Westward Ho! Möbius Update 16 Nov. 2022

It has been a very busy 17 days since I left off on the last update “Bye Bye Kalymnos”  on the eve of us leaving Kalymnos Island in Greece and finally starting our travels westward across and out of the Mediterranean as we set up for crossing the Atlantic probably next month. 

PXL_20221030_104248946It was with the full spectrum of emotions that we put Kalymnos in our wake as we left on Oct. 30th after first arriving back on July 7th.  This little island had been our home base all that time and we had definitely felt part of the community.  However we were also eXtremely happy to finally be heading back out to sea and back the life we love of exploring the world on our latest floating home, Möbius.
Arial view Melilla from N. coastFast forwarding to today, Wednesday Nov 16th, 2022, I am writing this update after we just pulled into a lovely little marina in the town of Melilla which is about 200 nautical smiles West of the Algeria/Morocco border.  Interestingly enough we are actually not in Morocco as Melilla is as you can read in the link above “.. is an autonomous city of Spain located in north Africa.”  So officially, we are in Spain!
Melilla arial viewAt only 12.3 km2 / 4.7 sq mi Melilla is not very large but has a population of 86 thousand and a very rich history that will be fun to explore in the next few days.

ceuta-and-melilla-spainHopefully you not as “geographically challenged” as I am and will have figured out that we have now travelled the majority of the Mediterranean from the far Eastern end  in Antalya Turkey and are now only 200nm away from Gibraltar that marks the far Western end of the Med. 
Mobius track across the MedI’ve put in an orange line on this map tracing our approximate path of this trip so far.That will give you some idea of how pleased we are to have made such progress and how well Mr. Gee v2.0 has been propelling us along. 

Quick Statistics Overview:

PXL_20221026_071536058.MPSince leaving Kalymnos 17 days ago, we have put about 1600 nautical smiles under our keel and the all new Mr. Gee has now accumulated 194 hours purring away in his Engine Room.  We are still breaking the new engine in so I’ve been keeping the loads at about 75% of the 100% continuous duty rating, which would be 150 BHP @ 1650 RPM that I currently have the fuel injection set up for.  I am able to very accurately gauge and control the engine loads by varying the pitch with the Nogva CPP Controllable Pitch Propeller and then watching the EGT or Exhaust Gas Temperature gauge which is pretty much a direct proxy for engine load.  Full load would typically generate an EGT of about 450C/840F and I’ve been keeping it below 330C/626F and running about 1440 RPM. 
At these settings our Speed Over Ground SOG runs between 7-9 knots depending on wind, sea and current conditions and overall we are averaging a bit more than 8.2 knots at these conservative loads.  Over the coming weeks and months I will start to vary the engine loads with different RPM and pitch settings and record all this data to help me find the Goldilocks combination of SOG and fuel burn.  For those interested, in the 1600 NM so far Mr. Gee has been consuming about 1.78 Liters/NM which would be about 0.47 US Gallons per NM for my Imperial measurement friends and followers.  Our design goal had been to get about 2L/NM doing 200NM per 24 hour day which would equate to averaging about 8.3 knots SOG.  So we are very pleased to have exceeded this already very ambitious design goal and we will see how this changes as Mr. Gee breaks in and we vary SOG and engine loads and encounter more varied sea and weather conditions.  I will do my best to keep you posted as this data accumulates.


We have also been varying the length of each passage as we hop our way West across the Mediterranean with passages like the one today from Saidia Morocco to Melilla Spain being just 35NM in a bit more than 4 hours and our longest passage so far was our jump across the top of Algeria which was 625NM in just over 3 days (79 hrs)

But I’m getting ahead of myself so let’s jump back to where we left off back on Oct. 30th when we finally were able to motor out of the lovely little Greek Island of Kalymnos which had been our home base for almost four months. 


Route Review:

Ios Island S anchorageFor our very first trip with the all new Mr. Gee, after completing all the paperwork needed for us to leave Kalymnos and Greece we motored over to a lovely little anchorage on the South end of the tiny Greek island of Ios which was about 83NM away.  We anchored in to the beautiful little “Never Bay” on the far Left in this photo at 23:00 under an almost full moon and it felt SO good to be on anchor and back at sea again after so many months.
ElefonisosNext day, we got an early start and pulled up the anchor just after sunrise and made our way west to another lovely night anchorage on the South end of little Elafonisos Island which was about 120NM west.  We averaged a bit more than 8.5 knots taking 14 hours and had the anchor down just before 22:00 for another peaceful nights sleep on the hook, aka at anchor.

Elafonisos to Marina RagusaElafonisos was our last anchorage in Greece as we continued our way West and crossed into Italian waters on our way over to Sicily.  Total length of this leg was 415NM which we did in just under 49 hours so average speed was about 8.45 knots.  It was a great two day passage.

PXL_20221102_155134608Captain Christine has acquired the new title of “Weather Wonder Woman” or W3 as she hones her skills using various weather software, most notably PredictWind, to do what I’m calling “No Wind Hunting” as ideal conditions for us have changed dramatically from our decades of sailing and we now ideally want no wind and flat seas or perhaps even better, following seas and winds which give us an added boost in speed.
PXL_20221102_230206660.MPAs you can see from the sunset photo above and this moon setting shot the next night, W3 has become the master No Wind Hunter!

porto_turistico_marina_di_ragusa00We headed for Marina di Ragusa which is about 40NM North West from the SE bottom corner of Sicily.  Our friends Matt and Cindy were there on their new Amel 50 “Speed of Life” and it was great to be able to catch up with them over several meals and good wine while we waited for the next good weather window for the next leg of this adventure to leave the EU and head over to Africa.
Ragusa to LicataWhen entering or leaving a country by boat, you need to do so at an official Port of Entry so we made the short 40nm trip up the cost from Ragusa to Licata which was the closest Port of Entry on our way West. 
marina-di-cala-del-sole-porto5We left Marina di Ragusa as the sun was rising and were docked in Marina di Cala del Sole at Licata just before noon and were able to get a taxi to the Police station where the immigration and Port authorities were located.  This all worked out eXtremely well with neither the marina nor the checking out process taking any time at all or having any fees!  So we were back on Möbius and leaving the dock in just over two hours. 
After the days and weeks and non stop fees trying to get our Schengen visa time extended in Greece you can imagine how delighted we were to have this final exit out of EU and the Schengen Area all happen so quick and easy.  Africa, here we come!

Licata to BizerteAs you can see, it is not a very big jump, about 195NM from Licata in Sicily to Bizerte up on the NE corner of Africa so an easy overnight sail in just less than 30 hours.
PXL_20221108_131024345.MP We pulled in and were side tied for a nice change in the very nice Bezerte Marina by 14:00 on Tuesday the 8th of November.
PXL_20221109_121541790.MPTunisia has very good prices on diesel fuel, 0.66 USD per Liter, so we took full advantage and did our first filling of all six of our diesel tanks.  We took on a total of 6792 liters and with exchange rates for the Tunisian Dinar and a credit card fee the total came to $4510.18 USD which at today’s fuel prices was a very good deal we think.
PXL_20221109_144913587We now had about 11,000 liters of fuel onboard and so we were finally able to see how well Möbius sits on her waterlines.  As you can see, the hull was now eXactly on the lines!
PXL_20221109_144840773.MPA bit closer shot as it is difficult to see where the 120mm wide Black Bootstripe on top changes to the Black InterSleek bottom paint but if you click to enlarge you will see that indeed sits eXactly on that line which is a great testament to our eXcellent NA Dennis Harjamaa!  Well done Dennis and thanks for creating such a fabulous hull and boat for us.

IMG_1938Oh, and just in case you needed any proof that we are definitely not in “Kansas” anymore, check out this shot Christine took of the breakwater across from where we were tied up in Bizerte Marina.  Yup, that’s a camel, well actually a dromedary with just the one hump, casually strolling along the breakwater.  There was a small herd of them which we saw at various times during the day.
IMG_1949While we were only in Bezerte for a few days before the next weather window opened up we did get time to walk into the the very colourful old town and enjoy the sights and smells of this waterfront city.
IMG_1950We were also able to fit in a great date night eating some street food and then a delicious full meal at a little restaurant on the water.
IMG_1945And enjoy one more beautiful sunset evening to finish up our all too short time in Bezerte and Tunisia.
Bezerte to Saidia mapWe had originally hoped to fuel up in neighboring Algeria where the fuel prices are even lower at about 22 cents per liter, but it turned out to be too long and difficult to get the required visa to allow us to stop there so we had to make the jump from Bezerte to Saidia in Morocco in one go and sail about 10nm off the very long Algerian coast of North Africa. 
PXL_20221111_164425647.MPIt was a very smooth passage as W3 worked her weather routing skills perfect yet again and we had exceptionally calm seas with some following seas to help out several times.
IMG_1960On one of her 6 hour watches Christine snapped this photo as she had fun surfing Möbius down some of the larger following swells and hitting speeds above 11 knots.
PXL_20221112_164344928Most of the time though it was more like this and we enjoyed some beautiful sunsets and sunrises along the passage.
PXL_20221113_155248433.MPChristine had several opportunities on this passage to enjoy watching the large dolphins that came over to say Hi and play in the pressurized area ahead of our bow.  I’m not sure who was having more fun, Christine or the dolphins but they all had a great time.
PXL_20221112_164731155This is a relatively busy shipping route and so we saw our share of other ships on this passage such as this little fella.
PXL_20221101_153954050We have a very good Class A AIS (Automatic Identification System) onboard, with several backups so pretty much all the other ships show up on our charts along the way and give us full information on each one including boat size, heading, speed, CPA Closest Point of Approach), etc. so makes it very easy to contact them on the rare times we need to and otherwise stay well informed of where they are in relation to us.
PXL_20221111_081856972.MPI took advantage of the calm conditions to do the first test run of the Paravanes I had built.  These are what we are going to try out for stabilizing Möbius in seas that want to cause us to roll back and forth sideways.
PXL_20221111_082923449.MPThe paravanes or “fish” as they are often called, are rigged to a fixed line of Dyneema off the end of each A-frame boom which is lowered off each side at about 45 degrees.  The fish run about 5 meters or 18 feet below the surface where they “fly” through the water very smoothly.  When the boat tries to roll to one side the paravane that is being pulled up resists this motion and the one on the opposite side dives down as its line goes slack and sets up for its turn when the boat tries to roll the other way.
PXL_20221111_081832056.MPI particularly like iterative design and I start with the simplest approach and then adjust from there as I test.  This first setup was a fully manual one with the orange line being the fixed length line that the paravane is suspended from and then a smaller Grey retrieval line attached to the rear of the tail fin.  Christine slowed the boat and I lowered each fish into the water and they quickly zipped out and trailed behind the boom attachment points and then bring the boat back up to speed.  A bit too busy to take photos but you can imagine how this works.
PXL_20221111_082918031It worked quite well but the retrieval required more effort than I thought was safe so I will re rig these lines so that the retrieval line goes up through a block mid way out on the boom and then over and down to a winch on the large Arch on the boat.  I’m in the process of doing this rigging now and we will try it out on the next passage and let you know how it works and can get some better photos and details on their performance.
PXL_20221116_082101592We pulled into Saidia Marina which is just inside the border between Algeria and Morocco our longest passage so far at 625nm which took us just under 79 hours with an overall average SOG of 7.9 knots.  As you can see, they had plenty of room for us!
Saidia Marina TunisiaThe marina is very large with an entire mall of shops and restaurants surrounding two sides but it has seen better days and Morocco had been closed for two years due to Covid restrictions so it was a bit sad.  However the people and all the officials were extremely kind and engaging and we were quickly checked in and had fresh Moroccan stamps in our passports. 
Saidia to Melilla marina mapWe were about to loose the good weather we’d been having so we took advantage and made the quick 35nm trip from Saidia over to Melilla which as I mentioned at the beginning is actually part of Spain so we pulled in just after noon time and were quickly tied up and checked in.

As per my opening photos and comments, this marina and town is the opposite of what we found in Saidia, being very full and busy, very modern and diverse and is already proving to be a great spot for us to hunker down for perhaps as much as a week while we wait for the winter storms to pass through and provide us with the next chance to motor our way along the Moroccan coast as we get closer and closer to the Straits of Gibraltar that are now less than 150 nm WNW of us. 


Prime Meridian Ease West hemisphere diagramThe other fun thing that recently happened is that we crossed the invisible Prime Meridian or Zero degree Longitude and so we are now into officially in the Western Hemisphere!  Antalya sits on about 30.7 degrees East and Melilla is at about 3 degrees West so we have now traveled more than 33 degrees of latitude on Möbius.
Atlantic sailing routes mapLooking further ahead, we are setting up to cross the Atlantic next month and will mostly likely take something close to the Southern route as shown on this map.  These are typical routes for sailboats and thus based on favorable winds circling the Azores High pressure zone so we will just wait and see how that is positioned this year and figure out the best “No Wind Hunting” route for us to take across the Atlantic.  Stay tuned for more as these Nauti Nomadic Grandparents do our best to continue to keep you all well entertained!
Thanks and hope you will join us again for the next update to see just where Möbius is in a week or two.

-Wayne

The Möbius Rollercoaster Rolls On

Kitty2

For this week’s Situation Report, we’ll start off outside the door to our Airbnb, as I, Christine, tip-toed out on Monday morning past the Türkitty security system to catch a taxi from the village of Bitez where we were on day 17 of our forced exile from Greece and the EU.

Wayne Airbnb2

I left behind my family who would be spending their forced internment doing hard labor, as usual.

I was on a mission to free them, no matter the cost. 

That cost started out to be rather substantial as the taxi driver asked me in his broken English (better than my Turkish) which ferry I was taking, Castle or Cruiseport. I checked the ticket on my phone and it didn’t say anything about where to catch it. We hadn’t arrived at the castle several weeks ago, so I told him the Cruiseport. Turned out I was wrong, so I had to forego that 18 Euros and buy a new 26 Euro ticket. It wasn’t a good start to the day, and I still hadn’t found any coffee.

The high speed catamaran makes the trip across to the island of Kos in less than an hour, and I made it through immigration with no problem. I still had about 17 days left of 90 allowed in the EU, but I had been in and out many times, and it was clear that the young man who leafed through my passport did not really check all the stamps and do the math to calculate days. He just stamped it, and I was on my way. However, there were two of them working the window, and I had no trouble recognizing the woman sitting next to him. She had been on the job the day we left Greece, and she was a potential problem for us.

Good bye Mobius2

You see the day the mermaid waved us off as we left Möbius behind wedged between the tug and the tanker on the island of Kalymnos, Wayne got stopped by that immigration officer as we were exiting EU immigration on Kos. As she had flipped through Wayne’s passport, she came across a stamp from the TRNC, or Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. She refused to stamp his passport as exiting the EU, but rather stamped a white piece of paper and slipped it into his passport.

Way back in 2017, before we had even started building Möbius, we were on our friends’ Lagoon 50 catamaran in Cyprus, and Wayne visited Antalya to talk to builders and to move our vehicle from Rhodes to Antalya. It is not possible to fly from Türkiye directly to Southern Cyprus, so he just flew from Antalya to the north, then walked across the border and took a bus back to Limassol. Later, we learned that though the exact law is in dispute, many Greeks will not let you into their country if you have such a stamp in your passport.

That morning as I had purchased my (second) ferry ticket, I saw a big sign over the window that said, “Persons with a passport stamp from the TRNC will not be allowed to enter Greece when the ferry arrives.”

We had done so well clearing in at Rhodes, and I thought this whole thing was finished. The whole point of our coming to Türkiye was to prove to the Greek immigration authorities on Kos that we had done as they asked and left the country. But Wayne didn’t have the passport stamp to prove it. If we showed them the white piece of paper, the visa issuing authorities would know they had missed seeing that stamp in his passport, and they might never let him back in.

One step at a time. There was no printer in the Airbnb, so as soon as I landed in Kos, I pushed that problem to the back of my mind, got myself a coffee, and then I went in search of a copy shop that could print out the papers that showed that Mr. Gee 2.0 had actually arrived on the island of Kalymnos. The most difficult part of getting around in Greece is that you can’t even read the alphabet, and often the names of the places on Google maps are in the Greek alphabet. But after two or three false leads, I finally found a nice lady who printed out the three pages for 1 Euro. Bargain!

I made it to the police station where the immigration office is located by 10:15, only to be told to come back at 12:30. Okay, breakfast. There was a restaurant right next door.

Eggs Benny2

I couldn’t resist sending a What’sApp message back to the prisoners with this photo and the caption, “Eggs Benny, Baby!” And the cappuccino wasn’t too bad either. (The land visible in the distance in the photo is the Bodrum peninsula in Türkiye)

When I returned to the office, the immigration officials looked over the documents I had brought. I explained that the engine was there at last, and we were simply asking for two weeks to get it installed and then we would leave the EU. They went upstairs to talk to the chief. The nice lady came down after a 30 minute wait and said my husband should come the next day with his passport and she gave me the list of documents needed. She also gave me a paper and told me to take it to the Post Office and pay the 30 Euros for the visa. I took care of all that, even went back to the copy shop and printed out copies of all the papers needed and took her the entire file. She approved it and told me to have him there by 10:00 the next morning.

I had planned to go over to Kalymnos and check on the boat, but I called Wayne and told him the good news first. Then I said, look, if we’re both going to be going to the boat tomorrow, I might as well go back to you tonight. It was difficult to even wrap our heads around the idea that after the weeks of making Plans A, B, C, and D, we were both going home the next day.

So I made my way back to wait for the 5:30 ferry, and took a taxi back to Bitez. We enjoyed a “clean out the fridge” dinner and set our alarms for another early morning.

I didn’t sleep well as Wayne’s passport stamp was not the only fly in the ointment. During our stay in Türkiye, I had done my homework on importing the dogs back into the EU. They have had EU pet passports for several years, and they needed to update their rabies shots and get new titer tests done. We did all that. They would also need to have proof of anti-parasite drugs administered and a health certificate from a vet both no longer than 10 days before entry. We had done all that when we entered Rhodes, and I had considered taking them to the vet while we were sitting around in Bitez, but we weren’t sure of dates or if we would even be allowed in before the end of the year. We discussed it that evening and we decided to just go for it with the old health certificate. If we got to Kos and they wouldn’t let the animals in, I would go back with them and take them to a vet and do what I could to get them legal while Wayne went on to the boat.

Exiles luggage2

The next morning we were off with suitcases, backpacks, dogs in travel bags, and after yet another taxi ride to the ferry dock, we were on our way. I asked Wayne, “How many times is it now that we have said Good-bye to Türkiye? I don’t think I”ll say anything. I don’t want to jinx it.”

The plan was that when we got to the immigration window, if the man was available, Wayne would go first. If the woman became available, I would go. My heart was beating overtime, but we breezed through that and went around the corner to the Customs lady. She motioned for us to put the bags up on the table. Wayne set down the bag with Ruby in it and when the woman started to open it, Ruby let out a loud whine. The woman jumped back. We all laughed and explained that we had two dogs. She peered at the cases and asked if we had their pet passports. I handed them to her. Then she smiled and told us about her dog and asked our dog’s names. We lucked out. She was a dog lover and she waved us through. 

Halfway around the marina basin en route to the police station, Wayne parked me and all the luggage at a cafe while he went on alone to immigration. Suffice it to say that our luck held and they somehow didn’t notice that he had no stamp out of the EU. Some four plus hours later after Wayne getting fingerprinted and lots of waiting, Wayne got his visa extension for two weeks. We took another taxi to Mastichari where we could catch the ferry from Kos to Kalymnos.

Ferry foredeck2

It was so great seeing that island on the horizon where our home had been docked all alone.

It was dusk by the time we got home to the boat. The dogs were almost as happy as we were. The boat was fine, no dead rodents in the traps we had left (that was another story), no signs that anyone had been aboard other than the local cat population that likes to sleep on the Skybridge, and all was well. We had left the boat unplugged, and we had been able to monitor the batteries and solar situation with the Victron VRM. Without us aboard, there wasn’t too much draw, but we did leave one fridge and one freezer working and all the inverters. The batteries were down a bit, but as you know if you’ve been reading this blog, we were happy that the firefly batteries did as well as they did.

Wayne wasted no time. We arrived Tuesday evening and Wednesday afternoon, this guy came barreling down the quay.

Mr Gee arrives2

In case you haven’t guessed by now, I am writing this Sunday blog because he has had his hands full the last several days.

Wayne and G2

But that will be his story to tell. We just wanted to let you all know that we are back aboard Möbius and Mr. Gee 2.0 is getting lots of tender loving care.

Kalymnos church2

And Kalymnos has worked her magic once more.

 

Fair winds!

Christine

Möbius Situation Report; 16 Oct. 2022

This will just be a short SitRep on where we are and what’s been happening this past week.  We continue to ride the roller coaster of life again this past week as our second attempt to get a temporary two week Schengen visa extension plays out.

Some important progress that won’t take long to report but we wanted to keep everyone updated so here you go.


IMG_1771We, along with the two dogs, have ended up in a cozy one bedroom AirBnB about 15km West of Bodrum which has provided us with a lovely sanctuary as we play out this seemingly endless waiting game going through the process with the officials over in Greece for our second visa extension application.  Sunny weather continues with just a brief sprinkle of rain last night so we are very grateful for how well this has all turned out.
IMG_1770Christine has particularly enjoyed being able to keep up her physio therapy after her knee surgery with long walks as she explores this new area and with views like this and the one above, you can see why.

Kalymnos to Bodrum Google mapLocation wise, we remain as we left off in last week’s SitRep, “exiled” over in Bodrum Turkey which is less than 30 nautical miles West of the Greek island of Kalymnos where Möbius is docked as we work through the visa extension process so we can re-enter Greece and get back aboard Möbius.


SailingWriter Exhile substack newsletter screen grabIf you’d like to know more about our Schengen situation and get a few chuckles, checkout Christine’s latest SubStack newsletter titled “Life in Exile” HERE.  I think you’ll enjoy reading this and she is the real writer in the family so if you have not already done so you may also want to subscribe so you will automatically receive each newsletter as soon as she posts it.

The All New Mr. Gee has arrived!

PXL_20220928_132836857Meanwhile, on the VERY good news part of the ride UP the rollercoaster, on Friday we received confirmation that the new Mr. Gee which you saw in this photo last week when James was getting him ready to ship out of the Gardner factory in the UK, had arrived in Kalymnos AND succe$$fully cleared customs.  A huge relief and milestone for us to say the least.  Right now Mr. Gee is on a truck in a warehouse in Kalymnos awaiting the final short trip over to Möbius.

What’s Next?

Step one was getting the new Mr. Gee to the boat, the more challenging step two is to get us back to the boat! 

Ferry routes Turkey GreeceFirst thing tomorrow morning (Monday Oct. 17th here) Christine is taking the 45 minute ferry ride over to Kos on the neighboring island where the Greek Immigration office is located to give them the official papers showing Mr. Gee is now in Kalymnos and ready to be installed. 
Christine is able to go in/out of Greece because she still has 17 days left on her Schengen visa from the time she was out and back in Florida last month whereas I only have two days left and need to hang onto those if we end up having to leave Möbius for several months.
We are hopeful that with the engine now delivered to Kalymnos and ready to be installed they will approve a short two week extension to our Schengen visa to give me enough time to install the engine, get the boat fully seaworthy again and check out of Greece and the Schengen area. 

Plan A

IF they grant us this two week extension, we will pack up our things here in Bodrum and take the ferry to Kos and then one over to Kalymnos where we can move back aboard Möbius, install the engine and check out of Greece and Schengen. 
map of medDepending on weather we will most likely head for Tunisia.  Given that we are not allowed back into any Schengen countries until after the end of December, we will most likely travel West across the top of Africa through Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco and see when and where we can cross the Atlantic from there.


Plan B, C, D……..

If they reject our extension application again, we will need to continue to reside outside of Greece and any Schengen country until at least the end of December which is the soonest date we are eligible for a new 90 day Schengen visa.  We would then move back onto Möbius, install the engine and see where the weather patterns will allow us to go from there. 


Map of TurkeyYet to be determined where we will go to wait until the end of December but right now most likely choice will be to stay in Turkey as we have long term visas good for here until end of 2023.  We’ve spent many years in Turkey and seen a lot but far from all so this would be the opportunity to use this unexpected opportunity to explore more of this wonderful country before we return home to Möbius and get back to the sea.


Atlantic crossing mapOur longer term plan is to head West out of the Med and cross the Atlantic this winter if possible and if not then sometime in the Spring.  Our route across the Atlantic will all be driven by weather at the time we are crossing and position of the Azores High at the time.
Atlantic sailing routes mapOf the three routes shown on this map, we would most likely be crossing somewhere between the bottom two routes and most likely make landfall somewhere in the Caribbean.  But that is all several months away at best so we will just wait and see what looks best as we exit the Med.


Right now though we are keeping our fingers crossed that we can go with Plan A and move back aboard Möbius later this week, get the engine installed and be on our way again by the first week of November.  So wish us luck and stay tuned for the next episode of as Möbius.World turns.

-Wayne

Nauti Nomadic Grandparents are Schengen Refugees!  Möbius SitRep Sept 29-Oct 2, 2022

Nauti Nomadic Grandparents are Schengen Refugees! Möbius SitRep Sept 29-Oct 2, 2022

NOTE:  Sorry for the delay, the technical problems with our blog host came back again and delayed posting till now (Saturday Oct. 8th) and the formatting is off a bit so thanks for your understanding while we once again try to sort out the blog host problem.

Just to show that we will go to any lengths to keep you well entertained, I’ve typed up this second installment of the latest update from the Good Ship Möbius.  As I noted in the previous Part 1 Update, this past week has been quite the ride up and down the twists and turns of the Good News/Bad News Rollercoaster of life.  I decided to break this up into two Updates; in Part 1 I covered the ride up to new highs on the roller coaster ride with my trip up to Gardner in the UK to take part in the dynamometer testing of the new Mr. Gee 2.0.  If you have not seen that Update Part 1 already, you can go read and watch that HERE.

This second part picks up as the roller coaster ride peaks after the very successful dyno testing and the ride started to plummet downwards when I flew back into our neighboring island of Kos from Gatwick airport in the UK.  As you will soon understand, things have been a bit hectic since then and so I’m a bit late in getting these updates put together and posted but here you go and thanks for your patience.

Part II; the Rollercoaster ride down;

Roller coaster going downEverything that goes up most go down and so this second Update is about our most recent Rollercoaster ride down.  Buckle your seat belts!

I’ll keep this one short as it is just a “SitRep” or Situation Report to update everyone on the latest challenge we have run into and that there may be some delay in bringing you the next updates about getting the all new Mr. Gee 2.0 installed so we can head back out to sea and continue our travels West and most likely out of the Med.

Short summary is that our 90 day Schengen visa time has run out, and when I flew back into Kos on Thursday was informed that our application for an extension was rejected at the last minute .  We had been trying to get this extension for over a month when we saw how long it was taking to get Mr. Gee shipped up to England since the beginning of August.  However in the brilliance of bureaucracy they won’t process an extension application until a few days before it expires.  A lot of discussion ensued but in the end they said that I needed to leave Greece and the Schengen area …………………….. NOW! 

Christine and Möbius were another ferry ride away over on on Kalymnos and so fortunately, after a good bit of persuasion, I was able to talk the Immigration officials into allowing me a day more to take the ferry over to Kalymnos so I could at least pack some clothes and make some kind of arrangements to leave Möbius docked there for some undetermined amount of time.

Christine has a bit more time left on her visa as the two weeks she was back in Florida don’t count towards her total Schengen time so she could stay in Greece longer but given that we had no idea of when we will be able to get back into Greece, we decided to both leave Greece for now while we figure out how to resolve this latest challenge.  If need be, Christine can go back to Möbius using her remaining 17 days.

Island Hopping

Fortunately and as you can see on these maps these Greek islands like the one we are on, are in some cases a stone’s throw away from the mainland of Turkey and it only took us a few hours on two ferries and some bus/taxis to take us, our hastily packed bags and two dogs to make the trek from Mobius on Kalymnos in Greece over to our AirBnB outside of Bodrum in Turkey.


Kalymnos to Bodrum Google map

And so, I find myself writing this update and SitRep to you from a lovely little AirBnB we were fortunately able to find on such short notice that is located just outside the Turkish town of Bodrum.  Turkey is not a member country of the Schengen Agreement (more on that below) so we are allowed to be here while we sort out things for getting back into Greece.

schengen_area_eu_countriesFor those of you shaking your heads wondering what the heck this is all about, a quick bit of background on how this Schengen Agreement works.  The Schengen Agreement which was first signed on June 14, 1985, is a treaty that led most of the European countries towards the abolishment of their national borders, to build a Europe without borders known as the “Schengen Area”.  It is a truly amazing agreement that allows for borderless travel by land, sea or air between all the current 29 member countries and the agreement remains one of the world’s biggest areas that have ended border control between member countries.

You will notice that Turkey is NOT a member of the Schengen Agreement and therefore we are able to be here on our resident permits which fortunately are still valid for another year.


For visitors such as ourselves from non Schengen countries, you need to have a visa which is very easy to get and is essentially granted upon entry into any Schengen country.  This Schengen visa allows you to stay in any of the member countries for up to 90 days out of any 180 calendar days since you first arrive.  For most people, three months is plenty of time but for Nauti Nomads such as us, and most other cruisers, three months can be very short.  The tricky twist is that unlike visas in many other countries where you can reset the duration by simply leaving and then combing right back in again, the Schengen agreement rules are that you can stay for up to 90 days within any 180 day block of time on the calendar, starting when you first enter.  What this means is that after you have used up your 90 days you have to leave the Schengen area for at least 90 days before you are allowed back in.

Not sure if it will help or just give you a bigger headache than you already have, but this illustration might help understand how this works.

We have been to Europe and the Schengen areas quite frequently over the past 10+ years and have previously been able to get an extension without much trouble, just a lot of paperwork.  But not this time!

So What’s the Plan Stan?

At this moment, we don’t know.

I have provided the Greek Immigration authorities all the details on our rather unique situation where Möbius is our full time home and that we can’t leave, on Möbius at least, until the new engine arrives back from the UK and I can get it reinstalled and be able to leave.  The tentative plan is that I am to provide them with proof that Mr. Gee has arrived in Kalymnos and is ready to be reinstalled and then I can submit a new application for an extension of 10 days or so to give me enough time to reinstall the engine and get Möbius sea worthy and then we will leave. IF this extension is approved then I can use it to re-enter Greece and travel back to Kalymnos, complete the installation and the sign ourselves and the boat out of Greece and the EU and head to either Turkey or Tunisia most likely.

As you can tell, a very tentative plan with no assurances or promises that they will approve the 10 day extension either, but best we can do is keep our fingers crossed and that some logic will prevail.  If not then we’ll just need to regroup and figure out next best option.

I also want to be clear that the Immigration officials are simply doing their jobs and following the rules for Schengen visas.  Greece is well known to be the most strict enforcers of the Schengen rules and we are but the latest of many we know who have been caught up with these kinds of situations.  We all hope for some leniency and understanding when there are extenuating circumstances but just as with agents at any border crossing, you have to deal with the ones you get and whatever interpretations and decisions they make.  None of this has or will affect our feelings about Greece and her wonderful people.  This is just the most recent speed bump in our nomadic life.

Mr. Gee 2.0 Update:

As I type, Mr. Gee is being transported by truck and ferry, having left the UK last Friday 28th Sept.  I received this photo from the logistics company on Tuesday 4th October that he had arrived in Piraeus the port in Athens and was awaiting clearance procedures into Greece.  He needs to go through the Customs clearance procedures for entry into Greece and then put on another truck and ferry to get from Athens over to Kalymnos.

As your long history with it has proved, nothing ever goes smoothly or cheaply when it comes to shipping and so this past few days have been a flurry of Emails, WhatsApp texts, wire transfers and phone calls trying to get all the various people and companies involved with the whole process to have all the paperwork and fees they require.  As of a few minutes ago (Friday afternoon here on Oct. 7th), I *think* things are finally all sorted, but I won’t believe it till I get the photo of Mr. Gee sitting on the dock beside Möbius.

As of now, I’m told that they have all the paperwork and the various clearance fees (don’t ask!) and so he should be fully cleared and ready to be picked up in the next few hours, end of day on Friday over here.  IF that all goes well he is due to be on the ferry out of Piraeus/Athens tomorrow (Saturday) and due to arrive in Kalymnos on Sunday.  (Oct. 9th)  Once he makes it to Kalymnos he still has to go through the final customs clearance which is due to take place on Tuesday and

For now we are on hold and “in exile” in Turkey until the engine is on the dock beside Möbius and then I can submit the new paperwork for a 10 day extension and see what they say.  Once Mr. Gee arrives and we know if they have approved the extension or not, I will be able to post a new SitRep for you and you can continue to follow along the adventures of the Nauti Grandparent Nomads.

Do stay tuned for the next installment of “As Möbius.World Turns” and we hope we are living up to your entertainment eXpectations?!!

– Wayne

E-bikes and Flying Fish

Sheesh!  Half way through the month of August already!

Time for a brief update on what’s been happening with us and Möbius over the first two weeks of August.

Weather here continues to surprise us with how ideally cool it is.  This past week has seen the daily temperatures drop a few more degrees from their previous norms of about 32C / 90F down to about 28C / 82F as I sit typing this at about 3pm on Sunday.  Evenings and mornings are even cooler and with the constant Meltemi winds blowing through the boat sleeping is very comfy and mornings are starting to feel downright chilly!  Not sure why this area is experiencing such relatively cool summer when the rest of Europe, the UK and many other parts of the world are seeing record high temperatures but we’ll just enjoy and be grateful that we’ve got such ideal conditions.

Here is what else we’ve been up to the past two weeks.

Update from Kalymnos Greece

IMG_1239_thumbChristine and I have settled into a nice rhythm here onboard Möbius and in this lovely south end of Kalymnos Island that I showed you around in the last post.
Kalymnos set in larger map_thumb[1]If you did not see that post, this map will help orient you as to where the small island of Kalymnos is at (red pin) in the bigger picture of this Eastern end of the Med.
Kalymnos sat view_thumbThis satellite view of the island of Kalymnos (click to enlarge any photo) will help you see how arid and mountainous it is.  Möbius is the south harbour at the Red pin.  To give you a sense of scale, the coast road allows you to circumnavigate the whole island in just 68 km/42 miles.  So not too big which suits us just fine. 

Christine Update

IMG_1204Christine continues to be very dedicated to getting her knee back to full working order and goes for a swim each day where the surprisingly brisk ocean water is the perfect medium for her physio exercises.  Progress is slower than she’d like but improving.  This is but one of may swimming spots she gets to chose from every day.
IMG_1258And almost all of them have a beachside taverna so she gets to enjoy a Freddo Cappuccino and water in the shade when she finishes her exercises.  Thanks to her E-bike that she got before we left Turkey she is able to get to pretty much any of the swim spots on this end of the island in less than 10 minutes and with no strain on her knee, so all good.
IMG_1251The town itself is small but lively with daily arrivals of Turkish Gullets and other sail boats as well as lots of ferries that bring people to and from the surrounding islands or as far away as Athens.  Makes for good people watching including this very salty dog of a Captain.
IMG_1253As with most small towns though there are some less savory characters like this one who manage to sneak in when no one is watching.
IMG_1212In addition to swimming, Christine loves to use her E-bike which she calls her “Freedom machine” to explore further afield and she has been super impressed by how well the “pedal assist” of her trusty E-bike allows her to climb even the steep hills that are the norm everywhere on the island once you leave the waters edge.
IMG_1230Her explorations down random little roads and alleys continue to produce finds like this old church.
IMG_1229Which can often reveal surprise treasures such as this interior of the building above if you go up the stairs and push the door open.
When not out swimming or exploring, Christine is hard at work in her office every day here aboard Möbius as she starts doing the heavy mental lifting of creating a whole new set of characters and timelines for the newest book she is writing.  Stay tuned for more on that as it develops.

Wayne’s World

Meanwhile I am kept very busy with the combination of remaining boat jobs on the list and fixing the inevitable gremlins that pop up.  Our Kabola diesel boiler suddenly stopped earlier this week after working flawlessly every day for the past year and a half so trying to sort that out.  For now I’ve just turned on the 220V element in the Calorifier (hot water tank) for daily dishes and showers.

One of the unfinished boat jobs this week has been finishing building the paravanes so we can test them out when we next head out to sea. 
paravanes1As you may recall from previous posts, Paravanes are passive stabilizers which work by “flying” about 6m / 20’ below the water.  These help keep the boat level by resisting forces trying to roll the boat from side to side.  As the boat rolls, one of the paravanes or “fish” or “birds” as they are sometimes called, resists being pulled upward while the other paravane dives down and sets up for its turn to resist being pulled up as the roll forces go to the other side.

PXL_20220618_144026919The paravanes themselves, are suspended from Dyneema lines (super strong synthetic rope) that hang off of long booms extending out from each side of the boat at about 45 degrees.
LarryM fish in water with retreival lineHere is a paravane in action from another boat.

If you’d like more details on our Paravane setup check out THIS blog post and THIS one from back in June when I was rigging the booms and starting to build the paravanes.

PXL_20220809_114817402   Before we left Finike in Turkey I had finished shaping and painting the 20mm / 3/4” plywood “wings” for the two paravanes and bolting in the T-bracket where the line goes up to the boom. 
PXL_20220809_114751558Now I needed to cut these two aluminium plates to act as vertical fins that will help keep the paravane tracking parallel to the hull.
PXL_20220809_114751558Pretty straightforward to cut with my jig saw and shape with my angle grinder.
PXL_20220809_114815059Now just need to drill holes for the bolts that will attach the vertical fins to the T-bracket and the paravane wings.
PXL_20220809_124532184.MPLike this.  The holes along the top of the T-bracket are where the line going up to the boom attaches and provide adjustments for the angle the paravane will slice through the water at different speeds and conditions.
PXL_20220809_134200156Final step was to bolt on these two zinc weights that weigh about 15kg / 33lbs and create the nose of the paravane.  This forward weight ensures that the fish will dive down quick and smooth when not being pulled upward.  When the boat rolls the other way, the line pulls up which straightens out the fish and immediately start resisting the roll.  Rinse and repeat!
PXL_20220809_142948848_thumbHere is the finished pair of paravanes all ready for testing, though I will probably put on another coat of epoxy paint for good measure.

Next week I’ll finish the rigging and get the lines attached from the ends of the booms to each paravane.


IMG_1070Not too bad a spot to be in and we are eXtremely grateful for just how fortunate we are to be here.

I’ll be back with more as our time races by here in Kalymnos and hope you enjoy these briefer updates.  Let me know by sending your comments and opinions in the “Join the Discussion” box below and I’ll be back with more as soon as I have it.
-Wayne


The Only Constant is Change XPM78-01 Möbius Update July 31, 2022

Whew!  July has been one of the most “social” months we’ve had for a long time and we have just bid a fond Bon Voyage to our latest friends who spent the past week with us aboard Möbius.  Earlier in the month we were overjoyed to have our two granddaughters, Mom Lia and Dad Brian spend two weeks with us.  Brynn and Blair who just turned 8 and 6 respectively this month brought an explosion of laughter and energy onboard and everywhere we went.  All in all an awemazing month though I must admit that we two introverted Nauti Grandparents are now enjoying the chance to catch our breath and recharge our batteries.  I’ll do my best to give you a quick glimpse into our times with family and friends this past month and hope that a wee bit of our joy comes through on your end as well.

Change

This week’s title sums up one of my perspective on life in general and is one of the key reasons that I think I gravitated to this life of living on boats and sailing the world.  For boats themselves as well as the life of sailing them around the world (yes, whether powered by wind or sails we still refer to it as sailing) change is the one thing you can consistently count on and as so often seems to be the case, that is both the good and bad news.  Changes in systems, gear and equipment on the boat, aka breakage/failure, changes in the weather and changes in location, scenery, people, etc.  For the most part, I’ve always enjoyed change and accepted it as a constant in my life, indeed something I actively pursue and set myself up for and I believe that most people actually do like change.  Who would want things to always stay the same?  What I think most of us do NOT like is “being changed”.  Changed by others and not of our choosing.  All this as my long winded way of setting constant change as the context for the past month and likely that of the next few.

Kalymnos; Our Changed Location

Kalymnos Aegean area google mapsFor some geographical context you may recall that in the last Update we had checked out of Türkiye and checked into Greece on the island of Rhodes which is the gold star in the bottom Right of this screenshot of our maps.

(Click to enlarge any image in the blog)
Kalymnos set in larger mapWe had been heading for Athens to meet with our family but guess what?!?  Yup, change.  For a confluence of reasons that are a MUCH longer story for another time, we changed and headed for the relatively small Greek island of Kalymnos which is the Red pin in these two maps.
IMG_1070Photos are much more revealing that maps and here is the view off the Port/Left deck of Möbius.  Now let’s climb up to near the top of that mountain across the way …………
PXL_20220719_113301325…. and here’s the view from that elevated vantage point with some text to show where Möbius is tied up.
Over the years, our family and friends have come to understand that if they want to come visit us, they can chose a Date OR a Location but NOT both!  Think about that for a moment and you’ll soon appreciate how challenging that is.  It takes a LOT of perseverance and adaptability to come visit us and fortunately our family and friends are eXtremely flexible and willing to go to these great lengths to come for a visit.  Lucky us and our deep appreciation to all of you who take on these challenges and come to visit us.

Experiencing Life Through 6 and 8 Year Granddaughters

kalymnos airport sat viewAnd so it was that on July 9th, Lia, Brian, Brynn and Blair flew into the tiny little Kalymnos airport literally perched atop a mountain top to the NW of Möbius which is the light patch in the middle of this sat photo.
IMG_1152A 15 minute downhill run later, we had their feet in the cool Aegean waters on one of the countless beaches here on the island.  We had outings every day, sometimes in a rental car to explore the 68 kilometers of coastal road around Kalymnos and sometimes just a short 15 minute walk into the town near where we are docked so we all got to know this small island quite well.
PXL_20220712_140213007Wherever we went, Blair and Brynn mostly wanted to swim and this was our local swimming beach a short walk from Möbius which you can see in the upper Left of this photo, snuggled in between two much larger ships.
PXL_20220713_113521804.MPWe sought out and found lots of small harbours like this one that typically had several restaurants to chose from, some local boats and of course more swimming.
IMG_1125They all had the Goldilocks combination of places for the girls to jump in for a swim …..
PXL_20220711_121708499……. with tables on the waters edge for the adults to chat while easily keeping an eye on our simmers while we enjoyed some shade, drinks and food. 
IMG_1165We seemed to be able to find this ideal combo……
IMG_1155……. everywhere we went along the coast……
IMG_1097….. and a grand time was had by all.
PXL_20220712_104708221.MPSome evenings we would stroll into town and wander the small alleyways soaking up the local ambience.

PXL_20220712_120710480.MPIn town, there was no shortage of little sidewalk restaurants along the waterfront to enjoy more delicious Greek food, wine and conversations.
PXL_20220716_063343964.MPOne day we got going a bit early and caught the short 40 minute ferry over to the larger island and city of Kos.
PXL_20220716_084855202Kos is a central hub amongst these islands so much busier and more tourists but also much more green and of course more ruins to see before we caught the ferry ….
PXL_20220719_161307419.MP…. back home to Möbius (seen in the background) complete with a bronze statue of the girls favorite; a Mermaid!
All too soon though, it was time to take the family back to the mountaintop airport for them to start their marathon of planes, trains and automobiles to get back to California.  Thanks Lia, Brian, Brynn and Blair, missing you already and can’t wait for our next time together wherever that may be.

Two days later our good friends Jeff and Kate came over on the ferry from Kos, where they had flown in, and spent a week onboard with us.  They too had been real troopers in adjusting their travel plans and itinerary for their two month long European adventure to be able to get to us here on Kalymnos. 

IMG_1170While our current location is ideal for us, its certainly not a dream destination for most and this is the view off our bow at night. 
PXL_20220709_054151640Not to be outdone, this is the view from our stern. But Jeff & Kate were very understanding guests and we had lots of time to enjoy just hanging out and catching up with them.  They certainly left with some good stories to share about their unique adventure on Kalymnos and aboard Möbius.  All too soon though, Jeff & Kate needed to catch the ferry back over to Kos a few days ago and are now continuing their European tour to Venice, Milan and then on to Spain and France before they wind up their grand European adventure and head home to Vancouver.  Thanks Kate & Jeff for being such good sports to make all the changes needed to get here and for fitting into our unique accommodations and ambience!

Just right, Just for us

When we were designing Möbius one of the ways we described our design goals was to have a boat that would blend in very well to a fishing or commercial shipping port and stick out more in a fancy marina.  As you’ve been seeing in some of the photos, I think we, thanks to our awemazing designer NA Dennis, have met that design goal very well! 

The Goldilocks “fit” here for us here in Kalymnos is not just our “hood”, but that we have a side tie to a concrete dock that is at deck level and makes getting on/off the boat an easy one step operation which is VERY rare in this part of the world.  Pretty much every other place requires that you Med Moor by backing into the dock and then having a ramp or passerelle to get on/off the boat.  Works OK, but with Christine’s mobility still not fully returned after her knee surgery this presents a more serious issue and is one of several reasons why we have decided to take a break to allow Christine’s knee to fully recover and stay here in Kalymnos for the next month or two. 

While it would not suit most others I suspect, for us this is the latest version of what I frequently refer to as living on The No Plan Plan.  It’s a great example of the true freedom afforded by this way of living we are so fortunate to have that allows us to make such decisions and do what is just right, just for us. 


IMG_1128We pretty much have the whole concrete jetty to ourselves and with local surroundings like this ……
IMG_1168….. and sunsets like this from our SkyBridge at night, perhaps more of you can appreciate how this can feel like the ideal home for us right now until we decide to move on to the next location that is calling our name.


For the next while these Update posts will likely be a bit irregular as I’m not sure I will have enough content to warrant weekly Updates.  However, rest assured that I will continue to post Updates as things evolve here and I’ve got several posts to catch up on some technical topics I’ve promised for some time.  Please continue to send your questions and comments in the “Join the Discussion” box below and keep an eye out for those notification Email alerts if you’ve subscribed to the Möbius.World blog or check in from time to time as our grand adventure continues.

-Wayne