Tuesday, July 31, 2012

trizonia marina (boat graveyard)

we arrived yesterday at trizonia island in the corinth gulf, and thought we'd check out the marina.

this marina was built only a few years back, however has never gone into official operation. this is typical of many such marina projects through greece that were built in recent years (with eu money), are never completed and don't go into service. this of course doesn't stop squatters moving in, the occasional cruiser dropping by, thinking cool i've found somewhere free to stay. there are no services (water and power) and no one there to look after the place, so after a few years the place basically decays, or as we'd say back home goes to shit.

upon arrival we motored into the marina, did one lap of the place, didn't like the feel of it and went back out and anchored in the bay.

we got in the dingy and went in to check it out a bit closer. the sunken wreck was actually once quite a decent boat and has been lying there for about 2 years. no one seems too interested in salvaging it though.

there are a couple of other completely sunken boats and many interesting floating wrecks, surely all with there own hard luck story behind them.

interesting berth

even the outboards have seen better days

homemade cat, actually not in too bad a condition
typical permy fender setup
and the car park to match

Monday, July 30, 2012

Γαλαξίδι and the secret habourmaster

Galaxidi, beautiful Galaxidi!

the last couple of days we spent in this beautiful little town, strolling through it´s narrow little lanes, looking at these fantastic captain´s houses, which are evidence of one of the powerful merchant fleets of the whole mediterranean that used to be situated here - and trying to escape the heat of 41°C and enormous humidity (which kept me puzzled how my brother manages to live in singapore, where it is probably not always as hot, but surely humid!)
with the water temperature reaching 27°C it was hard to find some refreshment.
as there was no busses or otherwise going up to delphi, we didn't do the cultural bit - i have to admit, that i was not too sad that the decision was made for us, since i am not quite sure if we would have survived looking at these old rocks without or brains being fried. the oracle did tell a few people of their death to arrive earlier than expected after all, didn't it?

what was really special though was being given such a warm welcome by the secret harbourmaster Gerosidgris, a lovely fellow who helps you with the lines, when you come in, takes care that there is no rubbish lying around the place, sets you up with Andreas, the owner of the mobile diesel servo if needed, and anyway, writes down all his family-member´s names with telephone number in case you would ever need some help while traveling through Greece.
he doesn't ask for money, certainly doesn't mind the odd beer or a cuppa and a bite to eat though if you  have some spare.

so if you ever go through the gulf of corinth, make sure you visit galaxidi - and shout poor
ol´Gerosidgris a coffe or two!

Galaxidi in the morning

Galaxidi and maloo

Gerosidgris, the secret habourmaster

Saturday, July 28, 2012

the corinth canal

going through a canal - well, what a way to start the day!!!!

after a quite uneventful day going from kythnos to the entry of the corinth canal, we anchored there for the night to proceed through the canal the next morning. uneventful though is probably not quite right, as we crossed the tss of piraeus (i.e. the traffic separation scheme - or in other words: a highway for biiiig ships). this meant trying to stay out of the way of very very fast and big ships. again our ais proved to be more than helpful. somehow captains of big ships seem to be more likely to answer their vhf when called by the ship´s name. so we were lucky to have speed ferry "SUPERFAST XII"to change the course by a couple of degrees in our favor before running us over with 30kn!

but after that it was just motoring, since we must have used up all the wind the aegean had for us in the first few days.

we found a good spot for the night, had good dinner and the next morning we went off to go through the corinth canal into the ionian sea and leave the aegean sea behind us. (or for all of you out there being very precise: going from the saronic gulf into the gulf of corinth)

the world´s most expensive canal (we paid 211€ for not quite 6,4km) is quite an impressive thing to go through on your own keel.

we tried to do a video - unfortunately the change in temperature and humidity caused the housing of our little gopro to fog up...nevertheless check it out!

entry to the canal

in the canal...cool and shady

almost like an australian gorge.
looking back on the world´s most expensive, but quite impressive canal
after the great canal trip we motored (unfortunately again!) on the mirror like sea to a little town called galaxidi, a tip we got from a friend of mark´s, who has her family roots here.
a great place so far! beautiful with very welcoming people, especially if you fly an australian flag! again a lot of people seem to have family in australia...and looking at the coast here, we do understand why so many greeks went down under: the landscape here almost looks like australia (and the temperatures are similar too) - or vice versa. with gumtrees near the beach and cicadas singing in the sun, i almost feel like being in albury on a hot december day!
can´t wait to explore this lovely town tomorrow!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

baking in the sun

the last couple of days were real holidays with lying in the beautiful sand bar bay on kythnos.
with no wind to get there, we had to motor all the way from naousa, paros to there.

that does not mean we have been lazy though! with no sail-change to be done, i tried my first bread-baking and cake-baking at sea (in rather easy conditions i have to admit)
still, the result i am pretty proud of! check out my turkish pita loaves and the apple-cranberry-cake!

our first bread and cake baked at sea 

so it was nice to spend a day just snorkeling, reading, going for walks, eating, sleeping and trying to make fury friends!

sand bar bay, kythnos....and our great maloo
beach goats that like to watch the sun set

time for a barbie!

tryin´ to make a donkey-friend...but he wasn´t to keen

Monday, July 23, 2012

about crossing the dodecanese channel and a 10mm seal

so we got up early (5am) to start our long trip to paros. with approximately 65nm ahead of us and the experience of finding a habour behind us, we thought it might be good to arrive not to late in naousa - not knowing if the marina was still operated or not. recently some marinas around greece seized being taken care of.

so off we went again and the meltemi kissed us awake with 35kn of wind and big waves. below the island of ikara the wind all of a sudden stopped completely, different to our expectations as we thought there might be katabatic winds coming off the cliffs of ikara - not this day!

after two hours motoring the wind returned with 25kn and we flew along under sails sometimes doing 9,4kn (which is really fast for a bavaria 42 - and very slow for an airbus, as i was told by a pilot-friend!) ...but to us it felt really like flying over the big swell of the dodecanese channel.

it was not long after, that mark was sitting under the spray hood and noticed the smell of diesel.
appart from not smelling good, it is generally not pleasant to find diesel in your boat other than the tank or inside the motor.
a small amount was sitting there under the engine. to find the diesel proved easy, but to find it´s origin was a bit harder. after searching and searching next to the hot motor in a boat that rocked on the short steep aegean wave, we at first suspected the oil filter was not fitted properly. you might remember, we just changed them - so having done something wrong there was our first thought. but the filters were all nice and proper...so where does this tiny amount of diesel come from?
the bleeding screw! - to vent the fuel system there is a bleeding screw - and this screw has a little seal, about 10mm. and it was this seal that gave up on us. how a little thing worth about 2 cents can possibly ruin your day!
problem found - soon to be solved!

so on we went crossing the dodecanese channel, a big body of water where our friend the meltemi blows it's hardest, lots of strong current and even more shipping traffic. in these rather demanding conditions we had to wear a warm jackets, got to try out our new life vests and got to learn using the AIS (automatic identification system). at times we had more than 100 ships on our screen (i love this little thing - gives you all the info about the traffic out there: name of the boat that is about to run you over, course, speed and my favorite "closest point to approach")
if you ever plan to sail the dodecanese...mind the high speed ferries though - they come at you really fast out from nowhere!

so again we flew with an average (!) of 7kn and at 16:20 local time we tied up in naousa marina, paros.
some of you out there knew already where we were... the AIS makes it possible to track us realtime on pages like http://marinetraffic.com or an app like shipfinder (just search vessle "maloo" and there we are!) of course this only works when we have it turned on.
we found ourselves all of a sudden in this postcard-picturesque town with the typical white houses and the blue windows, drinking a freddochino (something very yummy that resembles a frappé only with a faint chocolate flavor to it) and feeling happy and tired. a big day sailing had come to its end.

we´ll gonna have a day break - enjoying paros and stocking up on water and food and sleep. i will also hunt down these lovely little shops, missing my mami, who would be the perfect partner in crime for this!

naousa, paros

a great and cheap spot just 200m from the little town


Friday, July 20, 2012

dear meltemi,

well, you had fun the last couple of days, didn´t you?

we stayed an extra day in Samos just to get out of you way, but little did we know, that there was no escape!
so there we were, leaving early and hoping to have a great day sailing - not to heavy, as i don´t have my sealegs yet.
and nicely it started...the cross seas you had pushed up got a bit heavy on my stomach, but calling it seasickness would have been too much.

a couple of hours into our day though you decided to start playing with us. almost expecting you to, we didn´t fall for your wind hole and kept the sails reefed (sail reefing is to make the sail smaller, when you get strong winds). that must have made you quite angry, because only a few minutes later you came back to us with 30kt winds and more!
you must have laughed you head off when you figured out, that we made a beginners-mistake and forgot to close the hatch under the dinghy (little tender boat) i suppose, or why did you throw these big waves at us every now and then to cover us all over?

we actually enjoyed sailing you though!...soon to find out that sailing hard meltemi is not the problem...finding a hiding hole for a quite night though - this is the real issue.
so we headed for fournoi island. with its little bays open to the south it seemed to be just perfect to hide from you, as you tend to make your way from north to north west.
but you got a fierce friend that you cooperate with: the katabatic wind...so whenever you seem to get a tiny bit tired, your friend helps you out by throwing massive winds down the hills of the islands and from all sort of directions, until you are back in the game.

so we tried to anchor and...of course the bloody thing didn´t grab. we had to try and try and try in pretty heavy conditions -finally we landlined between boats and hardly caught any sleep, because you would either push us onto one of the other boats or let us slip towards the rocks behind us.
not only didn´t we anchor well - you also made our bed wet! - (or so did we, by not closing the hatch, which happened to be right above the forward bed) - but don´t you laugh to soon - because we simply moved into one of the other cabins for the night, anyway only finding little sleep.

the next morning we decided to move, find a nice stop for the day to dry out the front cabin and to finally get a day of rest.
after some pretty tricky manouvering during which you again decided to go above 30kn with the gusts, we almost lost the bimini (i.e. sunshade) to you- but after setting not only one anchor but two and two well placed landlines we managed to be safe and sound... whatever you threw at us today, we managed to find a nice spot, catch up on some sleep and snorkeled in freezing cold water (about 19°C i´d say) that you brought up from the depths of the aegean. we had a great day, hoping to have passed your test and we will see you again tomorrow, when we head of to paros.

our second anchorage. a nice and safe spot near the jetty

strong gusts coming from every direction

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

...and off we go

so - after it took longer than expected to clear out of turkey, we finally started sailing (and not just talking about it). and I tell you what: it is fantastic! - i almost had forgotten how nice it is when the wind pushes you through dark blue waves...full sails...the salty sea smell...and a so nicely trimmed boat that the helm (i.e. the steering wheel) lies calm beneath your hands!
turkey has been very good to us, and i hope to return one day! - nevertheless, it really was time to get going!

one of the big highlights today though was being sent off by our new found friends of azzurro II with the signal horn! (for us being such an emotional moment it was the nicest thing to be waved off and be able to share this special moment - THANKS SO MUCH YOU TWO!)
even though we were lucky to meet quite a few great people on our journeys (no matter if sailing or not) it still amazes me how sometimes out of nowhere a helping hand or a friendly word comes to you.

but back to our "epic" first 20nautical miles! - the wind was shifty and as expected (and predicted) freshened up to almost 25knots ( ca.50km/h) but with early reefed sails... no worries!

we then arrived in Samos Marina, only to find out that traveling with australian flag is a huge bonus in greece, as almost every greek either has been down under, or has family there... so a big friendly welcome here and a great little first test-sail for us.

we also managed to clear into greece and so the e.u. already - surprisingly this went really fast - only three offices and everyone in these offices had an idea why we actually came to see them.

as the meltemi is predicted to blow it´s head off the next couple of days, we will hang out here and hope to catch that wind hole that should appear soon to go across the aegean.

for now - i am off for a swim!
bussi and big hug to all of you, who thought of us and were wondering, if we finally took off or not!

20nm done... only app.15980nm to go:)

now which way is outta here?
please note that bow riding is strictly illegal in australia, luckily we are in greece!
a hard earned drink

Monday, July 16, 2012

up the mast she goes

number one on todays to do list was a rig check.

so it was time to send the little lady up the mast... check it out.

fixing that sticky wind vane
full shot
that's me down on the ground where it's nice and safe

Saturday, July 14, 2012

tight spaces

the last minute boat preparations continue to fill our days in kusadasi. 

today's award for crawling into tight spaces goes to karline: for her exceptional efforts with servicing the genny and pulling the last (we hope) cables through places that were never designed for the purpose.

all good fun with outside temperatures creeping above 40 and the rear compartment in the boat more like a sauna.

can't wait to get going in a few days...

pulling cables through

karline servicing the diesel genny

Thursday, July 12, 2012

busy days...oder "ein bisschen schiss"

wow! - busy days ...yet again!
after a few sad goodbyes again we finally made it with all our luggage (we´re talking about 86kg plus hand luggage and so called "dangerous goods" like 2 self inflating life vests and a "very dangerous" epirb) to kusadasi in turkey.

it was great to find our maloo with a freshly painted belly and a newly polished hull - what a great sight!

after a very hot night on the hard (i.e. on land with the boat) we prepared her for being put in the water. Just to be sure, we took out the complete anchor chain to check up on it. being a stainless steel chain which has been tested and certified we were pretty certain not to find any problems... how wrong were we?
pitting corrosion on too many chain links to be repaired. so, because I have issues sleeping on the anchor anyway, a new chain has to be bought! - jeez, just imagine a lovely caribbean beach, a wonderful sunset, a tiny bit of wind kickin´ in ... and a stuffed boat on rocks on the morning after!

but luckily we´re in turkey, where things go fast and easy...new chain (this time a galvanized steel one!) will be delivered just half a day after ordering.

so it was time for our floating home to hit the water... finally! and after a few exciting and tiny bit scary moments of having her transported through the whole marina, she was let down and - she swam!
(i know, for the non-sailors out there this might be nothing more than a natural thing for a sailing boat... but after being on land for so long and loading her up with lots of goodies, we weren´t quite sure if she could remember that she was a sailing boat and not a caravan)

mark squeezed her into the tiniest marina berth the marineros (or "sea-men how they call them here) could find for us. since there is a flotilla coming into kusadasi, we had to give up our luxury spot) and off we went working on the motor: oil change, oil filter change, fuel filter change, pre fuel filter change, check and top up coolant... and the engine started! must have done something right ;)

so again, our minds are busy with things to do and organize - very subtle though this feeling of "schiss" (sorry, my english speaking folks...there is just no real translation for it) is flaring up but... are we doing the right thing? - will we be right? can we handle what ever will be thrown at us? will it be worth all the work and what we leave behind for 18 months? (ein bißchen schiss eben) i very much hope so... and it looks like we´re to find out now, are we?

here we are with the rest of our belongings

saying good bye to my Mami... hope to see her in St.Lucia!

a very bad surprise! 

maloo being transported through the marina

maloo on the crane - and soon to hit the water

Sunday, July 1, 2012

cleaning up

we´re right in the middle of a couple of very hectic weeks!

cleaning out the flat and painting it, finishing up last projects at work...

and hardly time to get our heads set to the months that lie ahead of us.

currently the sad moments are more than the sunny ones, especially with saying goodbye.

goodbye to my great friends at work (at least some of you will drop in for a short visit... I hope!?) - who I will miss having breakfast with every morning and discuss one or the other very "interesting" topic with!

goodbye to a job that was great fun (most of the times) and a fantastic experience. My boys down in Nazarje have been very patient teachers and I will miss working on some cool stuff with them. After all we did a couple of very nice appliances together.

goodbye to Munich - a town that made it very hard for me to feel at home in the beginning. But we got to know each other and will always be in this funny love-hate relationship. (Sorry, that´s the best it will ever be for an Austrian living in Germany;)

goodbye to my family, my nephews... how much I will miss being sung my birthday song to and the little email-chat (in work hours;) ) to my brother!... but thank god there´s skype!!!!!

and most sadly: Goodbye to my very best friend Buddy, who saved me so many times from hard days, when everything seems to go somehow wrong.
So many times he made me laugh! - but it´s not forever, and as he decided to go on his own little adventure, there is nothing left for me to do but wish him all the best and think of him... hoping he won´t miss me at all!

and the good thing is, that I can be sure he gets to stay with some of the loveliest people I know...and his cousin Sammy, who is his best mate... at least most of the time ;)
I know how much he loves to hang out in the green grass overlooking his new kingdom!

take care, be good and have a great time, my Brown Bear!

but as a good friend once wrote me in a mail: you can´t fly unless you jump!

and jump we will have to! - at the moment however, I am up there on the diving platform with this funny feeling in my gut...