In hopes of the galley countertop project being competed today, we’ve decided to move back onboard our floating home after five months of living on land even though the cabin is a total wreck (see Galley sink and countertop refit). Lisa tried to look at the bright side and commented, “At least I don’t feel like a fish out of water anymore.”
On aspect of our cruising life is getting to know where everything is in the many towns we visit. It’s like a treasure hunt finding our way around a new town and figuring out where to buy groceries and other necessary supplies. We also search for reasonably-priced restaurants and shops to sample the local food specialties. We spent this winter living on land while Gyatso was hauled-out in Marmaris, Turkey, but the process of discovering our temporary home was no different than when we’re living aboard.
We’ve rented a small apartment in town and commute by dolmus (minibus) to the marina where we are preparing Gyatso for another sailing season. It’s a 20-minute ride that we really enjoy — it gives us a chance to watch spring unfold in this part of the world.
The decks are scrubbed, the topsides are washed down, and the bootstripe is re-painted. But these are just the first three things on a list that is two pages long before we re-splash in two weeks. At least the guys in the yard can get back to work on the second coat of bottom paint while we work the rest of the list.
To say we touched the shores of five different countries on three continents during the 2009 cruising season sounds like a lot, but while we were underway, it just felt like we were slowly island hopping our way from Italy to Turkey. What was impressive is that this year’s cruising grounds happened to take us through the crossroads of the eastern and western basins of the Mediterranean Sea and across the cultural divide between Europe and Africa, and Christianity and Islam.
Happy New Year from snow-covered Annapolis! Yes, that’s right, we decided to postpone our return to Gyatso in Turkey until mid-February. Having visited family and friends for six weeks in October and November, we decided to spend two months in our homeport. We’re using the time to focus on health and fitness, among other things, as we head into our fifth year of full-time cruising and living aboard a 37′ boat! Since Gyatso is hauled-out in Turkey and our house is still rented out, we borrowed our cousin’s car (they’re cruising in the Bahamas this winter), found ourselves an apartment, and joined a gym which is only a five-minute drive away. We will resume our website updates again when we return to Turkey.
After a pleasant day motoring and sailing in light to no wind with the occasional rain shower, we tied-up alongside the ferry dock in Astipalaia with a fishing boat and several other yachts. The ferry is not due in until 9:30 a.m., but we’re not on the part of the pier it uses. This is a good thing because after two long days and 105 miles of sailing, we are ready for a day of rest.
A great sail in 12 knots of wind this morning before the wind dropped off, and then we motored or motor-sailed the rest of the way. We anchored in the protected harbor of Paroika on the island of Paros, Greece and waited out a meltemi (north wind) for what turned out to be five days. We arrived on a Friday, before the wind kicked up, but by Saturday night, both the marina and anchorage were filled with yachts seeking protection from the strong winds.
Calm weather but unfortunately not much wind for the long passage to Kithnos today. We found lots of charter boats in Loutra when we arrived, but the harbormaster managed to find space for us tied alongside the end of the pier and rafted off the stern of a big catamaran.
We passed through the Corinth Canal and into the Aegean Sea today — a short-cut that saves five days of sailing at a time in the season when we really need it. We’re making a beeline for Turkey — as much as this is possible in the Greek Islands — to find a winter home for Gyatso. We didn’t mind that the weather was totally calm on this particular day.