Sunday, May 14, 2017

GREECE - here we come

Once we exited the Suez Canal, our first Med experience was a forest of objects to negotiate. For the first 10 hours, we closely watched our chart screen as a plethora of AIS targets moved about and kept a visual vigilance as we crossed paths with ships, tugs, oil rigs, and various other seafaring traffic.

Rush hour traffic

There was virtually no wind so it was mostly motoring on an uneventful passage northwest to the Greek Island of Rhodes (aka Rhodos, Rodos). To time an early morning arrival to the main port, we lay ahull for 6 hours about 15 nautical miles out.

Marking the entrance to the beautiful historic Mandraki Harbour is the old fortress of St. Nicholas. This harbour is famous because it is believed that the great statue of Colossus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, once stood at the harbour entrance. Now the entrance is 'guarded' by the heraldic symbols of Rhodes - a bronze stag and a doe standing tall on 2 separate pillars on each side of the entry.

St. Nicholas on the point

In the harbour, which is right in front of the City of Rhodes, were many boats Med-moored (stern to the seawall) from ultra luxury yachts to tourist boats. We were greeted by George who directed us to tie up to the seawall instead of attempting a Med-mooring, a tricky manoeuvre that we were not willing to attempt in the breeze and given that Sea Turtle doesn't like to back up in a controlled manner (N36°27.004' E028°13.537'). This was a perfect spot on the City side of the harbour, directly across from a pleasantly busy downtown centre of Rhodes City.

We completed all check-in procedures, except providing the required proof of boat insurance which we still did not have. We had a heck of a time finding coverage. Insurance companies we contacted would either say they didn't insure Canadian boats or they wanted a survey or simply didn't respond to our emails! But we finally got the basic insurance according to the Greek requirements.

The charm of Rhodes founded in 408 BC is the old fortified town behind fortress walls with a rich centuries old medieval history of Knights and trade. Seven gates in the fortified walls provide access to a maze of over 200 narrow streets and alleyways. Much of the old buildings have been restored and now quaint shops, bars, and eateries cater to the tourist crowds. (This is a different fortress than Fort St. Nicholas.)

Two by two

Inside Old Town

The new City outside of the Old Town is also a delight of sidewalk cafes and shops where one can stroll away the day. We have enjoyed many of their infamous Greek salads, delicious calamari, and pastries to die for.

What a difference to be in the clean developed country of Greece with all amenities available. We have found Rhodes to be very beautiful and with friendly and helpful people. One day we rented a scooter and rode halfway around this charming island.

Island hotel

As Sea Turtle desperately needs bottom paint, we moved her to the Nereus Boatyard around in the next harbour on May 5th (N36°26.476' E028°14.174').

Like a fish out of water

And then our plans suddenly changed. We needed to return home to Canada to help with aging parents, attend to some incidental health issues, and make some real estate changes. This would take more than a couple of months and as we don't want to winter in Greece, it would be a year away from Sea Turtle, returning at the start of the best time of year to cruise the Med.

We are now putting Sea Turtle to bed and then on May 23rd we catch our flight home, making a 3-day stopover in Paris!


Peter Green said...

Hi, Me Old Shipmates.....

the coffee is always on at the local Starbucks and Wendy and I would love to sea you! It's been too long since our last coffee and hearing of your travels. Pete & Wendy

s/v Libertad said...

Glad you are safely in the Med. A year break....sounds so familiar. We left our boat in Barcelona for a similar set of back-home needs one season. Hope you enjoyed Paris.

Virginia and Dennis
s/v Libertad