Above is an excellent review of the 421 Catamaran from Multihull World. It explains how the Lagoon 421 corrected the problems of the Lagoon 420 that was designed to motor sail rather than sail. To quote the opening paragraph of the article….
“Here is the revised and corrected version of the 420. With its less bulky lines and more hydro-dynamically efficient hulls, the 421 should make a name for itself as one of the most widely-distributed catamarans on the market.“
THIS IS AN ARTICLE I WROTE LAST YEAR THAT I”VE JUST GOT AROUND TO POSTING
After two seasons cruising the Eastern Caribbean aboard La Mischief, our Lagoon 421 catamaran, it was time to look westwards and check out the “other” side of the Caribbean. When we heard about the Ocean Cruising Club’s Suzie Too Rally from some of our cruising friends, we jumped at the chance to explore this part of the world in the company of both old and new friends.
The Suzie Too OCC Rally is the brainchild of Suzanne and David Chappell, who first ran the rally in 2016. Our rally started in November 2018 from Curaçao, visiting Aruba, Colombia, San Blas, Panama, San Andres, Providencia, Roatan, and Utila before finishing in Belize in April.
The first major leg of the rally was the passage from Aruba to Santa Marta in Colombia, which has the reputation of being very challenging. Trade Winds funnel across the top of Colombia and the waves have a very long fetch in which to build up size. Folklore has it as being one of the five worst passages in the world. But having researched and now done it, I believe that the Rally got it right; and you can dramatically improve your chances of a pleasant non-eventful passage by planning to go at the right time of the year – before the Christmas winds kick in; penciling in an optional rest stop at Cabo De La Vela; staying close to the coast to make use of the beneficial land effects; and applying a little patience to wait for a good weather window.
Setting off from Aruba at 5pm with my partner DeAnne, and our crew of Richard and Christy, we ended up having rather benign conditions all the way to Cabo De La Vela (the Cape of the Wind), with an annoying one knot current against us, instead of with us as advertised. Progress was slow but okay, made worse by our overly conservative sail plan, choosing not to deploy our parasailer when conditions were perfect. The folklore had got the better of us!
As we left Cabo De La Vela, we pulled out the light wind gennaker for a few hours until the wind built to 20-25 knots as dusk approached. Down the gennaker came and in went a reef into the mainsail. Around midnight the wind completely died and on went the motors so that we could see the sunrise over the Sierra Nevada mountains, which run down to the sea and are very spectacular. These are the only mountains in the Caribbean where you can see snow on the mountain tops.
The approach to Santa Marta is stunningly spectacular. As we approached the headland, distracted by the snowcapped mountains, the wind picked up and the waves grew in size. We were having a great downwind sail, but we needed to reef. As we were close to Santa Marta, we decided to drop the mainsail instead of going through the rigmarole of reefing. We turned into the wind to lower the main, just as a large wave broke over us thoroughly soaking DeAnne as she stood on the coach roof to help with the sail drop.
Santa Marta Marina was fantastic. Kelly, who manages the office, is awesome. Colombia requires that you use an agent to clear into each port, and Santa Marta Marina provided us with an agent free of charge because of our extended booking. We soon discovered the famous Santa Marta katabatic winds that appear every afternoon and blow around 40kts. A good reason to be tucked up in the marina rather than out at anchor with reputedly dubious holding.
We spent two weeks soaking up the sites, culture and food in Santa Marta, which was celebrating its 500-year anniversary. We hired a car and drove the countryside. We spent two days exploring Tayrona National Park, which has some great walks and beaches. We checked out the Caiman crocodile floating in the river just behind the Park’s most popular swimming beach. Yikes. The marina also arranged three complimentary buses for the rally to go to another part of Tayrona for a wonderful beach day. We spend the night up at Minca in the mountains and did a wonderful motorbike tour to several waterfalls; an old coffee plantation; and Casa Elemente for lunch, complete with giant hammocks, a swimming pool and a view to die for. We went river tubing on Rio Don Diego and visited the bohemian hangout of Palomino.
Rally members organized regular rubbish cleanups to do our bit to try and clean up the ocean; Spanish lessons were organized; we had some OpenCPN sessions in readiness for the San Blas; and Suzanne had organized for the rally to donate heaps of children’s clothes, toys and school equipment to a local charity.
We also took the opportunity to do some provisioning. We found the supermarkets to be very good, with the exception of canned fruit and vegetables that some cruisers wanted for the San Blas, which they had to get in Curaçao beforehand. This was entirely understandable as the fresh produce in Colombia was extensive and of high quality.
But by far and away the best part of Colombia was its super friendly people. They loved helping, even if they couldn’t speak any English and I couldn’t speak any Spanish. Luckily, DeAnne was fluent in Spanish and loved practicing with the locals.
Two weeks was not nearly long enough and before we knew it, we were at the farewell party put on by the Marina and on our way at first light the next morning.
The leg from Santa Marta to Puerto Velero was more like what we had heard about. Very lively with big following seas. We got caught out when a big breaking wave came over the back-starboard steps and into our cockpit, before proceeding through our open door into our saloon. From there we watched in stunned silence as it went down both sets of steps and into each of our hulls before we were able to pull up the floor boards for our bilge pumps to do their thing. We spent the next 30 minutes mopping up and rinsing everything with fresh water. Needless to say, the saloon door was pulled shut to avoid any repeat performance.
Once we got close to the mouth of the Rio Magdalena, we had a new potential problem to contend with. Rio Magdalena is the biggest river in Colombia and spits out large logs, whole trees and all sorts of large debris. As the water color dramatically changed, we were on the lookout for anything big that could ruin our day. On the plus side, the river water seemed to dampen the waves, making for a more comfortable ride.
Turning the corner shortly after passing the river mouth provided further relief from the large seas and we had a wonderful sail down to Puerto Velero, where we anchored for the night, under the watchful eye of our friends from the Colombian Coast Guard, who were escorting us right through Colombia, with their boats patrolling our various anchorages night and day. We felt very honored and safe in their presence.
We were off again at first light and this time the wind was nowhere to be seen. We motor sailed in calm seas, with winds less than 10kts towards the Rosario Islands, instead of heading directly to Cartagena, where you normally have to go first, as the Rally had got special dispensation for a three day stay in these islands, something that is not normally allowed.
The Colombian Islands aren’t to be missed and we were allocated an anchorage off Isla Grande in the Rosario group. We had a pleasant three days, swimming in crystal clear waters and exploring the island with its interesting pathways and beach bars. It felt good to get back to a bit of island life between city stops.
Refreshed and relaxed, we all set off together, proceeding in single file into Cartagena. It was quite a sight with 38 boats following Suzie Too past the forts and into the inner harbor. We felt like Sir Francis Drake as we lay siege to the city. We had a choice of two marinas (Club De Pesca and Club Nautico) or an anchorage that the coast guard had set aside for the Rally, just outside the old city walls. Colombia has a great attitude towards cruisers and is trying really hard to realize the potential that visiting cruisers represent.
Cartagena itself is one of the great cruising destinations in the world. It’s a must see with its old city, its magnificent fort and its wonderful architecture. And it does Christmas incredibly well with its many beautiful churches, its great decorations and a festive atmosphere unlike anywhere else. The Rally celebrated Christmas at Club De Pesca with a Pot Luck lunch and a bit of fun with a Secret Santa session, where fishing lures seemed to be the catch of the day.
New Year’s Eve in Cartagena is also an event not to be missed. Half of Colombia seems to descend on Cartagena for the festivities. To accommodate the crowds, all the restaurants spill out into the streets, and pop-up restaurants appear across the city. The Rally booked various restaurants around the town, before spilling out onto the streets to watch the fireworks at midnight. DeAnne and I then spent several hours walking the streets listening to the music and soaking up the festivities.
Colombia certainly impressed us, and we wished we could have stayed a little longer. But with the New Year upon us and the San Blas Islands calling, it was time to head West.
Ten Tips for Colombia
Try and make it to Cartagena by Christmas to avoid the Christmas Winds.
Christmas in Colombia is awesome. New Year’s Eve in Cartagena is also an experience not to be missed.
Brush up on your Spanish. Not many locals speak English.
Don’t go too shallow. The charts don’t have all the rocks. Locals suggest staying 5nm off the coast on approach to Cartagena.
Visit Colombia’s Islands – Isla Rosario, San Bernardo Group and Isla Fuerte before departing for the San Blas.
Take advantage of the cheap airfares and accommodation to fly to some of Colombia’s amazing inland cities and attractions. Medellin, Bogotá, and the Amazon Jungle are all worth considering.
Hire a Car in Santa Marta. There’s so much to see and do. Do a Motor Bike tour in Minca, go river tubing on Rio Don Diego or Palomino, and visit The Tayrona National Park, staying overnight in small hotels. Or take a four-day hike to the Lost City.
Soak up the culture in Santa Marta and Cartagena. These places are full of history.
Get a 10USD steak dinner at 13 Reses in Santa Marta. Eat out at many fantastic restaurants in Santa Marta and Cartagena.
Look at joining the next Suzie Too OCC Rally, you won’t regret it!
The Admiral has decided she wants an even bigger boat than a Lagoon 421 and we have recently put a deposit down on a new 50 foot catamaran. As a result, the Captain has reluctantly put La Mischief on the market, pending the move to our new catamaran.
If you are after a world cruising catamaran, it would be rare indeed to find a boat better equipped than La Mischief. We purchased her new from the Factory in March 2013 and she has never been chartered. With twin upgraded 75HP engines, twin Autopilots, 2000W of solar and Victron Lithium batteries, you can step on board and head straight out to the Bahamas, the Caribbean or indeed around the world. We have set her up with everything needed to cruise as a couple off the grid with a circumnavigation in mind.
The Lagoon 421 is a highly sought after model, with limited stock available. It is a strongly built world cruiser, designed for the liveaboards to sail fulltime, with unbelievable storage for a 42 foot catamaran. She is the popular 3 bedroom version with the port hull totally dedicated to the owners, with a large luxury bathroom and outstanding living areas. She was built just before the catamaran market shifted its focus to the charter market, where the requirements for full time living aboard are largely reduced.
As you can read below, La Mischief has a host of aftermarket improvements and additions not typically found on other boats, that add safety, maintainability and comfort to your cruising experience.
With a spacious cockpit that can comfortably sit 8 around a custom-built mahogany dining table, that also converts into a cocktail table, this boat is the ultimate entertainer. The teak floor adds a nice touch. As well as full all around cockpit enclosure, La Mischief has a full set of sunshades for the cockpit. There’s the obligatory cockpit fridge as well as a custom-made sunbed. Being an Australian boat, there’s a large Galleymate 2000 Gas BBQ with own fiberglass propane tank.
The saloon has standing room of 6’ 7” and is extremely well appointed, with special blue leather seating for 8 around a large saloon table. There are a separate set of blue leather Cushions that can be used to convert the Saloon Table to a bed. There is a forward facing Navigation Station, with a Fusion stereo system with 4 speakers in the saloon, 2 speakers in the cockpit and 2 speakers with separate Fusion amplifier for the front deck. There is also a Bose Lifestyle V35 Home Cinema with sub woofer and a Bluray DVD Player hooked up to a 37” TV for movie nights.
The owners version has the entire port hull dedicated to the owners with a semi – island type berth with front and lateral access, together with its own 22” TV, a leather sofa, two large mirrors and a luxurious bathroom with a walk in shower and fresh water quiet flush electric marine head. There is also a 3kg Washing Machine in its own separate cupboard.
Guest accommodation is generous with two large staterooms in the Starboard Hull, each with its own separate shower and separate bathroom with quiet flush electric marine head.
The galley is a chef’s delight, with good communication to the cockpit and the helm station via a sliding bay window. There’s a 3 burner stove and a separate oven with grill (broiler), all protected with a propane gas detection and shutoff system. There’s a 130L (34 US gal) fridge (plus an additional fridge in the cockpit), a 110L (29US Gal) freezer and a unique 3 sink arrangement, with a dish drainer in the 3rd sink. There’s also an additional storage area designed for a Microwave.
There’s a sea water foot pump, and a fresh water foot pump with a drinking water filter.
The large 75 HP Yanmar engines are an important safety feature when operating in large adverse sea conditions. Engine hours are 2402 and 2351. The SD50 sail drives have been modified with an optional kit to eliminate the cone clutch slippage problems that typically happen every 600 hours. Folding propellers provide extra speed whilst sailing. Aftermarket automatic fire extinguishers were added in each engine bay, as were secondary fuel filters with clear bowl water separators.
The 100L (26Gal) per Hour Dessalator Watermaker runs both on 12V and 220V and typically runs off the solar panels providing free fresh water.
There are four separate CRUISAIR airconditioning systems that provides separate cooling and heating in all the staterooms as well as the saloon.
The electrical system is fed by four 90AH Victron LiFePO4 Batteries together with Victron BMS, Li-Charge and Li-Load units. Charging these batteries is performed by:
3 Sunpower SPR-X22-360 Solar panels on an Aluminum and Stainless Steel Frame connected to a large Victron 150/70 MPPT Solar Panel Controller
10 Stick on solar panels on the roof (1000W) connected to separate Victron MPPT Solar Panel Controller
D400 Wind Generator
A Victron Quattro 3000VA/120A Invertor Charger providing 230V alternating current,
Two 40Amp Cristec battery chargers,
Two Alpha Pro Smart Charger regulators for each Alternator
A 9.5Kva Onan Generator (1300 engine hours)
Battery Monitoring is achieved using VICTRON BMV 602 and a Victron Colour Controller.
Shore power supply is protected by a 360W 115 / 230 V Galvanic Isolator, that accepts both 110V and 230V and is rated for lightening.
La Mischief has a comprehensive set of Navigational equipment, accessable from both the helmstation and the safety of the forward facing Navigation station in the comfort of the Saloon.
AIS 650 RAYMARINE TRANSCEIVER WITH ANTENNA
RAYMARINE REMOTE SMART CONTROL
RAYMARINE E125W DISPLAY AT HELM STATION
RAYMARINE E125W DISPLAY AT NAV. STATION
Raymarine I70 Displays (2 at Helmstation, 1 at Nav Station)
RAYMARINEHD DIGITAL 18″ 48 NM 4 Kw RADAR
RAYMARINE 55 E VHF RADIO WITH DSC
2nd HANDSET AT HELM STATION FOR VHF RAYMARINE 55E
Two independent autopilots with full redundancy – one in each engine bay (L&S and Raymarine)
Deck and Hull Equipment
La Mischief has an extensive list of optional, upgraded and aftermarket equipment, and is fully equipped and ready to sail around the world.
Lofrans 1500W Windlass new in November 2019.
Three Harken 46.2STAEH electric winches at helm station
Forth Harken Winch on Port Side for Spinnaker and Geneker use.
66m2 Square Top Mainsail
36m2 Furling genoa with UV protective band
69 m2 Gennaker (blue / white), together with Genaker rig, including optional bowsprit
Backing Plates for Parasailor attachment points
Foldable mast steps to spreaders
Deck wash pump with both sea water and fresh water.
Freshwater dock inlet
Four Underwater LED lights on Stern (LEDS hybrid Serie 30i 9-32vDC Midnight Blue)
Ground Plate for HF Radio
4 Stainless steel dive tank holders (new in 2017)
Aftermarket Stainless steel reinforcing to protect fibreglass during anchor retrieval
Waterproof loudspeakers under coach roof with additional Fusion amplifier to drive these and provide music for front deck.
Quick Chain Counter
Upgraded 33Kg Rocna Anchor and 100m Chain
Spare Fortress anchor
Aftermarket stainless steel handrail on sub and port transoms
Ultrasonic Antifouling Units in each hull.
Pirate Lights Security Alarm System with front and rear sensors
Badboy WiFI Booster (Antenna plus router)
Hypalon Ulta Light 340 Dinghy with Honda BF20HP Engine
Dinghy Davits with Harken 40.2STAEH electric winch.
OUTBOARD ENGINE BRACKET ON PUSHPIT
Viking 8 person Rescu You Liferaft in canister
Folding Carbon Gangplank 2.6m (8.53ft) with cover and handrail
To give you an idea of the additional value that has been added to La Mischief, here is a list of the optional and after market items that have been added.
Upgraded 75HP Engines (an important safety feature)
Two independent autopilots with full redundancy – one in each engine bay (L&S and Raymarine). Losing an autopilot mid ocean is not a good scenario and is too common to ignore.
Four 90AH Victron LiFePO4 Batteries together with Victron BMS, Li-Charge and Li-Load units. Lithium batteries are great at keeping the voltage up and the beer cold.
Square Top Mainsail (for extra performance)
Custom-built mahogany dining table in cockpit (folds into a cocktail table, which also allows easy access to the lockers)
Teak floor in cockpit
Lofrans 1500W Windlass new in November 2019 (standard Windlass is underpowered).
Three Harken 46.2STAEH electric winches at helm station (makes sailing a big cat easier).
100L (26Gal) per Hour Dessalator Watermaker runs both on 12V and 220V and typically runs off the solar panels providing free fresh water.
There are four separate CRUISAIR airconditioning systems that provides separate cooling and heating in all the staterooms as well as the saloon.
AIS 650 RAYMARINE TRANSCEIVER WITH ANTENNA
RAYMARINE REMOTE SMART CONTROL (Can hang around your neck and control the boat from anywhere on board).
RAYMARINE E125W DISPLAY AT NAV. STATION (great redundancy)
RAYMARINE HD DIGITAL 18″ 48 NM 4 Kw RADAR (RADAR is great for night passages, fog and for spotting and avoiding squalls)
2nd HANDSET AT HELM STATION FOR VHF RAYMARINE 55E (where the watch keeper is)
VICTRON BMV 602 Battery Monitor and a Victron Colour Controller.
Victron Digital Multi Control for remote management of Victron Quattro (no more going under the bed to switch the invertor on and off)
3 Sunpower SPR-X22-360 Solar panels on an Aluminum and Stainless Steel Frame connected to a large Victron 150/70 MPPT Solar Panel Controller (these are the best panels going around and provide an amazing amount of free electricity)
10 Stick on solar panels on the roof (1000W) connected to separate Victron MPPT Solar Panel Controller (not as good as the Sunpower panels, but still provide extra battery charging)
D400 Wind Generator (great at night in the trade winds or when the sun doesn’t shine)
Victron Quattro 3000VA/120A Inverter/Charger providing 230V alternating current (the Quattro provides a passthrough capability for when the genset or mains is connected. Victron’s high end inverter/charger.
Two Alpha Pro Smart Charger regulators for each Alternator (provide more charging capability and better for the batteries)
We’d tried a few times to organize a berth in Larnaca without luck. Once the word “Catamaran” is mentioned, the “Too Hard” sign goes up and the Answer “No” comes back. However, whilst in Limassol, we did a bit of a reconnoiter by car and saw there was a few potential spots in the oldish marina that we could fit into.
So we hatched up a cunning plan to just roll up and see what happened. We left Limassol earlyish and got to Larnaca about 2pm. After radioing in and getting no reply, we managed to get them on the phone. The marina was government owned and a bit run down, with no laid lines – just pylons that you back in between and tie off to. They directed us to one spot, which looked too tight and as much as we tried to fit, we just couldn’t. That was fun in 20-30kts of wind! We were then redirected to a much better spot amongst the tour boats, which was great, if a little noisy. The marina guy was really helpful (as are all Cypriots) and made sure we were tied up well on the pylons with water and electricity.
The other good news was it was incredibly cheap, being government owned and we found ourselves spending a few more nights than planned in Larnaca because of this.
The bikes quickly made another appearance and off we rode on the good bike paths to find a dive shop. We finally settled on Viking Divers, with Marco 1 and Marco 2 as our Italian dive masters.
Since we hadn’t dived for a while, we decided to do a couple of shore dives before doing the Zenobia Wreck, the day after. The shore dives did the job, the second dive was really cool with some cave swim throughs and an exit through a little blow hole, which you enter through a cave underneath a rock ledge.
The Zenobia capsized and sank in Larnaca Bay in 1980, sitting on the bottom at 42 meters. It sunk due to a software error – bloody computers!!! …, which caused her computerised pumping system to pump excess water into her side ballast tanks. Down went its cargo of 100 or so trucks worth $400 million, which makes for an interesting dive. The Zenobia regularly appears in various world’s top ten dive sites and world’s best wreck dives so we just had to don wetsuits and see what all the fuss was about.
We went out on Viking’s dive boat, only a 10 minute ride to the wreck which is only a mile or so off the town.
They take all certified divers on the wreck, which is a bit unusual given its depth but you can get a couple of good 25m dives on the wreck, including some swim throughs. Advanced certificates allow you to go down to 30m and see a bit more. It was my first nitrox dive, which allowed me to stay down longer without getting bent. Unfortunately it didn’t stop me being a air hog and I ended up having to buddy breath with Marco so I could stay down for the planned duration. Daughter Claire had a good laugh on this one. I also had some ear problems due to a head cold that was just starting up so I had to miss the second dive. But the first one was great and definitely worth doing when in Larnaca. It was pretty good but not sure its in my top 10 dive sites, given all the diving I’ve done elsewhere.
In between diving, we had a nice wander around the town. There’s the obligatory castle right on the waterfront and some nice sandy beaches out the front of the town. Behind the beachfront there is some walking streets with shops, bars and restaurants that come alive at night, which at this time of the year is 4.30pm in the afternoon.
With diving done, it was time to leave Larnaca. We wanted to head to Famagusta on the occupied side of the island. We’d heard you could go from south (unoccupied) to north (occupied) in a boat but not from north to south, as the Republic of Cyprus (the south) will claim you did not enter the country at a legal port of entry and then proceed to impound your boat and deport you (there is a boat on the hard in Larnaca that has been impounded).
So we went and saw the Marine Police and enquired about going to Famagusta. He was not very happy about it and pointed out the fact that we could never come back, which we could live with. However the Customs guy said he couldn’t give us a clearance out of Larnaca if we were going to Famagusta. He also said we could be picked up at sea with some nasty consequences.
A quick conference back at the boat determined that we would tell everyone we were now going to Turkey. Back at the Marine Police and Customs, they were most relieved with my change of plans and gave me the necessary clearances.
After successfully checking into Cyprus, it was off to explore. We started with checking out the Kato Paphos Archaeological Park, which is right next to the harbour. In particular, the House of Dionysus (the Greek God of Wine) is one of the largest and the most impressive ruins in the park, with some of the best mosaics that we have came across. Rightly so as it is said to have the most impressive mosaics in the Mediterranean.
After our quite extensive walk around the ruins, it was off to a great restaurant that Dimitri (from the Port Police) not only recommended to us but dropped us off at. We soon became impressed with both the Cyprus food, as well as with the local Cyprus wine, which turned out to be both very good and very cheap.
We then spent the rest of the afternoon checking out the cute seaside town with its nice beaches, great bars and restaurants and enough shopping to keep Dee interested.
The Castle right next to our spot
Next morning we took a 40 minute walk along the coast on a great boardwalk up to the Tomb of Kings. Quite a bizarre place with all these tombs carved into the solid rock, most of which are underground. Many date back to the 4th century BC, and are thought to have been the burial sites of aristocrats and high officials (but interestingly – no Kings) up to the third century AD. Some of the tombs are quite elaborate, featuring Doric columns and frescoed walls.
Hugh in his best Angela Merkel outfit
We walked back into town and found the Mall, supposedly the biggest in Cyprus. The fact that Cyprus was British up until the 1950’s, together with the large number of Poms living here, made us feel like we had suddenly been transported into Little Britain.
Our dose of modern “culture” over, it was time to head back again into ancient times. We headed off in search of St Paul’s Pillar where he was (allegedly) beaten when he first arrived in Paphos, the then Roman capital of Cyprus, before managing to convert the Roman head honcho of the Island. We found the pillar amongst a lovely ancient church grounds, along with interestingly enough the grave of Erik Evegod, the King of Denmark who was on his way to the Holy Lands when he suddenly dropped dead.
The weather in November was still holding up well so we got in a few ocean swims. We found a nice spot right in the town centre where all the locals conjugated for a swim and a chat, with nice showers and lockers. Beautiful clear water and interesting coastline to snorkel over.
6 Door Mercedes Taxi – couldn’t resist a ride
We quickly fell in love with Pafos, with its lovely bars (one of which we visited to watch the All Blacks beat us in the final), restaurants, shops and friendly super people. Cyprus is actually one place in Europe where they give way to pedestrians. Everything is convenient, and with the large English population, you can get just about anything you want. We stocked up at Lidl’s as well as the local grog shop, as wine and spirits are dirt cheap here. We got out our bikes and found ourselves cycling around Pafos and its surrounds.
A Couple of the Locals
Since we had a cheap berth, we also took the opportunity to rent a car. We quickly found out that the shortest amount of time you can rent a car in Cyprus is 3 days – something to do with the insurance. So three days it was. At 240km long and 100km wide, Cypus is the 3rd largest island in the Med, there is plenty to see.
The first day we headed into the Troodos mountains, the largest mountain range in Cyprus. The highest peak is Mount Olympus at 1,952 meters, which hosts four ski slopes. There are lots of mountain resorts, Byzantine monasteries and churches on mountain peaks, with some pretty little villages clinging to terraced hill slopes.
After checking out a few of these villages and very old churches, famous for their painted interiors (ten of these churches have been granted World Cultural Heritage status by UNESCO), we headed off to Nicosia, otherwise known as Lefkosa. A lot of the cities in Cyprus have two names – a Turkish name and a Greek name. Nicosia/Lefkosa is also a divided city with the southern half being the capital of the Republic of Cyprus and the northern sector being the capital of either the Occupied Territories, or the Turkish Republic of Cyprus, depending on your point of view. In between there is a UN Controlled de-militarized zone that runs across the whole island.
We had our passports so we did a short trip across the demilitarized zone to the Turkish sector to briefly check it out.
Cyprus – North and South
It was here that we dropped Hugh off so he could continue his adventures through Egypt, Jordan and Israel.
Next day, we continued our own exploration of Cyprus with a trip to Latchi, where we were planning to take La Mischief next, only to find out that there was no room at this publicly run marina. Good thing we checked. No big deal as we just extended our time at Paphos. The berth cost us 54 euros for the 7 or 8 days we were there.
Aphrodite is pretty big around these parts and we checked out a couple of her key sites. Outside Latchi is a spring that is attributed to her, and we also checked out the rock of Aphrodite, which emerges from the sea, and according to legend, its where Aphrodite was born in the sea foam and rose from the waves.
There are quite a few other great Roman, Greek and Medieval ruins dotted around the island. We bought a day ticket that covered entry to those we wanted to see on the road to Limmasol and we did a bit of ruin hopping. Top of the list was Kourion, which was full of beautiful mosaics, a very scenic Amphitheatre and palatial ruined villas all built on a cliff top overlooking Kourion beach. We also visited Kolossi Castle and the Sanctuary of Apollo and of course the Sanctuary of Aphrodite, where the cult of Aphrodite was officially established on Cyprus in 1500 BC.
It was a very pleasant week and a bit when we pulled anchor and left for Limmasol, 50nm up the coast.
With our new batteries installed, we headed out for a couple of days to test them out. We spent a day on anchor in Twelve Islands once again and got in a bit of bottom cleaning in the clear water.
Then we headed over to Fethiye to get in one last meal at Pasha Kebab, do some shopping and of course catch some Rugby.
Australia were playing Scotland in the quarters and we managed to find a good sports bar to watch it on. Whilst there we ran across Hugh, who later agreed to come sailing with us. There was also a group of sailors who regularly winter in Fethiye and we hooked up with them for dinner after the Rugby. One of them happened to be Chay Blyth, who amongst many other feats was the first person to sail around the world the “wrong” way – west to east. My first taste of Yachting royalty. It was a great dinner with lots of frivolity as they kept getting into Chay citing the only reason he sailed around the world was because he couldn’t moor. After dinner, most of them went off for more bar hopping, whilst we walked back to the marina with Chay for a cleansing ale at the marina bar. At this stage I was picking Chay’s brain for all it was worth until he finally got a bit sick of all my questions. During the course of our conversation, it also came up that he tried to buy some land in Stroud in NSW, where Dad was born. Small world.
Back at the boat I filled in Dee on who Chay was via the help of Wikipedia and next morning we headed back to Gocek to allow Sanli to check out the battery installation one last time. We also needed to fix a leaky gauge on our water maker.
At the bottom of Turkey, the coast stops going south and veers to the East. So that was the direction we headed as we made our way towards Alanya, where we would check out of Turkey. We ended up getting away from Gocek quite late and headed off to Kalkan 35nm away. We made it at 1am after a beautiful night sail along the coast.
Next day the weather was still good so we put in 70nm to a small bay called Cavus Limani, which turned out to be a pretty good choice. We had tried to get all the way around to Port Genovese but ran out of daylight, so we did a sail past in the morning.
Next morning we headed over to Phaselis to check out the very impressive Roman ruins there. We anchored in 3m of water and dingied ashore to look over the impressive ruins with tall aquaducts, a nice promenade and a small theatre. Getting back to La Mischief, we had a short swim before the wind quite suddenly swung around into the bay and strengthened. We got the anchor up as the swell started to roll into the bay, making things quite uncomfortable. The weather we had been expecting was starting to roll up. The sail around to Kemer was quite short, but by the time we got there it was blowing 40kts. We were glad we had put in some long days whilst the weather was good.The marina guys at Kemer were once again really helpful and jumped on board to help us tie up stern to. Then it was time to check out Kemer. The first stop was the marina bar, which was quite lively last year in June when I was there. Not this time – in late October – it was closed and the marina, although quite full was dead. Bummer! I was looking forward to the social life at Kemer.
We then hit the town and ended up going winter coat shopping. They were into their last week or two of a very bad season and the shop keepers were willing to take just about anything to get some cash in the door. By the end of the night Dee and I each had a new winter coat ready for when we come back for a European winter.
Next morning, it was up early to check the weather and see where we would head. Our original plan saw us going to Antalya and then onto Alanya, but there was some pretty bad weather coming our way the next day so we decided to make a run for it straight to Alanya, whilst the weather was still okayish.
The sail across to Myconos was very uneventful with no wind and a glassed off sea. It can be a nasty crossing so we couldn’t complain.
We decided against going into the marina, instead choosing Ormos Ornos as our anchorage. It’s a 20 minute walk into Mykonos town so not too bad. We anchored in about 7m over patchy sand (in hindsight not the best).
The place is rather crazy at this time of the year – I enjoyed it better last year in October when the crowds had disappeared. It was wall to wall people in the town and the roads were full of crazy drivers on all sorts of cars and scooters.
Mykonos was where we supercharged the Charlie’s Angels formulae up to a 4 to 1 ratio, when we picked up Kim off the ferry. Sherry left a few days later so things returned to a somewhat more manageable 3-1 ratio.
With the 4 girls in tow, I somehow managed to get them all off the boat at the agreed time and onto a short ferry ride across to Delos, where there is a whole ancient Roman city in ruins, some say second only to Pompeii. I’d have to say it would be a long second if that’s the case. But it was still very impressive wandering around. There were a few yachts there anchored in the channel so it’s a good option to take your boat across rather than catch a ferry as we did.
Back from our ancient history tour, we headed back to the boat as the meltemi was starting to build. For the rest of the day, it steadily built all the way up to 45kts. Mykonos is Greek for “island of wind” and it was living up to its name.
About 10.30pm, the anchor drift alarm went off – we’d started to drag. So off we went trying to re-anchor in the dark of night with the wind whistling around us. We re-anchored briefly for about 10 minutes and then we dragged again. We thought about going somewhere else but decided against it.
We pulled up the anchor ready for another shot to find a second anchor (from an old disused mooring) jammed tight into our own anchor. Oh what fun!!!
So the rest of the night was spent motoring in place swinging on a pair of anchors that were not holding. In between we watched another cat drag a couple of times and our mono neighbor, who was maintaining an anchor watch all night, dragged just before dawn.
Morning could not come soon enough. As soon as it did, we were able to see more clearly what we were up against and managed to drop the other anchor off. Then it was off to find another bay. We motored up and down the south coast checking a few out and then came back to the first one – Platys Gyalos.
Turned out to be a very good choice – sandy bottom with good holding – perfect. We anchored in the eastern part of the bay in 3m of clear wind swept water and said our goodbyes to Sherry, before sitting out the rest of the meltemi. The wind managed to peak at 53 kts but this time we didn’t move an inch.
So what did we learn??? Firstly, we need to pay more attention to the bottom. In Ormos Ornos was light weed over sand and “Rod” mentioned there was poor holding in places. I’d snorkeled over the anchor several times but when push came to shove it, Rod was right.
The second thing we did was to break out the second anchor – a fortress – and start playing around using it. I’d done a lot of reading previously on deploying two anchors and came to the conclusion that the best way is to drop approximately 2-3x scope using the primary anchor and then shackel the fortress with 7m of chain to the main anchor chain and then throw it over, before letting out the full amount of anchor chain (scope >= 5x). We’ve done this a few times since and it seems to work well. We sat out another meltemi in Paros using this arrangement. The fortress is a great second anchor and we’ve watched it hold La Mischief on it own several times.
Towards the end of the meltemi, we were confident enough to leave Karin and Kim on the boat and go for a walk along the coast to check out Paranga Beach, followed by Paradise and then Super (Duper) Paradise. At best it was an eye opener, at worst it was somewhere to be avoided. But I did like the gay guy in speedos with the Gucci bag with two toy dogs hanging out of the top of the bag. Should have been brave enough to ask for a photo.
And so ended Mykonos. A crazy island at that time of the year. Overcrowded everywhere, including the roads, overpriced, artificial and not half as enjoyable as when I visited in low season last year. Luckily we had lots of other more authentic islands to visit.