Barry's Blog #145 - "If you leave, you cannot come back."


The Greek islands of the Aegean Sea are so varied in so many ways that many hours could be spent discussing the specialty foods, regional wines, local traditions, historical sites, local landmarks and places of amazing beauty, the list goes on and on.

But at day 7, after departing from Limni on Evia island, the main thing I was interested in, that any island could offer, was a chandlery store. We had the last prop shaft anode that was on board attached to the shaft and it was fizzing away rapidly, we needed to buy more anodes.

Towards Samos

After our overnight stop at the uninhabited island of Anti Psara we headed SE to an anchorage near the southern tip of Chios. We'd chosen well, the bottom was sand and it was well protected from the northern Meltemi wind. The area we were in didn't have a chandlery, in fact the only thing on shore was a small taverna that was very busy with locals. We were the only yacht in the anchorage.

On average our hops between islands were about 7 hours. This gave me a lot of time for thinking. The main thing on my mind was the fizzing anode situation. I spent hours reviewing the footage in my head of every job we'd done over our time on the hard in Livaditis boat yard. No matter how many times I went over it, I couldn't fathom what we could have done to create a DC power leakage to the prop shaft.

We also bounced a few ideas around between us. Were they cheap Chinese made anodes? Were they magnesium anodes? Was there some interaction between the prop shaft antifoul paint and the anode?

As these thoughts and more rattled around our heads I had one goal in mind. The chandlery store at Pythagorio on Samos island.

Leaving Chios we did a big hop of 9 hours 45 minutes and arrived at Samos at 16:00 hrs. As soon as we checked that our anchor was securely dug in we went ashore and straight to the chandlery. It's an Aladdin's cave of boat stuff and I was both surprised and disappointed when he could only find one 30mm shaft anode. But one is better than none.

We stayed anchored at Samos for 4 days. Time was spent doing various tests and checks on battery connections and generally anything that had electrical power associated with it. Each day we put on a mask and snorkel and visually inspected the prop anode. It was always fizzing away.

We also hooked up with another Youtube sailing channel, Holly Blue, and they invited us out to explore a set of waterfalls with them in their hire car. Aannsha goes into more detail about that day trip in her blog this week, so check that out too.

We made a decision to check out of Greece on Thursday 23rd July 2020 and head for the D-Marin marina in Didim, Turkey. Before we departed I put on my scuba gear and dived to replace the now nearly worn out anode with the one we'd bought at the Pythagorio chandlery.

It's a fiddly job, especially when the wind is gusting at 30 knots and making the boat swing at anchor. Eventually I got the worn out anode off and attached the new one. It didn't fizz. I was perplexed. This new situation began to lend credence to some of the theories we'd been mulling over. Either way we needed to get to Turkey and enlist the services of some tech guys whose pay grade was higher than mine.

To Turkey

"You know that if you leave, you cannot come back." That was what we heard at each of the three check out offices we visited in Pythagorio. It sounded ominous, but we politely nodded our agreement and explained that we were sure that we'd be back in Greece in a year or two once this whole Covid thing had blown over.

After changing the anode and going through the check out process it was 11:25 hrs before we could up anchor and begin our 5 hour hop to Turkey.

Our check in contact at D-Marin marina had been recommended to us by friends and we contacted Atilla 2 days prior to leaving Greece. He requested that we send him photos of our passports, ships documents and insurance so that when we arrived he'd have all the paperwork ready for us to sign.

As we crossed the maritime border between Greece and Turkey we changed out the Greek flag for the Turkish one and also raised our yellow Q flag to indicate that we needed to check in.

Because we needed to get technicians on board A B Sea we were going to be staying for a few days at the marina and that meant going stern to on the pontoon. As we had our dinghy up on the davits we had to drop anchor in the bay outside the marina, lower the dinghy and tie it alongside.

The bay was very different from the last time we'd visited. It was summertime and people were out enjoying themselves. A couple of power boats were speeding through the water towing screaming kids on inflatable's. Many people were swimming. A half dozen wind surfers were zipping back and forth across the bay and many were falling over as the wind had decided to blow at a constant 30 knots just as we arrived to temporarily anchor. To say I was a bit nervous is an understatement.

Luckily after many anchorages Aannsha and I have become quite good at anchoring and we got the hook in first time and we managed to avoid all of the human obstacles.

Checking in

With the dinghy down and secured to the port side of A B Sea we raised the anchor and headed into the large entrance of Didim's D-Marin marina. Immediately we were inside the water calmed but the wind was still blowing quite strongly. Knowing that I'd have the assistance of the marineros and that I'd be reversing into the wind, I was only slightly concerned about messing up the docking manoeuvre.

It all went without a hitch and waiting for us on the pontoon was Atilla the check in agent and a man with gloves, mask, temperature sensor and an official looking shirt.

With A B Sea secured by a lazy line and docking lines we attached the passerelle and the medic guy came aboard to check our temperatures. It was hot and humid, my face was sweating but still the temperature sensor managed to bypass all of that and confirm that I was a healthy 36.7 degrees.

Paperwork was signed and Atilla went off to the various check in offices on site at the marina and 40 minutes later came back and announced that we were officially checked into Turkey at that we could now freely leave the boat. Our thanks to Hugh and Claudia from SV MairMade for facilitating our check in.

While we'd been waiting for Atilla, our friend Jim, on our buddy boat Acheron, came into the marina and tied up alongside us. He'd been sailing the Turkish coast and when we told him we were checking in at Didim he came to meet us.

Jim has the esteemed title of being our very first patron and after hugs all around, a cold beer and a brief catch up on news, he announced that he'd booked a table at the swanky yacht club and invited us for a meal that evening. What a great welcome back to Turkey.

After a delicious hot shower, amazing food and wine, superb company and conversation we had an early night in readiness for arranging some technical help the following day. I'll tell you all about that in next week's blog.

To watch the video that accompanies this blog click here.

Link to Barry's next blog

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