SAILING YACHT KABARDAR
SAILING YACHT KABARDAR
Thursday 26th April -
Chris has been out in Preveza for almost 3 weeks now, Kathleen arrived last Monday. He found all well with Kabardar, just rather dirty with red Sahara dust! All the repairs needed following the collision at the end of last season have been satisfactorily completed over the winter.
He has finished applying the new coppercoat to the bottom and the topsides are all polished. Somewhat amazingly, the spray dodgers have finally been remodelled to work in the way we wanted; in fact the solution is probably better that we asked for!
Kabardar will be launched tomorrow morning although there are still a few minor jobs yet to be finished but these can easily be done on the water.
One of the hazards of this yard is that birds seem to think that boats are some kind of tree.
Magpie nest at top of a mast (not ours)
Wednesday 2nd May -
In May 2009 we left Preveza ‘for the last time’ to head east. After 5 years based in Turkey we headed back west and then on Saturday last, after a day making sure the MiFi was working correctly and a bit of stocking up, we again left Preveza ‘for the last time’ and once again heading east. Our ultimate objective this trip is to get to Leros in the Eastern Aegean by the beginning of June. Kabardar will then be based there for, well, who knows how long. The shorter term objective will be to get round the Peleponnisos as far as Milos in the Cyclades as quickly as possible; thereafter we will meander as we wish across to Leros.
So, on Saturday, we left Preveza and managed a near perfect arrival time for the 10am opening of the floating bridge at the northern end of the Lefkas canal. Speedily through, and with next to no wind in and amongst the Ionian islands we motored the 45 n.miles to Liman Petala. Looking at the forecast for Sunday, and noting the E6 and moderate to rough sea forecast for the Gulf of Patras, we decided not to make the 50 mile trip across the Gulf that day and spent the day at anchor in the relative calm of Liman Petala.
On Monday we were woken early by a thunderstorm nearby which never got very close to us but it did bring a bit of rain which again covered Kabardar with red dust from the Sahara. Wind and sea forecasts over our intended route were now a little less wild so we set off expecting around 20 knots on the beam as we crossed the Gulf of Patras. And that’s exactly what we got, but what was surprising was how sharp the cut off was between virtually nothing and the 20 knots. Once across towards the southern shore of the gulf we motor sailed most of the way on to Katakolon and spent a quiet night at anchor in the harbour. Another 55 n.miles covered.
With very light winds behind us, on Tuesday we motored on SE. At one point we tried to use the genoa to add a bit of speed but the winds were so light that all it did was flap uselessly so down it came. The good thing is that we covered another 55 n.miles and are now at anchor in the harbour at Methoni, which is always a nice place to visit. Or it would be if we could get ashore! There is another SE5/6 blowing out at sea and it’s coming straight into the harbour although it is somewhat tempered by the islands close by, so we should be OK. But there is quite a chop getting going and a dinghy ride ashore would be a very wet experience. Forecasts are indicating the it could be Friday before we leave here by which time we expect the wind to have gone round to the NW which would be really good.
Saturday 5th May -
The short term forecasts can change quite quickly -
On Friday the wind had, as expected, changed to NW and a lot of it! Deciding we wouldn’t be able to cover the 60 miles we really wanted to before the wind and sea got really wild we decided to go the 25 n.miles round to Koroni. It was a good sail, apart from the first 8 miles or so when the sea was quite rough. Our next jump will be round the end on the Mani peninsula, but the forecasts for today are NW 6 with gusts 7/8 and a rough sea so we have decided to stay put and plan to leave tomorrow when things look as though they may be calming somewhat.
The trouble with this wind from the NW is that it is COLD compared with the SE we had been getting, but at least there is no more red Sahara dust coming with it!
Friday 11th May -
Koroni wasn’t the most comfortable anchorage with a bit of a chop coming round the headland, but not so bad that we felt the need to move.So we left on Sunday as planned intending to get as far as Porto Kalo on the eastern side of the Mani peninsula. The wind, NW 5/6 was only a little less than the previous day and the sea was still fairly choppy, but we got driven along at a good rate towards Porto Kalo. After rounding the end of the Mani peninsula and turning north we met gusts up to gale force coming off the land. It may well have been OK once inside Porto Kalo but we decided that the indications weren’t good and it was still only early afternoon so we turned east and headed for Elifonisos. We had a good wind from almost dead behind and a lumpy sea out of all proportion to the wind. Kabardar behaved very well and we made speedy progress to Elifonisos where we headed to a bay on the eastern side and hid from the wind and sea. It was a good trip and we were now 60 miles further on.
The plan for Monday was to head round Cape Malea into the Aegean. It wasn’t to be. A last minute check on the forecasts on Monday morning showed a depression scuttling down the Aegean past Crete putting winds we didn’t want exactly where we didn’t want them. So, another day at anchor waiting for it to pass. On Tuesday we were up at 6am ready for an early departure to head across to Milos some 75 miles away. We weren’t worried about arriving after dark as we know the lie of the land at Milos -
We are now tied up on the yacht quay at Adamas getting some housekeeping jobs done and pottering round the island. There was no water to the quay yesterday, ‘tomorrow’ they said. This morning, ‘this afternoon’ they say. This is chaotic Greece and why we love it!
Thursday 17th May -
We left Milos on Sunday and after a very roly overnight stop anchored off Kimolos, headed SE to Folegandros sailing very slowly.
We tied up on the very small yacht quay only to have a boat come in next to us and drop their anchor crossing ours. As they were planning to leave before us we decided it shouldn’t be a problem and decided to let set anchors lie.
And indeed they were not the problem. The boat the other side of them when trying to leave allowed the very slight breeze to push them sideways, first of all into the next boat and then as soon as they were ahead of it across in front of it, hitting their anchor chain and then across in front of us. Then their engine stopped. As in this case, we usually go bows to on a quay with the kedge anchor over the stern which has a length of rope and then chain. Their engine stopped because our anchor warp was round their propeller. 2 people on the boat got in the water to have look but did little else and then a friendly Greek on the boat the other side of us made a dramatic leap into the water with cries of ‘I’m coming, I’m coming’. The rope was soon freed and inspection showed that it was not damaged. However, the guilty boat was very slow in restarting their engine and was continuing to drift sideways threatening to take another anchor with it. Much shouting from everybody and they did get away without any further incident. Good job there wasn’t any real wind.
Yes, you’ve got our anchor warp!
Excitement over, we decided to get on the bus and head up to the Chora. As often the case on these small islands it was a very pretty place, mostly given over to tourism and mostly still asleep after the winter. We had lunch in one of the very few places which was open, and as the next bus was not for another 4 hours, decided to walk back to the port. It wasn’t many kilometres, it was downhill all the way but straight after lunch and with the afternoon sun we decided maybe it hadn’t been such a good idea. Then a friendly Greek stopped his car and offered us a lift. We were pleased he had!
We’ve now come north to Paros, conditions are very calm and look likely to remain so for a few days yet.
Thursday 24th May -
After a day at anchor and with the forecasts showing the very light conditions continuing we decided to move into the small yacht harbour at Naousa on Paros and spend a day or two seeing a bit more of the island. Both Naousa and the main town, Parikia, have a typically Cycladean old centre, well maintained and picturesque. Naousa is totally given over to tourism -
The winds were returning so we decided to leave Paros on Monday and head towards Samos in convenient steps, planning to spend a few days there. The first step was to be across the top of Naxos to Dhenoussa, a small island east of Naxos for the night. Once on our way we found a brisk wind from the NE with a horrible sea from the same direction and to make our desired course of 78° would have meant motor sailing into it for some 12 miles before turning SE. It was uncomfortable so why do it! We turned south. With the wind and sea now in a good direction we had a nice comfortable sail and anchored for the night in a bay on the south of Naxos.
The landscape there was a very much an agricultural one with cultivated fields. In the early evening we watched a huge flock of sheep being driven along the shore line, making quite a racket with their bells. And in the morning they were driven back.
The forecast for Tuesday was for F5-
Anchored for the night at Amorgos we planned the next jump. The forecasts indicated a 30 hour window during which we could safely plan to get across to an small island, Levitha, after that we may well be stuck on Amorgos for several days. Which is exactly what happened last time we were there. So on Wednesday morning we left to make the 35 miles across to Levitha expecting a fairly rough ride. The first 12 miles to the end of Amorgos were fairly uncomfortable, but less so than the previous day. Once clear of the messy seas and winds close to the island we settled down and had a good sail, much less uncomfortable than we had expected and as we went east the sea got much less lumpy. Alongside Levitha, the boat was going well, the sea was OK, there was a good wind so we decide to carry on another 20 miles to Leros. After that the wind got stronger and the sea got rougher but never particularly difficult or challenging and we sailed fairly quickly across to Leros.
And that is where we are now, anchored off Lakki, the main town.
Sunday 3rd June -
With forecasts a variation of N or NNW 4, 5 or 6 for several days ahead we decided not to bash NW, as had been the idea, but to spend a week exploring Leros and it’s neighbour Kalymnos. Leaving Leros on 25th May we headed a short way north to the very small island of Archangelos and then south in the calmer waters on the eastern side of Leros, out to Pserimos and on to Kalymnos before heading north back to Lakki. We had some good sailing, and even got the spinnaker out for the first time this year.
We spent a few days tied up on the yacht quay in Pothia on the southern end of Kalymnos. Pothia is a very large harbour with all sorts of vessels coming and going a lot of the time. The numerous ferries create a far bit of bounce but most of that is nothing compared to the water disturbance caused by the large long distance ferries like Blue Star. One of these caused so much bounce that Kabardar was pushed forward and up to such an extent that on the way down again the bow boarding ladder hit the quay, was pushed up and broke the bow navigation light mounting plate. Miraculously, the boarding ladder survived.
One day we took the bus up to the Hora. We were interested to see near the bus stop at the port what was described as a wash house which, according to the sign, had been funded by the UN Refugee Agency and a nearby sign pointing to a drinking fountain which was written in Arabic. The only signs we have so far seen of the migrants arriving in the Greek islands. The Hora on Kalymnos, in contrast to the Horas on a lot of the Cycladean islands, is not a carefully manicured, touristy place but a very much still alive old village. As every island seems to have, it has a Kastro high above the Hora. We had an idea to climb up to it but the signage was not exactly easy to follow and despite some helpfully meant arm waving from various locals we failed to find the correct path. The path we did find took us into the countryside and was probably just as interesting. Wild thyme everywhere, impressive butterlies and beekeeping on an industrial scale.
The old Frankish Castle, Parikia
Leaving Pothia we headed round the end of Kalymnos for a short 8 mile trip up the western side to Emborios. The winds from N / NNW were still blowing and although the wind near Kalymnos wasn’t particularly strong, no more than F4, the sea was pretty rough. We got into the bay at Emborios and tied up to one of the mooring buoys provided by the tavernas. Convention has it that one should eat at the taverna named on the buoy one chooses. Which we did. Emborios is literally the end of the road on Kalymnos, a small, sleepy, very pleasant holiday spot which we were told shuts down completely in the winter and most people move back to their winter homes.
After 2 very windy days and nights at Emborios we made the short jump back up to Lakki. The wind had got a bit more north in it and although there was more of that, the sea was not too bad.
Arriving back in Lakki yesterday we came straight into Leros Marina which will now be Kabardar’s home. We first came here in 2011 and noted then that it would make a good base for Kabardar and now, 7 years later, here we are.
We’re getting things tidied and cleaned up ready to go back home for a couple of months which all feels a bit strange really as several people here are just getting ready for the start of their sailing.
Saturday 1st September -
We left Leros Marina on Wednesday, just about a week after we came back to Kabardar. We needed to replace the domestic batteries and so before setting off we took the opportunity to add a 3rd battery, for which the carpenter at the marina made a very tidy box to hold it, even if it was a little on the expensive side. We hope the extra capacity will be part of the solution for coping with our seemingly ever increasing power consumption. All navigation lights and most of the internal lights are now LEDs so that should also help.
First stop was the anchorage at Archangelos, just north of Leros, After 2½ months in the marina the propeller was nicely coated with coral worm and so Chris spent a bit of time clearing that and various other furry stuff from around the water line. On again the next day we hoped to get up to Agathonisi, more or less due north, but the wind was firmly in the north and so we motored the short distance to Lipsoi and anchored for the night, hoping that the wind the next day would have a but more west in it, as was the forecast. It did, and we managed a good sail up to Agathonisi. Agathonisi is a barren, rocky island with just over 100 inhabitants and the most exciting event of the day would seem to be the arrival of the ferry! After a peaceful night at anchor we left the next morning to head for Samos. We motored the whole way as the wind was not in the least helpful. The sea was lumpy in a very disorganised way so all in all not a particularly good day on the water.
We are now anchored off Pythagorion, Samos. It took a few attempts to get the anchor properly set but all now seems well and we plan to stay a few days.
Thursday 6th September -
We had a good few days at Pythagorion. We visted the Tunnel of Eupalinos constructed in the 6th C BC to carry water, the second oldest tunnel where digging started from each end to meet in the middle. Sensibly, we got a taxi to take us up the hill and then walked down. For 1 day we had a hire car and saw a lot of the island; huge contrasts from old established woodland to a 1400m barren rocky mounrtain and from delightful hill villages to scruffy towns.
Before leaving our anchorage off the town we set off to do a bit of shopping and were dismayed to find that the greengrocers had no lettuces, no cucumbers and indeed very empty looking shelves generally. It turns out there was a ferry strike on Monday and Tuesday causing people and produce to be stuck in places they shouldn’t be and consequently very little in the way of fruit and veg. In Pythagorion. Having failed on the lettuce etc front, we moved into the nearby marina for a day of chores -
Jobs done, we left the marina this morning heading for Ormos Marathokampos towards the SW of Samos. It was a gusty sail to the southern tip of the island with the wind varying between 10 and 20 knots as it came over the island. Once round the southern tip our desired course was NW, straight into the NW wind and as a result we decided to motor the last 5 miles. That was until we noticed that the batteries were seriously overcharging which couldn’t be stopped so long as the engine was running. So engine off and tack up to Ormos and tied up on a very new pier.
Friday 7th September -
Ormos Marathokampos is a charmingly Greek village, not a lot here and all fairly sleepy. The harbour area is large given the size of the town and curiously, a 3,950,000 euro EU project had seen the construction of a number of piers and facilities for boats, which we learned from a quay neighbour had only been completed this year. It is all very smart with working electricity/water outlets, fire hoses and lights. But it is completely unmanaged; nobody collects any money. Instead they put up signs! Last night there were 8 visiting yachts all berthing and using electricity for free! Who understands the logic!
The problem with the battery charging regulation has been sorted and we will be on our way further west later today.
Sunday 9th September -
We left Ormos Marathokampos as planned on Friday and went the short distance to the southern end of the Fournoi Islands. It was a very messy wind but we did manage the whole run under sail. We anchored for the night in what I think is the calmest water we have seen this trip, and passed a peaceful night.
Heading further west yesterday we decided to make the 55 mile jump to the bottom of Mykonos. Not being entirely certain of what it might be like and where we might stop we wanted to arrive before dark and so decided that if we couldn’t maintain a speed of > 4knots under sail we would add the engine. So with a mixture of sailing, motor sailing and motoring we arrived in Ormos Anna, Mykonos after 9 hours, a little over half of the time under sail alone. What we found here is, in our opinion, almost the worst that the Greek Islands have to offer -
We have very strong winds today with a bit of a lull promised tomorrow before really wild stuff after that. We’re watching the forecasts and hoping to leave here tomorrow. In the meantime, our anchor is well in and we have plenty of space around us, but unfortunately we can’t easily get ashore in the conditions (although we’d get back fairly fast) and we are downwind of the beach bar music.
Saturday 15th September -
After a fairly windy and bouncy time anchored off Mykonos we left on Monday to head to Syros. There was still a fair bit of wind from NNW with a moderate sea and we couldn’t quite manage to sail the course to Ermoupolis, which is where we really wanted to go, so we headed slightly south of our desired course and had a good sail to a bay on the south of the island before motoring the few miles round into Ermoupolis the next morning. In spite of being a fairly small island Syros is the capital of the Cyclades and was once the centre of shipping in Greece. Ermoupolis, the main town, is full of grand buildings and marble paved squares and streets with a very smart waterfront.
When we arrived here we decided to tie up in yet another of Greece’s semi derelict marinas, thinking that would be preferable to the rock and roll motion of the yachts on the town quay as the numerous ferries came and went. The story behind Syros ‘marina’ seems to be that it was funded with a large amount of EU money and when it was around 95% complete the project manager disappeared with the remaining funds. That was some time ago and nobody could be found to take it over so it is now just crumbling and anything that can rust is very rusty. The place is now colonised by a small number of local boats and one or two visiting yachts tie up there. There’s obviously no electricity and water, although some enterprising local person has installed a very,very long hosepipe, complete with a padlocked underwater tap, across the corner of the bay to a garden centre on the shore; but you need to know the right people to use that! In fact, the nearby garage let us fill our water carriers and so with a couple of trips our tank was full again. On the positive side, there is a good supermarket very close and a free bus into town. The free bus puzzled us to begin with but then we realised that it was part of a very small scale park and ride. The parking was free too!
We were expecting strong winds from the north on Wednesday through the night into Thursday when according to the forecasts it would begin to calm down. The only place we could tie up when we came in meant that when the wind got going we would be blown onto the concrete pier so we put all the fenders we could muster, 13 of them, on that side. It soon became apparent that due to the unfinished mole the water got very bouncy so in an attempt to relieve the pressure on the fenders we took a long line across to the other pier. That made things a lot more comfortable. On top of that, there was a shipyard upwind of us and the wind brought a load of dirt from whatever they were doing as a result of which, Kabardar’s port side got covered in a layer of dark grey dust, ropes are filthy, the sunshade is filthy, everything is filthy! So, when we left on Friday it was with Kabardar looking like a neglected, unloved dirty old boat!
Should we ever go back where would we tie up? We think we’d take our chances with the bounce on the town quay!
We have another big blow from the north forecast to start on Monday next and last for maybe 3 or 4 days so we decided to head for Naxos town and get tied up on one of the yacht piers. We left Ermoupolis on Friday and with the winds now much less we had a gentle sail to the top of Paros and anchored for the night. Leaving the peace, calm and cleanliness of Paros we motored the 10 miles to Naxos. The welcome we got from the Harbour Master was no friendlier than it was when we last came here in 2014 but he found us a space, there is water so we will be able to clean Kabardar, and when the winds come we’ll be able to explore the island.
Saturday 22nd September -
Tied up in the harbour at Naxos Town was interesting, as I think that harbour always is. The space we were in was only just wide enough for us, and when a fishing boat was squeezed in further along the pier we were really squashed! Once again the fenders took a bit of a hammering but I suppose that is their purpose in life. However, we were secure and safe and in the end spent 6 days there because of the weather.
He first thing we did was to spend a day giving Kabardar a thorough clean to get rid of the Syros boatyard dirt. After that we played the tourist and saw the island, the largest in the Cyclades When we go to different places we have normally done it individually and often finding ourselves groaning about coach parties, deliberately waiting until they have finished. This time we went over to the other side and had a couple of bus tours round the island but were very much aware, when filling a tiny church with the guide giving a little talk, of other people who must have been thinking exactly what we think about coach parties! But it was cheaper than hiring a car, easier not to have to do any driving and we probably saw more places than we would otherwise have done. We now feel we have done Naxos.
The strong winds from the north came on Tuesday as forecast, but lasted longer than we had expected and so we didn’t leave Naxos Town until yesterday. With the winds now somewhat less we had an easy downwind sail in the sheltered waters between Paros and Naxos south to a bay at the bottom of the island. We have decided that we would now like to go NE to Dhanoussa and then on to Patmos, unfortunately, the course to Dhanoussa takes us a across bit of water which is often rough, especially after several days of strong NW winds as we have had. With the wind and sea forecasts gradually reducing we decided to set out this morning and give it a go, the worst that could happen being that we would turn round back to Naxos And that’s what we did. Just 4 miles out from the tip of Naxos with 11 still to go, we found ourselves out into the wind but, the real problem, the sea getting pretty rough. Knowing that we had yet to get into the really open piece of water where it would be rougher, we turned round and came back to the bottom of Naxos and are anchored in a very peaceful bay. We’ll try again another day.
Tuesday 25h September -
But only for a couple of days.
Attempt 2 to go NE never happened! Weather forecasts were showing gales over the whole Aegean starting on Tuesday evening and lasting a couple of days. Best course of action seemed to be to head east to the shelter of Leros marina, which we did, stopping on the way at Amorgos and Archangelos. We came into the marina this morning along with many,many others, the marina mooring men working manically to ‘process’ the arrivals.
We now have N or NW F7/8/9 forecast for the whole Aegean. Enough said!
Friday 28th September -
Planned leaving day is here But look what’s on it’s way over the weekend, it’s fast moving but will bring with it more F7/8/9 winds so we’re staying put until it has passed. The X is where we are.
Wednesday 3rd October -
The thinking last Friday was that the storm would head across the Aegean through the Cyclades and over to Turkey with it’s centre somewhere near Samos. Had that happened we would have had a very interesting weekend but fortunately for us (unfortunately for others) it turned north up the Aegean and passed well to the west of us. We had a day or so of strong winds from the south as it moved northwards but the marina is well sheltered from that direction. I don’t think we’ve ever seen forecasts like the ones we saw over the weekend -
After a thunderstorm and heavy rain during Sunday night, we left Leros on Monday morning and headed north east to Patmos. We had checked 2 sources for fairly local forecasts and expected SW 4, maybe 5 which would have suited us very well. In the event, the wind was a lot more west, and later a bit north of west, and a lot lighter. Usually, we have found the short term, fairly local forecasts to be reasonably accurate. We sailed for as long as we could but when the winds got very light and fickle resorted to the engine and anchored in a bay on the SE corner of Patmos. There was some small scale holiday development ashore, it’s very much towards the end of the holiday season now and it all looked very empty and sad under the grey skies we had on Monday.
Yesterday we had a surprisingly good sail and in light winds from the SW with a fairly calm sea we headed the 30 miles north to Agios Nikolas on Ikaria. Chris had heard of some new development in the harbour and was curious to see what it consisted of. What we found was yet another example of a marina development which has more or less been finished but nobody has taken over the management of it. It’s all very nicely finished to the point of being ready for use but unfortunately is totally unorganised and not managed at all. Consequently, a large part of it has been colonised by a motley collection of local boats and last night there were 6 visiting yachts all nicely tied up for free! And the numbers get bigger too! According to the board at the entrance this was a 9,360,000 euro project with, of course, EU money.
This morning with no wind from anywhere, and no prospect of any until tomorrow, we motored 10 miles south to the Fournoi Islands. These islands are a little south of the gap between Samos and Ikaria and under most conditions whatever wind there is would be funnelled through them, but not today.
By mid afternoon there was just a hint of a flutter of a breeze from the north. We were at the head of a long thin north facing bay with 50+ miles of open sea in front of us and with even a light wind from the north it would get a bit bouncy in there. As we expected the wind to increase slightly by morning we decided, in the interests of a sound night’s sleep, to move to a bay on the south of the islands. The first place we tried, as we approached the head of the bay, we were chased away by fisherman in a small fishing boat who shouted and waved a red flag at us. It took us a while to realise what they were trying to communicate -
Only problem today has been that the MiFi has been unable to make a decent internet connection. This morning we could only get a GPRS connection, which is almost useless, and this evening nothing at all.
Wednesday 10th October -
We left our peaceful anchorage at the southern end of the Fournoi Islands on Thursday and with the wind now from the NW we had a good sail down to Skala on Patmos and tied up on the quay going bows to, as is usual for us, with the kedge anchor over the stern. All seemed OK. The next day we spent revisiting the Monastery of St. John which dominates the island from it’s mountain top position above the Hora. We had planned to get lunch after visiting the monastery but were surprised that none of the eating places in the Hora were open for food. A few were just about open for coffee etc but most totally shut. We concluded that it must have been a combination of end of season and the fact that there was no cruise ship in that day. I’m sure they would have been open if there had been. So we walked down the old Byzantine road towards Skala and did eventually find a very agreeable place for lunch.
Returning to the boat, we found the the anchor warp was slack and Kabardar was sagging forwards. Fortunately the wind, quite brisk on Friday, was keeping us off the quay. Trying to tighten up the anchor we found it just kept on dragging. So then we got the bower anchor and as much chain as could be managed into the dinghy and dropped that as far out as possible, then pulled in the kedge anchor (which came in very easily) and took that out and dropped that again. Between them we managed get ourselves reasonably secure. The holding along Patmos quay is clearly awful -
On Sunday we had a good, brisk sail across to Nisos Marathos near the island of Arki and spent the night on a mooring buoy. On Monday the winds were somewhat less and we had a very easy, lazy downwind sail to Leros and into the marina for Kabardar to be lifted out this morning for the winter.
It’s still a good time to be out here -