ALKIRA - Mandraki Harbour - Rhodes, 15 June, 2017 N 36:26.921 E 028:13.657

Charles & Maggie Bevis
Thu 15 Jun 2017 08:11
Day 50 of this year's odyssey and we are here in Rhodes town on the island of the same name.  This is probably as far East and as far south as we will travel this year - but we are not going back the same way. 

The coast and mountains of Turkey loom over the island in the distance and our clearing-in port of Bozburun is only a day’s sail away.

After moving round from St Paul’s Bay to Lindos Bay last Monday, we spent two pleasant days enjoying the sunshine and scenery.  The water there was crystal clear and we could clearly see the anchor on the seabed some 5 meters below us.  Lindos town itself is a treasure but so overrun with tourists!  It is at it’s best before 10:00 and after 18:00, i.e before and after the teeming tourists make their presence felt.  The sea shore is approached by a long narrow paved steep street sloping down from the town square.  Pairs of donkeys process up and down all day leaving behind them a certain amount of fertiliser.  There must be some 20 or 30 teams of these beasts, each pair led by a cheerful handler and a further (smaller) team of road sweepers gathering up the fertiliser!  Each animal struggles along with various bright red and/or overweight tourists hanging on grimly to the heaving saddle and gaily waving their ‘selfie sticks’ about!  Comical in the extreme.

Yesterday, Wednesday, we picked up a Swedish gent (Bertil) at Lindos and he sailed north with us, up the coast to Mandraki harbour.   ALKIRA put on a good show chomping to windward at 7.4 knots in the freshening wind.  Very unusual for us - we NEVER sail to windward if we can help it!!

Our stay here in Rhodes Town is going to be longer than we had planned/hoped for, following yet another failure of our watermaker, this time a catastrophic collapse when the pressure vessel burst!  CJ has ordered a new one from Italy and for that we needed a delivery address in Rhodes.  Hence we were obliged to engage an agent here (so as to use his address) and he in turn booked us into Mandraki Harbour.  The new casing is to be delivered on Monday, so in the meantime we wait here and will become tourists ourselves (no selfie-sticks or donkeys we promise).  The harbour dues for such a celebrated and busy place are reasonable at 35Euros/day so it could be a lot worse.

Mandraki is possibly the site of the original harbour here and the location in 302BC of the statue of the sun god Helios, otherwise known as the Colossus of Rhodes.  It is understood this giant gent may have stood 35m high with one foot placed on either side of the harbour entrance; boats entering and leaving the port sailed between his legs!  It is to be assumed that boats in those days were smaller and indeed they may have lowered their masts to pass below the bronze crutch of Helios.  I rather think that our mast (19.25m high) would have done more than tickle the gent's fancy as we entered the harbour yesterday - had he still been there of course.  The statue was toppled by an earthquake in 227BC.

The entrance today is marked on each side by imposing stags mounted on pillars.  A famous feature of the island.


In case you are confused, that is Charlie, to the left of the Eastern pillar, not a goat/sheep or moose!

The quaysides of the Mandraki basin are lined with an impressive number of yachts, including ALKIRA.  

The well known three windmills on the harbour wall are located just behind our berth.  These are now much tarted up, but our Maggie can remember when these were in ruins! (No, nothing to do with her age, she was here frequently in the mid 70’s whilst working on SS ITHICA).

Berthing went smoothly, but whether our anchor becomes fouled by others’ chains will be revealed in due course! (an adventure to look forward to).  It is early in the season and the place is fairly buzzing already, it will be really chaotic in July & August.

To the south of us is the cruise ship harbour and these ‘monsters' turn up there in the early morning, leaving again in the evening.  1000’s of punters stream ashore from these beasts and swarm everywhere. It was primarily Americans yesterday, and many seemed very elderly and were finding it almost impossible to negotiate the steep streets, steps and alleyways. Lindos was bursting with them - and boy, were they loud?

The ships that Maggie and I sailed on in the 1970’s were the size (or smaller) of the vessel on the right.

Overhead there’s a succession of inbound flights on final approach to the airport here. Behind us, on the quay road there is a constant daytime parade of ‘viewers/holidaymakers’ and vehicles of every description passing along the harbour wall to the venetian fort at the entrance.  This, together with the constant movement of mega yachts, sailing yachts and the multiple trip boats within the harbour make for a busy location - peaceful it is not. Thankfully, it’s quiet at night.  In spite of everything that’s going on during the daytime, Rhodes is actually delightful, with beautiful old/ancient buildings and it is very scenic.

The compensation is that we are within walking distance of the town, both the historic walled town and the more modern sprawl.  We intend to get out to see more of  the island while we are here. 

There was a slight health mishap last week when Charlie was quite ill with a very severe throat infection, ended with him going to see the Dr in Lindos; a dose of strong antibiotics along with other medicinal treatments were dispensed and fortunately, he seems to be on the mend now, only relapsing toward the end of the day … thank goodness says Maggie, Charlie does not a good patient make…

Stronger winds are forecast for the weekend, through to Monday, so it’s not an unhappy couple who are pleased to be staying put for the moment, but with luck and assuming said ‘part’ arrives as schedule on Monday, we shall be pushing off on Tuesday - the present plan is to head be directly toward Turkey, the mountains of which are clearly visible from here.  

Dolly (the stalwart washing machine) has been put to work (yet again) this morning and we now sport a full line of colourful washing, running from bow to stern.  The sun is shining and there’s a good breeze, so everything is drying very quickly and pretty soon, we will be shipshape once again. Worth its weight in gold is that little machine, (Charlie’s words, not Maggie’s, and he doesn’t even know how to work it!)

Hot off the press - Maggie’s niece/god-daughter has just given birth, (we think on the 14th, waiting for confirmation of details) - CONGRATULATIONS and lots of love  to Philly and Stephen and of course, to the brand new grandparents Moira and Andy.

Charlie Bevis

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