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yotreps3

Greetings Everyone,

Albania didn’t turn out to be the safe haven we’d hoped for.  We cleared in to Sarande a pretty seaside town and did an admiral Med tie up to the wharf between two large motor cruisers.  It is school holidays for all July and August and Sarande is obviously THE place to go with all of Albania there and endless streams of ferries and hydrofoils across from Corfu packed with tourists.  In the long evening twilights people mill around the promenade — a cross between Surfers Paradise and Luna Park with Ferris wheels and dodgem cars and outdoor cafes.

We took a local bus to Bitrint, a strategic area across the narrow passage from Corfu.  The Romans built huge fortifications and an elegant castle in the most beautiful tree lined setting with the Ionian Sea on one side and a large inland lake on the other.  The whole has been declared a UNESCO heritage site and is well preserved and sign posted.  We took a picnic lunch and spent an enjoyable day there.

The nightmare began a few days later for us when we decided to anchor off rather than continue to pay the mooring fees.  As we started to lower the anchor the windlass broke.  With much puffing and grunting Phil managed to claw it back a few links at a time.  We rang the agent (you have to have one in Albania) to see about going back on the wharf.  But — no space.  Albania does not cater for yachts and there is only wharf space for five vessels in this major clearance port.  Here the wharfs are all built for huge ships and ferries.  The is only one marina in Albania and it is not at Sarande.  Also, there are no chandelries, no spare parts and no repairmen.

They directed us to the shipping wharf with huge protruding buffers which threatened to demolish the anchor, bows and the stern and dinghy all at one as there is a continual swell coming into the harbour.  We finally secured 1/2 a dozen lines and rose up and down on the surge shredding the covers off our fenders and groaning against the wharf.  We couldn’t stay there all night with out damage so they allowed us to move in the dark and sandwich in between a ferry and a large motor cruiser on a wharf that had tyres instead of solid buffers and was slightly less aggressive.  We had to leave by 9am before another ferry came in.

In the night Phil had the brilliant idea to sail the seventy mile back to Preveza in Greece where we knew we could tie up to the long town wharf and hopefully get the help we needed.  So we cleared out of Sarande and arrived at Preveza about midnight.

Phil has pulled the windlass apart and found a German mechanic who is procuring the needed part — a small roll-pin that had sheared — and hopefully we will be fixed by tomorrow and we can proceed to Italy or maybe Malta.

Please pray for wise planning as winds are fickle and harbours crowded and it;s not all plain sailing!!

God bless,

Pam and Phil

yotreps02

Greetings Everyone,

Greece is a strange place — very lay-back, sometimes frustratingly so.  Crossing the Corinth Gulf we anchored at Trizonia, a small island with a “free” harbour.  No-one pays and people leave boats there for unspecified times.  One large yacht — maybe a fifty footer had sunk and laid alongside the marina wharf with only its masts showing.  It had been there for at least ten years and looked like being there for at least as long again.  Nevertheless it was a very beautiful island.  We walked up the hill overlooking the harbour and found a half finished mansion surrounded by fruit trees and a for sale sign up and reckoned it would make a good option for retirement.  No we didn’t buy it.

Sailing up the west coast of Greece we stopped in a very large enclosed bay at Preveza and walked back along the coast on a path lined with gum trees to the entrance of the bay which was guarded by 4th century Venetian forts on both headlands.  We thought there would have been a fee to enter and maybe a guide to explain the history but NO.  The outside was stark and forbidding and looked as it must have done for centuries but inside was neglect, graffiti, broken windows and vandalism — just left to disintegrate.  You can feel the downturn in the Greek economy and it is things like this that suffer.  It’s no-one responsibility so nothing happens.

Next week we are clearing out of Greece and into Albania.  It is only a few miles across from Corfu Island and is not a Shengan visa country.  Our intentions are to spend about three weeks there and ease our visa situation.  From what we hear from other yachties the Albanians are keen for tourists to come and are very welcoming.  Another adventure about to begin!!

God bless,

Pam and Phil

After some research, it appears that the best system for keeping track of Maranatha is with Yotreps.

The Boat Share app relies on HF link to the shore. It is lags by a couple of days behind the actual position and will be useless when crossing the Atlantic. As such Admin has uninstalled the app.

The Skipper will be providing regular (usually daily) updates to Yotreps. It is more accurate and up to date and will still work when away from land. Here’s how to find it:

Go to this address: http://www.pangolin.co.nz/yotreps_reporting_boat_list

Scroll down the page to the line VK2KMT  Maranatha

On the right hand side of that line click “track”.

That will take you to Maranathas latest reported position.

Here is a screen shot:

yotreps01

Greetings Everyone,

We’ve moved fairly quickly across Greece in the last fortnight.  It would be good to be able to “potter” a little more but we need to be in Gibraltar by the end of August when our EU visa runs out.

Two of the highlights for us have been:-

HYDRA — a picturesque town perched on the edge of a cliff which seems to have defied time.  Vehicles of all sorts are forbidden and the only transport is by donkey or water taxi.  We anchored several miles past the town and walked back along the cliff tops with stunning views.

CORINTH CANAL — We bit the bullet and forked out $230 dollars to traverse the Corinth Canal.  It runs for 3.5 miles, is 25 metres wide and is through sheer vertical very high cliffs.  We had it to ourselves on the way through with perfect weather — quite a unique experience –so we slowed down to enjoy it.  In places the cliff face has fallen in either from bomb damage in the 2nd World War or erosion.  Every Tuesday it is closed for maintenance.  All the way along it is floodlit for night passages and you can see electric cables slung down the cliffs as if from the sky.  At either end of the canal is a road bridge which sinks to the bottom of the canal so ships can pass through and then they are raised up for the traffic.

After crossing the canal we hit fierce head winds racing through the extensive Corinth Gulf and kicking up a choppy sea.  We have been battling them ever since trying to get across to the Ionian coast.  The trick seems to be to get up at first light when the winds are the lowest and stop at midday and bash!

For those that are interested, if you google Yotreps and go to the reporting boat list and scroll down to VK2KMT and click on “track” you can follow where we are going.

God bless,

Pam and Phil

Galatas, Greece

Anchored at Galatas opposite Poros Island in Greece.  Probably heading for the Corinth Canal tomorrow.

galatas