Heading west, Turkey to Spain
12th June 2007
It hasn’t felt like newsletter time till now since our focus has been diverted this winter by working to top up our cruising funds, but now we are sailing again, and here’s where we’re up to.
We went back to
When we got back to Yanina, there were a lot of boat jobs to do whilst living in the boatyard (12 foot ladder, night bucket etc). At one point it got very confusing when we had half fitted the Hydrovane to check the critical dimensions, had a metal gantry made but not finally fitted, and started painting the topsides before fitting the vane, and it then rained and went down holes we'd drilled in the deck. We have also had a new genoa, sprayhood and cockpit table made and varnished all the wood at least six times, all worth it, the pain is forgotten now and Yanina is so smart.
Marmaris Yacht marina is a comfortable and very handy place to work, with a huge boatyard and facilities and cheap restaurant and swimming pool at the head of a beautiful big and sheltered bay - it's hard to get away, and people stay for years. It’s wasn’t all work though, the sun shone most days, there were barbeques and social events, and Bob joined the band. We met up with people we knew from Almerimar, or have met along the way - Doreen and Alan on Kiah, Jan and Max on Mambo, Ian and Heather on Blackfoot Warrior, Dot and Terry on Reality, and then Lisa and Roger, who Liz had sailed with across the Atlantic turned up to Skipper a 60 foot yacht, it really is a small world. The marina had Wifi but it was in a bad state that most people gave up trying to use it to preserve their sanity. - apologies to all our Skype contacts.
Everybody told us not to miss the south coast of
Sunken city, Kekova Goatherd, Kekova
We are currently in Simi, a Greek island just off the Turkish coast. It will be hard work initially crossing Aegean as there will be headwinds from the west and
We are however very pleased with the improvements we have made to assist Yanina’s sailing performance (or ours as crew). Yanina is a sturdy and safe long keel boat but she has struggled with the fickle winds, the short sharp seas, with marina berthing and taking long lines ashore (anything involving reversing) and many other things mediterranean. We have renewed the running rigging with smaller lines, the new genoa and the smaller main (that we foolishly took off in Portugal), help us handle the wind shifts so much better, and the new sprayhood and bimini keep us dry or cool, whichever we need and all these things combined have helped us sail her so much more confidently here. We could be in danger of creating a mediterranean boat, just as we are leaving, but we also have the hydrovane steering to try out in preparation for ocean sailing.
Sadly, we sold our bikes, but it did save a lot of space and weight...
To Crete, then we’ll probably stop at
June to August 2007
We were in Nidri, Lefkas and set off for Malta but turned back as the autopilot self-steering (useful when motoring) stopped working so spent two weeks unplanned, mostly on the wall at Lefkas while Olivier, the electrician, lost some parts and we sent off to England for some more and Bob ended up fixing it all anyway. Our autohelm is 30 years old and après Olivier, Bob had the desultory help of Mario who ran an electronics shop and wanted to sell us a new one – ‘I used to know an expert on these but he’s probably dead now’. On reaching
It has been nostalgic re-visiting places on our return journey, and we’ve experienced the same mixed sensations of familiarity and change as we do returning to the
For the sailors interested in our route across the Aegean, we went north from Marmaris to Simi and
Highlights of the summer - We anchored on the south of
On Santorini (Thira), blasted in the centre by a volcanic eruption and filled by the sea, there are few places to moor a yacht inside the caldera and they are all precarious, but there is now a ‘marina’ (well -Greek EU funded, unfinished concrete harbour) on the south coast. It’s 17 years since we were here too, and the roads are now lined with Euro-style holiday complexes, but improved road surfaces and the kids still bike around in swimming clothes but now on quad bikes. Ia and
The caldera at sunset
Then at last the sight of the green and low hills of the Greek mainland was a welcome contrast to the barren rocky
We moored outside a taverna in the cute bay of Korfos to be early for the Corinth canal – ‘free mooring, water electricity and shower’ (a vertical pipe in the road with a rose at the end), then an expensive meal. The next morning found us at the entrance to the canal at 9am, conducting business with the port official on the steps to his office that was being painted – ‘sorry, cash only, I can’t find the credit card machine’. At 125 euros it was a most expensive mile of canal but it was an unforgettable experience pelting through this narrow trench cut through the rock with bridges miles above us and steep sheer walls and with full engine revs, a fresh headwind, water sloshing from side to side, pursued by a huge freighter.
The pilot book talks about regular strong winds in the
More spectacular sights with the medieval harbour at Navpaktos, and the new bridge across the
Three days mainly motoring took us to
Seen in Malta, nice to have a little runabout on board
We met up with Roger and Lisa on Kimosabi in an anchorage, for a sunset picnic, then Bob’s nephew Ian and family Lucy, Bob and Fred, on holiday, parking Yanina right outside their hotel and taking them for a sail.
Sidi Bou Said
Fred approaching Valletta
A two night crossing to Tunisia gave us a bit of wind, but when we rounded Cap Bon, the bay of Tunis, which is 40 miles across, turned out to average only 40 metres in depth and when the 25 knot wind did it’s usual thing of heading us, the swell became over 2 metres - for eight long hours, it didn’t calm down till right outside the marina of Sidi Bou Said. The marina here doesn’t really cater for tourists and we had mixed reports about the facilities but we liked it. True, there’s only a little shop and the old town, a long walk up the hill, doesn’t really have any either; you need to get a key for the showers and toilets because the others are unmentionable and there isn’t much information about trips and tours; but we mixed with local Tunisians and fishermen, and the very pretty town had a very good art exhibition by a local artist and there was a train to Tunis.
Preparing a fish supper
We enjoyed Tunisia very much, the highlight being a 3 day trip into the Sahara desert in a 4x4 with Txaber, Francesco and Andreah, visiting an oasis and of course, including a camel ride. The temperature on the coast was cooler than
Choosing music CDs in Tunisia
International talks in the desert
An after-dinner smoke
Sunset in the desert
On our three night trip to
We didn’t stay in
December 20th 2007
Almerimar is as good as ever - untouristy, relaxed, and the sun shines most days. This last few weeks we have had temperatures in the 20’s. ‘T’ shirts and shorts.
For Christmas the yachties are getting together and cooking a Christmas dinner – 60 people so far. We have a room to hold it in, and everyone is joining forces to organise the logistics of how we all cook food on board/get it there/keep it hot/ electrics/decorations/etc., someone else thankfully is co-ordinating it all. All we know is that we are cooking a turkey, and playing live music – our contribution, and no doubt in the best team spirit, bolstered by a few drinks, it will all happen. There may even be a Christmas swim too.
From Mallorca, we sailed overnight to
Check his website at http://www.mdtourservices.com/
Our visit coincided with the KC's gig in Ibiza Rocks (basically a bar with enough space for a stage and about 900 people) so we had a great time with VIP treatment.
Mike and Daniella take the helm
Then we sailed back to
From there we went straight to Almerimar where we had planned to stay for the winter. it was a 2 night passage from
We were in Almerimar 3 years ago and enjoyed it. There's a good social life and it happens to be the cheapest marina on the coast! The plan is to get Yanina and ourselves ready for crossing the Atlantic next winter, but to have a look at places like
Thank you to everybody who has emailed us with their news. Wherever you are in the world, it’s great to hear from you, and amazing that we can do so too.