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.

 

 

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.