Log of Voyage from Kusadasi to Aigina-
After one week’s return from New Zealand and Australia, Mike set off for Kusadasi to take Eos out of the water for the insurance company’s 5 year inspection - rather scary.
However, no rot except in a section of deck; but another Wavelength failure in that they never strengthened (sistered) 16 cracked ribs, now of course it will be much harder as all the panelling, cupboards etc. will have to come out.
The engineers have sorted out the water cooling problem at long last.
Mike came home for April, Easter and garden opening.
Then we both returned, with the usual long journey; Easyjet Liverpool/Amsterdam, Tui Amsterdam/Izmir, A2B transfers to boat and arrived 02.00. Very efficient A2B are too.
Hull repainted and decks repainted; joy of joys, the varnishing has been done to the toe rail etc, it might have cost, but I never really could do it well enough to last the season.
The boat had been cleaned after the workmen, by the laundry lady’s husband. Next few days victualling, Mike setting up the AIS system and new wifi aerial.
Rather nervously we had to give our passports to the Marina in order that they could clear us out of Turkey - no indication as to when we might be allowed to leave. We shall be sad to leave but it is time to move on. We had a final nice supper at the Bebop, the same waiter is still here as when we first arrived. Drinks at the Marina/Orient Bar with Don, Sheila, Sherry, Altun, Jem, Aydin etc. Pauline was in America with her son.
Finally with our passports returned, we left the fuel jetty -500 litres each side -(having had to pay Cash!) at 13.45 for a quick and uneventful trip to PYTHAGORIAN. The quay quite crowded with a visiting flotilla; only just space for us, opposite Gregory’s Bar, could be the noisy end of town! No electricity.
None of the bars/restaurants are anywhere near full though lots of holiday makers around. Some really disastrous fashions, male and female.
On next door boat are a couple of elderly Germans in their very old boat en route for the Black Sea, they have obviously been sailing for ever. They slipped very early Tuesday morning.
TUESDAY 17 hot
Lovely lazy day, getting to know the town again, no bossy harbour master, the dues are now collected by the Coast Guards. Still the good butcher, fishmonger, 2 supermarkets and fruit/veg.
The colours are lovely, blue, terracotta, red, yellows etc - quite a change, the Turks don’t really do “pretty”. Checked out the sea water, warmer than Rhoscolyn in the summer, but a bit chilly, lovely once you are in.
Spirit of Skiathos from Kusadasi arrived; we had met Colin and Geoff, both nuclear scientists, one from Menai Bridge, the other somewhere in Snowdonia; they run a rather scruffy ship.
Found the electricity/ wifi/ water etc. Commissioned AIS
I bought and cooked cuttlefish for the first time - delicious. Music from the cafes will be quite disturbing I think!
Norwegian National Day and Captain Iannos has joined in with gusto, decorating his tour boat head to foot with Norwegian flags, lots of whistling, singing and dancing. I remember their national anthem from a dinner at the Adelphi years ago, it has a lot of verses, starts very low and finishes very high! And we took home an old Norwegian Sea Captain who had enjoyed the whole evening- a lot!
WEDNESDAY 18 hot
A CA boat, Rosa di Venti, came alongside for shopping and laundry, and actually spoke to us; we are a bit paranoid on this score - the Brits are not keen on non sailing boats and give us a wide berth. Later looking in the book, who should it be but Dave Kitson.
We walked up to the Eupalinos Tunnel which used to bring water from the interior hills to the town; 1036m long, tunnelled from both ends and met up perfectly. That was in 600BC.
Also visited the new Archaeological Museum, beautifully displayed objects. There are two or three sites around the town still being excavated as and when money is available.
Lovely Greek salad at tiny taverna round the corner from the quay. Omelette for supper.
I flew home, ten minutes in the taxi to Samos airport. Aegean Air to Athens, Easyjet to Manchester, train to Liverpool, underground, taxi. Home by 17.00.
19 MAY TO 8 JUNE
I am in Norfolk emptying Hamlet Cottage with help from Verity and Peter - the end of an era, but no good keeping the house. I hope I fulfil my promise to myself, to rent a cottage there every year.
Mike living in Pythagorion all this time, doing yet more useful work (you might think we had finished by now!), Gregory keeping an eye on him and Iannos took him for an evening cruise with supper.
See photos for yacht tenders, 66 metre yacht with 80 metre high mast and a general feeling that there are others who have got it well organised!
8 JUNE hot
I flew back to Samos, an early Easyjet start, 06.30 from Manchester. Mike met me at airport having walked the 2km. Supper out, me very tired.
9 JUNE very hot
Shopping, cleaning, chatting.
Walked up to the church, another wonderfully ornate Corona of approx 2m diam, intricate brasswork. The carvings on the chairs are so deep, they can’t possibly be modern The guide book indicates that the church was built on the lines of the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul - not sure this is isn’t a bit of an exaggeration.
FRIDAY 10 JUNE hot
Paid the Coast Guards €131 for 24 days.
Fond farewells and off to Marathocambos, wind got up to 4 for a short while but very quickly. A big old hulk at the quay where we came alongside in 2009; most boats stern to but we were instructed to go alongside by the fishermen, who it turned out weren’t local. Eventually the coastguard boat comes and needs our space, the fishermen leave and we take their place, though apparently a ferry might arrive sometime - no one knows when!!
Last thing at night we discover one of our “Bought in Liege” batteries is dead, though they were checked as recently as Kusadasi.
SATURDAY 11 JUNE hot and windy
Mike found a helpful garage up the winding road out of the village, took the battery up on our sack trolley, not very good as the handle is too short - back breaking!. Garage owner insisted on re-charging it first, no good, so he came to the quay with a new one.
BBQ for the first time in 2 years - big sardines - not entirely satisfactory, we haven’t got the charcoal right yet.
SUNDAY 12 hot
I had to run up the hill to garage to collect the battery receipt and guarantee. The phantom 08.00 ferry not arrived.
Slipped 09.05 to ARKI, PORTO AUGUSTA, Arr 1145, let out our chain too soon, so had to start again. Unfortunate this, as there was a rather fussy French woman next door (she did relax later when she discovered we could speak French)
3 tavernas very close by plus gift shops and a very small store. No water or elect. Water comes by tanker, no natural sources on the island. Just having a quick drink, when who should come striding across the square but Gregory; we knew he had a house here, now our stock is riding high.
The whole place very busy as families arrive by ferry for a Pentecostal holiday. We went for a long walk to the turquoise bay for a swim, don’t think we were quite in the right place as not very suitable. We passed several plots which have been walled in, but no buildings as yet. The first time we saw the “goat” walls, these are walls where the top course of stone keeps in place huge bunches of gorse, some also have stakes at 30cm intervals. The goats here are very long haired and all have bells, so noisy. I wonder if they are sheared for their coats?
Stopped off at v. friendly taverna above Port Stretto where several boats are at anchor. May go back for supper sometime. Fish supper at r/h taverna.
Slept well for the first time in ages.
MONDAY 13 hot and windy
Wind up as forecast, decided to stay a second day. Ran generator to top up batteries.
Explored the other side of island, lots more gorse topped walls. A very poor farm at end of road, a whole herd of goats being moved to a different “pasture” - just scrub!
The sound of all the goat bells would make the basis for an orchestral piece of music.
Supper at taverna above Port Stretto; I had goat stew, Mike grilled octopus which was a bit disappointing. The patron looks just like pan of the pipes, just needs little horns. His mother who does the cooking was also crocheting a beautifully fine edging to a baby’s cot sheet.
TUESDAY 14 hot, windy
11.00 decided to leave after getting report of calm channel form the ferry skipper; though 3 boats had to move first as they had overlaid our anchor. Only a bit lumpy to PATMOS SKALA, on the town quay again. Few more buildings since we were last here, especially around the head of inlet, nothing quite finished! A lady came from the council with her clip board, we told her that wifi and elect would be an improvement on the quay. However, we managed to get our elec from the kiosk by paying them €5, much to the disgust of the American owner next door. Bob and Chris on Integrity, en route from Jordan to the States. He was in the US Army Logistics Corps in Iraq, also has a private pilot’s licence; latterly he has been working in Jordan, didn’t find out doing what - anyway he is a man on a short fuse I reckon and not to be crossed too often!!
The same water and fuel men come to the quay as previously. Managed to do most of the shopping we needed.
No time to walk to the Chora, nor indeed a visit to our favourite bay at Grikou; I wonder whether our lovely Japanese lady jewellery maker is still there.
WEDNESDAY 15 cooler with some cloud
09.15 slipped for LEVITHA, this is a deep inlet on the southern side of this small island, with about 10 laid moorings, we managed to pick up the last, but not before we had been severely reprimanded by a Frenchman for making a wash and engine noise- he was a bit unfair- we couldn’t go any slower; the anchorage was SO quiet we felt quite intimidated until a German family woke from their siesta and started to make a noise.
We launched our dinghy to take us ashore for walk to Taverna and supper. The T is the old farmhouse, the family who own the moorings, the fishing and the house are the only inhabitants of the island. Plenty more goats and more anti goat walls. The walk is about 15 mins across fairly rough terrain, torches definitely required for return. We assumed that as everyone dining was a boat owner, that we would all sit at the long trestle tables and mix, but no, we all kept to ourselves, apart from the German family who were really jolly. We started with the brightest green greens, absolutely delicious, no idea what they were; I had grilled fish and Mike had goat stew, caramel creams for pudding. My birthday supper.
THURSDAY 16 cooler, some wind, some sun
08.00 decided to make a dash before wind increased too much, most of the other boats had also gone. Generally we had a comfortable trip. Saw 2 merchant ships and a cruise liner, must be on a shipping route again.
Arr circa 13.00 at AMORGOS, very pretty village, with an upmarket bookshop playing classical music, Bach whilst I was there; English newspapers come in on the 18.00 ferry. Two or three ferries a day, some purely passenger, some with vehicles. The arrival of a ferry causes much organisation on shore; those selling services, i.e. rooms, cars, taxi services, hold their placards but must stay on the pavement, quite quickly all are catered for and the place empties until the next ferry. Vast numbers of back packers of all ages, but few Brits, most seem to be on walking and island hopping hols - I can only think this ad hoc holiday doesn’t suit us.
Our German neighbour from Levitra arrived later in the day, next door. 5 or 6 French boats, an Italian woman vacuumed her boat from top to bottom and our washing didn’t dry!
FRIDAY 17 hottish, windy
Found the very best baker. Bought red mullet from an ancient crone with bad feet, on an ancient fishing boat. Decided mullet not particularly tasty, must remember not to buy again.
Walked to far side of bay, it is a delightful place, though too many vacant agricultural plots, so imagine the farm workers are now earning their keep from tourism and don’t care for the land. Another church almost on the beach with adjacent burial ground; some of the tombs are enormous
Mike found a splendidly disorganised hardware shop with a lift to first floor, where he had his chisels sharpened. The old man in the supermarket was very upset that I didn’t buy any Amorgos honey, but we have plenty on board and not too much storage space. The butcher’s shop has splendid drawings of cuts of meat to aid purchases if your Greek is not too good.
SATURDAY 18 hot and windy
Eventually I got around to walking to the swimming beach for a lovely swim, whilst Mike sorted out his tool box as one does.
Decided with Alexandra to have joint birthday parties, Mike’s on 10 Nov and hers on 12th.
It now seems the fashion amongst the sailing girls to wear long flowing skirts/dresses even when it is quite rough.
SUNDAY 19 hot
08.30 slipped for IOS, arrived around 13.00 and nearly crushed our exhaust covers when the chap on shore didn’t tie us quite tight enough and I hadn’t told Mike about the kink in the jetty, hey ho, all well in the end when the sharp eyed Dutch girl saw what was happening and came to the rescue!! We also noticed the autopilot giving funny messages-i.e. you have just used the hand control- we don’t have one!
Ios is a funny place, a good harbour especially for smallish boats and the local fishermen. No food shops except a closed Carrefour Extra. Bought two rather nice frosted shot glasses as mementos for Eos, plus postcards. Of course the island was called Ios and no one seems to know about Eos, Goddess of the Dawn - never mind.
Might have had supper out, but taverna owner too pushy and drove us out. The island has been the disco centre of the Aegean, but for some reason this clientele has gone and now a vacuum.
A very modern motor boat arrived with bow, side, stern thrusters, in fact if you pressed a button it would probably have tied the mooring lines as well - actually the design is a bit too industrial for my likes. Mike was keen on it. http://www.targa.fi/Boats/42_44. However, there was a cashflow problem.
Later Sofia, a very beautiful Finnish built, Panama registered 60m yacht arrived, with the tallest carbon fibre mast I have seen.
MONDAY 20 hot, calm
09.30 slipped for a calm run to either Paros or Naxos, PAROS won. NAOUSSA is the port we came to on the north coast, the capital Pariaka being on the west.
This is an intriguing place, a small yacht harbour, fishing and ferry harbours; the interior a rabbit warren of narrow streets, presumably to restrict the pirates in olden times. In one particular area it is wall to wall tables right up to water’s edge, I can’t believe these are often all taken. Also so many shops selling lovely clothes and upmarket goodies, I should have taken my card shopping with me!!
We are opposite a very good fish restaurant with his octopuses hanging on a washing line outside. The harbour master has a new golf buggy donated by the municipality of which he is very proud and doesn’t walk a step. Talking to Sarah Cox who was here last year when he only had a scooter and never got off that. His office is in a lovely old stone building, all others are flat roofed and white painted with all the blues in the palette for doors and window frames.
TUESDAY 21 hot and windy
The wind is up as forecast, we are staying put. A French boat with small children tried to leave, but was soon back in. Force 7 later and ferries stopped.
Washed the filthy boat - again.
The spotlessly clean and clinical Italian Ice Cream Parlour sells the best icecreams in the world, I had orange, Mike lemon and choc.
We met the German widow(?) Olivia who lives full time here and comes to the taverna each night. I had fish soup, a bit bland and Mike had grilled octopus, also not the best he has had.
Mark Cooper, ex RN Hydrographer and now co-owner of a sailing school on Aigina and currently skippering a catamaran for a family from Ukraine, came for a beer. Whilst on board a great crashing and splintering noise, oh dear our gangway which we hadn’t lifted sufficiently for the rocking and rolling of the boat, broke in two. Mark had to make a great leap ashore. Wonderful stressed skin plywood design it was too!
A small coaster came into the bay for shelter, still there 3 days later.
WEDNESDAY 22 hot, v windy, gale warning
Had to leap ashore and I’m not too good at this! However, the purchase of an aluminium ladder and with the help of a metal worker who straightened out the boat ladder which had also been bent, we shall soon be back to normal. Mike spent a day making new from old, by the evening we were able to get ashore again- actually still not easy due to the terrific surges coming straight into the harbour.
THURSDAY 23 hot, windy, no ferries again
A boring day, Mike made the final adjustments to the new boarding ladder. I washed curtains!
Eventually after quite a walk, we found two very good butchers and a fishmonger, all clean as clean. We also came across an Apple Store with all the latest laptops, computers one would find in Liverpool.
With the wind, few people perambulating in the evening, save for a family of very athletic children having running races on the prom; the little one about 6 running his socks off, two about 8, the girl always winning, another girl probably 12 taking the longest strides - they reminded us of the races our lot have when they are all together.
So many VERY tall and thin people, mainly Scandinavian I think, hardly any English.
With Liverpool written on our stern, we continue to attract attention either from northerners or just people who know about football.
FRIDAY 24 hot, not quite so windy
Caught the 09.30 bus to Parakia for onward bus to the marble quarries. Torches and sensible shoes. In spite of the “Keep out” signs (they are still really open, signs just to stop anyone suing) off we plunged into the darkness with map and “Island Hopper” book of instructions. Quite slippery, roof getting lower so nearly a crawl, then a 2m drop and I didn’t even squeak. The quarries have not worked for many years, but in the 12-16 centuries the marble was considered the finest and most translucent in the world. Later marble from here was used in making Napoleon’s tomb.
Considering I don’t like being underground, this year I have been in gold mines in Australia, caves, tunnels and now these.
Overground there are several stone masons carving modern sculptures, presumably for the tourists, though some were enormous and you probably wouldn’t take them in hand luggage.
Bus back to Parakia and another delicious Greek salad, up-to-date newspaper, bus to Naoussa. Decided to leave next day after forecast of a weather window of only 16 knots between two meltemi, so goodbyes to the taverna owner, Olivia and harbour master.
SATURDAY 25 JUNE v hot
Slipped 06.45 for 11 hour trip to POROS before the next big wind. Gattepardo VI passed ahead. A bit lumpy prior to Kifnos and Serifos, after these islands calm and v hot. Our AIS invaluable in plotting the courses of merchant shipping and ferries now that we are in a shipping lane up to Piraeus.
Oil pressures and temperatures good P 47/45 T 65/60 GboxT 55/52 all at 8.5 kts.
Nearly at Poros, an extraordinary red ensign ship passed ahead of us. On Googling, we discovered she is “Guilty” owned by Dakis Joannous, a Greek billionaire art collector, who had commissioned Jeff Koons to decorate the exterior of his boat. At first we thought it a prototype stealth ship!! We wondered why she slowed down on seeing our blue ensign but probably being polite.
Arrived Poros at 18.30, EOS had behaved impeccably, a great comfort, and we were not too exhausted either though slept fairly well. We are again on the town quay opposite a cafe; The big surprise to me is the architecture which is Venetian and beautiful. Supper on board, noisy ashore till 03.00. A number of large yachts, mostly driven very badly.
Ferries, large and numerous.
SUNDAY 26 hot, a bit breezy, some cloud
Slept in, shower and hair wash.
The boat is completely caked in salt, but no water for hosing her down. Shopped, good butcher and fish. Didn’t find a congenial place for long Greek lunch, supper instead.
More bad boat drivers than we have seen in all our travels, must be the Athenians.
Found the taverna owned and run by a butcher Dimitrios and his family, who all happened to be here to help on Sunday evening; my lamb kebab was enormous and Mike’s steak perfect.
On the way, we came to a square with church and wedding, bride and bridegroom in cream and holding their babies, probably twins.
A large English owned yacht called Big Smile tried to leave again, but has someone not well on board, so returned, for the third time. One of the owners reminds me of Richard Attenborough and the women rather fey and may have been actresses in their day, both spent a lot of time eating fruit and doing their makeup!!
MONDAY 27 hot, light breeze
Slipped c. 09.30, anchor caught with/by next door boat, soon retrieved - this is a hazard of anchoring in these very busy waters. Actually it was just in front of the ferry and the yacht was John K!
A rollicking 6 mile run to METHANA where the water is sulphurated and hydrogen sulphide bubbles up into the yacht basin; the smell is not too strong, the water opaque aquamarine colour.
An enormous bathing pool and adjacent treatment rooms, in its heyday about 5,000 people a week came for the waters, now just a few elderly folk. The town has definitely seen better days and is quite run down.
Ray who has sailed the area for years and is a good source of information; ex MOD, came for drink on board; another person who has mislaid his wife, now has a Norwegian partner and lives part of the year there.
No room for us here long term for the summer.
TUESDAY 28 hot, no wind
Quick run to AIGINA (AEGINA, EGINA) where we hope to stay for the summer. Stern to the quay opp tavernas, again!. Told no room for summer as no spare laid moorings which our insurance company insists upon.
We had hoped that Mark Cooper’s boss (Aigina Sailing) might come up with a solution. She, Melody, is the spitting image of my boss, Hope Kirkpatrick at RORC all those years ago. No luck there, but just coming back to the quay, when we were met by someone who owns a boatyard in the north of the island, who has a diver with equipment to float a 2 ton concrete block into position and to run a chain from this to the boat. Eventually Demetrios arrives, weighs up the problem, gives us a price and says he will do it, but when?? He falls into the water when coming up the gangway and his beautiful mobile is soaked and probably won’t ever work again - we may never see him after this.
WEDNESDAY 29 hot
This is a very, very busy port and town, one of the nearest harbours to Athens, even more large yachts with aggressive skippers. The town is lovely, lots of shops, places to visit, tavernas serving all kinds of food. Brilliant fish market and restaurant behind which only smells a bit.
Each evening at 20.00 to 23.00 the harbour road (in front of us) is closed to traffic bar bicycles when every child in the area comes out for fun, all ages, all sizes from those with stabilisers, some with tiny scooters, all tearing along and never a crash even when it’s dark.
The whole world is out perambulating and we just sit and watch in amazement - Mike is an expert people watcher by now.
So many ferries, including a tiny one which comes from Agristi, a small island just across the water, this is a life blood, business people, grans, children, building materials, loo rolls, gas cylinders - all are loaded or disgorged several times a day.
At the other end of the port, the large ferries come in and where we caught the fast cat to Piraeus. After the 48 hour strike, there must have been 30 ferries in and out, just about everything has to be bought in this way, as indeed to nearly all the islands as most do not have an airport.
The strike didn’t affect us, except to have to hear a little group of about a dozen haranguing anyone who would listen, then occasionally they would walk up and down and stand outside the various banks.
Most of the Greeks on the islands we have observed work very hard; the cafe owner across the road blames the Germans and French for altering the rules to allow Greece to join the EU in the first place! He says the prices they have to charge now are too much for tourists, but I wonder whether there are just too many ferries, cafes, hotels etc opened in the boom times and now no-one wants/is able to down size.
Next door boat is Heartsong III with Stu and Sandy sailing around the world, through Panama canal, Australia etc, Christmas.
THURSDAY 30 JUNE very hot
Did repairs above the low windows, I painted the galley cupboard floors again. Found Aigina sausages. Went for long exploring walk. The island is the centre for the pistachio nut which you can buy loose, or in honey or olive oil, all delicious.
Still no sign of our mooring.
FRIDAY 1 JULY very hot
Finally Demetrios arrived with his boat, diving gear and balloons which were tied to the concrete block, inflated and moved into position. An hour later we had chain from block to above the water line and new rope to the boat. Originally he said he would have to bring the block from somewhere else, but obviously has a stack of them on the sea bed!! Anyway we shall be safe as houses.
SATURDAY 2 JULY hot
Cleared, tidied and cleaned boat. Packed, supper out.
SUNDAY 3 JULY very hot
Caught the fast cat to Piraeus. 45 minutes. Left luggage at l.l office in the travel agency and eventually found our way to the station and the right train to the Acropolis. About 30 minutes walk to the top and well worth it even in the heat and the crowds, a fantastic building; I don’t think it will ever be completely restored and probably not needed, cranes everywhere. I think Mum must have left her teddybear on the Parthenon steps as I am sure nanny wouldn’t have pushed the push chair right to the top, this around 1923 ish.
Stopped for a pleasant lunch in a cool and shady restaurant close to the Temple of the 4 winds, then back to the train and our luggage. It took a bit of doing to find the right bus out to Varkiza which went most of the way, but as running a little late by this time, we managed to hail a taxi on the dual carriageway, he said he knew our hotel, but obviously didn’t. Hotel Apollonia not quite up to scratch, probably won’t stay there again, though comfortable enough for one night, just needs updating . The route out of Athens follows the coast and passes a number of marinas and lots of beach complexes.
A quick wash and brush up and downstairs to meet Harry and Roly Lakeman and youngest daughter Yannai; Mike met Harry through work in the Middle East and they have stayed in touch ever since. Harry works from Athens and has an apartment not far from the airport up in the hills. Roly and youngest girls are based in Amsterdam again, and spend holidays with Harry. They took us to a restaurant right on the beach where we had delicious fish dishes, lots of chats and a really lovely evening.
MONDAY 4 hot
We were up early and had a bolshie taxi driver to the airport. Wondered why we couldn’t find our flight to Manchester on the indicator board, had forgotten Easyjet doesn’t fly there on Mondays and that we had booked to come via Berlin - what a couple of twits. We had printed off our boarding passes, but not looked at them.
Arrived home, all well. Good to be back.
Eos in Levitra