Launch in Marmaris, Turkey, New Lewmar electric windlass in Rhodes, Passage across the Aegean Sea, the Peloponnisos, on to Malta
After completing post production on the final episodes on Egypt for season 4 of the Distant Shores series (coming soon on the new Distant Shores: Cruising the Middle East 3-volume DVD ) we flew from Toronto on August 15, 2006, back to the boat via London Heathrow and Istanbul which was a story in itself since it was just a few days after the terrorist threat on London airports and carry-on baggage was severely restricted, a problem for us since we usually carry on our laptop computer and some fragile camera equipment.
However, it all worked out fine and we arrived back at the boat just after midnight on August 16. We were exhausted and jet-lagged after our journey and at first we couldn't find Two-Step since the boat had been repositioned a couple of times during the months we had left her stored in the boat yard at Marmaris Yacht Marine a popular wintering place for yachties which we have written about in several other newsletters. The yard crew is very good there and Two-Step was in fine shape.
Temperatures reached 41 degrees C on board in the afternoons so we worked in the yard early mornings and evenings and escaped to Yacht Marine's beautiful new pool and restaurant during the height of the sun to keep cool. Everything seemed to take so long in the heat which really saps your energy.
But we have been looking forward to the passages aboard Two-Step and find the personal challenge rewarding so resisted the temptation. However, Dockwise is an excellent service that several of our cruising friends have found beneficial when their time was short and they wanted the experience of sailing their own boat in a new part of the world. The reduced wear and tear on the boat is certainly something to think about too. For info see www.yacht-transport.com
You may recall we sailed through the Suez Canal with Tony in Egypt last spring (see July 06 newsletter ) so it was great to see him again in Turkey and say our farewells before we began our departure from the Med. We have so many friends in the Med now that the thought of leaving has really been difficult! We first met Tony in Spain in 1999 and have cruised together on various occasions in several Mediterranean countries over the years.
From Marmaris you can see the Greek island of Rhodes, so after many nice farewells we set sail from Marmaris and made landfall in Rhodes Town at Mandraki Harbour and cleared into Greece on the afternoon of August 31st. We were greeted by friends Thomas and Thanos who manage several yacht charters there and who have helped us out on more than one occasion. Since we first met Thanos several years ago he has been teasing us about Two-Step's old manual anchor windlass so this year we surprised him by replacing it right there at the quay with a new Lewmar V3 electric anchor windlass!
He gave him the old one as a souvenir for his mantlepiece.
Rhodes is one of our favourite stops in the Greek Islands. The harbour is surrounded by the walls of the medieval town and castle making for a magical setting however it's a very crowded harbour and often difficult to find a spot especially if you arrive Friday to Sunday. These are the turn-over days for the charter boats that are based there and most berths are reserved for them at this time. Best to plan a mid-week, early afternoon arrival in Rhodes. Once you're docked it's a lovely place with many things to see and do, good shops for provisioning and well-stocked chandleries and hardware stores within walking distance.
While we worked on the boat our good friends Chrissy Arvanitis and Irene Zifias who taught us how to eat sea urchins in the Rhodes and Symi episode of Distant Shores (see the Vol. 5 Greek Islands and Turkey II DVD ) dropped by for cheerful visits with their kids and Chrissy (pictured on the left) couldn't stop cooking for us - and what feasts she and this friend prepared!
West through Aegean Sea
But finally, with windlass installed, a repair made to our grounding system that seemed to be affecting our autopilot, and Euro provisions loaded, it was time to say goodbye and begin our voyage west across the Aegean Sea. We left Rhodes on September 13 and our first stop was at the island of Symi, an afternoon sail away, then on to Yiali, Astapalia, and finally to Santorini - a volcanic crater believed to be the site of the lost city of Atlantis. You can sail right into the center of the crater along with cruise ships and tour boats and make the climb to the town perched like snow on the rim of the crater above.
Next stop was Milos, where the statue of the Venus de Milo was discovered and then on September 21st we made landfall on the Peloponnisos at Monemvassia, a wild and mountainous place, so different from the islands. There is a lovely old historic town there and we wandered the narrow streets imagining the days of old. It was here we waited for a good weather window to go south around the capes (versus going through the Corinth Canal which we did when we arrived in the Greece a few seasons back) and make our jump to Malta. But more on this in our next newsletter...
Before we close we'd just like to mention a few new things we're doing.
Cruising in the Middle East - New DVD
This week we'll be releasing the latest Distant Shores DVD, “Cruising in the Middle East from Turkey to Egypt”. This special 3-disk set contains all 13 episodes of Season Four which takes you on a voyage from Turkey, to ports in North and South Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan and Egypt and has some very special features on “Dealing with Piracy”, an important issue when cruising in this region and many others around the world.
In the “Dealing with Piracy” features on the new Middle East DVD we interview people such as Rod and Becky Nowlin aboard SV Mahdi who have experienced pirate attacks first-hand and who generously give their advice on how to prevent and protect yourselves from encounters with pirates. The cost of $34.95 US/$39.95 CDN is an excellent deal for the up-to-date safety information and peace-of-mind we feel these new episodes and extra features provide.
The long-awaited podcast #4 with David Anderson discussing weather information and technology for cruisers is now up in the Podcast Directory on our web site. While cruising this summer we recorded some more podcasts with technical experts and interesting cruisers “out there” which we'll be uploading on Distant Shores shortly. These online talk shows focus on cruising topics and have been really popular! We thank you for sending in your comments and ideas.
Wishing you Fair Winds,
Sheryl and Paul Shard