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Cruising again

June 8, 2017

Since the last update we have been very busy getting the boat ready for the summer season. At the beginning of May we realised that we would need a few more weeks, and that our apartment lease would run out in the middle of the month. Unfortunately, when I called our landlady Maria, she said that they had already booked someone else in to the apartment from 11th May!

Cruise ship ahoy – Rhodes

Oh no. So all efforts were put into moving more winter gear and surplus boat bits into storage, and then taking stuff we needed from the apartment to the boat and hauling it up the 12 foot ladder. I hired a car for a few weeks which made it easier all round. I booked a suite in an apart hotel not far from our apartment, and we moved in there on 9th May. Of course I had to clean the apartment and get all the washing done too – but a very convenient laundry was close by with very reasonable rates.

Weird holographic lighting effect!

Having moved to the hotel, it was rather nice having the place cleaned for us on a regular basis with clean sheets and towels too! We could have cooked basic stuff on the two-ring hob, but in the end decided that it was easier to eat out – lazy I know. Our favourite eateries were surprised to see us slightly more frequently that had been our habit before! Not only that, but the hotel had excellent wi-fi, thus saving us some money on our 4G subscriptions. I even managed to set up a new Skype account on Brian’s android so that we could converse at a distance – if he remembers how to use it!

Propeller ready for antifoul – some from last year still there

On the boat, Brian set about washing all the ropes that had been hanging there for the winter. A day or two after he had finished, a huge storm set in and covered everything in salt and sand again! How depressing. However it washed off again fairly easily. The water pressure in the shipyard is so high that it regularly bursts the plastic fittings and joiners – it was a long stretch from the pillar to the boat, so we had at least one join and it was prudent to hike over to the tap and turn it off as often as possible!

Propeller antifouled

We had asked for an engineer to help us remove the timing chain case cover. It had a small hole in it that had been made by a piece of that water pump collar that broke at the beginning of last season! It had only been made a month or so before we arrived in Rhodes, so we had not had a chance to do much about it until the boat was out of the water.
Eventually a man turned up with a friend to interpret. He and Brian discussed what had to be done and he returned with the appropriate tools to pull off bushes etc. Once the cover came off about three small pieces of metal fell into the pool of oil and water that had gathered during the operation – the remains of that water pump collar. On inspection of all the cogs and gears inside, it was apparent that nothing apart from the case had been damaged – the engineer crossed himself and offered thanks to God! He took the cover away for welding and returned a few days later to put it all back together again. Good job well done, and all for €50! (Except Brian had to put the pulley belt back on in the right place afterwards- good job he checked).

Moving the wrecked hydrofoil

I organised a platform on wheels that arrived eventually after the previous boat owner had finished with it. I could climb onto it and clean and polish the hull – that took a few days. We patched up bits of the white and red stripes, not as much work as usual. Brian painted primer over the deeper scratches in the antifoul.

Preparing for hull antifoul

We ordered the antifoul. Brian had cleaned up the propeller and put the special Velox antifoul on, as it seemed to have worked well last year. After I had polished and we had patched the stripes, we taped where the antifoul would go and were ready. Once the hull antifoul arrived Brian put a coat at the water line, then we spent the next couple of days in the sunshine putting on two coats – managing to do each side in the shade as the sun moved over! It was warm work.

We watched with awe as Ali made and fitted a new rudder and changed the back of the keel layout for Vesta while we messed about with Alixora.

Vesta’s new rudder – in progress

The weather was quite variable – some days hot and sunny, other days colder and cloudy, with a few days of torrential rain and thunderstorms thrown in. We were unprepared for the few days of very hot weather in early May – siestas were necessary! Shorts were retrieved and we sweltered. Then it got cold again – relief.

Oh, that’s how the pipes go!

On 19th May we organised for Alixora to be put back in the water. It was a horrid wet morning and as we had to put final coats of antifoul on where the cradle supports had been, we had to wait for the rain to stop, which it did finally. So our launch was delayed by an hour or two – then when we checked all the pipes and inlet valves Brian found a small leak where the new speed log paddle wheel went.

Tiny Alixora, huge travel lift. Vesta’s finished rudder on the right

Oh no. The boat was still in the slings and so we were hauled out again – the water seeping away immediately! After some discussion with the senior travel lift operator, Brian took off the sealing nut inside the boat and put rubberised sealant around the tube and tightened the nut back down, squishing the sealant in. There was no sign of any cracks on the outside of the boat. Of course, to get the sealant to stick he had had to dry the area out, so we had to get electricity to operate the heat gun……and so it goes!

Back in the water – then out again!

Meanwhile another boat owner had been waiting for his own launch and was getting very irate! So after an hour we were lowered back into the water, Brian nervously checked the repair and it held, so we were OK to go. We headed round a large fishing boat that had been tied up alongside and snuck into a small gap in front of it. Everyone had been waiting for that fishing boat to go, but they were working on some electrical problem…
We were back in the water, alongside the quay, easy to step on and off – wonderful. Then the process of sorting everything out – getting the genoa back on, cleaning inside and outside the boat, re-organising everything to make space, getting the navigation gear working and set up, making sure our VHF hand held radio was charged up – all that sort of stuff – as well as bringing the remainder of our stuff from the hotel bit by bit!
And I had to pay for the lift out and in and the time spent on land. Poor credit card.
Finally, finally we were ready to go. I had taken my bike to the storage room, which had been filling up nicely. Loads of space on the boat now! Brian took his bike down too and I organised for the car to be collected from the ship yard – what service.
We arrived fairly early for us – about 9am on Wednesday 24th May, loaded the last of our stuff onto the boat and started to prepare to set sail – trying to remember what everything did!
The wind was blowing just the wrong way – but after a lot of discussion with the chaps in the yard, they put a rope on the bow to the front of the boat in front of us and with a bit of engine assistance hauled us round, pushing the back of the boat away from the quay, until we were clear of the big trawler and the sunken wreck on the other side! We spent an hour doing the usual tidying up, putting fenders away, having a cup of coffee and reflecting on our fortune in getting out of that tight spot without any damage. A few annoying moments when our navigation software stopped responding, but Brian had cleaned up the new computer so it rebooted and worked again quickly. We had forgotten to dig out the adaptor for 12V power for it, so he rigged up the invertor on a temporary basis until we could find the right bit of kit – buried somewhere in the wires collection!

Marmaris bay coastline

Then we put up the main sail, let out a bit of genoa and lickety split were sailing at 7 knots in a lovely beam reach and little swell – perfect! On reaching the peninsula south of Marmaris the wind backed to follow us and dropped, so it was back on with the engine – but had had an excellent 2 hours sailing.
I had arranged for an agent to meet us at the customs quay to book us into Turkey. We found the quay – a man stood on it and waved. I had had to post a query with the Cruising Association to get some hints of where to go! We tied up and waited for the agent who arrived about an hour later. Potentially we had no internet or phone access by this point – but I had purchased a “roaming” add-on before leaving Greece that seemed to work – in a fashion – so we did manage to communicate.

View from Alixora

We were processed and set off for Netsel marina round the corner, being shown to a good berth on the end of a pontoon near the facilities and shops. The usual hassle of hauling up a long and muddy laid line, but the marina rib was on hand to give us a push in the right direction.
After a slight misunderstanding of where to collect our boat papers from the agent, we were booked in for an indeterminate period, got our electricity hooked up and set off for a beer at Scorpio’s bar on the front. Most welcome. We splashed out on dinner out and then returned to sleep soundly – the first time on the boat since October. Wonderful. The first week on the boat (until now) living out in the wind and sun has made me very sleepy – more siestas! I think I am recovering now.

Castle in the background – our view

For the past few weeks Brian has been suffering from a pulled ligament in his knee, making any leg twisting very painful and making him limp along rather slowly. In true male stoic fashion he just rubbed anti-inflammatory cream onto it and poo pooed any idea of getting a supportive brace. A couple of days after arriving here I went on an exploratory mission to remind myself where everything was. I saw a pharmacy with surgical supports in the window and bought a knee brace, brought it back, and the sceptic now says it is working wonderfully. He is certainly walking a lot more easily. Stoics – ha! Mind you – pot calling kettle….

Sail nearly up

We had come to Marmaris to get our new main sail and new sail cover. The sail arrived on Thursday and was all expertly fitted. UK Sails also offer a rigging check which we needed as the forestay had been taken off and all the rigging loosened when they repaired the front fairlead. The guy came to do that on Monday, scampering up the mast, making us very jealous.

Now how does this go?

Meantime we bought Turkish sim cards for the phone and tablet – the guy in the shop knew exactly what we would need and the whole process was extraordinarily straight forward. Excellent and much better value than the Wind accounts we use in Greece. The marina has rather poor and intermittent wi-fi, but we go to the Scorpio bar most evenings before dinner (now cooking on the boat) which has wi-fi so we can save a bit on big downloads if we need to.

New Sail!

Marmaris is a fantastic place for yachts people – there is a street filled with chandleries that we have taken advantage of. Our fenders used to have a mixture of tatty ropes to hold them onto the rails – now these have been replaced by smart new matching (purple?) rope. Next we need to find some non-slip tape to tidy up some of the tape on the deck and so on. We also caught a calm hour to check that we could raise our new sail ourselves, and found a glitch that will need to be sorted out this coming week.

New lazy bag installed

The mosquito nets that I had made last year were looking decidedly sad. I had spent some hours trying to work out the best way of making them stay in the port openings using springy strips of plastic or metal. Eventually the simplest method came to mind – doh! Good old duct tape, it doesn’t look too bad and if it flakes off in the heat, I can just replace it! And my cunning plan for the net for the forward hatch came into fruition – and worked, amazingly.

A UK flagged yacht called Spicy Lady arrived a couple of days ago. I introduced myself and found that they were the only liveaboards in Kas marina this past winter, but had been there 2-3 years, arriving after we left. Elaine and Mike know several of our friends, and were able to catch us up on local news. We will keep in touch as we are going to be cruising in the same area.

More canal

When we eventually get away from Marmaris, the tentative plan is to chug around the coast-line, west and north, until we have to leave Turkey at the end of our 90 day visa allowance, or a bit before.

We can apparently reclaim the VAT on our new sail and bag at that point – possibly! Then across to the Greek islands and back down towards Rhodes. That all may change – but for the moment it is the primary plan.

Octopus – scary!

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