We couldn’t believe it was May already, and we are only just leaving the marina. Well I guess we didn’t park up until November last year and the winter flew by with so much work on the boat and lots of travel in Turkiye.
Anyhow, we did indeed untie the lines and sail off, but of course not without a couple of false starts.
The first one being in the minutes before we left the marina. We had done full boat and system checks the few days prior but upon starting the boat on the morning of our departure Maree noticed the wind instrument display wasn’t reading. A glance straight up the mast confirmed the anemometer (spiral wind stick) wasn’t spinning. Doh! This meant hoisting Phil up the mast twice in the hour before we left. He went up and unscrewed the instrument, brought it back down to the boat, cleaned it (full of mud rain that we had experienced in the past few days), then hoist Phil again up the mast to re-install. All fixed.
Next was a visit to the town fuel dock where we put 9,284.93 turkish lira ($880 AUD) worth of fuel in the boat (417 litres). If only we had of know of the fuel increase in price between Nov 21 and May 22 we would have filled the tanks before winter for 8 lira a litre ($0.67 AUD per litre) and not 28 lira ($2.33 AUD per litre) DOH!!! But we wanted empty tanks to clean over winter.
We then anchored off town for the night with an appointment booked the following day at the customs dock to depart Turkey at 10:00am.
When we went to pull anchor a little after 9am the following day to get to the customs dock by 10am the anchor windlass didn’t work. We have a manual option to retrieve the anchor but thought it best to fault find the actual problem with the unit. There was no immediate problem found (ie: battery, solenoid etc all tested ok). So we rescheduled our check out 24 hours later the following day and then pulled the anchor windlass completely apart. Again nothing seemed to be wrong. We reinstalled it and it worked? Great but not comforting. It worked on and off during the day, frustrating – it seemed to just want a tap with a hammer when it played up. Anyway it has worked ever since so it will get written up to check/service/get motor rewound etc at our next opportunity.
The story continues (I don’t think Turkiye wanted us to leave) as the following day we go to raise the anchor (now working) to check out and we pulled up a large outboard engine from the seabed with the anchor chain! We were able to get it off the chain with he help of a neighbouring boat who came over in his dinghy to help. We finally checked out of Turkiye and sailed to Greece, well actually motored as there was no wind!
This was to become an unfortunate pattern … motoring!
Either no wind or wind directly on the nose. But we wanted (needed) to make as many miles west and north as quickly as possible to limit our time in Greece to around a month. (Its about managing our time in ‘Schengen’ countries so later in the year we have our full 90 day Schengen/EU time available.) This meant we had to sail west back across the Cyclades Islands of Greece and then north up the Peloponnese peninsula retracing previous miles sailed last year. We then spent 3 weeks moving a lot slower in new sailing grounds – the Ionian islands (north west Greece).
Overall our first month out results in some pretty horrid statistics for us (it wasn’t much fun either).
There were some highlights, so let’s concentrate on them.
We caught a fish, a BIG fish! There is still some conjecture as to whom caught the fish … so lets stick with “we”. It was an 8kg Albacore Tuna – delicious. We gave 1/3 away and the remainder we ate for 7 meals straight (we have a fridge but no freezer).
We waited out a Meltimi (strong north winds) in a previously visited anchorage, and picked really well as we didn’t even notice it, the winds didn’t reach us as we were so well protected. And whilst we waited we visited the lovely town bakery daily for ice-cream or sweets (well it was a walk each day!).
We were able to get parts delivered overnight at Nydri, well actually the truck broke down so it took 2 nights to arrive, and we ended up staying for 4 nights but we got what we needed whilst waiting in a very safe anchorage, with a pleasant town attached. The only downside was the water wasn’t good for swimming and the weather was starting to get hot.
It has reached the point where it is so hot we are starting to cover up and hide from the sun at every opportunity. We are both very brown, not something we aim for but spending so much time, basically living outside does this to us. During a recent video call with family back home, we were told we look like racoons or pandas with white eyes from sunglasses and very brown faces! Most days we swim at least 3 – 4 times.
We have again expanded the sailing network family and met some more lovely people on the water, including more Aussies, some Irish and some Welsh. We also got to visit the boat Mutiny, friends we made during winter in Turkey at their home anchorage in Greece, it was great to re-connect.
We found two new (to us) anchorages in Greece that would rate in our top 3 anchorages in Greece full stop. Two Rock Bay and Lakka. We were hand feeding fish in Two Rock Bay (but didn’t catch any). Lakka was slightly spoilt by the shear numbers of boats in the anchorage, it was crazy full and everyone was super close. But we couldn’t complain we are all looking for the same thing … Paradise.
Our last stop in Greece was the island of Corfu, where we anchored off the main town. We spent three nights here before checking out of the country. We enjoyed visiting the town and looking at the old buildings which are magnificent, but mostly in disrepair. We shopped at Lidl (always a bonus, especially when it is walking distance to the boat). And we also waited out a severe weather warning for Greece. So severe that the Greek Government sent an audible alert & warning to every mobile phone. This did get our attention and I am especially glad to report that the thunderstorms seemed to be north and south of us and we didn’t actually get any real impact. A little swirly wind, which apparently dragged a few boats around in the anchorage but we were dug in well and secure and didn’t move an inch. The lightening meant we isolated all electrics on board for a few hours and that was about it. Happy to have dodged it.
Next stop Albania!