Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Çıplak Adısı

Translates as naked or nude, I guess we should call it Bare Island. Nothing spectacular, but it was nice to anchor somewhere with no other boats after a few weeks of harbours and marina. A shepherd on a donkey brought his sheep down to their shelter for the night, so there was the gentle sound of the lead sheep's bells, and the shepherds encouragements. It was Sabine's first time to hear this, she loved it. There are a few in the photo you probably can't see, but the evening before the shore was crawling with black and white rabbits! Nice big fat ones. So much easier than building hutches, just get and island and let them go free. I suppose they shoot the predators…..
We had our papers checked mid-water by the Turkish coast guard. He asked if I spoke Turkish, I said (roughly translated) "I learned words but grammar there isn't" and he told me my grammar was perfect. Clearly an exaggeration! They couldn't believe we were going all the way to Australia on the boat. One of them spoke to me at length while taking the bow rope, no idea what he said, but the verb 'to wait' was used a lot, and 'tea and coffee' several times also. Perhaps he thinks sailing to Australia involves a long wait and a lot of çay?

Monday, August 30, 2010

the future.....

there has been a request to know where we are going......
Not too sure myself, but tonight we will be under an island close to Ayvalik, not sure which one. Tomorrow it's Bademli. If it's as nice as they say we'll stay a few days. Then to Cesme, then not sure, there are many nice places to go. We have to call at Kusadisi to get mail. Probably head back to Greece soon after that, over towards Crete, then Malta, Tunisia, Spain, Gibralter.


We've been in Ayvalık for 4 days, finally took some photos.....
Today is a big national holiday, so lots of flags, and a cute brass band. Sax player did a gorgeous solo, and the snare was hot. Conductor kissed Anne's hand. Cymbal player is Sabines favourite, he didn't get carried away...
We've spent a lot of time in the maze of cobbled alleys, endless small shops with nearly everything you could need (except for 13mm ferrites...). We ate out last night, we were a bit late, 'yemek biti', but he whipped something up for us anyway, $4 each, nice köfte, salads and long green roasted chilis which Sabine ate with cheerful complaint.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Molivos to Mytilini

A lovely day. Light breeze behind us, we are doing 4 to 5 knots, had to motor the second half. Wonderful scenery, Stratos ancestral home is so beautiful!! Sailing between the East and West is something too. Tomorrow we clear customs and head across to Turkey...

Molivos to Mytilini - Attenborough birds

Hi Phillip!
Look, lots of birds!

Molivos to Mytilini - tuna

We rounded the point and drove straight into a David Attenborough film. Acres of tuna smashing the surface, clearing the water. Lots of birds.
These photos are for Steve and me. We are excited. The rest of you better skip. Steve, zoom in on the left, we caught one out of the water. Didn't catch any on the lines though.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Molivos Karagiosis

Kostantis and Nikos performed Karagiosis shadow puppets under the remnant of the old Turkish minaret. They played music afterwards and we joined in. After that the mayor has said they cannot do the Karagiosis puppet theatre any more, so we hope it wasn't the bagpipes! A small biting animal fell off the roof…
In case you worry, it recovered and went it's own way.
A lovely English couple in the audience were quite excited when we played, asking 'isn't that Xenos???' They had heard us at Womad in Reading many years ago. Nice to be remembered.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


And the anchor dragged again, this time it brought up a fisherman's stone weight on it's tip. Hopefully we will finally stay put. Strong winds, force 7 and 8 for 2 days, so some good gusts coming down from the hills.
We have met up with Laura Shannon and had a great night playing music at the Pharos restaurant. That's me, Laura, Kostantis and Nico. Anne's gajda was a big hit, we are playing again tomorrow in the 'minaret' after Karagiosis.

Wind is really howling now, boats next to us have dragged anchors, but we are still holding with the help of a lot of lines to the quay and to 'Stavros', a big steel trawler. Hope they don't leave!

Mirina to Lesvos

Had planned a few more days at Limnos, but forecast is for increasing winds, so made a dash for Lesvos while it was still pleasant. Force 5, 1-2m seas, crew were not completely enthusiastic about it, but we made excellent time and sailed all the way. Almost. When the wind died out a few miles short of our harbour the motor wouldn't start…. there is an ongoing issue with start battery and charging systems which is still not sorted. So we sailed at half a knot with all nave gear off to rest batteries and just at the last minute managed to fire up the engine. Trials were not over, as we then had to do our first 'meditterranean moor', dropping the anchor in harbour and backing up to the quay. There was almost enough space between two boats so I asked if we could squeeze in. "if there is really nowhere else" so in we went and found ourselves next to an ex ambassador to Australia! and with the anchor still dangling near the bottom. I took a spare anchor out with dinghy rather than try to repeat the miracle of actually backing in between two other yachts, but it dragged the next morning.
Photos are;
leaving Limnos, we got a couple of sunrises as we moved past the hills.
A view of Molivos harbour from the becalmed and motor-less Ellida.
Our haven, between anchor drags.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Lucky Cat and the Chili of Damocles

Ellida came with a Chinese 'lucky cat', who apparently guards the door and has to stay. There is some concern amongst the crew that my lucky chili could be bad luck for the lucky cat.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Limnos castle


Backtracking here, but the captain omitted to tell you about our walk to the castle.

It was in the cool of the evening that we walked around the perimeter of the castle taking in the expansive views of the harbour and beyond. Everything was coated in the golden light of sunset. Goats and deer were roaming on the slopes eating the sage, peppermint and other prickly bushes, keeping them neatly trimmed.
The ruins were not fenced in any way and were quite exposed in places. We came across a deep well in the ground and tunnels that led to other remnant buildings. Some marble slabs with carvings of Islamic scripts had been 're-cycled into steps. Thickets of trees hugged the contours of the hill submitting to the northern winds. Below in the bay waited the Ellida, a tiny red speck.