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Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Marina life and Merry Christmas

The weather here stayed surprisingly warm and fine, and only this week has started to be wintry with temperatures under 20dC. We haven't turned a heater on yet, and the sea water is still 21dC.
All is well with us at the marina, which is said to be the largest in the Med, and one of the largest single marinas in the world having 650 berths, and 1,000 hardstand spaces. They are still expanding and will next year install a new 1,000 tonne travel lift.
There are lots of facilities here, and activities organised – both by the occupants, and the management. Di and I partake in some of them, but not many – we just prefer to do our own thing. Every day there is a vhf radio net advising everybody what’s happening in and around the marina. Most technical services are resident here, and they have to pay the marina operators 15% of their labour charge – of course this means the boat owner pays in the end. Contractors coming into the marina have to pay Lire 30 per person per day, even if only coming in for half an hour. This is a real bone of contention among the cruisers.
There’s not a great deal more to do on Envoy until we come out of the water on Friday. Then our storage cover gets put back on to protect Envoy during the winter months. It’s such a large cover it will take 2 guys most of a day to fit it.
As we’ll only be off Envoy for about 4 months there is nothing like the work involved compared to last time when we left her for an expected 2-3 years.
This will be our last post for 2010: we hope you enjoyed the blog this year and wish you Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Next posting will be 1st week of 2011.
The parts for the watermaker have not arrived yet – so we’ll have to wait until April. Same situation with the stabilisers. In both cases I know the parts are now coming – they weren’t organised before we arrived back, despite the promises and our regular checking to ensure they were organised.
When Envoy comes out of the water we’re also going to check the rudder movement to see if that’s OK. In any case the rudder stock’s top bearing needs to be removed and checked, and the rubber sleeve replaced, as it has a tear.
Our Yanmar “wing” engine has a PSS dripless shaft seal for which the bellows needs to be replaced every six years or so, and now due. The local engineers suggest to change this system to the Volvo shaft seal system, which they say is more reliable, and for which parts are readily available here, so we’re going to do that. The PSS system has always worried me a bit, because it seems over-complicated, and if the rubber bellows should rip or fail, a considerable amount of sea water can enter the boat in an area which is very difficult to access.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Safely back in Marmaris marina

Di and I are really well, and on Monday 15 we berthed in Marmaris marina for the winter, ending our 2010 cruise of 168 days and 1,782 nautical miles. It’s a great feeling to have returned safely without any major dramas - the only serious technical problem encountered with Envoy during this time was our gearbox failure, which held us up at Agios Nikolaos marina for two weeks. There’s no sadness about our cruise ending; we’ve had a great time, we’ve got lots to look forward to during December to March, and then we’ll be returning in April.
The marina fees are still quite reasonable for long term occupants – Euro 1,969 for five and a half months including lift in/out, and pressure washing. Power is charged at Euro 0.32/kw (we use 11kw/day), and water at Euro 2.50/tonne.
We had a farewell dinner with Chris and he departed for Istanbul on Tuesday 16 – we know that he enjoyed himself and, like our other guests he was a pleasure to have on board.
Here at the marina there are only about 8 kiwis, although a number of other NZ boats where the crews have returned to NZ for the winter.
On our marina finger is also the very first Nordhavn 46 built – “Frog Kiss”.
Since our arrival here the weather has been near perfect up to a couple of days ago when we got some overcast weather and strong winds. Certainly it’s no problem to cruise up to mid November in this area.
One development here is that it’s now totally banned to put any detergents into the sea – not only in the marina (understandable) but in all coastal areas (ridiculous). A Euro 250 fine applies if any bubbles are found eminating from your vessel.
We have a delightful English couple next to us, David & Jill who have lived aboard their English Daaglas design, 19m overall length, 40 year old motor yacht for 24 years cruising the Med. David is a retired boatbuilder / engineer / diver / captain, and a mine of interesting information
Last Saturday we went with a group to a local restaurant to watch the All Blacks play Ireland, and this week will watch the Wales game – Go Blacks.
Days aboard Envoy this trip: 168 - Marmaris to Marmaris, 234 - total
Engine hours and distance this trip: 361hrs, 1,782NM
Technical: We’ve had two major disappointments as neither the HRO watermaker spare parts nor the Naiad stabiliser spare parts are here as promised. The watermaker parts are due in January, so will be ready for our return in April. The Naiad parts are supposed to arrive next week – but we’ll see. In both cases the agents initially promised the parts would be here, had nearly five months to arrange them, and reassured me in subsequent phone conversations that they would be here.
Since arriving back we’ve got both aircon units working again. This will be useful as they are also reverse cycle heaters. Aircon is a bit of a waste of time at sea, because you have to run a Genset to use it, but it is useful when on shorepower. The aft unit just required an air bleed valve fitted to the cooling water pump outlet. The forward unit needed a new cooling water pump fitted from our inventory of spares. We now have 3 failed 110v water pumps on board, and as they cost about NZ$1,000 each I’m seeing if they can be repaired – anybody know about this?
We’ve also stripped, cleaned and greased our Maxwell windlass, and it’s all good for the next season.
The brightwork on the teak has been given another couple of coats, and looks great.
We’ve had intermittent starting problems on the main Lugger engine during the year, so just had the batteries tested under load. The Start Bank is on the way out, and will need to be replaced next year, while the House Bank will probably need replacing the following year. Both Banks date from 2004, and leaving them for 27 months would not have helped them.
Apart from that we’ve been quietly sorting Envoy out for haul out on 10 December, however as we’re only leaving Envoy unattended for four months, and she will be fully covered again there’s no major work to do – unlike 2008.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Photos on blog

Photos on the blog are quite small to see, but you can enlarge them to full screen size by left clicking on the photo. The "Charles Atlas" photo was a bit of fun from Chris using his photo edit skills.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Turkish “Indian summer”

We’ve been steadily heading south, and two weeks ago we anchored off the quaint village of Torba in perfect conditions – blue skies, no wind and temperature in low 20s, and here Chris O’Brien joined us. The weather went this way following a couple of weeks of overcast skies and strong winds, and has remained since. Funny how quickly you forget the strong winds and rain - we’ve been back to swimming every day, BBQs at night, and the sea has been so calm we haven’t needed to use our stabilizers. This seems to confirm that our decision to cruise until mid November was the right one.
From Torba we cruised around the Bodrum Peninsula to Bodrum, and anchored off the spectacular St Peter’s Castle. It’s now very quiet; the holiday season is long over, many shops and restaurants are boarded up for the winter, and fresh supplies are harder to get.
Chris is a self-confessed “Geek”, and very knowledgeable about computers, cameras, mobile phones, stereo systems etc. Apart from that he’s also very practical, and has been helping us out on a range of jobs. Chris is a keen freedom caravaner, and in the caravan community has the nickname “MacGyver” due to his fix-it capabilities.
When Di got her Turkcell USB stick for internet access several weeks back her computer was reprogrammed, and during the process her file containing all our photos disappeared. Chris was able to find and restore that for us (and of course it’s now backed up!)
Chris gave us an incredible torch. This is a small LED torch, only 105mm long, brand is “Cree”, powered by 3 x AAA batteries, in black aluminium. The light it puts out is brighter, with a longer range than our spotlight powered by 8 x D batteries. It also has 3 power settings plus 5 zoom options for different conditions. These torches are just amazing and a must for boating, camping etc. Frank – you need one of these! We laughed over our evening “Efes” beers about Chris being a “Geek bearing gifts”.
We spent a couple of days in Keci Buku where Marti Marina is located. This is a very sheltered anchorage, and we went there as winds of 20-30 knots were forecast. These winds never eventuated though, and we only got a few gusts up to 18 knots for a couple of days.
Having a drink at a shore-side Taverna we met a British guy who’s been living alone aboard his yacht alongside the Taverna’s jetty for 12 years without moving. This seemed rather a shame when there are so many delightful places along this coast to cruise and explore. We decided to have a snack and ordered some calamari. Although it was delicious, we were surprised to be charged Lire 30 (about $25) for it – we thought it was worth Lire 10-15, and this reminded us – if you don’t have a menu always ask the price before ordering.
We went to Bozburun – a charming small Turkish village. Chris and I took six 30 litre water containers to fill – for the last time this trip! Next year we should have our watermaker operational and hunting for water, and lugging around heavy containers will be a distant memory.
We had thought about visiting the Greek island of Simi for a day or two, but the bureaucratic requirements are too great for such a short visit, so we moved on to Bozuk Buku instead. This is the site of the ancient city of Loryma, where the ruins of the mighty citadel, constructed 2,300 years ago still dominate the hilltop, and provide for an interesting exploration. Barbarossa’s restaurant, where we had a great evening with John and Frank & Marie in 2007 was boarded-up and deserted, with two donkeys on the deck overlooking the bay.
Days aboard Envoy this trip: 222
Engine hours and distance this trip: 353hrs, 1,743NM
Technical: No problems or issues, but Chris has provided a lot of help. He managed to get our spare navigation laptop running C-Map with Envoy’s position icon showing on the chart (this icon was missing previously). It turned out to be a simple matter of starting the computer before connecting it to the GPS, and it’s very re-assuring to have that spare system working. He was also able to fix our sea water wash-down tap (actually repairing the internal tap cartridge), fix our remote switch for the boom winch, re-hang our bedroom cabin door to make it close properly, level our BBQ so the oil doesn’t run to one side, make an Ipod connection for our Salon stereo system, and make a connection for laptops to the same system so we have great “surround- sound” audio when watching movies on laptops. Our DVD player is an older one, and only plays single region American DVDs. Chris is going to organise a new multi-region player for us to bring back and connect into our system.
I had several unusual tools on board with no idea what they were for, or how to use them - and Chris was able to put me right there too.
Apart from that we’ve had deep and meaningful discussions on a whole range of technical issues, with me learning a lot in the process.
We bought 750 litres of diesel in Didim to ensure our fuel tanks are about 40% full when we leave Envoy for five months in Marmaris. This cost Lire 3.06 / litre – about $2.80.
We have always used SAE30 oil for all three engines, two gearboxes, and the Yamaha outboard. Both Lugger and Yanmar now recommend 15W40 instead of SAE30, so I’ll use that for our next oil change. Lugger still suggest to use SAE30 for the Borg Warner gearbox. The manual says either SAE30 or ATF can be used, but Lugger advise for low revving applications like ours, SAE30 is better.
We’re changing the Lugger engine oil every 200 hours. The Yanmar manual says to change every 100 hours, but a Yanmar mechanic told us that using the engine every day as we do, 150hrs between oil changes is OK. I think I still prefer to change at 100 hours as the Yanmar (as with the Genset) is used for quite short periods – typically 90 minutes and doesn’t have the chance to get up to a good working temperature.
The Turkish antifoul we used – “Seajet” is not performing well. After five months in the water some slime appeared, followed by some light weed in places, even though Demir Marine said the Seajet would keep our hull clean for the season. My brother warned me about this, and next year we’ll try Interlux Micron Extra.
Some months back, in Crete we found the Start Battery Bank wouldn’t always turn the Lugger over to start it. We got around this by trying again (and it would start on the 2nd or 3rd attempt) or using our Parallel Switch to connect in the House Bank to the Start Bank. Since Doug improved the Lugger charging system this problem has resolved itself, and the Lugger has always starts fine, except once – when it started fine on the 2nd attempt. Chris has suggested we further improve our battery system by fitting a “Megapulse” de-sulphating unit to each Bank.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Amy’s and Steve & Jane Wilson’s visit

We had planned to enter Dalyan harbour for the period of Amy’s visit, and for Steve & Jane’s arrival, but at the last moment were advised there was no room. It’s preferable to be in a harbour when leaving Envoy for several hours at a time, but we anchored in the picturesque bay off the village of Ildir where there is reasonable shelter, water available from a hose at a shore-side hotel, and a dolmus (bus) to Cesme.
The dolmus network is very interesting. They use mini-buses seating about 15, with standing room for about another 10. You can hail them down to get on, and they will drop you off anywhere along their route. There are no tickets – you just pay cash to the driver, a typical fare for a 30 min ride being about $2.50. From the remote village of Ildir there was an hourly service to the regional town of Cesme
We needed to go into Cesme to get a rental car to pick up Amy from Izmir airport. While waiting about 45 minutes for the dolmus a waiter from a nearby taverna brought us out a couple of chairs and a table, then a coffee and a pastry to enjoy during our wait. He refused payment, saying it was “Turkish hospitality” - this is typical of the kindness we encounter from Turkish people.
Driving to Izmir we encountered very heavy rain, and partial flooding of the autobahn. Izmir is a large city with a population of 2.25m, but the autobahn took us directly to the airport. By the time we got back to the boat at 1am the rain had eased, though the RIB was half-full of water. Amy’s visit was absolutely great, and the four days went in a blur. Although the guys at the hotel were helpful with giving us water, their eyes just about popped when Amy came ashore to help with the water, and from then they couldn’t do enough for us. With Amy we had swims, caught up on family conversation, dined well, enjoyed some wines, further explored Cesme, Alicati & Sigacik using the rental car. In Sigacik we were able to visit the weekly market, and then had a great lunch at a small & typical taverna with traditional kebabs. Then all too soon it was time to take Amy back to Izmir airport. When we left Envoy there was torrential rain, so we had to get our full wet weather gear on, and put Amy’s bag in a plastic rubbish sack to keep it dry. This was never going to be a sad farewell as we’ll see Amy in just a few weeks time for Christmas.
After seeing Amy off we picked up Steve & Jane Wilson. It was still raining heavily as we drove back to Ildir, but fortunately eased off while we took the RIB out to Envoy.
As we chatted after dinner the wind picked up, and we had a severe electrical storm with copious thunder and lighting. The wind increased unexpectedly to mid-30 knots with gusts into the low 50s, and Envoy started to drag her anchor. Dragging is unusual as I mentioned in the last posting, and I think this time was due to quite soft mud on the bottom in Ildir, probably combined with only having about 50m of chain out in 8m of depth; for a blow of 40kn+, I would normally put out around 70-80m. Quickly Envoy moved a couple of hundred metres, from 8m to 18m depth, and as the fetch increased the choppy waves grew to over a metre. The heavy rain turned to hail and Steve’s first night back on board (Steve & Jane joined us in 2007) was partially spent getting soaked to the skin on the foredeck operating the anchor winch while I used the engine to take the strain off the anchor chain. Our navigation computer chose this time to play up, and with the poor visibility I had to use radar to get back into a good anchoring position. That night the wind came from all points of the compass, sometimes 5 knots, and sometimes 35, requiring me to maintain anchor watch for a good part of the night – by far the worst night we’ve had during this year. It wasn’t much of a first night for Steve & Jane, but the following day the weather cleared, and mostly stayed that way for the rest of their visit.
We wanted to leave Envoy for a day to go to Ephesus, so moved to a more secure anchorage at Sifne - a larger, shallower bay with more swinging room. Ephesus was great, and a “must-see” for people visiting Turkey. We’d been advised to use a guide to fully explain what we were seeing, and this proved to be very worthwhile for an investment of L90 (about $80). Our guide was a mine of information, presented in a charming manner – his favorite word seemed to be “exactly”, which he used every time one of us made a comment.
I’ve mentioned before that a lot of the ancient ruins you see are little more than piles of rubble, however Ephesus has been quite well preserved. Ephesus was a prosperous city by 600BC, and later became the capital for the Roman province of Asia. Ephesus then had a population of 250,000, but declined after 600AD, when the harbour had fully silted making sea access no longer possible. Nowadays Ephesus is about eight miles from the coast. Ephesus also features the largest ancient Great Theatre – built by the Romans in the 1st century, capable of seating 25,000 people, and still used for performances.
We wanted to take Steve & Jane to Sigacik, and on the way anchored two nights in Alicanti. Here we had yet another gale warning - not as serious as the last one, but the wind shifted from S to N so we had to re-anchor. When we pulled up our anchor, we had a fishing net tangled in the anchor chain, and I had no hesitation in cutting it free our – it is easy to get a fishing net tangled in your propeller.
We had a great farewell dinner in Sigacik; we’ve mentioned before about the Turkish sense of humour – well; we were correctly using the word “Tessekur Ederim” for “thank you”, when the maitre de said we could use a shorter word “ashkim”. So whenever our young waiter brought food or drink we said “ashkim”. Then we noticed some of the other staff and guests were chuckling away. Later the maitre de explained he’d been pulling our leg and “ashkim” actually means “my beloved”.
We had a great time with Steve & Jane who left very early on a balmy morning in complete contrast to their baptism of fire arrival.
We’ll post some photos with Amy and Steve & Jane in a day or two.
We have now moved further south to Akbuk Limani, near Didim, and not far north of Bodrum. During the trip we had one passage of eight hours, covering about 45NM. This was a passage into a southerly wind of 15-20kn, putting up seas of about 1.5m. Apart from our passage to Rhodes in June we have yet to make one with a following sea! A pod of dolphins joined us and swam alongside for 15 minutes or so, jumping and cavorting.
Approaching the Samos Channel (separating mainland Turkey from the Greek Is of Samos) we encountered a classic katabatic wind with thick clouds peeling down from the tops of the mountains on the Turkish coast. The wind came up to over 40kn blowing water off the sea surface and kicking up a 1.5m “washing machine” chop for about 30 minutes until we cleared the channel.
Yesterday we had another gale warning – which is still valid, although we are on the fringes of the gale area with winds in our position only up to high 20s. It looks like a chane to a period of light northerlies within a day or two.
On Monday we meet our last guest – Chris O’Brien, who is cruising to Marmaris with us for two weeks.
Days aboard Envoy this trip: 206
Engine hours and distance this trip: 319hrs, 1,482NM
Technical: Nothing much to report. The C-Map on our navigation computer had a problem – the on-screen chart was somehow replaced by large cubes (probably I accidentally activated a Fn key). Steve managed to find a fix for this within the Display function. We have a spare C-Map program loaded onto a different laptop, and although the chart displays fine, the gps position icon doesn’t show. I’ll investigate further when Chris is here.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Activities up to 14 October

I had an email from a business friend – Owen Embling, saying he thought the photos on the blog were great, so I wanted to mention that Diane takes all the photos, and does the first edit, then we sit together and decide what photos to put on the blog. These are generally the same photos as get published in Pacific Motor Yacht magazine with our regular articles.
Turkey is a wonderful country, and we in NZ could learn a lot from the Turks. People smile and laugh a lot, and are courteous to each other – and to visitors. You never see “threatening-looking” people or drunken idiots around, and people go about their daily business without fear of being mugged or bothered. Although the driving is atrocious, there is no road rage or people giving the fingers etc, everything is just taken in good humour. Yes NZ could learn a lot. One negative though is the considerable litter everywhere (similar in Greece), they are not as “green”, as we are in NZ.
While in Gerence Koyu we received a gale warning of Force 7 NE winds. Weather patterns and forecasts are very important when you’re living on a boat, so we monitor the weather in four different ways;
- by what we can see happening “Mark 1 eyeball”
- listening to Greek and Turkish VHF English weather bulletins
- on the internet – checking four main sites
- by Navtex – which receives text messages put out by Coast Radio Stations (we get about 20 per day).
We decided to head back to Eskifoca where there is good shelter from the wind, no swell coming into the bay, and plenty of room. We anchored in 7m with 50m of chain out, but the gale was both short-lived and mild with the strongest gusts around 33kn. Of course the wind would have been much stronger in open waters. This was more like what in NZ we call a “strong wind warning”, issued when gusts are likely to exceed 33kn. An actual gale on the Beaufort Scale requires mean winds in the range 34-47kn, bearing in mind gusts can be around 40% greater than the mean wind speed. At those levels “mean” is the right word!
It is always a bit daunting in gales anchored during night time; the wind seems to howl more, and you obviously can’t see what’s happening so easily. Envoy has good ground tackle – a 40kg Delta anchor with 120m of 9.5mm BBB chain, and very rarely drags, but we do need to be cautious of major wind direction shifts, and we’ve seen these happen during gales. We always set the audible Anchor Alarm on the GPS at 0.03NM, which is 55m. For non-boaties this means if Envoy moves more than 55m from where we anchored, the alarm sounds. In strong winds anchored boats do move around a bit, and if we set the alarm the next step down at 0.02NM, or 37m, it goes off too frequently. We can’t easily hear the alarm in our cabin below, so we bought a Philips baby monitor, and we put the transmitter (the baby end) near the GPS, and the receiver alongside our bed. This works really well, and saves me getting up several times during the night to check that all is OK. However in severe conditions (40 knots+), or in the rare case we are close to other boats in strong winds I doze up in the Pilothouse, where I can keep an eye on the situation.
Estifoca is an ancient town, founded around 600BC by Phocaeans, and now a quaint village. I already mentioned this is where the Commandos have their training centre. Naturally Estifoca has a castle, and this one was originally built by the Byzantines, and subsequently maintained by Genoese, then Ottoman Turks.
We left Estifoca on 10th and cruised back to Ildir. We had arranged to go into the Dalyan Harbour for a few days while we picked up Amy, but on arrival there were told there was no room (despite a booking). So we stayed at Ildir.
In a couple of days I’ll do a post about Amy’s visit and Steve & Jane’s visit, including a gale on the night Steve & Jane arrived – when Envoy did drift!
Technical: Again nothing much to report, so I’m going to talk about bilges.
This won’t interest everyone, in fact probably no one!
All leaking liquids end up in a boat’s bilges. This includes:
1. Seawater - from the Lugger prop shaft stuffing box (intentional), from the Yanmar “dripless” prop shaft, and from any leaks in seacocks, through hulls, sea water hoses, the bow thruster or stabilizer seals. Also in heavy sea conditions a little spray can end up in the bilges.
2. Fresh water – from the Fridge/Freezer compressor (intentional), from the Aircon compressors (intentional although rarely used), from any leaking fresh water tanks, hoses or hose connections, or from an engine cooling system. Note – if there is a leak from the fresh water plumbing system we can tell as the fresh water pump will operate to maintain pressure, if an engine cooling system is leaking we can tell from daily checks of water levels. Also when it rains very heavily some rainwater ends up in the bilge.
3. Sewage – from the toilets, holding tanks, hoses or hose connections if they leaked (not happened so far)
4. Oil – any leakage from the three engines, two gearboxes, windlass, or watermaker
5. Hydraulic fluid – any leakage from the steering system or stabilizers (not happened so far)
6. Fuel – if a fuel tank or hose or connection were to leak (not happened so far)
Envoy has five bilge compartments, one forward - housing the bow thruster and various sea water pumps, one in the aft section of the Guest Cabin, one under the main Lugger engine, one aft of the engine, and one further aft again under the prop shaft. They are connected by a limber hole running the length of the vessel, and water will eventually make its way to the deepest bilge – aft of the engine.
In 2007 Envoy had a “wet bilge system”, and always had about 100mm of water in the bilges, which we pumped out daily to keep the level constant. This was mostly due to seawater coming in the Lugger prop shaft gland as intended. But the problem was you could never tell if the water in the bilge was sea or fresh water, whether it was supposed to be there or not, or the source of the water.
This year we’ve gone to a “dry bilge system”; we’re using containers to collect the water from the prop shafts and the Aircon, and the Fridge/Freezer compressor so the bilges are always dry, and this means if you see water or other fluid in there you know there is some issue. All the bilges have an old towel in them so I can tell if there is any leakage into that particular bilge. I check the bilges daily at anchor, and hourly under way, and if there is water there (which is very rare) I can check if it’s fresh or salt, and much more easily resolve any problem. Also this keeps the three bilge pump inlets free of contamination, and makes it easier to see any thing that drops into the bilge, like a nut or bolt (often an early portent of a pending problem).
So to give a practical example, a few nights ago we heard the fresh water pump activate for a few seconds several times. As no taps had been left dripping this indicates a fresh water leak. When I did my engine room check I found about 2mm of water in the bilge aft of the engine. A taste test found it was fresh – that’s a good start, and it tied in with the fresh water pump running. Going to the forward bilge I found the towel in the bilge was wet – so the leak is into there. I check all hoses in the area, and found a slightly loose hose clamp on the supply to the Guest sink. Tighten it, observe and check, and now all OK.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Map of Envoy's Travels

This is a reminder that if you go the bottom of the right hand column, and click on "Map of Envoy's Travels" you will see a map of where Envoy is, and all the places we've been to. When you get to the map you can zoom in to see the places in minute detail using the + and - buttons, and use the directional arrows to navigate around the map. Point to a blue marker to get some commentary, especially concerning visitors we've had. Scroll down to the bottom of the list of places on the right hand side of the map to be able to see where we are now. This is wonderful technology, and I want to ensure all our blog readers are aware of it.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Gulf of Izmir

We now have only five weeks cruising left before we go back into Marmaris marina for the winter. Quite suddenly about two weeks ago the temperature dropped to low 20s day time, and high teens at night. Checking the log for 2007 I see that the same timing happened then. The days are getting shorter, and the sea temp has dropped to 22d, but we’re still swimming every day. We had a couple of showery days in late September, but none since. Many of the tavernas are now shut for winter, and the remaining ones will close by end of October, to open 1 May.
After Don & Kerrin left, we spent a few days anchored off Dalyankoy before heading further north. I found a water tap ashore and took seven empty 30L drums ashore to fill. Believe me this is !*&?#% hard work (read “jolly” hard), as 30L weighs 30kg. I loaded the drums aboard Envoy, and started to siphon water into one of our tanks when shock horror – the water tasted salty (I get a taste when I stat sucking the water through the siphon). All the effort was wasted, and I’d filled 7 drums with salt water, so I had to empty them all and find a new source of water the next day in Dalyan harbour. Lesson: always taste the water first.
After leaving Dalyankoy we went to the small quaint village of Ildir, previously Greek until all Greeks were relocated in 1922. Most of the really attractive Turkish villages are where Greeks once lived. There are still a lot of fish farms around the area, and a lot of people line fishing from small boats.
We cruised up, and across the top of the Karaburun Peninsula to Eskifoca in the Gulf of Izmir. We had a NE wind up to 30 knots with short breaking seas up to 2m on our port bow throwing up considerable spray, but we were nice and dry in the pilothouse listening to music, and drinking tea as we caught up with our emails.
When we arrived off Eskifoca a Coastguard helicopter buzzed us again, just like a few weeks ago. This one called us on VHF 16 and asked us “what we were towing in the water”. We explained about our stabilizers and the CG seemed happy, but about 15 minutes later a CG RIB approached us. As we headed to our anchorage they circled us and took some video camera footage. After our anchor was down they came alongside and two officers came aboard. They were perfectly friendly, and after I explained about our stabilizers, and raised one of the birds from the water for them to see they happily departed.
Eskifoca is a great spot; it has a Genoese castle, and like Ildir narrow cobbled lanes and many architectural remnants of the former Greek residents. It’s also a military town with a major Commando training centre for the “blue berets”, and immediately behind Ildir is some rugged hill country the army uses for assault training. All day and into the night you can hear small arms fire as the soldiers do their target practice.
We couldn’t find a water supply on the quayside – the taps were all locked, so I asked a fisherman about water. He couldn’t speak English but went off to find someone who could (sort of). I explained that I wanted to bring some containers ashore and get 300L of water, and they wanted to charge me L50 – about $50. The price for bulk water is about $0.50 per tonne, and this was my first experience of a Turk trying to overcharge. They were friendly, and I offered L5 before we agreed on L20 – still a rip off, but what’s twenty bucks to replenish your water supply. They were baiting a 300 hook long-line, and said on average they land about 5kg of fish per setting of the line. Back home we’d be disappointed with a catch like that on our 20 hook long-line. Envoy has intermittently towed a lure around, and had a couple of strikes but nothing caught so far.
We cruised south down the Gulf of Izmir. Parts of the Gulf are a military zone and a warship was patrolling around two islands which boats are not allowed to approach.
We anchored in a sheltered bay called Gerence Koyu, and this time we didn’t have our paravanes out. Small fishing boats passed close to us, and gave us friendly waves as they came in and out of the bay. About two hours later a Coastguard RIB came into the bay, circled us taking photos, returned our wave, and then roared off. Envoy must be the most photographed boat in Turkey.
There are very few cruising boats around, and in the last couple of weeks we’ve only seen three yachts.
Amy arrives next Thursday, and we plan to cruise south back to Dalyan to meet her. From here back to Marmaris the route is all south and east, so we’ll be heading into slightly warmer weather with the wind and seas behind us.
Days aboard Envoy this trip: 185
Engine hours and distance this trip: 273hrs, 1,280NM
Technical: Again nothing much to report, in fact since leaving Marmaris 1 June we’ve only had one major issue – the gearbox. When we get back to Marmaris we have to get the HRO watermaker and the Naiad hydraulic stabilizers working again. I’ve checked with the service guys, and the parts will be there.
We now lift our smaller RIB out of the water suspended against our stern using the boom winch. This RIB only weighs about 50kg all up, so there’s no strain on the boom or winch, and it’s a big advantage to keep the RIB out of the water overnight and when cruising as opposed to lifting it onto the foredeck. Our friends Steve & Jane Wilson arrive in a couple of weeks, and Steve’s an engineer so I’ll get his help working out whether it’s safe to lift our larger (350kg) RIB out the same way.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Cruising north up the west coast of Turkey

Well our big news since the last update is that on 13/9 we had a call from our son John with the great news that he and Alice, his girlfriend of three years, have become engaged. They are working on a superyacht called Imagine on the East Coast USA, and plan to continue that for the time being. We first met Alice in 2007, and many times since. She is really super, and Di and I are over the moon with this news.
We’ve been heading north up Turkey’s west coast. One small remote bay we stopped at for a night was Port St Paul. There is nothing there except a sheltered anchorage, but the apostle St Paul stopped over here about two thousand years ago, giving his oarsmen a rest as they rowed north against the prevailing Meltemi. Just north of Port St Paul we passed through the Samos Strait, where the distance between the Greek island of Samos and the Turkish mainland is under a mile.
As we neared the coastal town of Sigacek we pulled into a sheltered bay to retrieve our stabilizer birds. Just as we lifted one using our block and tackle a military helicopter passed overhead. It must have seen us lifting something out of the water and got very curious, hovering about 100m away close to sea level for about 20 minutes watching us. We think they might have suspected us of lifting relics off the sea bed. We thought a Coastguard vessel might turn up, but when the helo went off that was the last we heard.
Sigacik has a marina but the area outside the harbour is very sheltered and we anchored there. This brings me to the subject of marina prices – they have increased enormously, and to the point that they are now a blatant rip-off. For a boat of Envoy’s size a typical casual rate is about Euro 80 per night plus water and power. That’s about NZ$140 per night. Consequently we avoid marinas and look for good anchorages - which are free.
Some towns have harbours where a visiting boat can moor, these used to be next to no cost, but now charge about Lire 50 per night (about $45). When you stay at a marina for a long period of the course the rate reduces dramatically.
Don & Kerrin arrived 18/9 in very good shape after their non-stop trip from Auckland, and the final leg of their journey was a RIB trip from the Sigacik wharf to Envoy.
Sigasik is an interesting small town with a large part of it contained within the walls of (yet another) medieval castle. Nearby are the ruins of the ancient Ionoan city of Teos, with the highlight being the remains of a temple erected for our favourite Greek God; Dionysus – the God of Wine. That reminds me – Don & Kerrin very kindly brought over two bottles of NZ white wine. The Greeks have been making wine for 3,000 years, but they don’t seem to have learned as much as NZ winemakers have learned in the 40 years wine has been popular in NZ.
Within the walls of Sigasik there was a market, and we had a traditional Turkish lunch of Gozlemes – similar to pancakes - for a very reasonable price of Lire 14 in total.
We had decided to visit the Greek Island of Chios for a day by ferry, and needing a safe place to leave Envoy headed for Dalyankoy. On the way we experienced a bit of rough water when we headed for a couple of hours directly into some very short, steep 1.5-2m breaking waves. One larger wave broke over Envoy’s bow (2.3m above sea level), and swept across the foredeck.
We anchored off Dalyankoy harbour, and all went ashore to try to organize a berth for Envoy. We needed to find the Harbourmaster, so we stopped at the Coastguard jetty and asked them. They couldn’t speak much English but invited us ashore for a cup of tea, and a few minutes later the Harbourmaster arrived. We arranged a berth for Lire 50 per night including power and water, and as common with berths like this, we were berthed right by a restaurant – diners literally 5m from our cockpit.
From here we were able to get a dolmus (bus) to the nearby port town of Cesme, interesting because of its mix of architecture, and because there are few tourists there.
Here is some input from Di.
On Don and Kerrin’s last day with us we decided to go to the Greek Island of Chios. This involved a 45min ferry ride from Cesme, where we bought the tickets the previous day, departing at 10am and returning 5pm. We turned up at 9am, strolled through customs and had a lovely trip across with a full ferry of people. When we arrived we wondered why everybody was in such a hurry to get off until we discovered there was only one customs officer to check and stamp our passports for the whole ferry! One hour later we finally got through and went to find the car rental place. With our limited time we decided to concentrate on three places that Lonely Planet had recommended in the southern part of the island. The village of Pyrgi had been described as one of the most extraordinary villages of the whole of Greece. What makes it unique are the building facades decorated with intricate grey and white designs, and fascinated, we wandered around the narrow, labyrinth streets to the main square beside the 12th century church, and had lunch. We then moved onto the 14th century village of Mesta, completely enclosed by massive fortified walls, and where entrance was through one of five gates. This was for protection against pirates and marauders. Fortunately they still let us in, and we walked through narrow cobbled streets with bare stone houses and archways that hadn’t changed since the 14th century. It was absolutely amazing to see people still going about their everyday life in such a setting. This area was (and is) famous for the production of mastic from mastic trees. A major use of mastic was the production of chewing gum. In 1822 the Turks massacred most of the population of Chios, but left the villages producing mastic alone as the Turkish Sultan and his concubines didn’t want to interrupt the supply of chewing gum.
We then drove through the centre of the island to the Nea Moni, an 11th century World Heritage monastery. In 1822 it was set on fire by the Turks and the skulls of the massacred monks are still on display in the chapel! As we were running out of time we made a hasty trip back down to the port and ferry. It had been a great day and a wonderful way to finish Don and Kerrin’s time with us.
We had a farewell dinner with Don & Kerrin on 25/9, and late evening there was a shower for the first time since early May. Since then we’ve had several slight showers and overcast days.
For the last few days we’ve anchored near Dalyankoy while we re-supply, and make some future cruising plans.
Days aboard Envoy this trip: 178
Engine hours and distance this trip: 253hrs, 1,210NM
Technical: Nothing much to report, and that’s the way we like it!
I’ve changed the filter on our Racor filter based diesel pumping system as the vacuum gauge was getting up over 24 bar (should be about 20).
I had to do some more work on the anchor light as even after changing the bulb it was intermittently going off & on. In fact the bulb was not the problem, but the spring loaded +ve & -ve pins on the light fitting have got weaker, and not making constant contact with the terminals on the bulb. I soldered some extra length on the bulb terminals to make a more positive contact, and all now OK.
While in Dalyankoy I had a reminder that it’s necessary to monitor on-board power usage against power available from the shore. I was running our fridge/freezer and hot water heater at the same time when the 2-pin 220v plug melted. In retrospect I think the power available was only about 10amps and I was trying to draw about 20.
Di was cleaning our loo, and the brush broke in half with one half disappearing down the loo. I unbolted the toilet from the deck, and fortunately found that the macerator pump body has an inspection cover. It was a simple matter to remove the brush from there.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Envoy has cruised over 1,000NM since 1 June, and now back in Turkey

Since leaving Marmaris 1 June, and cruising to Rhodos, Karpathos, Crete, Santorini, Astipalaia, Kalimnos, and Bodrum in Turkey we’ve now logged over 1,000NM.
We cleared out of Greek waters on 2 September at the island of Kalimnos. This involved first visiting the Coastguard to get our Transit Log stamped, then going by taxi to the Police Station to have our passports stamped, then back to the Coastguard to show our passports, then to the Port Office to pay 5 Euro, and finally back to the Coastguard to get our departure form. As you can imagine, you have to allow a little time for this. The Coastguard office and the Police Station looked like something out of an old movie set, being very dilapidated buildings with shabby paint, old furniture, and jumbled electrical wiring on the walls. No computers were to be seen, and everything was written down using carbon paper to make copies, but all the officials were friendly and helpful.
In Kalimnos we also got some more water using our 30 litre drums. We are always on the scrounge for water, and only need two drums per day. There’s plenty of water available if you go into a port, but that’s generally a hassle. You not only have to pay the port fees, but also for the water. So we take the drums in our dinghy, and find a free source. Sometimes there are grocery stores on the wharf, and we buy some supplies and ask for water from their hose – never a problem. The water here is mostly not suitable for drinking, and we go through about three 1.5L bottles per day for drinking, making tea (most important), and cooking.
Clearing in to Turkey requires an agent nowadays – a change since our last visit. So we cruised the short 20NM distance from Kalimnos to Bodrum, anchored off the marina beneath the Crusader’s castle, and went ashore to find an agent. This was no problem, and two hours later, and Euro 185 poorer we were cleared in. Now Envoy can stay fairly indefinitely in Turkey, but Di & I can only stay 90 days. That means in early December we’ll need to get a ferry from Marmaris to Rhodos for the day, then re-enter Turkey.
After the barren Greek islands, it was great to see the greenness of Turkey again.
We went to see Vodafone to buy more internet air-time for our USB. For some reason the USB stick wouldn’t work on Di’s laptop (although it was fine when we left Turkey), so we went to Turkcell, which is their equivalent of Telecom, and bought another USB stick, and that works fine. This now gives us the security of two sources of internet access. Although phones are fairly straight forward here, it seems to be a constant hassle getting internet access, and we need to do more research on this. Would be good to have a system where you could get economical internet access wherever you are without having to change USBs and SIM cards, and having to go to Vodafone, Turkcell etc to buy more time.
Since Bodrum we’ve cruised north covering some new territory. One interesting place is Kazili Iskelisi in the Gulf of Korfezi. This is an estuary, not unlike the Mahurangi; very calm and not many people around. In fact there was only one yacht there plus some fishing boats, then seven charter yachts came in, but all went together on one restaurant jetty. In the last couple of weeks we’ve only been in one bay where there was more than one other boat overnight. In some bays the local “gullets” come in with day-trippers, but they’re all gone by 1800 hours.
In this area there are many large fish farms. Some cruisers complain that the farms take up too many anchorages, but you’ve got to look at it from the Turks’ point of view; the fish farms provide food and lots of employment.
We have been surprised by the level of development of holiday resorts and hotels along the coast, and have seen dozens of them, many quite large and usually consisting of 100 or so identical villas set back from the beach. In many cases it seems that little thought was given to style, or to landscaping around the developments and some of them are ugly concrete boxes, and blots on the landscape. Considering the population of Turkey is 75m, with a growing standard of living, they’ve gotta holiday somewhere.
As I complete this we’re anchored off a new and very flash marina at Altinkum, and during the next four days we’re cruising about 60NM further north to Cigasik to meet Don & Kerrin, flying into Izmir on 18th.
Days aboard Envoy this trip: 161
Engine hours and distance this trip: 220hrs, 1,060NM
Technical: Again I’m pleased to say no major issues.
In Bodrum the Vacuflush guest toilet was fixed by their local service agent. The pump needed rebuilding, but this took only a couple of hours, and it’s now working fine again, and holding vacuum. Toilets are a regular problem on boats, and I can remember many years ago when Frank Curulli was so enraged by constant toilet problems on his boat that he ripped it out, and threw it into the Motuihe Channel before replacing it with a more reliable unit.
A few days ago the temperature alarm on the Yanmar wing engine sounded. I stopped the engine, and found the sea water strainer had some weed in it, but I was not sure if there was sufficient weed to stop the water flow. After clearing this weed out, and restarting the engine there was still no water coming out of the exhaust. I thought the water pump impellor was probably damaged from running dry for the time it took for the engine to overheat and sound the alarm. The Yanmar’s water pump is very hard to access (because it’s low on the rear of the engine, and there’s not much space between the bulkhead and the engine), and the impellor has to be replaced by feel – a bit beyond me. Fortunately there are Yanmar service agents nearly everywhere, and we had it fixed by a guy, Savas, who does only Yanmar engines based at Didim Marina, Altinkum. Even he said the pump was difficult to access. It turned out the pump itself had worn out (nothing to do with any weed in the strainer). The pump’s vee-belt pulley is held on a keyway to the water pump drive shaft. It was the keyway which had failed, so the pulley was not driving the pump.
As often mentioned we have considerable spare parts aboard, wait for it - including a brand new complete Yanmar water pump. This was fitted and all fine, the failed pump is being rebuilt to become the new spare.
I changed the Lugger’s oil at 200 engine hours. This is quite easy on Envoy, as we have an oil-change pumping system connected to each engine via a manifold. You simply remove the old oil filter, open the valve on the manifold to connect with the engine you want to change, start the pump, and then pump the oil out into an empty drum. Normally the new oil is then pumped back out of a 20L drum, but this time I couldn’t buy a 20Ldrum, so had to pour in 20 x one litre packs manually. Then you fit the new oil filter, and all done.
We’ve now used the last of the diesel from 2007, and are running on new fuel bought in Rhodos in June. Because we’re not doing huge distances I’m not keeping the tanks full; firstly there’s no point in carrying the weight, and secondly it’s best to have fresh fuel. We have four tanks, each holding about 940L, for a total of 3,773L. I like to always have some fuel sloshing around in each tank to keep the inside of the iron tanks coated with diesel, but today we were down to about 1,000L, so bought another 1,200L to give us 2,200L -about 275 hours, or two months running. Cost here is TL 3.01 per litre – a little under NZ$3.00 litre.
This trip we’ve been more conscious of Envoy’s cosmetic care. Keeping on top of this requires only a little time, but regularity is the key. The most important thing is to always wash the salt off with fresh water. Salt soon puts rust stains on stainless steel, and on the topsides gelcoat the salt attracts dirt. It also deteriorates the varnish. A wash down sometimes needs doing daily if we’ve been through heavy spray, or sometimes every few days. There’s a great product called “Miracle Cloth” made by Seafit, USA. After removing salt from the stainless, we let it dry, and then use the Miracle Cloth to quickly bring up the stainless like new. It also leaves a slight trace of waxy coating which gives some protection - highly recommended!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Last days in Greek waters

We left our Dia Is anchorage, six NM north of Crete, at 0400hrs to make our 12 hour passage to Santorini with plenty of daylight left. This is always a good idea when arriving in an unfamiliar location, so that you have plenty of time to find a good anchorage or berth. The gale had only subsided two days previously, and the seas were about 1.5m, occasionally 2m, but short and steep giving quite a different ride to the waters of the Hauraki Gulf. I just about s..t myself when a larger wave rolled us more heavily to starboard, and our port stabilizer bird launched itself out of the water into the air, and flew like a delta-winged jet for a few metres until it plunged back into the sea (see Technical). During the trip we only saw one cruising vessel, although two huge catamaran ferries roared passed us.
Santorini is a romantic, mysterious and hugely impressive island. In 1440 BC it was the scene of one of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history, when the entire centre of the island, comprising some 30 cubic km blew into the sky, leaving a crater some 6NM long and 4NM wide, which filled with seawater to form the present cliff-lined Caldera. This eruption caused a series of Tsunamis estimated up to 100m high, which devastated Crete, 60NM away, and destroyed the Minoan civilization. Some postulate that Santorini is the lost island of Atlantis, and it is the island on which Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea is based.
Santorini has notoriously poor shelter for visiting yachts, and the Cruising Guide recommends leaving your boat in the marina at nearby Ios Is, and catching a ferry across. The Caldera is mostly too deep to anchor, and the marina on the south side of the island is too shallow for larger vessels. However an Australian friend told us that a Captain Yiannis had moorings available below the village of Oia, provided that you ate in his restaurant.
We cruised into the Caldera marveling at the size of an eruption that could cause such a crater, and headed to the bay below Oia. Nosing up to the jetty we couldn’t find Captain Yiannis, but asked some locals if we could use a mooring. One said yes and waved us in the direction of empty moorings; we thought he was indicating to take any one of those. So we picked one up, and were about to celebrate our arrival when a small boat roared towards us, and the occupant told us very rudely that we weren’t allowed to stay there. He ignored our question about which mooring was OK, so we headed away across the Caldera to O Ay Nikolau. Again we nosed up to a jetty, and a local pointed out a large mooring to us, and said we could use it. We had no sooner picked up its line when a 25m charter yacht’s skipper told us we’d have to move, but he was polite and helpful, and said he’d only be using it for 40 minutes, and then we could use it overnight. So an hour later we were finally attached with a long line to this 2m diameter, square-shaped, rusty mooring buoy. This would have been the happy ending, except that during the night the wind dropped totally, and Envoy drifted forward and scraped her gelcoat on both sides on the mooring buoy. These will be easily repaired out of the water in Marmaris, but is another lesson learned!
The next day Di rowed Doug & Mary ashore to Captain Yiannis’s wharf so they could walk up to visit Oia, and Di managed to find Captain Yiannis. He was very friendly, said New Zealanders are always welcome and directed us to a mooring. Half an hour later a yacht pulled up alongside, and its very p’d off Captain told us this was his mooring, and he wanted to use it. We told him Captain Yiannis had put us there, and this made him even more p’d off. He eventually calmed down and pointed out another mooring we could use, so we moved. Ten minutes later Captain Yiannis appeared in a small boat, and said we couldn’t stay on that mooring, then roared off. Di rowed ashore again (it was too deep to anchor) and found a very different Captain Yiannis, who now very rudely said there were no moorings available at all. What a saga! By now we’d had enough of moorings and decided to anchor off a beach on the south side of Santorini. We found a delightful bay called Akrotiri with clear water, and anchored in 7m. Ashore were some very picturesque tavernas, and a road with regular buses to Fira and Oia. We should have come here first..
We met Doug & Mary in Oia, and after a wander around the quaint cobblestone alleyways got a table in a restaurant overlooking the Caldera with a perfect view of the sunset. Oia is supposed to have one of the world’s greatest sunsets, and there were hundreds of tourists and backpackers selecting vantage points to see it. Our restaurant was a very comfortable spot with bubbly for Mary & Di, and beers for Doug & I. There is no doubt the Caldera is amazing and spectacular, and that the atmosphere of the whole sunset thing was great, but the sunset itself was a bit disappointing. There is so much haze that when the sun drops low you can’t actually see the horizon itself, and the sun disappears into the haze before it drops over the horizon. Auckland’s west coast is more spectacular for the actual sunset.
Around Santorini there was a noticeable increase in the number of cruising yachts as well as several superyachts.
The next day we explored Fira, had a farewell lunch, and then Doug & Mary flew to Athens after 18 days with us. Each and every visitor we have contributes to our enjoyment of this experience. Doug & Mary are a wonderful couple, and they’ve been an absolute pleasure to have as guests. We’re missing Mary’s infectious laughter, and their great sense of fun.
When you are cruising a couple of days in Santorini is sufficient. It’s quite crowded, and very much caters to the tourist with endless shops and restaurants – all very good, but not the “real Greece”. If you’re staying in a hotel for a holiday it would be a great place to chill out and enjoy.
We left Santorini on Saturday for an eight hour cruise to Astipalaia. During a relatively calm passage we saw only one yacht, and despite the fact Astipalia is one of the most sheltered anchorages in the Aegean there were only about six other cruisers in this island group similar in size to the Mercurys.
The weather has been amazing; the last rain we had was late April. Most days there are very few clouds, and the typical temperature has been 29-32dC. We’ve had the odd day as high as 37dC. The sea water temperature varies between 26-28dC. Most days there is little or no wind to start, then the wind builds to about 12-15 knots, and then dies in the evening. We have had some days with winds in the mid 20 knots.
We are now on the eastern side of Kalimnos Is, and can see Turkey in the distance.
In Greece they have the Schengen Treaty, under which New Zealanders are allowed to stay only for 90 days in any calendar year and then must leave. This does seem crazy when Greece is basically broke, and can use all the visitors’ spending money they can get. Our 90 days expires on 3 September so we’re “clearing out” of Kalimnos, and will then “clear in” to Turkey at Bodrum. Then we’re going to cruise up Turkey’s west coast towards Izmir to met Don & Kerrin Waterer on 18 September.
In late October we also meet Steve & Jane Wilson somewhere near Izmir, and then our last visitor Chris O’Brien meets us in Bodrum 1 November, and will cruise down to Marmaris with us, arriving 15 November.
Days aboard Envoy this trip: 149
Engine hours and distance this trip: 192hrs, 937NM
Technical: No major issues. Improved charging system running very well – thanks Doug.
While in Bodrum I’m going to change the engine oil in the Lugger (required every 200hrs). We’ve also arranged to get our Vacuflush guest head serviced, as the vacuum pump keeps running all the time. Up to now we’ve solved this temporarily with a separate on/off switch on the toilet, so it’s only switched on when being used.
I had to climb up the mast to fix the anchor light. I’m not good on heights, but waited for a calm day. Turned out to be just a loose bulb, and easily fixed. For the few days we had no anchor light I removed the bulbs from the port and starboard navigation lights and used the masthead and stern lights as a temporary all round white anchor light.
The prop shaft sealings seem to have settled down and allow about the right amount of seawater through to cool the shaft. I check it regularly with my infra-red pyrometer and it’s running at about 32dC – about 6dC above the ambient seawater temp, so this is fine.
I have good quality shaft sealings on board now if any problems arise.
Our stabilizer “birds” – the steel plates which suspend 5m under water – have adjustments. At the front of the bird is a weighted section to make the bird want to dive deeper. A chain connects the bird to the stabilizer paravane. The further aft on the bird you connect the chain, the deeper the bird wants to dive, and the more effective it becomes, but the more it slows Envoy down. As a result of a bird flying out of the water I have adjusted the connections so the birds dive deeper.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Cruising north to Santorini

We had two great nights back at Gramvousa (photos and details in previous postings) with Mary & Doug. We missed Brian & Carol when they left Agios Nikolaos, and after several weeks by ourselves it’s great to have company once again. Doug & I snorkeled around the shipwreck, and with the water temperature at 28d stayed in the water for ages, although the sea life is not as interesting as the Hauraki Gulf. From Gramvousa we went back to Soudha, and ran into Dave & Lindy from “Raconteur”, who we met in 2007, and in Marmaris earlier this year. They told us the manager of Maramaris marina has been shot dead during a dispute with a car park security guard, who pulled his gun and shot him five times. Must have been quite a heated argument!
Rethimno was great, not unlike Chania except they don’t have the noisy discos. Rethimno has an ancient harbour – filled with tour boats and local fishing boats, ringed with tavernas, and dominated by the 16th century Venetian Fortressa.
Here we left Envoy alongside the quay for a couple of days while we did some further touring in the mountains by rental car to give Doug & Mary a taste of “real Crete”.
In earlier blogs I mentioned the strong winds. Well they dropped from late July to mostly 8-15 knots from the north, and we had some glassy calm days. However while in Rethimno a gale warning was issued (the first one since we arrived), and we got three days of about 30 knots NW. Not really a gale, but it kicked up quite a sea, with waves crashing against the harbour breakwater throwing up plumes of spray. On the nearby beach there was quite a reasonable surf of about 1.5m, so Doug & I grabbed some fins and went bodysurfing. Not for long though – when we were about 50m offshore enjoying the waves the lifeguards blew their whistles, and signaled us to come to shore, where they gave us a telling-off, and said swimmers were not allowed to go out more than waist deep in “these rough conditions”. I wonder what they would make of Piha.
As I write this we’re half way through a 12 hour passage to Santorini. We have a 15-18kn NW wind with 1.5m seas on our port bow, and although there is some pitching, the “birds” stop most of the rolling. Several dolphins swam alongside us a few minutes ago to wish us good luck. Most of our cruising so far has been westwards, and now north, so mostly into the prevailing north westerlies. As we head back towards Turkish waters it will be good to be pointing east for the next few weeks, and have the wind and seas behind us.
Di & I have been doing some forward planning. We go back into Marmaris marina for the winter on 15 November, then on 19 December fly to London, where we’re going to spend Xmas with Amy. John & Alice may join us, but we’re not sure yet. During this time we’ll also catch up with my brother Charles, and Marie. We then fly back to Auckland on 2 January, and stay until mid-April, when we’ll return to Marmaris.
Days aboard Envoy this trip: 142
Engine hours and distance this trip: 156hrs, 760NM
Technical: Currently no major issues, but I’m going into a bit of detail here for the benefit of people who’ve cruised aboard Envoy.
As mentioned in the last posting Doug is an electrician, and a very practical guy, and we’ve been doing a few jobs together – that means Doug doing the jobs, and me making cups of tea for him!
The forward facing loud-hailer on the Portuguese Bridge has been removed – I always considered this a nuisance, as most people have to duck below it when walking in front of the pilothouse.
The engine room lights have been improved so that the CCTV gives clearer pictures, and we can now see the two sets of Lugger vee-belts on our screen.
Doug considered that the charging voltage from the Lugger (main engine) alternator was too low as displayed on the digital voltmeter. It was showing about 12.8v with the engine running, and should be about 14v. Actually Frank told me the same thing in 2007 – I should have taken more notice Frank! So Doug did a series of tests on the Balmar alternator, wiring loom, and Balmar ARS 4 regulator, and discovered the regulator was faulty. This sounds easy, but took most of a day as you go through a logical step-by-step process. The wing engine has the same regulator, and that tested out OK so we interchanged the two regulators, and the Lugger’s charging voltage is now above 14v. In fact this doesn’t affect the charging performance of the wing engine, because the wing generates 110v AC, which in turn powers a battery charger. It’s not clear what the real purpose of the wing engine’s alternator is. I have now ordered a new regulator to be installed on the Lugger, and we’ll put the replaced one back on the wing engine.
We have a small issue that the Lugger and the Genset occasionally don’t start first turn of the starter. This has been the case for some time, even back in 2007. As they always start second or third try, it’s not a major issue, and if it becomes one, we can parallel the battery banks to start either engine. It doesn’t seem to be battery-related, and we have checked the battery connections and isolating switches. It may be a problem with wiring to the ignition or sticking solenoids. I’m going to resolve this one back in Marmaris.
Brian & Carol – you’ll be pleased to know we’ve improved the fridge door closure. Not only is it more secure, but 2-3d colder.