Merhaba Turkey

Merhaba, now you know how to say hello in Turkish.

We have been made most welcome in Turkey in one of the finest marinas we have seen on our journey.  It is tight quarters, so they assist you in and out, with men on the dock and nudges from the man in the rib (Zodiac).  The showers would have Geoff and Deb purring, with big rain shower heads and beautiful fixtures but also with air conditioning. Hair dryers in air conditioned comfort. Being sent to the showers in Bodrum Marina, is more like a reward than reprimanded. It is heaven, mainly because it is so hot.

Turkey isn’t so different from Greece, until the evening call to prayers, which reminds you that you are indeed aren’t in a resort but in a different country with different norms. I have a few dresses and they will be getting more wear because I will need them to visit mosques and actually they are cooler.

Our first afternoon was busy with clearing customs, James went to the marinas’ Customs agent and they looked after everything, including delivering us to Customs hall across the bay via the same rib.

Boats anchored outside Bodrum Bay

We also met the owners of a Sydney 48′ Oceanis called Gumnuts, Shiree and Martin hail from Leura and have the big sister to Mercier, it seemed twice as wide as ours. Nice to say hello and hear about their plans for travel in Turkey, discuss blue cards and transit logs.

The next morning we went across the bay to the castle and high on the ramparts you can see how beautiful Bodrum is with white houses reaching down the slopes of the hill and amphitheaters on the hillside.

Amphora taken from shopwrecks for oil. wine and other storage.
Amphora taken from shipwrecks for oil. wine and other storage.

The Castle of St John is another Crusader fortress and it is so interesting to see the dated heralds on the wall. There is a garden inside the wall and a chapel turned mosque that is now a museum. Another tower houses the Underwater Archaeological Museum which is fascinating.

 Bodrum Bay from the bastion.
Bodrum Bay from the bastion.

Lamb is the national dish, so James is happy and we are looking forward to visiting fruit and vegetable markets.I confess that I was thrilled to see a Starbucks, mainly for the icy Frappuccinos, as I haven’t found gelato here yet.  I spent a few years here in Izmir, Turkey as a kid and a bit of my Turkish came back , I could remember the numbers but didn’t recognise one name of the days. No one has snickered but I do wonder if I can trust my memory.

James and Gaila - Bodrum
James and Gaila – Bodrum

We are so excited to begin the Turkish adventure and also thinking about the friends that will be visiting soon.  Rene and Richard your room is ready.

We now have an idea about anchoring for the next few days and not sure if we will have internet coverage or not. So we will say happy birthday to Ben Samara and Lorraine Samara, hope you have wonderful birthdays and are thoroughly spoiled. We were glad to hear that Geoff and Deb made it home safely. Hope to hear very soon that Clare is 100%

Asklepieion, Odeon and the Agora, Kos then Farewell to Greece

The range of antiquities in Kos Town and on Kos makes me want a virtual game, so I can just wander round and meet the players: Apollo, Asklepeion, Hippocrates, Hadrian, the Venetian Knights of the Crusades and Sulemain, the Magnificent. What a cast of characters, over centuries of occupation by gods and man, Kos casts a spell of inspiration.

In prime of place, is the Plane tree of Hippocrates, before the Asklepeion was built, Hippocrates taught his students “first do no harm” under the giant plane tree, near the waterfront.

Hippocrates' Plane Tree
Hippocrates’ Plane Tree

Hippocrates was a descendant of the god Asklepios, the god of healing. After Hippocrates death, the Asklepieion was built as a temple and hospital on a hill overlooking the sea and the coast of Turkey.

Perhaps there was a sanctuary to Apollo on the site but by the 4th Century BC, there was a temple built to honour Asklepieion. There patients would bath in springs, priests would listen to their dreams and feed them nutritious food in the middle of a pine grove with beautiful views..  Just the cleanliness and food may have solved many problems, but listening to dreams while taking in splendid views sounds like early psychotherapy.

Asklepieion of Kos
Asklepieion of Kos


Asklepieion - Corinthian Temple
Asklepieion – Corinthian Temple

This is all still here but the Asklepieion was ransacked by the Knights to build their fortress, so it will never be fully restored.

The view from the Asklepieion
The view from the Asklepieion

Antiquities abound in Kos, the Romans were here in 2nd and 3rd centuries BC. offers quite a good history, recalling the Casa Romana and the Odeon all within walking distance of the marina and Kos Town.

Roman Odeon, Kos Town
Roman Odeon, Kos Town


Apartment for sale, Views of Roman Agora
Apartment for sale, Views of Roman Agora

So finally, it is time to say farewell to Greece.  We have to leave after such a short time due to the Schengen Agreement.

We are off to Turkey and Bodrum. I hear there is a temple to Apollo there too.

Happy Birthday to cousin Ed De Angelo, hope it was great.

The island of Kos

Sue and Swanno had given us information on driving around Kos and told us how to avoid the white roads (unpaved) on the map.  They might not have gotten the same map. With any excuse for a run, Sue ran in front of their rental car to ensure the pot holes wouldn’t swallow it.  Except for one unpaved road near Tigaki, we managed to stay on paved roads. Thanks Swannos.

We started by visiting Asklipieion, More on that tomorrow, it can’t all fit into one blog.

We went from Asklepion to Asfendiou, which are the five mountain village of Kos.  Unlike other islands, Kos has clouds in July caught on the summit of Mt Diakios.  There are forests of cypresses and the area is very lush.

We drove into Zia and we thought we were in Bali, streets full of stalls of ‘souvenirs’.  We only got out of the car to take a photo of the summit overlooking the village. Tour buses of ferry passengers might be the big buyers but you can not see the village for the stalls.

Zia, Asfendiou, Kos
Zia, Asfendiou, Kos

We drove by beautiful churches, many on the highest hills away from other homes. We drove through Pyli to Mastihari and went to the Kosta recommended TamTam for lunch.  This coast  Mamari and Tigaki have many resorts with kayaks, swimming, sailing and wind surfing all on offer.  Kosta hired us the car and gave us a great map and circled all the highlights for us.  TamTam was not too expensive, he told Jim.  He never mentioned the fact that it was fantastic. You could easily spend the day here.  A beach, beach showers, a restaurant and deck chairs for people who just want a drink or coffee between swims.

Beach at TamTam
Beach at TamTam note the showers! perfect

Still we had more places to see, we drove to Antimachia and visited the windmills, kindly dressed with their sails. These windmills are on many of the islands, used for grinding grain and may be as old the 16 century.  They would be able to supply the grains to passing ships.  There is also a Venetian fortress nearby, so the windmills are probably a Venetian addition to Kos.

Windmill at Antimachia, Kos
Windmill at Antimachia, Kos

Some of the nicest beaches on the islands are in the vicinity of Kefalos, including the little volcanic plug of Kastri Island.   Paradise Beach, Camel Beach, are in Kamari Bay, you can go and swim but it is really suited to families as the beaches go out quite a way before they become even waist deep.  Plenty of water sports here too.

Skinos Bay from a nearby hill, Kefalos
Skinos Bay from a nearby hill, Kefalos

We finished off with a visit to the Venetian Fortress, the goats had beat us there.  There were plenty of walls and many Heralds on view.  There are no buildings within the fortress except for two chapels.  The Venetians used the fortress as a prison and it was often under attack by pirates.




Kos and the Castle of Neratzia

On Tuesday, we left Kalymnos and motored right over to Kos.  You could see the island from our spot on the Town Quay and as soon as we sailed out of the harbour we saw several islands and Turkey.  There is a small barren island just a stones’ throw from Turkey and both Greece and Turkey have their large flags facing each other.

a Greek island
a Greek island

We wandered the streets of Kos Town less than a kilometer from Kos Marina, which we think is one of the best marinas in Greece.  Certainly it has the nicest showers, which is a very important criteria.

On Wednesday morning, Kate and Mike Rider, friends from Noosa, came into Kos on a cruise ship and visited us on Mercier.  We were able to sit and chat, in a beautifully cool breeze and sip our coffees.  Mike is always a useful font of Beneteau knowledge and we appreciate his advice.

Gaila and Kate at the Fortress of St John, Kos
Gaila and Kate at the Agora, Kos

We stopped for lunch at H20 on the way to visit Hippocrates’ Plane Tree, the Agora and the Castle of Neratzia, which is full of ruins from the Knights of St John, as well as Turks, on the foundations of an ancient city. The castle is mirrored on the Turkish Coast by the Halikarnassos Castle, so the Knights of St John could control the Straits between Greece and Turkey.

Mike and James exploring the exterior of the Keep.
Mike and James exploring the exterior of the Keep. Looking at the Port of Mandraki

We scrambled over and through both keeps and into tunnels, looking at antiquities, Turkish writing carved into plinths and many heralds over the tops of arches and upper walls.

Kate and James watching Mike disappear into a tunnel
Kate and James watching Mike disappear into a tunnel

Neratzia is the Greek word for ‘Bitter Orange” according to one website but we only saw capers and pomegranates growing and of course the beautiful views.

Pomegranates, not quite ripe

Gentle Leros and in Kalymnos – the meltemi strikes again

We visited the very unusual island of Leros, which was a Mussolini experiment in Art Deco, though he never visited here. We had a wonderful dinner here rack of lamb for the boys and moussaka for Sue and I. The chef came out to see who ordered their lamb cutlets rare and then joined us after dinner.  The hospitality in Greece is amazing and Chef Petrino’s moussaka with white aubergine was exquisite.

Discussing lamb with Chef at Petrino's on Leros.
Discussing lamb with Chef at Petrino’s on Leros.

When we were in Tinos, Rosemary and Stephen had to take a ferry to Syros to make their connections home. That was because we were surprised by a meltemi at 5 AM. Mercier had to wait it out for three and half days. Here in Kalymnos, we have had a similar scenario. First we weren’t able to get a berth a Kos marina, then our Finnish friends lay their anchor chain across ours and then the meltemi came in a big way. We are here for the duration. We decided on a tour of the island.

First Stop - Myrties. The taverna had hosted a wedding the night before and the decorations were still there. The beach was stunning.
First Stop – Myrties. The taverna had hosted a wedding the night before and the decorations were still there. The beach was stunning.

Sometimes, I think an island like Kalymnos decides that we have only seen its port, so it orders a meltemi so that we are forced to explore its beauty a bit more.

Donald, Sue, James and Gaila -Arginonta

So on Sunday, we hired a car and off we went around the island. We found lovely villages by the sea at every stop and rich and fertile farmland in the center of the island.

We had a magnificent lunch with Eleni at Dreamcatcher, the food was amazing. It was all prepared by her family and the provenance was all explained. Great to have a swim, beautiful food and continue on our way.

Emporios Beach with a few moorings for yachts
Emporios Beach with a few moorings for yachts


We also visited the fjords of Vathi, which is a small but very dramatic anchorage and marina.


We ended the tour with a visit to a beautiful monastery of Nuns.

The beautiful Monastery of Agioi Pantos

The Swannos put a ferry plan in place for Monday morning.  We decided to go with them have a last coffee and see them off to Kos. Luckily, they made the ferry because we were going early  for a coffee but it was a running dash.  Bon Voyage Swannos!

Dodecanese sunshine

The weather has been great, sunshine and a breeze during the day and cool sleeping weather at night.  Yesterday, after walking from the Chora to town, we relaxed with a swim and later ate our dinner on the same beach.

We had excitement on the dock with a large private ship, with a staff ratio of 38 staff to 18 guests. It looked like Las Vegas at midnight when we were walking back from dinner. [Rene – there was a veritable light show on the water.]

At twilight a beautiful blue yacht sailed in and anchored in Skala harbour for awhile. We much preferred this beauty and we think it may be the Murdochs’ boat.

Yacht Envy
Yacht Envy (Vertigo – Rupert’s boat)

We were up early this morning to leave our wonderful Patmos and go and explore Leros.

James, Sue and Swanno and I had the spinnaker up quickly.  She is a beautiful duck egg blue and it was a perfect day to try her out.  Sadly, when Davo was with us the meltemi was a bit fierce going to Mykonos for the spinnaker but we will rectify it next year.

Sue and Swanno  sailing to Leros
Sue and Swanno sailing to Leros


James keeping the spinnaker afloat
James keeping the spinnaker afloat
beautiful day for a spinnaker run
Squadron burgee and beautiful day for a spinnaker run

We stopped for a swim off the boat as we came into Lakki and the water was perfect. We are looking forward to enjoying all the treats Leros has to offer.

We would like to offer our thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of the people killed in Malaysian Airlines flight disaster.


Yamas Patmos!


We have spent quite a bit of time this summer toasting with the Greek word Yamas or ‘to our good health’.

Sue and Swanno flew in from safari in Africa. We collected them from the ferry in Parikia on Monday night and had a wonderful Greek dinner on the beach in Naoussa.

Glafnos Taverna with Sue and Swanno
Glafnos Taverna with Sue and Swanno

The next morning, we left our special port of Naoussa and headed for Donoussa, which was nine miles off the east coast of Naxos.

We found Ormos Dhendro to be the perfect place to farewell the Cyclades, with a swim and a Sue-cooked dinner under the stars. Sadly also with quite a swell into the bay when we were trying to sleep.

With the possibility of a strong meltemi, we departed before dawn to reach Patmos before the wind set in. Being up for early morning safari’s had Sue and Swanno in prime condition to deal with the rigours of sailing but they did keep asking where the staff were.

A distant view of the Chora and the fortress and monastery of St John the Divine
A distant view of the Chora and the fortress monastery of St John the Divine on Patmos

Patmos is the northern most island in the Dodecanese, so we are hopeful of having future meltemi’s on our stern. It is famous as the island where the Apostle, John the Evangelist, wrote Revelations. We arrived, swam and wandered about the town of Skala, shopping in the big AB market, which have lots of goodies, fruit, veggies and nice wines.

Skala from the monastery
Skala from the monastery

This morning we went up to the Chora and visited the monastery and museum.  All Greek islands seem very different,  Patmos chora  prides itself on its spirituality. In Skala are lovely beaches and bays, shops, cafes and hotels but there is a strong underlying feeling of peace and serenity.

the courtyard of the monastery of St John the Divine
The courtyard of the monastery of St John the Divine
Sue, Swanno and James in front of the tiny door in the fortress
Sue, Swanno and James in front of the tiny door in the fortress.

St John lived in a cave and the church of the Apocalypse, is now built around the cave. The cave is quite small and one can imagine a hermit living in this grotto and dictating his frightening visions for posterity. Sue and I were wearing sarongs over our shorts to visit the churches and monasteries. We weren’t allowed to take any photos, but we could understand it because of all of the precious icons, vellums and paintings.

The Church of the Apocalypse on the cave
The Church of the Apocalypse atop the cave


The four of us have been racing around Naxos and Santorini, kitty has been very busy. Now we are in Naoussa, Paros. Paros is ‘the new Mykonos’.  Deb and Gaila managed to do just a little shopping and we have found some restaurants and cafes and sat in the shade of umbrellas and trees. We have swum and floated in the cool Aegean sea and basically chilled out.

How to relax your octopus.
How to relax your octopus.

If there was a laugh to be had we took it, James and Davo were often in corners with a beer and we could hear the word ‘Squadron’ popping up in their conversation.

Deb photo bombing the boys
Deb photo bombing the boys – at  Fotis. Geoff looking at a boat

On Santorini we were too busy to shop, but on Paros when we would wander we would find some very interesting shops. We loved Izu for wonderful pareos and Melissa for jewelry and other interesting items.

Shopping for Greece
Shopping for Greece

We wandered around Naoussa looking at all the fishing boats and nets and we visited other village, with their older style houses and wonderful churches.

 superb caper plant
superb caper plant

We are going to miss Geoff and Deb.  We had such a good time.


Dear Clare

Dear Clare

The entire crew of Mercier have been worried about you.  We are so glad that you are getting better and will soon be back to your own healthy self.  We were thrilled to hear your voice today and we wanted you to know we are thinking of you.

Love to you, Tom, Melissa, Hugh, Julia,Jenny and Brian.


Get well, Mum
Get well, Mum


Card, art work by Geoff
Card, art work by Geoff


Get well soon and thank everyone who is looking after you from all of us.


Naxos Soujourn

Naxos Port has a hands on harbour master, Nikos.  We knew we could leave Mercier at Naxos and take a ferry over to Santorini.  We departed Mykonos on Tuesday with a diminishing meltemi in three and a half hours sailing we were in front of the Portara Gateway from the unfinished Temple of Apollo and sailing into Naxos Town.

We made it to Naxos
We made it to Naxos

We walked up to the Venetian Castle and then wandered through the winding alleys of the medieval quarter called the Bourg. It was before the end of siesta, so you could easily imagine that the pirates had come and taken everyone away.  The only residents we saw were some very sleepy cats.

Wednesday evening  found us at the Potara Gateway on the islet of Palatia, looking at the sunset with the other tourists, but when the sun went down, they departed.  Merro pulled out of his trusty Squadie bag, a bottle of Mercier Champage and we sat on the ruins and toasted absent friends.

Geoff and James at the unfinished Temple of Apollo
Geoff and James at the unfinished Temple of Apollo

On Thursday we toured the island of Naxos in a little rent a car.  First north to the sleepy beach village of Apollon, through very windy roads in a verdant landscape of olive groves and fruit trees.

You wouldn’t think Davo was a sentimental bloke, but he gets almost misty eyed at the sight of the gum trees he is seeing on these Greek islands.  The dry barren islands of the Cyclades really are a perfect second home for these gum trees.We had a wonderful lunch under the shade trees in the hilltop village of Apeiranthos with cool breezes and wonderful food.

Naxos countryside
Naxos countryside

We ended the day without cameras at the beautiful Plaka beach south of Naxos town and had outdoor showers and cocktails at a resort there.  Naxos is a beautiful island, maybe we will all get to return.

Potara Gateway
Potara Gateway



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