Autumn – Turkey and the Dodecanese

August  was a good month to be in Sydney – it had been 45degrees in Gocek. September is lovely in Turkey, the weather had cooled slightly, the water is warm and wonderful for swimming. David and David arrived in Gocek to sail with us for a week in Fethiye Gulf. We enjoyed days relaxing in our favourite bays – Deep and Seagull, walking and enjoying meals of fresh local Turkish produce prepared by David LJ.

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David and David headed for Istanbul and we to Greece – we only had a few weeks left on our Turkish visa. The plan was to visit our favourite bays in the Dodecanese and maybe get to Mykonos and Delos, which have been trying to do for a few seasons. Pandeli (of course), a walk to the castle and lunch at the wonderful Mill restaurant were high on the agenda.

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A few days in Pithagorian in Samos, then to Marathokambos, a very pleasant little harbour town on the western corner of Samos. We were surprised to find a newly built ‘marina’ there, due to be opened in the next month or so. A great facility, although unfortunately not many spots to fit a boat the size of Sea Cloud as most mooring blocks seemed to be set for 12m maximum. We anchored in the bay. Unfortunately Ian still had lots of work to do, so this was an all too common site.

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We had hoped for some Aegean lobster in Fourni, a trip to Ikaria and then Mykonos, but unfortunately strong winds were predicted, so we headed for Patmos.

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Fourni

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We anchored for a few windy days on Ay Yerios, a gorgeous, bay with a fabulous fish restaurant ashore.

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Patmos harbour  caused a few headaches, a dragging anchor at midnight, re-anchoring then having our anchor uprooted while we were stern to the town wall (by a catamaran with a ‘professional’ skipper), all within 24 hours! Lunch at Jimmy’s at the Chora, then a delightful walk down to the harbour via the ancient pathway made the hassles at the harbour worthwhile – what views!

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Lipsi, which we hadn’t really enjoyed on a previous visit, was a pleasant surprise. After a few days of calm weather anchoring in the beautiful bay on the south of the island,

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we moved to Lipsi harbour for the next predicted windy patch. Luckily we arrived early enough to get a good spot on the pontoon – 57 boats were in the harbour by the end of the evening! There was a bit of carnage on the other side of the dock as the wind changed direction (from southerly to Northerly – as predicted) in the middle of the night.

Lipsi has some great walks, wonderful restaurants and the best coffee shop/bakery we have found in Dodecanese.

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Strong winds were certainly a feature our 3 weeks in Greece, with 3 gales during that time. Our itinerary, adapted to ensure safe anchorages, meant that we moved south quickly through Leros (Pandeli again!),

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to Kalymnos and Nisyros heading back to Panorimitis on Symi – a great spot to sit out the next gale. The waves and 30+ knots in this very calm anchorage made us wonder about the conditions elsewhere.

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We found this sad sight on arrival in Rhodes, an unattended yacht (the owner had been taken to hospital) ended up on the rocks during the gale.

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A few calm days predicted we had a wonderful sail back to Tilos, were we enjoyed a few days of spectacular walks while Sea Cloud was safely tied up in the harbour. Tilos looked quite different on arrival, with lots of Syrian refugees around the harbour, waiting for the bi-weekly ferry to Athens. The most recent arrival was a this small yacht (now impounded) which ferried 44 people across from Turkey in pretty horrendous conditions. Apparently the boat was half full of water on arrival, with many people very unwell. The refugees – who arrive almost weekly, are taken to one of the local monasteries where they are cared for by the local community while they are processed before leaving for Athens.

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The walk from Livadhi to the ruins of the ‘summer capital’.

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Walk from the Chora to the monastery – much longer than advertised on the Tilos walking map!

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Fortunately, spring water was available at the Monastery, necessary before the long (fast), hot, and at times precarious walk back to catch the last bus back to the harbour.

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Our neighbours on either side in the town harbour, a Spanish sole sailor and 3 Israelis were lots of fun. Roy, from Tel Aviv, made us all the best shaksuka for breakfast, while Luis, a professional skipper was a fountain of information about sailing in the Mediterranean and beyond.

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Checkout completed in Rhodes, we headed back to Fethiye bay to meet up with Lissa, and Anne and Michael in Gocek. After the weeks of gales, we (they) were so lucky – calm winds – but enough to sail, warm days for swimming and cool evenings.

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We had a wonderful week, pottering around the bays with a visit to the Imam above Seagull Bay and a dinner at Amigos being highlights.

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We celebrated Anne’s birthday in Eckincik,

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then (motor) sailed to Gerbeske.

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IMG_8333 IMG_8342Back in Netsel, we spent a few frantic days achieving lots – a new bimini frame and quotes for the solar panels and hydrogenerator which will be installed in the spring.Many thanks to Alex and Diana on Enki for their tips on these wonderful tradespeople in Marmaris.

 

We also caught up with some of our EMYR friends –  great to see them again.

Sea Cloud is now back on the hardstand for her last winter in Turkey, and we are on our way to Sydney for yet another summer. Our plans for next year are still a bit vague, but we are definitely heading west maybe to Croatia, Italy who knows…

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