October, 2011

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Friday Oct 14. This place is growing on me.

Friday, October 14th, 2011

And it looks like I’ll be a couple days longer than expected. The electricity is turned off from 7 a.m. till 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and then again next week on Wednesday and Thursday. So, my dentist appointment for the coronation ceremony has been postponed to Monday. I can’t take off with the little stump that is left after last Wednesday’s dentist visit. Today we had our first full day of sunshine since last Tuesday and the rain will be back on Sunday through Tuesday. I’ll probably leave on Tuesday or Wednesday for Khios. My new dodger is installed. A big improvement.

This evening I gave the slide show of parts of my circumnavigation. It went well. The office was extremely helpful and provided a good digital projector and everyone seemed to be pleased with the presentation. Most of the people were from my dock and the one next to me. About 2o people. French, German, English and Ellie a Dutch lady from Rotterdam who I met last Tuesday.

The red cat has become a regular cmpanion. He or she (most likely the latter) shows up early in the morning and expects to be fed. She has got me wrapped around her little paw.


Tuesday Oct 11. Cabin Fever in Marmaris

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

It looked like the storm had blown by, this morning. The sun was back and a number of boats locked in here by the storm took off. But they might have second thoughts somewhere out there. The skies opened up in a great torrent once again. But I am not dying of boredom. I invited the cruising folks here for a slide show this Friday evening and I am busy updating and editing. There is a nice community center here with a library and I checked out the connection from my laptop to the large t.v. screen. It works, but I might even have access from the office here, to a digital projector.

This evening is a weekly social gathering for the cruisers and I’ll probably run into some familiar faces/names.




Sunday Oct 9 A Full Fall Gale in Marmaris

Sunday, October 9th, 2011

We were warned and all the boaters here were busy fastening everything and putting on extra mooring lines. It started raining in the late evening, the first rain I have experienced in months. At around 2 a.m. the wind started howling and the predicted 50 miles an hour wind is here. Mostly in short gusts. Boat covers are being shredded, particularly on boats where the owners have gone home. Good thing that I took my dodger off yesterday, to have it repaired and replaced. I managed to salvage part of it and the price came down from the original nearly $600 to $ 400. This way I also saved the 40 Euroes that the installer has to pay to the marina for working there on my boat.

I repaired a leak in my water tank, a rubber bladder. This takes major surgery, to remove it from behind cabinetry.  The deck caulking I did in Khios seems to have plugged a few nasty leaks, I found out after this first rain fall.

There used to be a non-denominational English church service here but by lack of interest the pastor moved to Fethiye, further south east from here. So, no church pictures today, sorry. The day after I arrived here, “Wilde Zwaan” became my neighbor for two days. They sailed yesterday to Fethiye. They are Henk and Ankie Jansen, from Leeuwarden. I met them in my first Greek harbor, Mitilini. Yesterday I was invited for a beer aboard “Belle Bête“, with George and his daughter Caroline. They are from Wesel, on the Dutch border and know von der Linden, who put a NAJA together about the same year I had mine built. I met him in Wesel in that period. Through the association with Whisstock Boat Yard, the builder of the NAJA kit, he became the German importer/distributor for the West System. Caroline studied architecture in Berlin and lives in Red Hook, N.Y.  Right across from me is charter boat with an English group, I was anchored right in front of them last Tuesday night. They came in to escape the effects of the storm. The skipper has a friend who had worked in the Whisstock Boat Yard, in Woodbridge.  Just to show again how small my world really is.

Today would have been my father’s 113th birthday, he lived only half of those years, 1 year longer than Steve Jobs.

Below are a couple pictures, I just received, from John and Bobbie, my Canadian friends, on “Quck Beam”, they made the pictures in the Black Sea off the coast of Bulgaria. It is a rare opportunity to have pictures taken while under sail.

Friday October 7. I wished I could afford this place.

Friday, October 7th, 2011

But that might mean that I’d have to go back to work here. Brush up on my dormant pimping skills? Yesterday I rode out to the Marmaris yacht Marina and stopped at the Albatros Marina but the storage rates here are way beyond my Social Security check. I plan to head back to plan “A”, and store on the island of Khios. But with the economies I practiced in the last two months I’ll be able to splurge here for two weeks and enjoy this truly Turkish Delight. I’ll have my crown taken care off and the totally trashed dodger replaced. I just got a quote 410 euroes. A lot of money but far cheaper than the cost in the U.S. or elsewhere in Europe and they do have all the skills and materials here for it. The dodger took a heavy hit when I was knocked down in the Madagascar Strait and the zippers, thread and material are totally disintegrated.

It was birthday party night, yesterday for my French dock neighbor, Willy. Nadine, his wife, had invited me and another Frenchman, Philippe, on “Pollux”, for aperetives and then it turned out to be Willy’s birthday and afterwards she had made reservations for dinner. They took a taxi at 1.30 a.m. this morning to fly to Lyon for Willy’s son’s 40th birthday, who was born a week after John, my oldest son. They will be back again on Sunday. Willy and Nadine are from Anger, near Nantes. Philippe is a really young and good looking Octogenarian from the Mediterranean French coast. And as you can see from the photos Nadine (since I am on the compliments)  has to be the envy of all the women here. My Californian friend Brenda has her birthday today, she is in good company.

Yesterday, I met a cruising couple from Fort Lauderdale, Ron and his French wife Dominique, and just to emphasize again how small this world is, Ron taught skiing in Sun Valley for about 20 years and knows Mattie my ex-wife, who also teaches skiing in Sun Valley. Ron grew up in the Seattle area.

According to the Turks we have brother state to Delaware. It is called Daleware. See the below picture. In most countries I have visited we Americans are in the minority. But not in Tuirkey. About 75% of the power boats and a smaller portion of the sail boats is registered in the U.S.A.  But they are easily identified for flying a flag of convenience. It is usually a puny little flag that comes with the registration. Most of them are showing Wilmington as their home port but many just show the state only and of those about 25% have the e and a reversed….



Oct 4 and 5. In Marmaris.

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

Seldom did a shower feel so good. I had one here on arrival, in the Netsel Marina. The previous shower was on the first day I arrived in Istanbul, a month ago…. But I do keep clean with saltwater bucket baths in the cockpit. I never had the energy to pump up the inflatable and go to shore the three nights that I anchored, since leaving Chios last Sunday morning. I ran out of all my vegetables and was down to the last drop of water when I arrived here. Last night I fried an egg and a can of spam, on top of rice. Lunch was my last can of tuna with a package of Top Ramen. So, I splurged and ate out, here on the water front at Marmaris. A Young Turk, who lived two years in The Hague, has a restaurant called “Jan de Wit”. Obviously he attracts the majority of his guests from the Dutch tourists, but I just sat there amazed at his skill to hustle other nationalities into his eatery. I’ll try have a picture of “Jan de Bruin” on my next post, handsome, expensive tie, he can spot the nationalities of the tourists from 50 feet a way and then has his reportoire ready in about ten different languages. The meal was outstanding.

Moorage here is dear. I figure to stay here for about two weeks and that would cost me about 32 euroes a day or about $ 45. On a monthly rate it is more like $25 per day. I am going to check out Yacht Marina a little ways out of town but an easy folding bike commute. This location would be the ideal place to have family and friends come to see me and do some of the historical sites tours and go for an overnight sail to the many anchorages.  There is an even larger marina, the Marmaris Marina, a stiff bike ride away, and between the three marinas there is a large crowd of cruisers who spend their winter here and enjoy a busy social schedule. A weekly happy hour here with a buffet dinner, a cruisers net on the VHF radio every morning at 9 a.m., etc. I met Gwenn, a retired Southern Californian who ended up here on a large steel ketch by way of the Red Sea and stayed. She organizes much of the social life amongst the cruising community and trips to the many nearby ancient sites.

Tuesday morning I woke up by the call to prayer at 5 a.m. The chant rolled throught the small cove and the muezzin would stop long enough between sentences to hear the echo come back, a few times, of his last words as to giving it extra emphasis. I had another outstanding sail and from there on it was like sailing on a summer’s day through the San Juan Islands, sail boats every where. The wind followed me at every turn I  made, zig zagging around a few of the islands on my route. I did not have a lot of options for an anchorage that night and it was getting close to dusk. All I could see was solid rock wall that did not support any vegetation or life. Bu then when I got close a crack showed up and I entered into this small bay. I could not figure out why most of the boats still had their Greek courtesy flags up and that there was monastery on the shore. But when I took another look at the chart I relaized that I was back in Greece… So, instead of the muezzin at 5 a.m. it was the pealing of church bells that commenced at 6 a.m. I was in Panoritis on the island of Symi. The island is tucked away right in the Turkish coast line. Yesterday was also outstanding sailing with some motoring. At times I’d get these strong gusts coming of the high steep shore line and “Fleetwood” would just surge like a dinghy with my large main sail.

If any one knows the owners of the below “Elegast V” from Noordwijk, a 53 foot  Halberg Rassey, I can send them the photo.

I saw the dentist this (Thursday) morning and Saturday the 15th will be my coronation day.



Monday/Sunday Oct 2 and 3. On the Road to Marmaris.

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

Sunday: The following was meant to go out last nigth, Sunday. But the wireless took the Sunday off.

It was still rough when I left Chios this morning.”Marvin” and “Algieba” waved me out. I started out with the reefed down to 60 % jib and was at times surfing down the still large waves.

But after an hour or so the wind petered out, but the swell and waves held on. I motored half the aproximately 50 miles. Samos has some very high peaks 1434 meters, close to 5000 feet. It is supposed to have some great hiking trails. But I plan to push off in the morming before the Northerly disappears all together.

I am anchored in the harbor of Marathokambos. On the South side. I arrived in the dark and I have no idea where I put the hook down. I’ll find out in the morning.For all I know I am inside someone’s fish farm.


Monday: I left early and covered another 50 plus miles. Sailed 90 percent of the way. Great sail. From several different directions, but always a reach or a run. But I went from Two reefs in the main,to three reefs with the 60% jib, later with full main. Had to jibe a couple times.  I made it into a very small Turkish harbor, by 6 p.m. Gumusluk, 37.03.N 027.14.0 It is 7 p.m. and the muezzin is chanting his call to prayers.  The guide mentioned weeds on the bottom and  hard to set the anchor in it. I found out and it will not be as restful this night as last night. Hope it does not start howling through here. I should be in Marmaris by Wednesday night.





Saturday October 1st. Touring Homer’s Roost.

Sunday, October 2nd, 2011

The French never cease to amaze me. Across the Pacific and around South Africa I learned more sailing and electronic tricks from the French than any other nationality. And here in Greece it is a repeat. Even though they are not known to have the best command of the English language they always, somehow, have figured out how to use the latest technology to come out of America before the Americans have caught on to it. My neighbor, Joe, on “Algieba” is getting good wireless reception here in the
marina and he suggested I purchase an antenna. Thirty Five Euroes for a “High Power” Realtek antenna. I figure that takes care of 7 beers in my café with the wireless connection. But I could not get it to work. Joe offered to help. And he found that my American purchased lap top confirms to FCC perimeters whereas this software was set up for the European norms. So, he just happened to have a driver on his hard disk that worked for my software. I was amazed how quick he was able to put his finger on the problem and find a cure for it. He is not a young digital geek, just another retired French sailor.

I cooked my “usual” for the three of us, Friday evening.

Friday night the 10 day storm gathered even more strength. It howled and the spray has soaked the dirt in the north end of the marina.

Today, Saturday, I rented a car. First I wanted to check out the haul out facility in Langkada, about 7 miles to the north from here. It looks good, the manager/owner, Antonis, seems like an accessible guy. They had just put in a new set of showers (with hot water) and toilet, for the visiting yachts men.
But the only drawback is that there are no stores within easy bicycle distance.
So I will need to bring my food etc., for the days that I’ll be there. I most likely will just bottom paint. He quoted me 200 Euroes in and out and 70 Euroes
storage per month. Sounds like a winner to me. I ran into Eva from Gothenburg, who I had met with her cousin in Mitilini and Eva and her husband Leonard were
just securing their boat that had been put on the hard two days ago.

My next stop was at the Monastery of Panagia Koyrna. High on a very steep mountain road overlooking Chios. It turned out not be open till 1 p.m. but they let me wonder around. It is totally isolated and self supporting. With water, life stock, fruit trees and vegetable gardens. The two ladies, in the below picture, at the table in the court yard offered me sweets. The one on the far right lived in Astoria, Oregon for 10 years. Later on in Pirgi, I talked to 10 men who were having lunch together around a big table in one of the alleys, all 60 plus. Everyone had lived in New York, at one time.

Further towards the West Coast of this narrow island I visited the Nea Moni monastery and church. This was the most interesting spot I have seen so far in Greece. It has a rich history that began in the 11th century. It was built by the Byzantine emperor Constantine IX Monomahos. Just less than 200 years ago, in 1822, the Ottoman Turks burnt it down and all the resident monks were slaughtered. There is still the macabre display of their skulls and bones today at the restored UNESCO heritage site.

Emperor Constantine brought some of the finest craftsmen from Constantinople to built the monastery and fortunately some of the exceptional fine mosaics have been preserved. Three young women and an Orthodox priest (see photo below) were quietly chanting from a Russian missalette. I talked to them and the three women each represented 3 different nationalities from the former Soviet Republic. One was Moldavian, one Ukrainian and the third Georgian, the priest is Armenian. They were together on some sort of a pilgrimage. They were hitch hiking their way. I managed to give them a short lift. These encounters make some of the lonelier parts of this journey so very worthwhile. Just to listen in on this foursome in their professing of the same Faith we share. And to stand on this sacred ground and to treasure the art work that inspired it.

High above the Westcoast lies an old fortified village, Avgonyma, just like the better know Mesta, where I stopped later, these towns were heavily fortified with huge wall and with just one gate which was closed from dusk till dawn. Watch towers on the higher hills would signal any incoming invaders from the sea.

Pirgi/Pyrgi was my most Southern stop. It is also a medieval fortified village, but it has the unique distinction of the unusual exterior decorations called “xysta” it is a sort of reverse Batik process. Volcanic sand, cement are applied over white lime wash and then part of these layers are removed to expose the grey and black patterns. Besides olive orchards the particular crop in southern Chios has been over the centuries, Mastic, which is a resin collected from the trunk of a scrubby bush. It was the favorite “chew” of the sultans and their harems and it is still used in chewing gum, cosmetics and pharmaceutics.  

I am going to try and make it to Samos on Sunday and then onward to Marmaris.

Too little wire less for picttures. Will add them later.