the problem was, it seems to have been resolved as the agent appeared half an hour later to say everything was OK.
TILOS Monday 19th May
Having left Turkey we headed for the main port on Symi, just 12 miles away to get checked into the EU. We paid the Port Police their €15, the Customs their €20 and the Harbour Master the bizarrely calculated €4.56 except that this became €5 because they had no change -
Leaving Symi we debated whether to head for Nisyros (an island south of Kos) or Tilos (a bit more south). Looking at all the information we had, we believed we could sail to Nisyros, some 32 miles away. After getting well clear of Symi we found we had F4/5 and a slightly choppy sea right on the nose. With 26 miles still to go, we decided to turn for Tilos now only 17 miles away and with a better angle on the wind. We could almost steer the course straight to the main harbour, but not quite. We sailed as close to the wind as we could and believed that when closer to the island the wind would bend round and free us. It didn’t happen, so we sailed most of the way and then motored the last few miles. It would, we think, take a few lifetimes of sailing in these parts to get anywhere near understanding all the local effects generated by islands and headlands.
Tilos is a lovely island for walking so having come here, we decided to stay a day or 2, get the walking boots out and do exactly that. Today we had a lovely walk round part of the coast, inland through a gorge full of oleanders, goats and butterflies then up to a village abandoned some 60/70 years ago and back down to Livadhia harbour.
The relatively calm conditions continue. We are now heading for Kos to prepare for the arrival of son Phil and family. As far as we can tell at the moment, either of the next 2 days look OK, if not brilliant, to sail the 30 miles to Kos town. We’ll see! There’s a lot more wind further west, but we’ll be there soon enough!
KOS Thursday 22nd May
We didn’t quite get the winds we were expecting yesterday! The forecast we got suggested that we could expect NW and then later on, once past the Datça peninsula, more W and nothing more the F4. This would not be too bad for the 35 mile trip for which the course was not far off due North with a dog leg to get round the end of the Datça peninsula. This was more or less what we had until we tried to tack round the end of the Datça peninsula when we found that nasty things were happening to both the wind and the sea. At the time we put this down to the effect of the headland and motored to get past. We then had a good wind direction for sailing but almost immediately the wind increased to F6/7 with an appropriate sea all coming from NW when we were heading more or less North. Hard work, and every so often, as Kabardar pitched into the sea, a lot of water came over the bows and over the top of the sprayhood. Bizarrely, once we got round the corner towards Kos town the water was much calmer even though the wind was not much different. The NW was clearly much stronger than the forecast we had and we suspect the horrible conditions south of the island were caused by gusting over the island.
Having battled with the wind and sea, we came into Kos marina and have had to do battle with the mooring chap, who told us over the VHF on our approach that we could stay for 2 days only. We wanted 4 but decided to get in and take it up with the Office later (possession etc). He grumbled quite long and loud when the Office asked him yesterday evening if it would be OK. But gradually today he has weakened and all is well, we can stay until Sunday and maybe even longer if we want to (we don’t).
KOS Friday 23rd May
We went to the Tax Office in the town to attempt to obtain a new DEKPA (Pleasure Craft Cruising Document). It turned out that our old one will do as procedures are changing when the new Cruising Tax is implemented. This was due to be operational on 1st Jan this year but it isn’t yet. That, however, is another not very interesting story. What was fascinating was the Tax Office which was just like a small version of the one in Rhodes -
For the last 10 days we’ve had son Phil and family with us and have had a lovely time pottering south and revisting Nisyros and the volcano, Tilos and the uninhabited island of Alimia just off the northern side of Rhodes and then back up to Kos for their flight home yesterday evening. We’ve anchored in some lovely unspoilt bays with no anchoring or any other dramas. We’ve even had some helpful winds!
Now normality is returning to Kabardar but where are those deck cleaners when you need them!
We were, and in fact still are, hoping to leave here on Friday and head northish but the forecast is not looking promising. It began to blow very hard from the SE during last night and continued this morning, it’s a bit calmer now but the forecast is for W 6 to start during tonight going NW 6 and then 7 during Friday. We’ve spoken to the office and said we think we will want to stay until at least Saturday, as have others, but at the moment they are noncommittal. This is a major base for charter boats, many of which are due back in on Friday, the one thing which may work in our favour is that the pier we are on is not one of those used by the charter boats. Time will tell and of course weather forecasts can and do change!
KÁLYMNOS Sunday 8th June
NW 6 NW 6 NW 6 all through Thursday, all through Friday and with Kos Marina at the NE corner of the island this was more or less the direction we wanted to go. We kept a low profile and didn’t invite anybody to say we couldn’t stay! With the forecast for Saturday being a still windy NW 5/6 but falling overnight we decided to make the short 10 mile jump to the small island of Psérimos and anchor in a bay on the eastern side. With the wind as forecast, we motored into it for a few miles until the bearing to the bay was sailable. Once we were out of the shelter offered by the Bodrum peninsula the sea was somewhat rougher but sailing with staysail and main the short trip upwind was achieved fairly comfortably and at a reasonable speed. There was nothing there but a couple of fish farms and a few yachts and apart from some gusting it was amazingly sheltered given the conditions.
Today the wind was still NW but down to F4 and we had a good sail almost the entire distance from anchor to quay. Now on the quay in the main harbour on Kálymnos, the first significant island north of Kos. It’s a large harbour with all sorts of craft -
We’re pleased to be on our way, away from the mass tourism of Kos!
And lest we forget which country we are in .....
..... a very Turkish thing to do!
FOÚRNOI Saturday 14th June
For the last few days we’ve been continuing to head NW which has sometimes been a bit of a bash.
After spending a couple of days pottering around Kálymnos and the islets we went into Lakki, the main port on Léros on Wednesday to do boring things like washing and shopping. We like the island of Léros and the town of Lakki is interesting, and in some ways quirkily unGreek, because many of the buildings were built by the Italians in the Art Deco style when they had a naval base here in the 1930s.
The Cinema/Theatre The School
The forecast for Thursday and Friday was NW 5/6 and the wind started in earnest sometime during Wednesday night. Having finished everything we need to do by Thursday lunchtime we wondered whether to leave the relative calm of where we were anchored off the town in the almost completely enclosed bay, or whether to take the easy option and stay. We decided to take a peep outside and unless it was totally impossible get at least as far as the top of the island. Once outside the almost completely enclosed bay we found the wind as forecast, and a short sea which became increasingly rough as we motored the 6 miles to the north end of Léros. At this point we decided to anchor in the shelter of a small island for the night, along with 5 other yachts. There was some gusting and the water was not completely calm but OK for the night we thought. We don’t completely understand what happened at around 2am, maybe the wind strength increased or maybe the direction changed by a small amount, but it was the coming over the island at a slightly different angle and causing the water to get very lumpy. Sleep was impossible for a couple of hours but then, in spite of the wind staying the same, the sea calmed. Bizarre.
Friday morning we decided to stick our nose out and test the conditions for further progress NW. We found the wind and sea state much as we had left them on Thursday evening so decided to bash under engine another 6 miles NW to the south end of the island of Lipso and anchored in a large south facing bay. A calm afternoon and night, apart from music from a taverna ashore until around 3.30am.
Today we’ve come another 20 miles NW to the southern tip of the Foúrnoi Island. The wind has died and we are now anchored in a very peaceful bay, very quiet with only a small fishing boat for company.
IKARÍA Sunday 15th June
With the wind in the SW we had a gentle sail here this morning to Agios Kirykos, the main port on the island, approx. 70 miles as the crow flies NW of Kos. This is as far north as we will be going in the Aegean and hopefully our plan will have worked, so that when we head west to the Cyclades, with the summer weather patterns getting more established, zigzagging south through them will be relatively easy.
MÝKONOS Thursday 19th June
In Agios Kirykos harbour
We liked the sleepy little harbour on Ikaría and so decided to stay for a day or two, hire a car and see the island. The whole island is very undeveloped with little tourism, in fact Agios Kirykos was the busiest place we found! We had an excellent lunch by the water at Evdhilos, the second harbour on the island, where we were the only customers so got excellent service and all for not a lot of money. The whole island is very green and even in mid June many trees and shrubs are in flower. The hairpin bends and potholes, though, are extreme even by Greek island standards.
Yesterday we left to head 50 miles west to Mýkonos in the northern Cyclades. We didn’t expect a windy ride and so we weren’t disappointed. The forecast was for light winds from the south but as we left Agios Kirykos the sea was as flat as we’ve seen it for a long time and not a breath of wind. Once past the end of the island the light southerlies did come, and go, and come, and go, so we sailed when we could and motored when we couldn’t. Last night we spent peacefully at anchor in a bay on the north of Mýkonos island.
This morning we came round to Mýkonos town and are in the new harbour, behind the quay for the cruise ships, ferries, water buses etc. And consequently all the boats are dancing merrily on their moorings; whether it calms down during the night remains to be seen. We went into the town this afternoon and it isn’t a place where we will stay long; I don’t think we could afford to!
NÁXOS Sunday 22nd June
There aren’t many harbours we’ve been in which have been a pleasure, almost a relief, to leave! Mýkonos is one of them. There was almost continual bouncing around caused by boats coming and going. It wasn’t the huge cruise ships, nor the longer distance ferries which were the problem but the smaller local stuff -
On Friday, with a nice W5 blowing, we had a good sail from Mýkonos to Páros, about 20 miles south, and spent two nights peacefully at anchor behind the headland which hooked round into a large bay on the north of the island and provided a very sheltered anchorage in beautiful surroundings. Today, we’ve come across to the neighbouring island of Náxos, the largest in the Cyclades group, where we’ve tied up in the main town and harbour for a couple of nights. This harbour may yet rival Mýkonos. There is a fair bit of surging caused by the ferries turning outside, and one does have to wonder what it will be like when boats on the yacht piers are using a mixture of mooring lines and anchors and the rather grumpy harbour man greeted us by saying we might need both!
NÁXOS Monday 23rd June
We made a trip inland on the bus today to a village up in the hills. The island would seem to be fairly fertile with a significant life outside tourism and scattered over the countryside are many, many Byzantine churches.
This is another island which we feel would be good for walking, but maybe at a cooler time of year.
We in the middle of our first dose of the meltemi. It’s blowing about F6 from the north and forecast to continue until Tuesday night/Wednesday morning but it shouldn’t prevent us heading on south tomorrow. It’s quite manic in this harbour now, with yachts tying up wherever they can and rafting up at the end of the piers. It all makes the place we are in, which at first we thought less than ideal, look pretty good; and the surging isn’t actually too bad.
AMORGÓS Friday 27th June
We left Náxos as planned on Tuesday and with the tail end of the northerly blow and sea behind us, had good sail south until we got just south of Náxos when some strange local effects amongst the islands gave us a very confused sea and then an even more confused wind which died completely (at least where we were) just 2 miles short of our intended destination. After a couple of nights at anchor in the now windless conditions, we came into the main town and port on Amorgós yesterday. Apart from a few rocks, this is the most easterly of the Cyclades.
Today we decided to visit a monastery, founded in the 9th C, on the other side of the island. So we took the bus up to the Hora and had a quick look around, and then had a very hot walk (thankfully downhill) along one of the many old donkey paths and then a bit more downhill on a minor road at which point we got our first view of the monastery high up on the cliffs.
We then had a very hot walk up hill, every bit as much as we’d come down, to the monastery.
And having got to the door at the bottom we climbed again, up some very narrow steps to the church which is right at the top. Knees by now are like jelly! The hospitality was rounded off by having a glass of water, a glass of local spirits and a piece of the Greek version of Turkish Delight. Very civilised.
AMORGÓS Sunday 29th June
Still here! Plans to leave yesterday were thwarted by strong winds, gale warnings and forecasts of high seas. Fortunately, this is quite an agreeable place to be stuck. Both yesterday afternoon, and again today, entertainment has been provided by watching, perhaps a little apprehensively, as the wind blew the large ferry from Piraeus sideways when it attempted to back onto the quay not far upwind of the yacht quay. Success at the second attempt on both days. And, of course, there are the wind tales -
ÍOS Monday 30th June
A strange day on the water! Everything seemed to be somewhat calmer this morning and all the forecasts showed the strong NW winds dropping throughout the day so we decided to set off to do the 27 miles SW to Íos. Once at the head of the bay the sea became rather rough, too rough we thought and so we turned round and anchored in a quiet corner. We rechecked the Greek local wind strength and, more importantly, the sea state forecast charts and got the same message as we had before -
Oh to understand all the very local effects!
MÍLOS Thursday 3rd July
We decided on Tuesday to make a round trip to Thíra (Santoríni) -
The wind was, as forecast, a very light SW. Most of the time it was not enough to sail and so we mostly motored the 42 mile round trip and anchored for the night once again at the SE tip of Íos, although not the same bay as the previous night.
We woke the next morning to be greeted by the start of another dose of the meltemi. The wind had started to blow sometime during the early hours of the morning and the forecasts indicated that it would be F5/6 from the N with the strength increasing over the next few days. Although we were quite secure where we were we didn’t fancy staying there for another few days so we decided to plan to make the 55 mile trip east to Mílos before the sea got whipped up into a frenzy. The route we planned was roughly 22 miles W to the tip of Folégandros then 22 miles NW to the top of Mílos and then round the top of Mílos and down into the very large, almost totally enclosed bay (another old caldera). We last went into that same bay in 2008 also at the start of a meltemi so knew it offered plenty of space and good shelter. We had options for cutting the trip short and hiding up if it all got too bad but hoped not to need them.
Once again with staysail and main, and at times just part of the main, and with the N5/6 more or less on the beam we made brisk progress. As we passed the islands of Síkonos and Folégandros we were again hit by the very local effects caused which accelerated or decreased the wind strength, at one point it even came round ahead! On the NW leg the wind gradually came more W of N, the sea was getting rougher, it was getting difficult to hold our course and our speed was falling so we added the engine to maintain our course and speed. Around the top of Mílos the wind increased to F6/7 and the sea was by now what we would call rough. Arriving into this bay conditions were relatively calm and hard to believe what conditions were like outside. In fact a couple from a catamaran anchored nearby came across in their dinghy to ask if the weather really was bad outside the bay! Yes, we said, and getting worse.
It was a good plan! This morning we got the gale warnings and the forecasts are indicating that this could continue for a few days. We could be here some time!
MÍLOS Saturday 5th July
We have now had 3 days with the winds at gale force. Yesterday, even in this relatively sheltered bay, things got so wild that we didn’t even consider going ashore! We could have got there, but would have got so wet in the process that we didn’t bother; during last night conditions were particularly violent. We have been ashore this afternoon (and only got a little wet) and there is now a glimmer of hope that the worst is over and end of this weather system is in sight.
MÍLOS Monday 7th July
What a difference a day makes! The wind calmed down during Saturday night so that yesterday small fishing boats started going in and out again and trip boats were more in evidence. After a day out and about yesterday, this morning we moved onto the quay for access to a water supply so that the laundry mountain can be tackled, the boat washed and various other odd jobs done.
We are also watching the weather forecasts to plan when to make the SW jump down to the western end of Crete. The likelihood at the moment would seem to be that SW5/6 is due to start on Wednesday afternoon and continue through Thursday! There’s no way we want to do 80 miles with that on the nose so we may be here a few days more. Fortunately there’s a good bus service around the island so we’ll go out and about where that goes!
Washday on Milos quay
MÍLOS Friday 11th July
Still here! The SW winds which have kept us here are now forecast to be F6/7 for the next few days with big seas between Milos and Chania, Crete. The depression which is causing it all is moving VERY slowly but there is a glimmer of hope that things may change during Sunday/Monday. We have now abandoned all plans to get down to Crete this week, hire a car and play the tourist and are just hoping that it will all calm down in time for us to get to Chania by next Wednesday when Katie (daughter) is planning to join us.
We moved off the quay (where we have to pay) yesterday morning and are now back at anchor (which is free). The good thing about this almost totally enclosed bay is that whatever the wind direction it is possible to find a corner with adequate shelter.
Meantime we’ve been out and about on Mílos. We’ve visited the early (1st-
One other thing which took up far more bus trips and time than should have been necessary was to try and pay Vodafone for another month on the USB modem. The only Vodafone dealer on the island could not help because they had a ‘problem with the computer’ but assured us that the small shop further down the road could do it for us. On the first attempt the person there just looked blankly at me, but on the second attempt some kind of light bulb moment occurred and he realised what I wanted. Why can’t this be done on line? This facility on the Vodafone Greece website is shown as ‘Coming soon’. It’s been ‘Coming soon’ for 3 years!
If we do find ourselves here for much longer there are still bus routes we have not yet ridden -
And one final bit of tourist trivia.…
KÝTHERA Thursday 17th July
Any ideas of getting down to Chania, Crete were abandoned when the forecasts indicated that there wouldn’t be a good time to do the 80 miles until the middle of this week. However there would be an opportunity to make the 75 miles across to the island of Kýthera, around 65 miles NW of Crete, sooner. So that’s what we did, leaving Mílos at around 9pm on Monday to come here overnight. The best word to describe the trip would be uncomfortable. The sea was a horrible mess of lumpiness left over from the strong winds of the previous few days and the winds were light for the first 60 miles. We motored and later motor sailed, by turns each of us tried to get some sleep which proved impossible with the way the boat was being tossed about. About 15 miles from Kýthera, in the gap between it and the mainland, we got into the belt of strong westerlies which were still blowing, the sea became a bit more organised and with our course needing to be approximately WSW this didn’t make life easy.
Arriving here at around 9.30am, we set about anchoring where we would get the most shelter from the W wind which was forecast to reach F6/7 by the afternoon. On the first attempt we realised that the bottom was smooth rock with not many places for the anchor to get dug into. On the second attempt in a slightly different place it seemed well set and, as he often does, Chris dived down to have a look. He described the bottom as like a lunar landscape -
Kate arrives on the ferry from Crete this evening and the weather for the next few days is looking good for us to make progress westwards.
METHÓNI Wednesday 23rd July
Kate had an interesting Kabardar welcome when she arrived last Thursday evening! The day before, we had moved and anchored in the main harbour area to get better shelter from the sea and to be nearer the ferry quay. In the short time between going ashore to meet the ferry and getting back to the dinghy a bit of a wind developed in direction which meant we needed to go against it and the small waves produced. In the attempt, the propeller hit the rocky bottom breaking the shear pin which meant rowing was the order of the day and it then became extremely difficult to get away from our landing place; we took water into the dinghy and all got a soaking! As if that weren’t enough, Kabardar had turned round, the anchor dragged a bit and the stern was now rather too close for comfort to the rocky edge. We immediately set about reanchoring which took about 3 attempts on the rather smooth rocky bottom. Eventually all was OK and time for a cup of tea! Fortunately, all of Kate’s luggage survived OK.
The few days she was with us we had gentle winds, sometimes enough, sometimes not enough but never too much! The snorkellers amongst us had a look at an ancient town, Pavlopetri, now submerged in shallow water and yet to be fully investigated. Bizarrely, there is no ban on anchoring right over the top of it which would obviously do damage to the remains. We did not do this but anchored some distance away and went across in the dinghy.
We took Kate ashore yesterday morning to catch the bus to Kalamata airport and came on to Methóni and are in the harbour looking across at the Venetian fortress and Turkish tower. Being uncertain as to when we could next be certain of getting diesel and water we decided to stay today and get these things sorted here. There is quite a bit of swell coming round the end of the breakwater into the harbour which on reaching the beach is making waves which are large for our little dinghy and on one of the many trips ashore we found ourselves overtaken by a wave not once, but twice in quick succession And so we surfed onto the beach and for the second time in a week arrived wet from the waist down! From then on we tied up on a jetty used by fisherman.
Methóni is at the SW corner of mainland Greece and so tomorrow, winds permitting, we will be heading round the corner to begin the slog northwards.
ÓRMOS NAVARÍNOU Friday 25th July
Just a few miles round the corner from Methóni and hoping that the NW winds coming down the Ionian drop just little, and that the big waves generated calm down quite a lot.
PREVEZA Wednesday 30th July
Almost exactly 3 months after leaving Finike and having covered approx. 1235 nautical miles we have reached the journey’s end. No significant breakages or failures, no anchoring nightmares, not caught out in any really wild conditions and only a few wind related hold ups and plan changes. Overall, a good trip.
Kabardar was lifted out this morning and we fly Preveza to Birmingham on Sunday.
Off for a rest