An easterly wind carried us through the Corinth Canal to Galaxidhi, the same port we visited three years ago. The wind shifted to the west the following day, so we waited for it to drop before continuing westward to pass under the Rion bridge and into the Gulf of Patras.We spent five days catching up on some work we brought along, taking leisurely strolls through town and enjoying seafood dinners in the local taverna.
We had a surprise visitor to Gyatso after dinner last night: an endangered marine mammal rarely seen in the Aegean Sea. We had just returned from one of the local tavernas ashore: cuttlefish in wine sauce for David and a hearty vegetable soup for me. It was already dark, the only light coming from the street lamps on the quay where we were rafted off the British yacht, Stratagem. Luckily, I had only a sip of ouzo to drink before dinner with neighbors Sandra and Ray, or I might not have believed my eyes. Continue reading Mediterranean Monk Seal Pays a Visit in Kithnos→
We’ve been underway for just over a week and completed four passages as we island-hop our way through Greece. Although we are not in our usual leisurely cruising mode, we are quickly getting back into a routine of moving when the wind and weather allow.
Our days of open-ended cruising have come to an end, and the main purpose of this trip is to move Gyatso from point A (Marmaris, Turkey) to point B (Corfu, Greece). This requires a different mind set than when we were cruising full-time, one that has an end date looming in a matter of weeks, not months and years. We’re adjusting, but this early in the season, it is a real test in patience. Twice we’ve set out in hopes of making a passage but turned back when the conditions proved uncomfortable. We decided that we were pushing the schedule too hard and have settled back into our tried-and-true approach of letting the weather dictate our movements.
When it gets to this point with spring commissioning onboard Gyatso, David and I look at the “to do” list and prioritize based on one simple criteria: “Is it good enough to go sailing?” We just need to service two winches, stow some gear and return a borrowed bicycle for the answer to this question to be, “Yes!”
Later today, we’re planning to leave Marmaris Yacht Marina where we’ve been berthed for the last few weeks and move to an anchorage in Marmaris Bay to make an early departure Saturday morning. Gyatso will be sailing west to the Greek Islands. Our first planned stop is Symi, Greece. We hope to arrive in time to watch the super moon rise. Continue reading Preparing to Set Sail from Marmaris→
The Black Sea cruising guide is now available for purchase from the RCC Pilotage Foundation and Imray. We will be launching the book at a briefing about the Black Sea in Marmaris, Turkey this Saturday, 28 April at 10:00 AM in the Dining Room Annex at Marmaris Yacht Marina. The timing couldn’t be better. We are back aboard Gyatso in Marmaris preparing for a seasonal cruise in the Med. Martin Walker, our editor at the RCCPF, will be hand-carrying a copy of the book from England when he returns to his boat in Marmaris tomorrow. Continue reading The Black Sea book launch scheduled for Saturday 28 April in Marmaris, Turkey→
Today is the first time since we arrived in Turkey over a week ago that I can find a quiet moment to post an update about our long-awaited reunion with Gyatso. It’s been a busy week of travel and a mad dash to prepare our Tayana 37 for launching. It also has been a week filled with reunions with old friends. We are afloat at Marmaris Yacht Marina enjoying a sunny, calm day — the kind of Sunday that begs you to slow down, take it easy and enjoy being on the water. That’s exactly what we plan to do. Continue reading Return to Gyatso in Marmaris, Turkey→
We’re in the final countdown to departure for some seasonal cruising in the Med after nearly 18 months on dry land. We hauled out and stored Gyatso at the end of the 2010 cruising season and returned home to write a cruising guide to the Black Sea. The book is scheduled for release later this month, and we’re now looking forward to our return to Marmaris, Turkey where we will begin this year’s cruise. Continue reading Countdown to Departure for Seasonal Cruising in the Med→
The Black Sea cruising guide that we wrote is scheduled for release later this month. The guide is being published in a hard-cover book format with updated harbor plans and color photos as a joint venture between the RCC Pilotage Foundation and Imray. It replaces the text-only e-pilot we published with the RCCPF last year and provides sailing directions for all six countries surrounding the Black Sea. The guide is based on previously published and unpublished cruising notes as well as information we gathered while sailing around the Black Sea in 2010. For our personal account of sailing on the Black Sea, see the Black Sea section of the Gyatso website.
Gyatso sailed down the Bosphorus today, returning to Istanbul 111 days after setting out on a voyage around the Black Sea. We visited five of the six countries during our 2,118 mile counter-clockwise circumnavigation, including Turkey, Georgia, the Ukraine, Romania and Bulgaria. Russian officials could not give us adequate assurances regarding clearance procedures, so we made a 330 mile offshore passage from Georgia to the Crimean Peninsula in the Ukraine to avoid entering Russian waters. It was a real disappointment not to be able to visit the site of the next winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
We met friendly people and were welcomed with warm hospitality along the way — the only exception was encountering the occasional Soviet-style government officials in Ukraine and in Georgia. Contrary to published guides about the Black Sea, we found it teaming with life. Dolphins and porpoises made regular appearances in our bow wave. We also met with many experts and scientists about the environmental conditions and were encouraged to learn of some signs of improvement to this highly degraded ecosystem. Continue reading Istanbul, Turkey: Black Sea Circumnavigation Completed→