George Buehler, Steel trawler, Diesel Duck, Long range, RPH trawler, Raised Pilothouse, Trawler, Steel, Lloyds, Ocean Crossing.
Currently in the Med. Recent price reduction of USD 100k.
George Buehler, Steel trawler, Diesel Duck, Long range, RPH trawler, Raised Pilothouse, Trawler, Steel, Lloyds, Ocean Crossing.
Currently in the Med. Recent price reduction of USD 100k.
We have decided to sell our beloved Diesel Duck Trawler LeeZe. The blog posts on this site are some of our adventures during our time cruising and meant to shed some light on the cruising life. Enjoy our posts and please contact us for more information on the places we have been or information on our Diesel Duck Trawler LeeZe in Çandarli. The complete collection of our travel blogs can be found here: http://whereisleeze.blogspot.com
2015-09-13: Yesterday, after anchoring,
knowing that the wind was going to pick up, elected to lower the tender from the boat deck into the water. That turned out to be a wise decision as later yesterday and so far today, the wind has not slowed to below 20 knots.
Therefore, spent most of last night on the couch in the saloon, waking up every two hours to check. Seemed like we had dragged as the mosque and castle and shore are MUCH closer than when I went to sleep a few hours earlier, but having panicked before and got my heart racing to check only to find that I within my swing circle, I decide to believe that I had not dragged and that all was fine.
When we set the anchor yesterday, as soon as I drop it I mark the spot electronically on my chart plotter. I had 60+ meters of chain out (in about 8 meters of water) and had Zehra back down at slightly above idle until you can see the chain get quite taut. I then attach my 22 mm 12 strand snubber, lay out another 10+ meters and have Zehra back down again, slowly, until the snubber is taut, then have her increase RPMs until the water is starting to be squeezed out of the line and the line noticeably thins.
So, this AM, when I thought I might be dragging, I remembered all that and also remembered that whenever we anchored using that process, the anchor has never dragged.
So, this morning, Zehra thinks we have dragged. Fire up the navigation suite and measure the distance ween the spot I marked and our current position. We are within 65 meters of the anchor so I am quite confident that we did not drag, or dragged sooooooo little that it is imperceptible.
After breakfast, prepare the tender and our plans are at about 1700 to venture into town. The wind is blowing 25-30 knots with gusts up to 40 from the NE. When we get a gust, LeeZe is heeled by the wind until she is aligned with the wind. We have come to learn by the healing alone how big of a gust that was. We are usually right within 5 knots for gusts up to 60. Not much experience above 60, and care not to have any.
Our intentions are to mosey our way south, anchor MAYBE in Aliağa, Yeni Foça, Eski Foça, and then turn into Izmir Bay, making our way toward Bostanli, where LeeZe was launched, and stay there a week or so. We would like to be in our marina (Levent) on or around 1 Oct.
That’s our plans. Let’s see how well we hold to that plan.
2015-09-16: We left Çandarli yesterday and anchored in the afternoon in Eski Foça.
Zehra had taken a dolmuş (a type of minibus / van where multiple people are all heading generally in the same direction) to Aliağa and learned that they COULD possibly make some room for us but they were not sure, and there would be no access to water of shore power.
So we passed.
“Intel” told us that we would be wasting our time anchoring in Yeni Foça
so we moved on to here. The ride was good for the most part, with the wind mostly behind us and the waves mostly off our starboard quarter.
When we arrived, using the position the Turkish Coast Guard gave to us last year as a spot within 300 meters to anchor, we did. The wind was 20 knots out of the NE and the bay was rolly.
I laid out 60 meters of chain and then snubbed another 10. Depth of water was between 9-11 meters. But something went wrong.
Normally, I put a second snubber on the chain just BEFORE the anchor windlass as a backup in case the first snubber comes off the chain. Sometime after 2200, LeeZe started feeling not like herself, and I felt it, I think, even though the wind was 25+ knots, gusting to 40.
Yup, the first snubber had come off.
Working fast but safe in the dark with a small head light, was able to retrieve the snubber’s end and re-attach it to the chain. But, without having started the engine, I knew it would be foolish to bring in any chain so at the 80 meter mark, I attached the snubber again and let it out until it had the strain and the second snubber did not. At this time, I saw I had just about 100 meters of chain out.
I know the saying: “The anchor chain does no one any good sitting in the locker” (this is quoted to me by some many captains of day trip gulets that I now roll my eyes when I hear it) but I only have 130 m on board and I do not like the fact that at 2300 at night, I am left with few options to make me feel more comfortable.
We made it thru the night and this morning, the sea was calm and flat, with no wind. I woke up to see I was blocking a major portion of the channel and the castle / fort’s walls to the south of me looked remarkably close!
So, after coffee and before breakfast, start the engine and start retrieving all that chain that I had put out last night. Depth of water is 10 meters, and at the 60 meter mark, reattached the primary snubber. This time I take my time and make sure it is attached securely. I also lay out 10 meters of snubber line because, maybe, just maybe, I had laid out too much snubber (can one do that?) and somehow, laying on the bottom, the snubber got loose. Do not know.
After making sure that the snubber had the load, Zehra backed LeeZe down and confirmed that the Roca was holding.
This evening, Zehra wants to try anchoring in other part of the bay, closer to the North end. She thinks there will be less roll motion. We will try that tomorrow.
2015-09-20 Well, we ended up not moving as whatever was causing the sea to roll seem to stop. But this September weather has not been as kind and bright to our solar panels as June was and so the house battery was going down faster than I liked.
I thought something maybe draining it and looked around. Our digital satellite receiver had some unusual lights lit on its front, given that we were not using it. When I felt the case, it was quite warm to the touch. Pulled the plug and battery voltage jumped up 0.40 vdc. So, that was my drain. But after 3 days, that box took a lot out of the battery and so I was worried.
Thought we were getting underway YESTERDAY ((thought yesterday was Sunday!) so started up the engine in preps to move. House Bank was at 23.75 VDC but the engine lit off like a champ. (Never have learned the lower limit for engine start! Guess I need to!) But the Admiral squared me away and after an hour, shut down the engine. The alternator added about 80 amp hours during that hour, not enough to make an appreciable dent in the 1250 amp-hr bank.
So, started up the genset and ran it for ~2 hours until regardless of the manual load I set for the chargers, the genset was only putting 60+ amps into the bank. (The genset did get very hot. See the note at the end of this blog for the full story.)
We went out for dinner and, well to make a long story short, this morning the bank was at 24.57 VDC, and I was quite comfortable with that state of charge. (For those that want to know, full with no charge is about 1 volt more, and with the chargers on, a trickle charge is 2 volts more. Equalization charge is just over 30 volts and the battery chargers take care of deciding when and for how long.)
Underway this morning to check to see if there is room for us in Güzelbaçhe’s marina under construction. If not, the “bingo field” field CeşmeAlti. Our underway was complicated by some fish and net gear that got around the anchor and chain. It was sooooooo heavy that is was difficult to lift completely out of the water. So, got into the tender and with Zehra raising the anchor slowly, cut it all away. But it was dirty; it got me dirty; it got the tender dirty. It was a dirty job. ☺
While underway and south of Eski Foça, received six VHF DSC (distress) announcements from both Olympia (Greek) and Turk Radio. Each reported thee different capsized craft, all off the coast of BabaKale / Lemnos Island and each asking ship in the area to kindly keep a watch for them, reporting accordingly. The first report was for 26 souls, the next for 10, and the last for 44. An afternoon press report by Hurriyet newspaper reported that none of the 26 were found as of the filing of the report.
Today seemed like a superb day for the refugees to travel. There was little wind, no rough seas, and the sun was out. But nearly all the boats are overloaded, with questionable engines, and few have life vests. Some reports indicate that the really cheap life vests are full of water absorbing foam. It appears that the smugglers are making money two ways!) Some say nearly 8% of those who brave the sea to get to an EU country die at sea. May their souls rest in peace.
Just under two week ago, we passed Babakale and did see one migrant craft in the water, on the Greek side, who waived us off because my guess is he wanted to be rescued by the Greeks.
I was nowhere near the area but asked myself if I was prepared to pick up 20-30 “souls” and if I did, even if I reported it by radio, could I get into some trouble legally, that is. Were we prepared in any way to host these people. I know we have enough tea and coffee, but are definitely lacking in changes of clothes and blankets. If I did run into situation, I would obviously pick up all of them, hope it is a sunny day, have them rest in the sun on the forward deck and boat deck, give them water, tea or coffee, and IMMEDIATELY contact the appropriate coast guard people for instructions. But I am in uncharted waters here and if any of the readers of this blog can provide advice, I would welcome it. (please note that the Greek and Turk radio announcements ask ships in the area to keep a sharp lookout and report what they see. The announcement does NOT ask the ships to effect rescue!)
Any way, while the landing at Güzelbaçhe was not perfect,
we got in, side too, into a half finished marina. If all goes well, we will stay here a while and then proceed to our winter marina, Levent, some 10 miles to our east. There is a three day religious holiday at the end of this week celebrating Abraham willing to slaughter his son, but instead did a lamb. The Turks tend to take these holidays and stretch them into a full week off, and this is no different. We saw Turk tourist showing up in Eski Foça Friday evening thru Saturday, starting what was to be a 8-9 day holiday!
Here is not a touristy area so we expect that less will be open than normal. Things get back to normal a week from tomorrow. Tonight we are going to a fish restaurant where you by what you want to eat from the fish merchant out front and then go to the restaurant where they cook it for you for a nominal fee. People drive for miles to come here. We are 100 meters away! What luck!!!
2015-09-21 Well, we did NOT go to that fish restaurant because the restaurants were way too crowded and the choice of fish was limited. We instead went to a kebab restaurant right across the street from the entrance to the marina and Zehra had the best chicken kabab in her life (per her!). I had a cheese and egg pide (‘turkish pizza”) but while mine was good, it was not extraordinary.
Will try again. Did some work today and probably will do more tomorrow. Quiet day.
2015-09-24 Yesterday, visited Çesmealti and Urla, two ports within 5-6 nm of where we are, though to the west. We have tried for years to go to the wall in both places and have been consistently told, no room. When we visited, neither had room. There are good anchorages closely and the towns are very lively all summer, and usually lively on weekends during the Fall and Spring, providing the sun is out.
Zehra did go a few days ago to visit Levent marina, our winter “home” and learned that they are ready for us, that we will be moored next to two other Asboat built Diesel Ducks 42s, and that should make for an interesting winter.
2015-09-28 I FINALLY got a chance to go to the fish market two nights ago, buy my calamari and 10 tiger shrimp, take them to a seaside restaurant where for 14 TL (Currently about 3TL=$1), they cooked up my fish and Zehra’s (whole) fish. The calamari was scrumptious and the shrimp were as dense as a fine cut of beef. Zehra was quite happy with her fish also!
Yesterday, we went to Izmir by bus and subway and walked around Konak to Alsancak. In Aug 2011, we were moored stern to to Pasaport Pier (located between Konak and Alsancak) with other boats. Now, 4 years later, the authorities have removed most of the mooring bits and locked up tight the electrical / water distribution boxes, so there are no pleasure craft there now. There were some sailboats moored at Konak Pier (a shopping mall built on a disused pier), but even they are gone. The authorities also removed all of the cafe and bars’ tables and chairs that use to abut the seawall so now there are few areas to sit and enjoy the view, and no place along the seawall to get a tea, coffee or a bite to eat. The area appears to have been “sanitized.” (It was more fun to walk there back then than now!)
There were rumors that the authorities were going to create a marina at this spot, but there is no indication. The Port of Izmir is also moving somewhere up the coast, but even that seems to be going slowly, as there were 12 ships at anchor waiting for the religious holiday to end so they could come in and either offload or load their cargo. The Turkish Navy did announce some years ago that it was returning the base it has opposite the Port back to the city but we saw ships still there yesterday. Someone told me that the city wants to put a marina where the Port is, which may make better sense as there is a lot of infrastructure that can be reused, but we saw no evidence that was happening. When we left Güzelbaçhe, there was hardly any wind but along Pasaport Pier, the wind was 20+ knots and the water was choppy and splashing onto the sidewalks. (It seems like lots of projects get proposed, some started, and even fewer finished. Funding is always an issue as much of what is needed to complete these projects is not produced in country with locally sourced materials.)
We ended up walking to Alsancak and having dinner on its main street, before taking two busses back to LeeZe. We were out and about nearly 7 hours and we were beat.
2015-09-29: Underway this morning at about 0900 for Levent Marina where we will winter over. The seas were calm and there was no wind. Numerous SAR (Search and Rescue) announcements were on the NavTex as even the refugees found this to be a good day to cross, and they were doing it in a big way, given the number of SAR messages. Channel 16 was also full of SAR traffic, and as I was entering the narrow choke point of Izmir Bay, a Turkish Navy frigate was just leaving it at flank speed.
We approach the marina, having already made arrangements by phone for them to take our tender first, tie it off, then get us in, and then bring back the tender. One of the tubes is leaking air, and the marina staff will have their tender repair person look at ours this week, hopefully.
Levent is a very SMALL marina, maybe room for 40-50 boats in the water? Our spot is on the north side of the marina, very close to the bathrooms but not the showers. We are moored next to a Diesel Duck 42 named Jackson, home port New Castle, De. Zehra has met them. The builder that built LeeZe also built Jackson.
The wind is dead calm and with a little push on the stern from the helper’s boat, we slide into our spot.
I take the bow lines from the marina staff and these will keep LeeZe from slamming into the dock. It is early still so decide to get the heavy lifting done while adjusting the stern lines. I retrieve the winter springs and chains and within an hour, that work is done. The marina uses a LARGE 63 amp 3 phase shore power connector which must be the only one I do not have. A quick call to their electrician and I am in business. They are still working on water and we should have that tomorrow.
2015-10-08: It looks like we are staying. There was a chance that we would not, as a club nearby played music with a very heavy bass element last weekend until 3 AM. Zehra could not sleep. If this goes on every weekend, Zehra did not want to stay. We have come to learn it does not. The bars and clubs around here play music until midnight on weekends, which is OK. The late music is for special occasions, like weddings.
We did get water. We have electricity. The yard’s small inflatable tender repair man came by last night at about 2000 and found numerous small leaks, most of them on the stern tubes’ joints, which he said was caused by leaving the boat uncovered during the hot and bright Turkish summers. Our current cover has too many holes in it to fix, so we were planning on getting a new one made. Now it looks like we need a lightweight summer one also. Ugh!
So, this concludes the 2015 Where is LeeZe’s blog. We traveled over 400 nm on this trip, with an average speed over ground of 5.6 knots, consuming somewhere just under 400 liters of fuel. The generator consumed less that 15 so all and all, we did OK.
We plan to go to Ankara to do a mini-family reunion and retrieve our car sometime during the middle of the month. Zehra will stay and vote and then, if Mom is willing and the weather remains nice, Mom and Zehra will fly back. I will stay a week, get some chores done and return with the car. That’s the plan today, and it could all change in a blink of an eye.
Thanks for reading!
Lee and Zehra
Some additional notes. We have been wise with the use of water so we did not need a water delivery while in Güzelbaçhe. The Fall sun is not as strong as a June-July sun (duh☺) so we ended up running the genset some 13+ hours over the last 9 days. We have also had 3 days of really cloudy weather so that did not help.
Some of my long time readers may remember that the genset was not a reliable machine. It would overheat all the time. I left the yard with it overheating as the manager blamed me for it overheating.
So, it took to our second winter to figure out that the hard plastic pipe the yard used to run the cooling water to the keel cooler was blocked with the excessively applied pipe goop that is used to seal the pipes’ joints. That was one fix. The next fix was to remove a restrictor the yard put in a water recirculating hose. The thought was if “we” could slow down the rate the genset came up to operating temp (80C) then there would be more time to get a charge into the battery. I removed it because I needed to put the machine back in its original condition if I was to continue to trouble shoot the problem.
The genset came with a 3 piece sound shield and I had taken off the end so I could check the oil level before starting. With that off, other problems started to show up. Start the engine and its rpm would vary all over the map. With the cover off, I could see small bubbles in the clear fuel filter so I had to tighten and then wrap with plastic wrap, the incoming fuel line all the way from the tank under the master cabin to the corner of the engine room where the genset was. Got that problem solved but then the load that the genset could carry was ridiculously low before the engine would die. I assumed that the little 1 cylinder diesel just did not have enough strength to suck the fuel needed from the tank, so I bought a 41 liter diesel fuel tank and had the genset suck from it. (I had toyed with the idea of using my fuel recirculation pump to push fuel to the genset, but then if that failed, I could not run the genset. So, I bought the tank. I can also use it in an emergency as a day tank for the main engine if all hell broke loose☺.)
So, as a result of the above, I could now get the genset to operate at 50-55% of full load for over an hour before it would shutdown on over temperature.
Then, I made a mistake during the second cruising season and allowed the genset to run dry. I thought I had enough fuel in the tank. I did not. To bleed the engine, I had to take the middle sound shield off. There was also the pipe cap for checking the water, which I check at the beginning of every season. When I checked it two seasons ago, it was low so I added. And added. And added. I ended up adding nearly 7 liters of water-antifreeze to the tank, which is connected to the keel cooler. So, then, I started the engine, ran it for 15 minutes, and checked level, adding whatever was needed until no more could go in.
Now, the engine lasted 1.5 hours. This got me thru last season and over the winter, I made no additional headway into resolving this issue. (It turns out I did NOT try hard enough!)
The next thing I did was to keep off the middle sound shield after checking the water, bleeding the engine, and put a fan on the motor end of the genset. I did that while here in Güzelbaçhe. (This is not the first time this boating season I have needed the genset, but this is the first time where I will need it for days!) That appeared to do the trick. I ran the engine now consistently for 6-9 hours (3 hours at a time) and with the fan on, the engine did not overheat. (I only do 3 hour run times as I usually stop the genset when no matter how much I load the engine manually, the battery charger is calling for less amps to charge. No use wasting fuel!)
Since the manufacture of this 4 kW genset has been bought out by someone bigger, it took me some time to track down the man I bought it from.
Here is what he told me. They built only ONE keel cooled genset, mine. When I paid them to provide the calculation for the keel cooler, he provided two answers to the yard: One for the genset enclosed in the sound shield, and one not. The size of the required keel cooler for the one in the sound shield was about 6 times BIGGER than the one without with a much larger water recirculation pump than the one that came with the unit. The yard, seeing that, probably decided that it was impractical to make the big keel cooler and so, installed the small one. I guess someone forgot to tell me that I needed to run the genset “naked.”
That would explain a lot.
Right now I am limited to loading the genset to 100 amps, the maximum charge one of my two battery chargers can put out. I did not want to jinx anything so this winter, will try using both battery chargers. Per the manufacturer notes in the manual, while the machine can handle two battery chargers, to avoid load shifting from one to the other, one should be set 15-20% lower than the other. (The genset is only connected to the battery chargers. I did try to find a DC genset when building LeeZe but the smallest I could find was a 12Kw unit. I thought that was way too big. I tried to get a 6 Kw custom built but that turned out way too hard. So, I ended up buying this small 4 Kw AC genset. )
If this all works out, I intend to see if the genset will run at 75% load, with is about 3 Kw (with a fan, and then maybe without the fan). That would mean that if I can load one battery charger to ~ 80 DC amps, and the other to 40, then I can get a quicker charge.
Right now, this is on the back burner as a winter project.
I know I am cheating but I use a fan on both alternators all the time when running the main engine, and during the winter, I use a fan on the battery chargers. I know heat (and the salty air) is the enemy here so if by keeping these components maybe just a little bit cooler, I can get them to laster longer. In a perfect world, I would not need a fan, but this world is far from perfect!
That concludes this entry.
If you have any questions, please ask.
Lee and Zehra
You can find older blog posts here: http://whereisleeze.blogspot.com
We have decided to sell our beloved George Buehler Trawler, LeeZe. The blog posts on this site are some of our adventures during our time cruising and meant to shed some light on the cruising life. Enjoy our posts and please contact us for more information on the places we have been or information on our George Buehler Trawler in Mytillini. The complete collection of our travel blogs can be found here: http://whereisleeze.blogspot.com
2015-09-02 thru 07. We arrived in Mytillini and are safely med moored. We have been here before (2014) but the charm and grace of this city has been tarnished by the refugee crisis.
This is a shot of the castle that ones sees when arriving from the North.
I feel sorry for the locals. They are doing the best they can in “hosting” these new arrivals and there appears to be an agreement as to where and when these “guests” can be, and where/when they are not welcomed.
The area around the port is swarming with the refugees
(the news reports there are 15000+ on the island) waiting their turn to depart for the mainland. They use the public beach by the port for swimming and showers (men do, not the women, except for a very select few) and clothes washing, and those that are on the other side of the port use public fountains and water supplies to do much of the same. There is an oldish cruise ship that the Greeks have chartered that can take 2000 off the island at a time. The fee is 50 € p.p. and they get to sleep only in the common areas. Per the news reports, the staterooms are not available to them. It seems this ship shows up about every other day. It appears that the regularly scheduled ferry ships to the port of Athens are not taking any refugees.
Most of the parks and open areas have been taken over by them, erecting the tents they have just bought wherever there is room to put one up. Nearly all have been quite polite and well behaved, and even their protest this morning (2015-09-07) asking for more departures to the mainland was noisy, but orderly, and contained. The police were watching, but they let them say their piece, and move on. It lasted all of 24 minutes.
They have been thru a lot. By most accounts, they left their homes in a hurry, had to travel thru a war torn land, get across a border that was guarded by military people, then make their way west for over 1000 kms, then brave a small boat ride to Greece. They are so focused in getting to an EU country that they are willing to risk death to get here. And far too many do pay that price.
Once here, they know that others will eventually take care of them. They still have an arduous journey ahead of them (most want to go to Germany) but their need for smugglers and the like is over.
They are frustrated in the pace of getting off this island, but with a Greek government so broke it can barely take care of its own citizens, the strain must be huge.
At the beach yesterday, talking with some Greek locals, they have accepted that this is happening, they are not angry at the refugees (they are angry at other nations though) and they know that in time, this too will be resolved. In the meantime, the beach we are at is for the Greeks, and the public beach on either side of this beach is for them.
We have seen no people begging, no fights breaking out, no altercations, etc etc. The refugees are not happy with how long it is taking to get off of this island, but they know that the worst of their journey is behind them.
The two boats that were here when we arrived have now departed, so just like last year, we are all alone at the city wall. There was a 100+ footer med moored when I got up in the middle of the night to do my checks, but it too was gone by the time I woke up. The hotels along the waterfront that were full last year are not now, and the number of tourists coming is not as many as it was in years past.
2015-09-08: Some info that is absolutely nearly impossible to get from the authorities
The services along the city wall are managed from an office in the port area, past the Arrival Hall, around the corner and go to the very end. I regret I am unable to provide a English name for this office but you are looking for Charis (+30 22510 25349) The person who cares for the shore power pods is Protogriros Efstratios, (+30 69782 81184). The pods are in a decrepit state of repair but if you plan to spend some time here, he and his electrician friend will open up a 32 amp shore power connection and a water connection.
If water is NOT available, give Mr. Harris a call at +30 22510 28620, wait for some Greek announcement to finish, press “0” (zero) and he can arrange for a water truck. He told me he could bring two tons (minimum) for 15 euros. I did not use him.
In all cases, if the Tourist Office is open at the port, the two ladies inside will help you wade thru all of this (The office is open M-F between 0900 and 1430 or so.)
Last year when we came, I thought I might use an agent to help us out. But I found them to be $$$ (actually €€€!) This year is no different. One can check in completely by themselves but be aware that the Coast Guard will ask you to tie up at the Customs Dock which is a PITA because it was built to handle ships, therefore the wall is high, and black nasty tires are used as fenders. Somehow, agents get around this and by using one, you are allowed to go directly to the city wall.
Dining: The food at the end of the port toward the south is really good, and in some cases, inexpensive. There are two grocery stores within 1-2 blocks of those restaurants, and at the southern end of the commercial pier, there is a large grocery store. There is also a Greek fast food type restaurant near to the NE corner of the port, but with the refugees set up in the small park next to this place, it is not as inviting as it was last year. The old port (a walk along some narrow streets to the north) has some great fish restaurants that we will again go to after our guest arrives.
An OUTSTANDING butcher is located on the first street (Archipelagous) that runs parallel to the city wall, behind the row of cafes that are located at the #27 spot painted on the city wall. A well equipped hardware store is nearby to the butcher. Note the hours are M-Sat 0800-~1400, then Tues, Thurs, and Fri 1830-~2100. Nearly nothing is open on Sundays except cafes, restaurants and ice cream stores.
We are awaiting a guest to arrive either tonight or tomorrow.
And in a moment of either sheer levity or absolute absurdness, a Syrian refugee came up to me this morning offering to me his Yamaha water skiing lift vest that he used, saying quite proudly and in excellent English, “I think you will have more use for this then I will, given to where I am going to go. I used it only once!” I took it, offered his some money, but all he asked for was two bottles of water.
Last night, about 16 coach type buses arrived, and refugees got off. Each was full. These refugees are the ones that safely made it across the water to land, then find their way to a place where these charter buses pick them up and ferry them into the city. As it was after 2100 when these buses started to arrive, the registration center in the port was closed and so was the police station, where I am told they go to get a cash stipend. Many are quite confuse, disorientated, and bewildered by what is happening to them, but then some people talk with them, explain what will happen, and slowly but surely many are taken under the wing of a “veteran” and go find a place to bed down for the night. The refugees are taking care of the newcomers. Most do take a moment to put on a smile and take a selfie.
2015-09-09: Our guest, Vern, arrived but due to emergent issues, he cannot stay as long as we all would like him too. But it is great to see him. He took a morning ferry and I met him at the Customs House. We walked to LeeZe, had breakfast, and then I took him to “my” butcher to get whatever he wanted for dinner.
What looked the best was some beef rib steaks so I had the butcher cut three of them, wrap it all up and pay. (For reference, we paid 32 € for 3.2 kgs of steak.)
We caught up, exchanged stores and recent events, and eventually the day ended with a steak BBQ drinks, and great fun.
Meanwhile, we are seeing less and less refugees. It appears that the commercial ferries are now willing to take them (for a fee of course!) to the Port of Athens. So between the ferries and the charter ships, it seems like more and more are leaving the island than arriving on to it. Where once we had people pitching tents on the sidewalk in front of LeeZe, last night, we had none. (The Greeks, who in the past would walk the city wall after sunset, have not been doing that these past few days. But tonight, more of them were out, slowly retaking their city.) Where before people were constantly searching for water, few if any were today. Tonight, there was no mass arrival of charter buses loaded with refugees that we saw, but at 2300, a long line of them walking slowly toward the port indicated that a island bus full of them had probably just arrived at the bus station some minutes before.
2015-09-10: This morning, an unbelievable event happened. The police came around to all of the parks and open areas that had tents on them, said something, and then we saw the refugees taking them down, bundling them up, and walking toward the port. Cleaning people came buy to pick up the trash the refugees left behind, and slowly, the locals are taking back their parks, fountains, and open areas.
A friend dropped by morning. Sami is a Greek who lives in South Africa when not boating in the Med. We met him when we wintered over in Cesme, then again in Kusadasi and now here, today. He tells us that he understands that hundreds of thousands more refugees are coming (not all to this island he hoped) and starting next month, when the nights get cool to cold, and the winter rains start, he has no idea how the island is going to cope. (Neither do we.) It was nice to see him and catch up.
Our guest took some time this AM to go update his open ferry ticket, and came back bluer than blue. Turns out there are no ferries departing tomorrow BEFORE 1800 so therefore, to meet his previous commitments, he will have to leave tonight at 2000. I feel so sorry that he cannot stay longer. We try like heck to get him to modify his commitments, but what we most like about him is that he is true to his word, and remains so. So, with some sadness, we will see him depart early.
And, it looks like we are leaving Mytillini early also. Sunday the weather is not as nice as Saturday so if that holds, we are departing here Saturday AM for parts south and east.
2015-09-11: In the last 48 hours, there has been a major change to the crisis.
Nearly ALL of the refugees that were here are now gone.
The tent cities in the parks and open areas are gone. People searching for water and a place to charge their cell phones are gone. The police came yesterday and forced those still residing in the parks and open areas to take their tents down and move to the port.
The number of people waiting at the port is low, really low as of last night, when I dropped our guest off.
The locals have reclaimed their city, were walking about last night, and were smiling.
From talking with them, and a policeman, it seems the government has changed their process.
Refugees are still coming. But when they get here, they are recorded and for 50 €, they are provided a trip to the Port of Athens, where they are registered. Neither knew what was done with the refugees that did not have the money to by a ticket.
This morning, when I got up, the city was clean, and tent free. The mounds of trash are gone. Last night, the refugees that came in from the north had their “care” package in hand, their stipend, and instructions to report to the port for processing and passage to Athens (per the policeman) today.
So, unless their is a huge influx of refugees, the problem on this island is now very much under control.
But, checkin here is still a major PITA. Last night, the Customs dock was full with two cruise ships (taking away that last of the refugees), 3 ferries from Turkey, and a Greek island hopping ferry (which is now selling tickets to refugees to take them to Athens). Therefore, two incoming boats were tied along the wall waiting to be called back to Customs to check in. One was called at 2115, the other 2245. The Customs people refuse to allow those that do their own checkin to come to the city wall and walk over to them.
Checkout: The process to check in and out of Greece in Mytillini is cumbersome, not user friendly, and a royal PITA. If you are checking in, you FIRST have to moor your boat at the Customs dock, against icky, black tire fenders that are of the same height as the walls in Kavala. If the wall is full with ferries and cruise liners, then one must go to the inner harbor and wait until the officials call you to tell you to come back. Ugh! For checking out, if you want to depart before Customs opens at 0730, then the night before, you and your boat MUST move to the Customs Dock, process your passports, and transit log, and then stay on your boat behind a locked fence until you depart.
If the Customs Dock is full, Customs tells you they have no room for you and then they say that you cannot depart until after they open in the morning. If you complain, they tell you too bad. So, what I have seen people do is leave without checking out. I have no idea what, if any trouble they get into but it happens often enough that the consequences must NOT be too high. Personally, if I was to do that, When I got to a place where there was a Greek Embassy or Consulate, I would turn in my papers there, explain why I left, provide a written report of the facts, and make a note of my visit in my passport and deck logs. I am really struggling how a port official can order one not to depart, especially if there is a narrow weather window to safely conduct the next leg. (If one of the readers knows the answer to this, please advise!) (Can “force majeure” be invoked in this scenario?)
So, though I tried, checking out Friday for a Saturday departure is just not possible.
Church: There is a catholic church in town that was chained locked since we arrived. But yesterday, a note on its door that there would be mass tonight at 1800. Since it had been a long time, I went. Of course this is Greece and the the priest was late to arrive from another island, but mass kicked off at 1830. It was all in greek, but there was an Irish couple there also so there were three foreigners among 20 worshipers. It lasted 45 minutes. Later, I learned that there is mass about every 2 weeks or so, usually Fridays or Saturdays, all dependent on the ferries.
After Church, went shopping for some last minute supplies, then dinner at our most favorite restaurant, and then back to LeeZe. Tomorrow, there is a a lot of work to do.
2015-09-12: I was up at 0630 and completed filling the fresh water tank. It has been filling for two days. The flow from the facet located 80 meters away was so low that it measured out at about 1 liter every 5 minutes. But remembering the “5P” lessons learned, I started filling on Thursday and just let it do its thing.
So, stop the fill and coil up 80 meters of hose. Then, with papers in hand, go to passport control. While waiting, the refugees at the port during the night had taken up some sidewalk space so the official opening up shooed them away. I said to him some Turkish words they would understand. He tried those and they moved right quick. Hw wrote them down and thanked me.
Passport control opens, stamps our passports to depart, stamps our crew list (after looking at it and asking where were the two guests listed (they had departed in Thassos!). Eventually they stamp that too and them I am off to Port Authority, where I wait, the lady does something, then sends me to another Port Authority some 7 blocks away for more stamps (ugh). I go there but they cannot find my entry paperwork so they search, then tell me I cannot depart until they find it. Great But eventually they do, have questions about the guests that had departed in Thassos (again!) and then stamp my paperwork.
Then they tell me to move LeeZe to Customs. I say no, too dangerous and to hard for the two of us. They insist. They call Customs and he insists. I am about ready to say yes, but them go back to LeeZe to leave, when I ask them where this person is. He is back at the port (7 blocks away) so I walk to him and lo and behold, it is the same person that I taught him those Turkish words. He is grateful, says “OK for this time but…” and the process is over.
It is now nearly 0900. I returned to LeeZe, take in my two bow lines, startup, bring in shore power, cast off the stern lines and slowly take up some 80 meters of anchor chain. The anchor itself has so much mud on it that the windlass is really slow to raise it. I get most off while Zehra motors us out of the harbor. As we pass the ferry loading dock, there are two ships in, and more than 1000+ refugees waiting to board one of them. So, the government has found a solution. Bring the refugees to the port, process their names, let them pay for a ticket, and then sleep in the port until the ship(s) arrive.
The weather is good for the first half hour but turns windy and nasty. Winds are 35-30 knots behind us and the waves are off my port quarter. The ride at time is rolly but not too bad. We are talking water over the aft deck, but this time, we remember to lock the aft door so it cannot break.
We are off to Çandarli, Tu, some 22 nm away.
When we get within the ½ nm of Turkey, the land blocks most of the waves and wind and the ride improves greatly. We anchor on the city side of the city, in 10 meters of water, putting out more than 60 meters of chain, with the snubber some 5-7 meters below the waters’ surface. The wind is till low so we lower the tender from the boat deck and tie it securing to our stern’s mooring bits.
We were here last year. so on the picture above, your can see last year’s and this year’s position
That concludes this entry.
If you have any questions, please ask.
Lee and Zehra
You can find older blog posts here: http://whereisleeze.blogspot.com