Richard and Marita packed up and we waved goodbye as they boarded the local bus for the trip to Thessaloniki. The bus arrived late and they were on the edge of their seats to get to the airport in time for their flight back to the UK. Fortunately the trip was uneventful and they transferred by taxi to the Departure gate with more than a few minutes to spare.
We packed up Malua and made her ready to put to sea. We had to rush south to get to Turkey before our visa ran out. It would be tight and depended on getting a ferry from Turkey to Greece and then back again to Turkey with our new visa. We left Nea Marmaris with out the anchor getting snagged and motored in a direct line to the West Sparades Islands. The distance was more than 50 nautical miles. As usual the wind was from the south in the Halkidiki but after a few hours started to go round to the North East as predicted by the forcast. We soon had the main and genoa up and were sailing along on a flat sea at almost 6 knots. Our destination was Panagia which is a small island with a very narrow entrance to a well protected bay. We had to arrive before dark because of the entrance. The wind dropped off as the sun started to go down and we were able to motor through the 100 meter wide entrance with only 8 meters of water. I would not like to go through that if a sea was running into the bay. We started early just as it was getting light so I could see the entrance however the sea had come up and there was a swell running so the trip between the island was not very pleasant. Once we were away from the land the wind settled down and started to increase to over 20 knots, at time reaching almost 30. We had it on our beam and were reaching down wind at times up to 8 knots. It was great at last to have the wind behind us, the sun shining and little swell. The miles just rolled under the keel. We had set our destination as the Island of Chios which was 120 miles away - quite a long sail in one day. I knew that the moon was full and would be up when we had to reach our intended night anchorage. As is always the case with the Meltemi in norther Greece it started to drop as the sun set. We were still more than 50 miles from the northern passage between Chios and Inousssa. At about midnight the wind dropped away altogether and the sea started to flatten as we motored along the norther coast of Chios heading for the passage on the NW tip of the island. We were about 10 miles from the passage when the moon set turning the night into total darkness. Fortunately the cape at the entrance to the passage had a good light and the radar was working very well indeed. As I entered the passage which is only 650 meters wide I was confronted by a mass of lights on the port side of the channel. It did not appear to be moving and was about one mile off. I could not distinguish any navigation lights but the radar indicated that it was fast approaching but not on a collision course. It turned out to be a large ferry with all its lights on! It passed port to port and I settled down to navigate using the radar and the chartplotter. I had selected a bay on the south coast of Inoussa. It was unlit but from the chart looked bug enough and shallow enough to give us a good nights sleep. I motored into the crescent of the bay using the chart plotter and when the depth sounder indicated 6 meters under the keel we dropped the anchor. Our searchlight picked up the one headland but the rest were out of its range. We turned in to sleep. The following morning revealed we had anchored in the middle of a beautiful bay with more than adequate swing room and a great muddy bottom.
We sailed along the eastern coast of Chios and then across the channel to Cesme where we entered the marina. It was almost empty because a new owner had just taken it over and was busy moving the floating docks. We went into the town an booked our ferry trip for the next day to Chios. Luckily this time we did not have to spend the night away. The ferry left at 9:30 and within a hour we were again in Greece after officially leaving Turkey after 88 days. On arrival we got a Greek stamp and set about looking around the island. Unfortunately we should have been here yesterday because the summer tour had just ended. We decided to take a municipal bus into the southern part of the island to see the house decorations at Pirgi. We had just one hour to walk around the town before we had to get back on the bus for the harbour and then a quick walk to the ferry for the return journey. We arrived and cleared customs along with about 50 other people and we entered Turkey again with a 90 day visa - more than enough time to sail to Marmaris and pack the boat away.
The next day we purchased some fresh food and set sail towards the Greek island along the Turkish coast. Unfortunately the wind started to blow from the south so we changed direction and dropped anchor in a small bay on the south east coast of Chios called Kamari. The water was crystal clear. I set a stern anchor to keep up into the swell and not to swing too much within the small bay.As usual we took the RIB ashore and had a walk to the next bay to take some photos.
We pulled up the anchor as the sun rose and set off to sail south through the Greek islands. As predicted by the forecast the wind was light and from the wrong direction - south.
Here are some pictures of our Back to Turkey