Bodrum to Greece

Along with Peter and Heidi we decided to buy some fresh food and give to the refugees. We felt unsure about handing over just money and there were a lot of families. So we went to a greengrocer and got him to make up 20 bags of vegetables and fruit, and Robbie got 20 loaves of bread from a baker and the greengrocer lent us his trolley and his staff-member and we delivered the parcels to the refugees in the park. Not sure if it was the best thing we could do but it was the best idea we had at the time. A day or two later when Heidi and I had one of our girl’s days in town, the refugees were all gone. When we enquired where they were we were told they had been taken to a camp. Hopefully all these families will be able to start a new life, somewhere safe for their beautiful children.

Bodrum is guarded by the giant medieval (15th century) Castle of St Peter, it shadows the harbour and marina with its towers, battlements and defensive walls. We spent half a day exploring the castle with Peter and Heidi enjoying the magnificence of the well preserved old building including the dungeon where they uncovered skeletons when they opened it up.

We celebrated Robbie’s birthday hiring a car with Peter and Heidi and exploring the coast West of Bodrum. Here we came upon the most exclusive, beautifully landscaped marina complex we have ever seen. It is owned by a very wealthy oil billionaire, and he has set up the marina and shopping complex for the rich and wealthy superyachts. It was 150 Euro’s plus power and water for a berth for Southern Star. The shopping complex was amazing with exclusive boutiques, spa, fitness centre etc, which I might add, were all bare of customers.

After lunch in a delightful seaside restaurant, we headed back to Southern Star to cook a birthday dinner Roast Lamb where unfortunately I got sick and ended up vomiting so Robbie and Heidi finished the cooking and the dishes. Poor Robbie had to cook his own birthday dinner! (Maybe the bargain 20 Lira fish lunch wasn’t such a bargain!)

We departed Bodrum on 22nd June for Torba, a small bay nearly opposite Bodrum. The weather was predicted to be windy for the next few days, and it was – very! We free anchored and experienced a very windy night with very little sleep. The bay had one big Hotel and lots of little restaurants. We found a very nice simple waterfront restaurant where we played cards with Peter and Heidi and spent 4 nights hiding from the wind.

We left early on the morning of the 26th and headed into Asin Limani a very protected bay with ancient ruins, including a crumbling tower at the very narrow entrance to the bay. We stern tied and Stormvogel free anchored. Along with Peter and Heidi we explored the ancient ruins which we had to ourselves. There were lots of structures atop of the hill overlooking the bay, and there was the most amazing mosaic tiles on the floors, mostly unprotected. We felt very privileged to experience this all on our own. There was a lovely waterfront restaurant and we had the obligatory games of 500.

On the 28th June alongside Stormvogel, we departed for the marina in Didim, to clean, provision and prepare for our guests arriving on the 30th, Barb & Jeff from Australia. The marina is a relatively new five star, with good shelter from the Meltemi and great amenities, including a huge haul out yard.

We were lucky enough to meet another Nordhavn! Jennifer, Mark, Tori and Mitchell (2 beautiful dogs) from “Starlet” a Nordhavn 46 from the USA. We were really thrilled to meet them all and after some previous emails and skypes will hopefully cross the Atlantic together later this year, or early 2016. It was great to chat and exchange experiences with another couple travelling the world on a boat very similar to ours.

David and Andrea from Diomedea (whom we met in NZ and travelled on the Indonesian rally with) arrived also, and we all had sundowners in the park at the end of the pontoon. Here the marina had caged Peacocks, doves and quails – complete with quail eggs!

30th June we hired a car and drove to Bodrum Airport at Milas to collect Barb & Jeff. After a small detour when we discovered we had made a wrong turn we eventually arrived back at the marina. Where we proceeded to sundowners in the park again and then dinner out with everyone from the 4 boats, 10 of us in total. We had such a good night and the next morning I had to ask what I had for dinner as I couldn’t remember!

We left Didim at 7:00am the following morning in our hire car and followed David, Andrea, Peter & Heidi in another car 120 kilometres to Ephesus the ancient ruins near Kusadasi. The Greek city was founded in the 11th century BC, but it was the Romans who made the city the capital of their Asian provinces, where for 200 years it enjoyed great prosperity and power. The huge buildings and theatre which housed 25,000 people, marble streets still complete with ruts from the chariots, temples, houses, library and much more.

We commenced the sightseeing with a very smelly cart and horse ride to the top of the ruins.

We farewelled Turkey on 2nd July where we sailed for Greece! Very exciting, except poor Barb was very seasick. We arrived on the island of Samos at 2:00pm and stern tied to the quay at Pithagorian. This harbour dates back to 6th century BC. It is home to the famous mathematician Pythagoras. It is a very picturesque harbour and we were lucky enough to get the last position on the quay, to hopefully settle Barbs bout of seasickness. It didn’t take long and Barb was soon back to her normal colour, instead of a sickly green colour. Stormvogel and Diomedea free anchored in the bay just outside the harbour.

We went exploring and to complete the customs, harbour and police formalities. Here we experienced heartfelt emotion from the customs officer. We had a discussion about the political situation in Greece, and he was extremely emotional and passionate about his countries current crisis. He later on very kindly dropped in a bottle of Raki for us, which we appreciated very much. Such kindness was heart-warming. We spent a couple of days enjoying the atmosphere and the Greek culture. It was a little noisy at night with the bars right behind us but OK. We took a dolmus over to Old Samos town which was very quaint, and we sadly saw the long queue of people queuing at the ATM machine to withdraw their daily allowance of 60 Euro’s.

We were tied next to a local tourist operator who has two little miniature pigs permanently on his boat. He was a real character and each afternoon the boat rocked back into harbour with the Zorba music blaring, and the tourists singing and dancing, which we embraced!

Heidi, Barb and I enjoyed a few hours shopping in the local stores while the boys completed some small maintenance jobs on the boat. We have all noticed that the Greek women are much more prominent than their Turkish counterparts, which is lovely. The Greek women are noticeable in the retail businesses, and are also more friendly and outgoing which is very refreshing!

We departed Samos on the 5th July, but only after another major drama – when we pulled up the anchor I noticed a large shape coming up on the chain – oh no we had hooked a very large old anchor still attached to a very heavy weight chain. It took us over 30 minutes with Peter in his duck assisting us, to untangle the anchor by tying a rope around it and manoeuvring around so that it finally dropped off.

Jeff opted to sail on Stormvogel as an honorary crew member. It was a rough passage and a great introduction for Jeff to sailing, which we absolutely loved. He really enjoyed the company of Peter and Heidi (as we always do) We arrived in Kampi Bay on Fournoi Island after first attempting unsuccessfully to anchor in the first two bays on the very end of the island. It was blowing a gale and was very unpleasant sailing conditions. Kampi Bay was surrounded by typical white Greek houses with a few restaurants along the waterfront. We stern tied to the rocks after unsuccessful attempts to anchor in the bay. It was windy and difficult to anchor. There were concrete bollards in the rocks, which had been placed there by the restaurant owner and we were obliged to eat a meal in the restaurant. Which we did the next day, it was small fish and calamari, bread and salad not so bad.

There were a million steps (felt like) to the top of the bay which we climbed a couple of times, once hiring scooters for a day’s excursion around the island. We had a great day exploring the island and ended up in the bay where we had unsuccessfully tried to anchor. Jeff, Peter and Heidi all swam. We made our way back to the town and picked up some hitchhikers along the way, David and Andrea from Diomedea and a Kiwi couple Murray and Lyn from another yacht. We took them back to the town where we all enjoyed a few drinks.

Unfortunately the anchorage was not very good holding, and Stormvogel had to reanchor and ended up tying to a mooring buoy, and we tied a rope to help secure Stormvogel to Southern Star. The American yacht next door to Stormvogel had drifted on their anchor a number of times. We looked up and the yacht was again drifting and nearly on the rocks. It was hard against Stormvogels stern line. Robbie and Peter jumped in our duck and went to the assistance of the owner to re-anchor the yacht. This took a few attempts. It was dangerous and Peter got caught between the rope and the yacht, and the wind was pushing the yacht against him. I was scared he had been hurt, but he was OK. The owners then left the yacht. About an hour later I walked into our cockpit and saw that the yacht was again nearly on the rocks, and no one was aboard. Robbie and Jeff went to the rescue this time and towed it and secured a line from the mooring that Stormvogel was on, to the yacht. This was also a mission, and Jeff had to jump from the duck onto the yacht, the duck moved and Jeff nearly fell in, but Robbie decorously assisted him to stay upright and Jeff was able to climb aboard to secure the tow rope so they could tow the yacht into position and secure it.

Robbie then stayed up until after 1:00am when the owners returned and then he sternly advised them they had to drop our rope from the mooring to their yacht, and take control of their yacht and re-anchor somewhere else in the bay! We could not believe that they had left their boat so soon after so many anchoring problems.

We departed the next morning for Ikaria. Peter and Heidi had invited Barb and I to experience a day sailing on Stormvogel so we jumped ship! Wow, what an awesome experience. It started out quite choppy, the wind was unpredictable, but still very comfortable sailing and very nice to be on the water with no motor noise, only the sounds of the sails and the sea and Stormvogel gracefully gliding through the water. The wind dropped and at times the water was glassed out, and just beautiful. We entered the small harbour of Manganitis on the island of Ikaria. Wow what a sensational place. A sleepy harbour full of small fishing boats. We were able to tie alongside the concrete jetty, both us and Stormvogel. We had to leave enough room between us for the afternoon ferry. The water was crystal clear, we could clearly see the bottom of the harbour. The locals assisted us to tie up and pointed out to us the small bar overlooking the harbour. We all headed to the bar for a drink. It was a stunning view looking over Stormvogel, Southern Star and the small fishing boats.

We all had a great night’s sleep with no fears of drifting yachts! We had a walk up through the village and ended up in a small local shop with the owner “Boo Boo” who was a real character and larger than life in her swimming costume. Peter and Heidi joined us and when Boo Boo saw Peter she said “I want him, I like him, he is just my size”!! We all had a laugh except Peter who definitely did not want any liaison with Boo Boo. Heidi generously stated she could borrow him for 2 weeks only. Not an option for Peter.

Sadly, we departed Manganitis for Mykonos on the 10th July. The passage was uneventful until we arrived at Mykonos, the famous Greek island. We attempted to anchor in the bay of Ornos on the South Eastern side of the island. It was choppy and windy and Robbie realised that the big alternator on our main engine was not charging. We decided to head for the Tourlos marina in the new port on the Western side of the island. It is uncompleted since 2012 and has no concrete jetties, it is dust and dirt only. It was blowing a gale by now but we managed to drop the anchor and stern tie, to the outside of the marina, which is very roly and windy. It is not a good place to be and we are continually adjusting, ropes, fenders and watching the yachts in the marina blow into each other! We are triple pegging the washing the wind is so strong. The sand and dirt are continually being blown into the cockpit and the boat. The wind is 15-20 knots continuous all day, and it picks up after lunch to 25 to 30 knots. Not nice! 

We have never seen so many cruise ships on our travels. There are at least 4 cruise ships a day arriving and departing. They stay an average of 9 hours. We were fortunate enough to receive a message from Sue and John that we met in Fethiye, that they were on the Island Princess cruise ship that arrived yesterday at midnight. They came and visited with their friends after lunch for a few hours which was just lovely.

We have now been sitting here waiting for the new alternator to arrive, which we hope is on the 11:00pm ferry tonight, and will be fitted soon after and we can depart first thing tomorrow morning.


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