Thursday, 2 June 2016

Ormos Karathona (second part)

It turns out Mrs Matoula also runs the local post office and her hubby Adam is the local fridge-man. We introduced ourselves properly and Mrs Matula was very happy with Sue's gift - one of her on-board store of Kemer pashminas. Adam offered to loan me his vacuum pump and decant me some R134a and suggested we should change all remaining fridge coupler O-rings (one changed in Leros 2 weeks earlier leaving me to change remaining 4).
Our good friend Carl, of EC Rewinds  had kindly sent us the new electric motor, as spare capacitors and puller, so we soon had it fitted and our water-maker working again, as goo and possibly better than ever. Also, our fridge is now working ticketeeboo (again) and we are thinking "If it's still ticketeeboo in couple of weeks then we can consider our repairs complete". If not I think it'll be a new evaporator to buy and fit. For now and after 6 days use, the signs are very promising because the repair in Leros only lasted 6 days and tomorrow we're on day 7 this time round.
Last Sunday 29th we pulled our hook out of Koiladhia dirt and dropped it next in Ormos Devanou 2 hours/10 NM later. A fine place with all-round protection where we stayed next couple of days. We needed to do couple of unexpected repairs here. Firstly Sue informed me that our 'UP' windlass button was 'playing-up'. This meant, soon as we were settled on hook I needed to fit a new one (we keep couple of spares after I found some going at good price on Ebay when the first buttons unexpectedly failed - crap buttons made/sold by Lewmar! Secondly, later that night, just when we were charging batteries around midnight before going to bed, our Cummins Onan alternator unexpectedly failed. As has been the case many times over the last 7 years the soddin seawater impeller failed yet again. We've been talking to Cummins Onan about this fault since first one failed in 2009 when Ticketeeboo was new. The impeller is made by Sherwood (USA) and it's completely unreliable and unfit for the purpose. I've spoken to owners of different sailing yachts as well stinkpot and I have yet to find anyone who can reliably get 500 running hours/12 months out of the seawater impeller. Thinking "Best do this repair now rather than leave it 'till morning" our generator was available again less than 2 hours later............. and my hands and knuckles suitably sore from handling parts too hot to hold. At least the in-line strained I fitted few years ago successfully holds-back the broken impeller bits, thus avoiding necessity to dismantle the heat exchanger and get them out.
Yesterday  ½ hour and 3NM passage further along the coast ment last night we dropped hook to NW of Nisos Tolo, opposite the town of Tolo, We chose the spot because there would be a no noise guarantee and we were nearly right because when fireworks were set-off around midnight we could observe them and hardly hear anything.
We beat yesterday's record this morning. <½ hour and 2½ NM to Ormos Karathona. Only yacht here for now, looking like some good beaches and excellent shelter. A grand place to being kiddies (just like most places we've dropped hook these last few days). Surprisingly the forecast SE 5 kn has been blowing up to 23 kn this afternoon. It'll probably go to nothing before end of the afternoon. Oh yes, the water temperature is now up to 24ÂșC so it's nearly warm enough to go swimming with the fish.


Ormos Karathona (first part) 37:32.3N 22:49.2E

It's been a few days since our last entry so here goes:
We pulled-up the hook at 8 o'clock on Wednesday 25th a whole week ago! Before leaving Kithnos we did a circle close to and around the dastardly demon s/y Ophira and even then couldn't raise anybody. Hence it's going to be an email to the Marta Registry.  Late afternoon and about 60 NM later we reclaimed mooring rights, long-lines to the defunct swimming quay at Mandraki, Idhra (Nisos Hydra). No sooner had we shown our intention several other yachties were fertilised with same idea and couple needed our assistance (self preservation). Next morning we did the walk into Hydra town and enjoyed good shop and iced coffee (pic on FB). When we returned to Mandraki Sue claimed settlement rights to the ownly free table in the local taverna whilst I returned to the yacht to get get the foodstuffs in fridge before they went off. Needless to say, our previously very attractive giant chocolate coated doughnut had migrated part of it's coating introducing us to some chocolate flavoured fresh bread (for a later feast). Once next to Sue and having taken on board claims of "You've been a flippin long time" I had to explain how difficult it can be once a local engages in conversation, mostly about Germans ad preferred mooring rights and hazzards in the bay. Sue & I set about demolishing a rather scrummy octopus and calamari lunch. Very good too. Couldn't help but notice a Sailing Holidays lead crew yacht arrive, dutifully followed by and extended group of flotilla sailing yachts. In meantime we watched several other charter yachts pretending to anchor. Some succeeded (of sorts) and some didn't. On in particular had tried anchoring too close to the shore and picked-up the inevitable fishermans ground tackle. After struggling for over an hour I excused myself, leaving Sue well engaged in conversation with couple nice Brits, and freed the German charterer of their mechanical creature from the deep and helped them moor by telling them exactly where to drop their hook and tied them back safely. Very nice people too and very appreciative. I couldn't take-up their offers to have beer on-board with them because one round of "You've been a long time" is more than enough for one day.
When we returned to Ticketeeboo it was just time for the Sailing Holidays lead crew to claim mooring rights for three additional yachts right next to us. Admittedly, their first attempt was just bit too close for comfort and they responded favourably when I asked them to change their long line to give us more room. The lead crew skipper was surprised when I told him we could expect a strong NW'ly early evening and well into the overnight. He had allowed for a SW'ly and NW'ly would put everyone on a lee-shore so it's best to prepare well, for safety. In meantime 2 x charter yachts had moored-up together on our other side and proceeded to have fun and celebrate their arrival. Over the next couple of hours they were more interested in their joviality and when they eventually realised one of their anchors wasn't holding too well they enjoyed attempting to correct the problem by deploying their kedge as well. Just before sunset, as they were getting ready to leave their yachts and go ashore to continue their friendships, once again for reasons of self preservation in the coming dark, we decided I should have a quiet word. After some discussion amongst themselves they agreed they should re-moor NOW before dark, when it could be dangerous to them as well others. After aborted attempts I ended up taking to our RIB (again) and after their skipper initiated a couple of near-misses to other nearby yachts he took-up my suggestion allowing me onboard to moor the yacht safely. Point being, the wind was beginning to get-up big-style and this was no place for an inexperienced skipper to learn......... and it was getting dark too so my timely intervention was gratefully accepted.

At around 11 o'clock, with the wind blowing a hoolie from the exposed NW and all the moored yachts pitching like bucking bronko's, the Sailing Holidays lead crew came rushing back and to their credit not one sailing holidays yacht escaped their moorings to well done to them guys. The charter yacht who had been previously stuck in the fishermans ground-tackle whi I'de helped moor-up was also fine. Likewise the charter yacht I'd moored-up couple hours earlier. Unfortunately, at around midnight, their adjoining friends, who had assured me had plenty chain out expressing confidence in their security, never made it through the night and ended-up dropping their long-line and doing a hasty exit out of the bay towards the Greek mainland where they would seek refuge.

As for us, the nearest we came to "What the heck's going on?" was when the water-taxi (with flashing light) moored between us and the nearest Sailing Holidays yacht to dispense it's 2-legged cargoes. I though it was gonna hit us but the water-taxi driver is very accomplished at just shittin' people! We bounced and pitched a bit until early hours of the morning then went to bed. We'd dropped our hook in almost 20m and had almost 70m chain out between us and our hook and two long-lines attached to the shore. Our anchor would have had to make it's way uphill to get out of the seabed and we knew we would be fine and dandy there... and we were and we slept soundly from about 2 a.m. onwards.

Next morning we called into Porta Chelli. One of our favourite places to swing on the hook in complete safety. Next day Koiladhia (Kilada) to visit Basimakopolos Shipyard and confirm our lifting date and importantly........ collect our new single phase electric motor from Mrs Matoula, who's apartments we're goinna use when we're lifted out.


Monday, 23 May 2016

Nisos Kithnos - Ormos Aylos Ioannis 37:23.8N 24:28.0E

We were up few times during the night (before last). Firstly, whilst on hook with long-line ashore the seabed rejected our faithful hook. We noticed just as darkness came and had no choice other than to let the long-line go and pick-up thy hook. Then, in complete darkness, proceeded to put hook back into dirt, much closer to the opposing shoreline in the hope we would not attract as much weed and get the hook to set firmly. Everything seemed ticketeeboo on that score so we recovered our long-line and we settled down to eat, drink and watch another 2 episodes of Game of Thrones (we're getting into it now). Up few times overnight, when we heard rain and thunder and yep.... lightening too. Also when we heard the wind gust more angrily. As expected, during the night the wind continued to blow fiercely at times and veer from SE to SW and finally to NW during the early hours. By 6 o'clock our wind instrument (measuring wind-speed and direction 23m above our heads) showed N'ly winds. Me thinks "That's good. At least the wind's blowing us off the shoreline - most of the force being taken by our long-line and not our hook (anchor & chain) for a change. Could even feel the draft blowing up our stern and into our cockpit and saloon. At 9 o'clock me thinks "That's strange, two other yachts at anchor (swinging) were facing W. When I looked at the disturbance on the water it became obvious - what we were experiencing at sea-level is not same as wind instrument up top. We seemed to be holding fine on hook and long-line so left things be. JUst after 10 o'clock, we were enjoying cuppa tea in saloon, reading, when heard unexpected 'clunk'. The dirt on the sea-bed had been won-over by the weed and our faithful hook had slipped. The 'clunk' became a 'clunk, clunk' because we were touching rock! Our reaction was more commendable than our untimely watch-keeping. I had the engine on in a jiffy and long-line released whilst Sue was taking-up anchor chain. We didn't even need to talk because instinctively we did what was needed. We put the hook back in dirt where we would be safe whilst I recovered our long-line. What a job, the shoreline now being alive with sloppy, foamy seawater. Survived the long-line recovery and we both decided we no longer liked the place (Loutron) so sailed down the coast 6NM and re-anchored Aylos Ioannis. The only visiting yacht, adorable place and completely safe - lonesome and happy. Bacon, tomatoes & egg time. Just brill, except for an untimely incident.
We we in the saloon reading our Kindles and it's half past three. Sue's nodded off and me thinks "I can hear goats somewhere?" Head goes just high enough to look out side window towards nearby hillside, which is more than 100m away. "Wouldn't be able to hear them in this wind?" so neck and shoulders are stretched-up a little. Looking through the washboard hatch I could just make-out top of a mast and now knew those goats are actually clanking halyards on an approaching yacht. As I enter the cockpit (quick as a flash) I'm calling to Sue "You better come up hear and see this." It's a stunner, a giant ketch version of our Discovery 55. Much bigger, maybe 80 ft or so. Same colours and like-for-like all-round appearance, just bigger!
I says "Hello" to the bloke on the bow, seemingly about to drop their hook and indicate our hook is up there so there's too little room for them to position themselves further into the bay up wind of us. The wind is on our stbd side and we're not going anywhere because we're attached to the chain and t'other end of our chain is attached to our hook and our hook is embedded in a good patch of dirt. The encroaching yacht is on our port side. The skipper doesn't do anything to move away - despite the bloke on the bow screaming for him to go astern. Meanwhile the wind blows 25kn or so and is taking over control of the now intruding yacht. The skipper doesn't seem to know what needs doing or has a grudge with his bloke on their bow. The bloke on their bow tries to use two feet (either side of our bow-roller) to fend them off Ticketeeboo's bow. I'm not going near because I don't wanna end-up like Wayne did trying to keep a drifting yacht off Hitrapia few years ago. Clunk! Bang! Clunk! Ooch! One very expensive yacht with damage to their teak toe-rail and deck. Ticketeeboo's pulpit the defensive culprit. Keeping in mind we're the only yacht on hook in a massive bay, more than a mile wide & couple miles long, beggers belief why the plonker wanted to put their yacht so close anyway.
An hour later when they finally succeeded to anchor themselves in dirt without dragging I firstly attempted to call on C16 (no reply). We have them on AIS so we know who they are "OPHIRA V", their unique MMSI 256782000 and CallSign 9HB4546, their length 79ft, registered Valetta, Malta.
Over the next few hours we attempted voice calls on C16, VHF DSC calls and MF/HF DSC calls. No reply. WE thought their skipper might think about getting in their RIB and visiting. Maybe to explain? Maybe to see what damage they might have inflicted on us? No one came. This morning at 8 o'clock we circled their yacht and no one appeared. Just like they could be hiding from a rent collector? I will be reporting the incident as a collision to the Malta Registry and we'll see what turns-up. There's plenty other ways to contact because they have a wealthy internet presence as a charter yacht.
We're now underway heading towards Nisos Idhra for a calm, uneventful overnight........ the type we prefer (please).

Unprovoked Attack - by this big thing "OPHIRA V" ........... and we are not amused.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

On hook Loutrou, Nisos Kithnos 37:26.4N 24:25.9E

Most pleasant sail from Paros to here, mostly following windies, gusting up to 44kn. With just a little genoa out for most of the time we enjoyed a very pleasant sail. As near to trade-wind sailing as it gets. No pole needed because no massive swell today. So relaxed - Sue wanted to do a little video. .
Now on hook (again). Unfortunately our first few attempts proved unsatisfactory. We know why - there's a lorra weed where we wanted to drop hook. Whilst we were pifferin'-about another yacht cam-in and dropped their hook in much shallower water. And then another yacht followed. When we dragged the last time, by then it was obvious we were not going to stay-put where we were. We'd already dragged a bit so 'up with the hook' (again) and now we're in shallower water, close (not too close) to the first yacht, which arrived after us. If our hook proves OK between now and dark we'll say "We're gonna be OK". Presently there's a lorra gales being forecast and a significant 'low' is passing through from W to E.  This morning's SE'lies are becoming this evenings SW'lies and overnight we're expecting the wind to veer W then N. The change to N'lies isn't due until early hours of the morning. When this happens we need to be smart-awake because we may need to move a little N across the bay or do a short 7NM passage down the coast into better protected bays. We'll make that decision tomorrow - best get tonight over with first.


Sailing Ticketeeboo - Middle Cyclades, Aegean

Nisos Paros - Ormos Plastria 37:07.4N 25:13.6E

Pleasant enough place to drop hook with plenty space and protection from the forecast SE overnight winds. Mud might be bit soft so worth watching if wind gets up. Another of Sue's supa-nosh for tea (dinner for poshies) followed by episodes 3 & 4 of Game of Thrones series 1 then bed. Awoke this morning to strong and strengthening windies. SE gales now forecast.
Whilst enjoying breakfast checked Met area forecasts as well latest gribs. Talked through our stratagem then with all preparations done it's up hook and away.
Now underway heading for E coast Nisos Kithnos, about 50NM to our WNW. Just little bit genoa out, port tack very broad reaching mostly up to 8kn (little more and 10kn just now & then!). It's supa-sailing. Just took biggish wave on port qtr - big sploosh the Sue says "Lovely".  ((interlude). Windies now gusting up to 45kn so genoa reduced again). Seed now a more pleasant 6kn, which is plenty fast in these conditions and 'steady as she goes'. The only way to be underway in these conditions is the way we're heading, which is just fine.


Friday, 20 May 2016

Nisos Dhenousa - NW bay called Roussa 37:07.4N 25:49.4E

Dropped the hook well tucked into the bay late yesterday afternoon. Later joined by another yacht we'd seen on Patmos. Pity it was the yacht, which had loads of bother so when they approached far too close for our comfort we gave them a clear indication where there is lots more room. We had a very pleasant calm overnight and slept through more than 8 hours departing this morning towards Nisos Paros.
Roussa is a gem of a place. There's few buildings and one taverna. We are saving going ashore for next time because with a forecast SE'ly it wouldn't be a good place tonight. Presently we have a freezer full of food needing to be eaten so not planning to scoff ashore for next few days. We also have an additional giant tub of ice-cream I took a fancy to at Patmos so it's ice-cream for afters most nights now.
We picked-up a new HDMI cable at Patmos so can now watch Games of Thrones, which we have on hard-drive. Jennifer told us how good this series is and our friend Carl added to our expectations saying how he watched episode after episode, back-to-back, because he was completely enthralled! After seeing the first and second episode from series 1..... we think there is an abundance of fortification, which our son-in-law Paul did mention (we think?). We'll see if we can get through episodes 3 & 4 tonight without changing our opinions?
We'll be OK for this trip's evenings entertainment because we have 5 series, each with 10 episodes. Phew!
We're due some strongish S'lies overnight and tomorrow so likely next heading to Nisos Kithnos.......... going with the flow.
Love to P,J,S & F and R,M,T & S xxx