Posted by: catamarantwooceans | September 22, 2017

A Sailing Trip in the Med

1.9.17 – Friday – A few days ago, friends of mine, Ilana and Moshe (Moses) Navot, who own a Beneteau 450 called Imagine, asked us to join them for a short trip to Greece.

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We love the Greek islands, having sailed there quite a lot on our previous catamaran “Roughsoda” and were happy to join. The plan was for Moshe and a few friends to sail to Rhodes, normally an unpleasant trip against the wind and waves, to where our wives would come by air, then sail in the Rhodes area and back to Israel.

Five of us went out of the Herzelia marina, Skipper Moshe, two ladies – Dahlia Raz and Tova Hoffman, a younger man who goes by the name of Shark De Mayo and I. The wind was light and on the nose and we had to motor. Imagine has the Gory three blades folding prop which has the overdrive facility: you back the boat at a minimum of one knot then put the throttle forward and get a coarse pitch which gives you better speed and fuel economy. On Imagine this made for close to 7 knots which made us cover the 174 miles to Limassol marina in Cyprus in 28 hours.

The new Limassol marina is a part of a big development project which includes villas, several restaurants and shops and of course docks and a boatyard. The shower rooms are first class and even have hair dryers…

3.9.17 – Sunday – With 280 miles to go to Rhodes we figured the trip will take two full days. The forecast was for WNW winds up to 16 knots, which would probably be more in reality, so we decided to go closer to shore in the area of the Greek island of Kastellorizou, near the Turkish coast, where the wind should be a little lighter.

4.9.17 – Monday – It was engine work all the way, we didn’t even raise the main because the boat does not have a traveller and we could not flatten it enough for motor-sailing. Imagine was recently fitted with a mainsail that is furled into the boom and we have to gain more experience with its operation. When we came close to the Turkish coast the wind topped at 22 knots with short, steep waves. Still, our speed over ground was good and we realized that our arrival into Rhodes would be in the early morning hours in darkness.

5.9.17 – Tuesday – We had supposed that the marina would have good lighting, also counting on the almost full moon, but as we approached the general area, navigating by GPS plotter, it was very difficult to find the entrance. We finally saw the red light at the entrance, the green one obscured by the high breakwater; once inside it was easy to find a place alongside the inner wall of it. The time was 0330.

Later in the day Ilana and Gili came to the boat. We checked the forecast for the next day and were dismayed to learn that it was going to blow up to 30 knots in our intended area of operations; Thursday was going to be a lot better.

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The Rhodes marina is quite a big one and has a lot of services in and around it. Across the road you can find a good supermarket, where in addition to food you can  have your laundry done. If you purchase good for over 100 euro – your laundry is free. There are a few really good restaurants, especially a seafood one, the name of which I forgot – it’s the one on the corner with the blue signs and a steakhouse – El Toro – which disproves the myth that the Greek cannot cook meat properly. There is a small chandlery in the marina and another, bigger one plus a fishing equipment shop across the road.

6.9.17 – Wednesday – Shark left to fly home and we decided to rent a car and tour the island. Moshe took a picture of the Rhodes crew.

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                                pic by M.Navot

We drove to the obligatory tourist destination of Lindos, which is a very pretty place and then off the beaten track to the monastery of St. Michael in the mountains.

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                                    Lindos bay by M.Navot

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At the entrance to the church the ladies could take and wear a “decent” apparel.

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Altogether a lovely tour.

7.9.17 – Thursday – The weather has improved a lot, too much, in fact – there was no wind! We motored to Panormitis, a beautiful, protected bay on the south-west corner of Symi island and dropped our anchor. The small village has an important monastery dedicated to the Archangel Michael, to which the devout as well as tourists come to visit and worship.

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The village people want to keep the place orderly, as befits a religious site; so rules are posted in several places.

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To go ashore we had to use a small dinghy that Moshe borrowed for the trip. It had no outboard and we quickly found out that one of the oars had a broken pin so the only way to row was canoe style – not so easy when you have to shuttle six people ashore. Looking around we saw two yachts tied to what looked like a ferry dock. I asked the locals ashore whether we could tie there too and they said we could. We took the anchor up and Med-moored Imagine to that dock.

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After the evening prayers, heard through loudspeakers, were finished, the village became quiet and serene. There was one taverna ashore, a family business with father and daughter serving tables and the mother cooking excellent dishes, everything so fresh and tasty. After dinner Gili and I walked on the walkway spanning the circumference of the moonlit bay – bliss!

8.9.17 – Friday – Out of Panormitis, again with no wind, we motored 24 miles to the west south west to reach Tilos, where a boat basin near the town of Livadhia beckoned. We were greeted by Stefano, the harbor master, a big jolly guy, who speaks softly and carries a whistle  to attract the attention of the yachties.

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On the north side of the basin one could enter the crystal clear cool water; Gili and I swam for about half an hour building up our appetite for dinner.

9.9.17 – Saturday – The final destination of the day was Chalki, a small island on the west side of Rhodes. Before getting there we made a lunch stop in the bay of the uninhabited island of Alimia, watching abandoned houses and wild goats on shore. Later in the afternoon we entered Chalki bay and moored to a floating pontoon the town of Emborio put in place.

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                                       pic by M.Navot

In the background you can see the hill with a ruined medieval castle at the top; Gili and I were determined to visit it. Walking up the road to the site took 50 minutes and then we had to climb to the top of the hill to get to the Kastro – the castle.

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Up at the top, the view was magnificent. Two Italian guys who got there ahead of us took our picture.

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Going down was much easier and we got back to the boat just for dinner. We found a taverna which had nice fresh fish including Gili’s favorite Barbunia – red mullet. Ice cream and coffees followed in a local “Zakharoplastia” – sweets and coffee shop. Another great day in Paradise.

10.9.17 – Sunday – This was the last day on board for Ilana, Dahlia and Tova. We sailed back to Rhodes marina and had a farewell dinner at the El Toro steakhouse.

11.9.17 – Monday – The ladies left the boat and the three of us – skipper Moshe, Gili and I continued with our preparations for the trip back to Israel. The plan was to do it in three stages: 70 miles to Kastelorizou, the easternmost inhabited Greek island, situated about 2 miles from the Turkish coastal town of Kas (pronounced Kash). Next – stop again in Limassol, Cyprus, a leg of 210 n.m and then 174 miles to Herzlia marina.

We went out of Rhodes marina at 6 p.m intending to reach Kastelorizou in the morning. On the first two hours we had nice wind from behind but then it abated and when our speed dropped below 4 knots the engine took over.

12.9.17 – Tuesday – An uneventful night passed and at first light we saw the island ahead. We turned into the enchanting bay and as if by a powerful magnet the boat was drawn towards the dock near Athena restaurant owned by Vagelis Mavros. The first time I sailed to this island, twenty years ago, he was there at the dock holding a tray with a beer for each of the crew. He greeted us:’’Welcome to Europe, my name is Angelo”  and invited us to come to his place for dinner. Now he was there again, to catch our lines.

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                                            Angelo’s place

After we Med moored close to the restaurant a movement in the water caught our eyes – two big turtles were circling the area. We understood the reason for their behavior when Angelo came by and fed them with leftover fish. Other boats arrived, two Israeli yachts and a big Lebanese motor yacht; boats coming from Turkey brought day tourists. We passed the day dealing with the departure procedure for the next day and in the afternoon climbed to the top of the hill above the village, from where nice views of the island’s bays could be seen. I was a bit frustrated not having my proper Canon camera, which was left in French Polynesia. I had to take pictures with our smartphones, not bad – considering.

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kastelo

                                          pic by M.Navot

In the evening we sat down for dinner at Angelo’s; a big group was seated at a long table near us. Angelo put on some Greek music and a young man led them dancing. Good vibrations!

13.9.17 – Wednesday – Out of the bay, we sailed between the rocky islets to the east of Kastelorizou. The wind was from the WNW blowing at 17 knots and Imagine flew along at good speed. Finally, after all those motoring days I could call it a SAILING TRIP.

14.9.17 – Thursday – The good conditions continued all through the night. I tried to tempt Moshe (and Gili) to bypass Cyprus and continue straight to Israel but the idea was rejected since the forecast was for light winds and Moshe felt we did not have enough fuel; Imagine has a 200 liters fuel tank plus 40 liters in jerry cans and we already used a third of that quantity, so passing Cape Gata, we turned to the north east to Limassol.

15.9.17 – Friday – After filling up our fuel tank we went out; the WNW wind was still there in spite of the pessimistic forecast. It stayed with us until night and then became less than 7 knots. Motoring once again.

16.9.17 – Saturday – The wind came back during the morning and we sailed at good speed, passing the ten knots mark in one of the gusts. Imagine is a fast and comfortable boat and even Gili, who in the past swore she would never sail on a monohull, felt good all the way and enjoyed herself immensely. After a radio inquiry by the Israeli navy shore station and a visit by a fast navy boat we continued to enter the Herzlia marina at 1300.

Altogether it was a very enjoyable trip. The down side was that out of 16 days we spent 10 to go to and from Rhodes. Moshe is planning to retire in the near future and would be able to go for longer periods. I’m sure we’ll be happy to join!

22.9.17 – Two Oceans update: After prodding Marine-Warehouse with e-mails I got the arrival date of my Sail-drive to Tahiti – September 23rd. Vincent in Hiva Oa says the part would reach the boat around October 10th. I shall plan my flights accordingly.

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Posted by: catamarantwooceans | August 21, 2017

Sailing a 2400 years old boat

August 2017 – In 1985 a diver found relics of an ancient merchant boat in shallow waters near a Kibbutz called Maagan Michael, quite close to where we live. A big project of underwater excavation ensued, the relics painstakingly treated and preserved and finally put together and presented in a museum in Haifa. The boat was dated to the 5th century B.C

More details are available on Wikipedia: English –  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ma%27agan_Michael_Ship

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Ma%27agan_Michael_ancient_ship

Hebrew – https://he.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D7%94%D7%A1%D7%A4%D7%99%D7%A0%D7%94_%D7%94%D7%A2%D7%AA%D7%99%D7%A7%D7%94_%D7%9E%D7%9E%D7%A2%D7%92%D7%9F_%D7%9E%D7%99%D7%9B%D7%90%D7%9C

In 2014 a project of building a replica of that boat was started, led by professor Yaakov (Yak) Kahana of the Haifa university. I knew Yak through mutual friends, one of which is Zulu, who participated in my last voyage to French Polynesia and was one of the volunteers working in the project. I had a chance to visit the site during the building process and was very impressed by what I saw. The boat was built using the same methods and materials as similar vessels were built in antiquity and the only modern additions were those safety items imposed by the Ministry of Transport.

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note the twin rudders

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the 140 lbs. anchor

Sadly just before she was launched last March, Yak passed away after a long fight with cancer. She was named “Ma’gan Michael 2”.

I was lucky to be invited for a short trip from Jaffa harbor to Herzlia marina. The replica does not have an engine, so we were towed out; then the sail was unfurled, and with a light southwesterly we sailed north. The wind was 7 knots and our speed over water was around 2 knots. A single “gust” of 10 knots pushed the replica to the 3 knots mark.

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This was great fun!

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Two Oceans update: Trying to maintain a boat by remote control is never easy. I had hoped that the guys in Hiva Oa would be able to fix the ruined sail drive but it turned out they did not have the right tools for the job. The drive was sent to the Yanmar agent in Tahiti and they gave a quote for the repair “depending on the parts availability” and giving no guarantee for it, which was about a thousand dollars less than a complete new unit. I decided to import one from the U.S using the services of Marine Warehouse of Florida. The unit is expected to reach French Polynesia at the end of September (ocean freight) so I will only go back to the boat when the delivery date becomes clear.

In the meantime I’m at home, reading books, watching too much T.V, doing Yoga and looking at other people blogs. We plan to join a friend’s monohull, a 45 foot Beneteau, for an 18 day trip to the area around Rhodes starting September 1st. I hope to report on that when we come back.

Until then – Adios,

Miki

Posted by: catamarantwooceans | June 4, 2017

In the Marquesas

24.5.17 – Wednesday – Once we thought we were securely anchored we took the dinghy ashore. People were greeting us warmly, many wanted to know whether we wanted fruit. A family in one of the houses succeeded in luring us into their yard and showed us the stuff they had. It turned out they were not interested in money but rather barter the goods for things we might have on the boat. We ended up giving them a fender and a fishing lure for some pamplemouse, bananas, a kind of local apple and some limes.

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Zulu was looking to buy a wood carving in fish shape; none of the few carvers we met was ready to supply one in a reasonable time frame and price but then we met Jacques the carver, who promised to have one ready by midday Friday for 4000 francs (about 40 U.S$) . We also bought some papayas from him.

25.5.17 – Thursday – In the morning we went ashore with the intention of trekking to the local famous waterfall. We met some men on the way to ask about the location of the trail to it. They pointed out to the cloudy sky and said that it was going to rain and that the way to the “cascade” would be slippery with possible mud and rock slides making it dangerous. Another option was going up a mountain to a point overlooking the bay. Zulu, who did that seven years ago, decided to pass. Danny and I started walking on the paved road, which was very steep indeed. The views were a great compensation for our effort.

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It took us about an hour and a half to get to the target, where an abandoned yellow tractor marked its location.

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The view from that point was marvelous, if you zoom in you can see Two Oceans on the lower right.

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                                                 (last 3 pics by Danny)

On the way back we met a family, parents, four kids and a crewman, who came the night before. Having seen our U.S flag they thought we were American; when we told them we were from Israel they told us that the people on the catamaran right behind us were also Israelis. That was a surprise! We dinghied over and met Michal, Laurent, their two lovely daughters and a friend. It turned out they heard about Two Oceans from Arturo Romero, the Marine Warehouse rep in Panama City.

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                                      S/V Maia – a Lavezzi 40

In the late afternoon the sky darkened. Rain started falling and strong gusts, one over 30 knots, hit the bay. I felt secure having our two anchors and 40 meters of chain and when I looked around the change in our situation took a long time to register. Laurent came by with his dinghy to see whether we needed help; we were dragging our anchors! The crew jumped into action, we took the anchors up and motored closer to shore, to anchor at 6.5 meters, putting out 50 meters of chain.

The wind continued gusting but our boat held position firmly; still we decided to keep an anchor watch during the night. Just before midnight a yacht came in and anchored to our port a bit forward and too close for comfort.

26.5.17 – Friday – I woke up at 0215 and heard from Danny about our new neighbor. I wanted to cancel the anchor watches as the wind abated considerably, but the proximity of that yacht was disquieting so I decided to continue, taking on the watch from 0245 until morning. I used the time to repair one of the safety webbings which was chafed by the anchor chain during one of our anchoring maneuvers.

After breakfast we went ashore with the firm decision to do the waterfall trek. We had to wait under a copra shed to wait out a shower and then went on, through a muddy trail, crossing the river jumping between boulders. The trail became narrower, passing inside rain forest, mounds of stones placed on the side of the trial confirmed that we were on the right track.

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We kept on walking and after about 40 minutes arrived at the fall. It was so high I couldn’t get it all into a frame of 24mm lens.

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The water fall into a large and deep pool and we entered it for a refreshing dip.

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The way back was slightly easier; the whole trek took about three hours and was worth every minute. Tomorrow we will sail 45 miles to Hiva Oa, which would be the last point in this voyage.

27.5.17 – Saturday – Out of Fatu Hiva at 0610, we motored to get out of the island influence and found wind from the south east. Going with just the main and storm jib was not very fast and Zulu argued that if we opened the damaged jib we could get more speed. We did it and sailed wing and wing with a sorry looking jib on the pole. As we passed the island of Motane, grey rain clouds came threatening from our starboard. The wind was not strong but bit changed direction until we were close-hauled. At 6 miles to Hiva Oa we furled the jib, dropped down the storm jib and motored into the bay.

A lot of yachts were anchored outside since a sort of children’s pirogue race was on and part of the bay was closed; we, however, succeeded in sneaking in and finding a free space, anchoring fore and aft to keep the boat facing the swell, as is the norm in this bay. As we came in I saw the location of the haul-out facility where I was going to leave the boat for two months and do the needed repairs and when we were securely anchored I took the dinghy over there. I was lucky that Vincent, the owner of the place, just arrived and I could sit with him and have a few of my questions answered.

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Vincent said he would only be able to take the boat out on Wednesday. He will then diagnose the engine malfunction and we will make a plan for its repair. Only then I would be able to make my travel plan and go home.

One of the yachts anchoring outside was one that Zulu and I knew; it was Jipcho, belonging to David Warshawsky, nicknamed Dubi, whom we both met in Richard Bay, South Africa. When the race ended there was a stampede of yachts trying to find a place inside. Zulu went over to help Dubi anchor inside and later the guy came over for a drink, chat and dinner. 

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               Dubi Warshawsky

28.5.17 – Sunday – We rented a 4×4 Suzuki Jimmy and drove to the eastern part of the island. The views were beautiful; a big section of the road was not paved but the small car overcame the difficulty. There were guava trees on the side of the road and we picked and ate a lot of the yellow fruit. We reached Puamau where a Marai with some impressive tikis was located.

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The whole tour took about six hours

29.5.17 – Monday – Today Zulu left to go home. Zulu contributed a lot to the operation of the boat; his knowledge in all things nautical was invaluable, not to forget his cooking style! For Danny and me it was a day of rest; we were waiting for Wednesday and the haul-out.

30.5.17 – Tuesday – We went to Atuona and visited the cemetery, where Jacques  Brel and Gauguin are buried and the Paul Gauguin museum. Although all the paintings there are copies, it was still very colorful and impressive. Back to the boat it took 40 minutes of marching in the hot and humid midday to reach the bay. In the evening we invited Dubi for dinner and as usual we went to bed early.

31.5.17 – Wednesday – The big day has come. At 0900 we motored towards the boatyard; the tractor and trailer were in position, we advanced slowly to place the latter between the hulls and in a short while we were hauled out.

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Danny is flying home tomorrow; I will follow in a few days. Two Oceans will stay on the hard for a little over two months. During that time the starboard engine should be repaired as well its alternator, a new jib will be ordered and antifouling will be painted. I hope to come back in the middle of August to supervise the work and make sure the boat is in good condition to continue sailing French Polynesia.

Until then – Adios from Hiva Oa!

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