Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Eye Candy is sparkling

Hi from Clare, Phots 1, 2, 3 - Sparkling Clean
Photo 4, 5 - In the sling and removing the rudder
Photo 6 - Dinner and Drinks
Photo 7 - Snug between two large boats. The work is over and Eye Candy is sparkling. Andrew and Peter from White Rose pulled the rudder out and replaced the top and bottom bearings. Quite a job as the bottom bearing was stiff and needed to be belted out with a sledge hammer. With the work complete, we scrubbed all the grime off us and went out for a farewell dinner with Peter and Bridget from White Rose. It felt strange to be dressed in decent clothes and wearing shoes. I guess we better get used to it! For the winter months Eye Candy has been placed between two large power boats, giving us a good deal of protection from the wind. We are very happy about, couldn't ask for anything better. Last night we traveled to Istanbul on the overnight bus. We are staying at the Side Hotel tonight in Sultanahmet close to The Blue Mosque. We are both very tired but we managed to visit the underground Roman Water Cistern built 530AD, what an engineering feat. We will have an early night and then fly out tomorrow at 12.30pm. Looking forward to catching up with family and friends. love CANDY

Thursday, 20 November 2008

More G&T Photos

  • Hi from Andrew, Thursday 20/11

    Photo 1 - Corrosion to underside of winch Photo 2 - Making a plate to sit winch on Photo 3 - The complete job Photo 4 - Checking seal on water pump Photo 5 - Washing the cushion covers Photo 6 - Sorting food lockers Photo 7 - Cleaning the brass Photo 8 - Polishing - what's that growing out of Clare's ear ?

Life is very busy at present. Plenty of maintenance jobs to do, some we did not anticipate. We knew the platform under the anchor winch was damaged but when we took it off the winch itself had severe corrosion so that will need repair but I am not sure how yet. I will raise it at the next weekly "Skippers De-stress" meeting to see what others think. The platform has had two stainless steel plates made to reinforce it and we wait for a row of sunny days before I epoxy it all together. The plates were expensive but the job is better than new and looks good. The winch motor brushes have very little wear. This year, aside from the routine oil and filter changes I undertook a number of inspections on the engine. The heat exchanger was opened and inspected -as clean as a whistle so the cooling water treatment must be ok. The seawater pump has been dripping from the seal but a bit of a cleanup seems to have rectified this. The alternator was off to get at the heat exchanger so I inspected the brushes - hardly any wear - and measured up for a spare alternator incase we get one. The outstanding problem to solve is the rudder. Over the last few months the steering has got very stiff. I have new bearings but the problem is that it took Clare and I half an hour to drive the rudder down 10mm with a heavy lead weight. Next week we will lift out and luckily we are second boat of only two on the day so we will be able to have most of the day in the slings to get the rudder out. I have lined up some able-bodied assistance and a large hammer and some shafting to do the job. The dodger zips have been replaced and we are getting pockets in the cockpit side canvas so we can put all the loose ropes away. As you can see, Clare has been doing a lot of cleaning. Washing the cushion covers and curtains as well as the usual feeding of the workers (Andrew and Clare).

Bye for now, we are off shopping , it is market day.


Friday, 14 November 2008

Our G&T Shots

Hi from Clare, Thursday 13/11

Photo 1 - My last swim for the season Photo 2,3,4,&5 - Work Begins - packing up sails, service anchor winch, adjust tappets, install new batteries. Photo 6,7 & 8 - Cleaning

Last Friday we moved into Marmaris Yacht Marine to pack the boat up for the winter. We stretched the season out as much as possible, having our final swim just before entering the Marina. Our first day on land was pretty depressing but now, a week later, we are in full swing making sure all the jobs are completed before flying home on 3rd December. Downloading the weather forecast first thing every morning is now a thing of the past.

At the end of each year I have tried to describe the work involved in packing up, but this year I will send photos each week so you can see for yourself. We have decided to call our work photos 'Our G&T photos' just so we have proof that cruising is not entirely about having a good time and drinking G&T. Eventually we have to do some work - bad luck!

Apart from working on the boat we have also been into Marmaris a few times to buy batteries, take canvas in for minor repairs, or go shopping at the fresh vege market.

The marina has a good gym so I have been working on my fitness level - more work needed

We have many cruising friends here so we have plenty of company.

love CANDY

Monday, 3 November 2008

Three nights of freedom

Hi from Clare, Monday 3/11

Photo 1 - Why would you have your boat in charter?
Photo 2 - The raging sea at Dirsek!
Photo 3 - Marty Marina fro a distance
Photo 4 - How peaceful is Kuyulu bay?

We only have three nights of freedom left before we reluctantly sail back to Marmaris to pack the boat up. Every day now is a bonus as most of the cruising yachts have already run for cover. However the weather has been fantastic, warm, sunny and we swim every day in 23 degree water. We have completed some of the annual maintenance jobs at anchor but there is still much to do at Yacht Marine.

On Saturday night we were in a small bay (Dirsek) with a flotilla of charter boats. They were having a great time water skiing from the lead boat using the main halyard, and having rowing races in the dinghies whilst throwing buckets of water over each other. They then went for dinner at the only restaurant in the bay. Early the next morning the restaurant was dismantled, signalling the end of the cruising season. A 'take away' restaurant here means just that - they take it away!

In the same bay we met a New Zealand couple Margaret and Roy and had morning coffee on their boat Barnstorm. Roy (a builder) had spent 18 months renovating his boat before they commenced cruising 3 years ago. A lovely 47 foot ex IOR boat, spotlessly clean and beautifully finished, we could see the care and attention that had gone into every renovating decision. Somewhat in awe of their boat, I suggested they they might like to slum it on our production boat for drinks at sunset. However when Roy got on our boat he was impressed with the finish, the headroom, the space and light on our Bavaria 39. This year in particular we have spoken to many owner's who are itching to buy a different boat. Fortunately we don't share their restlessness, we are very happy with Eye Candy.

Yesterday we spent a quiet day enjoying the sun in another perfect bay (Kuyulu) across from Marty Marina. We are milking the last out of the season and we feel sad that we only have a few days left.

This morning we moved across to Marty Marina so I could buy bread and hopefully have access to WiFi to send some photos. We phoned Denise and Col on Skype and had a good chat for about an hour. As soon as I send this, we will move out to another deserted bay to enjoy the peace.

Next time I write we will be hard at work in the marina. I will send you some working photos so can see that eventually all good things must come to an end.

love CANDY

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Finding Brussel sprouts

Hi from Clare, Wednesday 29/10

Photos 1 and 2 - Views of Bozburun taken from the cockpit.
Photo 3 - Andrew trying to get better reception on WiFi to send this email.

We arrived in Datca Turkey on Saturday in time for market day. Wonderful fruit and vegetables, I didn't know I could get so excited about finding brussel sprouts, pumpkin, fresh basil, spinach and rocket. Haven't seen these for months, so we are now enjoying baked vegetables with dinner and vege soup for lunch, fantastic, what a treat.

Although it was very windy, we spent a few days in Datca tucked away in a fabulous little anchorage which was flat calm. However, outside our anchorage we could see the effect of 30 knot winds, white caps on the water and yachts struggling to go to windward. The good thing about the cruising life is that we can just stay put until the blow passes, and so that's what we did.

We sailed 25 miles across the bay to Bozburun yesterday with the wind on our port quarter. Is was a terrific sail doing up to 7 knots with only the jib out. Very pleasant but a bit chilly with the wind coming across the cockpit. We spent most the time below and popped up every so often to keep a watch.

We had been in radio contact with our English friends Bridget and Peter on their yacht White Rose and arranged to meet them at Bozburun. We spent most of yesterday together catching up with each others news since we last meet in July. Bridget and Peter have just returned from London after taking advantage of fifty pound return fair to go home and catch up with family. Pity we can't dash off back to Australia for fifty pounds, how lucky they are!

We dined on their boat last night enjoying a sausage casserole. Bridget had brought the sausages back from London, another delicacy that you just can't buy in the Med. The simple things in life, are not so simple when in foreign countries. I have often wondered when at the airport what people have in their luggage. But when in Bozburun, enjoying sausages from London, I no longer wonder - it could be anything!

We will probably move tomorrow away from the township of Bozburun into clear water. The advantage of being near a town is the availability of WiFi and bread. We can phone people on Skype and send photos with our newsletter, but the true delight is being in crystal clear water, in peace and quiet, away from the maddening crowds (and in Turkey the wailing of the Mufties calling their flock to prayer 5 times a day).

love CANDY

Monday, 27 October 2008

Bus to Symi Town

Hi from Clare Wednesday 22/10

Photo 1 - View of Symi taken from the bus.
Photo 2 - Houses in Symi
Photo 3 - Stairs to the front door (a fitness workout)
Photo 4 - Our peaceful bay at Pethi

Well we caught the bus to Symi town from Panormitis last Thursday to do some shopping. The trip took 35 minutes for the bus to negotiate the narrow mountain road. It was a hairy trip as we zigged and zagged up one side of the mountain and then down the other. It was a bit like riding on 'The Mad Mouse' at Luna Park. I tried to relax and ignore the rock falls, telling myself that the locals do this trip all the time. I just wish Andrew wouldn't point out things like, the Greek woman in front of us who kept blessing herself after each bend was successfully negotiated.

Although the waterways are spectacular, once inland the countryside is fairly bleak. Nothing but rocks really, with old stone houses, stone fences, rocky ground with sparse vegetation and plenty of goats. Symi town is situated on the side of the mountain looking down on a pretty harbour. The houses have been build on solid rock and packed tightly together. The roads are narrow and winding and quite often larger vehicles back up to let oncoming traffic pass. I would hate to be a bus driver there, it would be quite stressful.

We moved to the bay of Pethi next to Symi town and stayed there for a few days enjoying calm water and plenty of sunshine. We polished the sides of the boat and gave the stainless a good clean. Two American yachts who did the EMYR with us earlier in the year were in the bay. The Americans went to shore two nights ago, left their dinghy on the wharf and caught the bus into Symi for dinner. When they returned at 11pm the dinghy was missing and has not been found. It was a large new dinghy and a large outboard, a total worth of about $5,000. Extremely unfortunate for the owner and bad luck too as he was heading for Turkey the next day and that was his last night at sea for the season.

Earlier the same day we took our dinghy ashore and fortunately we have a completely different story to tell. We met a small Scottish boy sitting in his blow up plastic boat at the water's edge in front of his holiday flat. He was a nice little boy and very chatty. So after twenty questions he had established that we were also on holidays and from Australia. Then his eyes widened as he looked at our dinghy and then back at us and said in a broad Scottish ascent "So how are you going to get THAT in your suitcase?"

This morning we left Pethi and we are now back in Turkish waters. We are anchored near-by the township of Datca, once again in a lovely peaceful cove that we visited before with Col and Denise in 2006. We lay on the bow after lunch soaking up the sun listening to the water lapping against the shore and the birds whistling in the trees. We will move up for the fresh produce market in Datca on Saturday. I can't wait to purchase a good variety of quality fruit and vegetables and local cheese. For me, this is one of the highlights of returning to Turkey, woo hoo!

love CANDY
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Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Still at Panormitis

Hi from Clare, Wednesday 15/10

We came into the secluded bay of Panormitis a week ago with the intention of moving on as soon as the strong wind warning passed. However it is so pleasant here that once conditions improved from very good to perfect we thought - why leave.
The days are sunny, the water warm, clean and flat calm. There has been ten to twenty yachts and three ferries here daily, so there is plenty to see. However no entertainment from anchors dragging as the sea floor is good and sticky, just throw the anchor in and it sets - no fun at all!

Apart from having a good time we have also done some of the annual maintenance jobs. Yesterday we dropped the main sail onto the deck and gave it a good soapy scrub and wash with fresh water. Andrew changed the diesel filters and cleaned the heat exchanger on the fridge. Before we leave here we will polish the sides of the boat. Last night we had a thunderstorm and today it is raining. I think this is the first rain we have seen this season, so it's jobs below deck today.

We had intended going to Symi town today for internet access but we weren't quick enough and missed the one and only daily bus which departs at 8.30am. Oh well, we will call this morning a practice run and perhaps tomorrow we will actually get on the bus.

love CANDY

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Monday, 13 October 2008

Goodbye to Crete

Hi from Clare, Friday 10/9

Photo 1 - Taking it easy Photo 2 - Monastery at Panormitis Photo 3 - Peaceful anchorage

We left Spinlonga last Saturday and sailed to the township of Sitia, the last stop before saying goodbye to Crete. The township is not a tourist attraction but a great place to stock up before moving on. Main attraction, it has a Lidl supermarket, known throughout the cruising community for the sale of good quality wines from many different countries at 'clean skin' prices. So now we have wine from South Africa, Chile, Italy and California. We are also well stocked with a Dutch beer at a cost of 29 Euro cents for a 330ml can.

When we arrived at Sitia our Swedish friends (Ulf and Irma) were alongside the wharf and as space was at a premium, we moored against them for three nights. Along with their usual good company and delicious food, they introduced us to Lidl's wine and beer - what are friends for?

We are now on the Greek Island of Symi which is only sixty miles from Marmaris. We are faced with the reality of the season ending - not good news. We love the cruising life and the thought of arriving at Marmaris Turkey and packing the boat up, is something we really don't want to consider.

The weather is still good and today has been magnificent. We are at the southern end of Symi at Panormitis. It is a well protected bay which has a large monastery, an old people's home a few shops and not much else. The monastery bells chime on the hour and half hour which adds to the peaceful atmosphere. There is a lovely well lit concrete walkway around the bay which is easily accessible for some exercise. Ferries carrying tourists come twice a day and stay for about an hour. The water is clean and a pleasant 24.8 degrees.

We will stay here for a few days as strong winds are forecast. We hear on the radio each morning that the wind is gathering and the seas lumpy, but tucked in here conditions are perfect. We have been for our morning walk, Andrew is currently in the water washing the sides of the boat, the washing is flapping on the foredeck, the birds are cheeping, all is well.

love CANDY

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Friday, 3 October 2008

Spinalonga Lagoon and flat calm

Hi from Clare, Friday 3/10

Photo 1 - Spinalonga Lagoon Photo 2 - Venetian Fort at entrance Photo 3 - Leper Cemetery

We left Iraklion last Sunday and sailed 30 miles east to Spinalonga Lagoon. We were delighted to find flat calm water and total quiet except for the occasional bird singing. Each night the water has been like glass, we can see a perfect reflection of the hills and town lights on the far side of the lagoon. It is so pretty and peaceful, late at night I sat in the cockpit and soak up the view, the breeze is warm and sky is full of stares.

Our Swedish friends (Ulf & Irma) have been in the same bay so we get together at sunset for a drink and a chat. Ulf belongs to a choir and has a rich baritone voice. He sang for us each night which was a treat except I have been humming 'You Fill up my Senses' for about three days now - I wish they would hurry up and "fill"!

On Wednesday we took the boat into the township of Agios Nikolaos to get diesel and go to the fresh market. The farmer's markets in Greece are fairly disappointing. The prices are high, the quality is average and the selection is limited. In Turkey, the selection is brilliant, but in Greece I firstly go to the farmer's market and then to the supermarket to get the veges I couldn't get at the Farmer's market.

The town of Agios Nikolaos is full of tourists and tourist shopping. I spent a hour running around trying to buy an international phone card, eventually I was told that the phone cards come from Israel and the last delivery hadn't arrived. We called into the marina and bought diesel and had time to caught up with a English couple (Rod and Margaret)we have meet along the way. The marina was full of rally/race boats that came from France and were heading for Istanbul. Each race leg is about three days and then two days rest in a marina. After doing the EMYR I think the French rally/race would be pretty hard going. After refueling we said good bye to Ulf & Irma and sailed back to Spinalonga Lagoon.

Yesterday we went over to a fort which stands on Spinalonga Island at the entrance of the Lagoon. It was first occupied by the Venetians in 1200 for five hundred years, then in 1700 the Turks owned it for two hundred years and in the first half of the 1900 it became a Leper Colony for Crete until 1957 when modern medicine started treating the disease at hospitals in Greece. We saw photos of the victims with hideous deformities and there is a large leper cemetery with many cement slabs and no headstones or identification. The cemetery is high on the hill in the most idyllic setting which seemed only to magnify the sadness of it all.

Today we had hoped to leave Spinalonga Lagoon and move east 18 miles to the town of Sitia. But at present the wind is blowing 30-35 knots from the south. So we will wait here safely anchored in six metres of water and see if the wind comes around to the west as forecast.

love CANDY

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Sunday, 28 September 2008

Iraklio - the capital of Crete

Hi from Clare, Saturday 27/9

Photo 1 - Getting off the boat
Photo 2 - Minoan Palace 2500BC
Photo 3 - Replication of the wall paintings
Photo 4 - Lunch with Swedish friends
Photo 5 - Artifacts 5800BC

We left Rethimno last Monday heading for Iraklion, the capital of Crete. The weather forecast was for a few pleasant sunny days so we anchored on a small desolate island six miles across from Iraklion and spent three very enjoyable days swimming, reading, enjoying the sun, and trying some new recipes. We have nicked named the island "flying cake island" which had something to do with a cooking failure that went whistling out the galley window missing Andrew by inches, I can't understand why he would complain - I wasn't asking him to eat it!

Night two was very social when we invited our Swedish neighbours, plus their son and his wife, over for drinks. It's always good to chat with others and find out how they organize their life to include months of cruising each year. Unfortunately for the kids the holiday was over and they had to fly out from Iraklion so they left the following morning and we arranged to catch up with the parents later in the week.

We arrived into Iraklion on Thursday. We read in the cruising guide it is difficult to find a place to berth in the inner Venetian harbour so we were very happy to see a new pontoon totally unoccupied. Fantastic, so we moored up along side while our Swedish friends came to help us get settled and invited us over to their boat for lunch, all is going well I thought. But not so fast, out of the corner of my eye I could see this fat little official or should I say a 'fat little officious' stomping towards us waving his hands. We couldn't stay there, he didn't had the official papers for the new pontoon, so we had to tie up to the outer wall, great!

So here we are for the last two nights on the outer wall bobbing around like a cork, being subjected to the wake of numerous ferries arriving and departing. To get off the boat and onto the wharf, I just about need to be a monkey. I have to get into the dinghy, duck under the shore lines of other (much larger)boats, climb up a tractor tyre, get dirty and throw myself up onto the wharf. A bit infuriating when I know on the other side of the wharf there is an unoccupied pontoon in flat calm water and on which I would be able to just step off the boat - but they're the breaks.

Today, with our Swedish friends, we went to the ancient Minoan Palace at Knossos. Some of what we saw dated back to 2500BC and some was replicated to show what it must have looked like. It is an impressive four story palace and town with original roads, stairways and foundations. Below the site archaeologists have found remains of structures dating back to 6800BC.
After lunch we went to the museum and saw many artifacts from the site dating back to 5800BC.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable day and now we are back on the boat, not so much bobbing, more like rolling. It is even hard to walk around without crashing into the walls. I think I should have a few drinks and see if that evens things up.

Tomorrow I will shop and if we don't get a place in the marina we will get out of here and stop rolling. I forgot to mention, the wharf is also directly under the flight path of the international airport of Crete - what a place!

love CANDY

Friday, 19 September 2008

Rethimno, Crete

Hi from Clare, Friday 19/9

Photo 1 - Success at last
Photo 2 - View of Rethimno from fort
Photo 3 - Fort entrance
Photo 4 - Andrew's next boat?
Photo 5 - Peaceful shopping

We left Khania on Monday and traveled 20 miles to a small bay on the north side of Crete. Near by was the American Mediterranean Fleet Base as well as a NATO air base. As we approached the bay a dozen jet fighters came in for landing flying low over Eye Candy. It was pretty spectacular and for the next two days we watched the jet fighters practicing maneuvers until about 10pm each night. They moved very fast and I took plenty of photos of "nothing" before I managed to get a few decent shots.

Wednesday we sailed another 15 miles to the town of Rethimno which has a well protected marina. We will stay here for a few more days as it is fairly windy. The town is quite modern but also has a Venetian fort and "old town" with lovely small streets, alley ways and pedestrian traffic only. I have spent a few peaceful hours poking around the shops and going for some decent walks along the boulevard which extends for miles along the waterfront.

The weather is a very pleasant 28 degrees with cool nights. I have been reading some good books, watching DVDs and trying my hand at Cretan cooking. The trouble is that we have so much food in the fridge we will probably have to throw a party - no problems we know all the people moored around us as we met them last weekend on Khania wharf.

love CANDY