Voyage of Traveler / Blog

May 28, 2009

Traveler Postcard From Santorini

Hi, Everyone,
Traveler is on a 12 mile passage now between Santorini and Ios in the Greek Islands.  With me is my son, Scott, and his girlfriend, Natalie, both sophomores at UC Berkeley.  Barbara is off the boat for a couple of weeks touring Prague with Kathy Smith (one of our crew from Transpac), and then Istanbul and other sites in Turkey by herself before rejoining us in Mykonos on June 5.

Our passage from the Suez Canal to Turkey went fine. It was good to be cruising in the Med.  We had two mechanical problems: we were still having trouble starting the engine when it was cooled down (ongoing for the past two months) and our propane solenoid stopped working, plus we were motoring due to light wind and getting low on fuel, so we stopped at Fethiye, Turkey instead of Marmaris.  We really liked Fethiye–a picture perfect harbor with Roman ruins, fish markets, lots of local boats and yachts from all over and nice weather. We also found a Yanmar dealer to fix our engine.  Turns out he properly diagnosed our problem as a small amount of sea water coming up our exhaust then getting into the engine through an open exhaust valve due a combination of factors: (1) our exhaust elbow did not have a high enough lift to it (the old elbow had only a five inch lift and the new custom built elbow has an 18 inch lift), (2) our vented loop was not properly mounted and came loose so it was no longer vertical, and (3) our custom fiberglass water lock developed cracks and was leaking.  After the repairs (three days, $2,300), the compression tested very good, and the engine starts easily and runs well now.

We then motor-sailed through the night, departing at midnight, from Fethiye to Bodrum, another picture perfect Turkish port of call, with an ancient fort guarding the harbor, lots of fun restaurants, and a great marina.  It reminded me a little of a Turkish version of Avalon, with the fort at the harbor entrance instead of the casino. Stayed here just one night, and this is where Barbara began her side trip, so I made the crossing from Bodrum, Turkey to Kos, Greece–just 12 miles–by myself.  It was weird to be on the boat alone–the first time ever.  And it was a little challenging to come into the unfamiliar marina, in 20 knots of wind, and moor Med-style bow in, squeezing between two other boats in a space just wide enough for Traveler to fit snuggly, and handling the dock lines and fenders solo, but I managed.  This is where Scott and Natalie join me.

We very much enjoyed Kos, with another great fort, lots of fun restaurants and tourists from all over, mostly European countries.  The Greeks welcomed us warmly wherever we went, as did the Turks.  We rode bikes around the harbor, sightseeing and spent a couple of hours at a beach in front of a bar having a round of beers.

We left Kos at about 5pm and sailed through the night to Santorini, about 100 miles to the west. The wind was strong (20 knots) and the waves high, making for a bumping passage for Scott and Natalie.  I had a double reefed main and jib, and we were sailing along nicely at 8 knots. Then we got hit by a “meltemi” which is a strong, short blast of wind typical in the Greek islands.  The wind gusted to at least 30, maybe 35, knots and briefly knocked the boat over on its side causing things to go flying below. I quickly eased the main and we came right back up, then I reefed the main and jib some more. We were okay after that.  Nothing broke, but Scott and Natalie were a little shaken on the play–especially when I put on my PFD (inflatable lifejacket) and asked them to do the same.

Only 3 miles to go to Ios, so I gotta go.

Living the Dream, but miss Barbara much,
Michael

1 Comment »

  1. Pretty amazing stuff. Glad you are all safe.

    Comment by Louise Losson — May 28, 2009 @ 10:12 pm

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