We’re in Patmos today . We’ve been doing a different island every day. After Simi we stopped in Yiali and in Levitha. Levitha is a very remote island with only a lighthouse keeper and a few fishermen as residents.
Yesterday it was quite windy and the sea state was quite rough and short but the boat handled it really well. Today the sea was flat again with a gentle breeze. We had to say goodbye to our buddy boat yesterday which was really sad as we spent a fantastic two weeks together!
It’s nice to fly the Greek flag after all that time in Turkey. We checked in at Symi. First we had to go to the police office to show our passports and fill in some forms, then to customs for our transit log and then to the port authority. And now we are anchored in a little bay just outside. We all went snorkelling in the turquoise water and look forward to another beautiful evening !
We had a great shakedown sail today! We left Marmaris around midday and sailed for 5 hours and anchored up in a beautiful sheltered bay halfway to Simi. We sailed alongside our friends on their 48 foot cat and we even got to practice our man over board drill when the SUP board was whipped off the foredeck. Now we are in Serce Limani and we had some beautiful fresh fish in the little restaurant in the bay. Life is good!
Ok … quick update since I wrote the last post earlier today. We are allowed to leave the country! Even without this last item of paperwork (and we will just get it delivered somewhere else). We are all set to depart tomorrow morning! Woohoo! How exciting! We are going to stock up the boat today and give it a final good clean. Our friends Yotam and Eden also plan to leave tomorrow morning with their catamaran and we will sail together to Symi, a nearby Greek island which is just a few hours sail away. Can’t wait to go for a sail, anchor somewhere and be on our way!
Yesterday was another successful day. We finally got hold of our blue book. It had been in the country for two weeks but failed to reach us so far. We were told to get it from the ARAS office in Marmaris (the local courier company). But when we enquired, we were told it wasn’t there. We insisted and explained that we had made many phone calls and were told it was definitely in Marmaris. A few more phone calls later and half an hour of waiting and suddenly a guy turned up on a motorbike with our package. What a relief. The “Blue Book” is to the boat what a passport is to us. It is proof that the boat is now registered on the British Ship’s Registry and it is the official document we will need to show in each port when we check-in or out.
We now also have everything working on board. The new mastervolt was installed and switched on yesterday and we now have full power on board. We were using a temporary battery charger that allowed us to use fridge, freezer, 12V outlets and lights. But now, with the mastervolt, we have airconditioning again, we can switch on the icemaker, we can use all the electric plugs, we can hoover and use the washing machine. And we really appreciate all that luxury even more because we didn’t have it for a few weeks!
So the boat is ready to go and so are we. Unfortunately we are still waiting for one more item of paperwork. Without it we can’t take the boat out of Turkey. We had hoped it would arrive today but it is not here and everything in Turkey is shutting down for 4 days due to a religious holiday. It means we have to wait until Thursday or Friday.
We are planning to explore the Turkish coastline for a few days and then sail back to Marmaris at the end of the week to pick up our package and then we should finally be able to leave the country!
Daily evening SUP around the marina
We finally got hold of our post
Yesterday was a pretty successful day. We have the new Mastervolt! Seathan lugged the 30 kgs in his backpack around Rhodes and smuggled it safely into Turkey. We can now fit it and have our power and energy management system back!
It also was a great day out. For the first time since leaving London we had to set our alarm clock to catch the 9am ferry. Whilst queuing to buy tickets and then again to get the boarding card and then a third time to check-in, the management consultant in me thought about process improvement and re-engineering. However, I quickly let go of those thoughts to enjoy the day! We arrived in Rhodes and I realised I had been there before, 20 years or so ago when I went island hopping across the Greek isles. Rhodes truly is an magnificent and beautiful ancient city. We took a taxi to the industrial side of town to pick up our Mastervolt and then went off to another specialized shop to buy a new VHF radio. We had a delicious lunch in a little taverna just outside the city centre. After that we joined the hordes of tourists to admire the old town and a few hours later headed back to Marmaris. Our friends Yotam and Eden picked us up in their superfast dingy and Tyrii drove us home! Now onto chasing our missing paperwork!
We are still in Marmaris. We have been here for one month now … The days just pass and we make the most of our time by fixing and cleaning the boat, doing some school work, practicing our swimming technique in the pool, SUP-ing around the boat and going for dinghy rides. Yesterday we had an “ipad-free” day. We limit the kids’ ipad time every day but it was nice to have a completely “screen-free” day. We played chess, read books and the boys dressed up as ninjas and ran around the boat. In the afternoon we were lazing around on the trampolines on the foredeck under the sunshade when suddenly the weather changed and we could see thunderstorms over the hills. The wind turned direction and a few minutes later it started raining. It was the first rain since we have been here and we got very excited! It only rained for 5 minutes and then everything went quiet again. The flat and calm sea state was the perfect opportunity to take the dinghy into town. It took us 5 mins by dinghy to get to Marmaris versus 25 mins on the bus! We parked right in the centre of the old town on the quay and wandered around, had some dinner and then raced back.
Tyrii took the picture below as the sky looked amazing last night and he asked to put it on the blog …
The paperwork still hasn’t reached us. It was sent with DHL from the BVIs on the 11th of July and arrived in Istanbul on the 14th. That’s when the tracking stops. Apparently courier packages are then handed over to a local courier company and it can take weeks to arrive. Some friends told us they waited 6 weeks for a credit card that was sent with DHL courier. We just rang the local courier company with some help from the people in the marina office and it seems it has been sent to Marmaris and then back to Istanbul. Hopefully it should be back on its way here now. We keep our fingers crossed and hope it gets here quickly. We are not allowed to leave the marina without this paperwork so we really are stuck! Our experience with the Turkish postal system hasn’t been great but I have to add that in general we have been very impressed with the Turkish culture and people. Everyone is very friendly, service is great everywhere and there is a strong work ethic.
We are very keen to leave by the end of this week. As long as our paperwork gets here in the next few days that should be possible. The big news this morning was that the Mastervolt has arrived in Rhodes! Woohoo! We will take the ferry to Rhodes tomorrow morning to go and pick it up and meanwhile do some sightseeing in Rhodes.
Today we need to start making shopping lists as we want to get enough food onboard for 30 days. There will be plenty of opportunity along the way to buy more food but it might not be as easy as it is here in the marina to get stuff loaded onto the boat. We plan to anchor as much as possible to avoid marina fees and also because it is much nicer! We will also get our laundry done before we go, there is a great service here in the marina. You drop it off in the morning and it is returned all clean, dry and folded by the evening. Not worth switching our washing machine on for!
Our delay in Marmaris means that we don’t have as much time as we would have liked to cruise the Med. We won’t be able to make too many detours and will need to get some miles under our belt to get to the Canary Island in time for crossing the Atlantic. The best time to cross is late November/early December and we would like to reach Gibraltar by early November. But we still have plenty of time and it will be so nice to finally get out there and sail! We plan to cross the Aegean Sea stopping off at several Greek islands. We’ve already had some good tips from some friends on where to stop off. We want to sail through the Corinth Canal (near Athens) and then across the Ionian to Italy, passing along Messina towards Sardinia and Corsica. It will then all depend on the weather whether we follow the coastline or cross straight over to the Balearics, Spain and Gibraltar.
Finally, it is our national holiday in Belgium today, so happy 21st of July to everyone there!
We had our first visitors on board! Dan, Naz and Lara are our ski buddies we usually hang out with on the slopes in Les Coches, France. They are holidaying in Turkey and came to see us for a few days. They arrived on Sunday and stayed for two nights in a lovely boutique hotel across from the Marina. They invited us over for a luxurious Turkish breakfast on Monday morning and we lounged by the pool for a few hours. Not bad for a Monday! Last night they stayed on board, we had a lovely dinner, enjoying a beautiful sunset and then brought out the guitars after dinner. It was a great evening and we were sad to say goodbye this morning! Naz is Turkish and introduced us to delicious local cheeses and other produce as well as Raki, an anise-flavoured drink.
We also said goodbye to our Australian friends who set sail to Bodrum early this morning. The boys will miss their playmates!
Meanwhile, work continues on the boat. We had engineers work on the engines all day yesterday and again today. We originally planned to replace the engines but they are still in good condition which is why we decided to service them instead. We also had the Raymarine guys onboard to upgrade all the aerials for the GPS and to check our VHF radio which needs to be replaced.
No news yet about the Mastervolt. It seems to be taking an awfully long time to get from Amsterdam to Rhodes. And the paperwork is yet to arrive too. Fingers crossed it all gets here soon!
PS I added a little video tour of our boat (under Vimeo Videos in menu bar)
Though we are still itching to get going, we are making the most of marina life. It’s a great opportunity to do some maintenance to the boat and some necessary upgrades. And the paperwork is finally on its way! We are also getting into a daily routine. We all wake up around 9 am, have some breakfast and then do some school work. After lunch we take a siesta or catch up with our friends on the other catamaran. They are off in a couple of days so the boys will definitely miss their playmates. We like to go swimming in the pool late afternoon and then make the most of our evenings which are so lovely and mild. The boys can stay up later than they usually would at home. Aeneas was a bit sick yesterday with a tummy bug but slept it off and is back in top form today. It got very windy last night and we are on an outside berth so requested to move to a quieter spot. Good practice for our mooring skills!
Today was a busy day, lots of things happened! The new name is finally on, so tonight we will do a small re-naming ceremony. We also had some mechanics come on board to look at the engines and the situation is not that bad, the engines just need a good servicing, the old diesel needs to come out, the tanks need to be washed out and a few bits need replacing. We need to make sure they are in top condition before we set off. Our two day sail was a great way to discover these little problems. After all the boat had been sitting on the hard for a while so it was to be expected! Finally we also had the new sunshades installed this morning and they look amazing!
I know I keep going on about how hot it is here and meanwhile in Belgium there have been massive downpours of rain but we were very happy to experience a cloudy day today after three weeks of non-stop sunshine!