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 Izmir and other places in and around Turkey and Greece. The complete collection of our travel blogs can be found here: http://whereisleeze.blogspot.com
It has taken a while to get this going as I have been quite busy.
Over the winter, we stayed very near to downtown Izmir, @ Levent Marina. It is a small marina, and next to us for most of the winter, was MY Jackson, also a George Buehler designed hull. But where LeeZe’s salon is up, on Jackson it is down. It is owned by an American couple and was built by the same yard as LeeZe.
We actually got our pictured snapped and posted in Google Earth:
The two black rows that you see are our solar panels. Just behind the panels is a dark object, which is our tender’s dark blue cover. The small object off of out stern is our passerelle. Jackson is the next boat to the North of us. (Soooooo, Big BROTHER is watching!)
So, got all the chores done that needed to be done before taking a 5 week trip stateside to take care of urgent personal matters, and to spend some time relaxing off-boat. Our departure point from the USA was Miami and we found Miami to be like we had entered another country. We were @ Ikea doing some last minute shopping and when I went to get a coffee from the machine, all of the instructions were in Cuban / Spanish. When walking on the street, nearly every shop owner trying to entice us into his or her store started off with Spanish. To sum it up, we did not enjoy Miami as much as we thought we would and it is not high on our list to return there again.
But upon our return, it was time to haul LeeZe from the water, paint her bottom, do some repairs, do some preventative maintenance , and put her back in. The last time this was done, LeeZe was lifted by a crane and driven to the “parking spot.” This time, LeeZe was driven onto a steel and wooded cradle, then dragged over logs by a wire rope winch up some 100 meters to our spot. (Not much different than the way it would have been done in Noah’s time ☺!) It was a weird feeling because even though the winch was pulling continuously, LeeZe moved in small steps. The winch would pull the wire, the wire would stretch and tighten on the drum, LeeZe would then lurch a little more forward, and repeat.
The yard prepped and sprayed on the bottom coats of epoxy and paint, while I dropped and painted the anchor and chain. Another company at the yard came on board and replaced the 1½ inch sea water isolation valve that had been malfunctioning for nearly two years with a bronze one. As a good measure, I had all 6 replaced in the cofferdam with bronze versions. Of note, it took nearly three months to locate a company in Turkey that made bronze valves and fittings. I was concerned by the potential for leak(s) because there is really no way to test until LeeZe is in the water. But, turns out they did not leak, and for cathodic protection, had the yard install a round zinc on the sea water side of the cofferdam before bolting its strainer plate into place.
With the work done some 12-13 days later, it was a time for launch. It pretty much goes the same as being pulled out UNTIL the cradle is in the water and LeeZe’s hull is wet. Then, with the next turn of the winch, one hears a lot of yelling, feels a very funny feeling in the belly, as LeeZe QUICKLY slides off the cradle back into the sea. Need to get the engine started and in gear to stop my backwards motion into what I thought was a rapidly approaching concrete dock. In fact, it was perception only as I had time and distance, but it sure did not feel that way.
We take LeeZe to the pump-out dock, get rid of our black and gray water that we accumulated over the winter, and then some 2.5 hours after launch, we are back in our spot, tied up nicely.
So, it is now June, and we want to depart. But there is work to be done on board, and this takes longer than we liked. In previous years, as an example, launching the tender and getting its two stroke engine going has ALWAYS approved to be entertaining. This year turned out to be no exception. I had properly winterized it, made sure the plugs were gapped, installed, and wires connected (forgot that once), primed the fuel system after installing the filter (had forgotten the filter once!), and then inserting the emergency stop key (forgot that TWICE!), pulled to start it up. After a few pulls, it starts but …………, no cooling water coming out.
Great, another delay. I can just see me pulling the engine off the tender, throwing it into the back of the car, taking it for service, waiting weeks etc, etc, etc.
Took off the cowling and found where the cooling water hose mates up the the overboard nozzle. Followed the hose back to where it connects to the engine and gingerly, pull the hose off both connectors.
There is sea water in the hose because some came out as I did this, and so I tried blowing thru the hose. Nope, clogged. Zehra got m a wooden stick we use to cook kebabs on a grill and I used it to clear what looked like to me some type of waxy substance from the hose.
Reinstall, and viola, on the next engine start, cooling water flow!
All is well now in tender land, so we lift it back up to its cradle, and something is now horribly misaligned. The tender is way too forward of its cradle.
Now, one of those chores over the winter was to take the tender’s winch off, get new wire loaded onto the drum, do some work, reinstall. At the same time I replaced out a rusted steel pulley that was on the boom directly above where the tender sits in its cradle. Turns out the new pulley had slipped forward some 60-70 cm and that was the problem.
Sooooooo, after man-handling the tender onto its cradle, spent the whole next day trying to get this new pulley to stay on the boom under load without moving.
To make a long story short I think I got it to stay, but if I ever have to move that pulley again, I think I will hire a BIG BURLY guy to do it for me.
Lastly, I determine that the large frame alternator that charges our house battery bank is broken. So, on a Sunday I spent the day taking it off, so that the next day, we can take it to the repair shop. It comes off fairly easily, and with pictures taken along the way, I feel somewhat confident I can put it back on.
But, I am a little depressed. Another delay, and God only knows how long the repair shop is going to need.
So, early (by our standards!) we depart for the shop and get there about 1000. I explain the problem and he says he needs to bench test it. Having belts in hand, he sends me down the block to a auto supply place to pick up new ones. The new ones have teeth, while the old ones were just smooth rubber. Back at the alternator shop, he tells me it is fixed! Huh??? 30 minutes? Yup, needed a new regulator. Pay him and we are both relieved that the repair took nearly no time.
So, have the rest of the day to install the repaired unit. With the new belts, reversing the procedure that I used to take it off does not work. Ugh! Frustrated, I check the pictures to see what I am missing and I am missing nothing!
So, before calling for help, I take the mount of the alternator off also, and assemble the alternator on the mount. Then, loosely bolting the mount to the engine, I install the belts. Then it becomes a magical act to get the 5 bolts tight, with the belts also tight. Not knowing ANYTHING about tooth belts, I read up on them on the Gates web site and the site warns installers not to install them too tight! Well, that is good because I can barely get them “loosely” tight. But I do, connect it all up electrically, say a prayer, and start the engine. Physically everything is rotating as it should be and the alternators output is 110 amp DC, pretty close to rated output of 120. So, I decide NOT to tighten the belts any more, and run them for about 4 hours, thinking they will stretch and then need to be tighten. Nope, nada, not necessary.
So now, I check the output on engine startup and plan to tighten the belts when I note alternator output is lower than expected.
So, it is about June 16-17 and my birthday is on the 19th. I tell Zehra we are ready to leave, and will, after my birthday. So, with our next door neighbors, we do go out and celebrate.
With the weather not cooperating, we wait, get more supplies, wait some more, shop some more, etc etc until it looks like MAYBE Friday, 24 June will be good. It turns out that it is Saturday, 25 June, that the weather is good, and what can only be chance, a great friend from Ankara is in town with Australian guests that we know, so we end up having dinner together that night.
Saturday we do depart, late, after 1200, waiting for the winds and waves to die down, and some 5-6 hours later, we are safely anchored in what turns out to be a somewhat open area off Karaburun. It is only for one night so we make do with the rolly conditions, and leave early the next morning for Chios.
We arrive on a Sunday at about 1230, usually NOT a day to check into a new country. But Monday’s weather looked not-so-hot, so instead of anchoring in some cove and coming in the next morning, we bite the bullet and come in. We check in with the port people by radio, who tell me I have to tie up at the Customs dock. We knew that, but in this case, I could see no room for us there. We try to explain that to them on the radio, and they just do not get it. They keep saying go there. We FINALLY get the point across that there is no room, and they say, “wait, I will go and look.” The lady comes back and says “you are right” and directs us to med moor opposite a hamburger restaurant on the “South” wall. There is no “South” wall. There is a SE one, and a SW one but we find the restaurant and tie up. By now, the wind is blowing 18-20 knots and it takes me about 2+ hours to get LeeZe tied up well enough so we both can leave her and go check in.
We check in, no problems, but it takes time as there are lots of people departing Chios for Turkey, and Customs and Passport Control have their hands full. (This will come back to haunt us as when we go to check out, a paper I am suppose to have was taken from me by the Customs person and he kept it. He was no where to be found so a duplicate was made and we project problems further down the road.)
Finally, about 1730, we are in officially, and so is LeeZe, so we go off to rest a little, and then go out. We are given the name of the person who can help us get shore power and water, but given we have a full water tank and battery, it is not high on the list.
Monday, we catch up with this official, who tells us we have to move! Huh???? Port people told us to moor here!. Turns out they do that because the restaurant sign is big and easy to spot. In fact, this spot we are in belongs to a Greek Coast Guard patrol craft and when they come, they want their spot.
So, we all go and look where to move too, and agree to do the move, the next day, in the morning, when the winds are low.
We do move. We get our water and power, and over the next few days, the wind builds and builds, never quite dropping to any speed near close to what we had on Sunday and Tuesday. Stern lines that were fine in light winds are now doubled, chafe protection put on, changed and beefed up again. Bow lines to the wall are put on, with the starboard one tripled because it is taking the brunt of the wind that is twisting LeeZe to port. More chafe protection as the city wall’s rocks are quite capable of eating into these lines quickly.
The wind blows and blows, at times reaching 35+ knots, with white caps in the harbor, garbage collecting on the swim platform (seems the people in charge never clean the harbor of floating trash) and the noise from the waves crashing into the wall is deafening.
One afternoon, for example, after experiencing motion akin to one might experience if placed into a front loading washing machine, we had to get off and go ashore. The waves are so tall that we had to close all the portals in the master cabin as sea water was coming in. It has been like this nearly constant, for the time we have been here.
I am looking forward to moving on, and as of this entry, that appears to be next Wednesday. We MAY have guests arriving this weekend and if so, we THINK they may be departing Wednesday. In any case, if the weather forecast holds, we are out of here on Wednesday!
(And, if any one is curious, so far that Greek Coast Guard patrol boat has yet the show, and there are now 4 boats med moored in its spot, as the wall is somewhat full. It is so full that a 105’ expedition yacht came yesterday when the winds were topping 30+, looked around, asked, and was told there was no room for her. She left, heading North, in a high wind and 2+ meter high crashing sea. Nothing she could not handle, but her crew must have been disappointed that they could not find shelter even for one night.)
2016-07-04: Today is USA’s Independence Day so I am flying the flag. It is a 3’x5’ flag (BIG) and nearly all US flagged boats around here are owned by locals and registered in Delaware, so their US flag is practically no bigger than what one would buy to hand wave at a parade. Even the million $ yachts fly this tiny flags, which really gets me mumbling under my breath “Hey guys, can’t afford a larger flag???”
Zehra goes for a walk and come back with a BIG surprise, Safak Izgi, from Bodrum. She found him at the bus station. He was in Chios to catch the night ferry to Athens, so we have our first guest, if only for a day. This was a very nice and very pleasant surprise!
2016-07-10: We have two overnights guests on board, from Zehra’s side of the house, so they are our first “real” guests for this cruise.
The pictures above are from a dinner out. In nearly all street side restaurants, the “table cloth” is something akin to butcher paper. You eat your meal and they do NOT take away your dirty dishes until you pay and leave. This is because they dump all the garbage from the meal onto the paper, and throw that away. Efficient, but it means that if you want to sit around and talk, you are left with the dishes on the table. Hard to get use to. In Turkey, the waiter is practically taking your dirty dish away while one is lifting the last bit of the meal to your mouth. Also hard to get use to. But at least a dirty look gets him/her to stop. (Ahhhhhh, the pleasures of experiencing different cultures!)
The weather is starting to calm down a little, but the GRIB forecast shows some serious gusts of wind tonight and tomorrow morning. Chios harbor is full of trash down where we are and I got sooooooo tired of looking at it that I take my boat hook and started flinging out what I could catch onto the sidewalk nearby. I am hoping that a street cleaner will complete the job and cart the trash away. Its appears that there is no water craft assigned to fish the trash out from the water.
Over the last two days, people were assembling boxes and display on stands on the sidewalk. It turns out these are for book sellers, who, starting last night, put out an array of books for those to peruse and if so inclined, to buy. We noticed many more girls than guys looking at the books as they walked by, and in some cases, we laughed as groups of guys would seem to accelerate their walk as they past the displays. Those boys who did show interest had a girl at their side and when she was showed interest, so did he. What guys will do for the attention of gals! ☺ And, we are told this book street fair will run thru the end of August. One stand had a few books in English. What seem to sell the most were children books bought by the parents for the little one(s) in tow.
2016-07-14: We checked out late last night so about 0730, we are weighing the anchor, taking time to clean the harbor mud off of it. However, the mud is quite reluctant to release our anchor and my tattletale line that usually floats above it is gone, probably chopped off my a passing boat. So, after some back and forth, the anchor is free, full of mud, but free. We depart, and turn South toward Samos. The wind and sea is relatively calm, so we decide to go direct. What this means is that we will cross into Turkish waters, and then back into Greek waters. So, The Greek flag comes down, and with just the American Flag flying off the stern, we motor on. On the radio, a Greek patrol craft is trying to tell a Turkish patrol craft that it is in Greek waters, and of course, the Turks disagree. This goes on for more than an hour and finally the Greek stops talking. I can tell you that around the Chios/Cesme area, the international border is in dispute because neither country has agreed as to where it is. So, most of us ASSUME it is half way between the two, but as there is no treaty, there is plenty of room for disagreement. We pass a Turkish Coast Guard frigate who shows no interest in us at all. Off in the distance, EU and Greek patrol boats are also patrolling, all part of the agreement to control the illegal entry of refugees into the EU.
Lat year, in Mytillini, there were THOUSANDS of them. This year, in Chios, maybe a hundred? The agreement inlace seems to be working.
For those that care, here are the particulars for Chios:
For assistance, call Koumis Stelios (Ch 69 or +30 694 686 1747)
Need 220 VAC 63 amp or 380 VAC 3 phase plug for metered shore power the SE side of the harbor. Come with these adaptors or be prepared to either go without electricity or pay a huge premium to get them made on the spot.
The SW side is a pre-pay as you go system. Mr Stelios can sell you the tokens. These outlets are 220 VAC, standard 16 and 32 amp outlets.
Do not moor in front of Goody’s Hamburgers no mater what the Port Authority says. That berth is for a Greek Coast Guard patrol craft and they will make you move if they return and you are in it.
The port makes no effort to remove the trash from the water.
When there is a sustained North wind, the SE and SW side of the port is rolly and uncomfortable, with white caps within the harbor a possibility.
When the Blue Star ferry comes in, it comes in at great speed causing all of the boats to “rock and roll” quite uncomfortably. Efforts to get that ferry to slow down have been in vain per Mr. Stelios and the Port Authority.
Nearly all other ferries come in a dead slow, or near to dead slow speed.
“Municipal Marina” daily fee this year for a boat up to 15 meters is 170 € /yr times length + Vat all divided by 365 days
“Municipal Marina” daily fee this year for a boat up to 16 meters is 200 € /yr times length + Vat all divided by 365 days
Cats pay more.
Electricity is 0.30 cents per Kw and 3 € per ton, VAT included.
I will blog about Samos in the next edition, but as many of you know, there was an attempted coup in Turkey in the early morning hours of 16 July. It failed. There are some reports that suggest that maybe even the government “staged” it for their own political agenda but that could just be conjecture. The Turks wrote the book on how to stage a military coup and this one was so poorly planned and executed that it had NO chance of succeeding. (My opinion, not worth the paper it is written on.) Zehra’s entire family is safe, and so are her friends. We both thank all of those who wrote in and were concerned about us and her family.
That concludes this entry.
If you have any questions, please ask.
Lee and Zehra
Older blog posts can be found here: http://whereisleeze.blogspot.com