01/08/07 After obtaining
the spare parts needed to repair Gina's burst water pipe, all three
boats set sail along the east coast of Levkas with the intention of
anchoring at Pera Pigadhi on Odysseus's island home of Ithaca.
However, after passing the late Aristotle Onassis's private parkland
island of Skorpios to port, the wind got up whilst crossing to Ithaca
and we had a somewhat exhilarating sail in a Force 6. On arrival at
the anchorage, we decided that it was too windy to risk dropping
anchors and continued further south to the bottom end of the island -
which brought an increase in wind speed and sea conditions and we
again had to abort attempts to anchor in the small bay at Ayios
Andreas, opting to run with the wind, which was now up to 36 knots,
and continue south to the island of Cephalonia (Nisos Kefallinia),
which meant a night time entry into the anchorage at Kato Katelios on
the southeast tip. Around midnight, some two hours after anchoring
there, both Gina's and Roger's boats touched rocks as they swung to
anchor, and both had to move to other spots.
02/08/07 At around
3.30pm, Slip Anchor sailed into the bay and anchored nearby.
That makes two French boats, one Italian and we four British. Karen's
brother Simon and his friend Bev had joined Slip Anchor for a
holiday and we all went ashore to a local taverna for a meal in the
03/08/07 We all weighed
anchor around 4pm and motored round the headland into a better bay,
anchoring off the beach at Lourdhata an hour later so that the kids
could paddle canoes ashore and generally have fun, whilst we had a few
drinks onboard Rob and Karen's boat before they left to go further
around the island.
problems prevented me from sailing this morning and a forecast of high
winds stopped the other two boats from leaving also. Winds increased
throughout the day and peaked around 5pm with a Force 8 from the
northwest and despite lots of anchor chain noises, all three of us
rode out the gale without incident apart from Roger's dinghy breaking
free and drifting towards the rocks - he and I soon retrieved it in my
06/08/07 Said my
temporary farewells to Roger, Astrid and Gina (see you in Turkey!) and
weighed anchor at 0730 sailing across to Zakynthos and berthing bows
to on the town quay at 1230. Later in the day, Slip Anchor
turned up and moored a few boats along from me.
07/08/07 All goodbyes
again today....Simon and Bev flew home to England and after a meal
ashore with Rob, Karen, Amy and Ben, I said my goodbyes to them as
they sailed off back to Levkas overnight.
08/08/07 Let go my bow
lines and retrieved the kedge anchor at 0930 and sailed out of
Zakynthos, exchanging the Northern Ionian for the Southern, crossing
to mainland Greece and the port of Katacolon, arriving there just
after lunchtime. I didn't like the looks of the marina - very
haphazard, laid moorings but with boats alongside behind the moorings
- and despite the smallness of the village, it had a cruise liner
jetty, on which was an enormous cruise liner!! I had visions of
everything being very expensive in the few tavernas, so hoisted sail
and headed further south toward Pilos, sailing the whole way at 6
knots on just the genoa sail.
Birthday M'leia! The marina at Pilos is small and totally
unlit, and after arriving there around 0030 and straining my eyes to
find a berth in the pitch dark, I gave up and motored across to the
northern end of Ormos Navarinou where I dropped anchor in 10 metres of
water. Later in daylight, the bay looked totally different and I
tried to imagine the great naval battle that took place here in 1827
which effectively gave Greece it's freedom when Admiral Codrington,
vastly outnumbered, took on and defeated the Turko-Egyptian fleet
whilst at anchor.
Photo's - North Ionian
10/08/07 Weighed anchor
at 0530 and motored the 5 miles across the bay and out to sea, setting
a course south for the two capes of the southern Peloponnisos,
regarded as mini Cape Horns and giving the island of Nisos Skhiza as
wide a berth as possible, as it is used by the Greek airforce as a
bombing target. Later, around 4pm, I passed Cape Grosso and the caves
which the ancients believed to be the gateway to Hades, then rounded
Akra Tainaron to head across the gulf of Lakonikos Kolpos to the
southern most cape of Akra Maleas. This would be the most southern
point of Europe if it were not for the cape at Tarifa (Gibraltar).
Leaving the Ionian Sea at Akra Maleas around 2200 and in total
darkness, was like joining the shipping equivalent of the M25! All
the ships which either choose, or are not allowed through the Corinth
Canal, take this route from Athens.......and a sudden squall of 35
knot winds broached the boat and sent her into the direct path of a
container ship! I could only hang on as the port toe rail went under
water and the boat accelerated to over 12 knots as we passed in front
of the other ship. It got worse an hour later when another squall
caused an unexpected gybe which tangled the mainsheet and I was then
unable to sheet in the main, nor was I able to drop the sail. After
an hour of fighting the wind and sea, I managed to turn the boat's
head into wind, crawl up on deck to the mast and let go the main
halyard before inching back to the cockpit and grabbing handfuls of
leech to drag the sail down. The topping lift had become entangled
with a bracket at the top of the mast too, so I was unable to use that
either. I then unfurled a little of the genoa and sailed north east
at 8 knots towards Nisos Milos in the Southern Cyclades, in gusts of
35 knots plus. The whole episode of this Cape had been far more
frightening than the storm in Biscay last November. Welcome to the
11/08/07 Arrived in
Nisos Milos at 1330, entering the huge bay which is the crater of an
ancient volcano and motoring the 4 miles or so to berth at Adhamas.
This island is reputed to be the home of the Venus de Milo, more
properly the Aphrodite of Milos, probably one of the best known
pieces of ancient Greek sculpture. I had a couple of hours sleep,
then went in search of the diesel man who came in his mini-tanker to
fuel the boat. Late afternoon brought a whole fleet of yachts looking
for a berth - they were unlucky, the small jetty was full, there was
no room at the inn!
12/08/07 Sailed at 1000
and made the 54 mile passage to the town of Paroikia on Nisos Paros,
arriving there just after 1900 and going bows to on the outer wall,
alongside Colin and Trish on Moody Time - last seen in Gouvia.
As normal, we had a few beers and a meal ashore! In September 2000,
the rocks just outside the bay claimed the ferry Samina Express
in what was Greece's worst maritime disaster for 35 years and some
eighty passengers and crew lost their lives.
13/08/07 Forecasts of
strong meltemi winds for the next few days, so I decided to remain
here in port for a while before moving on towards Kos and Turkey.
With the help of Colin and Trish, I moved Rhumb Do into a
vacant spot on the inside of the harbour wall, giving me more
protection from the impending winds.
14/08/07 A second
vacant spot on the inside wall......so we moved Moody Time into
the harbour also - but not without incident! It was like something
from a 'Carry On' film ........by accident I dropped the end of
Colin's shore power lead into the harbour which tripped out the
electricity on the jetty. We dried out the socket and reconnected,
but it was smoking and sizzling so we switched off again. Colin then
tried to undo the socket but it's screws were rusted and whilst trying
to force the socket apart......as if in slow motion .......the
screwdriver blade slipped and went through his hand. While he
retired onboard, I decided to just fit a new socket which I had on
Rhumb Do, so I cut off the old one and stripped the insulation
back - but unknown to me.....someone had switched on the power again!
Well, if my hair wasn't already short and standing up, it would be
now!! No real harm done though, it could have been serious but was
instead very funny and we all laughed about it while waiting in the
hospital for Colin to get a tetanus injection.
15/08/07 Nisos Paros is
the source of the best white marble in the world, and the Venus de
Milo, the Hermes of Praxiteles and most of the masterpieces of ancient
Greece were carved from the marble of this island. Paroikia is the
port and capital and is typically Cycladic with it's cubes of
whitewashed houses splashed with the natural colours of wisteria,
geranium and bougainvillea. The old quarter is an intriguing place
full of narrow winding alleys and archways, stone houses and shops
with wooden balconies and I spent the afternoon wandering around this
charming town. It possesses the finest church in the Aegean - a large
4th century Byzantine church with a tiled roof - Our Lady
Ekatontapyliani (or Katapoliani) whose feast day is today, the 15th
August and pilgrims from all over converge on the town. A small Greek
warship is alongside the ferry terminal and has supplied a band which
was marching along the seafront, the men in full whites - though it
has to be said, they are nowhere near as smart as the Royal Navy!
During the evening there was Greek dancing, the couples in traditional
dress, on a specially erected stage on the waterfront and the fishing
fleet came close inshore burning off all the old flares before a
surprisingly good firework display ended the official celebrations.
17/08/07 Pandemonium in
this little harbour today! It's the end of the chartering week and
one of the largest charter companies, Kiriacoulis, allows bareboat
charters to collect their holiday yachts from one of five islands and
drop them off at any of the others. On this occasion, according to
the agent, it seems they all elected to drop them at Paros and
we saw an influx of 32 charter boats this evening.....all rafting up
bow to stern, five deep across the harbour. Fortunately, and perhaps
because of my stern being so narrow and cluttered with gear, no-one
rafted to me, but Moody Time is hemmed in against the wall.
19/08/07 Slipped at 1030
in company with Moody Time and made our way through the shallow
channel between Nisos Paros and Nisos Andiparos before setting course
for the southern tip of Nisos Naxos where we arrived at 1730, entering
the bay of Ormos Kalandou. We were expecting to anchor here for the
night but were surprised by the presence of a small harbour, still
under construction, which we took advantage of by rafting up alongside
each other on the inner wall. This is a totally deserted part of the
island and nightfall brought just the moon, the stars and the light
from a solitary house on the hillside.
20/08/07 Motored out of
the harbour at 0700 to make a short passage to Nisos Amorgos,
anchoring in Ormos Kalotaritissa on the southern tip of the island at
1130. For the film buffs the island is known as the setting for Luc
Besson's film Le Grand Bleu (The Big Blue) but in the past, the
islanders had a reputation as wreckers and pirates! After lunch, we
went around the headland in the dinghy to see the wreck of the tramp
steamer Olympia which was featured in the film.
21/08/07 Weighed anchor
at 0715 and motored out into a calm, wind free sea, leaving the
Cyclades and setting course for Nisos Astipalaia in the Dodecanese.
During the short 30 mile passage, the wind didn't get above 8 knots
and we arrived in Vathi, a landlocked inlet on the northeast tip of
the island where we anchored in about 4 mtrs at 1420. Although we
were expecting the anchorage to be crowded, it was in fact deserted
and it wasn't until an hour later that a third boat Sea Fox
anchored close by. Ashore, there were only a few farmhouses and
small holdings, the inevitable little white church and a taverna come
cafe. In the taverna we met Phil and Wendy from Sea Fox and
had a pleasant evening with a meal and a few beers, discussing the
forecast of strong meltemi winds for tomorrow and all agreeing to
leave early in a bid to get into the leeward shelter of Kos before the
winds start in the afternoon.
22/08/07 All ready to
leave just after 5am and waiting for the first hint of daylight.
Weighed anchor at 0545, all three boats setting course for the
southern tip of Kos, making reasonable progress in a northerly force
3/4 and arriving off Kos at noon - before the meltemi. However, on
the 'sheltered' side of the island, the meltemi comes down the
mountainside and blasts across the open water to Turkey and we then
spent the next four hours being hit by gusts of up to 35 knots,
Rhumb Do making 7 knots with two reefs in the mainsail and more
than half the genoa furled away. We arrived outside Kos Marina just
after 5pm but had to circle for some time until a berth was found -
and that's only available until Friday 24th, which presents me with a
slight problem as I'm meeting a friend from home here on the 29th.
23/08/07 Today was the
touristy bit......a ride up to the ruins of the Temple of Asklepios
before an enjoyable evening meal in a Mexican restaurant. Wayne and
Angie onboard Hitrapia are here in Kos marina and I went to
find them, but they were not onboard which is a pity - having followed
their website (on my links page), I should have liked to meet them.
Maybe I'll catch them somewhere else?
24/08/07 Because of
overbooking in the marina coupled with the charter boat change over
period, we are unable to remain in Kos over the weekend so we sailed
at 1000 heading for Gumbet in Turkey, with the intention of returning
on the 29th. Dropped anchor just after 1300 off the beach at Gumbet
and suffered in the heat - today has been so hot, it's almost
unbearable. The wind is coming across the anchorage at around 20
knots but there is no cooling effect, it's like standing in front of
an open blast furnace door. The decks are too hot to stand or walk
on and it's a problem of how to keep cool. Below deck is probably
the coolest place with the wind blowing through the forward hatch.
Evening brought no respite and even at midnight, the wind was still as
hot as it had been all day and it was warm work rowing the dinghy
back from Moody Time. There was one amusing incident
today....a small rubber dinghy like my own came chugging past, steered
by a local at the outboard engine. Nothing unusual about that except
in this dinghy was strapped a 1000cc motorbike with the rider sitting
astride it!! They 'drove' the dinghy onto the beach, deflated it and
rode the bike away!
25/08/07 The anchor held
well throughout the windy night but started to drag at 0700. I reset
it some distance astern of Moody Time but because of an F8
forecast we decided to weigh anchor and take shelter in Bodrum
marina. We moved around the headland but because no berths were
available in the marina we anchored in the lee of St Peter's Castle to
wait. After five hours, and during which time I again had to reset
the anchor, we were told that no berths would be available today.
With the wind now at F7 (and not wanting to remain within fifty yards
of the all night disco), we again weighed anchor and sailed westward
to Bitez, dropping anchor at the head of the bay about 300 yards off
the beach. This meltemi has been blowing now since leaving Vathi and
we either ride it out at anchor or get a battering each time we stick
the bows out to sea!!
26/08/07 Because of the
heat, I slept in the cockpit and the wind finally eased during the
early hours giving me a relatively peaceful night - that was until the
town's minaret chanting started up at 0530! Now I know it's
Sunday and that Friday is their religious day.....but why do they start so early? We had a trip
ashore and had some breakfast, a stroll around the town and a couple
of pints whilst we watched the Istanbul Grand Prix. On return to the
boats, the wind had increased to over 25 knots again and a boat behind
was dragging his anchor with an inexperienced lone crew member
onboard. Colin and I donned our international rescue uniforms and
shot over in the dinghy to pass a line ashore and get the boats
skipper back onboard so that he could motor away from danger and reset
27/08/07 The meltemi
continues to blow, increasing in force as normal in the afternoon. At
7pm, Colin's anchor dragged and he was forced to move about a half
mile across the bay to reset it in shallower water. I'm hoping that I
will not have to move until early on the 29th when I will sail back to
Kos marina, but each noise from the bow roller has me on edge!
28/08/07 My outboard
engine is giving me a few problems as it will not run at slow speed,
cutting out each and every time the throttle is closed. Checking the
fuel, cleaning the jets and resetting the fuel mixture and the spark
plug has made no difference. It was last used in Cephalonia and was
fine then....I'm beginning to think I need a new one! Said goodbye
for now to Colin and Trish, as they weighed anchor and sailed for
Marmaris at 1pm. The meltemi blows on but it seems to be decreasing
as forecasted, which should give me a good short sail to Kos tomorrow.
29/08/07 Not a good
nights sleep, a disco across the bay went on until 3am (they normally
close at midnight here), then a football match started under
floodlights at 3.30am!! Weighed anchor at 0800 leaving the bay in a
WSW force 4 and made a quick passage under genoa to Kos, berthing bows
to in the marina at 0915. My alternator is mounted on rubber bushes -
and they are coming apart! I have done a temporary repair until I can
get the part number and have them sent out from UK, hope it lasts
until then. Spent the remainder of the day clearing out some of the
accumulated junk - most carried from Gillingham and never used or
needed - and making space for Angie to stay onboard for the next week.
30/08/07 Angie arrived
by taxi from the airport at 0500 - good to see her again! The marina
allowed me another day's stay and after Angie had a short sleep, we wandered around Kos town,
both old and new parts, and had a look at the plane tree under which
Hippocrates, born in Kos and the father of medicine, is reputed to
have taught. (Of course, the other well known product of
Kos is a type of lettuce!) We also swam
off the nearest beach, (if you could call it that), and generally relaxed throughout the day,
Angie gradually switching from work to holiday mode.
31/08/07 Slipped the
mooring at 1000 after stocking up from the supermarket and made our
way eastward into Gokova Korfezi, heading for Kormen, a small port I
had visited during a previous holiday in 2002. We dropped the kedge
anchor and moored bows to the wall at the restaurant in the port at
1440. Not much has changed here except for the introduction of a
small ferry service to Bodrum. You don't get any nearer to a
restaurant than this.....it's a case of step ashore and sit down! The
owner made us very welcome and we had an excellent sea bass, hooked
the boat up to his electricity and water and placed our order for
fresh bread in the morning.