The sea state was terrible in our journey down to Montenegro – only 30nm from Cavtat to Tivat but it took 7 hours and we arrived exhausted. Only a small amount of damage – just the main sheet block came off the traveller and luckily we found the pin on deck to fix it. Damage is always the worry in big seas and with the boom swinging around as the waves threw the boat around, it made us quite nervous so when we actually came into the bay of Kotor we relaxed a bit.
We needed fuel so we had to check in to Montenegro. They saw immediately that we had not checked out of Croatia and said this was a big problem – we explained about the locked offices but to no avail. As our customs guy spoke no English, we seemed to be getting nowhere until he brought out his phone and typed into Google translate “you quiet and I make neat papers”……what a lovely guy. Gotta love the Montenegrans.
We were only going to stay for a few days but needed some internet to check the weather. We got the best deal ever – 100GB for only 10€! Needless to say, I spent the last few days downloading movie after movie and still only managed to use 70GB.
2 days later, fuelled up with our duty free diesel, checked out of Montenegro, provisioned and full of water we headed out to sail back through Greece to Marmaris in Turkey. The only boat out on the water so late in the season.
This journey was about 800nm – but with the bad weather forecast, we were loathe to do it in one hit, which meant sneaking into Greece for a couple of weeks to break the journey. First stop Corfu. We had visited Corfu so we knew the anchorage and felt we could easily hide amongst the other boats but when we arrived the huge anchorage was empty and we stood out like a belisha beacon – the easterly winds were blowing us into shore so after an hour or so we decided to get out of the area and head to a safer anchorage further south. We headed into shore to pick up some wine and yoghurt- they have the best yoghurt in the world in Greece and we also needed to check the weather. It wasn’t good, with strong southerlies and thunderstorms all the way down. We needed to get a wiggle on if we were going to make Turkey unscathed.
Next stop was Preveza where we had also stayed before. It was lovely and quiet, but the cafes were still open for business – they get so little trade over the winter that we were surprised they still operated but it meant we always got the best table. It was getting much colder now so I dug out the jeans and jumpers and my UGG boots and put the thicker duvee on the bed – this was our first cold weather for over 4 years and we were feeling it….
The next anchorage was at Vathi in Ithaki – a lovely little town. It was pouring with rain so we only spent about an hour there but managed to get some great meat from the butcher’s and stocked up at the supermarket.
When we brought the anchor up, we were a bit surprised to realise we had caught another anchor in our chain. We managed to get it free and bought it onboard. It’s a bit small for us to use as a third anchor so we will give it to someone in Turkey. This anchorage was huge and we were the only boat and we dropped our anchor right on top of another! Incredible
The next run was to the island of Zakynthos and we got hammered. No sailing, just motoring into strong headwinds and heavy rain. We arrived cold and damp so went ashore to have a drink and cheer ourselves up. This town was much bigger than we expected and again, devoid of tourists.
After checking the weather we knew we had only a couple of days before a really nasty front came through so we needed to do a couple of overnighters. This would get us round the bottom of the mainland peninsular into the Cyclades and hopefully out of the bad weather. Usually we both sleep very well during night sailing but doing one or two night sails then a few day sails gets very tiring- you never really catch up on your sleep – sleeping literally less than half an inch from the ocean, you can hear the waves slapping the boat, all the creeks from the rigging and of course the engine, so on this small trip neither of us caught up and together with the cold nights we both came down with colds which added to the discomfort. We were really looking forward to getting to Turkey. We did have some beautiful sunsets and sailing past the islands was fun as we would play ‘spot the church’ and we always found it – usually right at the highest point of the island.
We eventually arrived at the island of Milos. This island is sometimes called Melos and the people who come from here are called Melians…. When I looked at the map I found various businesses called Melian – a car hire place, a restaurant, a hotel etc so off we went to find a business called Melian. To see my name in such bold lettering was a first for me..
Milos was a another lovely island in the Cyclades – famous for their white houses and steps leading up to a myriad of small lanes and houses. We stocked up on Greek wine and olive oil and took advantage of the good weather window to get over to Symi – our final break before getting to Turkey.
When we left Milos we came across many little rows of fishermens cottages built into the rockface. The boathouse doors were all painted different colours and the houses were painted white. The main town was high up in the hill so we think they only used these houses during the summer months.
We arrived in Symi early in the afternoon and went into an anchorage on the East coast to make an easier run into Marmaris the next day. We found ourselves in a stunning sheltered bay anchored in front of a Monastery. We went ashore to have a look around and assumed there were people there because it was all open and the lights were on, but the museum was shut so they were obviously not open for business. As this bay includes a Monastery, the rules were a bit more rigid than the rest of Greece. We found this sign and loved their symbol of nudity.
We had our final glass of wine in Greece at the only restaurant open and headed back to Indian Summer to get an early night for the very early start the next day.
We had just 1 day before a really nasty front was coming through – plenty of time to get to Turkey just 26nm away. We arrived just after lunch and dropped anchor off the beach in Marmaris. The trip from Croatia had taken 16 days, we had sailed over 800 nm and had winds of up to 40kts including thunderstorms. There was some damage, one of the mainsail batten cars broke, leaving the mainsail flapping. The nut came off the gooseneck bolt but luckily the bolt did not fall out so Ian fixed it under sail and the belt broke in the watermaker, but we arrived safe and sound and now we are staying put for 4 months. 3 months in the marina on the hard for her annual maintenance and a month to sail the Turkish coastline. While she is safely tucked up in the marina we are heading back to the UK and Australia to see family and then in the New Year we will come back and start working on her.