Saturday, November 6, 2010

Sailing around Crete in October

Sailing around Crete is a challenging experience, especially in often changing and rough weather conditions end of October. So I did this cruise with a very experienced crew: Christiane and Gerhard Rothfuss and sailing doctor Gerhard Westphal from October 17th to 28th 2010.

We started northwest from Ag. Nikolaos on Sunday afternoon, 17th October, rounded Ag. Ioannis Point and stopped for the night in Milatos harbor, having excellent fish at Socrates Taverna. In strong southerly wind and heavy thunderstorm we continued to Heraklion harbour, where we found a mooringplace on the western side of the ferry harbor only. After a good dinner at Peri Orexeos Restaurant and a night with a lot of swell we proceeded to Rethymnon. With some problems regarding defect mooring lines we got the last place alongside in the so-called "marina".

Under clear sky and warm sun we set sail to round Akrotiri peninsula on October 20th. At noon we were stopped by a Nato-boat called "Firing Control" and escorted to Marathi north of Souda bay. We had to wait there safely at anchor until the Nato firing exercises with a lot of fighter-jets, drones and target-ships were finished at 3pm local time.  Interesting was that nobody announced those exercises before on VHF 16 or 12 as specified in the pilot guides. So we arrived late for a meeting with some friends in Chania harbor at 9pm.

Thursday we tacked against strong south-westerly winds to the lonley bay of Garamvousa, were we anchored alone in the South Bay near the most northwestern rock of Crete. In this solitude Gerhard Westphal concentrated and cooked his legendary "Erdäpfelgulasch" for us. Thus invigorated we could continue next morning south on the west coast of Crete, rounded Elafounisi and finally went alongside in Paleochora harbor. We took a walk round this nice village and had delicous dolmades and tasty lamb chops at Dionysos Taverna.

North winds increased during the night. So we had to leave by motoring "in to the bow-spring-line" / "Eindampfen in die Vorspring" and sailed east with varying northeast- & northwesterly winds along the south coast of Crete until in the evening we stopped at the secluded Bay of Kali Limenes. There Christine cooked a lot of pancakes, each of them disappeard as soon as it was delivered to the hungry crew. Sunday 24th we continued further east to Ierapetra, where we anchored near the city quay and replenished our provisions.

As strong southerlies were announced by Olympia Radio we hurried round Ns Kavaloi, the south-eastern tip of Crete and anchored in the large bay of Kato Zakros, where we hoped to get some lee from soutwest winds. We took a walk to the Minoan Palace of Zakros and into the impressive Gorge of the Death. Then we had nice lamb chops at Nikos Restaurant. In the night the swell became very strong. To avoid damage we had to leave Tuesday 26th at 5am and sailed north in up to 36 Bft south wind with a lot of rain. So at sunrise we rounded Cap Sídheros north east of Crete and before noon went alongside the north-east quay in Sitia harbor and had a late breakfast. Then we went for a walk round Sitia, visited Fort Kazama, and had a delicous Psarosoupa at the new O Mihos restaurant.

Next morning with much less wind we sailed to Spinalonga Bay, visited the Venetian fort and later leper colony and spent the night at anchor near Elounda. Sea of Joy was rinsed clean by a long and intensive thunderstorm during most of the night. Thursday 28th we finsished our cruise round Crete with the last short leg back to Ag. Nikolaos.

My nice crew helped me taking down the genua and prepearing Sea of Joy ready for the winter. Friday 29th a lot of wind was announced. We took a roundtrip by car visiting Lato, Moni Exakustis, Myrtos, Ierapetra, Praisos, Moni Tuplou and having a good fish for dinner at Ta Kochilla restaurant in Mochlos harbor.

This was a challenging cruise round Crete in 11 days, we logged 407sm sailing 76 hours. You may download our track in gpx-format or view it directly on Google Maps.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Samos via Rhodes to Crete

On August 13th for the last time in the next future my wife Ilse and I sailed downwind from Samos Marina to Marathi Bay on Arki Island. We moored there for two days, enjoying the sandy beach and the food at Pandelis.  We continued to Emporio Bay on Kalymnos, where we also moored for two leisure days, swimming and eating at Harry's Paradise Restaurant.

Further south downwind we sailed to the southern coast of Kos, where we spent another two placid days near Ag. Stefanos. In the evening of August 18th our daughter Sophie arrived by plane from Vienna. Next day we motored to Pali harbor on Nissiros and enjoyed the beautiful sunset and the old town Mandraki. Next morning we visited all important sites of Ns. Nissiros, including Emporio, Nikia, Mandraki, three monasteries, black beaches and the famous volcano by car.

Again further south we anchored in Eristou Bay at the west coast of Tilos and continued next day to Potamos Bay in Chalki, where we had a nice walk over to Chalki town. Heading west we anchored for one spooky night in Alimia South Bay and hiked up to the old castle.

On August 25th we reached Panormitis Bay in Simi and visited the famous monastery next morning. Then we motored with nearly no wind to Simi Harbor, having a nice swim at Ag. Emilianou en-route.

In the beautiful waters round Ag.Marina we spent two lovely days and then left Simi for Rhodes, where we moored in Mandraki harbor for four days. Next day Sophie left for Vienna and Ilse and I took a trip round Rhodes by rental car.

Our son Matthias together with Isa Rieder and Christian Gilli - a team of three arduous biologists - came on board next day.

September 1st we sailed to Lindos, where we visited the famous temple, castle and town. Next night we spent at the south Bay of Prasso, a windsurfing eldorado. We continued to the east coast of Karpathos and anchored near Dhiafani harbor. After a visit to Karpathos harbor in the large bay of Pigadia we anchored for two relaxing days at Amorphos Bay, then continued to Ormos Khelatron at the southern tip of Kassos.

On the evening of September 7th we finally reached the eastern coast of Crete north of Vai at Erimoupolis Bay. After a hike through the palm valley of Vai we sailed northwest to Sitia harbor, where we moored alongside the northern quai. Two big tacks against fresh northerly winds took us next day to vast Elounda bay.

The last day of our cruise we visited the leper-island of Spinalonga and finally moored in our reserved dock in Ag. Nikolaios Marina. My wife and I left September 11th for Vienna, the rest of our ambitious crew followed two days later.

This was a very peaceful cruise over 450 sm with 88 sailing hours.
You may download our track in gpx-format or view it directly on Google Maps.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Aegean Summer Cruise

This was my third roundtrip from Samos to Santorin and back - and it was a very comfortable cruise; we had mostly light winds and so we had to motor a lot.

On July 23rd we started with Aaron Kaplan and Klaus Darilion from from Samos with northerly winds to Kos. In Kos Marina we touched unintentionally the stern of a catamaran when we tried to change gears from reverse to forward. The steering cable to the gearbox was broken.

After we had this cable changed by a very competent engineer, Mr. Antonios Markoy, we continued with low winds to Panormitis Bay in Simi. Next day we sailed to Mandraki Harbor in Rhodes, were we anchored in front of the 3 windmills, visited impressive Rhodes Old Town and had a very nice dinner at Marco Polo Restaurant.

3am early next morning we set sail to Livadhia harbor in Tilos. A resolute German lady showed us the right mooring place. We took a walk and then had a crisp roasted lamb for dinner. Next day we continued north, tacking against a stiff north wind.

In the evening of July 28th at Ag. Stefanos at the southern coast of Kos we met our last crew member, Richard Wein from

Next morning we sailed west with a force 6-7 meltemi to Maltezana Bay in Astipalaya. After visiting Skala Astipalaya we continued next day to Skala Anafi, where we had a quiet night because of the decreasing wind.

On July 31st we reached Marina Vlichada, where we found a secure mooring place for three days. We took a car for two days of sightseeing and then we had a crew-change: Aaron, Klaus and Richard left for Austria and Shirani Ediriweera and Kurt Drexler from Vienna and Martina Salzmann and Günther Rettenbacher from Salzburg boarded Sea of Joy on August 2nd.

We started from Vlichada with a sightseeing cruise through the caldera of Santorin and headed north to Manganari Bay on the southern Tip of Ios. After spending a nice day in Ios town harbor we continued next day to the southern Bay at Schinousa island.

August 6th we motored to beautiful Katapola harbor in Amorgos and next day we anchored in Kalotiri Bay, which appeared to us as a mountain lake in the Austrian Alps.

Next day we sailed east to Levitha, where we visited Taverna Levitha, owned by the two families living on this interesting island. Their liver stifado and goat-stew was exquisite.

Against northerly winds we tacked to Marathi on Arki, where we had a delicious large fish for dinner for all 5 of us at Pandelis.

The last stop was Agathonisi harbor in front of Glaros restaurant. After a nice sail with a lot of tacking in Samos Strait we moored safely back in Samos Marina on August 11th evening.

We logged 530 sm and sailed 101 hours.

You may download our track in gpx-format or view it directly on Google Maps.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

South Aegean Roundtrip

From May 30th to June 16th my wife Ilse and I did a very pleasant cruise

 With very light winds we started from Samos to Mykonos, visiting Panormos Bay and Tourlos Marina.

Via Delos we sailed downwind to Naxos, where we moored in Naxos Harbour again. There we hired a car and did a 2 days roundtrip on this beautiful island.

Here is the gpxFile about our Naxos tour.

Via Ios we reached Santorin and moored in Vlychada Marina, where we again did a 2 days roundtrip by car.
Here is the gpxFile about our Santorin tour.

Eastwards with a stop at Astipalaya we reached Emporio on Kalymnos.

Taking north we visited Marathi and finally returned to Samos Marina.

This enjoyable cruise took us over 377sm and 68 sailing hours.

You may download our track in gpx-format or view it directly on Google Maps.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Spring Cruise to Santorin

On Saturday, 1st of May the first two crew members arrived in Samos by plane without problems (neither vulcano-ash nor strike): Gusti and Richard Stastny. They helped me to ready  the boat and to hoist the genua. On Sunday 2nd we sailed with light northerly winds to Fourni, where we were friendly received by police and coastguard. After a detailed inspection of boat and papers everything was fine and our travel log was stamped twice: one for entry and one for exit of Fourni harbour. Having completed formal duties it was a pleasure to stroll round Fourni with no tourists and then having our traditional meal of lobster & fish at Miltos restaurant.

Early on Monday  3rd we continued west with no wind at all south of Ikaria and Mykonos to Rineia, where we anchored in the quiet South Bay and enjoyed an onboard-dinner with spaghetti aglio&olio.

Tuesday 4th morning we motored back 2 miles to Delos, where we anchored in Delos channel. We made our dinghy ready, but the outboard motor did not start - there was oil in the combustion chamber, which I could not remove. So we rowed to the landing site and enjoyed ancient Delos with only few tourists.

After noon we sailed south to Naxos harbour, where we found a free mooring space directed by the friendly harbour manager, Mr. Kostas. He also organised the service of our outboard engine by Mr. Michailis. So we had a full day to visit Naxos town, archaelogical museum, Della Rocca-Barozzi Venetian museum and the island's landmark, the unfinished temple of Apollo. We also replenished our supplies in Atlantic supermarket and visited two good restaurants: Maro's and Mezze2. There was a national strike announced all over Greece, but in Naxos everybody worked as usual, only the Greek national bank was closed.

Thursday 6th we continued south, visited some nice bays in the south of Naxos, where we found a nice new harbour in Ormos Kalando. Then we cruised round the "small cyclades" (Schinousa, Koufounisia and Keros).
With a light north wind we sailed futher south, where we anchored south of Ios in quiet Manganari Bay. Gusti prepared a sumptuous hefty dinner with potatoes, onions, tomatoes, peppers and eggs. For dessert we had lots of pancakes with apricot jam.

In the morning of Friday 7th we sailed south, entered the Santorini caldera from north and made a roundtrip via Oia, Fira, Arthinios and Akrotiri to the south western cap. As suspected, no anchoring was possible. We continued near the southern coast, where we found nice bays and finally arrived at Vlichada Marina. There were heavy dregging works in the narrow entry, but we lifted our keel and soon were safely in the round harbour, where helpful harbour manager Mr. Minas assigned us a mooring space near various fishing boats.
For the evening we went by taxi to Monolithos for a stroll on the beach to the excellent restaurant Mario No.1, where we had an exceptional good and juicy dorade for the three of us.

Saturday 8th the other two crew members arrived by plane without problems: Bogda & Wolfgang Schwabl.
We visited Thira, took a bus to Emborio and had a nice walk through Santorini's volcano wine gardens back to Vlichada. Richard hiked a car, so we skipped the last half hour of walking downhill to the marina. Dinner was at Dimitrius restaurant with a nice view over the marina.

Very early on Sunday 9th we set sail with a northwesterly 5-6 bft wind, always nice from the side, via Anafi and finally arrived in Skala Astipalaya. We climbed up to the Venetian castle, strolled along ancient wind mills around the nice and quiet town, and finally had dinner at Maistrali restaurant.

Early on Monday 10th we visited a lot of nice bays in the south of Astipalaya. Again a 6 bft north-west wind carried us directly to the west coast of Kalymnos, where we took a very reliable iron bouy in Emborios Bay. After a nice evening walk we had a very unusual good mezze-dinner at Harry's Paradise restaurant.

Tuesday 11th we sailed to Patmos, having to tack for the last part. But we arrived in time in Skala Patmos, so that Bogda and Wolfgang could visit the monastery and the apocalypsi cove. Dinner was on board: "vegetables au gratin" - celery, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, onions, courgette with parmesan and a nice sauce bechamel.

On Wednesday 12th we sailed round Arki and then took a bouy at Pandelis in Marathi Bay. After the usual afternoon walk with the goats round Marathi Island we were friendly received by the Pandelis family and had a very good dinner as usual. Mr. Pandelis built a new terrace and has more flowers in his garden than ever.

Thursday 13th we had to motor back to Samos Marina, where the crew enjoyed first a desparately longed for hot shower and then good dinner at Samos Marinas Steak House. Early on Friday 14th my crew left by plane via Athens back to Vienna.

For me it was a beautiful cruise about 400sm and 69 sailing hours with two nice couples. Richard and Wolfgang are members of the advisory committee for the "netidee" founding program, which is presented by the Internet Foundation Austria.

You may download our track in gpx-format or view it directly on Google Maps.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Starting the 2010 Sailing Season in Samos

Comparatively late I started the yearly service works for Sea of Joy in Samos on Monday, April 26th. Winter storms destroyed the wind instrument and 2 fenders were lost, one scissure on the sprayhood, some scratches on the stern, two rotor blades on the wind generator broken,  but anything else in good condition.

With now 1560 operating hours on the motor I had to change the propeller shaft seal again. Sanding and anifouling paint, cleaning and greasing the propeller, repairing the wind instrument, changing all protection anodes,  disassembling, cleaning and greasing the winches, servicing the anchor winch - it was a week full of activities. But now the boat is ready for the sailing season.