Greece - Rhodes
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Greece - Crete.
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Log Entry Saturday 21st May - We leave Rhodes for Marmaris, Turkey.
Yesterday we cleared all of the documentation with Customs and Passport Control, today, early before too much activity begins we leave for Turkey, more or less due north of Rhodes, give or take 5 degrees. Pete, next to us is leaving also, he is alone, sailing again after a heart bypass in January this year - a great achievement! Pete is heading for Simi, he had wintered in Turkey, we help him slip out of his berth - we joke about "fouled anchors" but he raises his with no such issues. We, on the other hand had an anchor from a German vessel laid over ours, and he was outside Pete? He took all of our strength, both Ann and I, to raise our anchor and un foul the chain, but then we were off.
We hold Sailaway to the centre of the harbour as we secure the anchor rope and chain, store lines and fenders. In approximately fifteen minutes, three ferries and two power cruisers had made their way around us - time to leave before all are awake? I read in a Cruising magazine " It is best to arrive early in Mandraki and watch the entertainment, rather than late and become the entertainment" - a perfect analysis we believe? We are soon out of the ancient entrance, between those ancient, massive columns, Ann still doing the final tidying up with the fender covers. We have a stiff westerly wind and we soon have our canvas up, moving fast through the water and negotiating the traffic outside.
We have a great sail over, plenty of traffic to keep our minds occupied - Turkey can now be seen through the mist!
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Log Entry Thursday 19th May - Port Emborikos and Rhodes Old Town.
Next to Mandraki Harbour is Limin Emborikos, a small harbour for predominantly fishing vessels, it neighbours the adjacent larger port used by the cruise ships. There is even a couple of larger fishing boats converted into shops selling sponges, shells and the such like to the tourists as they leave the ships. The small ports perimeter is today walled as it was centuries ago?
The numerous old gates through the port walls take you into the Rhodes Old Town, with all of the glitz one would expect, but pleasant to spend time in.
The muslim Library of Haffiz Ahmed Agha (est. 1793) is of particular interest.
The city still has today a Mosque, closed to the public.
The "Roloi" clock tower, built in 1852, offers the highest view point in Rhodes
Log Entry Thursday 19th May - A run in with an Austrian vessel - Literally!
Remember how Mandraki was described in the Pilot Book as "Hopelessly crowded with charter operators zealously guarding their own berths - crossed anchors and frayed tempers are the order of the day in Mandraki". Well that is just how we were to finish our day today. An Austrian flagged vessel entered the harbour and was beckoned by the staff to moor next to us. This was no issue to us until we saw the attempts to align the vessel, the poor guy on the helm was obviously new to it, receiving instruction from the man in control of the anchor and windless? They had a light cross wind, but nothing significant, the gent at the helm had problems steering the vessel in reverse - don't we all? The vessels anchor went down, lined up well with the berth, the first attempt at hitting the berth was abandoned as they were too far off? On the second attempt the guy on the vessel on the other side of the gap was getting quite irate as the Austrian vessel tried to impale their outboard engine into his bow. With physical effort from all and lots of revs from the engine they cleared his boat and attempted to make their way out of the berth again. They shot across the berth only to hit us and snap off his flag staff - it just missed me and fell into the water?
What followed next made me feel like John Clees in one of the Faulty Towers sketches, pretty unhappy with what was going one I turned away. As the vessel motored away from the berth again, the gent on the helm shouted to me "Mister, my flag, save my flag, save my flag". There was then a call from a lady a couple of boats up "The flag is going under your boat, under your boat!" Like I was interested? I thought the better of it, maintained my posture and dropped the ladder on our stern into the water and began climbing down to reach the flag. As I began my decent I am shouting "Well, lets save the flag, to hell with every thing else, as long as we save the flag?" When I realised what I was saying and how I was saying it, it did bring a smile to my face? I recovered the flag and staff and put it safely on Sailaway. Then I realised the guy was having another attempt at hitting the berth, this time the wind caught him blowing him across our stern. He was now sideways to our stern, our dinghy acting as a large fender - of more concern our anchor rope was between his keel and rudder, close to his propeller obviously. I began shouting to him to stop his engine, pointing to the anchor rope underneath their boat? I was not ignored completely, his wife (I assume) came over to me and held her hand up as if to say "keep quite". Her action put me into a totally relaxed frame of mind as you can imagine -OR NOT! I tried showing her the problem but she was not interested, by now they were busing people in from nearby cruise ships to shout at, well, any one really? Only joking, but the harbour staff had by now disappeared! Then the worse thing happened that could have - the gent at the wheel opened his throttle trying to drive the boat out of the problem? There followed a number of bangs, rattles, our anchor rope went tight and the Austrian's engine stalled - he now had our anchor rope around his propeller and was completely stationary, going no where? The gent from the bow of the boat came to their stern, I explained what I saw as the problem, he stripped off, with goggles and snorkel disappeared down below - it was confirmed, the rope was not only around his propeller but also his keel (hull). I asked for a couple of minutes, Ann took Sailaway's bow to hold her off the quay and I tied Sailaway to Pete's boat next to us? I then loosened off our anchor, dropping the rope to the sea bed, the man in the water requested a hammer and large screw driver and disappeared below again? There followed a series of attempts with the tools, in between breaths and eventually he surfaced to say all was clear, the wind took the vessel away from our anchor line which I re tighten. This time the man from the bow dried himself off, started the engine and reversed the vessel toward the berth, we, either side of the "potential berth" asked for lines to pull them in - and that is just what happened. Once they had secured themselves up I ceremoniously presented the flag staff back to the crew, who were clearly some what embarrassed about the situation? We will not know if our rope is damaged until we leave tomorrow, our dinghy and the rest of Sailaway seemed to have escaped any damage?
Log Entry Thursday 19th May - The Palace of the Grand Master.
Log Entry Wednesday 18th May - A busy day in Rhodes.
The history of Rhodes is well documented, with great sieges dating back to the 1400's, the influence of the Grand Knights under the leadership of the Grand Master Villiers de I'Isle Adam. The Italians were heavily criticised for the substantial rebuild and further development of the fortifications during their occupation but I for one are glad they did!
The recently added small market centre to the harbour still remains in character and supplies the tourists needs.
We found this bar/coffee shop "The Blue Lagoon" a lot of investment in time and money to build, it sits in the new sector of the town in amongst M&S!
A story worth telling - we needed to do a reasonable size shop, our options were to either use the large store near the centre, or hire a car and go to one of the larger supermarket on the out skirts of town? We looked into the city store and they had all we needed so as I had seen a store van parked outside I enquired about delivery and explained about our problem? Delivery was no problem so we began shopping, and eventually filled two trolleys. I then found the lady that had agreed the delivery and told her we were ready to checkout? There was all sorts of noise and comments from various staff, they then called the van driver and we were told all was fine? The above gentleman carefully packed our trolley, we were to leave the store with him, we thought to accompany him in the van to Sailaway? No nothing as straight forward, the guy shot off down the street, it became clear after some time, there was no van he was taking our trolley to Sailaway? We felt he got sick of waiting for us some times but it worked out well in the end?
The perimeter walls around Mandraki Harbour, the two ancient columns have guarded it's entrance for centuries.
Mandraki water front has held it's character over time.
The Orthodox Sacred Church at Mandraki Harbour
Rhodes - Ancient City walls
Log Entry Tuesday 17th May - The island of Rhodes in sight.
We now continued for some time up the west coast of Rhodes towards the city of Rhodes it's self on the very northern peninsular.
As we approached the city the wind began to stiffen, but more alarmingly so did the traffic - all of it much bigger and faster than us, but all showing all of the expected courtesy where practical.
We had now been traveling for over thirty hours, as we approached the entrance to Mandraki Harbour, just the sight of the continuous trail of large commercial traffic ahead of us soon had the adrenalin running and our tiredness was forgotten. Rhodes is made up of one pleasure craft harbour (Mandraki, in the town centre) this includes all of the small to medium size traffic supporting the tourist traffic and a number of other harbours for the larger commercial traffic, unfortunately, they all share a similar entrance/exit.
Inside Mandraki, organisation is almost nonexistent, you are pointed to a space and you berth bow, or stern too using your own anchor. It is described in the Pilot Book as "Hopelessly crowded with charter operators zealously guarding their own berths - crossed anchors and frayed tempers are the order of the day in Mandraki" That is just how we found it on our arrival and throughout our stay, it put an unfortunate cloud over a magnificant city? I personally suffered a great personal blow with the Authorities here, one which I shall take to my grave? Once secured we took our documentation down to the marina office to register, I passed over our documentation, customs took as much interest as they normally did and left the office. The marina manager, handed back the vessel paperwork back to me and asked for our passports. I passed over both passports, he looked at mine briefly and returned it too me and began to address Ann as "Captain". I was disgusted and enquired where his dog was, that received no reaction and he continued to log Ann as the vessel's Captain - my day was ruined? You may of already heard this tale, as we left the office, Ann telephoned, text, emailed and even sent off pigeons with the news of the events?
I said very little more that evening, I put that down to the lack of sleep? We decided to find somewhere nearby to eat and round the evening off with an early night providing us with a good nights sleep. Just outside the harbour gate we were beckoned into a small taverna situated at one of the ancient city gates.
We were quite early, certainly by Greek standards so, with the exception of a couple of tables we had the place to ourselves, well apart from two crazy parrots that kept us amused?.