“Cruising – the gentle art of repairing boats in foreign ports”

May 2013

Vero and Ruedi, Sea Cloud’s previous owners met us in Kos for a few weeks sailing around the Dodecanese Islands.

Blog 2 1

They were pleased to see Sea Cloud in good condition although Ruedi very politely asked if we would mind if he cleaned some of the stainless on the mast fittings. This is the first and possibly the only time we will have such a generous offer from our guests! We had a wonderful sail to Knidos where we anchored in the virtually empty bay – one of the pleasures of cruising this early in the season. We had time to potter around the ruins, have a great Turkish meal in good company and enjoy views of the ancient site on waking the next morning.

Ruedi and vero favourite spot

We were spoiled by another good sail from Turkey to Tilos, where we tied up alongside the wall. Southerly winds were predicted and according to the pilot book, Tilos bay was not the ideal place to anchor in a southerly. Although the wind reached 25 knots, it would not have been a problem in the bay.

Sea Cloud 2013 314

After a brisk sail to Nisyros and a day of exploration there we headed back to Kos marina hoping to replace the turbo for our engine which has been leaking a small amount of oil.  Not unexpectedly, the parts had not arrived as promised, so decided to postpone repairs. After 3 visits to Kos, we finally managed to see the inside of the Castle on the waterfront, rather than just anchoring below it. Kos is a charming island, the evidence of its former occupation by Turkey is evident, although these days, the mosques and hamam are used as trendy cafes rather than places of worship.

Kos blog

Kos old town

Kos blog2

On our approach to Kalymnos harbour, the engine started to rattle terribly. Ruedi quickly diagnosed the problem spotting fragments of metal and screws in the engine bilge. Engine off, we made a rather dramatic entrance to the port, tacking up and down the harbour, dodging ferries, trying to find Sea Cloud a sheltered spot in the harbour, where we anticipated we would remain for the next few days. We caused a bit of excitement, other yachties watching anxiously, the harbourmaster blowing his whistle and gesticulating on the dock and the blue lights of the harbour police flashing. Fortunately, the last few minutes of engine life were sufficient to Med moor stern to in a sheltered but noisy section of the town wall.

kalymnos traffic

Kalymnos stern

Sea Cloud is the only yacht on this stretch of the waterfront, so we are on our own, with just constant presence of the local fisherman for company. Sensibly, after a day of sightseeing Ruedi and Vero headed off to Rhodes. We were very sad to see them go only half way through their planned holiday with us. If this had to happen with guests aboard, they were the best possible guests.  Ruedi’s  experience of this recurring problem, and his analytical mechanical engineer’s mind  were invaluable in work-shopping potential solutions.

Shattered engine parts dominating saloon table

Shattered engine parts dominating saloon table

Bayramis, our mechanic has been terrific, achieving the tricky job of removing the broken parts very well.  It took a while to get used to his working hours. “I will be there at 9am” (means 12md, works until 2pm), “I will be back after lunch and a sleep at 4.30pm”  (6pm , works until 8.30pm). Luckily the restaurants are open late!

While Sea Cloud has been turned into a workshop, our current cruising plans are on hold. Hours have been spent on the internet, speaking with Volvo, emailing Hallberg Rassy, and the HR chat owners chat site. The shearing bolts and 110A alternator bracket failure  is an ongoing problem for Sea Cloud, and as it seems, for other HRs. Alex from Enki (HR48 2005) has been marvellous, sending us photos of his engine and chatting and emailing Ian providing wonderful input, support and suggestions.


Sea Cloud 2013 357

We could be in a lot worse places. The people in Kalymnos (as all of Greece this time) have been extremely helpful, friendly and accommodating. A mixed blessing of an big Aussie flagged boat is the constant “hello, I am from Australia too” that we hear many times a day – either from local Kalymnians with roots in Australia or Aussie tourists . So many Australian/Greeks living here – the tourist office staff had lived in Darwin & Sydney, the waiter in the local restaurant (who is an unemployed microbiologist) was born in Sydney etc etc. Kalymnos port is a busy, bustling place crowded late into the night.

Kalymnos harbour

Kalymnos, as other parts of Greece is obviously really hurting. Many of the locals have gone overseas to find work, those who are here still here have had their salaries reduced, making daily living much more difficult. Life for us is cheap – we can have a good meal with 2 courses, wine (with a free dessert thrown in) for about 25 Euros for two. Luckily Kalymnos attracts many tourists as it is well known as an excellent climbing destination.  We are looking forward to seeing more of the island over the next week or so, rather than just viewing the town from inside Sea Cloud whilst discussing 8 digit part numbers with Volvo dealers in the UK!

galley view

Sunday was a welcome day off from maintenance chores. We caught the ferry to Leros,  to visit our favourite bay, Pandeli. How nice it would have been to be anchored there in such a peaceful place. Unfortunately the mill restaurant was not open, but we enjoyed our other favourite place, Zorba’s at Pandeli.


Sea Cloud 2013 347

Andrew eat your heart out - found ideal Scottie commuter!

Andrew eat your heart out – found ideal Scottie commuter!

Next blog, hopefully all will be sorted and we will be on our way to the Eastern Sporades, hopefully before the meltemi sets in.

Sea Cloud 2013: start of the season

This season we plan to sail the Dodecanese, across the Aegean to the Northern Sporades, up to Thessalonika and then down through the Eastern Sporades to Turkey.


After a pleasant day in Istanbul (trying to track down a lost bag) we arrived in Gocek for a mad scramble to uncover and prepare Sea Cloud for launching the next day.



It was great to see Sea Cloud looking so shiny and well looked after by Husseyin and his team at HMS. The launch is always stressful, but as usual was very capably handled by the team at Marinturk.

IMG_0622 IMG_0299

It seemed as though summer had come early to Gocek, with warm calm and sunny days, perfect for working on the boat.


Gocek is always so pleasant at the beginning and end of the season. The markets were great for provisions, and as usual and our stay and visits to Pruva Hotel very enjoyable.



We were amazed that we after 6 twelve hour days, Sea Cloud was ready to leave the dock, meaning we could take advantage of the beautiful weather and empty anchorages.



Although the weather was so warm there was still a lot of snow on the hills as we sailed towards Fethiye, where we planned to check out of Turkey.


Ian’s birthday was celebrated at a small restaurant overlooking sprawling Fethiye, and under the Lycian tombs.




The calm weather ended as we left Fethiye gulf. Motoring into strong wind and waves across to Rhodes was not the most pleasant of days.


What a great time of year to be in Rhodes, few tourists, only 4 yachts in the bay, room in the harbour,  no superyachts lining the waterfront and only one cruise ship.





Finally had some good sailing up to Symi, where we found some excellent mojitos made by a Cuban trained barman.




We were rudely awakened by our afternoon nap by a mammoth explosion – was it a bomb? earthquake? No, just only the Symians celebrating Easter exploding dynamite on the hills above the town. Apparently they often throw dynamite into the harbour, but luckily didn’t do so this year. Locals need to keep all windows open during the Easter weekend otherwise they shatter.




After a lazy start in Symi we sailed to Tilos for a night  before sailing on to Nisyros, an island we had been trying to get to for the last few seasons.


The small harbour in Nisyros was relatively crowded for this early in the season,  a combination of the Russian holidays and Greek Easter.


Nisyros was well worth the visit. The colours of the extinct volcano were beautiful.




The only other visitors at the volcano were  locals.



It is so green at this time of the year with lovely flora, obviously good for honey as we saw many beekeepers along the roadsides.


Mandraki with its monastery perched overlooking the town was a good place for dinner and watching the sunset.