Log # 27k Kithnos and Siros

November 21, 2002 in Log Series 20 - 29, Logs by Series, Series 27 Summer in Greece, The Logs

Kemer, Turkey
Nov. 21, 2002

Hi Folks,

Here is Log #27k Kithnos and Siros, including a bit of rambling about clean fuel and Mediterranean mooring.

Over here in Kemer, the weather continues to be a warm 24  C during the day and a cool 10  C at night. We are getting caught up on boat tasks, and enjoying the liveaboard community here of over 60 boats. We have a morning VHF net and just got the first edition of the monthly Kemer Kronicle put out by us boaters. For an overseas “take” on things I enjoyed a joke in this first edition as follows:


The United Nations recently conducted a worldwide survey in an attempt to solve the severe problem of food shortages across the world.

The survey consisted of one question: “Please give your honest opinion about solutions to the food shortages in the rest of the world”.

It was a complete failure.

Africa didn’t know what “food” meant, and Eastern Europe didn’t know what “honest” meant. Western Europe didn’t know what “shortage” meant, and the Chinese didn’t know what “opinion” meant. The Middle East didn’t know what “solution” meant.

And the Americans didn’t know what “the rest of the world” meant.

Incidentally, here in Turkey the change over to the new government seems to be going smoothly.

On a sad note, I was recently informed of the death of Linda Duez a good friend and retired teaching colleague who spent a few weeks sailing with us in the Great Lakes and again in the Bahamas. This is one of the drawbacks of cruising, that you are away when friends and family experience crises, illnesses or deaths.

Don’t forget that we are using Veleda@superonline.com as our E-mail address while here in Turkey.

Enjoy the log. All the best,


Log # 27k Kithnos and Siros

Kemer, Turkey
Nov. 18, 2002

We arrived just at sunset, Sept. 27, at one of our favourite anchorages, Ormos Fikiadha (37ْ 24.8’N, 024ْ 19.9’E) on Nisos Kithnos. We had been here two weeks previously and enjoyed the sandy beach, the chapel, and the new villa being built (see Log # 27e More Cyclades – Serifos and Kithnos), and were glad Alvin had a chance to see this little idyllic anchorage.

However, the second day there we had a force 8 gale blow through and had to motor into it for a while as our anchor started to drag. Fortunately, it was daylight and in a lull of the storm, we re-anchored and took a line ashore (upwind) for safe keeping. Anchoring with another line ashore is quite common here in the Med although I still have the bias that I would rather swing on a single anchor, and allow my bow to swing into the wind in heavy weather. The extra line ashore is fine if the wind is blowing bow or stern on, but if it blows from abeam, the extra windage of the boat puts extra strain on the anchor, and may dislodge it. In addition it is more comfortable in the cockpit if the wind is from ahead. Never the less, a line ashore will not be dislodged, and is a solid, secure attachment as long as the angle of the anchor can hold the boat from swinging inshore if there is a strong wind parallel to the shore or on shore. In some cases a line ashore is necessary to restrict your movement because of the crowded anchorages common in the Med.

While there we heard many gunshots, as it was hunting season. The game must be very limited, presumably to small birds, as we have seen no wildlife in the brush other than small birds, lizards, crows, seagulls, and the occasional partridge-like bird (donkeys and goats don’t count).

On the 29th we left, pounding into 1.5 to 2.0 metre seas. Our engine did not seem to rev up properly, and so we returned to the anchorage to check it out in calm waters. We bled off some air trapped in our water strainer, and that seemed to help the problem. It is possible that in heavy seas the water intake opening may be exposed, taking air into the strainer. We have noticed this several times when heeled over to port with the engine on; the engine stops pumping water and overheats unless we reduce the heel or change tacks.

It might also have been air in the fuel line, although we did not bleed it this time. I generally like to keep my fuel tank topped up so there is reduced sloshing in the tank, as this might allow air or sediment from the tank to enter the fuel line. We have three fuel filters, one on the engine and two Racors, which seem to do a good job. In addition, because I once got a dose of bad fuel when I filled up at Leamington Marina on Lake Erie, and had my engine die on me when I was entering the Detroit River, I never put a fuel pump hose into my deck fitting. Instead, I fill up plastic jerry cans, and strain all diesel into the tank through a Baja filter. I have never had the engine conk out because of bad fuel since then (5 years ago). I carry 75 litres of diesel in three jerry cans strapped on deck at my shrouds. This also allows me to take Sprite over to fuel docks to fill up the empty jerry cans, rather than having to manoeuvre Veleda to the dock, or, worse, wait for others to leave the docks before going alongside. We also often use regular automotive service stations if they are near the water, and if the nearest is some distance away, we have a sturdy collapsible dolly on which we can strap two full jerry cans for easy transport back to Sprite. The fuel tank on Veleda is always kept topped up to reduce condensation, and the stirring up of sludge from the bottom.

The second exit saw the engine running better, and after rounding the island we were actually able to sail most of the way to Siros (31 miles) going ESE into a southerly force 3 breeze. On that tack, with the wind forward of the beam, we were able to sail close hauled with the sails set in fairly tight, and the helm lashed midships, allowing Veleda to steer herself without using our Simrad wheel pilot. Veleda will hold her course for hours upwind like that. It was this characteristic which helped us coming across the Atlantic when out old Benmar Cetek autopilot broke just a week out of Bermuda with two weeks to go, and Judy seasick most of the time. I lived in the cockpit for those two weeks, virtually single handing Veleda, as Judy was unable to stand regular watches. (She could mobilize herself for emergencies and the occasional sail repair we had to do under way.) I could not have hand steered for those two weeks, 24 hours a day. However that spring crossing (1999), the normal SW winds did not blow and instead we had northerlies most of the way. As were heading ENE for the Azores, Veleda was able to steer herself this way, giving me a chance to rest in the cockpit, and grab sleep in half hour intervals (see Log #11f Bermuda to the Azores).

Coming in to Finikas (37ْ 23.8”N’,024ْ 52.5’E) on the SW corner of Nisos, we saw the only yachts on the town dock were on the inside of the dock, and the dock arrangement was a bit different from the diagram shown in our Greek Waters Pilot (previous, 1998, edition). However all the space on the inner side of the dock was taken, and being reluctant to go bows on to the outer side of the wall we picked up an unused mooring buoy. After securing to it, I snorkeled over it to ensure it was heavy enough for Veleda. Later that day when we went ashore we let the harbourmaster know we were on that buoy, and asked if it would be OK to swing on it for a couple of days. No problem he said, as the owner of it was away for a week or longer. We subsequently saw several yachts that went stern to on the outer dock, as it was also the location for a flotilla charter fleet which used that side frequently.

However, I generally would prefer to be at anchor or on a mooring buoy rather than bows to on a dock (traditional Mediterranean mooring) using our stern anchor. We have only a 25 pound CQR anchor and 30 feet of chain, plus rope for our stern ground tackle. I do not trust it as much as I do my bow anchor, a 35 pound CQR and over 200 feet of 3/8th chain.  We can not go in stern to and use our bow anchor as the dinghy tow system and the tie down straps for the Bimini clutter up our stern and stern pulpit, and would make handling stern lines and getting on and off very difficult. It is also particularly aggravating when coming to leave a dock, to find out that one of the neighbouring boats has dropped his anchor cable across mine, so I have to pull my guts out trying to haul it free, hand over hand (we have no stern windlass). Incidentally, a useful strategy in this situation where the anchor is fouled by another’s, if you have time and space when off the dock, is to haul the anchor cable tight, and manoeuvre in towards the offending yacht, not to ram him (tempting though this might be), but to drag the anchor along the bottom towards his bow. There it will then be released as the offending anchor cable ascends the catenary up to his bow. If necessary, slack off your anchor to release it from his cable, then haul in.   Hauling in the stern anchor cable also gets our cockpit dirty from the bottom mud, and our cockpit is a mess as we flake the gear into our lazaret (stern cockpit locker), while motoring out of harbour.

Well organized marinas have lazy lines attached to stern moorings, making docking far easier. In this system we just motor perpendicularly towards the dock, picking up the lazy line as we pass it, and nose in bows to, until Judy can step ashore, or toss the lines to helpers on shore, to secure bow lines angled to port and starboard while I haul in on the lazy line from the cockpit and adjust the tension to keep our bow off at a safe and convenient distance to get ashore. Departing is similarly easy, as the bow lines are cast off (downwind line first) and we haul in on the stern line, pulling the boat away from the dock. The lazy line, usually attached to a cleat on the dock by a long light line, or supported by a floating buoy, is dropped into the water, making sure it does not foul the propeller, and we are then free to manoeuvre out of harbour. This form of med mooring is far easier, and good marinas have it, but town docks do not.

(This is the system we have at Kemer where we winter. Our stern lines are attached to a strong chain, well anchored to large concrete blocks on the bottom. We have replaced our usual bow lines with heavier lines attached to strong metal springs which in turn are secured to the dock rings by chains. We have put rubber water hose fittings around the bow lines where they go through our bow fairleads to eliminate any chafing over the winter. We have even made a solid plank passarelle going from our port bow to shore.)

Siros is a hilly mostly barren island that has Ermopolis in the middle of its east coast as its capital, and is considered the nominal capital of the Cyclades. Rod Heikell in his Greek Waters Pilot describes its history thus:

“Nothing much remains of ancient Siros which was sited where Ermopolis now stands. In the Middle Ages the inhabitants moved inland (for protection from pirates) until the Venetians, ever mindful of the potential of the harbour and strategic position of Siros along the Aegean trade route, occupied the island and restored its prosperity. In the 17th century the island came under the protection of the French, and so escaped Turkish occupation.”

Across the bay from Finikas is a military area and naval dock with a Greek frigate alongside. The town itself had most amenities, including several grocery and fresh produce stores, restaurants, hotels and pensions, and an internet site at the local chandlery. The town docks have electricity and water, and although the showers and washrooms were not operational they seemed to leave much to be desired. Even though the bay seems to be open to the SW, it provides good shelter from the Meltemi. We left Veleda for a day trip by local bus into Ermopolis to wander the almost deserted town docks there, and to ramble through the decaying grandeur of the 18th and 19th centuries, including a central marble paved plaza with an ornate municipal building, behind which is an opera house modeled after La Scala.

We departed Oct. 1st for the island of Andros, 33 miles away.