Mediterranean Monk Seal Pays a Visit in Kithnos

Mediterranean Monk Seal (Photo by the International Fund for Animal Welfare)
Mediterranean Monk Seal (Photo by the International Fund for Animal Welfare)

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

Underway through the Greek Islands

Photo: Nysiros, Greece. Credit: L. Borre.
Gyatso moored on the island of Nysiros, Greece. Photo by Lisa Borre.

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.

Continue reading Underway through the Greek Islands

Preparing to Set Sail from Marmaris

Photo: stowing gear on a crushing sailboat.
Lisa stows gear in the port lazarette.

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 book launch scheduled for Saturday 28 April in Marmaris, Turkey

Photo: The Black Sea cruising guide launch.
L to R: Martin Walker, director of the RCCPF, with The Black Sea co-authors Lisa Borre and David Read Barker.

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

Return to Gyatso in Marmaris, Turkey

Photo: Tayana 37 Gyatso at Marmaris Yacht Marina. Credit: Lisa Borre.
Gyatso in the yard at Marmaris Yacht Marina. Photograph by Lisa Borre.

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

Countdown to Departure for Seasonal Cruising in the Med

Photo: Tall ships in the Golden Horn of Istanbul. Credit: Lisa Borre.
We’ll stop in Istanbul for two days on our way to Gyatso.

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

Black Sea Cruising Guide to be Released this Month

Photo: Gyatso on the Black Sea. Credit: Hasan Techimer.
Gyatso motoring on the Black Sea near Rize, Turkey in 2010. Photo by Hasan Techimer.

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.


We just set-up this new blog platform and will start posting here soon. While we’re making this transition, all of Gyatso’s previous website pages will remain available.

Istanbul, Turkey: Black Sea Circumnavigation Completed

Photo: Bridge over the Bosphorus near Istanbul, Turkey.
We had a beautiful, clear day in September for our trip down the Bosphorus from the Black Sea to Istanbul. Photo by Lisa Borre.

Black Sea Logbook Entry

Date: 9/16/2010
Distance: 18 nm
Sailed from: Poyraz, Turkey
Lat: 40°58.3’N
Long: 29°02.1’E

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

Igneada, Turkey: Our final stop on the Black Sea and a warm welcome back to Turkey

Photo: Sailing on the Black Sea. Credit: Lisa Borre.
A nice September breeze carried us back to the Bosphorus and Istanbul. Photo by Lisa Borre.

Black Sea Logbook Entry

Date: 9/14/2010
Distance: 44 nm
Sailed from: Sozopol, Bulgaria
Lat: 43°53.2’N
Long: 28°01.6’E

We cleared out of Bulgaria in Tsarevo, arriving in Igneada, Turkey well before sunset. Having heard mixed reviews about whether Turkish authorities would allow us to remain in the harbor or require us to proceed to Istanbul for clearance formalities, we were pleasantly surprised by the friendliness of the officials who stopped by in a coast guard rib shortly after we anchored. The explained what we already knew: “Igneada is no longer a port of entry.” They asked for our passports and ship’s papers and gave us permission to stay in the harbor. In true Turkish fashion, one of the young men asked if we needed any supplies, “Water or bread? A weather report?” David answered, “We’re okay on supplies, but we miss olives!” They returned a short while later with our ship’s papers and a jar of black olives — a warm welcome back to Turkey. Continue reading Igneada, Turkey: Our final stop on the Black Sea and a warm welcome back to Turkey

Adventures while cruising to the Caribbean, Mediterranean, and Black Seas in a Tayana 37 sailboat


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