Hauling out in Carloforte

Giuseppe Sifredi runs the crane at the Sifredi Boatyard

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In our last posting, we were still uncertain about our visa status in Italy because we had been asked for a new form proving that we are officially residents of Carloforte.  As far as Carloforte is concerned, if you live on a boat in the marina you are not a “resident.”  So it was impossible for us to provide the required form. That has all been resolved thanks to a friend who “knows a guy” and made a telephone call on our behalf and explained our situation.  After 3 weeks we received a message from the Questura (immigration police) asking us to return to Cagliari.  There we were presented with cards granting us two years of elective residence in Italy.

Also, in our last blog posting, we had been waiting for Sabbatical III to get hauled and have her bottom painted.  Our time finally arrived and on Thursday, May 25 we made our way to the Sifredi boatyard to get hauled.  We knew exactly what was required of us for the haul because the week before we were on hand to watch Serafine, an identical boat to ours (an Amel Super Maramu) get hauled.  There is very little water depth and room in the place of our haul.  Giuseppe Sifredi had me steer a slow zig-zag course in the unmarked “channel” and turn sideways with a very strong dose of the bowthruster, with a dock at my stern and a power boat just a few feet off my bow.  The depth sounder showed that we were touching bottom.  The backstay of the main mast was slacked and the crane leaned over and Giuseppe and his assistants attached four large shackles to the chain plates of Sabbatical III.  Boatyard workers held on with lines to keep the boat from swaying uncontrollably in the wind as Aldo Sifredi, Guiseppe’s father, slowly lifted Sabbatical III out of the water with a 90 metric ton crane and then turned and squeezed her into a small space next to the work shed.

Squeezed in and touching bottom, Sabbatical III waits to be hauled

Giuseppe Sifredi and worker prepare the boat

Out of the water

Guiding her down

Marine growth

Prop is covered with growth

Laura and Julia (of Serafine) watch the action

The bottom was covered in marine growth as was the prop. Plus there was a gash in the keel from my unfortunate interaction with an underwater and unmarked rock off of Lavezzi Island, Corsica last fall. The boatyard workers went right to work scraping the bottom and then power washing. Laura and I were able to sleep on the boat which had great views towards both the straits separating Carloforte from Sardinia (looking forward) and the salt pond (saline) looking aft. There is also a nice bathroom with shower in the yard so we were reasonably comfortable.

View across the salt pond to the Sifredi Boatyard with its crane holding Sabbatical III

The next day they started painting the hull with the Joton Nonstop ablative paint that I had ordered. I had a worrisome repair task that I had just became aware of the week before. I had checked the rudder stock and quadrant as I always do every Spring but this time I found evidence that sea water was coming up the rudder packing into the aft section of the boat and had made the steel quadrant rusty. The quadrant turns the rudder in response to turning the wheel. The rudder compartment was dry when I looked but water must have been pushed up past the rudder packing while sailing in large seas in the previous season. Hajo (Hans Joachim) of Serafine came over to help and together we set to work on the rudder. We needed to get the quadrant off of the rudder but it was rusted in place. We were able to borrow a mechanical puller and even with generous applications of PBBlaster, it took a lot of force to finally get the quadrant off of the rudder post. After wire brushing and painting, it looks like new. Instead of replacing the packing, we just tightened the packing nut that compresses it. So far no more water has entered, even after we had an extremely rough sail 10 days ago. (More on that in a subsequent blog post).

The famous headless flamingos of Carloforte

View across the salt pond to the town of Carloforte

Salt pond, Carloforte

Besides the usual maintenance tasks that need to be done when the boat is out of the water, we also needed to get our old washing machine off of the boat and the new one we had purchased (from Amazon Italy) on the boat. This is not that easy a task. Fortunately, once we were back in the water on Tuesday, May 30, the boatyard used their 90 metric ton crane to do the swap. When I went to install the new washer, I was a bit annoyed that it was a tiny bit wider and taller than the dimensions that were advertised. It has to fit into a beautiful teak cabinet and it was one-half inch too deep and one-half inch too tall. I broke off a plastic protrusion at the rear and cut a small slat inside the cabinet to deal with the extra width, and then reset the top lid of the teak cabinet so that it just fit.

What a difference a paint job makes.  The boatyard did a great job.

New washing machine is lifted aboard

Our friends Hajo and Julia on Serafine were waiting five weeks for their new dinghy to arrive, and we were waiting for our bottom paint job and for some replacement items to arrive from SVB in Germany (a new liferaft, autopilot motor, and assorted other parts). One thing we could not get was propane for our stove. It was impossible to get our American gas bottles refilled. Italy is the first place where this has been an issue. I bought a little two-burner electric cooking top, but that is only good in a marina where there is shore power. We enjoyed walking around charming Carloforte and dining with Hajo and Julia numerous times. Serafine’s dinghy and our liferaft and autopilot arrived on the same day, and two days later we both left Carloforte for the sailing season. They were heading for Corsica and we for mainland Italy. More on that in the next blog post.

M.

Giuseppe Sifredi in front of the Sifredi Marina office

Left to right: Hajo (Serafine), Giuseppe, Julia (Serafine), Laura, Carmela (much loved marina office manager), Mark

Finally some video:

Above:  Getting Hauled

Below:  Old clothes washer is lifted off Sabbatical III

 

 

Return to Sardinia

View of Sabbatical III tied to the seawall in Carloforte

At the end of April we returned to Sabbatical III berthed safely in the Marine Sifredi in Carloforte.  Our 250 pounds of baggage also made the journey safely.  We have been busy getting the boat ready for another sailing season.  The first order of business was a trip to the Sardinian capital of Cagliari to meet with the Immigration Police (Questura) to finalize our application for a visa renewal.  We had received a registered letter with a list of all of the documentation that we were required to bring, and we made sure that we had it all in quadruplicate.  Things seemed to go well until the Immigration official asked for another document that we had never heard of.  We showed him our letter with the list of documents and he said that there was a new document required and we had ten days to get it.  Turns out it is not so easy to get this document when one lives on a boat and not in a house or flat.  After a few days of trying to work this out, we came to believe that we would not get our visa renewed.  We then had a friend make some phone calls to explain our situation and our prospects now look reasonably good but not certain.  But we cannot make plans until this gets resolved.

When the mistral did not blow too hard, we walked to the end of the seawall to watch the ferry come and go.

The second major task is to get Sabbatical III hauled out and have anti-fouling paint applied to her hull, plus perform some maintenance to the bottom of the boat.  The small boatyard associated with the marina is well behind schedule hauling and painting boats, in part due to the high frequency of days with mistral winds.  The mistral is a strong, cold, northwesterly wind that blows from southern France into the northern Mediterranean and on to Sardinia, with sustained winds often exceeding 66 km/h (41 mph), sometimes reaching 185 km/h (115 mph).  It is most common in the winter and spring, and strongest in the transition between the two seasons.

The Delcomar ferry from Portovesme, Sardinia makes its way to Carloforte

Navigational aid at the end of the seawall, Carloforte

Sabbatical III tied to the seawall with her newly purchased anchor chain waiting to be installed (Thanks Francesco!)

Marine Sifredi with the fishing harbor in the background on the other side of the seawall

New anchor chain from France

Looking down the length of the starboard seawall towards Marine Sifredi and the town of Carloforte

Since we are waiting to hear about the visa and our haul date, we took some time out to tour the interior of the “mainland” of Sardinia.  We already know the  Sardinian coast fairly well from our two sailing circumnavigations last year.  But we had never seen the interior except for the road from the Carloforte ferry port of Portovesme to the capital city of Cagliari, which is a fairly unattractive part of the island.  We just returned from our six day excursion yesterday and can only say that inland Sardinia is spectacularly beautiful.

Carloforte

The first evening of our excursion we attended a perfomance of “Lucia di Lammermoor” at the Lyric Opera of Cagliari.  We sat in the first row for a fine performance by the resident company. We then spent the night at a B&B in Cagliari.  In the morning we went to the airport to pick up a rental car and drove through beautiful countryside to the Agriturismo Il Ginepro.  An agriturismo is a working farm that accommodates guests and provides breakfast and supper made from local products and wines.  In the afternoon, we walked in the hills above the farmstead and then drove to the coast about 15 minutes away to walk on the beach.  An African dust storm obscured the view and the hoped for sunset. The supper was fantastic.

Spring flowers near Il Ginepro

Spring flowers near Il Ginepro

The Agriturismo Il Ginepro

Laura at Il Ginepro

View towards the ocean at Il Ginepro

Flower garden at Il Ginepro

Field of wild flowers near Il Ginepro

From Il Ginepro, we drove to the northcentral mountains of Sardinia.  We stayed one night at a B&B in Sorgono (“Cuccumiao” run by a lovely young woman named Paola) where we happened upon a beautiful winery (“Su Binariu”) on a small country road.  The two men working there were excited that two American had come through the gate and asked that we return the next morning when the winemaster/owner was there.  So we did.  We sampled some wine and bought two bottles.

Country road near Sorgono

The Su Binariu vineyard near Sorgono

The Su Binariu winery near Sorgono

From Sorgono we went to an agriturismo near Tonara and then to an agriturismo near Belvi. The latter provided fine hikes and excellent meals and wine.

Walking path in the valley beneath Belvi, Sardinia

Walking path in the valley beneath Belvi, Sardinia

Horse in paddock along the walking path in the valley beneath Belvi, Sardinia

M.

 

 

 

End of the season in Carloforte

Fishing boat returns to port (Carloforte). Sardinia is in the background.

In all past years, the end of season blog contains a photo of Sabbatical III in the slings of a “Travellift” as she is being placed on a hardstand ashore for her winter rest.  Not this year.  Sabbatical III will spend the winter season in the water as there is no boat storage ashore in Carloforte.  It is a first for us.

We spent the last days of October and early November doing boat maintenance and getting her prepared for storage afloat.  Since easterly storms can bring sizable swells into the Marine Sifredi, we added large stainless steel springs to the two aft lines that hold the boat to the breakwater.  On one end, these springs are connected to lengths of chain that go around large bollards ashore.  On the other end, we have new lines with steel eye thimbles that connect to the springs with large shackles.  In case a spring should break, a length of chain is shackled from the eye thimble to the chain around the bollard.  This way the boat floats somewhat freely and does take the full impact of shock loads from rough seas that would otherwise occur if she were tied tightly to shore.

Laura poses with David of the Napitia gelato shop on the last day of the season

After November 1, the ferry schedule to Carloforte was drastically reduced as were the the number of daytripper tourists to Carloforte.  Most restaurants closed down and by early November not a single gelato shop was in operation.  The last to close was our favorite place Napitia, just across the street from the marina.

In early November the whole island came out for a free concert by Gianni Morandi who has been a famous pop singer, actor, and TV personality in Italy for fifty years.  A film crew spent some weeks in Carloforte making a movie staring Gianni Morandi and using townfolk as extras, and the concert was Morandi’s way of saying thank you.  He performed on a stage set up on the waterfront and the crowd loved it.

In the first week of November, we took a respite from our labors and hopped a super cheap flight from Cagliari to Barcelona where we stayed in a comfortable hostel.  We loved the city.  We walked miles through its beautiful streets taking in the sites, people watching, and tasting Catalan cuisine.

Inside Sagrada Família (Barcelona)

Outside Sagrada Família (Barcelona). The face is that of Gaudi the architect.

Sagrada Família (Barcelona)

Sagrada Família (Barcelona)

Large numbers of Chinese tourists visit Barcelona and Sagrada Família

We were particularly taken with Gaudi’s yet unfinished masterpiece, the Sagrada Família cathedral (above) and the Casa Batlló.

Casa Batlló, modernist house designed by Gaudi

Casa Batlló, modernist house designed by Gaudi

Churros with hot chocolate and cream (Barcelona)

On a rainy day, we took the train to Girona where a thriving Jewish community distinguished by its Kabbalah scholars existed prior to the Inquisition.

Memorial to Ramban (Rabbi Moses ben Nahman) in Girona, Spain

Laura poses in the old Jewish Ghetto of Girona

The cathedral in Girona is directly adjacent to the old Jewish Ghetto

On our way back to the US, we spent two and one-half days in the lake country north of Milan.  We stayed at a small hotel on the Sacred Mountain of Varese overlooking Lake Varese in the Campo dei Fiori National Park.  It was on an impossibly steep and narrow road but well worth the effort.  From there we drove to the Malpensa Airport for a flight to Miami.

While home, we will organize our best photos and video for our web site.  We will post when that task in complete.

M.

View from near our hotel on the Sacred Mountain of Varese, Italy

View towards the Sacred Mountain of Varese, Italy

Return from Corsica: Alghero and Bosa, Sardinia

View of the river city of Bosa (Sardinia) as we come up the River Temo in our dinghy. The Malaspina Castle overlooks the city.

View of the river city of Bosa (Sardinia) as we come up the River Temo in our dinghy. The Malaspina Castle overlooks the city.

After a night at Lavezzi Island on the French side of Bonifacio Strait,  we crossed the Strait to the “La Colba” anchorage on the south side of Capo Testa, Sardinia on September 27th.  Overnight the winds shifted to easterlies and built during the next day to 25 + knots.  We did not leave La Colba especially early since we knew that with this wind we would have little trouble arriving at our anchorage on the northeast side of the Fornelli passage, at the far northwest tip of Sardinia, before sunset.   As we neared the Fornelli Passage we were concerned by how the seas had built up and were funneling into the Passage.  As we approached our primary and secondary anchorage locations, we could see that they were untenable in these seas but that there was still plenty of light to navigate the Fornelli Passage itself and look for a place to anchor behind Isola Piana on its more protected western side.  Unfortunately, there was nothing but rocks on the western side of Isola Piano and there were breaking waves to its south.  There was still plenty of daylight left so we turned the corner and headed south along the wild west coast of Sardinia to look for a place to anchor for the night.  Our pilot book did not list an anchorage closer than Porto Conte which, at 30 miles away, was and too far to sail to before dark even in the great winds we were experiencing.

A quick study of the charts and a Google search suggested that Cala Santa Nicola, about 15 miles away, would likely provide protection from the strong north-easterlies, although there was some doubt about the suitability of the sea bottom to hold an anchor.  The small bay was almost uncharted and supposedly had a dangerous rock in the middle, so we inched our way along the northern shore.  We had to come in fairly close to get protection from the swell but Laura could only see a solid rock bottom from her perch at the bow.  We dropped anchor anyway and sure enough, it was a solid rock bottom.  The anchor just skittered along the bottom, having nothing to grab onto.  We tried again even closer to the sandy beach and had the same result.  There was nothing to do but head to Porto Conte.  We had lost 45 minutes with our deviation to Cala Santa Nicola and even though we could sail 7.5 – 8.5 knots in the strong north-easterlies, it would be dark by the time we arrived at Porto Conte.

We almost never arrive at an anchorage in the dark.  In this part of the world, one really needs to see the bottom.  If you drop in sea grass, you may think your anchor is holding but it probably won’t, especially in strong and shifting wind.  We had been to Porto Conte in July and had to spend some time looking around for a patch of sand in Calla del Bollo at the southern end of the bay.  Based upon that experience, we definitely did not want to anchor in the same place in the dark.   Some months before, Michael and Britta of “Vera” had supplied us with a waypoint for a place to anchor in Cala Torre del Conte, in the northwest corner of this large bay.  We decided to head for that waypoint.  We arrived in total darkness and blindly dropped anchor.  The anchor seemed to hold and we settled in for a late supper and sleep.  It had been a long day and our passage was twice as long as what he had planned. The next morning Laura went for a swim with snorkel and goggles and found that our anchor was in the only patch of sand in a bottom of sea grass.

Later that morning (September 29), we sailed over to Marina di Sant Elmo in the city of Alghero.  We had stayed in this marina for two nights in July and found it comfortable and had really enjoyed walking around Alghero.  This time we spent five days in Alghero and enjoyed this old Spanish walled city as much as we had in July.  The weather was fine as we walked in the narrow streets and along the city walls and found some great restaurants.  The tourist crowd was gone and we did not need reservations to eat anywhere we wished.  We also found a marine canvas guy who fixed our damaged bimini.

The walled city of Alghero (Sardinia) as seen from the sea

The walled city of Alghero (Sardinia) as seen from the sea

View of Villa Las Tronas and Alghero

View of Villa Las Tronas and Alghero

We left Alghero on October 4 and sailed south to the mouth of the River Temo and anchored behind a new breakwater built to make the entrance to the only navigatable river in Sardinia safe from breaking seas.  A bit more than 2 kilometers up the river is the charming town of Bosa.  We took the dinghy up the river and tied up at at open spot next to a fishing boat on the quai on the river.  We were confident that this spot was vacant since its previous inhabitant was clearly visible, sunken on the river bottom below us and still tied to a bollard.

Our dinghy tied up to the quai in the river town of Bosa

Our dinghy tied up to the quai in the river town of Bosa

Buildings in Bosa are in lively colors, often have wrought iron balconies, and decorated entrances.

Buildings in Bosa are in lively colors, often have wrought iron balconies, and decorated entrances. These are the grander buildings along the riverfront.

We peered into a door in an alley in BOsa and found this guy stirring the wine vats

We peered into a door in an alley in Bosa and found this guy stirring the wine vats

Sabbatical III at anchor in mouth of the River Temo

Sabbatical III at anchor in the mouth of the River Temo

"Sand crab" on the beach near Bosa

“Sand crab” on the beach near Bosa

We loved our meal at this locanda on a cute little piazza in Bosa

We loved our meal at this locanda on a cute little piazza in Bosa

The street leading to the locanda in Bosa

The street leading to the locanda in Bosa

Decorated entrance to a house in Bosa

Decorated entrance to a house in Bosa

Decorated entrance to a house in Bosa

Decorated entrance to a house in Bosa

Decorated entrance to a house in Bosa

Decorated entrance to a house in Bosa

Decorated entrance to a house in Bosa

Decorated entrance to a house in Bosa

Lintel for this house says 1580 (Bosa)

Lintel for this house says 1580 (Bosa)

View of Bosa from the path up to Malaspina Castle (Bosa)

View of Bosa

Bosa from Malaspina Castle

Bosa from Malaspina Castle

Bosa from Malaspina Castle

Bosa from Malaspina Castle

Homes in Bosa purposely have gaps in the exterior stucco in order to reveal the original stone work

Many homes in Bosa purposely have gaps in the exterior stucco in order to reveal the original stone work

We spent five days in Bosa before sailing 29 nautical miles south to Oristano where we picked up a mooring in front of the ruins of the ancient city of Tharros on the Sinis peninsula.  Tharros was established by the Nuragic people of Sardinia in the Bronze Age and became an important Phoenician outpost in the 8th century BC.  It subsequently became a Punic (Carthage) city and a Roman city before being abandoned in the face of Saracen attacks in the early Christian period.

Ancient city of Tharros (Sabbatical III in background)

Ancient city of Tharros (Sabbatical III in background)

Ancient city of Tharros (Sabbatical III in background)

Ancient city of Tharros (Sabbatical III in background)

After one day in Oristano, on October 10 we sailed 45 nautical miles to Carloforte in ugly seas with large, steep waves from the northwest. We are still in Carloforte enjoying this town even more now that most of the tourists are gone.  We are spending a few hours every day doing the boat maintenance and repair required after a long sailing season that began in southern Turkey.

M.

Corsica: Santa’Manza, Bonifacio, and Lavezzi

View of the citadel at Bonifacio, Corsica (France)

View of the citadel at Bonifacio, Corsica (France)

We left Porto Vecchio, Corsica on September 19th and sailed south along the east coast before anchoring in the Golfe di Rondinara, a popular and very pretty and protected bay about 15 sailing miles away.  It was a beautiful sunny day with lots of wind.  Rondinara has lots of sea grass so there was not much room to drop anchor in sand, and even the sand that was available is thin and offers poor holding.  In the hours after we anchored, many other boats squeezed into the bay, often getting too close to boats that were already at anchor.  That made me nervous, particularly since a charter boat whacked Sabbatical III in Porto Pino by anchoring too close just one week before.  As it were, a large power yacht in front of us hit another power yacht while both were at anchor and swinging in the wind and they got entangled, leading to a lot of shouting and rushed activity.  As the offending yacht re-anchored alongside Sabbatical III, I stood on deck with my hands on my hips and stared at him just to let him know of my concerns.  Hopefully, my actions persuaded him to stay a few meters further from me than he otherwise would have.  Nonetheless, the crowd made us nervous all night and we left first thing in the morning.

I checked the charts looking for someplace less popular with lots of space even if it was not as well protected.  The large bay at Santa’Manza fit the bill perfectly.  It was wide open to the northeast quadrant but there was only one other vessel at anchor when we arrived, and he soon left, and we could tell that as long as we paid attention to wind direction and were willing to put up with some swell from the strong wind, we could anchor in peace and security.  Ashore, there was a beach bar that was only open on the weekend, and the small hamlet of Santa’Manza – so small that it lacked basics such as a bakery or any type of store, and bus service.  However, the small Hotel du Golfe was open along with the hotel restaurant.  What a gem it turned out to be.  We ate at the hotel restaurant every day and in the late afternoon sat on their patio overlooking the bay and drank Pastis while using their WiFi.  There was a beautiful walk along the north side of the bay with small sandy beaches interspersed with rocky shore.

The bay at Santa’Manza in southeastern Corsica where we anchored for five days

The bay at Santa’Manza in southeastern Corsica where we anchored for five days

View of the citadel at Bonifacio, Corsica (France)

View of the citadel at Bonifacio, Corsica (France)

Our plan was to spend a couple of nights in Santa’Manza, waiting for the wind to settle down, and then sail around to the famous city of Bonifacio, set on the white chalk cliffs of the Bonifacio Strait, where we would have to stay in a pricey marina.  As we walked along the bay after lunch at the Hotel du Golfe on our first day, our waiter, Silvio, drove by and asked if we needed a ride.  He was going to Bonifacio.  So we hopped into his car and 15 minutes later we at the citadel of Bonifacio, a high promontory overlooking the Straits.  It is such an impressive place.  A walled city dating to the 9th century sitting on a narrow peninsular high over the Mediterranean. There is a very narrow fjord that cuts through sheer chalk cliffs and into the small port. While there we noticed that the marina was full, probably because boats were waiting for the wind to calm before heading out into the Bonafacio Strait, considered the windiest place in the Mediterranean.  Both Silvio and the proprietress of the Hotel du Golfe said that if we wanted a ride to Bonifacio from Santa’Manza on another day, we should just stand on the side of the road with our thumb out and a local would take us.  It was true.  Because of that we kept the boat at anchor in quiet Santa’Manza and hitched into Bonaficio.  There were only a few hours of uncomfortable roll at anchor during the five days we were there.

View of the cliffs east of Bonifacio at the southern tip of Corsica

View of the cliffs east of Bonifacio at the southern tip of Corsica

The chalk cliffs at Bonifacio are not made of the most solid stuff

The chalk cliffs at Bonifacio are not made of the most solid stuff

View of the cliffs east of Bonifacio at the southern tip of Corsica

View of the cliffs east of Bonifacio at the southern tip of Corsica

We hiked a beautiful trail that runs on the edge of the cliffs east of Bonafacio

We hiked a beautiful trail that runs on the edge of the cliffs east of Bonafacio

Every restaurant in Bonifacio offers the dish for which this place is famous – moules frites (mussels steamed in garlic and spices, served with fries)

Every restaurant in Bonifacio offers the dish for which this place is famous – moules frites (mussels steamed in garlic and spices, served with fries)

Corsica’s most famous son, Napoleon Bonaparte, spent part of this early military career in Bonifacio

Corsica’s most famous son, Napoleon Bonaparte, spent part of this early military career in Bonifacio

The wind calmed to nearly nothing so we decided to visit the uninhabited French island of Lavezzi  in the Bonifacio Strait, the southernmost part of Metropolitan France, on our way back to Sardinia.  It is a very pretty place but hard to enter and leave without local knowledge.  After a night at Lavezzi, we crossed the Bonifacio Strait to the “La Colba” anchorage on the south side of Capo Testa, Sardinia.  We will describe more of our trip back from Corsica in our next blog entry.

M.

The anchorage at Lavezzi Island was small and strewn with rocks above and below the water and is mostly uncharted. We grabbed the mooring of a tour boat just as they left for the day.

The anchorage at Lavezzi Island was small and strewn with rocks above and below the water and is mostly uncharted. We grabbed the mooring of a tour boat just as they left for the day.

Lavezzi Island is uninhabited. We came ashore in the dinghy and walked around.

Lavezzi Island is uninhabited. We came ashore in the dinghy and walked around.

Lavezzi is famous in France as the site of one of its greatest naval disasters. The frigate Sémillante, heading for the Crimean War in 1855 with almost 700 on board, was lost with all hands when caught in a storm and driven into the rocks. A cemetery was created on the island for the bodies and a pyramid of boulders was constructed as a remembrance. This cross on one side of the cemetery is constructed from the ships timbers. Only the Chaplain and Captain have marked graves.

Lavezzi is famous in France as the site of one of its greatest naval disasters. The frigate Sémillante, heading for the Crimean War in 1855 with almost 700 on board, was lost with all hands when caught in a storm and driven into the rocks. A cemetery was created on the island for the bodies and a pyramid of boulders was constructed as a remembrance. This cross on one side of the cemetery is constructed from the ships timbers. Only the Chaplain and Captain have marked graves.

Grave of the Chaplain of the Sémillante.

Grave of the Chaplain of the Sémillante.

Boulders at Cala Giunco, Lavezzi Island.

Boulders at Cala Giunco, Lavezzi Island.

Lighthouse of Lavezzi Island warns vessels away from its dangerous rocky shore. It did not do me any good. As we departed, I hit an uncharted underwater rock at slow speed that put a small dent in my keel.

Lighthouse of Lavezzi Island warns vessels away from its dangerous rocky shore. It did not do me any good. As we departed, I hit an uncharted underwater rock at slow speed that put a small dent in my keel.

Passage to Porto Vecchio, Corsica

Laura poses with wine grapes on the path above Cala dei Franesi, Sardinia

Laura poses with wine grapes on the path above Cala dei Francesi, Sardinia

We left Porto Pino, Sardinia on September 11, heading for Porto Vecchio, Corsica.  On the way we stopped for one night each at Malfitano, Capo Carbonara, and Arbatax.  We then sailed overnight from Arbatax to Porto Novo, Corsica arriving early on the morning of 15 September.  We spent the night at this quiet anchorage before heading into the marina at Porto Vecchio the next morning. Porto Vecchio is a cute town on a hill at the end of a long fjord-like bay that funnels the wind like crazy.  The marina leaves much to be desired but when it is blowing over 30 knots consistently, it good to be able to get off the boat and walk around and sample French and Corsican cuisine.

We had dolphins visit Sabbatical III about 20 miles north of Arbatax.  Here is a short video of their visit:

M.

Sunset over the Golfo di Palma and Sant'Antioco Island, Sardinia

Sunset over the Golfo di Palmas and Sant’Antioco Island, Sardinia

Men pose for a friend, Cala dei Francesi, Sardinia

Men pose for a friend, Cala dei Francesi, Sardinia

Mussel men, Cala dei Francesi, Sardinia

Mussel men, Cala dei Francesi, Sardinia

Sailing with a dog, Porto Pino, Sardinia

Sailing with a dog, Porto Pino, Sardinia

Wine grapes, Sardinia

Wine grapes, Sardinia

Sunset at the Arbatax Marina

Sunset at the Arbatax Marina

Ail (garlic) Violet, Porto Vecchio

Ail (garlic) Violet, Porto Vecchio, Corsica

Porto Pino

Sabbatical III lies at anchor in Porto Pino, Sardinia

Sabbatical III lies at anchor in Porto Pino, Sardinia

We left Carloforte on August 29th with the intent of stopping in Porto Pino, our favorite nearby anchorage, on the way to Corsica.  Nine days later, we are still in Porto Pino.  One reason is that we cannot seem to find a forecast that will permit us to sail (as opposed to motor) to Corsica, which is about 190 nautical miles north from Porto Pino.  The second reason is that we really like Port Pino so we are happy to hang around here.  The water is crystal clear and the bottom is white sand.  There are at least three good walks:  i) a two mile long sand beach, ii) meandering paths in the pine forest overlooking rocky coves (watch out for the big snakes though), and iii) a dirt road along the western edge of the“saline” (salt pond) where we sample the sweet wine grapes hanging from the vineyards that come down almost to the waters’ edge.  There is also a restaurant that we love, Blue Marlin, located on the narrow channel from the sea to the “saline”, with simply prepared and inexpensive Sardinian food, good music, and friendly service.   There is an Italian deli/bakery with fresh bread, almond cookies, and cured meats, a butcher shop, a small grocery store with the essentials, and a gastronomia with roasted chicken to take-out.  This is pretty much all that we need with one notable exception – there is no decent artiginale gelato.  One place cannot have it all.  We even have a place to dock the dinghy well up the channel (info provided by “Vera”).

Laura on the beach, Porto Pino

Laura on the beach, Porto Pino

Water under the boat,. Laura swims before breakfast every morning.

Water under the boat,. Laura swims before breakfast every morning.

Blue Marlin restaurant

Blue Marlin restaurant

View from the pine forest path in the peninsula that defines the bay on the west.

View from the pine forest path in the peninsula that defines the bay on the west (Candiani).

Pine resin runs from trees in Porto Pino

Pine resin runs from trees in Porto Pino

Channel that connects the "saline" to the sea, Porto Pino

Channel that connects the “saline” to the sea, Porto Pino

Tomorrow we will rent a car for the day and drive to Cagliari and visit the Immigation Police once more and this time we think we will actually get our Italian residency cards.  We will see.  We will remain anchored in Porto Pino for at least a few more days before heading for Villasimius (for a few days) and then overnight sail to Corsica if weather permits.

Mark

Circumnavigation of Sardinia

View from Arbatax Marina

View from Arbatax Marina

In our previous blog posting, we described the first part of our circumnavigation of the island of Sardinia.  We left off on July 1 when we had just arrived on the west side of Cape Carbonara, 20 nautical miles east-southeast of Calgiari.  We only had only one evening at this anchorage.  The wind shifted to westerlies the next day and we, along with “Vera”, moved to Porto Giunco on the east side of the Cape.  After two nights, the wind shifted again and we moved back to the west side of the Cape.  We took the dinghy into the small marina and walked a couple of miles to the town of Villasimius for lunch.  It is an attractive and modern town that attracts tourists probably because of its proximity to the beautiful beaches on both sides of Cape Carbonara.  There is a nice Nonna Isa supermarket and an excellent butcher in town and, although we were still well provisioned after our recent stay in Calgiari, we topped up with fruits, veggies, and meat anyway.

The next day (July 5), we sailed north to the small cove known as Sa Figu on the north side of Cape Ferrato.  When we anchored there was an annoying roll caused by a swell from the east.  We hoped that the swell would diminish after sunset but instead it got worse and the boat rolled from gunnel to gunnel.  It was a very uncomfortable night as we were tossed around in our berths, and we slept very little.  Michael and Britta had been there a few times before and said they had never known it to be that rolly.  The next morning, we left Sa Figu, exhausted, and headed north alone as “Vera” decided not to circumnavigate Sardinia.  Michael and Britta have spent years in these waters and preferred to hang out and relax after all of their concentrated effort in preparing their lives and boat for a decade or more at sea.

The winds were southeast and thus threatened another rolly night at anchor.  Unwilling to risk this, we sailed to the marina at Arbatax.  Arbatax is a small industrial town and the harbor area where the marina is located is dominated by a facility that build derricks for gas wells.  The derrick business brings noise, night lights, and commercial traffic into the port, making it very unappealing.  We knew this before we arrived but we just needed a good night sleep and the price at the marina was less than half that of a marina just 5 miles up the coast.  It turns out that the gas drilling business is way down and the derrick facility was idled.  We moored facing a beautiful range of coastal mountains, not the idled industrial facility, and the marina was friendly, clean, and quiet, and there was no roll.  We liked it so much, we spent 3 days.  We were having issues with our internet provider TIM, and there was a bus from Arbatax to the much larger inland town of Tortoli where there is a TIM agent.  The TIM agent in Tortoli spoke no English and in any case had no access to information on our TIM account, so that was left unresolved, but Tortoli is an interesting town to walk around in and has a nice Conad supermarket.  We found a unisex hairdresser in Arbatax, so we both got our hair cut.

 

Laura at Arbatax

Laura at Arbatax

Laura's birthday photo on the sail north from Arbatax

Laura’s birthday photo on the sail north from Arbatax

Places that we stopped on our counter clockwise circumnaviagtion of Sardinia

Places that we stopped on our counter clockwise circumnavigation of Sardinia

A: Carloforte
B: Capo Malfatano
C: Pula
D: Calgiari
E: Villasimius
F: Capo Ferrato (Sa Figu)
G: Arbatax
H: Cala Luna
I: Porto Brandichi
J: Porto Taverna
K: Isola Caprera
L: Capo Testa
M: La Pelosa
N: Porte Conte
O: Alghero
P: Oristano Bay
Q: Peonia Rosa (Isola Antioco)
R: Porto Pino

 

On July 9 we sailed to Cala Luna. This is in the middle of a stretch of steep cliffs rising up from the water and very rugged terrain that has prevented the building of roads or settlements.  Cala Luna is a small beach formed by a seasonal stream that has carved a gorge through the cliffs. It is a very busy place with day trippers streaming in all day long on fast motorboats, RIBS and small ferries.   The nice restaurant we had been expecting turned out to be just fried food ordered at a counter.  You can’t park your dinghy on the beach near the path to the restaurant during the day, so we had to leave it at the far end of the beach which then involves walking through waist deep water.  We did not come prepared… so ended up eating lunch in soggy shorts.  The hiking trail through the gorge involves walking in soft sand and we did not have the right shoes… also it was too hot.  Altogether, not our favorite place.  We were happy to leave the next day.

From Cala Luna, we did a full day sail north to Port Brandichi, a well protected bay 10 miles south of Olbia and two miles south of the beautiful island of Isola Tavolara, which rises 500 meters straight up from the sea with a top that is covered with clouds most of the day.  The next day we sailed a few miles north to Porto Taverna and had an even better view of Isola Tavolara.

On July 12 we arrived at Porto Palma on the island of Caprera in the Maddalena Islands National Park.  We arrived just the afternoon before a mistral was predicted.   There were about 17 boats in the bay with us until evening and then they ALL left.  Three small French cruisers (on what looked like instructional boats) came in and anchored for the night.  Winds picked up and stayed at 25-34 knots for 2 full days from the west.  There was very good protection in the bay, but it was still unnerving to have the wind howling for so long.   We had bought a one-week park pass but no one ever came by to check.   We stayed put and on the 2nd day Mark started feeling sick…. ear ache, sinus headache, then toothache, then fever.  He decided to take antibiotics and spent 2 full days really feeling poorly.  Once the worst of the winds passed (on Friday) a lot of boats came into the bay and all stayed overnight.  The wind conditions for Friday were forecast to be very strong from the north, but they were not nearly as strong as predicted.  On Saturday, July 16, Mark felt a lot better and we were very happy to pick up the anchor and leave.  It was not a fun couple of days and we were running out of fresh food.

Isola Tavolara

Isola Tavolara

Isola Tavolara

Isola Tavolara

Isola Caprera sunset

Isola Caprera sunset

Isola Caprera sunset

Isola Caprera sunset

House with flowers in northern Sardinia

House with flowers in northern Sardinia

Beach at Capo Testa

Beach at Capo Testa

 

Capo Testa

Capo Testa

We sailed to Porto Puddu just a few miles away which had a busy but pretty beach and two outdoor music venues that competed for attention at night, making it on the noisy side.  From Port Puddu we sailed to Baie di Reparata adjacent to Cape Testa, which is nearly the most northern point of Sardinia – as far north as Rhode Island.  The bay is lined with beaches that were crowded with vacationers.  We were short on food and there was nothing to buy in Capo Testa, so we took a bus to the cute town of Santa Teresa di Gallura to shop, explore, and eat at a restaurant.

On July 19 we sailed through the Bonifacio Strait that separates Sardinia and Corsica to La Pelosa, located in the smaller strait between Sardinia and Isola Piana at the far northwest of Sardinia. We found unexpectedly beautiful water there– very shallow with a white sand bottom. We so enjoyed sitting on deck and spending hours watching the full moon and twilight, we stayed for a second night.  On July 21 we passed through the Fornelli Strait and started our sail south along the west coast of Sardinia.  The prevailing winds on the west coast of Sardinia are from the northwest and west and the coast is wild with very few protected bays to anchor in or even towns with marinas.  The population of the island is highly skewed to the east coast.  The bay Cala del Bolla (part of Porte Conte) behind Capo Caccia seemed like a promising place to anchor.  The hotel ashore was closed down but there was a beach nearby with a restaurant at which we had a very nice meal the first evening.

Every day we check more than one marine weather forecast for the coming days and one of these forecasts had an odd prediction for the next day at Calla del Bolla – 2 knots of wind with gusts to 30 knots.  We had never seen that before.  We presumed it to be a warning that thunderstorms would be moving through.  We were well anchored and did not believe that the wind and seas associated with thunderstorms of short duration would be a problem.  Lightning strikes are always our biggest concern but there is not much one can do to prevent the damage they might cause.  There was no thunderstorm.  Just as it got dark, the wind went from 2 knots to 30 knots in 30 minutes, switched to the southeast (rather than the predicted southwest), and stayed there.  The southeast winds turned Sabbatical III so that it’s stern was just 30 meters from rocks on which a newly energized sea was crashing.  Some boats nearby dragged anchor and left.  One power boat tied up precariously to a navigation buoy in the dark.  It blew hard at varying intensity all night so we stayed on anchor watch most of the night.  On two occasions where it blew hardest, we turned the engine on so that if we dragged we could pop the engine into forward gear and get away before crashing into the rocks behind us.  The anchor held for the night but the wind still blew in the morning and we needed to get away from this unsafe situation.  We moved up very close to Capo Caccia just to get out of the waves so that we could lift our dinghy and outboard engine onto the deck.  We called the marina at Alghero, about 7 miles away, and they had a place for us, so we sailed over in rough seas.

Both the marina and the town were much nicer than we expected.  Alghero was founded by the Phoenicians in the 8th century BC and turned into a fortified port by the Genoese.  In 1353 it was captured by the forces of the Crown of Aragon (Spain) and the local population was expelled, replaced by Catalan colonists. It is the only place in Italy where the Catalan language is an official language and is still spoken, particularly by older people.  The Marina St. Elmo is located just below one of the walls of the fortified city.  One steps off the dock and through St. Elmo’s Gate and you are inside.  It is a very interesting place filled with tourists (mostly French) and many upscale shops and restaurants.  It is a wonderful town for walking and exploring.  As it was, we had to spend a second night in the marina as the weather forecast for the next day (Sunday, July 24) was abysmal.  A succession of thunderstorms rolled through during the morning hours bringing many lightning strikes, torrential rain (a good thing for a salty boat), and winds to 44 knots.  We were glad to be in the marina.

We left Alghero on July 25 and headed south.  After a night behind Capo San Marco in the Golfo di Oristano, we finally reunited with “Vera” at the southeast corner of Isola Antioco, 15 miles past Carloforte.  After a night there, we moved over to Porto Pino behind Cape Ta Menga.  Porto Pino was one of our favorite anchorages of the trip.  Beautiful water, a 2 miles long beach just made for walking, and an excellent restaurant.  As for most Sardinia anchorages, it is not well protected so if the wind came out of the west or south one would need to leave. We had fine weather while we were there.  On July 29th we separated from Vera again and motored north up the San Pietro Channel and finally re-entered Marine Sifredi, our home base in Carloforte after a trip of more than 40 days and 500 sailing miles. After seeing so much of Sardinia, Carloforte is our favorite place.

M. and L.

 

Britta at Porto Pino

Britta at Porto Pino

Mark and Laura at Porto Pino

Mark and Laura at Porto Pino

Britta and Michael at Porto Pino

Britta and Michael at Porto Pino

Beach at Porto Pino

Beach at Porto Pino with Sabbatical III visible in the background

 

Getting legal

Small boat dock in Malfatano.

Small boat dock in Malfatano.

We left Carloforte on June 16 in the company of “Vera.” The intent is to spend 4 to 6 weeks circumnavigating Sardinia while exploring its many bays. Our first stop was Malfatano on the southern coast (arriving Thursday, June 16). There is no town at Malfatano, only a small beach restaurant that also rents beach chairs, places for camper vans, and small boats. One has to travel down a dirt road to reach the beach and restaurant. Our first night at anchor was very rolly as the small bay is open to the south, but things were much more comfortable after that.

Marsh land at Malfatano

Marsh land at Malfatano

Cape Malfatano

Cape Malfatano

After three nights in Malfatano, we had to sail to the provincial capital of Cagliari for our appointment with the immigration police. We had a reservation at the Marina del Sole in Cagliari for two nights. Other marinas in Cagliari quoted me prices that were from two to three times as high as the Marina del Sole, which had a reputation of being somewhat rundown but friendly and well located. Sailing on a fixed schedule is always something we try to avoid, a view that was reinforced during our 50 mile sail from Malfatano to Cagliari on Sunday, June 19th. The weather forecast called for rain and possible squalls and strong wind, but we had to be in Cagliari Sunday evening to be in time for our Monday morning appointment with the immigration authorities. We had a great sail with some rain showers for the first two-third of the trip but as we approached the large Gulf of Cagliari we saw a huge bank of storm clouds coming towards us. We got heavy rain, poor visibility, lightening, and winds to 42 knots. We cautiously continued on our way to Cagliari with just a tiny amount of sail up but we did not dare enter into the breakwater in these conditions. I would not be able to back into a berth and Med moor in these winds. Suddenly, there was a break in the weather and we scooted in and berthed. Five minutes later, heavy squalls resumed for the rest of the afternoon.

View of Cagliari from the harbor entrance.

View of Cagliari from the harbor entrance.

There is a reason that Marina del Sole in much less expensive than other marinas in Cagliari. There are holes in the docks, only one toilet for men and one for women, and it is in a general state of disrepair. However, the staff were very friendly and helpful.

There is a reason that Marina del Sole is much less expensive than other marinas in Cagliari. There are holes in the docks, only one toilet for men and one for women, and it is in a general state of disrepair. However, the staff were very friendly and helpful.

In the evening, we headed out of the marina looking for a restaurant. To our surprise, at least half of the restaurants we passed were either all-you-can-eat sushi or “Asian” all-you-can-eat. It was certainly easier to find Asian restaurants than Italian. We walked until we found a cute hole-in-the-wall fresh seafood place (“Frito Mania”) with only counter service and a couple of plastic tables and chairs on the sidewalk.

Flowers in the public garden, Cagliari

Flowers in the public garden, Cagliari

Tree in the public garden, Cagliari

Tree in the public garden, Cagliari

Monday morning we took a taxi from the marina to the office of the immigration police. We had an appointment for 9:50 am but we arrived at 9:00 am just in case. Outside the door of the immigration police there was a crowd of 60 or so people waiting. About half were African and most of the rest Middle Eastern or South Asian, all clutching forms filled out in Italian. The door opened and an Italian official called out names one at a time. You showed him some identify document, received a piece of paper with a number, and were allowed inside. Laura Pitt was about the tenth person called, followed by Mark Pitt and Brad Pitt. The immigration officer was making a joke although no one in this crowd laughed. Their business was certainly more urgent that ours and many probably arrived in a very different type of boat than we did.
The appointment time meant nothing. Everyone admitted inside pushed up against the counter trying to get the attention of an immigration agent…waving their forms and passports. More than once an agent came out from behind the thick glass security partition with small “talking holes”, like in a bank, to get the crowd to move back. The process was tediously slow. Small children ran around playing while their nervous parents talked with others or with the paid or volunteer agents who came to assist them, mothers nursed their babies, single men talked to countrymen in their local language or stared at their mobile phones. A fingerprint technician called out numbers in Italian which often led to no response from the crowd as they did not know Italian. Someone who did would try to find the missing person by checking the numbers in the hands of those waiting.

Just after noon, Laura was called. We expected an immigration interview, but there was none of that. The immigration policeman simply stapled together her photo to pages from Laura’s request for residency that we had sent to Rome two weeks earlier, while Laura watched. He entered things from the form on a computer screen. Then he took an index fingerprint from each hand using a 3M optical scanner, and told her to come back on June 30th for full hand fingerprints. They were doing full hand fingerprints of others right then but he said that there was a separate queue for the fingerprints and the first opening was June 30th. And even then, we would not have our residency permit. Then it was my turn. For some reason, the computer in Rome would not accept the data that the immigration agent had entered. He swore at the computer (all in Italian, of course) and pounded on the keyboard to no avail. He told me to wait until the computer in Rome accepted my form, and he started to process the next applicant.

I waited and waited but the computer glitch persisted. Laura needed to use the women’s bathroom but it was not in working order. Finally, the agent said he would call Rome. He went into the back and emerged some minutes later and was able to get me processed. By then it was close to 1 pm and the waiting room was almost empty and their operation would cease for the day.

We walked to the nearest main street and hopped the first bus heading in the direction of the waterfront. We got off right in front of an all you can eat sushi restaurant. We ran in to use the bathroom and then remained for a very good lunch at a very good price. Walking around town and riding in the public bus we noticed that there was a considerable number of people of Asian descent who were obviously not tourists, which helps explain the number of Asian restaurants. We had seen none in Sicily.

We sailed back to Malfatano in benign conditions the next day (Tuesday, July 21) and finally crossed paths with our friends Dick and Lynn Bisanz from St. Paul, Minnesota on their catamaran “Wind Pony.” We missed seeing then in Sicily but we kept exchanging emails as to our respective whereabouts. We had three nice days with them and their sailing mates from New Zealand on “Dol’Selene”. They are now in Minorca on their way to Gibraltar, the Canaries, and across the Atlantic. Then our Aussie friends Melinda and Dave from “Sassoon” arrived by design as well. We met them first in Malaysia and then spent two years with them at the Kas Marina in Turkey. They are also on their way to cross the Atlantic.

Melinda and Dave of “Sassoon” pose with Laura at Malfatano

Melinda and Dave of “Sassoon” pose with Laura at Malfatano

Sabbatical III, Vera, and Sassoon anchored together at Malfatano

Sabbatical III, Vera, and Sassoon anchored together at Malfatano

Children play in a fishing boat (Malfatano)

Children play in a fishing boat (Malfatano)

From Malfatano, we sailed with “Vera” to Pula on the southeast coast of Sardinia. The Vera’s left after one day but we remained in Pula for two more nights as it was close to Cagliari where we needed to get our full hand fingerprints done. We hoped to leave the boat at anchor in Pula and take a bus to Cagliari but the weather forecast suggested that would be risky for the boat. So on June 29th we sailed back to the Marina del Sole in Cagliari and the next morning waited in the same room at the immigration police office until we were called for fingerprinting. We recognized and greeted some of the people waiting.  We waited for two hours until our number was finally called.

After another sushi lunch, we provisioned the boat at the very nice “Nonna Isa” supermarket, which delivers to yachts, and gave her a good wash. We left for Villasimius in the Gulf of Carbonara yesterday (Friday, July 1) to rejoin “Vera” who had been anchored there since they left us in Pula. We expected 7 knots from the southeast but 5 miles out we here hit with easterlies of up to 25 knots. That made for a long slog tacking upwind which was actually a nice, exciting sail as we were in no rush. Now we are just anchored out on the west side of Cape Carbonara but will switch to the east side later today when the wind shifts west. The boat is full of fruit, veggies, cheese, drinks, and chicken, plus a varieties of treats, plus we got rid of all the garbage we were accumulating. Stopping in a big town like Cagliari has its advantages as long as you do not fall through a hole in the dock.
M.

A short satyr appears at the ridge line after sunset in Malfatano

A short satyr appears at the ridge line after sunset in Malfatano

The Italian Financial Police pose after checking us out in Malfatano to be certain that we are not rich Italians on an untaxed sail boat. They were very friendly and professional.

The Italian Financial Police pose after checking us out in Malfatano to be certain that we are not rich Italians on an untaxed sail boat. They were very friendly and professional.

Britta and Michael enjoy the sunset hour on the foredeck of “Vera” while berthed in Carloforte.

Britta and Michael enjoy the sunset hour on the foredeck of “Vera” while berthed in Carloforte.

Britta sits on the foredeck of “Vera”

Britta sits on the foredeck of “Vera”

Death remembrances are posted on boards in Carloforte.

Death remembrances are posted on boards in Carloforte.

 

Passage to Carloforte

Street in Carloforte decorated for Giro Tonna (Tuna Festival)

Street in Carloforte decorated for Giro Tonno (Tuna Festival)

(Note:  Posting of this entry was delayed for almost two weeks by issues with our our web site host, Aabaco, which is part of Luminate, which was recently spun-off by Yahoo, which by itself pretty much explains why we had a problem.  Our website was also unavailable for most of that time. Hopefully, this will not be repeated).

We left Sciacca, Sicily at 6 pm on Wednesday, May 25 and crossed the Tyrrhenian Sea to Carloforte on Isola San Pietro just off the southwest coast of Sardinia. We motored for 12 hours before the southeasterly wind came up enough to sail. The wind forecast was spot on as the wind increased through the day on Thursday becoming 20 knots from the east and then 25 knots from the northeast as we rounded the southern tip of Sardinia. We had a poled out genoa and a mizzen set on a preventer almost the whole time that we sailed and arrived in Carloforte early on Friday morning (May 27).  Our friends Michael and Britta of “Vera” tracked our progress for the last few hours from our AIS signal and were at the dock to greet us and help with lines as we backed in.
We have been in Carloforte for two weeks and this place has exceeded our expectations. We are in a small, secure marina run by the Sifredi family. It is quiet at night, the bathrooms and shower are clean and close enough to the boat, and there is almost always a good breeze. Just across from us is the town with cafes, restaurants, a Conad supermarket, gelaterias, fish stores, bakeries…pretty much all we need. I ordered some things from Amazon Italy that I could not get in town, plus some boat parts from Sweden and the UK, which is easy to do within the EU.

Flamingos wade in the salt pan next to town

Flamingos wade in the salt pan next to town

Coast of Isola San Pietro

Coast of Isola San Pietro

 

The island of San Pietro is only 19 square miles and has a population of less than 6500 inhabitants. It has an interesting history. It original inhabitants are from Liguria, the coastal area of Italy bordering France, by way of Tunisia.  The Tunisian coastal island of Tabarka was given as a concession by the Bey of Tunis to the Genoese family of Lomelli in 1540, in return for the release of the captured pirate Dragut.  The Lomelli family recruited Ligurians to colonize the island and undertake coral fishing.  These Ligurian colonists spent two hundred years in Tabarka, Tunisia in relative isolation until relations with their Arab neighbors deteriorated, and the coral reefs were exhausted.  Thanks to the King of Sardinia, Carlo Emmanuel III of Savoy, the Tabarkan community was relocated to the uninhabited island of San Pietro in 1741 where they founded the new town of Carloforte, named in honor of King Carlos.  The Genoese fortress at Tarbarka was surrendered to the Bey of Tunis, but still stands.

Piracy was a huge problem for the southern coast of Italy, Spain, and Greece for hundreds of years, with the pirates predominately Arabs from the North African “Barbary” coast.  Long stretches of the coasts of Spain and Italy were abandoned.  The island of San Pietro, where Carloforte is located, was no doubt uninhabited in 1741 for that reason.  A fort was built to protect the newly transplanted population (the “forte” in the name Carloforte).  It was not enough.  In September 1798, pirates based in Tunisia raided Carloforte killing many and abducting 800 persons to sell as slaves.  The captives were held for more than five years until Napoleon intervened militarily to free most of them.   He is honored with a statue, plaques and names in town.  Our favorite cafe on the waterfront is the Cafe Napoleon.  Lord Horatio Nelson, the English admiral, is also honored with a plaque outside the church for his help in fending off pirates.

"Columns of Carloforte"

“Columns of Carloforte”

Coast of Isola San Pietro

Coast of Isola San Pietro looking towards Sardinia

The Tarbakini speak Tabarkan, a dialect of Ligurian that evolved during their isolation in Tunisia.  It does not sound like Italian.  They also have their own customs and cuisine that can be sampled in many restaurants.  Tuna fishing and canning was a major occupation since the Tabarkini were re-located to Carloforte and is still carried on today at a much reduced scale, although all of the tuna canning factories have closed. At the annual Giro Tonno (Tuna Festival) which we attended last week, they still show off their traditional method of catching tuna.  At this time of the  year, bluefin tuna migrate in schools in the San Pietro Channel, the body of water between Carloforte and Sardinia. Fisherman direct the tuna through a complex set of net barriers until they reach the “death chamber” where they are pulled out of the water and impaled on spikes in an act known as “matanza” or “the killing”.  Old photos show massive bluefin tuna being caught and even now they are typically 30 kilograms in size.

Judging tuna dishes prepared by an set of international chefs at the Giro Tonna, Carloforte

Judging tuna dishes prepared by a group of international chefs at the Giro Tonno, Carloforte

Judging tuna dishes prepared by an set of international chefs at the Giro Tonna, Carloforte

Ferry departs while tuna dishes are judged, Giro Tonno, Carloforte

 

Plaque in honor of Lord Nelson

Plaque in honor of Lord Nelson

 

Clown on unicyce entertains in the town square during Giro Tonna

Clown on unicyce entertains in the town square during Giro Tonna

Tomorrow, we leave Carloforte to visit the bays and anchorages of the east coast of Sardinia, and to visit the police in the Sardinian capital of Cagliari to finish the formalities required to get our Italian Residency Cards.

M.

If you do not like Tabarkan or Italian food in Carloforte, you can always get on Oscar Mayer weiner

If you do not like Tabarkan or Italian food in Carloforte, you can always get on Oscar Mayer weiner

First Communion procession, Carloforte

First Communion procession, Carloforte

First Communion procession, Carloforte

First Communion procession, Carloforte

Southern coast of Sicily

Fishing boats line the docks in Sciacca. Italy

Fishing boats line the docks in Sciacca. Italy

We left Siracusa on May 18 intending to head west along the southern coast of Sicily stopping overnight in various places in order to shorten the final leg of our trip to our new home in Sardinia.  Our first stop was the large Marina di Ragusa near the city of Ragusa.  We spent only 12 hours there before heading for Licata where we spent three days at the Marina di Cala del Sole. It is a new and not yet complete marina set in a planned tourist development that came to a halt in the Great Recession.  Unfinished construction and idle cranes attest to the speed at which this project came to an abrupt end.  The marina had lots of space and is very well protected by extensive breakwaters.  The only problem for us is that wild dogs took up residence in the vacant land around the marina and they bark periodically throughout the night.  Not a good situation for sensitive sleepers like us. Licata is an interesting town and we enjoyed walking around and sampling its ristorantes and trattoria.  There is a Conad supermarket next door to the marina which proved very convenient for us.

Local people strolled along the quay of the marina in Licata every evening and all day on Sunday

Local people strolled along the quay of the marina in Licata every evening and all day on Sunday

On May 24th, we sailed 50 nautical miles west to the town of Sciacca, where a large fishing fleet is based.  We were able to med moor at the pontoon of the local chapter of “Lega Navale Italiana”, a national association of Italian boaters.  This is a charming town that dates back to the Greeks who enjoyed soaking in the thermal springs, as did the Romans who followed.  It architecture reflects its occupation by, successively, Vandals, Ostrogoths, Byzantium, Arab North Africa, Normandy, and Aragon Spain.  It was once a great port for the grain trade.

View of Sciacca at sunset

View of Sciacca at sunset

The city is full with painted ceramic tiles. There are at lest a dozen at the Lega Navale dock. These are on the stairs from the harbor to the town up on the hill.

The city is full of painted ceramic tiles. There are at least a dozen large displays at the Lega Navale dock. These are on the stairs from the harbor to the town up on the hill.

We found our way into the old Jewish district and found the location of one of the 15th century synagogues. Jews were forced to convert or be expelled from Spanish-ruled Sicily in 1492, as in all Spanish lands. Licata and Ragusa also had Jewish communities before the Inquisition.

We found our way into the old Jewish district and found the location of one of the 14th century synagogues. Jews were forced to convert or be expelled from Spanish-ruled Sicily in 1492, as in all Spanish lands. Siracusa, Licata and Ragusa also had Jewish communities before the Inquisition.

The Lega Navale dock in Sciacca. Sabbatical III is closest boat.

The Lega Navale dock in Sciacca. Sabbatical III is the closest boat.

The Lega Navale dock as pictured in painted ceramic tiles. The building behind the boats are in the town center located up a steep hill from the marina.

The Lega Navale dock as pictured in painted ceramic tiles. The buildings pictured behind the boats are actually in the town center located up a steep hill from the marina.

Sabbatical III iat Lega Navale, Sciacca.

Sabbatical III at Lega Navale, Sciacca.

Tomorrow evening, Wednesday, May 25, we leave Sciacca for the 260 nautical mile passage to Carloforte, southwest of Sardinia.  We will be taking advantage of two days of (forecast) easterly winds to get to Sabbatical III’s new home marina without having to head directly into the prevailing westerlies.  We should arrive sometime during the day on Friday.

 

M.

Passage to Sicily

Narrow street in Siracusa, Sicily

Narrow street in Siracusa, Sicily

We are now in Sicily, berthed comfortably in the little marina “Marina Yachting” in the adorable, historic little town of Siracusa.   We took two weeks to get here from Turkey, covering a little over 800 nautical miles, with several all day sailing days, a total of 3 nights at sea, and a number of beautiful stops on the way (including several days at our favorite Greek island of Antiparos).     The only really tiring part was the last two and a half days when we crossed the Ionian Sea between the southern Peloponnese and Sicily.  We had a good sail, with wind much of the way.  It seems that we are pretty much the only cruisers out yet as we did not see a single sail boat across the whole Ionian.  There were hundreds of cargo ships, but fortunately all seemed to be just enough north or south of us that we could relax for the most part.  Our AIS system identifies every boat of size that is out there so we always know what is coming up within about 35 miles, and sometimes much more.

We left Kas on the 24th of April and headed up the Turkish coast to the area around Bodrum.  It was a detour from our route to Italy, but it was necessary, as we had to test out our new sails and rigging before leaving Turkey.   We did an overnight sail (162 nm) from Kas to a very pleasant little marina at Port Iassos in Mandalya Bay (Güllük Bay) in the “Turkish Riviera.”  Everything worked beautifully on the boat.  This was a big relief as it is a bit scary heading out with brand new rigging and new sails. You never know if something is going to break.

Saying farewell to the staff of the Kaş Marina.

Saying farewell to the staff of the Kaş Marina.

We are friends with a warm and friendly Turkish couple (Mehmet and Begum on Kabuk) who were in Bodrum working on their boat.  Bodrum is very close to Port Iassos so we took a bus there and spent a wonderful day with them before we continued our trip north.   Our next stop was the town of Didim where we had arranged for our riggers/sail-makers (from Q Sails) to come and do adjustments to the rig. It was only a short sail between Port Iassos and Didim, but the winds were strong and right on the nose so we had a great opportunity to really test out the rigging and sails one more time by tacking to Didim.  The marina at Didim was very nice and we enjoyed a couple of days there, meeting a wonderful American couple from LA  (Mohammed and Ety on an Amel 54) as well as a very friendly Swedish couple on the Amel Super Maramu Kerpa.  We hope we will run into these people again.

Güllük harbor

Güllük harbor

Mehmet and Begum in Bodrum

Mehmet and Begum in Bodrum

Lettuce from the market in Güllük

Lettuce from the market in Güllük

The riggers spent a few hours making adjustments to the rigging and delivered our spinnaker newly modified to be part of a Selden anti-torsion rope furler.   Unfortunately, we did not have time to test it out, so if it needs adjustments we will have to have it done here in Italy.

Antiparos, Greece

Antiparos, Greece

Antiparos

Antiparos

Our favorite restaurant in Greece -- Captain Pipinos in Antiparos

Our favorite restaurant in Greece — Captain Pipinos in Antiparos

Georgio, our friendly waiter at Captain Pepinos

Georgio, our friendly waiter at Captain Pepinos

Sunset in Antiparos

Sunset in Antiparos

We had a whole little drama on the boat during our passage that involved three small, land-based birds that must have been blown out to sea by the sudden change to strong southeast winds that we rode to Italy.   There were two very pretty green-breasted birds, and one aggressive black and red bird. We don’t usually have birds with us while we are at sea, but three of them were on board as we crossed the Ionian and kept making random appearances during the trip….. at various times we found them inside the boat (near the bed and then on the navigation station), and other times we saw them in the cockpit and on the deck…. always looking as if they needed shelter from the cold wind.  We tried to feed them, but they did not take the food.  It also became apparent that the black bird was attacking the green-breasted birds, killing one of them.  On the last night, the other one fled into the cockpit and hid behind the radar screen as the black bird sought her out.   By the end of the trip all three birds had died.

One of our bird passengers check out the instrument displays

One of our bird passengers checks out the instrument displays

One of our bird passengers check out the instrument displays

One of our bird passengers checks out the instrument displays

We have been in Sircusa for four days and we find it a delightful town.  The city was founded by the ancient Greeks 2700 years ago and was a powerful city-state that once equaled Athens in size.  The city is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.  It is a wonderful place to explore on foot and the food is great.

The map at the bottom shows where we have been and the location of our new home base at Carloforte on the island of San Pietro just to the southwest of Sardinia.

L.

Siracusa (Syracuse), Sicily, Italy

Siracusa (Syracuse), Sicily, Italy

Siracusa (Syracuse), Sicily, Italy

Siracusa (Syracuse), Sicily, Italy

Swordfish is common in Siracusa

Swordfish is common in Siracusa

As are tomatoes

As are tomatoes

Cathedral, Siracusa

Cathedral, Siracusa

Siracusa

Siracusa

Piazza, Siracusa

Piazza, Siracusa

Siracusa

Siracusa

Siracusa

Siracusa

 

Map of our recent travels

Map of our recent travels

A.  Kas, Turkey
B.Gulluk, Turkey
C. Didim, Turkey
D. Patmos, Greece
E. Antiparos,Greece
F. Elafonisos,Greece
G. Mezapos, Greece
H. Siracusa, Italy
I. Carloforte, Italy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Refit

Rigger works up the mast

Rigger works up the mast

We returned to the boat in Kaş, Turkey on March 31 with plans for a serious refit of Sabbatical III.  After one day of work on the boat while on the hard (on land), I took ill with bronchitis or bronchial pneumonia and was sick in my berth with a high fever for a week.  The boat stayed on the hard as I was not even well enough to steer it 200 meters from the travel lift to our berth.  That certainly slowed down our progress.  I had to reschedule our re-rig project for a week later than planned.

Once I was on the road to recovery, we had the boat launched and our first refit project, new batteries, began in the launch pool.  Two strong guys removed our 13 existing batteries (about 80 pounds each), and installed 13 new Victron AGM batteries.

Some of our new batteries await installation

Some of our new batteries await installation

The new batteries installed under "Shirley's" berth

The new batteries installed under “Shirley’s” berth

The next day the riggers from QSails (Ogemar Rigging) came to the boat.  It took three guys about 22 hours (spread over three days) to re-rig Sabbatical III.  I had ordered a whole set of pre-cut and pre-swaged rigging from ACMO (Accastillage Moderne) in France.  ACMO produced the rigging installed on Sabbatical III when she was first launched in October 2003, and they still had the exact lengths of every stay and shroud.  Everything came assembled with eyebolts, turnbuckles, and clevis pins, and clearly labeled in French.  Fortunately, I have a sheet with the exact French to English translation.  Even the most fluent French-English translator will not know how to translate “cap shroud” or “triatic stay.”  The riggers were very professional and we are pleased with their work.

Our old rigging

Our old rigging

The new rigging with eyebolt and turnbuckles protected by sleeves.

The new rigging, nicely labeled and with eyebolts and turnbuckles protected by sleeves.

Attaching the triatic stay

Attaching the triatic stay

Attaching the backstays

Attaching the backstays

Removing the head sail foil from the jib furler motor

Removing the head sail foil from the jib furler motor

Our new sails were delayed but there were many other boat projects to keep us busy.  Also, I tried to take it easy after my illness and not work too hard.  We had some issues with our navigational system that required an emergency express shipment from Istanbul which was facilitated by our local friend Eren.  Eren and Bensu just had their first child and moved into a new flat, and we were able to visit with the newly expanded family.

Bensu and her new baby

Bensu and her new baby

The last major item of the refit happened just a few hours ago — our sails finally arrived from QSails in Izmir.  They look beautiful.

New mainsail

New mainsail

new mainsail

new mainsail

All of this has been completed just in time,  Tomorrow morning (Sunday, April 24) we leave for a 165 mile sail north to Port Iasos Marina in the bay north of the Bodrum Peninsula.  It should take 24 to 28 hours in mostly light to moderate winds.  Wednesday morning we will take the dolmuş to Bodrum to visit with our Turkish friends Mehmet and Begum of the boat “Kabuk.”  Mehmet and Begum live on their boat in the Kaş Marina but sailed it to Bodrum 10 days ago to work on it.

Begum and Mehmet from "Kabuk"

Begum and Mehmet from “Kabuk”

We are leaving  Kaş  and Turkey.  Our new base will be the Marina Sifredi on the island of San Pietro just to the southwest of Sardinia.  Our plan is to spend two days at Port Iasos before moving to the larger marina at Didim.  At Didim Marina, the good people at QSails will re-tune our rig and check on our sails and deliver our new asymmetrical spinnaker on a Selden furler.  Once we find a good weather window, we will clear out of Turkey at Didim and head for Sicily, where we will clear into Italy.  That is a fairly long trip that will take us across the Aegean and through the southern Cyclades, around the bottom of the Peloponnese, and across the Adriatic to Messina or Ragusa on Sicily.  We will probably only stop twice on the way (Antiparos  and Methoni), but that depends on weather and how we and the boat hold up.  We are sad to leave Kaş.  This is a wonderful marina in every respect — the best that we have every been in, and we have made some wonderful friends.  But if this is going to be a circumnavigation, we better keep on heading west.

M.

No scurvy on this passage

No scurvy on this passage

 

 

 

End of 2015 sailing season

 

2015 haul of Sabbatical III, Kas Marina, Turkey

2015 haulout of Sabbatical III, Kas Marina, Turkey

It was a great sailing season in the Eastern Mediterranean, but now it is over.  Sabbatical III has been hauled and is safely stored ashore in the hardstand area of the Kas Marina, Turkey.  We are back in the US already planning next years adventure, which has us heading west for a yet to be determined number of miles.  The next haul of Sabbatical III will be in a different country, and maybe a different ocean.

In addition to the usual preparations that we make prior to a haul out, we had the time for a bit of travel.  We had 2 days in Kasterllorizo (Megisti), Greece.  This small island is certainly one of our favorite places,  The weather was pleasantly cool so we were able to hike to the top of the cliffs overlooking the town and harbor without getting heat stroke.

View of Kastellorizo harbor from the top of the cliffs. Sabbatical III can be seen in nearby Mandraki Bay on the left.

View of Kastellorizo harbor from the top of the cliffs. Sabbatical III can be seen in nearby Mandraki Bay on the left. That is the Turkish coast in the background.

While at the top, we were able to watch the twice-a-week Blue Star ferry from Rhodes enter the bay, turn around, and tie up.  This is quite an achievement as the ferry is almost as wide as the bay.

Blue Star ferry tied up in Kastellorizo, Greece.

Blue Star ferry tied up in Kastellorizo, Greece.

We also rented a car in Kas for trip to Salikent Gorge and the ruins of the ancient Lycian city of Xanthos, a World Heritage Site.

Trout lunch along side the mountain stream that runs through the gorge.

We had a trout lunch alongside the mountain stream that runs through the gorge.

The valley in which Xanthos sits is now covered in hot houses filled with tomotoes, cucumbers, and melons.

The valley in which Xanthos sits is now covered in hot houses filled with tomatoes, cucumbers, and melons.

Kaputas Beach on the Kas-Kalkan raod

Kaputas Beach on the Kas-Kalkan raod

Sunset over Kaputas Beach.

Sunset over Kaputas Beach.

By the end of October, pomegranates are everywhere is Kas. A very large glass of fresh squeezed and pomegranates is $2.

By the end of October, pomegranates are everywhere in Kas. A very large glass of the fresh squeezed juice blend of oranges and pomegranates is $2.

Olives are also harvested in the fall. Photo from the Kas market.

Olives are also harvested in the fall. Photo from the Kas market of fresh picked olives.

A band draws customers to a newly remodeled barbershop on the main street of Kas.

A band draws customers to a newly remodeled barbershop on the main street of Kas.

That’s all for this year.

M.

PS Here is a video of the band at the barbershop.

 

 

Israel for Sukkot

 

The Bloomfield-Saunders family poses at the Ashkelon Marina. From left to right: Laura's niece, Laura, Laura's sister, her husband, Mark, Laura's Mom

The Bloomfield-Saunders family poses at the Ashkelon Marina. From left to right: Laura’s niece Kalya, Laura, Laura’s sister Diane, her husband Jonathan, Mark, Laura’s Mom Shirley

Just before sunset on September 23 we left Limassol, Cyprus heading for Ashkelon, Israel.  At 4 am on the morning of the 25th, about 10 miles offshore from the Israeli coast, we had a visit from the Israeli Navy.  Having passed this initial inspection, plus an extensive radio interview, we continued into the Ashkelon Marina for a more thorough inspection.  Soon after we were moved from the security dock to a regular marina berth (seemingly the last one in Israel), Laura’s mother Shirley, sister Diane, and Diane’s daughter Kalya greets us with hugs and kisses.  Laura’s mother was visiting for a month from St. Paul, Minnesota.  It was Friday, so they left mid-afternoon to return to Jerusalem for Shabbat while we stayed behind to put the boat in order and to move it into a better position in the berth.

The holiday of Sukkot began Sunday night, so we rented a car and drove to Jerusalem for the start of the week long holiday.  The next Thursday, we hosted a Sukkot party on Sabbatical III for about 20 guests.  Diane and her husband Jonathan gave us the raw material necessary to turn the cockpit area of Sabbatical III into a sukkah — a temporary hut topped with branches that serves as a symbolic wilderness shelter.  Laura’s family got to sleep on the boat and came back to Ashkelon to play and swim again the next week.  We spent a lot of time in Jerusalem (one hour and a half by car), and also toured around in Tel Aviv, Beersheva, and Ashdod.

Sukkah on Sabbatical III

Sukkah on Sabbatical III

Sheri, Hannah, and Kalya in the Sabbatical III sukkah

Sheri, Hannah, and Kalya in the Sabbatical III sukkah

Danielle and Noy in our sukkah

Danielle and Noy in our sukkah

 

Kalya holds Kedem, the daughter of Danielle and Noy, in our sukkah

Kalya holds Kedem, the daughter of Danielle and Noy, in our boat sukkah

On the beach next to the Ashkelon Marina

On the beach next to the Ashkelon Marina

Shirley and Mark lounge on the dock behind Sabbatical III

Shirley and Mark lounge on the dock behind Sabbatical III

At the Ashkelon Marina

At the Ashkelon Marina

Selfie taken at the Sukkot Festival held on the Ashkelon waterfront

Selfie taken at the Sukkot Festival held on the Ashkelon waterfront

View of the Ashkelon Marina

View of the Ashkelon Marina

Kalya, Diane, and Jonathan at the marina

Kalya, Diane, and Jonathan at the marina

Sunset at the beach in Tel Aviv

Sunset at the beach in Tel Aviv

Mark's cousin Rachela in her kitchen in Ramat Gan

Mark’s cousin Rachela in her kitchen in Ramat Gan

Diane, Jonathan, and Kalya in the sukkah behind their home in Jerusalem

Diane, Jonathan, and Kalya in the sukkah behind their home in Jerusalem

Kalya makes pancakes with her Eliana and Ophelia in Jerusalem

Kalya makes pancakes with her friends Eliana and Odelya in Jerusalem

In Diane and Jonathan's sukkah

In Diane and Jonathan’s sukkah

We saw a weather window and took it, departing on October 21 and going straight through to Turkey just ahead of a weather system that brought strong thunderstorms  to the eastern Med including flooding in Israel and Egypt (Alexandria in particular).  We saw nearly constant lightening in the distance the last night, and some nice wind to sail with, and pulled into the anchorage at Kekova in the rain after a 53 hour sail. A sailing  trip to Israel was a longstanding dream of mine, and the reality of it turned out to be fantastic.

M.

Cyprus

Laura is front of Zygy harbor

Laura in front of Zygy harbor

We arrived in Cyprus on September 13 after a fast 29 hour sail from Kas, Turkey.  We have been at the St. Raphael Marina which is about 14 kilometers east of the big city of Limassol.   We rented a car for a few days and did some limited touring.  There is a beach next to the marina where Laura swims and we watch the sunset.   The Sailors Rest restaurant next to the marina turned out to be wonderful and we became friends with the staff.

This evening (September 23) we will leave for Ashkelon, Israel.  We expect to arrive in Ashkelon early on Friday, September 25.

 

M.

Getting out of the Turkish heat: Aquitaine (France)

Ben and Irene in a field of sunflowers

Ben and Irene in a field of sunflowers on the road from Ste. Sabine-Born to Essigeac

This is the last, and very delayed, installment of our photoblogs about our July/August trip to western Europe to escape the heat of southern Turkey.  On August 24, we flew from Vienna to Bordeaux on Europe Airpost, a budget airline.  We picked up a rental car at the airport, drove to a Boutique Orange to get a SIM for my iPad, and then 90 minutes to the east to the little village of Saint Quentin de Caplong in the wine area east of St. Emillion where we stayed in a cute B&B set in the middle of the vineyards.  We arrived late and hungry at 10 pm at the Chambres d’Hôtes “Les Foucauds” and our hosts set out plates of pâté, bread, and crudités, and of course, a selection of local wines.  The next night we were served a spectacular multi-course meal at an outdoor table overlooking the vineyards.

Vineyards surround our  chambre d'hôtes in Saint-Quentin-de-Caplong

Vineyards surround our chambre d’hôtes in Saint-Quentin-de-Caplong

Grapes are almost ready for harvest in Vineyards surround our  chambre d'hôtes in Saint-Quentin-de-Caplong

Grapes are almost ready for harvest in Saint-Quentin-de-Caplong

Laura tries out the pool (Grapes are almost ready for harvest in Vineyards surround our  chambre d'hôtes in Saint-Quentin-de-Caplong)

Laura tries out the pool (Saint-Quentin-de-Caplong)

Rolled bales of hay  (Saint-Quentin-de-Caplong)

Rolled bales of hay (Saint-Quentin-de-Caplong)

Bridge over the River Dordogne

Bridge over the River Dordogne

From Saint-Quentin-de-Caplong we drove to the country home (“La Bourg”) of Melinda and George of the yacht “Daedalus.”  We met Melinda and George while cruising along the Australian coast on the way to Darwin in 2011.  They were with us for the Sail Indonesia rally, and subsequently in Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand.  Their boat is still in Malaysia.  Their centuries old home in Fongalop (near Monpazier) is very charming and comfortable and we ate, drank, toured and had a wonderful time visiting with them.

Melinda and Laura in front of Melinda's home in Fongalop

Melinda and Laura in front of Melinda’s home in Fongalop

The cèpes (a tyupe of wild mushrom) were in season around Fongalop  (shown in Melinda's kitchen))

The cèpes (a type of wild mushroom) were in season around Fongalop (shown in Melinda’s kitchen))

Mark, George, and Melinda pose with the cèpes

Mark, George, and Melinda pose with the cèpes

"La Bourg," the home of Melinda and George in Fongalop (Dordogne region)

“La Bourg,” the home of Melinda and George in Fongalop (Dordogne region)

From Fongalop, we drive to the chambre d’hôtes “Au Merlot” in Ste. Sabine-Born to await the arrival of our son Benjamin and his girlfriend Irene who were driving up from Hondarribia in the Basque County of Spain.  We had a wonderful 36 hours with them … touring, talking, and eating.

Ben and Irene at Ste. Sabine-Born

Ben and Irene at Ste. Sabine-Born

Ben and Irene at Ste. Sabine-Born

Ben and Irene at Ste. Sabine-Born

Ben and Irene at Ste. Sabine-Born

Ben and Irene at Ste. Sabine-Born

Mark, Ben and Irene at Ste. Sabine-Born

Mark, Ben and Irene at Ste. Sabine-Born

Chateau near Ste. Sabine-Born

Chateau near Ste. Sabine-Born

Bicycle transformed to a planted in Essegiac

Bicycle transformed to a planter in Essegiac

Ben and Irene drove back to Spain and one day later we drove to Lompian (near Damazan) to stay with our friends Danny Rose and Jamie Fellner at “Maison du Canal,” a beautiful old house set right on the Canal du Midi that they had rented.  We walked along the paved path along the canal, rented a canal boat for a cruise, and toured and dined in the towns of the Lot-et-Garonne department.  It was wonderful to spend time with Danny and Jamie in such a beautiful place and was a fitting and memorable end to our European sojourn.

Danny, Jamie, and Laura at Lompian

Danny, Jamie, and Laura at Lompian

Canal du Midi near Lompian

Canal du Midi near Lompian

Canal du Midi near Lompian

Canal du Midi near Lompian

M.

Getting out of the Turkish heat: Vienna and the South Tyrol

The small alpine village of Valbrunna in the South Tyrol region of Italy

The small alpine village of Valbruna in the South Tyrol region of Italy

We took the train from Salzburg to Vienna on August 1 and took up residence in the lovely apartment of Peter, Alexandra, and Finn of “Risho Maru.”  It was very hot almost the whole time we were in Vienna but we still loved it, as we did last year.  It got so hot after some days — with a forecast of 100 degrees Fahrenheit– that we looked for some place to cool off.  I followed the railway track south from Vienna on Google Maps and then searched on-line for a place in the Dolomite Mountains of the Alps easily accessible by train.  Everything seemed to be booked but finally we found a room for 3 days with a family in a converted farm house in a small town just in the northeast corner of Italy just 5 miles from the Austrian border and 5 miles from the Slovenian border.  They even agreed to pick us up from the train station.

There are only a few photos of Vienna below as we posted many last year.  We were lucky enough to have our good friends from Rhode Island, Shelley Roth and her sons Spencer and Jeremy, visit for an afternoon.

 

M.

Spencer, Shelley, and Jeremy seated at Figlmuller's waiting for their famous schnitzel.

Spencer, Shelley, and Jeremy seated at Figlmuller’s waiting for their famous schnitzel.

Posing in front of the Spanish Riding School located between Michaelerplatz and Josefsplatz near the Hofburg in central Vienna.

Posing in front of the Spanish Riding School located between Michaelerplatz and Josefsplatz near the Hofburg in central Vienna.

View from our front door in Valbrunna, Italy

View from our front door in Valbruna, Italy

Dolomites near Valbrunna

Dolomites near Valbruna

Dolomites near Valbrunna

Dolomites near Valbruna

A selfie

A selfie in Italy

We loved the exhibit at the Museum Hundertwasser located at the Kunsthaus Wien

We loved the exhibit at the Museum Hundertwasser located at the Kunsthaus Wien

Memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust who lived in this Vienna apartment building

Sidewalk memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust who lived in this Vienna apartment building

Getting out of the Turkish heat: First to Austria

Dachstein Mountains rise steeply over Gosau Lake, Austria

Dachstein Mountains rise steeply over Gosau Lake, Austria

By late July, it gets very hot in southern Turkey.  So, like last year, we flew off to Austria (on July 24) to see our sailing friends from “Risho Maru” and then house sit their flat in Vienna while they are off sailing.  This time we flew to Salzberg and drove in our rental car to the Salzkammergut, the lake region to the east of Salzberg.  Peter, Alexandra, and Finn of Risho Maru stayed in Peter’s sisters house in Mondsee, the town made famous in the movie “Sound of Music.”  We could not find a place to stay nearby, and took a chance on a newly listed AirBnB flat in Traunkirchen, on lake Traunsee, a 45 minute drive away.  It turned out to be a wonderful experience.  We had a great weekend with the Risho Maru’s exploring Mondsee and Bad Ischl, and hiking around Wolfgangsee and Traunsee.  And the flat on Lake Traunsee was spectacular and came with wonderful hosts.  We spent an additional week exploring Salzkammergut after our friends returned to Vienna, packed up their car, and drove to their boat in Italy.  Below, are some of the photos from our 9 days in Salzkammergut.  Tomorrow, we will post photos from Vienna, the South Tyrol, and southwestern France.

Finn, Peter, Laura, and Alex pose in Gmuden at the northern end of Lake Traunsee

Finn, Peter, Laura, and Alex pose in Gmuden at the northern end of Lake Traunsee

View out from the front door of our place (Villa Otterstein) on Lake Traunsee

View out from the front door of our place (Villa Otterstein) on Lake Traunsee

Our AirBnB hosts with their daughter who was visiting for the weekend.  They lived upstairs in the two story villa and invited us for breakfast, supper, and a band concert.

Our AirBnB hosts with their daughter who was visiting for the weekend. They lived upstairs in the two story villa and invited us for breakfast, supper, and a band concert.

View looking southeast from our flat on Lake Traunsee.

View looking southeast from our flat on Lake Traunsee at sunset.

The church in Mondsee where Captain von Trapp and Maria were married.

The church in Mondsee where Captain von Trapp and Maria were married.

Laura holds up a dirndl in Bad Ischl.  Local women  wore these.  The men wore liederhosen.

Laura holds up a dirndl in Bad Ischl. Local women wore these. The men wore liederhosen.

Hallstat on the Hallstatter See.  Site of the famous 2800 years old salt mines that gave Salzberg and Salzkammergut their names.

Hallstat on the Hallstatter See. Site of the famous 2800 years old salt mines that gave Salzberg and Salzkammergut their names.

On the way up to Gosausee.

On the way up to Gosausee.

At the top of the Dachstein mountains overlooking Gosausee (Lake Gosau).

At the top of the Dachstein mountains overlooking Gosausee (Lake Gosau).

Dachstein's near Gosausee.

Dachstein’s near Gosausee.

Lake Gosau (Gosausee) with the Dachstein Glacier in the distance.

Lake Gosau (Gosausee) with the Dachstein Glacier in the distance.

Gosausee

Gosausee

Gosausee

Gosausee

List of those murdered at Ebensee Concentration Camp at the southern end of Traunsee.

List of those murdered at Ebensee Concentration Camp at the southern end of Traunsee.

Remembrances at the Ebensee Concentration Camp.  Both Jews and non-Jews slaved here digging tunnels to produce V2 rockets at the end of the war.

Remembrances at the Ebensee Concentration Camp. Both Jews and non-Jews slaved here digging tunnels to produce V2 rockets at the end of the war.

Before leaving for Austria in July, we rented a car and drove to the mountain village of Gombe, just one hour away from Kas.  We had pre-ordered the lamb special which was eaten on a pavilion over a brook carrying snow melt.  Followed by a nap.

Before leaving for Austria in July, we rented a car and drove to the mountain village of Gombe, just one hour away from Kas,. We had pre-ordered the lamb special which was eaten on a platform. The private platform sat over a fast-moving stream carrying snow melt. The meal was followed by a nap, watermelon, and coffee.

Mark at Gombe, Turkey.

Mark at Gombe, Turkey.

M.

 

Amorgos

 

The monastery of Panagia Hozoviotissa

The Monastery of Panagia Hozoviotissa

We left Antiparos heading for Denousa Island on June 12 when the wind switched around to the southwest.  As we headed around the southern end of Naxos Island, we saw that it was calm and beautiful in Ormos Kalando, so we pulled in a dropped anchor, figuring that we could get to Denousa the next day.  The next day the wind blew so strongly that we could neither leave the boat nor head out to sea.  After a day, the conditions were good for leaving Kalando but the wind was too much on the nose for sailing to Denousa, we deviated to Kalotyri Bay in Amorgos Island.

We spent 3 very enjoyable days at Amorgos Island.  We wanted to rent a car and see the island but that appeared to be difficult to arrange since there was no town where we anchored, and our mobile phone had had an unfortunate bath in the toilet that rendered it inoperable.  However, I discovered Evdokia Car Rental with a Google search and a couple of emails latter, they delivered a fine little car to the beach (Ayios Pavlos) at Kalotyri Bay for their standard rate of 30 euros a day.

Amorgos island’s coastline is almost completely characterized by high, steep cliffs.  There is a spectacular new road (thank you EU) along the west coast of the island that connects Aegialis in the north to the highland Chora and the ferry town of Katapola.  It is only 5 miles as the crow flies to Katapola but more than 20 miles of hairpin turns to drive there.  The highlight was the Monastery of Panagia Hozoviotissa.  One drives to a small parking lot on the east coast below the Chora and hikes up to this very small monastery clinging precariously on the cliff side, built to protect a religious icon, dating from the year 812, from intruders.

From Amorgos we did a 31 hour passage direct to Kastellorizo (Megisti), the easternmost Greek island that lies only 3 miles from our marina at Kaş, Turkey, where we checked out of Greece.  By moving quickly we took advantage of an excellent weather window at the start of a meltemi (period of strong northwesterly winds) plus saved some of our limited European (“Schengen”) visa days for further adventures.  We are now back in our berth at the Kaş Marina.

M.

Laura must wear a dress over her Capri pants in order to enter the monastery

Laura must wear a dress over her Capri pants in order to enter the monastery.  I had to put pants over my shorts,  We were served a glass of mastica liquor at the top.

The monastery of Panagia Hozoviotissa, from the trail (looking up)

The monastery of Panagia Hozoviotissa, from the trail (looking up)

The monastery of Panagia Hozoviotissa, from the trail (looking up)

The monastery of Panagia Hozoviotissa, from the trail (looking up)

Looking downn from the trail to the monastery

Looking down from the monastery trail

Amorgos coast

Amorgos coast

Amorgos coast

Amorgos coast

Small hotel in Katapola, Amorgos

Small hotel in Katapola, Amorgos

Amorgos coast

Amorgos coast

Kalotyri Bay (Amorgos) with Nikouria Island in the background.  You can see Sabbatical III at anchor if you look closely.

Kalotyri Bay (Amorgos) with Nikouria Island in the background.

Aigialis town (Amorgos)

Aigialis town (Amorgos)

Fishing boat at Aigialis (Amorgos)

Fishing boat at Aigialis (Amorgos)

Giorgio and Pantelis -- friendly waiters at Captain Pepinos Taverna in St. Georges, Antiparos

Giorgio and Pantelis — friendly waiters at Captain Pepinos Taverna in St. Georges, Antiparos

Despotiko anchorage bounded by Despotiko Island in the distance and  St. Georges, Antiparos in the foreground

“Despotiko anchorage” bounded by Despotiko Island in the distance and St. Georges, Antiparos in the foreground

Flat stones make up the beach at St. Georges, Antiparos

Flat stones make up the beach at St. Georges, Antiparos

View from St. Georges, Antiparos

View from St. Georges, Antiparos

Rock formation that looks like the head of a turtle, Livadi Cove, Despotiko

Rock formation that looks like the head of a turtle, Livadi Cove, Despotiko

Livadi Cove, Despotiko Island

Sabbatical III anchored at Livadi Cove, Despotiko Island

Sifnos and back to Antiparos

 Church in front of Kastro, Sifnos

We sailed from Antiparos to the bay at Vathi on the island of Sifnos where were hiked and explored for five days.  We took advantage of the great bus service on the island.  From Sifnos we returned to the bay between Antiparos and Despotika island.   The wind was perfect for sailing in both directions.

  
View of Kastro on the hike from Apollonia.

  
On the hike to Kastro from Apollonia

  

Apollonia, Sifnos
On the hike to Kastro from Apollonia.   

On the hike to Kastro from Apollonia. 

 
Antiparos  

 

Antiparos 


Antiparos

 
Mackerel and octopus at Captain Pepino’s Taverna, Antiparos  

  

 
Sotiris carries Mackeral and octopus at Captain Pepino’s Taverna, Antiparos

M. 

Paros and Antiparos with Cathy and Brock

All of us at the highland vilage of Lefkes on Paros Island, Greece

All of us at the highland village of Lefkes on Paros Island, Greece

We had a great time with Laura’s sister Cathy and her husband Brock who spent five days on Sabbatical III.  We met them at the ferry dock in Paroikia (Parikia), Paros Island on May 31 and took them to Sabbatical III via rental car to the Monastery at Ioaunnou Bay, and from there by dinghy to our boat in the bay.  We walked the beautiful hiking trails above the bay — climbing to the highest point to get sweeping vistas toward Mykonos.  The next day we drove around the island, with long walks around Naoussa and the highland town of Lefkes.

Cathy and Laura on Paros Island

Cathy and Laura on Paros Island

Lighthouse at northwest tip of Paros Island

Lighthouse at northwest tip of Paros Island viewed from the hiking trail

View of the anchorage at Ioannou Bay with the town of Naoussa in the background (Paros)

View of the anchorage at Ioannou Bay with the town of Naoussa in the background (Paros)

Hiking train above Ioannou Bay (Paros)

Hiking trail above Ioannou Bay (Paros)

 

Tenderizing the days catch of octopus and squid, Paros

Tenderizing the days catch of octopus and squid, Paros

Duck guards her eggs, Naoussa harbor, Paros

Duck guards her eggs, Naoussa harbor, Paros

Naoussa Harbor, Paros

Naoussa Harbor, Paros

 

On June 2 we sailed from northern Paros to St. Georges Bay in Antiparos Island, a distance of 28 nautical miles.  The wind and sea was up, and the first 45 minutes heading north out of Paros was quite uncomfortable.  When we turned downwind in the wide channel separating Paros and Naxos, we had a much smoother, and fast, sail.  The highlights of Antiparos that we experienced were it’s famous cave, the charming town of Antiparos, and the nearby uninhabited island of Despotiko.  Laura and I visited Despotiko Island two years ago and all we saw were goats and a fenced in area that was clearly an archaic ruin.  This time, there was a large team of Greek, Italian, and American archaeologists and their students hard at work restoring the site.  The lead American took the time to explain the history of the site and then we spent time chatting with the American students.

Church, St. Georges, Antiparos Island

Church, St. Georges, Antiparos Island

Laura and Cathy, St. Georges, Antiparos Island

Laura and Cathy, St. Georges, Antiparos Island

 

Fishing skiff, St. Georges, Antiparos Island

Fishing skiff, St. Georges, Antiparos Island

Grilled whole squid, Captain Pepino's Taverna, St. Georges, Antiparos Island

Grilled whole squid, Captain Pepino’s Taverna, St. Georges, Antiparos Island

Garlic seller visits Captain Pepino's Taverna, St. Georges, Antiparos Island

Garlic seller visits Captain Pepino’s Taverna, St. Georges, Antiparos Island

Archaeological dig at Temple to Apollo, Despotiko Island (adjacent to Antiparos)

Archaeological dig at Temple to Apollo, Despotiko Island (adjacent to Antiparos)

Cathy, Brock, and Laura pose with American students working at the Temple to Apollo dig on Despotiko Island

Cathy, Brock, and Laura pose with American students working at the Temple to Apollo dig on Despotiko Island

Laura and Cathy on Despotika Island

Laura and Cathy on Despotika Island

Full moon over Antiparos

Full moon over Antiparos.  Watching the moon rise was a highlight of every night Cathy and Brock were with us.

 

Inside the "Cave of Antiparos"

Inside the “Cave of Antiparos”

High winds and seas cancels the ferry from Antiparos to Paroikia, Paros that Cathy and Brock planned to take

High winds and seas cancels the ferry from Antiparos to Paroikia, Paros that Cathy and Brock planned to take.  They were able to get on another ferry (to Pounda) and then a bus to Paroikia.

M.

 

 

 

Cyclades

 

Wildflowers in Kythnos

Wildflowers in Kythnos

We spent two nights anchored at Rinia Island after our passage across the Aegean from the Dodecanese Islands to the Cyclades Islands.  We hoped to visit Mykonos but the southerly did not quit so we went to Finikas (Foinikas) on Syros (Siros) Island.  A good anchorage but not a charming town.  We took the bus across the island to the main city of Ermoupolis in order to get SIMs for our internet devices and phone from Vodafone.  Ermoupolis is a beautiful town and we enjoyed walking around and climbing to the highest hill to visit one of the cathedrals.

View of Ermopolis, Syros Island

View of Ermoupolis, Syros Island

We sailed to Kythnos Island on May 19th, anchoring in Ayios Stefanos on the east coast.  We spent one week here two years ago and loved the place.  Then and now, we ate one meal a day at the one taverna in this small hamlet.  Two years ago we established a warm relationship with Flora, one of the family proprietors of the taverna.  This year, Flora was with away so that her daughter could go to school.  Her brother Antony and his wife Magdelena were there, and, of course, the parents.  Antony’s mother cooked and Magdelena served, and most days we were the only customers.  The spring rains brought wildflowers to the hills that rise up steeply from this bay, and we had some wonderful walks.

Antony's parents, Antony, Magdelena, and Laura

Antony’s parents, Antony, Magdelena, and Laura

View from above Ayios Stefanos (Kythnos)

View from above Ayios Stefanos (Kythnos)

We joined Antony and Magdelena in their pickup truck as they went to feed and water the “lambs”, goats, and chickens at three different locations on the island.  They dropped us off at the chora,  the charming highland town that is the urban center of the island.  There we found some working internet at a cafe, lunch, plus some small stores.

Laura and Magdelena in the back seat of the pickup truck with Boo-Boo the dog in the truck bed

Laura and Magdelena in the back seat of the pickup truck with Boo-Boo the dog in the truck bed

The private road to their lambs is narrow, deeply rutted, and is precariouslu cut into the mountain side.

The private road to their lambs is narrow, deeply rutted, and precariously cut into the mountain side.

"Lambs" jostle for feed after Antony fills the trough

“Lambs” jostle for feed after Antony fills the trough

The lambs all have a hole in their ear and have two legs tied together with rope

The lambs all have a hole in their ear and have two legs tied together with rope

Legs tied

Legs tied

View of the lamb shelter and pasture from above

View of the lamb shelter and pasture from above

Lunch in the chora (Kythnos)

Lunch in the chora (Kythnos)

Antony waters the goats

Antony waters the goats

Laura picks wild thyme

Laura picks wild fennel

View of church from hhike above Ayios Stefanos (Kythnos)

View of church from hike above Ayios Stefanos (Kythnos)

House in chora, Kythnos

House in chora, Kythnos

Small church on tiny island in front of Ayios Stefanos, Kythnos

Small church on tiny island in front of Ayios Stefanos, Kythnos

Small church on tiny island in front of Ayios Stefanos, Kythnos

Small church on tiny island in front of Ayios Stefanos, Kythnos

Reading email at cafe, chora, Kythnos

Reading email at cafe, chora, Kythnos

We are now anchored at Nousssa, Paros Island.  More on that later.

 

M.

 

Mersincik to Leros and many stops in between

View from "Mikro Horio" on Agathonisi Island, Greece

View from “Mikro Horio” on Agathonisi Island, Greece

Agathonisi to Leros in the Dodecanese islands of Greece

Agathonisi to Leros in the Dodecanese islands of Greece:  A – Agathonisi, B – Arki, C – Kusadasi, D – Pythagoreon, E – Lipsi, F – Leros

We are way behind on our blog, so I will go through the highlights quickly and try to catch up.  We left Keçi Bükü (Turkey) on April 28 heading for Agathonisi Island (Greece) in strong southerlies.  That night, we stopped in Mersincik bay, at the far end of the long peninsula on which Datca is located.  Just as we were entering the bay the wind increased to 35 knots with higher gusts and we could see whitecaps even inside the bay.  But it was late and there seemed to be no alternatives nearby so we entered and anchored with some difficulty.  In the middle of the night the wind switched to east and I sat anchor watch for a couple of hours.  The wind moderated by morning and we headed for Agathonisi, just a few hours away. We have already written about the Syrian refugees arriving in Agathonisi.   As the temperatures were cool, we did a lot of walking in the hills, and enjoyed a few excellent meals at George’s Taverna.

View from Mikro Horio (hilltop village), Agathonisi

View from Mikro Horio (hilltop village), Agathonisi

View from Mikro Horio (hilltop village), Agathonisi

View from Mikro Horio (hilltop village), Agathonisi

Tiny chapel in the Mikro Horio of Agathonisi was religious paintings and icons including the rare Our Lady in the Sunglasses

Tiny chapel in the Mikro Horio of Agathonisi has religious paintings and icons including the rare Our Lady in the Sunglasses

We left Agathonisi on May 3 intending to sail to the marina at Kuşadası to officially clear out of Turkey, but observing an island 10 miles to the west, we changed our minds.  The island is Arki (Arkoi) and we spent a delightful two days there.  We picked up a mooring in narrow Port Stretto where we had less than a foot of water under our keel.  Next to us on the only other usable mooring was the British boat “Wight Egret” with David and Beverly aboard, who quickly became our friends.  The mooring belonged to the Apolafsi Restaurant, where we dined twice.  We walked into town (Port Augusta) every day to drink coffee and use the internet.

Port Stretto, Arki Island (Greece)

Port Stretto, Arki Island (Greece)

Walking path, Arki Island

Walking path, Arki Island

On the walking path, Arki Island

On the walking path, Arki Island

Stone walls topped with thorn bushes traverse Arki Island

Stone walls topped with thorn bushes traverse Arki Island

At the southeast corner of Arki Island

At the southeast corner of Arki Island

On May 5, we sailed from Arki Island to the Setur Marina in Kuşadası, Turkey.  In the windy strait between Samos Island and Turkey (Mycale Strait), the glass cover on the vanity smashed and bits of glass fell into the toilet and stuck in the toilet pump.  That, along with an erratic engine thermostat, gave me some more things to do in the marina.  Two days in Kuşadası were enough to provision the boat, fix the toilet and thermostat, and get officially cleared out of Turkey.  On May 7, we sailed to Pythagorion (named after their most famous son, Pythagoras) on the south coast of Samos Island in order to officially clear into Greece.  Even though the Samos Marina knew we were coming, there was much confusion when we arrived.  Inside the tight confines of the marina, with 25 knots of wind, the lone “marinaro” (“boat boy”) changed his mind twice on where we should tie up.  Laura was running over the deck moving fenders and lines while I struggled to control the boat until we tied side-to on a concrete dock.   The next day we rented a car and drove to Vathi in order to get SIMs for our mobile phone, USB modem, and iPad, and then drove around the island.

Thanks to this sign I avoided taking the shortcut across the marina in my rental car.

Thanks to this sign I avoided taking the shortcut across the marina in my rental car.

View from Manolates, Samos Island

View from Manolates, Samos Island

View from Manolates, Samos Island

View from Manolates, Samos Island

View from Manolates, Samos Island

View from Manolates, Samos Island

We sailed from Pythagorion, Samos to Lipso (Lipsi) Island on May 11, anchoring off of the beach at Katsidia at the sparsely populated southern end of the island.  We had been told that Delilah’s Taverna on the beach was excellent.  Unfortunately, it was closed for renovation.  The day after we arrived, we walked 35 minutes to Lipsi town up and down a steep road and had lunch at the Kalypso Restaurant.  We dawdled over ice coffee waiting to see if it would rain but finally decided it would not and walked on the town quay to see the sail boats tied up there.  Just as it started to pour, we came about “Wight Egret” whom we met in Arki the week before.  David and Beverly invited us aboard to get shelter from the rain which soon turned into successive waves of thunderstorms accompanied by strong winds.  After two hours on “Wight Egret” there was no end to the rain in sight and it was getting dark.  We found the island’s only taxi driver and he took us to Katsadia with our iPads protected by an umbrella borrowed from “Wight Egret”.

Sabbatical III at Katsidia, Lipsi Island

Sabbatical III at Katsidia, Lipsi Island

Sabbatical III at Katsidia, Lipsi Island

Sabbatical III at Katsidia, Lipsi Island

Church, Lipsi Island

Church, Lipsi Island

Laura overlooking Lipsi town

Laura overlooking Lipsi town

Lipsi Island

Lipsi Island

Lipsi Island

Lipsi Island

On May 14 we sailed from Lipsi Island to Blefouti (Plakouti) in northern Leros Island in order to get protection from the approaching southerlies.  On the way, we anchored off of uninhabited Arkhangelos Island for a swim.  On the sail over, we caught up with “Wight Egret” and we anchored together in a small cove at the western end of the island.  Everyone swam but me — the water is still too cold for my taste, although the day was delightfully warm.  Laura could not speak for the first minute after she got in, but then got used to the temperature.  “Wight Egret” had lunch on Sabbatical III and then headed for Lakki, while we went on to Blefouti.  We had a nice walk around the bay.  Unfortunately, the one taverna at Blefouti had not opened for the season yet and we were left to have scrambled eggs for supper.  The next morning (yesterday, May 15), we left Blefouti at 6 am to sail across to the western side of the Aegean, ending up in Rinia Island (just west of Mykonos) after a 13 hour sail in a decent southerly with a tiring steep chop.  Today we are just resting.

M.

David and Beverly of "Wight Egret" at lunch on Sabbatical III at Arkhangelos Island

David and Beverly of “Wight Egret” at lunch on Sabbatical III at Arkhangelos Island

View from Blefouti (Leros Island) towards Lipsi Island

View from Blefouti (Leros Island) towards Lipsi Island

Donkey grazes at Blefouti (Leros Island)

Donkey grazes at Blefouti (Leros Island)

Coming ashore in Agathonisi

    
 Rescued Syrian refugees depart Agathonisi on Coast Guard cutter.  Sabbatical III in foreground. 

  
Rescued Syrian refugees depart Agathonisi on Coast Guard cutter. 

There were Syrian refugees in the tiny Greek town of St. George’s on AgathonisiIsland where we spent the last few days.  They show up every night here, arriving on large inflatable rafts, from somewhere on the Turkish coast.   Let me describe the town and the setting.  The bay in Agathonisi is very small.  There is room for 2 or maybe three boats to anchor and some additional room at the town quay for another 3 boats to Med moor to shore.  There is a very large concrete dock that pretty much takes over the entire eastern side of the bay. We think it was built to accommodate the ferries that come in a few times a week to deliver goods or people to the island.   Most of the time the islander’s fishing boats tie up next to it until the ferry arrives, and then they move off to accommodate the larger boat’s needs.   There are only seven or eight commercial establishments in town, all facing the little bay: two tavernas, a snack/coffee shop, two tiny grocery stores and a couple of homes offering rooms to rent. There might be a couple hundred year round residents on the island.   There is also a small rocky beach in the bay that the local kids and occasional tourist go for a swim.   


We pulled into the bay on Wednesday, the 29th of April, at about six pm, and were pleased to find ourselves one of only two visiting boats in the anchorage.    From the anchorage you are only 50 feet from the stores and tavernas and we could see the locals going about their business as usual… painting new signs for the little general store, the local policeman washing his car, a few moms with baby carriages pushing their kids down the sidewalk.   We also noticed a large group of men sitting in the opening of a building that seemed to be a community center, just 50 feet up the hill from the main street.  We assumed it was some type of party. 


The next morning when we looked out, we saw that there were even a larger group of people gathered on the patio of the community center, and also about 30 men sleeping, or sitting in small groups, on the large concrete dock near us. Most were dressed in blue jeans, and jackets.  Most had back-packs.   Still totally not cognizant of what was going on, we decided they must be day-laborers brought to the island to do some work.   But, it didn’t take too much longer for us to realize that they were refugees.  There is a small army presence on the island and before long some official looking Greek men started organizing the men on the dock into small groups, and had them line up.  A small chartered ferry soon arrived and part of the group of the men climbed on-board and were ferried away.  The remaining men that were on the dock were loaded onto the deck of a Greek Coast Guard cutter An hour later we saw a larger group of people start to come down from the community center.  It was mostly men, but also a few women and children.  The women were dressed conservatively, with headscarves and long skirts.   All of these people were lined up in groups and quietly waited for the next bigger ferry to arrive and take them away.  


  

Community center with waiting refugees


  

Two inflatable boats that brought refugees to Agathonisi one night


In the meantime, there was no sign of unease among the Greeks onshore.  Kids continued to ride their bikes around, some young women were sun-bathing on the beach, and the townspeople continued their local business, most of them scooting in and out of town on motor-cycles.  The small fishing boats came and went on the docks as well.


We went onshore and spoke to the woman who runs the small grocery store to ask about what was going on.  She told us that the refugees arrive almost nightly. She guessed there might have been 500 or more this year. They come in large (but not large enough) inflatable boats (see photo).  A Greek coast guard cutter is positioned a few miles off-shore (see photo) and she said it has become almost a daily occurrence that one or more groups of these immigrants show up in the middle of the night on Agathonisi. There they await transfer (usually within a day) to the larger island of Samos, and then on to Athens and ultimately elsewhere in Europe. This is undoubtedly happening on all of the Greek islands that are close to Turkey. 

She said that these people tended to have some resources… many had cash andpurchased food in the store, and as far as she could tell us, they had paid fairly significant amounts of money to get on the boats that took them from Turkey to Greece (which meant they now would have access to other EU countries). 


For the day or so that they are on Agathonisi they must stay in the little community centerThere they are provided with food and drink. We walked by the center a few times and although we didn’t want to “spy”, we couldn’t help trying to see what was going on.  The women and children looked healthy and even smiled and waved at us.  The men were very quiet.  Since these were the ones who have “made it”, I am guessing that despite their travails and uncertain future, they might have been feeling quite a bit of relief of having made it safely to the EU. 


  

Syrian refugees walk from the dock to the visitor center.


  

Greek naval vessel on patrol off Agathonisi.  Turkey is in the background.



On our third night in Agathonisi we were awakened at 3:00 am by cries coming from close by.   We looked out and saw a Coast Guard boat positioned near the concrete dock.  Behind it was an inflatable dinghy sitting low in the water with what looked like about 20 people onboard.  Another 20 people had already jumped or fallen out of the dinghy, into the very cold water, and were frantically trying to swim to the tall concrete dock while calling out loudly in Arabic. Women were screaming. It looked like the people in the water did not really know how to swim, and besides it was dark, and the water was cold, and they were trying to maintain their backpacks.  It was also clear, however, that the Coast Guard was not about to let anyone die, and those in the water made it up onto the dock within a few minutes.  The only words we could make out were “English?” and “baby!”, which was pretty heart-stopping. The others, who had remained in the inflatable had an easier time as they were pulled right alongside the Coast guard boat and were helped onboard and then they were able to walk onto the dock without getting wet.  All had life jackets.   There was a full moon so it was quite easy to see what was happening, plus we were anchored quite close by.   We still can’t understand how they get from Turkey (11 miles away) to this little island on those inflatables.  We don’t think there was even an engine on them and 11 miles is a huge distance at sea in an overloaded inflatable raft.   Perhaps they set out from Turkey on a larger boat and then they get dropped off once they are in sight of Greek land and/or a Coast Guard ship.   It is hard to understand and extremely disturbing to witness.  


The group was led off to the community center and the next morning we saw them all sitting in the warm sun, hopefully somewhat rested and rehydrated.   We took a walk to the local dumpster to drop off some trash and found all of the large trash containers filled to overflowing with the discarded life-jackets of the refugees.  They must be throwing out hundreds and hundreds of these.  The inflatable dinghies get punctured (probably by the Coast Guard), their plywood bottoms removed, and then these also get trashed.  It’s a lot for a small island to absorb.   


We left Agathonisi on Sunday, and headed to the nearby island of Arki which is not getting any of the refugees.  It is another 10 miles further from the Turkish coast which probably explains the difference.


All is well on board Sabbatical III.  We are safe and well and have to say that we are having an interesting year. 

L.


  

The small settlement of St. George on Agathonisi Island, Greece


Orhaniye in Bee Season

View in the Orhaniye valley

View in the Orhaniye valley

We are still anchored in Keçi Bükü, a bay at the head of the Gulf of Hisaronu. As it is early in the season, we are still the only cruising sailboat anchored in the bay. One other boat, a large motoryacht, is anchored a few hundred meters away from us. There are lots of sailboats tied up to the small quays on the southern side of the bay, but most are still being stored there for the winter and are unoccupied.

A few days ago, the wind finally eased and we took our dinghy to shore to check out what the area has to offer. There are small hotels and restaurants on the southern shore but none have opened for the season except for one restaurant. On the northwest side of the bay, near its mouth, is the upscale Marti Marina and Hotel. Two kilometers in from the southern shore is the little agricultural village of Orhaniye. It is set in the middle of a valley cut by two streams and surrounded by steep rock cliffs on three sides, and Keçi Bükü bay on the other side. As one climbs up the four kilometer long valley it narrows so that it is just a hundred meters wide at its narrowest, and only one kilometer wide where it comes down to the water. The air is filled with pollen from the flowers of orange, lemon and other fruit trees, and from fields thick with wild flowers and honeysuckle, and groves of pine trees below the cliffs.

Blossoms

Blossoms

Flowers

Flowers

Flowers

Flowers

The bloom of flowers makes the air intensely sweet everywhere in the valley. The pollen is so thick that it even covers the boat with a substantial layer of fine pollen powder even though we are well out in the bay. Every day we wash off an accumulation of pollen from our solar panels in order to get the most energy from the sun. Last night it rained and in the morning the whole boat was streaked with red-orange pollen. It is not surprising that the main agricultural pursuit of the season is beekeeping. Every orange tree hums with the hundreds of bees gathering pollen from its flowers. Shake the tree even lightly and the hum turns into an angry drone. A walk in the wildflowers brings up little clouds of bees. These are domesticated bees, not wild bees, so the risk of bee bite is low. There are blue wooden boxes with bee hives everywhere. Not all of the bees make it back to the hive every night. When we take the dinghy back to our boat just before sunset in the evening chill (less than 60 degrees F), the bay is marred by bees doing a death dance on the water’s surface. Some of them fall onto the boat – twirling on the deck and unable to fly.

The valley consists of a series of small farms. Women in traditional loose fitting clothes and scarves work planting vegetable gardens and caring for already mature onions, lettuce, rocket and other early spring crops. Men pick oranges and lemons, work the hives, watch over goats and sheep, or till. Most of the homes are rough stone, all with electricity, and most with a motor scooter or car. There are a handful of very nice multistory polished stone homes overlooking the valley, some with a swimming pool, that are the country homes of urban families from Izmir and other cities. During one afternoon walk we met a young Turkish woman and her mother. The young woman is an electrical engineer and very hip, with a tattoo of Ataturk on her shoulder that proclaims her secularism, and spoke excellent English. She and her family are from Izmir and are building a country home in the valley. When we mentioned that we would love to buy some oranges, she said that she didn’t think there was any place to buy them at retail, but she would be happy to ask a farmer if we could buy some. As we passed a beautiful orchard, she said that its owner had the best oranges in the valley and she would ask him if we could get some. The owner was very friendly and immediately took out a ladder and climbed one of his trees to gather some fresh oranges for us… as many as we wanted. Since we had to carry them back to the boat we limited ourselves to about 5 kilos of oranges and several huge lemons. He charged us 5 lira (about two dollars). One other day, a different farmer sold us juice oranges and his wife took us into their extensive garden and cut three heads of leaf lettuce and a bag of rocket for us to buy. On another walk, a man invited us in for coffee where we met his two children and talked about the Orhaniye valley. He told us that he and his uncle had just gathered 20 kilograms of the “best” honey from their hives, and how many kilos would we want to buy…five? He was surprised that one kilo was all we wished to buy. Not only do Turks soak baklava and other dessert dishes in honey, some take a tablespoon of honey morning and night to aid digestion. He pulled some lettuce and a large onion from his garden as a parting gift. Today, at the only little store in the valley, we sat outside and drank cherry juice with the proprietor. Two days before his wife sold us a large chicken just off the rotisserie, and we ordered another for tomorrow – plus some organic farm eggs.

Wildflowers fill a field

Wildflowers fill a field

Bee hives stacked in front of a farm house

Bee hives stacked in front of a farm house

A farmer picks some oranges for us

A farmer picks some oranges for us

Tomorrow the wind switches to the southeast again so it is time to head north. We will head for Mersincik and anchor for the night, and the next day continue north again. We have enjoyed our stay in the anchorage at Keçi Bükü, our walks through the valley of Orhaniye, and the new friends that we have made. This is certainly among our favorite places in the Med.

M.

Goat munches on wildflowers

Goat munches on wildflowers

Shearing sheep

Shearing sheep

Mulberry tree

Mulberry tree

Farmer picks lettuce for us

Farmer picks lettuce for us

Farmer washes rocket for us

Farmer washes rocket for us

Orhaniye valley

Orhaniye valley

Tilling a field (witth a cow!)

Tilling a field (with a cow!)

Lemons

Lemons

Valley girls

Valley girls

Priimary school children celebrate Ataturk's birthday

Primary school children celebrate Ataturk’s birthday

View towards Sabbatical III from Byzantine fort on an island in the bay

View towards Sabbatical III from Byzantine fort on an island in the bay

View from the fort

View from the fort

Poppies

Poppies

 

Keçi Bükü

Ruins of fort at Keçi Bükü

Ruins of fort at Keçi Bükü

We left at Sunday morning for a sail to Keçi Bükü, a bay at the head of the Gulf of Hisaronu. Two kilometers inland from here is the small village of Orhaniye. The forecast called for southeasterly winds lasting only 18 hours or so, and we were determined to make use of them for heading to the northwest up the Turkish coast.
We left the marina on Saturday afternoon and anchored out in the adjacent bay. There, we set both downwind poles, installed jacklines, and made other preparations for a nighttime sail. After a couple of hours of sleep, we left at 1 am for our passage. We motored for 4 hours or so in light northwesterlies until the southeasterlies came in. When they did, we set our big (150 %) genoa on a pole and our mizzen on a preventer and had a great sail. Our route took us right in front of the harbor or Rhodes. Unbeknowst to us, a wooden sail boat carrying Syrian migrants crashed onto the rocks of Rhodes sometime that day, with the tragic loss of three lives.
The Rhodes harbor used to have one of the “Seven Wonders of the World” ,the Colossus of Rhodes, a 35 meter tall statue, as a landmark for ships. It was toppled by an earthquake in 227 BC. What a sight it must have been for sailors of the time. Now there are a couple of poles with flashing lights to mark the harbor entrance. Not quite the same effect esthetically, but still effective from a navigational point of view.
We were doing over 9 knots in strong winds when Laura was at the helm. We did only 7.5 to 8 knots when I was at the helm. Something about Laura brings out the wind and gets the boat going. When we started to bring in sail to turn up into the Gulf of Hisaronu, the turning block on the fore guy that holds the downwind pole in place completely blew apart, flinging bearings into the sea. We did not need the pole anymore to head up into the gulf and we have a spare onboard, but it was a beefy bit of boat hardware that was bent and destroyed by the force of the wind.
We are anchored behind a small island topped by a medieval fort but have not left the boat in the three days since we arrived. It is blowing so hard (from the northwest) that we are just hunkered down until it blows itself out a bit. Fortunately, we have plenty of food and reading material aboard, so we are happy. But we would like to stretch our legs and search for fresh fruit.
M.

Gombe and Patara

Sow covered mountains behind the mosque at Gombe

Snow covered mountains behind the mosque at Gombe

We took a day away from boat chores yesterday and rented a car and explored nearby sites with Melinda and Dave of Sassoon.  A nice Fiat 4-door sedan is only 25 euros this time of year.  Our trip took us west along the D400 coast highway past Kalkan to the beach and ancient Lycian city of Patara.  The Lycian civilization goes back more than 3000 years. On the way we stopped for a look at Kaputas Beach in between Kaş and Kalkan.  From Patara we took the road up into the mountains to the small town of Gombe, locally famous for its cherries, apples, and other orchard fruit.  At Patara Beach it was 72 F and sunny, the warmest day this year, but 90 minutes away in Gombe the mountains were covered in snow and we were wearing coats over our fleeces, with warm hats.  The road down to Kaş from Gombe was particularly beautiful — covered in pines, views of snow capped peaks, and the occasional herd of goats crossing the road.  We left the marina at 10 am and were back at 7 pm the same day.

Kaputas Beach on the Kaş - Kalkan road

Kaputas Beach on the Kaş – Kalkan road

Laura at the ancient Lycian temple at Patara

Laura at the ancient Lycian temple at Patara

Temple coliseum at Patara

Temple coliseum at Patara

Some friendly your Americans who just finished hiking the Lycian Trail (Patara)

Some friendly young Americans who just finished hiking the Lycian Trail (Patara)

On the road above Kalkan

On the road above Kalkan

View from the barrage (dam) at Gombe

View from the barrage (dam) at Gombe

The trail above Gombe

The trail above Gombe

The trail above Gombe

Dave, Melinda, and Laura on the trail above Gombe  We saw no one else on the trail that afternoon.

 

The boat is almost ready to put to sea.  Easterly winds are predicted for Sunday and Monday and we will use that opportunity to sail to Goekova Limani, the long, narrow bay on which the city of Datca is located.  We will leave at 1 am Sunday or Monday morning so we can still arrive in daylight at our destiination.

 

M.

In the water for the start of a new sailing season

Sabbatical III awaits launch at Kaş Marina

Sabbatical III awaits launch at Kaş Marina

Sabbatical III is back in the water and we are getting her ready for a cruise up the Turkish Aegean coast and then to the Greek Isles.  We spent four nights living aboard while Sabbatical III was on the hard (above), using the ladder pictured to get on and off.

Sabbatical III shows off her waxed and polished topsides and new anti-fouling paint below the water line.  Note the timbers used to hold her up.

Sabbatical III shows off her waxed and polished topsides and new anti-fouling paint below the water line. Note the timbers used to hold her up.

We are back in our previous berth at Pontoon C berth 13.  Next to us in C14 is a sea turtle (below) who is very polite and does not disturb us even when she eats the marine growth on our underwater lines.

Our sea turtle neighbor who hangs out in the adjacent berth.

Our sea turtle neighbor who hangs out in the adjacent berth (C14).

On the other side of us, in berth C12, there is a school of sea bream (below) who are quiet except when you throw them some bread — then its a feeding frenzy.

Sea bream in berth C12.

Sea bream in berth C12.

Plus the young ones who hang out at our stern in C13 (below).

Small fry behind Sabbatical III in C13.

Small fry behind Sabbatical III in C13.

We are almost finished with our maintenance and  improvement projects and should be ready to head north-west up the coast by Sunday or Monday.

Stuff that needs to be stowed.

Stuff that needs to be stowed.

Laura scrubs the deck and wipes down the stanchions.

Laura scrubs the deck and wipes down the stanchions.

M.

Istanbul

 

Fisherman on the Galata Bridge with the Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque) in the background

Fisherman on the Galata Bridge with the Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque) in the background

We spent 8 days touring Istanbul in cold and rainy weather.  We rented a small house in the Beyoğlu district of Istanbul.  Here are some highlights:

Sultan Ahmed Mosque at dusk

Sultan Ahmed Mosque at dusk

View of mosque from the hop-on-hop-off ferry

View of mosque from the hop-on-hop-off ferry

View from the Bosphorus

View from the Bosphorus

Lunch on the Bosphorus

Lunch on the Bosphorus

Ceiling of mosque

Ceiling of mosque

Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque)

Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque)

Pistachio Kadayif at Karaköy Güllüoğlu

Pistachio Kadayif at Karaköy Güllüoğlu

Laura locks the door to our three-story house before we leave for the day

Laura locks the door to our three-story house before we leave for the day

For sale in the fish market

For sale in the fish market

For sale in the fish market (gills turned out)

For sale in the fish market (gills turned out)

Galata Bridge in cold weather

Galata Bridge in cold weather

 

Vienna

Laura at intermision of the Marriage of Figaro at the Vienna Staatsoper

Laura at intermision of the Marriage of Figaro at the Vienna Staatsoper

It was a comfortable 5 hour train trip from Prague to Vienna.  We easily found our way on public transportation to our AirBnB on Plenergassestrasse. It is less than a mile from the flat of our Austrian sailing friends from “Risho Maru”.  We then walked to Risho Maru’s flat and got a wonderful warm greeting and a lovely dinner.

The next morning we all went for a walk to Turkenschantz park for the first day of the holiday Christmas Market (Weihnachtsmarkt). We had spiked punch, roasted chestuts and a delicious gingerbread cake. Later that day, on the way to the see the Marriage of Figaro at the Staatsoper, Mark and I stopped at a really big Christmas market at Rathausplatz.

We had terrific seats at the opera –first row box seats in the first balcony, but not together.  The opera was just wonderful and we both enjoyed every minute. After the opera, we had dinner at Cafe Landtmann (one of Freud’s old favorites).  The next morning we flew to Istanbul, where we are now.

L.

 

Christmas Market at Rathausplatz, Vienna

Christmas Market at Rathausplatz, Vienna

Christmas Market at Rathausplatz, Vienna

Christmas Market at Rathausplatz, Vienna

Chocolate fondue at Christmas Market

Chocolate fondue at Christmas Market

Prague

 

View of Prague

View of Prague

We traveled by train to Prague from Berlin on November 11 (Tuesday).  We stayed in a cute flat in a classic building in the Vinohrady district, one block from the tram and the metro.  We had tickets for the Czech State Opera a couple of hours after we arrived from Berlin, and we barely got organized in time to get there. We ended up walking to the theatre which really was not too far… maybe a 20 minute fast walk from the apartment. We had great seats (10th row center) for a very good price, and enjoyed a very well done Barber of Seville.

We spent the next couple of days just walking around the town, taking trams and the metro and enjoying the beautiful architecture. The restaurants in our neighborhood were all cute, trendy and reasonably priced. The best find of all was a restaurant called Parlament, closer to the center of town, that served real Czech food.

On Friday night we went to another opera, Rigoletto. This time we were in the third row center and enjoyed it even more.  Saturday morning we left for Vienna.

L.

Mark at the Parlament Restaurant

Mark at the Parlament Restaurant

On the famous bridge over the Charles River

Hebrew words on crucifix on the famous bridge over the Charles River

Old Jewish Cemetary.  Oldest tombstone dates to 1439.

Old Jewish Cemetery. Oldest tombstone dates to 1439.

Old Jewish Cemetery.  Oldest tombstone dates to 1439.

Old Jewish Cemetery. Oldest tombstone dates to 1439.

Food van on the street in Jewish Quarter

Food van on the street in Jewish Quarter

Berlin

We spent three days in Berlin with our sailing friends Michael and Britta of “Vera.” The most special part of our short stay was participating in the celebrations commemorating the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. We also shared great meals, toured around, and then Laura and I saw a great concert by the Vienna Philharmonic on the last evening. We then took the train to Prague. More on that later.

M.

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Brandenburg Gate illuminated during the 25th anniversary celebrations. The lit white balloons represent the actual location and height of the Berlin Wall.

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Balloons representing the Wall near Potsdamer Platz.

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Balloons along the river.

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Posing with Michael.

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Touring the Kaiser’s palaces at Potsdam.

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Sculpture in Berlin.

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Chocolate feast at Fassbinder & Rausch.

Last days of the season

View of Kasterlorizo from the cliff trail

View of Kasterlorizo from the cliff trail

We cancelled a planned sail north when the weather turned cold and rainy and returned to Kaş to get the boat ready to be hauled and stored on the hard.  There has still been plenty of time to socialize.  We attended Republic Day celebrations on the town square with our Turkish friends Eren and Bensu and our Canadian friends Michael and Gloria from “Paikea Mist” with delicious food by Ratatouille.  The period of rain has passed and we now have clear skies and pleasantly cool temperatures.

M.

David and Melinda ("Sassoon"), Michael ("Pakia Mist"), Laura, and Gloria ("Pakia Mist") sharing sundowners at the top of the ancient Lycian Coliseum, Kaş

David and Melinda (“Sassoon”), Michael (“Paikea Mist”), Laura, and Gloria (“Paikea Mist”) sharing sundowners at the top of the ancient Lycian Coliseum, Kaş

Eren and Bensu visit Sabbatical III for coffee

Eren and Bensu visit Sabbatical III for coffee

 

Fresh pomegranate and orange juice at the Kaş town square

Fresh pomegranate and orange juice at the Kaş town square

 

Naomi and Bob visit Sabbatical III

 

Naomi and Bob pose at the bow

Naomi and Bob pose at the bow

My sister Naomi and her friend Bob flew out from Chicago to Turkey and spent almost one week with us on Sabbatical III.  We spent one day in Kas visiting the Friday market, eating at our favorite restaurant, Eniste’nin Yeri, sampling dondurma (Turkish ice cream) on the town commons, and provisioning the boat.  We then sailed to Kastellorizo (Megisti Island), arriving at our anchorage just before a big squall that featured a waterspout less than one-half mile away.  The next day we had a great Greek meal and hiked around the charming town.  We then sailed to Aperlae in Kekova where it proceeded to rain on and off for much of the day.  All this rain made us feel bad about claiming that it rarely rains in this part of Turkey.  The skies did clear, and we star gazed from the deck at night, hiked up to Kaleköy for the views, and ate a couple of great meals at Ibrihim’s in Üçağız.  It was great to have them with us on the boat.

M.

Naomi checks out the anchorage

Naomi checks out the anchorage

Fishing boat in Kastellorizo

Fishing boat in Kastellorizo

Kastellorizo quay

Kastellorizo quay

Brother and sister

Brother and sister

Kastellorizo

Kastellorizo

View from Kaleköy (Kekova)

View from Kaleköy (Kekova)

Kekova

Kekova

View from Kaleköy (Kekova)

View from Kaleköy (Kekova)

Naomi at Kaleköy overlooking Sabbatical III in the background

Naomi at Kaleköy overlooking Sabbatical III in the background

Mark and Naomi at Kaleköy

Mark and Naomi at Kaleköy

 

Danny and Jamie visit Sabbatical III

Danny and Jamie on the bow of Sabbatical III at anchor at  Limanağzı

Danny and Jamie on the bow of Sabbatical III at anchor at Limanağzı

We had our friends Danny Rose and Jamie visit us for two days at the end of September. We showed them a bit of Kaş and had a great sail in the waters off of the Greek island of Megisti. We anchored at Limanağzı where the swimming was great and Danny scaled the cliffs to visit the cliff tombs and get a view from the top. After dinner on the boat, we sat on the deck looking for shooting stars.

Lunch at Kaş Marina

Lunch at Kaş Marina

Jamie and Danny relaxing

Jamie and Danny relaxing

Swimming off the boat at Limanağzı

Swimming off the boat at Limanağzı

Danny scales the cliffs at Swimming off the boat at Limanağzı

Danny scales the cliffs at Limanağzı

 

Snows in Turkey

 

Wileen and Steve on Sabbatical III

Wileen and Steve on Sabbatical III

We had visitors with us last week… our friends Steve and Wileen Snow from Rhode Island flew to Turkey to sail with us. We took them to our favorite spots in Kaş and then sailed with them to Kekova. We had a great time with them, doing lots of swimming, reading, talking and, of course, eating and drinking. Our favorite restaurant in Kekova (Aperlai Restaurant) outdid themselves with an incredible Turkish meal. We sat out on the lovely table set up on the dock and enjoyed the beautiful evening light while devouring multiple mezzes and salads and fish and lamb. The weather was almost perfect and the anchorages uncrowded. We also had some incredible views of the full (or almost full) moon rising over the sea and mountains around Kekova, went to Gokkaya, Kale Koy, and finally dropped Wileen and Steve off in Ucagiz. It was a wonderful week.
L.

At Kale Koy, Kekova

At Kale Koy, Kekova

Sarcophagi at Kale Koy, Kekova

Sarcophagi at Kale Koy, Kekova

Kekova

Kekova

Laura and Wileen go for a swim

Laura and Wileen go for a swim

Dinner at the Aperlai Restaurant, Kekova

Dinner at the Aperlai Restaurant, Kekova

 

 

Escaping the heat in Vienna and Switzerland

Laura envoys coffe with Apfelstrudel mit shlag (heavy cream) at Cafe Landtmann, Vienna

Laura envoys coffee with Apfelstrudel mit schlag (heavy cream) at Cafe Landtmann, Vienna

August 5th – September 2, 2014

We left the boat in our marina in Kaş, Turkey on the 5th of August and flew to Vienna. It’s super hot in Turkey in July and August and after shvitzing for the month of July we were happy to pack a couple of back-packs and fly to cooler parts of the world for a few weeks. Fortunately for us we have sailing friends who live in Vienna who were kind enough to let us live in their beautiful apartment while they went off for their summer sail. Our friends Alex and Peter and their 14 year old son Finn, are good friends of ours whom we first met in 2007 in the Galapagos. After sailing with them throughout French Polynesia, Samoa, Tonga and New Zealand for much of our first year at sea, they continued on with their circumnavigation and eventually returned home to work in Vienna.

Peter and Alex in their kitchen

Peter and Alex in their kitchen

Finn poses with Lego toy that we bought for him in 2008 and kept on the boat until now which is the next time that we saw him

Finn poses with Lego toy that we bought for him in 2008 and kept on the boat until now which is the next time that we saw him

We were excited to see them again and we had a great time together for a few days as they prepared to drive to Italy (where they now keep their boat). Then we moved into their apartment and had a wonderful 2 weeks enjoying both the apartment and the many beautiful parts of Vienna and getting to know and love Viennese food and desserts. We had great weather… hot for a few days and then cool with a nice mix of sunshine and clouds and an occasional rainy day. There is so much to do in Vienna and the public transport is terrific and cheap. We were lucky enough to spend an evening with Nathaniel Lepp (one of Ben’s good friends), who was in Vienna with Steph (his wife) to attend a friend’s wedding.

With Nathaniel Lepp in Vienna

With Nathaniel Lepp in Vienna

Some of the things we enjoyed during the time we were there include:

• Türkenschanzpark … our favorite park just a block away from the apartment;
• Figlmüller Restaurant … known for its schnitzel;
• Café Prückel … the most delightful place to spend a rainy afternoon and drink coffee;
• Stadtpark…. Interesting statues, especially when you have your iPad with you so you can find out who all these famous people are;
• Italian restaurant (I Tricolori) … near the movie theater we frequented… delicious pizza ;
• Kunst Historisches Museum …. a million artifacts from the time of the Habsburgs;
• Landtmann Café… one of our favorites for apple strudel (with whipped cream!) and previously a hangout for famous Viennese such as Freud;
• Würstelstände…. Yummy Viennese sausages sold in many places throughout the city ;
• Meyerei Café … in Türkenschanzpark Park. Great ribs, amazing desserts, nice waiters;
• Schoenbrunn Palace…of the ruling Hapsburgs ;
• Jewish Museum…. Two separate museums, one with a special exhibit dedicated to Amy Winehouse….. not exactly what we were expecting, but actually very interesting ;
• Salmannsdorf… great walk in the vineyards;
• Rathausplatz… free movies on a giant screen every night and dozens of food vendors and thousands of attendees. We saw a spectacular concert there (on screen) with Gloria Estefan, also some opera and operetta on other nights;
• Pötzleinsdorf Park …. So beautiful;
• Plachutta Restaurant where we had the Tafelspitz (boiled beef) speciality

 

Amy Winehouse stares out of the Jewish Museum, Vienna

Amy Winehouse stares out of the Jewish Museum, Vienna

Schubert and Laura with both here

Schubert and Laura with both here

We walked among the vineyards above Vienna, sampling the grapes

We walked among the vineyards above Vienna, sampling the grapes

We walked among the vineyards above Vienna, sampling the grapes

We walked among the vineyards above Vienna, sampling the grapes

View of Vienna from the vineyards

View of Vienna from the vineyards

Street in Vienna

Street in Vienna

On August 21st we left Vienna and rode the train to Davos, Switzerland. What a beautiful ride. It took about 9 hours and we enjoyed every minute of it. We even took a 1st class compartment as they had a special deal for “seniors” which we couldn’t pass up. In Davos we rented a lovely 2 bedroom apartment, also owned by sailing friends of ours. Our friends share this house with their family and often ski there in the winter. It is not used much in the summer so it was available for us to rent. Davos was great, but a bit cold and rainy. Temperatures were often in the 50’s and we had some rain most every day. Still, it was nice enough to go for a couple hour hike almost every day and there are so many paths there that you could hike for a whole summer just in the immediate vicinity. There is also a beautiful lake in town. It was easy to hop on a bus or a train and go to some of the surrounding towns to hike… one of our favorite hikes was in the valley of Dischma Tal and a small village called Teufi. There were a couple of very convenient stores just a few minutes walk from our apartment so we stocked up on food and ate at home most nights. Restaurant prices were outrageous. One day we took a very scenic train-ride to St. Moritz… really spectacular ride.

Dischma Valley above Davos, Switzerland

Dischma Valley above Davos, Switzerland

Dischma Valley above Davos, Switzerland

Dischma Valley above Davos, Switzerland

Goats at Dischma Valley above Davos, Switzerland

Goats at Dischma Valley above Davos, Switzerland

Dischma Valley above Davos, Switzerland

Dischma Valley above Davos, Switzerland

Dischma Valley above Davos, Switzerland

Dischma Valley above Davos, Switzerland

Dischma Valley above Davos, Switzerland

Dischma Valley above Davos, Switzerland

Dischma Valley above Davos, Switzerland

Dischma Valley above Davos, Switzerland

Looking down towards Davos from the Dischma Valley

Looking down towards Davos from the Dischma Valley

Keeping the gate closed,  Dischma Valley

Keeping the gate closed, Dischma Valley

Dischma Valley

Dischma Valley

On September 1st we took the train to Zurich and Hannah’s good Swiss friend Adina met us and brought us to her parent’s house. We got to meet her parents, Sammy and Katia and had a wonderful dinner at their home and then spent the night there. Really wonderful people.
September 2nd we flew back to Turkey. We had to spend the night in Antalya as we did not arrive there until mid-night and it is a 3.5 hour drive back to Kaş from there. We stayed at the Laguna Suites Hotel, a 2 star hotel, that is pretty comfortable and clean and fine for a one night stay.

L.

We pose with Sammy and Katia Rom at their flat in Zurich

Laura poses with Adina and her parents  Sammy and Katia Rom at their flat in Zurich

Kaş and Göcek

 

Laura and her birthday cake at Amigos Restuarant, Twenty-two Fathoms Cove, Göcek

Laura and her birthday cake at Amigos Restuarant, Twenty-two Fathoms Cove, Göcek

We spent one week at the Sarsala Koyu anchorage in Göcek where we celebrated Laura’s birthday and had a short visit with Dick and Lynn of “Wind Pony” and their granddaughter Annie and her parents.  We started off at the only mooring at the northeast corner of the bay.  It promised the best views of the mountains in the distance and a good breeze but it had one drawback that chased us away after a couple of nights — bees.  The bees came out about 6 pm and did not leave until almost 9 pm.  We had to stay below to escape them one night and the next evening they came in even greater number with seemingly aggressive intent.  I got bit on the arm and it really stung.  We jumped in the dinghy and zoomed away to escape them until dark. The next morning we found a mooring on the opposite shore where bees were not a problem.  Strong winds came up and our 60 meters of polypropylene webbing that we use to tie Sabbatical III to a bollard ashore snapped in a 38 knot gust on the beam.  That was an expensive piece of webbing that came on a beautiful stainless steel reel but it is clearly insufficient for a boat our size in gusty conditions.

The plan on Laura’s birthday was to have our friend Gürol pick us up with his skiff and take us to dinner at his family’s restaurant (Amigos), where Dick and Lynn would be waiting.  But he had engine trouble and we sat on our boat waiting for him as the sun set.  The full moon was so bright and the winds were so calm that we decided that making the 1.5 nautical mile trip in our dinghy was sufficiently safe, so we went off in the dark.  It was a great meal that ended with a small birthday cake for Laura.

Back in Kaş we have been exploring areas around town and swimming at the marina “beach.”  Here are some photos of the Kaş area so we do not forget the lay of the land some years down the line.

 

M.

View from the Seven Capes on the passage from Laura and her birthday cake at Amigos Restuarant, Twenty-two Fathoms Cove, Göcek

View from the Seven Capes on the passage from Göcek

The location of Kaş in the Eastern Mediterranean

The location of Kaş in the Eastern Mediterranean

Kaş and environs

Kaş and environs

Looking southwest over  Kaş town and the town dock

Looking southeast over Kaş town and the town dock

Looking west over Bucak Deniz (the fjord-like bay) and the marina

Looking west over Bucak Deniz (the fjord-like bay) and the marina

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One of many “sticky” plants

Looking towards the Çukurbağ Peninsula and Kastellorizo (Greece)

Looking towards the Çukurbağ Peninsula and Kastellorizo (Greece)

 

Restored amphitheatre aş

Restored amphitheatre Kaş

Amphitheatre

Amphitheatre

Laura at amphitheatre

Laura at amphitheatre

M.

 

 

 

 

 

Hannah and Adina visit Sabbatical III

Arriving on the boat at Kaş Marina

Arriving on the boat at Kaş Marina

Our daughter Hannah and her lovely Swiss friend, Adina, just spent a week with us. They arrived in Kaş on the 18th of June, just in time to celebrate our 36th wedding anniversary. The girls arrived in Istanbul on the 16th, having spent the previous week in Switzerland with Adina’s parents and after a quick preview of Istanbul, they flew to Antalya and then took the 4 hour bus ride to meet us at our boat in Kaş. We had the most wonderful week together, hiking, swimming, star-watching and sailing together. We spent the first 3 days of their trip at the marina in Kaş, partly because we love the town and wanted them to see it, and partly because the weather was not conducive to sailing for their first few days here. It was just too windy to take them out, particularly since Adina has not sailed before and we didn’t want her to be sea-sick. Fortunately, both of them love hiking, and Kaş is right on the Lycian Way, an ancient and now popular rock and olive tree strewn hiking trail that extends for some 509 kilometers along the coast of Turkey. After a morning swim in the ocean together everyday, we had amazing breakfasts onboard, with a huge assortment of delicious Turkish foods…. salty cheese, olives, tomatoes and cucumbers followed by delicious yogurt, honey, nuts, chocolate and good coffee. Our breakfasts were really extraordinary thanks to the easy availability of great markets in Kaş, and to Adina and Hannah’s enthusiasm for putting together plates with every delicious combination of ingredients that they could think of.

Celebration supper at Ratatouille Restaurant, Kaş

Celebration supper at Ratatouille Restaurant, Kaş

For our anniversary, and to celebrate the girl’s graduation from Harvard we all went out to “Ratatouille” an upscale restaurant considered by many people here to be the best in Kaş. While we had a beautiful meal, we ate the next night at the informal restaurant that Mark and I have been going to in Kaş for weeks, Enişte’nin Yeri, (we call it Einstein’s) and we all decided it was way better, much more fun, and with a much nicer setting (not to mention that it is also 1/3 the price). The girls liked it so much that they insisted on going again the next night. So much for fancy restaurants!

Kaş Marina swimming pool

Kaş Marina swimming pool

We had gale force winds on Friday, the day before we were scheduled to go sailing with them. The girls did the beautiful 2 hour hike from Kaş to the nearby bay of Liman Ağzı and got to experience the winds and waves from the safety of shore, while Mark and I stayed on the boat and listened to the wind howling and watch the docks sway back and forth. Maybe it is just that we have a new wind indicator on the boat that is actually working right for the first time, but the wind speeds of over 50 knots were about the highest we have ever seen on our boat. Luckily no boats at the marina were damaged.

Adina helps with breakfast

Adina helps with breakfast

We decided to sail over to Kekova the next day (Saturday) because the winds were much reduced and we wanted the girls to be able to experience sailing and anchoring out, rather than just staying at the marina for their whole trip. We probably should have waited one more day, because despite the much calmer winds, the seas were pretty rolly, and poor Adina was quite sea-sick for an hour or more. It is only a 3 hour sail from Kaş to Kekova, though, and after the first two hours things quieted down and she felt better and we actually had a marvelous sail. I think we may be passing out sea-sick pills to future guests before we set out.

Hannah at the weekly (Friday) market, Kaş

Hannah at the weekly (Friday) market, Kaş

We spent the next 2 days in the western-most anchorage of Kekova. It is called Polemos Buku and it is really lovely. There were only a few other sailboats there. It’s quiet and clean and very beautiful. It is also on the Lycian Way so we all were able to hike as well as swim while we were there. Mark and I would turn back after an hour or two of hiking while the girls continued hiking much farther. The best part of that anchorage is the little restaurant there… the Aperlai Restaurant. We had been there a few weeks before and couldn’t wait to show it to the girls. It is a very simple family run place with a very basic menu and you have to tell the owner what you want early in the day so he can take his motorboat into the nearby town to buy the ingredients. There are just a couple of tables, but the prime spot is just a single table set out over the water under a little canopy. They set it up with very nice table-ware and then bring out lots of delicious mezzes before the main course… way more than you think you can eat. It’s really an incredibly beautiful setting with delicious food and the owner and his wife and son and daughter are extremely nice. We love it.

View from the Lycian Trail

View from the Lycian Trail, Kekova

On Monday the girls did a long hike from our anchorage to the main (and only) town of Kekova, called Üçağız. While they were hiking, Mark and I sailed the boat over to the town and re-anchored. Then we dinghied over to town and met them for dinner. Mehmet, a friendly waiter at Ibrahim’s restaurant in town was really thrilled to have two beautiful young women at his restaurant and couldn’t have been more attentive. He gave the girls the name of a nice hotel in Capadoccia (their next destination in Turkey), that he works at in the winter and was helpful in getting them a reservation there, along with making arrangements for a taxi to come pick them up the next day to get them to the main road where they will pick up a bus to get them back to Antalya and onward to Capadoccia.

View from the Lycian Trail (Kaş(

View from the Lycian Trail (Kaş)

Tuesday was our last day together and we had one more lavish breakfast before doing a hike up to the medieval castle that sits above our anchorage at Kale Koy. Then one last swim and it was time for them to leave. Mehmet’s taxi driver came right on time, and the girls made it to Antalya on time to catch their overnight bus to Capadoccia.
We are already feeling lonely…
L.

Sarcophogus, Aperlae (Kekova(

Sarcophogus, Aperlae (Kekova)

 

Hannah and Adina at Aperlae Restaurant, Polemos Buku (Kekova)

Hannah and Adina at Aperlae Restaurant, Polemos Buku (Kekova)

Aperlae Restaurant, Polemos Buku (Kekova)

Aperlae Restaurant, Polemos Buku (Kekova)

After dinner at the Aperlae Restaurant, Polemos Buku (Kekova)

After dinner at the Aperlae Restaurant, Polemos Buku (Kekova)

Adina and scarf maker pose after purchase, Üçağız (Kekova)

Adina and scarf maker pose after purchase, Üçağız (Kekova)

At the top of Kaleköy (Kekova)

At the top of Kaleköy (Kekova)

Helpful waiter at Ibrihim's Restaurant, Üçağız (Kekova)

Helpful waiter at Ibrihim’s Restaurant, Üçağız (Kekova)

At the top of Kaleköy (Kekova)

At the top of Kaleköy (Kekova)

Lycian Trail, Kekova

Lycian Trail, Kekova

 

 

Göcek

View of Skopea Limani (Bay) from the trail to Ruin Bay (Göcek)

View of Skopea Limani (Bay) from the trail to Ruin Bay (Göcek)

We have returned from 8 days in Göcek (June 8 to June 16).  It was a good sail over in a moderate easterly.  After anchoring out in Göcek harbor the first night, we entered the Skopea Marina in order to get some work done on the boat by the crew at Emek Marine.  The biggest issue was a broken wind vane at the mast head that was stubbornly stuck in place. After a day of repairs, we sailed to Yassica Adalari Island for one night and the next day continued on to Sarsala Koyu bay in the Skopea Limani marine reserve where we were lucky enough to find a mooring.  The charter sailing season is in full swing and there are lots of boats around. Our friends Lynn and Dick from “Wind Pony” out of St. Paul, Minnesota (who we first met in Vanuatu 4 or 5 years ago) joined us and we had a good time hiking, swimming, and eating.  Very strong westerlies blew us back to Kaş.

M.

Goats get dropped off at the dock, Sarsala Koyu (Göcek)

Goats get dropped off at the dock, Sarsala Koyu (Göcek)

Kekova

Gökkaya Limani (Kekova)

Gökkaya Limani (Kekova)

We spent 10 days (May 20 – 30) in Kekova along with our friends Melinda and Dave of “Sassoon.”  Kekova Roads is the area between Kekova Island and the mainland in the eastern Aegean about 20 miles from Kaş,  The anchorages are protected and the water is clear, and there are no towns of size. We swam and hiked, ate meals together on our boats and at some small restaurants.  We sailed there on a westerly and returned on an easterly.  All in all a great trip.

Aperlai Restaurant, Polemos Bükü, Kekova

View from Aperlai Restaurant, Polemos Bükü, Kekova

Posing with the proprietor, Smugglers restaurant, Gökkaya (Kekova)

Posing with the proprietors, Smugglers restaurant, Gökkaya (Kekova)

Sarcophagus line the trail on the way up to the castle at Kaleköy, Kekova

Sarcophagus line the trail on the way up to the castle at Kaleköy, Kekova

View from the castle at Kaleköy, Kekova

View from the castle at Kaleköy, Kekova

M.

 

 

 

Turkish travels without the boat

Cappadocia

Cappadocia

We arrived back in Turkey on April 4th, flying from West Palm, Florida to Atlanta, and then on to Paris and Istanbul.  After a night at the airport hotel in Istanbul we took the morning flight to Antalya and then were picked up by a driver for the 3.5 hour trip to Kaş Marina.   We spent the first night in a small hotel in Kaş (Hotel Kekova), but then immediately moved onto the boat even though it was on the hard.  It was kind of noisy in the hotel with lots of dogs barking and the room smelled like cigarettes, so we decided that it was preferable to sleep on the boat even if it meant climbing up a ladder to get onboard and having no water or toilet facilities for the few days before we got put back into the water.   Our friends Melinda and Dave on the boat Sassoon and Jill and John on the boat Petronella were also in the boatyard as well, having arrived a month before us with a full list of boat projects to do.  

 We were very efficient at getting the boat in proper order in just a few days and on the 9th of April we were put back in the water and we tied up at our spot on the dock.   It was a bit crazy as we had to leave on the 10th and retrace our steps back to Istanbul in order to catch a flight to Tel Aviv. (It took 12 hours portal to portal, even though it is just 2 hours away by air if we could only fly there directly from Kaş) We spent a week with my sister Diane and her family in Jerusalem along with my mom and sister Cathy who had both flown in for an extended visit.  We had a wonderful visit and enjoyed a very special holiday with our family.

 We returned to the boat on the 18th of April and then worked on the boat for the next 5 days before heading out once again for a big land based tour to Capadoccia.  It was a 6 day tour, organized by Gwen, a woman sailor in Marmaris who has been arranging tours for sailors for the past 10 years or maybe more.  We took a local bus to Fethiye the night before the tour began, as the tour bus could not come down to Kaş to pick us up.  In Fethiye we stayed at a darling little hotel “Villa Daffodil” and then met up with some very good friends that we had not seen since last year… Rick and Robin from “Endangered Species”, Lynn and Dick from “Wind Pony” and Frank and Barbara from “Destiny”.  Lynn and Dick just arrived from Thailand and are awaiting their boat that is coming on the Sevenstar freighter, and the other boats arrived here last year on freighters just as we did  (after sailing from the U.S. to Thailand like we did).   

 Our tour to Capadoccia was led by an experienced guide named Tas (Burhan Tas) and a young, but very competent driver named Emrah .  Our group had 6 couples, including 2 sets of Dutch, 2 sets of Brits and 2 sets of Americans.  It was a really great group of people… all very low key and friendly and fun.   The highlight of the trip was the time spend in Capadoccia viewing the incredible caves and towers and incredible rock structures.  We did a pre-dawn hot air balloon trip (along with hundreds of other tourists on the 100 hot air balloons that are currently licensed there). It was incredibly beautiful and well worth it.  The pictures show how beautiful it was.

 The trip involved a lot of driving (more than 2,200 km over the 6 days) in our little tour-bus, but it was well planned out with lots of interesting stops both coming and going to Capadoccia.    The only part of the whole tour that we did not like was the night out at a venue promoted as “Turkish Night”.  We were herded into a room along with hundreds of other tourists, fed very mediocre food, all the bad liquor we could drink, and then had to watch an extremely unprofessional group of dancers. The advertised “whirling dervishes” just walked around in a circle in the dark for 5 minutes, nodding to each other (and grimacing) and then they whirled half-heartedly for about 1 minute.   After that they did an assortment of other dances, but it was a bit like watching a bad high school talent show.  A group of women danced, and eventually some belly dancing was done.  Our group actually walked out before the night had ended, which I think may have embarrassed our tour guide, but we were all in agreement that it was just too painful to sit there any more than the 2.5 hours we had already been there; particularly since we had all been up since 4 a.m. for the balloon ride.

Sagalassos (ancient city)

Sagalassos (ancient city)

Sagalassos (ancient city)

Sagalassos (ancient city)

Cappadocia

Cappadocia

Laura and Chris at Cappadocia

Laura and Chris at Cappadocia

Lunch with the group

Lunch with the group

Carpet coop in Cappadocia

Carpet coop in Cappadocia

Carpets for sale

Carpets for sale

Balloon is inflated (Cappadocia)

Balloon is inflated (Cappadocia)

Balloons waiting to be inflated

Balloons waiting to be inflated

Aloft

Aloft

Aloft

Aloft

Our balloon

Our balloon

Balloons over Cappadocia

Balloons over Cappadocia as the sun rises

 

Balloons over Cappadocia

Balloons over Cappadocia

Balloons over Cappadocia

Balloons over Cappadocia

Balloons over Cappadocia

Balloons over Cappadocia

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Balloons over Cappadocia 20-DSCN0629

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Cappadocia

Cappadocia

Cappadocia

Cappadocia

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Tas and Emrah

Tas and Emrah

Dolls for sale (everywhere)

Dolls for sale (everywhere)

Other things we did on the trip are listed below just as a record for ourselves:  

 Our fellow travelers included: 

Ian & Glenda on Lucy Alice (British)

Piet and Viets on Tringus (Dutch)

Keith and Clair on Panulirus (British)

Johannes and Eli on Boemerang  (Dutch)

Dan and Chris on Interlude (American)

 Day 1 :  Picked up at Hotel Villa Daffodil in Fethiye at 9:30.  Everyone else already on board. Most everyone boarded in Marmaris, except Chris and Dan who got picked up in Göcek.

 Lunchstop near Sagalassos in the neighborhood of Isparta, where we looked at the old theatre and library. Had a bit of a hike to view the ruins

Stayed in a hotel at Egirdir on an island in a lake. Mediocre hotel, but beautiful view of the water.

 Day 2: 9.00  beautiful drive  around the lake in the direction of Konya (240 km). Visit to a 900 year old wooden mosque and tour of the mosque with the imam.

Just before Konya the bus had a flat tire. The guys all pitched in to help change it.

Lunch in little private room in a restaurant with seating on the floor or on low couches. Delicious lamb, lentil soup, salads and dessert. Visited the Mevlana museum,the home of the original mystical whirling dervishes.

16.00 250 km to Nevsehir (Cappadocia)

19.45 Avrasya hotel in Avanos. Big rooms, good food and we stayed there for 3 nights.

 Day 3: New tires arrive from Izmir for the bus.

9.00 Soganli Valley, canyon with fairy chimneys and rock churches. Visit to Dirinkuyu, an underground city, 11 floors down built into the rocks.

Stops at several beautiful viewing places.

Visit to a carpet weaving cooperative.

 Day 4: Very early balloon flight! Amazingly beautiful.  Our balloon operator was very professional and clearly very experienced.  He estimated that he had over 1,000 flights.

Went to Goreme open air museum with rock churches. (a bit too full of tourists)

Lunch at Uranos restaurant (underground).

Avanos Pottery demonstration. Terrific demonstration by a professional potter.  I get chosen to try the wheel.

Trip to Imagination Valley, another beautiful view.

 16.00 back at the hotel. In the evening a Turkish night with food and dancers.

 Day 5: Day of travelling. Goreme to Konya. Lunch stop in the woods. (Taurus Mountains)

Long cave walk that lead to a very deep cavern with water.

18.30  Suite Hotel Laguna in Antalya in the center of the town. Nice dinner buffet.

 Day 6: a walk through the old city of Antalya.

Visit to Duden Waterfall and trout lunch.

We leave the group and take the public bus to Kaş. Fun bus ride with wifi,  a steward serving cake and Coke, and movie screens in front of each seat.  Beautiful views most of the ride home.

 L.

 

 

Kaş Marina, Turkey

Kas Marina at sunset

Kas Marina at sunset

We are now back in the US after having put Sabbatical III away for the winter in the Kaş Marina.  We checked out of Greece at Kasterllorizo on October 28th, which is Ochi Day, a national holiday celebrating the refusal of the Greek government to accept the ultimatum of the Axis powers to allow Axis forces to enter the country.  The Customs agent was part of the ceremony but we were happy to spend an extra hour watching the official festivities before getting checked out and leaving for the one hour sail to the Kaş Marina in Turkey.

Civic leaders assembled for Ochi Day celebration  (Kastellorizo)

Civic leaders assembled for Ochi Day celebration (Kastellorizo)

School children carry the Greek flag for Ochi Day  (Kastellorizo)

School children carry the Greek flag for Ochi Day (Kastellorizo)

Soldiers from thee large military presence parade for Ochi Day (Kastelloizo)

Soldiers from the large military presence parade for Ochi Day (Kastelloizo)

Ms. Kastellorizo

Ms. Kastellorizo

Kastellorizo

Kastellorizo

 

Rocky hillside behind Kastellorizo town

Rocky hillside behind Kastellorizo town

The day after Ochi Day in Greece, it was Atatürk’s birthday in Turkey and also a national holiday.  The check-in to Turkey was handled by an agent at the marina and was painless although a bit pricey.  The marina itself is beautifully situated and the staff are extremely friendly.  Kaş town had one large street party for Atatürk’s birthday, with dining in the streets, music, speeches, and a fireworks display. We spent some days getting Sabbatical III ready for winter storage.  She was expertly hauled and now sits with a beautiful view across the Bucak Deniz, the long fjord-like bay on which the marina is situated.  We spent a few days on the boat after she was hauled doing maintenance tasks that required that the boat be out of the water.  In this we were assisted by the personable and knowledgeable Riza Cagdas Cakir and his assistants from Emek Marine who drove down from Göcek to help for an afternoon.  They got more done in an afternoon than I could do in a week.

Statue of Atatürk on main square of Kaş is adorned with flowers in honor of his birthday

Statue of Atatürk on main square of Kaş is adorned with flowers in honor of his birthday

 

Sabbatical III gets hauled, Kaş Marina (Turkey)

Sabbatical III gets hauled, Kaş Marina (Turkey)

Hull of Sabbatical III

Hull of Sabbatical III

M.

 

Rhodes and Kastellorizo

View from the ruined castle at Kastellorizo toward the anchorage at Mandraki Bay and the shore of Turkey in the background

View from the ruined castle at Kastellorizo towards the anchorage at Mandraki Bay and the shore of Turkey in the background

We are anchored in Mandraki Bay on the small island of Kastellorizo (officially known as Megisti but also referred to as Meis in nearby Turkey), the easternmost island of Greece.  Kastellorizo is only one mile from Kaș, Turkey, where we will leave Sabbatical III for the winter.

We left alone from Symi for the island of Rhodes on October 19, leaving behind our friends on Sassoon who were soon to head north to Datca, Turkey.  Since the city of Rhodes did not promise secure anchoring places, we planned to head down the eastern shore of this very large (80 km. long) island for the small bay in front of the ancient town of Lindos.  We expected that the high island of Rhodes would block any wind but were pleasantly surprised by gusty winds of 15-25 knots that enabled us to sail along the entire coast.  Along the way we passed “Eclipse,” the second largest private yacht in the world and owned by the Russian oligarch Roman Abramowich, while shadowed by his security boats.

Lindos, founded by the Dorians in the 10th century BC, is a very pretty town of stone dwellings set on narrow, winding alleys leading up a steep hillside.  At the very top is the old “Acropolis” that most tourists reach on donkey.  The tourist season may be almost over in much of Greece, but not in Rhodes.  They come on ferries and buses every day to Lindos to sunbathe and swim, have lunch, buy souvenirs, and ride to the Acropolis on a donkey.  The ferries come at 10 am and are mostly gone by 5 pm.  The bay offered a great view but indifferent anchoring for Sabbatical III on a mostly rocky bottom and some hours of incredibly bad rolling.  The roll could be so bad that we made it a point to be off of the boat as much as we could. 

Twice we walked up to the coastal road and took the public bus to the city of Rhodes for the day, a one hour trip.  We spent our time exploring the old walled city and really enjoyed it.  We were particularly moved by our visit to “La Juderia” – the Jewish Quarter – where a Jewish community dating to ancient times lived and thrived.  The Romaniote Jews who arrived in the second century BC were joined by Ladino speaking Sephardic Jews escaping the Spanish Inquisition in the early 1500s.  The Sephardic Jews were welcomed by the Ottoman Sultan to Salonika, Izmir, and other places under Ottoman rule, as well as to Rhodes.  In 1930, the Jewish population of Rhodes reached 4000 but quickly fell as economic times worsened and particularly after the imposition of racial laws by the Italian government which ruled Rhodes and the other Dodacanese Islands starting in 1912 (after the Turkish-Italian War).  The leading destinations of the migrants were Rhodesia, Belgian Congo, and the USA.  In 1943, Rhodes was occupied by the Germans, and on July 23, 1944, 1673 members of the remaining  Jewish community were arrested and then deported to Auschwitz, along with the Jews of the island of Kos (Cos).  All but 150 were murdered.  Forty or so of those arrested held Turkish nationality and the day after the mass arrest, the Turkish Consul-General protested vociferously that his nationals, some of whom had only the remotest proof of Turkish nationality, must not be deported.  They were not deported and most survived the remainder of the war in Rhodes, and the Turkish Consul is honored at Yad Vashem  The oldest Torah scrolls of the community were hidden in a mosque by the Grand Mufti (whose grandfather-in-law was Jewish) and returned to the community at the end of the war.  The Kahal Shalom Synagogue, built in 1577 and one of six synagagues that once existed in La Juderia, is beautifully restored and still in use by the handful of Jews that remain.  It also houses a wonderful museum detailing the centuries of Jewish life in Rhodes.

Entrance to the Kahal Shalom Synagogue, La Juderia, Rhodes

Entrance to the Kahal Shalom Synagogue, La Juderia, Rhodes

Names of the Jews of Rhodes and Kos who perished in the Holocaust (Kahal Shalom Synagogue)

Names of the Jews of Rhodes and Kos who perished in the Holocaust (Kahal Shalom Synagogue)

Holocaust Memorial in public square, Rhodes

Holocaust Memorial in public square, Rhodes

When we came to shore in Lindos, we always anchored our dinghy some distance off-shore. I would let Laura out of the dinghy in shallower water, and then would walk the dinghy out further to knee deep water and set an anchor.  Wading to shore one morning I felt something catch my ankle and lower leg – probably a derelict rope I thought.  I lifted by leg out of the water and discovered all eight legs of a good-sized octopus holding tightly to my lower leg.  That was a bit of a shock.  I kicked my leg to get him off, but he stayed put and I almost lost my balance in the effort.  I tried again and he let go and fell back into the water.  The owner of the Skala Taverna saw what had happened and asked me to catch the octopus.  He offered me a long pole that was like a hoe and encouraged me to look for him near where I was standing.  I looked down and there he was, his color camouflaged to blend in with the rocky sea bottom, but still visible in the crystal clear water.  So I grabbed him with the business end of the pole and lifted him out of the water.  He immediately hit me with a stream of water and fell back into the sea.  I tried again with the same result.  Not wanting to miss our bus to Rhodes and get any wetter, I handed the pole back to the restauranteur who was in the process of rolling up his pants and removing his shoes.  I doubt that the octopus was caught because I saw him jetting away along the bottom.

Octopus is beaten to soften it prior to cooking (Kastellorizo)

Octopus is beaten to soften it prior to cooking (Kastellorizo)

On October 23, we did an overnight passage to Kastellorizo.  This small island is so remote from the rest of Greece that it is about the same distance to Israel as it is to Athens.  The small town is very cute with brightly painted houses and a ruined castle.  The water is perfectly clear and large sea turtles prowl in the bay.  Kastellorizo once had 10,000 inhabitants but the first half of the 20th century was very unkind, and most of the homes in the town lay in ruins at the end of World War II and most of the inhabitants wound up in Australia.  There has been a resurgence in the past couple of decades as many “Kazzies,” as they are known in Australia, have returned to fix up their family properties on the island.  There are now more than 200 permanent residents, some small hotels, and a small daily ferry from Kaș, Turkey brings groups of tourists for the day.  On Monday, we will check out of Greece and head into the marina at Kaș, Turkey just a couple of miles away.

Kastellorizo town

Kastellorizo town

Sail boat makes it way from Mandraki Bay into the town basin at Kastellorizo

Sail boat makes its way from Mandraki Bay into the town basin at Kastellorizo

Restored house, Kastellorizo

Restored house, Kastellorizo

Restored houses, Kastellorizo

Restored houses, Kastellorizo

Quay at Kastellorizo

Quay at Kastellorizo

Kastellorizo

Kastellorizo

 

Laura at taverna, Kastellorizo

Laura at taverna, Kastellorizo

M.

 

 

Symi

View of Symi Harbor

View of Symi Harbor

Symi Harbor

Symi Harbor

Symi Harbor

Symi Harbor

Melinda (of "Sassoon") and Laura at Symi Harbor

Melinda (of “Sassoon”) and Laura at Symi Harbor

Melinda and Davd (Sassoon) and Mark and Laura overlokking Panormittis Bay

Melinda and Davd (Sassoon) and Mark and Laura overlooking Panormittis Bay

We have spent the last three nights anchored in Panormittis Bay on the southwest coast of Symi Island  It is a lovely spot and well protected from wind and seas from any direction.  We knew that there was a bit of a storm coming, so we decided this was the place to ride it out.  It blew through Wednesday night and Thursday bringing moderately strong winds from the south and the first heavy rain we had seen since April.  The skies began to clear yesterday evening the wind dropped to less than 10 knots but, just as we were finishing supper, it suddenly came up 35+ knots from the north without any warning.  Two boats dragged anchor instantly and three more within the next 10 minutes.  They all had trouble resetting their anchors, dragging repeatedly, and one just put to sea rather than risk grounding ashore.  What looked like a lazy evening turned into a two hour sh*t show.  Fortunately, Sabbatical III held firm, as did the two boats directly in front of her, and our friends on Sassoon.

On Wednesday, we took the local bus from in front of the monastery here to Symi town  It was a 45 minute ride on a spectacular road winding around the mountains overlooking the sea.  We had a good look at the harbor in Symi town and from what we saw, we would never go in there with our boat.  It was a mess of tangled anchors, frayed tempers, and roll.  I cannot imagine what it was like when the 35+ knots came through the next evening.  Apart from that, Symi town is the cutest Greek town that we have seen, and the island is the prettiest.  We had Constantino the taxi cab driver take us back to Panormittis with our bags full of groceries.

Tomorrow, we split away from Sassoon and head to Rhodes and then to our Turkish marina at Kas.  It has been great to travel with David and Melinda and since they will end their season at Kas as well, we will certainly get to see them again.

 

M.

 

 

 

 

 

Levitha Island

Sailing past the cliff or Amorgos Island

Sailing past the cliffs of Amorgos Island

We left the lovely little anchorage in Andiparos (or Anti-Paros) a week ago (October 7th) and sailed over to Lévitha, an island inhabited by a single family but pretty conveniently located for us as we progress southeast on our way back to Turkey.  Unfortunately there was no internet or 3G service there so we were pretty much incommunicado there for a whole 5 days until we finally were told that if you climb up the hill to the family’s taverna, and then continue around the corner from the WC and go behind the goat shed and walk up the hill facing south, you can get pretty good 3G!  Who would have thought?

  Anyways we went to Lévitha to meet up there with our good Australian sailing friends Dave and Melinda from Sassoon who are also sailing back to Turkey.   At first glance the little harbor seemed bleak and barren, but as with all the Greek islands we have visited so far, we soon decided it was quite an enchanting place.  The nice place about Lévitha is that the enterprising family  has put in good sturdy moorings so that the small bay can safely accommodate many more boats than it could hold if everyone was anchoring.  They have put in 10 or 11 moorings and the day we arrived we were thankful that we had arrived early as by 6:00 p.m. every spot was taken and several boats had to drop anchor and tie a line to shore.  That was the only night that it was so crowded.  It must have been partly due to the fact that the previous week there were such strong winds and no-one was moving anywhere and then when the winds died down and everyone started moving at the same time.    

We managed to pass several days there in totally calm conditions which was lovely.  The water was crystal clear, but a bit too cold for me to swim (since I am still fighting a cold), but it was perfect for kayaking. Dave and Melinda managed to swim at least twice a day.   The taverna on the hill was excellent and it was a lot of fun to go up there in the evenings and sometimes meet up with sailors from other boats.  Most of them were charterers, or short term cruisers, and almost no-one spent more than one night there except Sassoon and ourselves.   It was a great anchorage and we would highly recommend it to other sailors. 

 L.

View from Levitha Island

View from Levitha Island

 

View of shepard's hut on Despotiko Island with Sabbatical III and Antiparos in the background

View of shepard’s hut on Despotiko Island with Antiparos in the background

Ruins of Temple of Apollo, Despotiko Island

Ruins of Temple of Apollo with Sabbatical III in the background, Despotiko Island

Laura at Despotiko Island

Laura at Despotiko Island

 

Drying octopus at Captain Pepino's Taverna, St. Giorgio, Antiparos Island

Drying octopus at Captain Pepino’s Taverna, St. Giorgio, Antiparos Island

 

 

 

Athens to Antiparos

View to the Acropolis from ouor hotel in Athens

View to the Acropolis from our hotel in Athens

Acropolis

Acropolis

Acropolis

Acropolis

Antiparos town

Antiparos town

Antiparos town

Antiparos town

View from St. George, Antiparos towards Despotika Island where we are anchored

View from St. Georgio, Antiparos towards Despotika Island where we are anchored

We are back on the boat and at anchor in the small bay between the small island of Antiparos and the smaller and uninhabited island of Despotiko in the Cyclades groups of Greek islands in the Aegean.  We spent two days in Athens before returning to the boat in Kalamata and doing a 30 hour sail in rough conditions to Antiparos.  The wind was been blowing hard for the past week but should calm tomorrow.  On Tuesday we will leave for Amorgos Island.

M.

Church at St. Georgio, Antipasto

Church at St. Georgio, Antiparos

Church at St. Georgio, Antiparo

Church at St. Georgio, Antiparos

Antiparos town

Antiparos town

View of shepard's hut on Despotiko Island with Sabbatical III and Antiparos in the background

View of shepard’s hut on Despotiko Island with Antiparos in the background

Ruins of Temple of Apollo, Despotiko Island

Ruins of Temple of Apollo with Sabbatical III in the background, Despotiko Island

Laura at Despotiko Island

Laura at Despotiko Island

 

Drying octopus at Captain Pepino's Taverna, St. Giorgio, Antiparos Island

Drying octopus at Captain Pepino’s Taverna, St. Giorgio, Antiparos Island