Thursday, 30 April 2009

Bodrum - Back in Turkey ... Apr 2009

23-25 April 2009

We actually managed a good sail in brisk northwestly winds back across to Turkey to visit Bodrum, one of Turkeys busiest package holiday destinations and popular on Cruiseship itineries. Not really our ideal stop, but on the way so why not. We anchored below the stunning Bodum Castle close to town and sat back and watched the sun dip behind, then silhoutte the castle. Ideal, we thought, little did we know there was a Rock Festival on this week and we were anchored right by the venue. At 8pm we were almost blasted out of the bay, but we could cope with a free rock concert and surely it wouldn't go on all night. Then shortly after 8pm the neightbouring disco kicked in, affording stero sound but of different music, time for us oldies to leave!!!! We moved across the bay and anchored outside a large white hotel, had a peaceful sleep and were asked by the coastguard at 8am to move as we were in "a restricted area", oh well back to the castle.

We filled in our day ashore with hordes of tourists wandering around the quite cute little streets, along the waterfront, found a little 2.50Lira chicken doner place (now we know why cruisers hate to leave Turkey!!) then spent the afternoon in the excellent Underwater Archaeological Musuem located within the Castle. The Castle of St Peter, built in the early 1400's deserves a visit in its own right, with a collection of towers, courtyards and a dungeon but in addition to this the underwater museum (which isn't actually underwater, just displaying items found underwater!!) houses an excellent display of items found in Turkish waters, most discovered quite recently and dating back to the 14th century BC.

Next back out into the Dodecanese Islands slowly heading north.

Cruising Info:
Anchorage - Up in the bay to the east of the castle amongst the gulets. Good holding, just a little noisy a night!!
Money - ATM's everywhere, some dispense Euro alsoProvisions - Everything available, Tansas Supermarket behind the otogar, a few of blocks back from the beach, Carrefour and Marks & Spencers by the Marina,Fruit and Veg market by Tansas on Friday
Sightseeing - Bodrum Castle/Underwater Archaeological Museum. We spent around 3 hours in the castle and the 10Lira pp entrance was well worth it.
Internet - Couldn't pick up any unlocked signals at anchor, some free wifi cafes ashore

Nisyros - The Volcano Island ... Apr 2009

21-23 April 2009

After an enjoyable, if somewhat noisy, weekend of Easter celebrations in Symi it was time to leave this postcard perfect island for the last time and start heading out into the Aegean Sea and commence this seasons cruising, exploring new places and leaving much enjoyed ones behind.

We made the most of little winds and calm seas and motored due west to the island of Nisyros (Nisiros, Nissyros). Lying in the southern Dodecanese chain between its better known neighbours of Kos and Rhodes, the almost round island of Nisyros's claim to fame is that it has two bubbling volcanic craters at its heart and a 7th century BC castle that has undergone partial restoration.
We headed for the small harbour of Pali (Palli) on the northern coast just a couple of miles east of the main harbour of Mandhraki and carefully made our way into the shallow waters and got straight into the swing of things "Greek sytle" and went stern-to against the harbour wall on the northern side. It's a small, shallow (we had 3m) but functional harbour and they have changed the breakwater entrance to be east facing instead of north, affording much better coverage from the prevailing northwesterly winds.

With Balvenie tied up snugly we spent the afternoon and following day exploring the island. We hired a little motor scooter from Captains Place at Pali for €8 for a day. We went up and up, unsure of whether the scooter would make it!! to the crater rim and then down onto the valley floor. There is a large area (free entry when we visited) easy to walk around to access both the volcanos, which you can actually desend right down into and walk around. We listened to the steam bubbling away inside the earths crust and saw familiar boiling mud pools, just like at home, it even smelt like New Zealands' Rotorua. We spent a couple of hours exploring the area, no fenced off areas or warning signs, definately not like home!!! Back down to the sea and into Mandhraki for lunch. A quick reminder of the fact that we were now in "Euroland" and no longer Turkey, no 2Lira Chicken Doners to be found here, but we will soon get used to the prices, grin and bear it and hope the New Zealand Dollar (fondly known as the Pacific Peso) exchange rate keeps improving against the rest of the worlds currencies!!!!

Then it was time to explore the nearby 14th century Knights Castle and the Panayia Spilani Monastery, (couldn't enter inside). Next up to the 7th century BC Paleokastro (Castle). Again we were free to wander aimlesly around this magnificent ruin, which has undergone partial restoration recently and has excellent drawings and explanations in English of the structures. One can only imagine at how it must have been to live somewhere so isolated, and that they had fleets of ships plying these waters many hundreds of years ago. They sure knew how to chose the spots with the best views!! I must also mention the wildflowers at the moment, spring is truly here and both on Symi and Nisyros the hills are dancing in the wind with the sway of wild daisies and poppies, just beautiful. We zoomed around on our little scooter, there arent many roads and very little traffic, so we mangaed to see most of the island and filled up for just €3 so an excellent days outing. Back in Pali there is a tiny Greek Orthadox church, just by the harbour wall, it is freshly painted on the outside and a must see inside if its open, the paintings/murals covered the inside walls and ceilings entirely, we could find no information at all about it but it is an absolute gem.

Mark had an extra trip into Mandhraki on the scooter, helping out Nina onboard a sailing school yacht, she had arrived in Greece 4 days previously for her weeks sailing school holiday but unfortunately her bag didn't come with her and had been chasing her around Greek Islands by ferry since!!! Rumor had it that it was definately on the 6pm ferry into Mandhraki, happily for Nina it was and their trip to the ferry was rewarded with her pack, at last.

Next stop back to Turkey to visit Bodrum

Cruising Info:
Anchorage - Pali, Entry in breakwater now faces due east, we stern-tied to Northern wall in 3m, some side tied. Bollard rusty and started wearing through our mooring line. New south wall in good condition, 4 yachts stern-tied, unsure of depth over there. No charges made while we were there in April. There were power boxes and water that all looked new but didn't yet work. Mandhraki also looked fine, shelter not as good as Pali but quite large, ferries go in there.
Money - Didn't find ATM machine. Is supposed to be one in town and one at Mandhraki harbour but didn't see them
Provisions - Fuel Station on road to Mandhraki. A few small grocery/fruit-veg and bakeries in Mandhraki. Bakery in Pali a little way out on the road east along the beachSightseeing - easy to do everything in a day by scooter. There is a walking path to the volcano, around 9kms each way, it would be a long, hard day
Internet - No wifi signals at all and didn't even see internet cafes anywhere Posted by Picasa