Back to a Sailing Life

Having stayed in Egypt slightly longer than we’d planned, it was time to get our skates on and get La Mischief ready to roll in only two days. My first job was to fix the toilet, now that I’d managed to get my Jabsco servicing kit through Turkish customs for an exorbitant fee. Next time, I’ll use normal post, rather than UPS as Turkish customs don’t tend to worry about packages in the post (I did this with my Watermaker winteriser pack I had sent from France).

This first job was an abject failure as the chopper I’d left soaking in a bucket disappeared to the bottom of the marina. Bummer. We quickly arranged for a new one to be purchased by Barbara from West Marine in California – to be delivered personally when Joe and Barbara arrived in a week. Luckily we had a couple of spare working heads on board.

Next job was more of a success. The three new batten cars that I bought in Perth were fitted successfully, although the third batten car keeps pulling out under the stress of the square rig.

Dee had taken our broken Raymarine Autopilot head back to the USA and had scored big time, getting a free replacement even though the unit was out of warranty. This was after the guys in Gocek tried to sell us a new unit. Thanks Raymarine.

The rest of the jobs were largely putting back stuff we’d stored inside for the winter and getting the boat somewhat clean. The marina at Karpaz was cheap but any services we would have liked done were not. We looked at lifting La Mischief and getting her bottom painted and top and sided waxed and polished, but the costs were pretty steep so we gave that idea away. I’d previously looked at getting the engines serviced but I’d quickly worked out this was a bad idea so my cunning plan was to sail back to Gocek and get Sanli to organise it.

Jobs somehow always get done in time and off we went. Ozge, a friend of ours from the Marina, came along to help us out, and the 3 of us got going about 10am after we managed to complete our formalities and leave our berth. We’d tossed up a few destinations and in the end we settled for Kas, 230nm away. When you leave the Turkish Republic of Cyprus, you need to go to Turkey as Turkey is the only country in the world to recognize the Turkish Republic of Cyprus. After Turkey, you can go wherever you like.

We arrived in Kas at 8am having motored for 2 days on a glassy sea. We called in to the old harbour (rather than the new marina) and were met by an agent, who for 200 turkish lira, checked us in. Then it was off to catch up with our friends from Kas. It didn’t take us long to catch up with Smiley, still as useful as ever. He organised a diver to help with our awful looking bottom, it was a complete ecosystem down there. We got our gas bottled swapped and did a few other chores before catching up with Mutlu at his beach bar. Then it was off for a great meal at Smiley’s, which felt wonderfully familiar.
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Next morning it was up at the crack of dawn, Ozge feeling the effects of the Raki from the night before was moving noticeably slower. The wind was still non-existent so we stopped and anchored off the beach at Olu Deniz and had a look at the lagoon.

Then it was onto Gocek for our date with Sanli and his team. All four engines received a service, our decks were waxed and polished, our stereo was replaced by a Fusion unit I picked up in Perth along with replacement speakers for the back (they were falling apart after a couple of years) and new waterproof Fusion speakers for the front installed under the eyebrow.

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As Sanli was getting this all organized, I was putting together the toilet – lucky me – I always get the good jobs. Dee meanwhile had picked up Barbara and Joe and was showing them all the sights around Gocek – Saklikent Gorge, Dalyman River Tombs and Pinara. Meanwhile Ozge said his goodbyes and caught a plane back to Ercan via Istanbul.

Then it was off sailing once more, first to Fethiye to check out of Turkey and then to Rhodes to check into Greece. We left Fethiye in zero knots of wind and ended up in Rhodes in 40 knots of wind, right on the nose of cause. Welcome to windy Greece. We checked into the largely empty Rhodes Marina for 57 euros a night, too late to check into Greece so we had a quiet night on the boat. Next morning it was a 2km walk into town to visit the Port Police, Customs and Immigration, before checking out the old town with its wonderful castle and windy walking streets. Still one of my favourite destinations.

13055421_10205628083294303_4646564660525080657_nThen it was off to one of our other favourite destinations – Lindos. We had a great sail down the coast, scooting along on a nice reach. Joe and Barbara were loving it. We got to Lindos in the late afternoon to find a couple of yachts there – different to the crowded anchorage we found last time. We got a prime spot right off the beach on the sandy bottom. No wrapping our anchor chain around any rocks this time.

12986983_10205567433018084_2204062510547831910_nAnchored up, we dingied ashore and walked up to the castle, which had already shut for the day. Then we headed back down into the town and stopped off at our favourite Captains Bar. Saves (Greek for Steve) was there to great us and we reminisced about a few late nights in his bar last season. Then we headed off to check out the amphitheater and across to Ay Apostoli, an enclosed bay on the other side of Lindos where I had my first Greek Mojito of the season – oh how I’ve missed them. Dinner at Stephanies (but not on the roof – too cold) completed a pretty good day.

12993346_10205567463378843_7316115161565518783_nNext day, it was up to the castle on the top of the headland, breathtakingly beautiful. The girls were keen to go shopping so I retreated to a nice beachside café for some blogging and photo uploading, which takes time in Greece given the piddley amount of bandwidth. Back on the boat, it was time for our first swim of the season in the beautifully clear water of Lindos. An afternoon relaxing before we pulled anchor and headed south towards Kasos, on the way to Crete.

13062390_10205627895289603_1156963486843798402_nWith 4 of us on board, the night went quickly as the winds died and we motored all the way. We arrived in Kasos at about 9am and had to administer mouth to mouth to see if we could possibly solicit any life out of the place. We pronounced it dead as a door nail and decided to make our own life. We bought fresh fish from a local fisherman and had it cooked at Mylos Restaurant overlooking the bay. Two other cats had pulled in and we met up at the restaurant to breath some life back into the town. One cat was Canadian, the other English and they had both been wintering in Crete at Agios Nikolaos, and had good things to say about it.

With another night sail coming up, we had to curb the wine and beer, in time to sober up for our 6pm departure.

The sail to Crete was pretty uneventful, with flat seas and what wind there was, was on the nose most of the way. We managed to get to our destination ahead of sunrise, so we floated around until 6.30am and then went into Spinalonga.

But that’s another story.

 

 

Steve’s Top 10 for This Year

Just when I thought I was done for the year, Kim pipes up and suggests I publish my top 10 for the year. So here goes….

  1. Cappadocia – mindblowing, spectacular, so different and the balloon ride was captivating. See https://lamischief.com/2015/10/16/cappadocia-apologies-in-advance-for-the-verbal-diorrhea/

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2. Paragliding over Oludeniz – most fun we’ve had in a long time.

DCIM100GOPRO3. Lindos on Rhodes – beautiful bay underneath a stunning acropolis – a natural citadel which was fortified successively by the Greeks, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Knights of St John and the Ottomans. The town underneath the acropolis is brilliant with great little shops and ships captains’ houses that have been converted into restaurants and bars. See https://lamischief.com/2015/09/05/en-route-to-a-birthday-party-hope-we-get-an-invite/

 

4. Skopolos – enchanting Greek island with beautiful wooded bays and pebble beaches. Surprisingly bereft of Mamma Mia glitz, but the church from the film was a very impressive setting. And a great seafood platter for lunch that Dee hasn’t stopped talking about. See https://lamischief.com/2015/08/22/skiathos-mamma-mia-on-mondays-wednesdays-and-saturdays-anyone/

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5. Santorini – visited for the third time and still as picture perfect as ever. Managed to visit a few different places this time – Ancient Thira was a find as was Gaia Winery right on the beach. See https://lamischief.com/2015/08/25/santorini-still-stunning-the-third-time-around/

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6. Little Cyclades – sailed straight past these islands in previous years but this time we headed to the islands of Koufonissi, Iraklia, and Schinoussa. These islands are one of the best kept secrets with the chora at Koufonissi the highlight of the group. See https://lamischief.com/2015/08/28/touring-the-little-cyclades-with-the-uncanins/

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7. Kasterlorizo – party time with 50 other Aussies – what more can I say. Thanks Greg. See https://lamischief.com/2015/09/05/en-route-to-a-birthday-party-hope-we-get-an-invite/

8. Side – Mustafa looked after us superbly as we waited out a nasty storm in an ancient harbour – wandering through great Roman ruins that were right on the waterfront. See https://lamischief.com/2015/11/06/the-wind-arrives-followed-by-hugh/

9. Konya – The stunning Mevlana Museum – especially when lit up at night, the Whirling Dervishes, and the Lamb , the beautifully slow cooked tandoor kebab, so nice we had to visit again and pig out on 500g of Tandoor Lamb each.

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10. The Beaches of Mikonos – super cool and super beautiful. See https://lamischief.com/2015/08/24/tour-de-party-islands/

 

 

Honorable mentions go to

The Fantastic Island of Kasterlorizo and Mr Fantastic’s 60th Birthday Celebrations

After a long motor with little to no wind, we made it to Kasterlorizo about 4pm in the afternoon and sailed past a waving Jenny and Paul outside their Hotel. We found a nice spot on the wall, right next to one of the many restaurants and tied up, stern to.

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Then it was off to some pre-dinner drinks that Greg, Jenny’s brother in law, was putting on outside the Hotel Mediterraneo. With 54 Aussies coming to Greg’s 60th, all the hotels were pretty well booked out. This turned out to be the start of Greg’s generous hospitality as he quickly accepted us into his fold. I must say, it was good to get a hyperdose of Australian for the week.

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Next day we reciprocated and held drinks on La Mischief for 50+ people, a record for La Mischief. Lots of fun, mixing with a whole lots of Australians for the week. I was amused to find that with all the new people I was meeting, we had some common friends – always the way. A few quick snaps and an email to Fish to surprise him with who I was hanging out with.

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In between hanging out with Australians, we took time to explore Kasterlorizo. As its name implies, it’s the island with a castle and the climb to the top of the castle that overlooks the town was quite impressive. Even more impressive (and exhausting) was the walk up the side of the mountain that overlooks the town and then to the monastery and around the back of the island through the military training grounds, past the airport and back down into the town. Great views all round.

But the most impressive natural wonder on the island was undoubtedly the Blue Grotto. It’s a couple of miles around the bottom of the island and almost impossible to find without local kno
wledge. And no anchoring near by. So we did the sensible thing and took one of the local boats around with Paul and Jenny. It was quite a tight fit as we all had to lay down on the bottom of the dingy to get in. Once inside, we all jumped in and took lots of photos. It was quite spectacular and every bit as good as the one at Capri or Vis.blue grotto
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Next day we decided to leave the wall and take some people across to St George Beach for the day. Beach is pushing it but it was a great swim spot with lots of turtles and a clear sandy bottom. Plus a bar just a short swim away on a small island. Perfect.

zorbaAfter a week of partying, eating, drinking, walking and swimming, the Island’s temporary Australian population started to slowly decline to more normal levels as Greg’s friends all hopped on ferries or planes to continue their travels. And so it was with us as we said goodbye to Greece and hello to Turkey, a mere couple of miles away

En route to a Birthday Party – Hope We Get An Invite

With our police report done, it was time to head off towards Kastelorizo, via a bit of Greek Island hopping. Our first stop was Astipolea, a days sail away. We got there just before sunset and found the wall completely full so we anchored in a nice bay south of the town and stayed on board.

Next day we set sail for Tilos and we found a nice anchorage on the west coast that was also a bit of a hippy camping spot. Pleasant spot to hang out for a late afternoon.

This put us in range of Rhodes. We decided to do a day in Rhodes town before heading down to Lindos for a couple of days. We’d heard that the new Rhodes Marina was open so we thought there may be space in Mandraki now. No such luck. We got waved away. So new Rhodes Marina it was.

And brand spanking new it was. Right down to the newly laid mooring lines and the new staff who were still learning the ropes. They put all the yachts in one corner and left the rest of the marina free. Huge empty spaces were available for a lot more yachts.

We had a little argument about pricing. They have a strange way of pricing wide boats that saw us being classified as 23m long???? After a couple of escalations we agreed on a price of 95 euros. Still ouch – but not as ouch as the original price.

Rhodes was our last good shopping spot before hitting Turkey so we filled up on diesel and wine. Found a great wine shop in the old town that provided us with some great recommendations and in they went to our special bilge storage spot.

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One of the reasons we called into Rhodes town was to try and get an extended visa for Greece. When we tried to get one in Leros they said we had to go to Rhodes to try. However when we went to the immigration office, we found out they were only open on Tuesdays and Fridays. We got talking to an English expat who’d been living there forever and she reiterated that it would be almost impossible to obtain one – something the Police in Leros had also said. Oh well – the Greeks just don’t want us to stay and spend our money there.

With diesel and wine topped up, it was off to Lindos, about 30nm down the coast. Lindos is one of our favourite places in Greece, a stunning setting under an ancient acropolis with Greek columns, a Crusader Castle and Church perched on a hill. Underneath there is a beautiful town with winding streets leading up to the acropolis and lots of shopping. On the bay itself is some delightful restaurants. Ah…heaven.

We’d only driven there by car previously so we were keen to take La Mischief there. It wasn’t that straightforward though as there were quite a few boats in the bay and the bottom was strewn with rocks.

We had a couple of anchoring attempts before we were happy. On one, we managed to get our anchor caught around some rocks and we needed to snorkel on it (lucky the water was very clear as it was caught 15m down) to work out which way to drive the boat to free it. I was on snorkel directing Dee on the wheel.

IMGA0504Safely anchored, we had a couple of wonderful days there, swimming, eating and shopping. The town had some wonderful rooftop restaurants overlooking the bay and we enjoyed a night time dinner talking to some interesting Israelis before retiring to the Captains House Bar, an original Captain’s House from the 17th Century built by a wealthy seafarer with ornate carved stone work around the Sala door and the original hand painted ceiling still intact. The barman and the owner were great company and it took us to the early hours of the morning to eventually leave. For our second night on the town, we took the recommendation of a Pommy rugby player who was managing a jewelry shop (interesting combination), and checked out another Captains House (there are a few of them in Lindos) that was an up and coming restaurant called Olive Street. It turned out to be a great recommendation and a step up from a lot of the (very good) tavern meals we’d been enjoying.

With Paul and Jenny about to arrive in Kasterlorizo, it was time to say goodbye to Lindos and head southeast to our final Greek destination 70nm away.

Robbed!!!

The day started well as we pushed off early from the dock at Iraklia en route to Naxos. With a day to spare before the Uncanin’s left for the airport, and the weather perfect with no sign of the meltemi anywhere, our plan was to hit one of Naxos legendary beaches for a day of relaxation. We pottered up the channel between Naxos and Paros in no wind at all – something of a rarity at this time of the year – checking out all the beaches as we went.

We got to Agios Prokopios, about 3nm south of Naxos Town and decided that this was it. We anchored just off the swim area opposite a beautiful beach in 5m of water. Perfect. The rest of the day was spent swimming and snorkeling, walking on the beach and checking out the beach bars.

We came back to La Mischief to shower and watch the sun go down before hopping in the dingy and heading to the beach at about 9.30pm for some dinner at one of the many restaurants that lined the beach.
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Getting back to the boat at 11.30pm, Dee unlocked the door to discover the contents of the rubbish bin strewn across the floor. The boat had been trashed with all our drawers and belongings tipped out on the floor. What a mess.
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We tried to tidy up a little and work out what was missing. Everyone had left their phones on charge (except me) so they were gone. All 3 Macbooks were gone – they had left Dee’s old heavy laptop. They had taken my spare watch and camera and worst of all they had taken Rachel’s handbag with all their passports and cash.

It appears they were a couple of swimmers who put all the electronics in a bin liner plus a bag of Dee’s they had pinched. They had broken some screens we had over the front hatches to gain entry and made off with a tidy stash. Bastards.

It put a real downer at the end of what was a great few days with Zeljko, Rachel and the kids.

Next morning, we made our way into Naxos, where Zeljko and Rachel had organized an early ferry to Athens to sort out their passports. We had to wait around to Monday to do a formal police report as the Greek Financial Crisis meant they done deal with crime on the weekends. The guys at Port Police were a bit taken aback as they had never had this happen at anchor before. They had had a few breakins at the marina in years gone by but none this year. Just our luck.

But life goes on. I’ve ordered a new laptop and camera from the States, which Toma brought out for me. My Travel Insurance knocked back my claim because the items stolen were left unattended in a car or a boat. Luckily I have Personal Effects insurance on my Boat Insurance.

As a result of this incident we now lock all the hatches whenever we leave the boat and will look into some motion sensing alarm/video system. Pain in the arse but never the less necessary I suppose.

But I can’t complain. Life is good and at the end of the day nobody got hurt and everything is replaceable.

Touring the Little Cyclades with the Uncanins

Kalantos probably isn’t the best place to pick up guests in Naxos. The taxi ride from the airport cost a small fortune but the upside was that the Uncanin clan got to see a fair bit of the interior.

Whilst waiting for the taxi to get to Kalantos – which was pretty much on the end of the road to nowhere, Dee and I decided to wash the boat. The fresh water arrived on the back of a truck and with no pump and just a hose, it took a bit of trickery to get the water onto the deck. At one stage we were filling buckets to get the job done.

UncaninsWith the new crew on board there was no reason to hang about in Kalantos, so off we went to Koufonisia. We thought we’d start with top shelf.

It was only 15nm across, but boy was it an eventful trip. As we hit the swell, Rachel hit the bucket and Danijela was starting to feel the effects of seasickness as well. Whilst all this was being dealt with a good dose of Sturgeon, we started to smell smoke. The smell was traced to a smoking solar panel. Washing the boat turned out to have some downsides as this must have contributed to shorting out the connector on top of the panel. So we disconnected the connector and isolated the faulty panel. Bummer. I’ve never heard of a panel catching fire and we had a look at the other four that were put on in Marmaris and their connections were all showing signs of corrosion.

As usual, it was blowing 30+ kts at Koufonisia when we got there. We anchored in the same spot and everyone enjoyed a swim before we set off to explore the chora, and check out one of the many restaurants.

After a couple of pleasant days it was time to move on and check out Iraklia, another of the Little Cyclades. The wind had died down and sailing between the islands afforded both more protection and brilliant scenery. We checked out one the bays at the bottom of Schionoussa along the way and did some people/boat spotting. These Little Cyclades are full of big arse private boats, as they obviously know the secret.

We pulled into the small harbour at the top of Iraklia, and decided the only spare spot was on the end of the ferry dock, which was vacant and okay. We swam off the back of the boat into the beach and explored yet another cutesy town, finishing off with another restaurant meal.

With a day to spare, it was time to head back to Naxos to explore one of its great beaches before dropping off the Uncanins.

For photos of Koufonisia, see https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10204116125656307.1073741988.1620379103&type=1&l=3c0e8c28d8

Uphill Against the Meltemi Ain’t No Fun.

With Alex’s and Milo’s Grand Tour successfully completed, it was time to head back North to pick up the Uncanin’s in Naxos in a week’s time. This meant battling the meltemi northwards.

We left Santorini (probably for the last time) and headed towards Sikinos, a Greek Island that had alluded us so far. The Meltemi initially behaved itself as we left the cauldron, but soon through a wobbly and picked up to 45kts on the nose. We set a bit of a tacking angle with a motor running and a couple of reefs in. Eric the Autopilot was enjoying the nasty chop and kept wanting to round-up. So on his the dive masts for a bit of manual steering in the spray that was hitting us in the face. After a couple of hours of alternating at the wheel we reached the lea of Sikinos and got Eric to play ball again as we tacked along the coast to the one and only decent anchorage, being the main port. We dropped anchor on beautiful sand and enjoyed the peace and quiet of a not too much going on at all place.

DSC_0936We did however hire a couple of scooters and take off and explore the island in a relatively car free environment. Somehow they had managed to build some beautiful roads on the island so it was a pleasure to scoot around. The one service station through us for a while until we worked out the lack of an attendant was due to it being automatic. We went up to an old church at the end of the island, climbed up to the monastery at the top of a tiny chora, ate a nice lunch at the said chora and swam at a nice beach with a good looking restaurant. We also stopped at the island’s sole winery perched on the side of a cliff to watch the sun go down. It only took about 4 hours to knock off the entire island.

After a relaxing couple of nights there, it was time to brave the meltemi and keep heading north. Our next destination was the little Cyclades, which believe it or not, is made up of a number of (very cute) little islands. But first we had to get there and this involved bashing our way up the channel between Ios and Sikonos. Once we’d done this we got a bit of a reach across to Schionoussa, our first Little Cyclades destination. We checked out a few anchorages and decided on the port, where we dropped anchor and tied our bum to shore, next to one of the two huge private launches that are owned by a couple of Greek shipping magnates, and supposedly spend all of their time anchored permanently in this bay. We had plans of spending a couple of nights there but next day the wind started blowing on our nose and we weren’t too impressed with the holding in the bay so we decided to try a different Little Cyclades. We pulled anchor and shot over to Koufonisia. Once again it was blowing 40kts but we got a good anchorage in the bay over nice sand. I love a good holding!

We dingied into town and were blown away by one of the cutest little choras we’d come across. It was one of those secret places that only the Greeks know about because there were plenty of Greeks holidaying there. The island also has some great beaches, and as the sun set, you could see all the people walking back from the beaches to the chora. Soon the chora was a lively mass of people, with great bars and restaurants overlooking the port and small marina (which we didn’t use).

Next morning it was up early to pick up Zeljko, Rachel,  Danijela and Ben from Naxos. Our cunning plan was to avoid the channel between Naxos and Paros and head round the west side of Naxos. The plan was working very smoothly right up to about half way up Naxos as we had a light wind from the south of all directions. Then wham – in came the Meltemi – at full strength. We battled it for about 30 minutes and them realized we weren’t going anywhere. We decided to give it away and head to the south of Naxos where we would get them to catch a taxi to.

We settled on Kalantos at the bottom of Naxos as the alternate pick up point and pulled into the wall there to await the Uncanins.

For pictures of Sikonos see https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10204107980412681.1073741986.1620379103&type=1&l=9c552eb1b2

For photos of Schionoussa see https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10204107981692713.1073741987.1620379103&type=1&l=78bef0068f

For photos of Koufonisia, see https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10204116125656307.1073741988.1620379103&type=1&l=3c0e8c28d8

Santorini – Still Stunning the Third Time Around

The sail into Santorini is always exhilarating – looking up at the massive cliffs with the whitewashed buildings perched on top, as well as the wind gusts and constant changes of wind directions. Santorini is still an active volcano and I read somewhere that it is the biggest caldera in the world. Always good to sail through an active volcano.

Like Mykonos you would think that Santorini would have a good marina. Even an average one would be good. But all they can muster is a fishing boat harbour, miles from the action, crammed full of catamarans that they do day tours on. We had to beg to get 3 days on the wall and for 2 days we had a 27 tonne Catana hanging precariously off our outside cleats in 40kts of wind. Snapped one of my mooring lines and chaffed another before we could get some lines directly from the Catana to the wall to help relieve the pressure. George, the captain of the Catana, from Crete, was most apologetic about it, and turned out to be a lovely guy.

Santorini is simply stunning. Being in the marina we had to rent a car for the whole duration, and we used it to good effect, visiting some places we’d been before (on my previous two trips) and some others that were new to us.

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We of course checked out Fira and Ioa: Ioa for the sunset. In Ioa we “discovered” pool bars, where, for the price of a drink you can swim in a nice pool and enjoy a stunning view. No need to book into an expensive hotel to do this. This was a great precursor to the sunset show, where a big crowd gathers each day to watch the sun disappear in the west, and then applaud it doing so. Slightly weird – clapping the sun.

Santorini is making some good wines these days and we did a bit of a wine trek. I was determined to find Gaia Winery, which Sean had prepped me on as they export into Australia. We found it on a lovely beach on the East side of the Island, and enjoyed a great tasting overlooking the Med, followed by a short wine tour. We walked away with our wine stocks restocked with a couple more cartons. We also checked out Santo Winery, mainly for the stunning view.

We added the old port at Ios, Pyrgos and Ancient Thira to our list of personal Santorini highlights. Pyrgos had a great Castle and Church that we climbed up to through a cute village. Ancient Thira is perched on the top of a mountain, that you reach by driving up 30 odd switchbacks and then walk up a further 500m. Its breath-taking when you finally get, looking down at planes landing, and across to all of Santorini’s beaches. The ruins are also worth a look, and all in all, somewhere really worth adding to your where to go in Santorini list.

As far as old favourites went, we revisited Red Beach (good) and Ancient Akrotiri (not so good the second time round), and to the boys went out to the island in the middle, where there is still some smouldering sulphur. Dee and I took the opportunity to search out another pool bar, a 30 minute walk north from Fira, where the Mojito’s are made even better by a stunning view. The boys and I also did the obligatory donkey ride up from the port – Dee however would have nothing to do with it, preferring instead to stay firmly planted in the pool bar.

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Santorini comes alive at night and we enjoyed a few delightful meals in restaurants perched on the side of the cliffs, enjoying the magical light show from all the other restaurants similarly perched on cliffs around us.

Santorini was where Alex and Milo left us, Alex to fly back to Sydney and Milo to continue onto Serbia. It was a great few weeks with Alex (and Milo) and we had a great time taking lots of photos and getting up to Mischief.

For photos of Santorini, please see https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202362571058538&type=1&l=c01082b357

Tour De Party Islands

It’s amazing that as you approach Mykonos the wind can go from zero to 40kts in no time at all. We left Syros in about 30kts and halfway across it dropped to nothing before picking up to 40kts as we approached the Marina.

For somewhere as famous as Mykonos, the Marina is pretty average. It’s still half-finished and quite dusty. Worst of all, there’s a cable lying right across the middle for the laid lines that were never put in – so now its just an anchor fouler uperer. The trick is to make sure you drop your anchor way over near the other boats on the next finger so your chain lies across this and by the time you pick up your anchor you have cleared the problem. Its great fun watching all the charter boats try and get their anchor dislodged – its 150 euro to get a diver to help out. We were lucky – we got a side on berth in between some other cats.

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Safely moored up, we set off to explore Mykonos. Despite its manic-ness, it’s still one of my favourites. This time, we hired a car and visited all the great beaches with all their ultra cool beach bars. Wandering through all the shops, people watching and taking lots of photos. Milo got a little bit excited when he saw the resident pelican walk into a bar. Sounds like the start of a joke.

In Syros, we got a nice note on the back of La Mischief from Jan and Dean, who we spent a night dancing on the back of La Mischief with in the Balearics, saying they were in the vicinity. So it was good to catch up with them in Mykonos. We spent a great night eating out and visiting a gay piano bar to 3am in the morning (Hey – its hard to find live music in Mykonos…its all DJ stuff).

Meanwhile Milo and Alex were also trying out the nocturnal nightlife in Mykonos. The night club at Super Paradise afforded Dee the chance to practice her Spanish the next morning. Now that’s cryptic.

We incorporated a trip to Delos, in our stay at Mykonos. Once again, we took the ferry as the wind stayed up the entire time we were at Mykonos. Delos used to be the trading centre of the Cyclades, with all the circles of the Cyclades (hence the name) emanating from there. It was pretty hot, but  Alex, Milo and I managed to tramp our way around all of it, whilst Dee stayed on Mykonos shopping!!!

With Mykonos done and dusted it was onto the next party island, Ios, via a short stop at the top of Paros to take some beautiful sunset shots and enjoy a wet dingy ride back from town.

Ios is full of young Aussies – thanks largely to Contiki. The wall was pretty full and it was once again blowing its socks off, so we went around to our favourite bay when the water is soooo clear. We dingied in and visited one of the coolest beach bars we had come across. And in the evenings we would catch a bus up to the Chora and walk (stumble) down the hill to the bay. We visited the Lord Byron restaurant for dinner – at one stage he wanted to buy Ios evidently.

There were however a few things we didn’t do. We didn’t visit the Slammers bar where kids go to drink shots in a motorcycle helmet before being hit on the head with anything that comes to hand. We didn’t do the 5 shots for 5 euros. We did however go to the Lost Boys bar and take some photos as my hockey team is referred to as the Lost Boys.

However, Santorini was beckoning, so it was time to pull up anchoring and head south to the photographers heaven.

Downhill to the Cyclades

After successfully getting Milo on board, we were straight off to Skyros. We had a nice sail  – its fun going downhill in the Greek Islands. Skyros has a small wall, which was all full, so the guy from the port took us over to some free mooring balls, right under a cliff with a cool bar perched on top. Great spot to swim and snorkel – much better than being on the wall.

Once again, we did the hire a car thing – primarily to drive up to the Chora, with the obligatory Venetian castle perched on top. On the walk up it was good to see the working donkeys, carrying all sorts of building material up the narrow steep streets.

We also visited a cool museum, set up by an old-time Skyros family with all sorts of interesting stuff they had collected. But the best part was still where we parked the boat.

Next morning we continued south on our way to Andros, with wind instruments that decided to fabricate both direction and wind strength. Mmmm. Anyway we decided to put up the geneker for the first time this season, relying on guess work to decide how strong the wind was. It lasted a while until the meltemi decided to make an appearance. We reefed down and positively zoomed into Batsi doing 8s and 9s. It was still blowing 40kts (guess) in the harbour so coming alongside with the wind pushing us into the dock was a little exciting.

Safely on the wall, we sat it out a few days and checked out Batsi – which wasn’t a bad place to be holed up in -until it dropped enough to head over to Kea, a relatively short 35nm away on a beam reach. Kea gets a good write-up, especially the Chora, but there wasn’t much of a crowd there because the crisis affected Greeks from Athens weren’t coming across and it had a bit of a dead feel about it. However the giant pussycat on the side of the hill that was carved out in the height of the Greek empire was pretty impressive.

Next stop on our downwind run was Syros, where we were last year. It was just as enjoyable as last time, with its cool beach bars, a lively wall where the restaurants are a footstep away from the back of La Mischief, and quite a few mansions with exquisite wrought iron. Some are still magnificent, some are just abandoned shells of houses. The old town is a delight to wander with its marble streets. The town is the largest in the Cyclades and has a couple of big churches, one Catholic and the other Greek Orthodox. We went up to Ano Syros once again, a medieval Catholic settlement with its winding narrow lanes and whitewashed houses, and its wonderful 13th century church.

Whilst there we fixed one problem and found another. The problem with the wind instruments was traced to a leak where the wiring that ran down from the mast entered the boat, resulting in a junction box full of rain water. On the flip side, we had our top batten car pull out of the batten box, and no amount of lock tight would keep them together. So time to order a new box from Incidence in France.

After a couple of days (and nights where the boys hit the clubs), it was time to take the boys across to Mykonos to get some more nocturnal experiences like nowhere else!!!