V - The Greek Islands.
Thursday 4th September - This page of the Logbook was initially named with a high degree of optimism, we had planned to visit at least Rhodes, Karpathos, Tilos and Simi, finally returning to Rhodes to sign out of Greece before returning to Turkey for the winter. Realistically the physical effort required to sail and maintain Sailaway is clearly beyond my capabilities now, at least now, limitations are clearly recognised.
To view our previous log entries please use the following link:
IV - Heading West.
To view our next log entries please use the following link:
VI - The Greek Islands II.
Log Entry Thursday 4th September - We try to leave Rhodes, but forced to return due to our aging engine!
We planned to sail a short distance south down the east coast of the island, no where specific but probably one of the anchorages to the south of Faliraki, A.K Ladhiko, or the "Anthony Quinn Bay", named after one of his films for the tourists I believe? We have been here for a week now for one reason or another, seems a lot longer?
We left the anchorage around 0800, all was quiet, even the commercial vessels were still for us?
The wind was in our favour, so the canvas was up and engine off as soon as we cleared the commercial harbour sea wall.
The winds were related to the landfall, gust quite severe at times but all good, the only interesting aspect was avoiding a fisherman's pots as he stood by - the coastline was very "concrete" resorts hotels etc.
There stretched mile after mile of resort, in time we were joined by other, pleasure and commercial vessels all heading the same way.
As we approached Faliraki, the coastline beyond changed, far more dramatic and appealing, this was where we were heading, as were the trip boats passing us at speed? I then thought and made the suggestion to Ann that we could look to anchor off Faliraki beach and wait for the trip boats to leave the small anchorages, we would then have more options open to us? I popped own below to check the engine fuel in the header/day deck from which the engine is fed.
I saw a considerable amount of water under the engine in the sump, the water was contaminated from fuel and oil already in the sump but it was clear it had came from the engine? All indications showed that it had probably been exhausted out of the equivalent of the radiator cap on a car - but the engine had not over heated? The engine had been off for some time so I removed the cap to inspect the water level, the reservoir was full, in fact too full, and, tasted a little salty? It must be a further issue with the heat exchanger I had rebuilt at the beginning of August. I started the engine to see if I could see what the problem was, sure enough the sea water intake pump was pressurising the engine cooling system and pumping a mix of sea and fresh water out of the radiator cap - blast, I had hoped it would last until the winter? We now needed to discuss our options, we primarily needed a safe anchorage or marina to pull the system apart again to try to repair - that was not in the direction ahead of us, we had to return to Mandraki. There would not be a berth in the harbour but we knew the anchorage to be secure with regards to holding.
We switched of the engine, saving it for when it was needed - dropping anchor in the harbour. We swung Sailaway 180 degrees on the wind and continue to sail back to where we had came from. We sailed as close as safely possible to Mandraki before we dropped canvas and started the engine. The engine ran well, other than pumping out water, no overheating so the issue was not cylinder head or anything else too major, although putting sea water into the engine is not a good thing? I continued my investigation as Ann stood watch, eventually dropping anchor almost in the same place we had left this morning, disappointing to say the least. Sailaway, once again had issued a warning without any great threat to us - that is my belief of how it works?
Once secure I flushed the engine with fresh water and stripped it down again, corrosion was still the issue, I could "patch" it once again but how long would it last this time, we made some phone calls.
We had planned to hand carry out a new Heat Exchanger out when we return in the winter, if we did? Now, as we were in Greece, as part of the EU the best option was to have the requirement shipped out to us here to fit now! With the help of A.S.A.P (UK) and Roditis Yachting (Mandraki) we would have not only a new system in 5/8 days but also additional bits & pieces in need of changing.
I think it appears that Sailaway is becoming as tired as Ann and I for different reasons. I was aware of the engine issues but availability in Turkey had hoped for postponement, clearly not possible, until our arrival in Greece? With myself it is clear my knees need replacing, delaying and sailing is not possible the greater challenge is to have the NHS (UK) carry out the needed work - that is the greatest challenge I feel I have ever faced?
Log Entry Wednesday 3rd September - Dinner out in the Old Town.
We felt we deserved a treat so tonight we went ashore to eat, eventually the Old Town was chosen as the venue.
We made our way through one of it many gates, the narrow lane leading us to one of the many squares we know so well now. Walking through, Ann stops at one of the small gift shops, "lets get your mum a fridge magnet?" she says. "But she does not collect them?" I replied, then I thought to myself, "she clearly does now?"
We ate local food, well prepared and well priced, Ann drank Retsina, made from tree resin, a form of "local hooch" she has become addicted too, I stuck with the house wine.
Ann took, and insisted I published this photograph of me eating as all photo's shown apparently are of only her eating? Easier to post the picture rather than argue the point?
Log Entry Tuesday 2nd September - Ann becomes excited by some of the work going on around us in the anchorage?
As we sit up top having our breakfast the sailing school are already at work just off the northerly entrance to Mandraki Harbour.
Just off the head land appears this sleek, three masthead "monster" equipped with three equally enormous rolled up genoa's. The vessel is greeted by the two tugs as is normal and assisted to the quay. The vessel is barely secured when we notice two gents appear at the hull, at the waterline? Ann believes at first that they are painting, then with some further investigation they are actually washing the waterline - now that is care attention to your vessel!
Then by chance we notice the same activity to a cruise liner just off the first vessel, Ann is so happy to see she is not the only one to carry out such activities, nor is it restricted by the size of the vessel?
At the bottom of the basin arrives the old Bosporus Ferry, it seems to follow us, we last saw it anchored in Kekova Roads (Turkey) a few weeks ago?
The record for "bodies per meter of vessel" is won in our opinion, by an arriving wooden vessel, certainly less than twelve meters long with a crew of thirteen on board. They even carried the dinghy on deck, which is lowered into the water and rowed to the sea wall, no engine? They must have been looking for a berth inside as the dinghy returns an hour later and they move inside Mandraki.
Log Entry Monday 1st September - Refueling in Mandraki Harbour made so easy for us.
We are in need of fuel, we arrived here with only 25ltrs of diesel in our tanks? We had been inside and spoken to the fuel provider, the only option given to us at that time was to obtain a temporary berth to refuel. Our problem was that we would be berthing "bow too" and would have to use our 20kg stern anchor and chain, which is a manual system. My knees would not allow that so we had to try and find another option. We were looking for around 300 litres, so carrying it out in individual cans in our dinghy was not an option. When we explained our personal situation to the fuel provider, they contacted the marina on our behalf, now an "along side berth" was made available to which the fuel tanker could access too. The berth was normally used by one of the ferries so we had to be in after it's departure and of coarse, out before it's return.
It was around 0930 when we received permission to enter the harbour through it's ancient gates, with pillars that have stood there for centuries, with periodic rebuilds of coarse.
The wind was light, no issues what so ever, the fuel guys took and secured our lines, the whole process, including counting out the €335.00 took less than an hour, we refueled and left immediately as requested. The fuel at €1.4/litre significantly cheaper than Turkey. We laughed and joked with the fuel gents as they waved us off.
We then made our way back to the busy anchorage within the outer harbour, I made a point to call Paul (the Manager, Coral Marine) and thank him for his help in making the refueling so easy and almost "pain free".
Log Entry Saturday 30th August - A trip around the Old Town (110)
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, it maintains real character!
The anchorage in which we sit is really busy, a vessel can visit for a hour, to arrange a temporary berth for fuel, or longer. The only pressure is created rightly so by the Port Police. They clearly note every arrivals anchored position and send the trip boats over with a message to move into a safer area if need be? It is a clean anchorage too for it's position, the water appears crystal clear, the small beaches are used extensively.
It was in this car park we were abducted by a company selling holidays, Ann was completely over come with the flirtation, chatter and the promise of a large prize. We agreed to give them 75 minutes of our time, we have plenty of it, for a presentation. It was agreed by ourselves with Donna that we would not be committing to 3-4 holidays over a 5 year period - who would? I was entertaining, we had a good laugh and the taxi dropped us off where we wanted to be, the Old Town with two bottles of local wine?
The Grand Palace and cities walls are amazing, once through the maze the Old Town is alive with people.
The markets go on and on, the "Roloi" clock tower, built in 1852, offers the highest view point in Rhodes allegedly?
There is still a Mosque in the city, closed to the public.
We cut briefly through picking up yet another "giroos" for lunch, out through on of the many large gates into the harbour area, making our way back to Sailaway.
The re-vitalised fishing harbour is too very clean, behind it the super yachts, in there prime position.
This vessel came into the harbour behind us making for the super yachts basin, it's name "Jasmine" - massive, burning gallons and gallons of fuel per hour no doubt? As it passed a man women embracing each other stood at the bow, I thought the owners, in love with money - perfection? Then to my surprise as it passed seven more scantly dressed women sunbathing, and that was just on the one side!
What sort of luck guy was this?
For us life is simple, no crew to concern ourselves with, dinner, a couple of drinks and watch the sun go down - bet that previous guy on the super yacht would love that?
Log Entry Friday 29th August - The Harbour Pilot boat ensures we have another long day ahead?
We had not retired until early hours, the wind and rolling had kept us awake most of the rest of the night, well that was until 0600 hours! We had hoped for a quiet morning but were awoken by the sounds of a siren, we gathered ourselves put on clothes and climbed up top. It was a Pilot Boat, the skipper shouting to us "More in please, big ship coming!" He was pointing to the sea wall, we agreed, he returned "Thank you" and shot off to board an approaching Cruise Liner? We took up our anchor and moved about a further 50 meters towards the wall, any further and if we had swung on anchor due to a change in wind direction we could have had issues?
We seemed now fairly well positioned behind the back foot of the line of anchored vessels, quite a nice setting, surrounded by the cities outer walls and small beaches. The kettle went on as there was plenty to keep our interest from the cockpit, especially, for me anyway the activity of the cruise liner and tug boats?
It was amazing how "slick" the whole operation was even with the gusts of 25/28 knots of wind, some what in their favour pushing the vessel onto the quay on which it was intended. The tugs had barely secured it's vessel when the water seemed to spring into life
There was every thing moving around, Turkish gullets, all seemed to favour one particular section of the harbour, out side in the distance, the busy shipping lanes, running north/south/north that we had crossed last night coming over.
There were various ferries to Turkey and other Greek Islands, another cruise liner came in and of coarse the local trip boats - all before 0900!.
All of this under the watchful eye of Ann who never missed a single activity?
We needed to go ashore a little later in the day when Ann could find a space in the activities, immigration and fuel to sort. There is no pressure by immigration, they told us a story about how they were very busy dealing with Syrians. They had just released 200 from the island of Simi. As per their interpretation of EU Law, issued each one with €500 and made them sign a pledge to leave Greece within 14 days, more for the UK - we thought of trying it on for ourselves?
Mandraki Harbour was full, however they would allow a temporary berth for fuelling as one of the berths became available. We thought long and hard on that one as the trip over had hit my knees very, very hard, in fact if it had not been for other issues I would have returned to Turkey, and to the UK. It was very clear now that I was severely restricted with what sailing functions could be carried out, none without significant pain - back to new knees!
Movement around town has the same issues and restrictions, Rhodes is a great mix of old and new, on the waterfront in the city centres the tourist industry. As we were so late getting ashore we had decided to eat out too, then afterwards pick up shopping, fruit and salad.
What else better than a couple of beers in one of the pedestrian avenues and then Greek "giroos". Our only mistake was that we ordered two each as a selection from a fixed menu, we were asked several times by the proprietor if we were sure, one could under stand why, when they arrived.
Log Entry Thursday 28th August - Ann, Sailaway and I leave for Rhodes.
We checked the forecast again as usual, lights winds as forecast yesterday. We felt confident that even if the wind did reach the top end of that forecast the waves should not hamper our progress due to the direction they would be coming from? The air was still and the water like glass, we had little to do this morning as all was done last night, we did not even close the air vents at this stage to allow more dissipation of the hot air from the engine. We left Deep Bay and motored our way south east across Skopea Limani making for the exit between Domuz Adasi and the peninsular out into Fethiye Körfezi.
As we made our way across there was very little movement, Ann with her usual smile and "cupper?"
We very quickly covered the four miles or so to through the exit and out into Fethiye Körfezi, traffic began to appear both behind us and in front.
We raised our mainsail, turned southwest and motored towards Kurdögul Br making between there and Peksimet Adasi and point ourselves directly to Rhodes.
Ann kept herself busy, I very quickly became bored with steering, on went the autopilot.
As we cleared the headland a swell had developed and the wind stiffened a little, then more, the waves became higher and more powerful putting a good fifteen degrees of weather helm on us as the day progress. The Fethiye/Rhodes Ferry passed us at speed, it would clearly get there before us!
Our plan was to head straight out toward the island of Rhodes sliding with the waves instead of trying to power through them. As we approached the "lee of the island" that is the protection of the wind we expected the wind to drop off as it does daily. We would then correct our coarse and head directly for the town of Rhodes.
We got ourselves within 17 miles of Rhodes around 1530 hours when the wind disappeared almost completely and the sea began to fall. We exchanged the courtesy flag from Turkish to Greek, corrected our coarse and made for Rhodes using what sail and wind we could.
Darkness fell around 2100 as usual I guess then I am unsure what happened other than the wind returned sharply and hard, we were taking gusts of over 25 knots, the sea grew quickly against us. We reefed sail and made best coarse as we could towards the town of Rhodes, now we were getting readings of 30 - 35 knots, we thought the unit was wrong until we pooped our head around our spray hood felt the spray in the air, it was now pitch black also no moon at all - we bashed on, literally? Our target way point, Mandraki Harbour eventually came within 6 miles of us but the wind and sea was still very high. We were approached by a Greek Coast Guard fast rib, they shouted to us something, in it I thought I could make out "Ok?" They now had two spotlights on us, I screamed through the wind "Yes, English, sorry!" They called out something, waved, turned and left us heading back towards the shore, we carried on. The wind came with a bang from the other side , now coming up from the south of the island, we made best way we could and the miles disappeared eventually. We arrived in the Mandraki anchorage around 0100 hours in the morning, even behind the wall the wind was in excess of 25 knots but now again from the north. There were about ten vessels at anchor, three carried any lights at all, we dropped our anchor and began to settle down. The direct coarse had been 39 miles, we had covered 47 and that had taken 17 hours - must be a record? We crawled into bed around 0230 hours.