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 Trawler in Samothraki > Mytillini

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 Samothraki.  The complete collection of our travel blogs can be found here:

2015-08-28. We depart today for Mytillini, an island about 120 nm away. Our PLAN was to go 30 nm to Gokceada, then another 30 to Bozcaada, then another 30 to Molivos, and then onto Mytillini.

However, this being boating, plans can change, and in this case, they did. The weather was sooooooo nice on the way to Gokceada, that, after I check my GRIB weather forecast, we decided to push on to Bozcaada. About 1-1.5 nm north of the start of the traffic separation lanes for the Çanakkale Straits, the winds and waves change from nice and friendly to angry and confused.

George Buehler Trawler in Samothraki, Greece

Maybe it was something that I missed (although later, I could not determine what I missed) but the seas rapidly build to over 2 meters at times, winds gusting to 60+ knots, and LeeZe rolling side to side. At some point, although strapped down, the tender on the boat deck comes off its mounts and landed on the starboard side, thereby increasing the effect of a roll to starboard by a very perceptible amount.

The NEAREST safe port was Yenikoy, on the south side of the Straits, about 8-9+ NM away, but speed over ground (SOG) was < 2 knots and we did not want to take this for that long.

A safe and reasonable course took us to the west, far out of our way to Bozcaada.

Turning around to Gokceada was not possible because the seas made the rolls even more frequent.

So, I elected to run SOMEWHAT south and west, taking advantage of the wind and the current. SOG was some 7+ knots.

There are some small islands just south of the southern limit of the traffic separation lane that if I could just get to them, MAYBE they would help block the sea conditions. (The port guide says there is no safe place to anchor or land on these islands.)

So for 3+ hours we slug on, making course changes as needed to the east so that I do not drift too far away from the islands. Oh yes, I did forget to mention that I hand steered for these 3+ miserable hours. The autopilot was working, but the numerous changes required  prevented its use.

Most of the stuff on LeeZe that we had not stowed for sea was now on the decks, and even stuff in the Engine Room moved (a little). It was a mess. The aft door broke off its mounts before we could get it secured, the lazarette bilge pump failed, forgot to latch shut the hatch to the lazarette so the sea water coming over the aft deck was what was filling that bilge, and there was green water coming over the bow during each and every turn, and some of it ending up on the Pilot House windows. Even the solar panels above the pilot house had a layer of salt on them by this time.

Zehra was ABSOLUTELY not happy, and in the end, for the first time since we owned LeeZe, I proclaimed that this day was NOT a fun day!

But I digress. We make it to the vicinity of those islands and the seas calm somewhat.

Once we passed south of these islands, I was able to steer a more direct course to Bozcaada. The current was pushing us along at more than 7 knots and at around 1900, some 11 hours after departing, we arrive.

We are tired, beat, NOT happy, etc. etc. etc. and now we have to deal with the locals who are waiving and yelling at us (and doing that ridiculous dance) to come tie up here, or there. All we want to do in anchor and rest, but we come to the realization that the harbor is just too small and crowded to do that, and a quick check of the charts indicates there is no safe place to anchor around the entrance of the harbor.

So we drop the hook to collect our thoughts, LeeZe drags, we get close to  small fishing boat but we get away from him, move to the other side, drop the hook again, verify it is holding, and recollect our thoughts.

Why is it soooooooooo HARD to get the harbor master to talk on the radio??????????????? Why do they elect to scream from shore, do a funny and ridiculous looking dance to indicate where they want us, etc… Just pick up the radio and call us on Channel 12, JUST LIKE THEIR PORT GUIDE SAYS THEY WILL DO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Zehra needs more time to collect her thoughts than we have but we have to decide where we are going to tie up. So, she soldiers on, and we accept their offer to tie up side to at a concrete pier taller than LeeZe, just ahead of the fast ferry dock.

George Buehler Trawler in Samothraki > Bozcaada

George Buehler Trawler in Samothraki > Bozcaada

We do tie up, and then we collapse.

By the time we leave LeeZe for dinner at 2130, we had picked up all the stuff that had fallen (did not put them back where they belong yet!), did a temp repair to the aft door, and cleaned ourselves up.

We dragged our sorry asses to a restaurant to eat, only realizing later that Bozcaada is one terribly expensive place to eat, buy groceries, and moor.

The next morning, GRIB indicates that it is BEST not to resume our trip south until at least Wednesday, 2 Sept.

So, we are stuck here a few days. I make repairs to the door and jury rig a repair to the broken bilge pump. There is no water and electricity at this pier. Since the step ashore is about 1+ meter high, getting off and on is not an elegantly executed event.

But we make do. We come to learn that our daily port fee is over 110 Tl ($37+) a night, but Zehra, bless her soul, goes to the Port Captain and negotiates a one time payment of 100 TL for as many nights we need to stay until the weather improves.

There is not much more we can say. This port is expensive. Probably the whole island is. Ferries arrive frequently. The pier we were at is safe and secure, but 10 meters ahead of me, rocks are just below the surface. Most boats med moor to the pier immediately to starboard of the harbor’s entrance. There is electricity, water, and mooring lines there so one does not have to use your anchor to med moor.

2015-09-02. Today is Wednesday and per GRIB, this is the day to move south. So we depart, stick our bow into the channel, see that it is nice, and turn south. This time, I have numerous places along the Turkish coast we can duck into, but we do not have to.

George Buehler Trawler in Samothraki > Approaching Babakale

Approaching Babakale, I hear an alarm that I do NOT recognize. A quick check shows the engine is fine, bilges are fine, but the alarm continues. I look UP where my radios are (they are above my head) and I have a DSC alarm. Someone is in trouble and they pressed their distress button on the radio.

OK, now what? Try to call the Turkish Coast Guard (TCG) on the cell phone but they have no English speaking people on duty right now. Zehra talks to them but cannot get them to understand.

Try to raise anyone on Channel 16 and one person answers but cannot help. Finally call “Olympia Radio” (Greek authorities). They respond, and after some confusion that it was not ME that was in distress, they finally tell me that the call in on the Turkish side of the sea border and the TCG is responding.

So, it probably took you all of one minute to read this. In fact, it took me an HOUR to resolve. Meanwhile, we had decided to bypass Molivos as the weather was still good and push on.  (About an hour later we pass a small inflatable full of people. They make no effort to signal us and I do not give it a passing thought. A Turkish patrol craft was nearby but just “hovering.” Later, I figured out they were waiting for a Greek Coast Guard (GCG) boat to come by to rescue them. They were clearly in Greek territorial waters.)

We push on, having a 1+ knot current to our advantage for nearly the entire run.

At about 1900, we arrive in Mytillini. Our plan (once again) was to anchor between the marina on the southern end of the port and the commercial docks. But, Zehra suggests we poke our head into the inner harbor to “check it out.”

As we do, we again have a person, this time a GCG person in uniform, yelling at us and doing that ridiculous dance telling us we have to tie up at Customs. I chose to ignore him but he is insistent. So, I come to a dead stop inside the inner harbor and call the harbor authorities on Ch 12. They respond. I ask about this ridiculous looking GCP person, they ask a few questions, I respond, they tell me to ignore him and I am free to med moor between the inner wall pier locations 26 and 28.

The inner wall is empty except for two boats, moored side too. The weather is dead calm, so Zehra says lets moor.

With her help, I drop the anchor in the right place as required, and moor without incident. Three young men ashore help us tie up, one Syrian, one Iranian, and one Afghani. It dawns on us quite quickly that the charm of Mytillini is being masked by about 10000+ refugees that made their way from Turkey to Greece, awaiting processing by a government so broke it cannot afford a camp for them to stay. The Government appears to be processing their paperwork at a reasonable pace, but more refugees are arriving than departing.

It appears from discussions with the locals that about 2000-4000 refugees arrive each day from Turkey, and the ships the government has chartered to take them to the port of Athens (so they can proceed to the “promise land” (which nearly all tells us is Germany)) takes about 2000 each trip. I cannot say with certainty but it appears that there are between 5-7 of these charters per week.

There are also commercial ferries going to Athens (“Blue Star”) but it appears that the refugees cannot use that ship, even if they have the money.

So, they are stuck here until at their number is called to get on the chartered ship. They camp in nearly every park and sleep on the sidewalks and benches if they cannot find room. They are constantly searching for water and a place to recharge their cell phones. They do get some money from the government so the cheap eatery places have long lines. With their money, some buy tents but the government does not supply. (Remember, the government is BROKE.) There is no EU refugee representative here, nor any aid people.

Each day, I can see the GCG patrol craft returning from patrol offloading people that they have plucked out of the sea. And, for those not plucked from the sea and successfully land anywhere else on the island, they make their way to a public bus stop, get on a bus to “here,” and then walk from the bus station located on one side of the Port, to the other side, where the check-in station is.

I have been asked by some to take them to Chios, a Greek island off the coast of Izmir / Cesme Turkey, where they “hear” that processing times are shorter and there is a way to get off the island to the Greek mainland. I have even been asked to take a family to Piraeus, the port of Athens. Of course I say no but they are willing to pay up to 4 figure fees.

It is truly a disaster of HUMAN proportions.

Pictures to follow.

George Buehler Trawler in Kavala > Thassos

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 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 Kavala.  The complete collection of our travel blogs can be found here:

2015 Where is LeeZe? Thassos > Samothraki

2015-07-29: We depart Kavala for the island of Thassos. We plan to spend a night at Skala (The Port of) Prinos on the west side of the island and then move the next day to the main port on the NE side of the island. We arrive at Prinos and while anchoring, a Greek Coast Guard person on the shore is yelling at me to move. After much hand waving and yelling, I get them on VHF Ch 12 and the person (who would NOT give his name) told us that he wants us to anchor 1 MILE off shore. I am SHOCKED. Why? He says we otherwise will interfere with the ferry boats. I offer to move away from the port and more toward the beach clubs but he insists, 1 MILE!  Finally, I propose and he agrees that if I move 250 meters off shore, that would be fine.  (I figured that he probably was not the smartest person on the block and that a shift in units (from miles to meters) would confuse him enough, and I think I was right.

We move, set the anchor, and do admit that the huge ferry boat from Kavala does seem to pass fairly close.

We go ashore that night to check in, cannot find the harbor office, walk around and come back.

The next day we planned to move but for some reason, I blurted out that maybe we should stay another day and go to the beach club nearby.

Beach club visit

Everyone agrees and we do that, having a great day. We come back to LeeZe, change, and go back to town to eat.

2015-07-31:  The weather is starting to build but my GRIB forecast says that once we round the northern cape of the island, the wind will die down and the waves will flatten. So, we are underway and GRIB is right. We approach Limenas, Thassos from the west and the harbor’s entrance is hidden from view by the multitude of ferry boats that are at the slips. We get into the harbor, drop the hook and call the Port on VHF Ch 12. They finally answer and tell us to call them on the cell phone, giving us only 5 numbers. Trying NOT to to sound stupid, I ask them for their entire telephone # and they seem exasperated that I have to ask. (A harbinger of things to come?) Eventually I get them on the cell and we agree on a spot to med moor along the wall.

We do moor, and it goes relatively smoothly, except in the end, I feel I am way to close to a small cabin cruiser to port. But that gets resolved and Zehra and I go to check in. I made a FUNDAMENTAL error. I failed to bring our guests’ passports with us. Since we had added their names to the cruising log in Kavala, I did not think I would need them.

But this Port Authority (Greek Coast Guard) made it ABSOLUTELY HARD to check in. They wanted to see our passports, insurance, registration and my license to drive LeeZe. I told him that the USA does not require us to have a license and then he spouted some BS that Greek Law requires me to have a license. He wanted me to prove to him that I was not required to have a license. (How does one prove a negative?) He would NOT let us leave while he checked what to do with us and while the office was cool, I at least felt that I was being detained. In all the years that we have been coming to Greece, this question has never come up.

So while this “person” is running around trying to see what to do with us, he does stamp our cruising log (after calling Kavala to confirm that our guest has indeed checked in there) and puts in on his desk. While he is “out and about” Zehra suggests I give to him my USCG card saying that I completed a safe boating course back in 1999. I do, he is happy, and we get to leave. But the issue is still not resolved because the next American owner who comes into Thassos will have to go thru the same rigamarole because this person / office does not understand the rules. (We has this same question asked of us in Marmaris, Turkey some years ago by the agent we had to hire to check into Turkey. To make a long story short, she ACTED like she did us a favor by convincing the Port Captain that I did not need a license. Later that same week, we physically went to the Port Captain, and looked at his rules, which EXPLICITLY state that if the host country does not require their owner-captains to have licenses, neither can Turkey. MY guess is that this is the same in Greece.)

I intend to resolve after we depart Greece as I feel that if I made a scene now, retribution will follow.

2015-08-02. We are really enjoying this port and today, I wanted all of us to got to a real beach club and relax. But Murphy heard me and about 1030, one of our guests tells me that the toilet will NOT flush. In addition, at about the same time, I figured out that the head’s shower/sink sump pump is also not working.

After trying all of the usual tricks to get the head to flush, I realize it is really broke and that I need to disassemble it and install the spare macerator I have. I kick everyone off and over the next 8-9 hours, replace the macerator and the electronic control panel because that also was burned out.

I have NO idea how it came to be that three items (macerator, control panel AND sump pump) all broke at the same time, and with guests on board!

I am not going to go thru the gory and messy details but it is NOT a job I every want to do again! The new macerator came with a different piping arrangement than the old one and I had to try a couple of times to get it all to go together and connect with the piping in the bulkhead. (For those that might not know, the entire inner workings of a toilet are in and under the toilet bowl, where space is a premium and not a whole lot of ways to check for leaks!) Then, worried about leaks, but keeping an eye toward the future that so poor slob, (hopefully NOT me) would have to replace it, I used sealing caulk where needed, but did not go overboard. (The yard must have used TUBES of the stuff when assembling the toilet because it was everywhere!.)

The actual job to replace the control panel required me to fish wires thru a narrow space behind the bulkhead to a junction box under the sink. I knew to use string and attach it to the old wires so when I pulled them out, the string would be my guide but all did not go as planned. (Murphy!) Hours later, got the wires thru and reconnected them per the photos I took before taking they apart.

It is now nearly 1900 and Zehra has been back from the beach for a couple of hours, just to lend moral support. (BTW thanks honey, I really did need it!)

(I replaced the sump pump while waiting for the sealing caulk to dry. Of course, even though I had an exact spare, the new one came wired differently and that took some noodling also. Ugh!)

Time to test… and it works! The macerator does its thing and I am relieved. Ah, Murphy strikes again because when Zehra goes to use it and there is NO water during the flush cycle. (I guess I had missed that when checking.

But I find that by manually adding water, it works so I ask all to use the toilets ashore for their solid waste until I can resolve the water issue.

Now it is Monday and I then ask everyone to go topside, ashore, somewhere else while I resolve the water issue. (one guest departs for the mainland to buy bus tickets to go home.)

I verify that the valves are properly aligned up to the solenoid valve. I check the wiring and determine that I had mis-wired the power wire to the solenoid and when I switch them, still no water. THINKING that the wiring mistake fried the solenoid, I go to get a spare from the locker and install it, double and triple checking the wiring.

Still no water. By this time, I am frustrated, 4 hours has passed, and I am no closer to getting water.

So, I go up to the aft deck and make myself an electrical and piping drawing, and stare at it.

And stare at it. Finally a light bulb comes on. I can test the control board. During its function, the solenoid gets power, then the macerator, then the solenoid again. So, this time, armed with a VOM, and with Zehra pushing the buttons, I determine the controller is working!

So now I turn my attention to the solenoid valve itself. While Zehra pushes buttons, I determine that the proper voltage is getting to the solenoid. (Had to disassemble the solenoid to test.) After reassembly, I asked Zehra to push the buttons again but for some unknown reason, I left my hand on the solenoid! As the controller cycled, I felt a vibration as the solenoid tries to do its job, I also noticed that there were some small bubbles in the clear hose on the discharge side of the solenoid.

Thought that was strange, so I went to the back of the toilet and with a bucket in hand, removed the hose to see if water would flow out. Did NOT have to push any buttons! There was a blockage. I fished out three sheets of what appears to be toilet paper. Pondered that for a minute, reconnected the hose and cycled the controller.

Water appears, the macerator flushes, water cleans.

All is well again. Of course, the guests are mortified. They blame themselves for breaking it, and then watched me work 2 days to get it repaired. Of course even after all this, I still ask that everyone do their solid waste removal ashore for another day while I check for leaks. There is water everywhere and it will take days to dry before I am 100% sure there are no leaks.

(BTW, I am still pondering how TP made it to the flush hose. If TP had somehow got into the fresh water tank, there is a pump, three filters, and a solenoid valve that it has to get past to get where I found it. Not likely, I think. Been there since new construction? Why show up now, 4 years later? Clueless and I believe I will never learn the answer!)

Meanwhile, our guests make arrangements to depart on Saturday. I am ASSURED that they are not leaving over this “event” but ……

Our guests do depart Saturday evening, 8 Aug, by ferry, then two local buses to the long distance Bus Station, then an 8+ hour bus ride into Istanbul to pick up Mom and their car.

It is 10 Aug before we are convinced that that the toilet is not leaking and I can finally properly mount it. It makes more noise, and different noises than the last one.

And yes, I did disassemble the broken macerator. The motor is burned up and the impeller is quite hard to turn. I guess when the motor seized, it drew a big current thru the control board burning up some components. Since I was not there when it happened, I did not see the black smoke that may have escaped.

And remember about retribution? The Greek Coast Guard person that gave us a hard time harassed another Greek boater near to me, threatening him with a “large” fine BECAUSE the boat’s name (Aqua) has to be in Greek letters and not “English” letters. Really???? The guy is a lawyer and will sort it out, but in plain view, there are three large GREEK ferry boats with their names in “English” letters, not Greek letters. The owner of this boat did say that he had complained the last time he was here about the garbage in the harbor so…… (fill in the ending yourself).

We did take one day to take a ferry boat ride across the straits to Kerimodi. The cost for two r/t was 14 euros. Kerimodi had really nothing to offer us. It is a small town whose basic purpose is to service the ferry boat users. There appear to be nice beaches there, but Thassos’ are nicer.

Ferry to Kerimodi

2015-08-22: Back on 8 Aug, just before our guests departed, Zehra and one of the guests went to the Greek Coast Guard office to remove their names from our sailing list. Zehra is not quite sure what was done then because today, when we went to the SAME office, there was again a rigmarole because the staff on duty said that our paperwork stilled showed the guests on board. We are BOTH clueless as to how this got screwed up, but it did. It took nearly 45 minutes for them to find in THEIR “deck log” that we had come on 8 Aug to remove their names. Then they spent MINUTES explaining to us how they were going to fix it, then minutes to fix it, and then FINALLY, our exit stamp.

For the record: Thassos’ Greek Coast Guard office is the worst by far office we have had to deal with ever since we have been coming to Greece since 2011. The worst, by far. Hands down. The island is wonderful. They really taint it.

Some thoughts about this island and this city. There is a “farmer’s market” in the city of Prinos (inland from the Port of Prinos) every Monday. We went and we were not impressed. If one uses these markets in Turkey, this one will disappoint. If not, by all means go!. There is public bus that takes you within meters of the market’s entrance and it takes you back directly to the city wall you will be moored at. The city bus also goes around the island 3 times a day so if you want a cheap windshield tour, there is one.

The public beach just notheast of the Old Port is the place we spent many afternoons. The water is clear and clean and mostly clear of rocks. The beach has three huge trees that provide all the shade from the blistering sun one would want. There is a fresh water shower and a changing room. I did dig this up from the beach:

Beach Find

To me, it looked like a stone encased key and some type of tool. I gave it to the local museum and never heard from them. My guess is that they had a huge laugh at my expense.

You need to buy a “key” from City Hall (restored two story building at the old Port) (use the back steps and go up to the second floor to purchase the key) (open M-F 08-1400, holidays and weekends closed!)  to get electricity and water from the Shore Power pods, but otherwise, there is no fee to moor at the wall. The pods have 16 amp connections, as well as 3 phase 32 amp and 3 phase 63 amp connections. They do NOT have a single phase 32 amp connection. Therefore, if you are a 32 amp boat like me and want 32 amps, need to have a male, 3 phase, 32 amp (4 pins) or 63 amp (5 pins) to single phase 32 amp connector on board. I could not find any shop on the island that sold any marine 3 phase connectors. If all you need is water, there is a free water tap in the corner where the quay and the city wall meet. The locals use this water a lot. Try not to loiter.

There is NO cost to med-moor at the city wall or side moor (they call it “English” moor) along the quay wall. None. Nada, ABSOLUTELY FREE!!

George Buehler Trawler in Kavala > Thassos New Harbor

There is very limited electricity on the quay, and a lot of working pods of the city wall.

George Buehler Trawler in Kavala > Thassos New Harbor

The city wall is elevated about 1 meter above the nearby street so street noise is very very low. The pubs and cafes play music well into the night, but not loud. The city seems to roll up the sidewalks at about 0300 and roll them out again at about 0800.

The old port.

George Buehler Trawler in Kavala > Thassos Old Port

This port was built by the Romans and they would still recognize it to this day. The sea wall offers little in the way of protection from a rough sea. Some port guides suggest one could moor in that harbor but I think one needs local knowledge to do that safely. I saw no boater other than locals use this harbor.

If you need something fixed, there is a small shipyard at the Port of Prinos. Thomas (+306979614650) who speaks a little English runs their workshops there and will try to help.  I saw NO marine store in town. I am told by some boaters that they get their supplies in Kavala.

If you need a full fledged boat yard, give Manitsas Stavros a call at +302594023180 / +306944365503 ( Per nearly all the boaters that I talked with they all winter their boats with him.

Lastly, keep a sharp eye out for a 1938 Greek flagged wood boat named Lalin, No 26.

Lalin, No 26

It was the 26th boat registered in Greece and languished for years on the hard, until a man bought it 20 years ago and has been slowly over time, restoring it to its as-built condition. He is now quite old and his family has agreed to continue the project. It med moored next to me a couple times and it is quite a sight to see. (Thomas was on that boat three times to fix things so he told me the story.)

2015-08-23. We depart today for Samothraki, Gr, an island about 36 nm away.