Blog Q: It’s kind of like a never ending party—with some boat repairs and a hurricane thrown in! How you figure out which boats have cool people to visit and which have the solitary pirate to avoid? A: We think … Continue reading →
On Saturday (September 17), when we awoke, we were relieved to see that most of the bugs were gone. Instead of a sunrise picture, here is a video of a bird catching a fish. The rest had vacated by the … Continue reading →
Upon returning to our winter moorage, we are often asked what was the highlight of our cruising season. I think this year the ability to leisurely cruise the British Columbia coastline stands out. The previous two years, 2020 and 2021, were races up and down the coast between the BC-WA border and the BC-AK border. In the Covid years we did those routes in six long days with only four or five anchorages along the route. This year, it was 12 days/11 stops northbound and 36 days/35 stops southbound.
Another highlight was the number of new (to us) places we visited. We went to 14 new anchorages, one new mooring buoy (Bailey Bay on Behm Canal) and one new marina (Port Browning on Pender Island). Many of the new anchorages were on Southeast side of Kuiu Island. Its nice to know that without much effort, we can visit places we haven’t been before.
We are getting totally accustomed to cruising with our ship’s dog, Drake, on board. While he is a good trooper, has never been sea sick (yet) and knows exactly where on the boat to do his “business” (the bow near the windlass where it is easy to clean), it is absolutely clear from his joy when we drop the kayaks to paddle to shore or tie up at a dock, he’d prefer that we never leave the dock. His explanation is that we could then play with him and his ball several times a day. We’ve reached a compromise and now try to spend an extra day at the dock beyond what our shore tasks might require.
The final numbers for the trip are 139 days/138 nights out (88 nights at anchor, 3 nights on mooring buoys, 47 nights at the dock). We were fortunate to have the solitude of being the only boat in the anchorage 41 nights. We traveled 3584 nautical miles and put on 613.6 engine hours. Of that, 42.9 hours were idling associated with fishing or sightseeing. We only had to run our generator for 18 hours.
The map below shows all of our stops this last cruising season. Clicking on one of the “drop pins” will pull up some information about the stop. At the top right of the map is an icon which will open a separate window that may be easier to navigate.
Wednesday, September 21, 2022 – Kusadasi and Ephesus
Seabourn Encore approached the dock in pre-dawn darkness, without even a sunrise due to clouds on the horizon. Our tours today included the Virgin Mary’s House, the ruins of Ephesus, rug weaving demonstrations and a private classical concert for Seabourn on Harbor Road in front of the Great Theater at Ephesus.
Miriam and I were last here in 2008 as part of our Holland America transatlantic cruise. Since that time the Virgin Mary’s house has been declared a Unesco “World Heritage” site and much development has taken place around the actual house. The original ruins only went up a few feet above ground and the building that is now there is only 25% original and 75% reconstructed. The line is clearly visible. Like many of the sites, no photography is allowed inside the shrine.
After a short visit before most of the hoards of visitors arrived, we headed to the ruins at Ephesus. Not much has changed except the crowds were even larger. We walked down through the ruins to the Great Theater and Harbor Road, past the Celcus Library façade. We were able to discern carvings of the goddess’s Nike, Medusa and Artemis. The guide talked about how St Paul did not actually talk in the great Theater but rather in the Jewish Synagogue next to the library. In ancient times, Ephesus was a large and important seaport with as many as 250,000 residents, but earthquakes and filling of marshlands to combat malaria which covered the city under many feet of debris means the Harbor Road is now miles from the sea. The site is still only 10 percent excavated, but radar and lidar surveys show extensive ruins buried under the hillsides on both sides of the city.
Harbor Road in Daytime
Finishing our tour, we headed for a hand knotted silk rug weaving demonstration and sales pitch to buy rugs before we returned by foot through the Grand Bazaar to the ship.
After an early dinner, most of the passengers, including us, boarded buses starting at 6:40 to return to Ephesus and a private classical music concert in front of the Great Theater. Harbor Road has been walked by St. Paul, Mark Antony and Cleopatra and many other famous historical figures. Tonight it was lit up with candles and set with tables for us listen to the chamber orchestra as we sipped wine. To be in that setting walking that same road knowing the amount of history that preceded us was somewhat sobering and exciting at the same time. The distance into the concert setting was too far for Miriam to walk unaided, so the ship arranged a wheelchair transfer from the gangway to the concert and return.
The concert venue on Harbor Road
The evening was stunning with the setting and the lights, something not to be missed. Returning to the ship, the ship’s wheelchair was delivered to the wrong port entrance so Miriam walked all the way from the port entrance to the ship, where much of the crew were on hand dockside, singing and dancing to welcome the passengers back from the concert and to join the dance in progress on the pool deck.
Thursday, September 15: Here is a sunrise photo of the island that protects this bay. And a photo of the other boats in the anchorage as the sun was rising. Yesterday, shortly after we arrived, Kosmos was surrounded by a … Continue reading →
Monday, September 19, 2022 – Patmos
This morning we approached the island of Patmos just as the sun was rising. Seabourn Encore anchored off the harbor below the Monastery of St. John, perched high above the small town.
Boarding our tour bus we headed first to the “Cave of the Apocalypse” where the Apostle John received his revelation, which was transcribed by his assistant and which became the final book of the New Testament. The grotto has had a church built around it over the centuries and there is a chapel incorporated around the actual grotto. Our guide did a creditable job of explaining much of the symbology and metaphors in the Book of Revelation. We were not told ahead of time about the restrictions on photography at the religious shrines and museums in Greece, so outside pictures were allowed, but no pictures were allowed inside.
After the grotto of the apocalypse we went further up the hill to the Monastery of St. John which was built in the 1100’s. The monastery is now surrounded by the town of Hora, which has grown over the centuries. The original papal bull giving ownership of Patmos was on display, with many other artifacts and even the preserved skulls of the founders of the monastery.
Walking back down through the town of Hora we visited a traditional Greek house dating from the 1500’s and occupied up until the 1960’s. Pretty primitive compared to our american standards.
Returning to the port area we found a taverna and relaxed with tzatziki and calamari washed down with local greek white wine and beer before returning to the ship via local tenders.
Tuesday, September 20, 2022 – Crete
As dawn approached, our ship approached Agios Nikolaos in Crete. We had a long tour for this day and several of the group decided to opt out, including Miriam.
Going ashore at 0730, we boarded buses for the one hour trip to Iraklion, the site of the Minoan Palace of Knossos. The ruins were partially excavated in the 1930’s, but most of the site is still underground. The palace is huge, more than 40,000 square meters and up to 5 stories high. The throne room has been partially restored. The palace dates to 2600 BC, but was mostly destroyed in about 1450 BC, with the eruption of the volcano on Santorini, 80 miles away. The palace was rebuilt, but not occupied after 1100 BC.
The throne room was interesting because the king sat below his subjects and on a stone throne, with a ritual washing basin in front of the throne.
Following the tour of Knossos we headed to Arilithos, a recreation of a typical Greek village of 100 years ago. Here we toured the various houses and enjoyed a Cretan style lunch while we watched traditional Cretan dancing.
Finally we headed back to the ship after a tour lasting 8 hours and prepared for our next destination, Kusadasi, Turkey and the ruins of Ephesus. The weather was stormy overnight, but Seabourn Encore was very stable and we did not even notice the wind and waves.
Sunrise with the moon on Wednesday, September 14 When we woke up, it was rolly in the anchorage. The rolling made us so lethargic, so we had a hard time getting moving in the morning. Chris let us know that … Continue reading →
Here is a shot of the almost full moon still shining brightly well after sunrise on Tuesday, September 13. Christi thinks that on Tuesday, our friend, Chris, had an angel watching over him and protecting him. Eric thinks that Chris … Continue reading →
Sunrise on Monday, September 12 We spent most of the day doing chores. Christi was cleaning the waterline when she got an especially painful jellyfish sting on her ankle. It hurt so much that she had to get out of the … Continue reading →
Athens, Greece – September 17, 2022
We started the day with breakfast on the rooftop restaurant at the Grand Bretagne Hotel. The temperature had already started to climb and was predicted to be more than 90 degrees. The three couples gathered in the lobby at 0845 for a planned trip to Delphi. Unfortunately the tour operator never showed up and we ended up booking a minivan from the hotel concierge. It is a two+ hour drive to Delphi and upon arrival found out the ADA access was poor for Miriam and the temperature was now 90 degrees. The museum had a wheelchair which helped, but it was just too hot to really explore the ruins.
Vahkos Restaurant in Delphi
The rugged terrain of Mt Parnassus and the Oracle ruins site
We headed into Delphi and stopped at a delightful restaurant with an open balcony perched on the hillside. The balcony was shaded and the breeze made it pleasant as we lingered over lunch before the two hour drive back to the hotel.
Arriving at the hotel, we had arranged for our medically observed Covid testing. The nurse comes to your room and after just a few minutes we got our “Negative” test results which they emailed to us and the hotel, so the hotel printed a hardcopy. We are now good for boarding Seabourn Encore in the morning.
Dinner on a warm Saturday night in Athens was a challenge, everywhere outside was fully booked, so we ended up with a group of 8 in the Winter Garden restaurant in the hotel. The food and drinks were good, but everyone was ready for some sleep, so we ended up back in the room by 2200.
Athens, Greece – September 18, 2022, Embarkation Day
Miriam and I headed to the rooftop breakfast venue, with more stunning views of the Acropolis. After a leisurely breakfast we headed back to the roomed and finalized our suitcases for pickup. We are scheduled to board the Seabourn Encore at 1240 PM and head-out out from the hotel at 1115. The weather continues clear, sunny and very hot, with 91 degrees predicted as the high for today. Seabourn Encore is one of the two largest Seabourn ships, with a capacity of 600 guests.
We actually had an early departure from the hotel and arrived at the ship before they were ready to board new guests. There were about 150 transit passengers already on board. After a short wait, we were cleared to board at 1130 and went to the Colonnade Restaurant to wait until our suite was ready. Even the restaurant was not yet open, but we could sit out on the aft deck and have a glass of water while we waited. The fresh breeze and shade made for a pleasant afternoon while we eventually had a light lunch. Our suites were ready by 1400, so we had plenty of time to explore the ship before departure.
The ship is full, and guests continued to arrive all afternoon. Departure is set for 1900, since it is only 177 NM to our first stop, the island of Patmos, where we will get a chance to visit the monastery of St. John. Patmos is where the Apostle John wrote the Book of Revelation.
The group of eight gathered at the Keller Grill for dinner as the Seabourn Encore departed Piraeus on time for Patmos.