Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Pension Games new blog

We now have our boat and the dream has become reality! I still have holiday blogs to post on here but if you want to read about our own boat adventures we can be found at WWW.pensiongames.org


Lorraine and Marco

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Amazon Creek to Kale Koyu, Bodrum - Trouble Brewing!

It was all going so well.....
11th September
Woke up on deck to find that my sky of stars had vanished, it was a bit nippy and some menacing cloud cover had formed, obscuring the moon. The creek was dark and no longer seemed romantic - creepy more like! Disappeared downstairs and was kept awake all night by pounding rain on the coachroof and other weird sounds that in the dead of night, send your imagination into overdrive! Having thought i'd heard the sound of a lighter being constantly flicked, someone banging on the door, and dreamt someone stole our outboard, i was just glad to wake up in the morning! That Baileys has to go.......! Once we were up though, all we could see were fluffy white clouds and sun.  The cove was deserted except for one other yacht and a small fishing trawler. We had breakfast on the move as we motored straight across a bay that wouldn't have been out of place on a Scottish loch or Norwegian fjord. Pine covered hills were everywhere in all shades of green and brown. The sea was like a millpond and very picturesque. We reached the cove of Cati and One-Tree-Island (named such for the obvious reason) and dropped anchor in clear fish-filled water. I jumped in for a snorkel and tried to go ashore on the so-called beach but found myself invaded by flies so gave up and swam back to the boat....just as well really, as I discovered the anchor had dragged and we were drifting slightly. Time to go,  so we set off, the idea being to get into the gulf ready for an easy, close reach sail to Bodrum with the wind coming from the west in the afternoon as usual. Sails adjusted, beer out, sunbathing accomplished...oh! Wind coming from the East...bugger! And with the wind came black skies and rain....howling wind and lashing rain as it happens - bloody cold as well..what happened to the weather!?! Ten minutes earlier i'd been sunbathing with a beer on the foredeck! Time to hot foot it back to Bodrum! 
...and then it all went a bit pear-shaped
So many yachts had been caught out (probably due to a broken Navtex, like us!) and there was a flotilla of yachts and gulets heading towards the shelter of Kumbahce Bay at a pace, so we decided to ramp up the revs and join in. The rain kept coming and the temperature dropped quickly. Being the optimistic types we had only packed 'summer' clothes with short sleeves and had to root around for anything vaguely appropriate to the conditions. We were wet, cold and miserable......holidays eh? 
Bodrum Castle loomed into view eventually thank heavens and we had a speedy look at Rod Heikells book to ensure we knew where we needed to be......we were ok! I got up onto the rain-lashed foredeck to drop anchor..nervous times! By some miracle we managed to dig in at the first attempt and celebrated with a coffee (what?), sitting in the saloon listening to the storm batter the coachroof. Very tiring all this storm-sailing so we tried to have a nap but were constantly fretting over the anchor and whether it would hold or not. 
Marco offered to go into Bodrum for supplies so that we could cook on board and fitted the outboard to the dinghy in wind and horizontal rain.....me, not wanting to look like a wimp decided to go with him and we headed off to the nearest bit of land....the jetty near Halicarnas night club. The ride was actually quite good fun, albeit wet! We tied up and dumped some rubbish before nosing around some side streets for a shop that would sell us our last supplies of the holiday. Eventually we decided to find a restaurant and chose a cheap place (being all unwashed and scruffy as we were), and had overcooked steak with accompanying fat, which Marco fed to a big dog, a cuddly looking hound who sat at our table, much to the disgust of the locals. 
After dinner (and drinks), we walked around a bit, then went to a market for food and a small shop for beer. Another wet trip back to the boat and bed, just as the rain started again. We lay awake for what seemed like hours listening to the pounding of the rain on deck and the different pounding of Halicarnas nightclub, along with other bars....before dozing off into a fitful slumber! 

Kargilibuk to Amazon Creek via 7 islands

Thursday 10th September

Loguz Koyu from our breakfast table

Kargilibuk is such a lovely place to wake up. To be honest there are so many idyllic places in this part of Turkey that it's difficult to choose a favourite, but for solitude and friendliness of people this is definitely a high contender.
We heard a gulet leaving at just after 6am and were up at 7, ready to head over to the restaurant as promised. Eleanor was at the end of the jetty when we arrived, fishing for octopus. Ali sleeps in his car and was just getting up as we sat down at our table by the waters edge. While he and Eleanor were making the tea, we played with the dogs and soaked up the atmosphere. After 20 minutes Marco was getting impatient, but it eventually arrived and we were reminded that time doesn't really matter in this kind of place (unless of course you are on a two week yacht charter and need to get the thing back to Bodrum!)....
While we were drinking, a fisherman and his girlfriend arrived for tea as well and we all sat around a table listening to Eleanor's story of how she came to meet Ali and move to Turkey after a bohemian upbringing in London. We then had an entertaining ten minutes watching a gulet untangle it's anchor from ours! We had probably crossed theirs when we entered the bay last night and were glad we were not on board to be potentially shouted at by the gulet owner.
Eventually it was time to leave, but Eleanor and Ali would not hear of payment for the tea. They had just liked our company. We hope that they are still there when we come back on a boat of our own one day.
We upped anchor and motored out towards Tuzla where we intended to have a more foodie breakfast in the peaceful surroundings described by Rod Heikell. Hah! Fat chance! The bay was like gulet city and we were one of only two yachts there. We anchored in the bay in around 5m and swung happily while all the gulets piled in and out around us. I was a lovely setting though - just a pity that the view didn't quite match the aerial shot in the pilot book.
Having checked the anchor, which was wedged nicely behind a rock, we read and drank beer (well it was now too late for breakfast), then started to head over towards Yedialari (or 7 islands). We had read in Rod's Eastern Aegean pilot that a restaurant exists in North Creek which would make an ideal lunch stop. The journey didn't take long at all on the motor and we weaved our way through the islands to our destination. A lone gulet was anchored there so we dropped our anchor nearby and took a line ashore before heading out in the dinghy which we managed to ground several times due to the rocky, shallow shoreline. It quickly became apparant that the restaurant does not exist, at least not where we were looking. A Turkish farmer waved at us as we walked along the waters edge but that was all. Disappointed, we took a dinghy ride around the rest of the bay in case we were looking in the wrong place but never found a thing - a shame as this is a lovely spot. 

We attempted to sail out of the 7 islands area but the wind was almost on the nose, not to mention it being quite shoaly in the area, so we took the genoa back in and motored once more into the wind. It was uncomfortable and boring as we had done absolutely no sailing all day. We passed a reef on the way to Amazon Creek which showed as being marked with a North Cardinal on the chart. HOWEVER......as we approached we could see that it was actually marked by a West Cardinal...thank heavens Marco spotted it as we had been heading straight for the rocks  As we passed west of the reef, it was an easy run into Bordubet Limani where Amazon Creek was. We motored up with the wind behind us, but the area looked deserted with hardly any yachts and no sign of life. It looked as thought we would be dipping into our tinned emergency rations for the evening. Having checked out the pilot book, we couldn't see the restaurant that was indicated so headed around the corner, joining another yacht that was also heading that way. As we dropped anchor we noticed a wooden sign attached to a rickety jetty. "Restaurant VHF 77".  Once we'd got a line around a tree, Marco called the number on the VHF and, true to reliable Turkish form, got an answer immediately from the friendly restaurant,  
The restaurant sign at Amazon Creek with steps leading up to the path
who promised to collect us from the top of the staircase at 8. After that little adventure we relaxed, had a beer, got ready and hopped into the dinghy for a short ride to the jetty. We climbed the stairs and the car was there waiting for us. Talk about service! We were driven to The Amazon Club, which was a busy open-air restaurant with a lovely ambience. The food was all self-service and was pretty delicious considering we hadn't really built up our hopes of eating out at all that night!  We were pretty stuffed actually and that included a pretty reasonable bottle of pinot grigio and all for about £30.  We drifted back to the jetty with the aid of our torch (pitch black so you really need one) and celebrated our lovely evening with a baileys in the cockpit, listening to the sound of cicadas and silence. Fell asleep studying a pitch black sky, studded with a million stars.

Okluk Koyu to Kargilibuk (Longoz)

You can lead a dinghy to water...
9th September 2009
We woke up to amazing scenery - lush greenery, flat calm water, clear blue skies. The only sounds were those of the cicadas and the occasional ripple of tiny fish splashing near the surface of the water.
We had coffee and the silence was interrupted by the sounds of the gulets 'waking up' (natter natter loud people). So we escaped by motoring over in the dinghy to shore for supplies. There was a well-stocked mini market compared to most we have been to and we picked up bread, yoghurt, salami and other snacks. Back on board we just relaxed for a few hours - some sort of miracle for us as we always have to be on the move, making the most of our two week holiday and seeing as much as we can! I fancied investigating the north shore of the bay so we jumped in the dinghy again and were off. Half way across, Marco remarked that the outboard didn't feel very powerful....this comment was quickly followed by a splutter and the death rattle of said outboard as it stopped completely. We paddled by hand across to a yacht with a long line ashore and fed our way along it to get to the small jetty and land. Once there, the yacht owner, who had been giving us suspicous looks from the jetty, jumped into his own dinghy and rode back to his boat looking very grumpy.
We walked along the shore towards the restaurant and back, then attempted to go the other way but there was an ominous buzzing and quite a few bees were in the area nearby so we thought better of it. We decided that the best thing now would be to swim back to our own boat, Marco dragging the dinghy behind him. As we got in the water, the German owner of the boat with the line appeared in his cockpit and told us we could not touch his line again because of 'the storm'??!! Not quite sure why 'touching his line' made a difference at this stage with blue skies above us but anyway, we weren't bothered and Marco waded out, towing me inside the dinghy.
As we reached the gulet jetty, one of the staff came out and asked if we would like help. Fantastic!! He jumped in his own (large) dinghy, fired up his (powerful) outboard and towed us back to Balina within seconds.  What a nice chap and just goes to show how friendly the Turks generally are....
After filling the outboard with petrol and making sure it started (it did), we prepared to leave and I swam over to untie the long lines. Everything went smoothly and we motored out of our new favourite place. Marco was rather too keen to sail between the dodgy rock islands near the entrance to the bays, but i vetoed that idea and we left the sailing until we were well past any potential dangers.
We headed off to Cleopatra's beach (Snake/Castle Island) and managed a great sail on the beam, doing 5kn in just 10kn of wind. It only took just over an hour to get to our destination - and once we had picked our spot, we anchored quick and easy then sat at the bow of the boat with a beer, reading our books. We'd been told to expect the place to be teeming with tripper boats but apart from one gulet and a couple of other yachts, the place was pretty quiet. We made lunch and sat eating it whilst watching the wind whip the sea into foamy white horses....we were getting 11knots blowing into the bay from the west....the direction we would shortly be heading. Joy!

We left, and headed around the east of Castle Island and were straight into the wind. As we came around, we were able to sail towards Sogut on a beam reach at over 6knots in part. It was fabulous, but the wind died as soon as we were behind the headland so we motored into Sogut Bay. We had considered stopping here overnight but although it looked nice, it also looked kind of formal, with yachts lined up perfectly on a pontoon by a 'sailing club'. We checked the chart and decided to carry on towards Kargilibuk (also known as Longoz Koyu). The sailing was rubbish. We were head to wind the whole way and it was impossible and uncomfortable to sail in the direction we wanted so we took everything in and made our way by motor to our chosen bay. It was easy to spot and getting in there was a real relief. As we pulled around the shoulder of the bay we spotted a Sunsail yacht...it was moored near the entrance and was bobbing madly against the swell coming in from the open gulf. It seemed an odd place to be, as it was so calm just around the corner. We edged in, being careful to go slowly as we knew there was a large sand bar further into the bay and we couldn't see the bottom. There was a man waving to us on the jetty further down to the left but we ignored him and started to reverse back , picking our spot and preparing to drop the anchor. The same man who had waved, jumped in his dinghy and motored across, asking if we needed help. We didn't really, but we let him assist us anyway and of course, this made it necessary to accept an invitation to eat at his restaurant on the shore that evening.

There was no sun on our side of the bay so, having taken a second line ashore, we relaxed for a while down in the saloon before getting ready and making our way across to 'Ali's' restaurant. Managed to ground our dinghy on the sand bar on the way over which just goes to show how shallow it was, and how you can lose your concentration after a beer and a glass of gin.

The pit containing dinner. Wonderful!
 The 'restaurant' was a few tables in a clearing with coloured fairy lights strewn throughout the trees. The oven was a round pit in the ground hanging over which was a large griddle-type thing with several large lumps of chicken along with potatoes in foil. The 'kitchen' was a wooden shed at one side of the clearing and in there, Ali's partner, an English lady called Eleanor was busy preparing our side dishes.  After a long wait, our dinner arrived and what a feast!! Apart from the barbecued chicken, there were two kinds of salad, chips, jacket potato, baked onions, aubergine dip and more! Luckily sailing builds up a hefty apetite but even so, we were eating for ages and when we were long past full, the plates hardly looked touched! While we ate we chatted to Ali and Eleanor about how they came to have this place in the trees, and after finishing, we played with their dogs while listening to piped music from Phantom of the Opera to Simply Red! It was a simply magical evening made even more so because we went with no expectation and were the only people there......normally this puts us off but this place was special and if it is still there we would recommend it to anyone sailing in the area.

Eleanor prepared us a doggy bag of leftovers to take with us for lunch the next day and as we left, they shone a torch to the end of the pontoon so that we could find our dinghy. We made it back to Balina with promises to call back in the morning for tea. A lovely couple, a great setting and an amazing meal, cooked as close to nature as possible.......we will remember this for a long time.

Cokertme to Okluk Koyu English Harbour

Tuesday 8th September
Off to explore
We woke to the sounds of the gulets leaving the bay. When i stuck my head out to see what was going on, I got a bit of a shock....no sun and LOTS of cloud. It got worse when I checked Navtex and it stated " gale, force 8 S.W. Turkey".
Naturally, Marco thinks it will come to nothing. Hmm...we'll see!
After breakfast, we checked the pilot guide and decided to head to English Harbour today. First, though we needed some lunch provisions, so we jumped into Balina Junior and headed off across the bay to investigate the hamlet where we'd eaten last night.
We dragged the dinghy up the beach and walked along. Our boat-driver greeted us and we carried on, but got all to the end and saw no market except for a normal one that sells rugs, clothes etc. Heading back, our driver beckoned us over and took us through last night's restaurant to the fridges. These were huge walk-in ones and he spread his hand out, indicating that we could have what we wanted! As we were really only after salad stuff, we chose two huge tomatoes, 2 cucumbers and a courgette and paid 2TL. Back at the dinghy, we struggled to start the outboard and quickly discovered that again, we had a line wrapped round the prop. We got free and were quickly back on our boat. Having tidyed up and prepared ourselves as well as we could, we slipped the lines. That makes it sound easy - ha! What it entailed was Marco going out again in the dinghy and spending a large amount of time trying to untie the bowline that our boat man had tied last night which was now stiff with sea salt! All this whilst avoiding sea urchins and in a rocking dinghy! Eventually he managed to loosen the line enough to slip it over the rock and hurried back to Balina and, pulling up the anchor, we headed out.
It didn't take long for the wind to get up to 16kn and we were reefed with a smaller genoa to stop us heeling so much. We were able to go along at 5kn on a broad reach but we were heading in the wrong direction. With the wind directly behind us as we moved round, we pulled down the main and sailed on a full genoa and were impressed to do 5.5kn, flying along.
There were a lot more yachts out today, but clouds were heading across from the north and it looked pretty dire for later on. But we spotted the two islets outside Degirmen Buku quickly and sailed across, only putting the sails down when we were very close. We spotted the entrance to Okluk Bay. We needed to be here in order to get a meal tonight (it was too far to motor from the other side of the bay) so we rounded the head where there is a mermaid statue, erected by Sadun Boro, the first Turk to circumnavigate in a yacht.
Moody cloud cover
Even with the cloud, it was a lovely place and we scanned the bay looking for a suitable mooring spot. The restaurant pontoon was clear except for one yacht that we recognised as a Yildiz flotilla yacht, so we guessed (rightly as it happened) that the pontoon would be filled up later which we didn't fancy being part of, so in the end, I found a gap between a line of liveaboard boats opposite, all of which had 2 lines ashore. We prepared, dropped anchor and I ran to the back of the boat, leapt in with the line, and took the line around a tree, waiting while Marco took up the slack, then tied the second to a larger tree and we were in!!
It was still cloudy and also cold compared to our other days but we still managed to catch a small amount of sun at the bow of the boat, where we sat reading and drinking beer. We'd decided to have an early dinner so while Marco dozed (hard life being a skipper), I showered and while he showered, I prepared a G&T for us. What a team!
We left for the Yat Limani restaurant just before sundown, and managed to get a lovely table at the water's edge. We had meze (again) and for a change tried meatballs which were lovely. We polished that off with a slice of baklava. We drank beer tonight in an attempt to save some money as we are running a bit over-budget but I think we coped ok!
Back on Balina, we had a Baileys each and Marco thrashed me at Connect 4. Thunderstorms rumbled ominously in the background and flashes of lightning lit up the bay.....but no rain......yet!

Palamut to Cokertme (with life jackets!!)

Monday 7th September

Before the lifejackets - Gulf of Kekova

Anyone who has sailed all their life, or been living aboard for a while would consider sailing across a gulf in Turkey to be childs-play. For us however, it became our most exciting sail to date (all 2 years worth).
The day began with Marco banging his head on the companionway hatch and swearing, which then turned into a debate about where to have our morning coffee - me wanting to go back to last night's restaurant for a change.
After we'd had coffee in the cockpit,  we then went off to last night's restaurant where we had another! We also got to see a lot of kittens gamboling in the sunshine and have a bite to eat too!
Back on board there was the obligatory impatience from Marco, who was keen to fill the water tanks, slip the lines and get going. I hope he's not in this much of a hurry when we are living on board otherwise we'll be like Jules Verne and have seen the world in 80 days! I was keen to get the chap from last night to help us untie, but no, we have to learn (!) so we had to do it all ourselves. I suppose he had a point. While Marco was doing boat jobs, I busied myself tidying the saloon and took some photos of Palamut, then returned to Balina, where he was spending time working out which lines were useless and could be recycled to make slips that would hold us in place while we untied the rather tight bowlines that had been rather too expertly done last night.
Once we were ready we started the engine and - oh! A large fishing vessel had parked dead ahead of us during the night..more than likely over our anchor. But we carried on regardless. All was working well until the chain started pulling to starboard and we locked. We then knew that the anchor was caught under the fishing boat. We were dragged right over to it, where fortunately there was a crew on board who held us off while Marco reversed back up towards the jetty, allowing the anchor to come up straight in the roller. We could see that we should have really just drifted very slowly forward so that the anchor could drag out from under the fishing boat, but with the ballast on one side and berthed yachts on the other, it would probably not have worked either. In the end, no harm was done and we were on our way again, Marco muttering loudly that the whole episode made us look like amateurs (but we ARE amateurs!). Personally I'd defy most people to successfully get out of the corner we were hemmed into.
Once out, we had a mixture of nothing and large gusts, so we waited until we were well out of the bay of Palamut, then put up our sails. We did ok, managing 4kn in around 15kn of wind. Occasionally we got 'scary' gusts of up to 26kn but they didn't last and it was relatively easy for us to get round to Knidos and Cape Krio beyond, although we had to sail out and come in again to ensure that we weren't going straight into the wind.
As we rounded the Cape, we put the motor on and, just as Rod Heikell describes in the pilot, the wind was patchy so we knew we had done the right thing.
Our plan was to head round into the Gokova Korfezi and head for Cokertme on one tack. Sempra from the restaurant in Palamut had done her best to put us off. "It's far too windy", but Marco of course, wanted to give it a try. I found to my surprise that I am becoming quite trusting of his judgement around the sailing so was ok with his decision. After all, we could always head back to Bodrum if the conditions weren't right. 

The lighthouse on Cape Krio

As we passed the lighthouse on Cape Krio, the wind went from 6kn to a steady 17kn. We started to heel uncomfortably and Marco gave me the helm so that he could reef. Unfortunately, as I turned in to the wind, there was a huge gust and the bow was taken round 180 deg. Lots of shouting and swearing ensued, followed by the engine going on so that we could right ourselves again.  Once that little drama was over, Marco set a course that should get us near as dammit to Cokertme.
Once we got ourselves into the Gulf of Gokova, things really took off. The wind was steady at 22kn, gusting 26kn and the waves were building. Spray was coming into the cockpit and covering us both. It was great fun, but nervewracking at the same time, especially as we headed more central with land a long way off in both directions. I started to feel sick - it was getting rougher and I suggested that life jackets might be a wise idea. Marco didn't object so i went down the companionway steps to retrieve two jackets from the locker. I swore continuously to myself as I struggled, both to put on the life jacket, and with the feelings of nausea that were starting to overwhelm me. I needed to get back in the cockpit.
With lifejackets on, we continued happily on a single tack across the gulf doing on average 6kn, occasionally 7kn. As we got to the north side of the gulf, we could make out a yacht, heading in the same direction as us, and it was then that we realised this was the ONLY yacht we had seen all afternoon. We'd been almost alone in the gulf. Did this make us brave, stupid, or simply normal (compared to perhaps other charterers)??
Nearing our destination - just in time
I went to check the chartplotter downstairs, only to find that it still showed us just outside Palamut. With nothing electrical to guide us, I reached for the charts and hoped i could still remember enough of my dayskipper theory to check our position. Hmmm....GPS also buggered! Nothing for it but to rely on pilotage! I checked the charts for any potential hazards to our approach and there were none, so all that we had to do was look for some steel masts that indicated the entrance to Cokertme. We motored for a while, getting as close to the shoreline as we dare and just as the sun was touching the horizon, we saw the masts. Down came the sails and we motored in.
We did a little reccy of the place, and a little boat from the Ibrahim restaurant pottered around but didn't come to us. The boat from the Rose Mary did however! He tried to get us to come to his pontoon (which was full), and then indicated that we should come inside the jetty. I would advise anyone else that is in this situation to refuse. We made a polite attempt, but clipped the bottom and Marco immediately put the boat hard astern and we reversed quickly back out. Despite the boat owner's protests that this was fine, Marco (wisely i think), refused and we motored over to the other side of the bay. Luckily for us, the Rose Mary boat came with us and helped to take the lines ashore, tying us on nicely which was just as well really as the anchor chain got stuck. He asked us what time we would like to be collected for dinner and, as we were quite a way from the restaurants now, we gladly agreed that he could come and collect us at 8:30.
Well, after all that excitement, it was a wonder we had any strength left to open the beers, but heroically, we found some somewhere and gratefully guzzled one back, then showered and changed.
Right on the dot, we heard the whirr of the outboard and our boat friend was by our side to take us to dinner.
We ate right on the sea-front,  and had kebabs, fish, meze and a bottle of wine. It was another idyllic location and afterwards we were chauffered back to Balina. Full of wine and food, we crashed out - fast asleep by 10:30 again!

Bozuk Buku to Palamut

Yes! Let's row...it's only a mile across the bay!

Sunday 6th September
Not another crap sleep?! Yep, the cabin is getting warmer and we both wake up feeling rather dehydrated. Not sure if that's the previous night's beer or just the heat, but anyway, the long and the short of it is that if you MUST have a cosy bed and a good sleep at night, you won't like the early days of cruising! For me however, lack of sleep just means an excuse to get up at 6.30, make coffee and sit at the bow watching this little part of planet earth wake up.
I'd wanted to go and see the fort at the other end of the bay, but Marco didn't fancy putting the outboard on the dinghy so he rowed instead. Mistake! He quickly got pissed off with the whole thing and started making faces - and who would get the blame? Yes the wife! So i kept helpfully suggesting that we went back for the outboard but he wouldn't have it (why ARE men so stubborn?) so we limped on until we got to Sailor's House where we got out. However, in only our flip flops (well prepared again), it was almost impossible to climb up and so we gave up and went back to Balina, where the outboard was fitted and away we went again. We then motored over to Ali Baba's place. We quickly wished we had gone there last night - there was a rickety jetty that all the yachts had tied up to, a dog with big ears and a lovely looking restaurant. Oh well, next time blah blah......
We still couldn't easily get to the fort, so abandoned the idea altogether (sniff) and came back to the boat. We slipped the lines and motored out to Serce, a large bay just around the corner. We dropped anchor and had a lovely breakfast with a swim. Once refreshed, we motored out and were immediately able to put the sails out in over 15kn of wind. The conditions were very similar to the previous day, so we were on a close reach until we were near to Symi and then it died again. We tacked and found enough wind to take us up the side of Symi, deciding that we would try to go through the Nisos passage. This is a short cut that enables the sailor to avoid having to go all the way around the island of Nimos, thus saving quite a bit of time. However, two things have to be stated. One is that it is technically out of bounds, being as it is, in Greek waters. In practise the Greeks tend to turn a blind eye to this little short cut. Secondly, the water shallows up considerably and suddenly.

Light blue means shallow!

We had read about the shallow traverse in Heikell's book so were prepared. As we approached the passage, Symi town could be clearly seen with all the picture postcard houses spilling down the hillsides. We would have loved to go there, but didn't want to take the chance without a Greek courtesy flag.  As we entered the Nisos passage, the depth sounder came up sharply from 25-30metres to 2.5metres. As we went through the passage the water became crystal clear. We trusted Rod Heikell's book which stated that it was alarming to see this rise in depth, but that there was absolutely no danger, and soon, the depth sounder was showing 10-20 metres again. We were through unscathed.
Next problem on the horizon (almost literally), was wind direction. We were heading west....wind coming from......west. Damn! So we went on a close reach towards Datca, then tacked back up again to go round the peninsula. This was the intention anyway, but it all went a bit wrong, as something had happened to the genoa track. Won't bore you with the details, but eventually, after 'words' between skipper and crew, it was fixed. By this time of course, the wind had dropped to 6kn and we weren't moving. So we took everything in and switched on the motor. We wanted to make it round to Ova Buku - another great sounding bay and restaurant - for a quiet night and dinner at 'Oguns Place'. But as we set our course due west, the wind that had been so non-existent for an hour or more, decided to pick up again on the nose. We bounced around in 18 knot winds, motoring into confused seas with a sinking sun.Oh good! By this time we were both knackered, but knew that sanctuary was just around the bay. The waves kept coming and breaking over the bow. What a nightmare! We were so relieved to see the watchtowers of the bay and motored in, just gagging for a beer and a relaxed night. Bloody hell!!! Not a berth to be had anywhere. Just 6 boats had filled up the entire jetty. Nobody came to see if they could squeeze us in anywhere and lots of swimmers were bobbing about in the water....anchoring was not an option in any case. 
There was nothing for it but to motor back out into the wind. Quickly we decided Palamut was our only hope, being just around the corner and so it was spray, waves, bobbing etc all the way, and to cap it all, just as the sun was setting and we could see a nice little gap for us ahead in the harbour, a 43ft yacht raced past us, got in and was tying up before we'd even got into the harbour walls. We were, instead directed to a corner of the harbour where it was all fun, fun, fun tying up with massive help from a local guy who had to pull us away from a huge pile of underwater ballasting on the starboard stern side, then I had to let out more and more anchor to get the stern round and near enough to the quay to be able to drop the passerelle. Finally we winched ourselves in and were safe for another night!
After another niggle about whether to bother showering or not (hello, I'm covered in salt), I went off to do just that, while Marco skulked about with a beer, then graciously decided he would have a 'quick wash down' too.
The lovely Jardin de Sempra
Palamut is a lovely little town and we were really very glad that we ended up here. We found a lovely restaurant called Jardin de Sempra, and treated ourselves to fillet steak, fish fillets, and a bottle of red wine before heading back for a Baileys nightcap and an exhausted sleep.