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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