Saturday, 29 May 2010

Pilos to Sicily

Sailing to Sicily Symbol of Sicily
Bridget, Andrew & Clare
Archimedes Fountain
Cathedral and Temple of Athena
Fish stall in the market
Bridget arriving, a little wet for dinner
Hi from Clare, Pilos to Sicily Saturday 29th May 2009 We left Pilos in the Peloponnisos on Monday morning to travel 300 miles to Sicily. We sailed for forty hours and used the motor for twenty eight hours arriving in Siracusa at 3am Thursday morning. The sailing was fairly smooth doing between 3-7 knots on a beam reach. WELCOME TO SIRACUSA, SICILY After being at sea for three days, the smell of land is quite disgusting. Modern Siracusa is industrial and has a strong sulphur smell. There is a large factory close to town but we don't know what it is at this stage. After a few days here we are so desensitized we don't notice the smell - what a worry!

Our friends Bridget and Peter on White Rose have been here for a few weeks. Peter very kindly motored out in his dinghy at 3am to guide us safely into the anchorage. We were glad of the help as the bay was ablaze with shore lights. This makes it difficult to gage the distance between us and boats at anchor, particularly the boats without lights. Thursday was a bit of a loss; we slept and just took things easy. Bridget invited over for a lovely evening meal and they offered to shown us around town the next morning.

THE OLD TOWN The old town of Siracusa dates back to 734BC. It became the largest fortified city of the Greek world containing half a million people and commanding a great fleet. So there is much to see here but at this stage we have only scratched the surface.

There is a fresh fruit and veg market each day and a fish market with a fabulous selection of fresh fish. The tuna and swordfish are so huge that the stakes are cut off with a saw. The bread is delicious and the cheese, sun dried tomatoes, olives, nuts and local wine are so wonderful, I just wanted to buy everything. Last night I cooked up a storm and had Bridget and Peter from White Rose and Amanda and Mark from Balvenie over for dinner. There are a few other boats here that we have meet before so we will catch with these friends shortly. THE SYMBOL OF SICILY Photo 2 shows the symbol of Sicily. The head with three running legs depicts the three corners of the island. The three legged flag is often used as the national flag of Sicily to this day

THINGS TO COME Our friend Colin from Kiama arrives from London tomorrow. He and Denise flew to London for their son's wedding last week. Denise and her mother are now touring Europe so Colin is going to slip away and have some quite time on Eye Candy. We are looking forward to his visit. We will spend some time here in Siracusa and see the sights and then travel north. We want to visit the volcano at Mt Etna. This entails bus travel to 1900m and then a gondola lift to 2600m. From there a four wheel drive takes to the summit and guides escort you to the crater. I guess if we are ever going to see a volcano close up, this is the one to see.

THE CONDITIONS The bay here tends to be flat in the morning and then the wind gathers in the afternoon and dies off at night. So the cruising folk go into town early and return to their boats by midday. This is a bit time limiting but if you tackle a dingy ride back to your boat once the wind comes up, you are sure of getting soaked to the skin. If the anchorage gets too choppy, we up anchor and go across to the other side of the bay. It's not such a great anchorage but today is forecast to be flat all day, so we are off exploring. Love CANDY ---------- radio email processed by SailMail for information see:

Monday, 24 May 2010

Milos to Pilos

Hi from Clare, Milos to Pilos Sunday 23rd May 2009

We left Milos at 2.30am on Wednesday 19th May to travel to Pilos which is on the western finger of the Peloponnisos. This is a 150 mile trip and there are a couple of opportunities to stop along the way. However our plan was, if the wind favoured us we would go the full distance arriving late the following day.

At first we motored for few hours until the wind came up on our beam. We hoisted the sails and as we had plenty of hot water after motoring we decided to shower. I washed my hair and felt totally refreshed. That was the only good thing that happened for the day. Our first mishap was a burst fresh water line which dumped 80 litres of water into the bilge (I should have had a longer shower). The water needed to be cleaned out and we soon discovered a litre bottle of engine oil had split and also leaked into the bilge. Great, so now we had 81 litres of oily water to bucket out. Our second mishap was one of our inflatable life jackets kept in the bilge inflated when coming in contact with the water. So now we had the Michelin Man trapped under the floor boards and Andrew had to unscrew the floorboards to get him out.

We recovered as best we could and continued our journey around the bottom of the eastern tip of the Peloponnisos, sometimes referred to as the Cape Horn of the Mediterranean. The cruising fraternity have many stories of getting a beating negotiating this area. Our next forty miles was to windward and the wind gathered strength until we saw 34 knots straight on the nose. By this time we had the main sail up and the motor on, but we were only doing 3-4 knots. Andrew was steering the boat and waves were rushing up the deck, over the dodger and smacking into him. He had his track suit pants on, his wet weather jacket and harness and a woollen beanie but he was freezing cold and dripping water. I was cowering under the dodger, sitting in a puddle of sea water trying to duck the waves as they came up over the dodger. The boat was slamming into the waves and I think that's when the third mishap occurred. We dropped anchor at 9.30pm (after an eight hour beating) only to find the pin that goes through the anchor shank had worked it way free and fallen into the anchor well. The anchor was half hanging off the bow. So I guess it is safe to say that this wasn't one of our best days.

We were now on the middle finger of the Peloponnisos. The next morning we set off and had a good sail at 30 degrees apparent, arriving at Methoni 10 miles short of Pilos at about 6pm. We anchored near by at a fish farm in flat water and enjoyed a quite night and well earned drink. It rained over night and the rain was clean so Eye Candy had a lovely wash. The next morning we got our hose and chamois out and completed the job before continuing onto Pilos marina.

Our luck hadn't changed yet, so as we approached Pilos, down came the rain undoing all our good work. Once in the marina we spent the next two days cleaning up the mess in the bilge. All the heavy items we store in the bilge like spare anchor chain, slabs of beer and plastic bottles of tonic water were covered with oil. Everything had to be taken out and cleaned up. The bilge had to be washed out with detergent to remove the oily mess.

At one stage it was sheer chaos. We had wet weather gear drying out in one bathroom; the spare anchor chain from the bilge was drying out in the other. The sink and bench area was covered with oily bottles and cans for washing. All the floor boards were up so we could clean the bilge. Andrew had the cushions up in both the back cabins cleaning the oil spill out from behind the engine. The alarm on the regulator went off indicating the charging system was out of control so the cushions in the saloon area ended up on the table while Andrew checked the batteries. It was 9pm and there was no order on the boat and I was fed up. I went to bed as it was the only place that hadn't been uprooted. At this point Andrew stuck his head into the bedroom and asked if I was OK. I said "yes, but if you want anything that is stored under this bed, you can't have it"

Fortunately things are back to normal. We have been to Pilos before so we didn't need to have a look around town. I went to the supermarket, fresh veg market and the bakery to buy traditional cheese pies, yum yum. Andrew went to the ship chandlers and mentioned in passing that he had been there two years ago. The proprietor presented Andrew with a bottle of Olive Oil made by his father. He said it had no preservatives and was good for feta cheese and Greek salad. We have sampled the Olive Oil and it is very nice.

We left the marina this afternoon and anchored out. We have made water (which I hope we keep in the tank) and Andrew is currently trying to retrieve the anchor pin from the bottom of the anchor well. I have been cooking some meals as we will leave tomorrow to travel the 300 miles to Sicily. Wish us luck as there are no stops along the way. Let's hope all the mishaps are behind us and we have pleasant sailing.

Andrew has managed to retrieve the anchor pin from the bottom of the anchor locker by using the boat hook. Not a bad effort, maybe our luck has changed!

Love Cand

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Marmaris to Milos

Hi from Clare, Marmaris to Milos 17th May 2010

Photo 1 Clare on the way up Photo 2 Andrew at the top Photo 3 the view from the top Photo 4 leaving Marmaris Photo 5 anchorage in Milos REPAIRS COMPLETE Well we have a lot to be thankful for, the noise in the engine was a blown head gasket and not a cracked head. We returned to the marina Thursday 6th, extended our contract for a week and phoned a few known mechanics to get the work done. Fortunately for us this break down did not happen half way across the Aegean or we would have been faced with arriving in an unfamiliar country and trying to find a decent mechanic, who hopefully speaks English. Anyhow the job is now done and we have motored for twenty two hours and the engine sounds better than it has for a long time.

BACK TO MARINA LIFE We settled back into marina life with our friends who were delighted that we were staying for another week. So we had some more drinks in the bar, dinner in the restaurant and I had a girl's day in town with my English friend Jean who I have known for four years. Andrew helped Jean's husband Keith with boat repairs and he installed Sea Map on the South African boat next to us; they are circumnavigating the world with two small children. Their five year old has been on the boat for three years, so the boat is the only home he can remember

UP HILL ALL THE WAY Sunday we went with about twenty others for a ten kilometre walk up to the top of a nearby hill. It was a very friendly and compatible group from Canada, America, England, Wales, New Zealand, Australia and Denmark. We did our bit for Turkey on the way back and collected two large garbage bags of litter for disposal. It was hard yakka walking the five kilometres up to 400 metres elevation at the top. The reward was a picnic lunch, cold beer and a great view of the surrounding bays. Unfortunately the visibility was poor and we got rained on, but hey who cares. The return trip was much easier but my thigh muscles complained for the next few days. (Photo 4 Leaving Marmaris - the highest peak in this photo is the hill we climbed).

HELP IS ALWAYS CLOSE BY When at home I made some fly screens for the hatches, windows and doorway. I messed up the measurements and two didn't quite fit. I was very upset as we need the breeze and mosquitos can ruin a good night's sleep. Andrew mentioned that our American friends Bill and Bunny, have a sewing machine on their boat. Thankfully I was made very welcome to use their boat and machine to do my alterations. People in the cruising world are so helpful. Every day on the marina radio net someone will ask for help or advice on all manner of topics and without exception help is close at hand.

One such call came out the other morning saying the butcher was back. We had no idea what that meant but one of our friends told us that a couple of cruisers have befriended the locals who go shooting wild boar. They buy the whole carcass and as one of the cruisers is a butcher by trade, they cut it up and on sell it to the cruising community. Our friend (no names mentioned) went across to the boat where the butchering was occurring. She said the beast was on the table with blood and guts dripping off every surface. The butcher suggested that she not eat the liver as (being a wild boar) it would probably have worms, but the rest of it would be OK providing she cooks it properly. She was courageous enough to buy some and said it was delicious.

THE PRESSURE IS ON Late last season I bought a pressure cooker which I use on the gas top. At the time a Turkish girlfriend married to an Australian gave me a few recipes for pulses which were delicious. I wasn't game to try anything else as I had no idea how long to cook things. My daughter Susan gave me a The Pressure Cooker Recipe Book by Suzanne Gibbs for Christmas and so now I am having a wonderful time coming up with new meals in a hurry. Last night it took only twenty minutes to cook a whole chicken in lemon and garlic with jacket potatoes. By the time I prepared the steamed beans the meat was done, brilliant! Just in case you are wondering, I won't be trying out the wild boar. The other advantage of pressure cooking is the saving on gas (which isn't always easy to buy) and also the reduction of heat in the cabin without having to turn the oven on.

So we left the marina on Thursday 13th with the intention of seeing our Turkish friends Steve and Kaori. However they were leaving for Japan on Saturday morning and so thanks to our delay for engine repairs, we missed the window of opportunity. In some ways we are sad to leave Turkey as we have had a good time here. However we need to move on and see some new places.

THE MONEY OR THE BEER We travelled over to Datcha in Turkey to check out of the country. There is a new ruling in Turkey that if your boat weighs more than ten tonnes, you must employ an agent to do the paper work. Our boat weighs 8.5 tonnes and so we don't need to pay an agent. However when we got to Datcha the Port Police told us, regardless of weight, we had to use an agent as the Harbour Master wouldn't accept a hand written transit log and only the agents have access to the transit log system. So off to the agent and 40TL (Turkish Lira - about A$1.30) later we had our printed document which was a simple copy and paste from the entry document already on their system. We then went to the Harbour Master who couldn't speak English but was busy stamping a hand written transit log for a Swiss couple. Andrew was furious; we had just got done 40TL for no reason. So not one for rolling over on a matter of principle, Andrew stormed back to confront the Agent's boss and retrieve our 40TL. Once we received the refund, Andrew calmly shook the boss's hand, thanked him and told him he had done the honourable thing. The boss just smiled and tilted his head sideways in acceptance; a typical Turkish gesture. We then hot footed it down the street and spent the refund on cans of beer for the boat and departed Turkey.

We are now in Milos which is a Greek Island in the middle of the Aegean Sea. We did an overnight passage to get here, leaving Turkey about 11am Friday and arriving 8pm Saturday night. As planned we arrived in time to anchor and settle before the westerly change arrived bringing gale force winds. So here we sit waiting for the wind to drop which will probably be Wednesday. It is no surprise that the Greek Islands are so barren, the wind is either howling or non existent and then it's very hot. The poor plants haven't got a chance.

When we leave here we will do an overnight to Pilos which is on the western side of the Peloponnisos, Greece, and then a two or three night trip to Sicily. We are in radio contact with cruising friends Peter and Bridget on their boat White Rose. They are already in Siracusa, Italy and if we hurry we may meet up with them there. We also hope to meet our Australian friend Colin there, who is flying in from London after his son's wedding. We heard on the BBC this morning that air traffic in London is being disrupted once again by the Iceland volcanic cloud. So we will just have to keep our fingers crossed that we do have the pleasure of Colin's company. If he gets there we may have to take him up to see Mt Etna!


---------- radio email processed by SailMail for information see:

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Goodbye to Marmaris

New Jib UV Strip Look at the new cushions against the old!
Beautiful anchor locker
The finished product - pretty cool
Hi from Clare, Wednesday 5th May 2010

We are free from the marina at long last. We left this morning after one month of hard work and frustration waiting for trades' people to turn up and complete other jobs needed on the boat. TRAINS, PLANES AND AUTOMOBILES Our journey from Australia to Turkey started with Colin and Denise driving us from Kiama to Dapto to catch the train to Sydney airport for a 9.30 pm departure. They had very kindly offered to take us to Sydney but as it was Easter Thursday and the traffic to the south coast was bumper to bumper, we insisted that the train was the best option.

The flight with Etihad airlines was pretty good, despite the fact we were delayed at the check in counter for forty five minutes because we had a one way ticket into Istanbul. Fortunately Andrew had our ships papers and the receipt for our booking for Monastir marina in Tunisia at the end of the season. Hopefully this would prove we had the means and the desire to leave Istanbul. After a lot of fluffing about and a phone call to Istanbul for a decision (that worried us) they decided to let us through. The up side of this was we got an apology for the delay and an express card through customs. We felt very important being ushered through the side gate bypassing the long queues. The flight was uneventful and we managed to get a good amount of sleep despite feeling like you were in a shoe box. The seats although very comfortable were so tightly packed it was impossible to retrieve anything that fell on the floor. The food was good, the movies were great and the hours seemed to pass quickly. We spent one night in Istanbul to recover before tackling the overnight coach trip down to Eye Candy in Marmaris. The coaches in Turkey are first class. The one we traveled in looked like a space ship with a big curved windscreen that continued up over the first row of seats giving us a great view of the stars. The driver sat down low almost at road level in front of an impressive array of soft blue lights and instruments on the dashboard. The fourteen hour ride was comfortable, quiet and warm even though the temperature outside dropped to six degrees overnight. A waiter served hot and cold drinks and light snacks frequently throughout the trip. We also had headphones for either music or a movie. The fare is only 50TL which is equivalent to $40, amazingly cheap. OLD DUDES I am pleased to say that the boat was in a lot better condition this year then previous years. No paint overspray and no rust spots from steel grinding. She was pretty dirty but I was extremely happy not to spend days on my hands and knees applying sodium hypochlorite for rust spots. Instead I spent days on my knees polishing every inch of Eye Candy until she looked glorious. I managed to pinch a nerve in my hip which caused me a great deal of discomfort for the following eight days (just a reminder that I'm not as young as I once was). Andrew rubbed down the bottom of the boat and painted it with antifouling. With all the overhead work an old Rugby injury to his shoulder flared up causing him equal pain. So for days we kept uttering involuntary noises (groans) with every movement. We sounded like a couple of 'old dudes' but that can't be right can it? Andrew also installed a fresh water tap in the anchor locker so we can wash the anchor and chain when it comes up all muddy. While we were away from Turkey the anchor chain was regularized and Andrew painted the anchor with silver epoxy paint. The anchor locker hasn't looked this clean since the boat was new. Andrew also took the anchor winch off and removed the corrosion and installed a fifth hold down bolt. The only way this sucker is coming off the deck is if we slice the front of the boat off, and hopefully that won't happen, but I guess if it does we won't be worrying about the anchor winch. SUNNY SIDE UP While we were away we had our sails washed, a third reefing point put in the mainsail and blue sunbrella applied to the leech of the jib. We had an arch build on the back of the boat which now supports two additional solar panels which tilt to capture maximum sun. We had a new bimini constructed so we can collapse it more easily while underway. Because we changed the shape of the bimini we needed new canvas and so we took the opportunity to change all the canvas in the cockpit from navy blue to light grey. We have noticed on other boats that light colored canvas reflex the heat making it much cooler to sit under. We have also had side shades made of shade cloth fitted to the cockpit area. I love these as I have wanted them for a long time. Andrew thinks we now look like a covered wagon, all we need is a couple of bullock at the front and Billy at the side to complete the picture, but I'm so happy, I'll even buy the Billy! NEAT AND CLEAN Whilst in Australia I got replacement cushion covers for the main cabin. They came off another Bavaria 39 in Sydney and are better quality and not faded like the ones on Eye Candy. When I was at home I washed them and then spent a few days on the over locker neatening all the seams. The photo shows the lounge area with half the new covers on, what an amazing difference. Now with all the new covers on it looks a million times better and I am much delighted. LIGHT RELIEF Apart from the work we have managed to catch up with some friends. We have had a few dinners out at restaurants, (and too many drinks) some evenings with friends either on their boat or our (and too many drinks). We have had morning coffee meetings, skipper meetings and a few nights in the crowded marina bar (and you guessed it). However, it's a good place to catch up with everyone and meet new friends, not that you remember. HOORAY, HOORAY So this morning we escaped marina life very aware that all the work and frustration is behind us and freedom and adventure is ahead. Andrew has starting up the water maker and filled the rear tank with excellent quality water. With all our additional solar power, we can now make water, run the computer and fridge and still have a little left over to put into the batteries. For Andrew this means no more running the engine to generate enough power to run the boat. For me this means no more concerned conversations about amps and volts, FANTASTIC. We will be saying goodbye to Turkey in the next few weeks after stocking the boat and visiting our Turkish friends for the last time. Our plan for this year is to travel west to Sicily, Sardinia, Malta and Tunisia. We will be leaving Eye Candy in Tunisia when we return home later in the year. At present the days are a pleasant 25 degrees but the sea water is only 19.8 degrees so no swimming at this point. FRIDAY 8th MAY - TO GOOD TO BE TRUE We escaped the marina for one day. As we departed on Wednesday a strange noise developed in the engine. So we turned back and now we await the mechanics, who have taken the head off the engine, to tell us the good news. . Somehow we are losing compression pressure from #2 and #3 cylinders. Valves, head gasket or cracked head are the likely culprits. At this stage we expect to be here another week to sort this out. Well it could be worse, we are safe in the marina and surrounded by friends. Looks like a few more happy hours coming up. Love CANDY radio email processed by SailMail for information see: